Throne of Eldraine has brought us some weird commanders for sure. I’m still hyped up to build more mono-colored decks, which is weird for me as I’m deeply in love with the multicolor lifestyle. This time around, the hook that sunk me is Syr Konrad, the Grim.
Syr Konrad, the Grim
So a Syr Konrad deck wants me to build a group mill deck? I’m happy to oblige, though I think I’ll need to find ways to take advantage of the cards heading to other players’ graveyards before they do. Speaking of other players’ graveyards, let’s talk about how this deck fills those up (hopefully with creatures):
You’re going to want to mill everyone as much as you can to get maximum value out of Syr Konrad’s damage trigger. I’m focusing on that as much as possible rather than the dies or the “leaves your graveyard” part because I find it the most interesting, but obviously there are other ways to build this deck (and don’t worry, we’ll still take advantage of both.) Besides Syr Konrad’s own activated ability, I’ve included seven cards in this decklist that mill the whole table.
You’d probably never consider putting Returned Reveler or Sibsig Host in another deck, which is part of what I love about this list – it’s got that “what does that do?” factor that I crave. Of the artifacts, Mesmeric Orb is the one you’ve probably seen the most, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see it here. The others are a little more recognizable in some contexts; for example, if you remember the old Saproling Cluster combo decks from the year 2000, you probably remember Whetstone being the kill card. I’d bet most people are going to need to read it, though. The remaining cards were at least printed in this millennium and vary from “surprisingly good in Limited” (Ghoulcaller’s Bell) to “what was the plan when they printed this?” (Shared Trauma).
Now that I’ve accepted that there aren’t too many cards that mill everyone and aren’t blue, let’s focus on the more directed mill cards.
Again, we’ve got a range here. Doom Whisperer only mills us, but it also provides card selection and an efficient body. I’m not going full Dredge mode here because that would require a much higher ratio of creatures in the deck than I’m interested in providing, but if you want to throw in a Stinkweed Imp/Golgari Thug package along with cards like Stitcher’s Supplier, that’s definitely an alternate route you can take this deck. The other three are effects you’ll be pointing at opponents almost exclusively. Sewer Nemesis latches onto an opponent and punishes them for casting spells by growing and filling their graveyard. Extractor Demon makes large-scale combat and removal dangerous, and Geth just takes what he wants while keeping the “vault” (graveyard) nice and full. Geth is one of the first cards I’ve mentioned today that takes advantage of milling opponents, but don’t worry–there are more. Back to the cards that mill, though–we’re moving on to noncreatures.
We’ve come a long way from the days of Millstone. Grindclock takes some time to charge up but gets pretty dangerous once it starts moving, while Sands of Delirium has raw power but asks for all your mana. Keening Stone is so dangerous in the late game it often acts like a 12-mana sorcery. Finally, Mindcrank lets you live the “double kill” lifestyle by turning life loss into card loss. At this point I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a non-mill card I’ve also thrown in here.
Once you complete this nasty quest, Bloodchief Ascension causes opponents to lose two life for each card of theirs that we mill. In turn, Mindcrank causes them to mill two cards for each Bloodchief Ascension trigger. Then Bloodchief Ascension kicks in again and, well, you know the rest. Obviously you can expect both of these cards to have kill-on-sight status at most tables.
Now that we’ve talked about ways to fill opponents’ graveyards, let’s talk about the options for pulling cards out of those graveyards and using them to our advantage.
Now wait a second, I said opponents’ graveyards! That said, this card does seem insane in a deck where you’re milling yourself. You got me, big spooky chalice. You’ve earned a slot. Let’s get back to the matter at hand.
Sometimes you just need one creature out of someone else’s yard to turn the tide. These eight cards, at varying costs, do the job pretty well. The lower-cost options, like Animate Dead, Necromancy, and Reanimate, have some level of risk involved in the form of life loss or just being an aura. The others have some additional effects–Fated Return provides indestructibility, Beacon of Unrest can nab an artifact, Necromantic Summons can make something a little bigger, and Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering is a sweet 2-for-1. Rise from the Grave is just kind of there, but it’s good enough. Finally, Puppeteer Clique only gets you the creatures for a single turn, but it can get two–or more if you reanimate the Clique again later.
These cards are for those situations where you want it all right now. Sepulchral Primordial summons an army that’s usually big enough to draw a board wipe, but Rise of the Dark Realms can really change the game in a more dramatic way. Finale of Eternity asks for 12 mana to do more than just kill three things, but when you can make that happen, you’ll be on the verge of winning right then and there.
At this point you can fill your list out with wraths, point removal, mana rocks, and some of your own reanimation targets and value cards, but if you’re using the same core (or a similar one) it’s hard to go wrong here. I’ve attached my list at the end so that you have a better idea of the direction I decided to take. Now that we’re coming up on the prerelease, I’ll have my Commander set review next time around, so keep an eye out for that!
Commander: Syr Konrad, the Grim
26 Swamp (339) 1 Bojuka Bog 1 Cabal Coffers 1 Cabal Stronghold 1 Command Beacon 1 Myriad Lanscape 1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx 1 Reliquary Tower 1 Strip Mine 1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth 1 Volrath's Stronghold 1 Nezumi Graverobber 1 Returned Reveler 1 Burnished Hart 1 Plaguecrafter 1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury 1 Sewer Nemesis 1 Solemn Simulacrum 1 Doom Whisperer 1 Puppeteer Clique 1 Sibsig Host 1 Duplicant 1 Extractor Demon 1 Geth, Lord of the Vault 1 Grave Titan 1 Harvester of Souls 1 Kokusho, the Evening Star 1 Myr Battlesphere 1 Sepulchral Primordial 1 Sheoldred, Whispering One 1 Avatar of Woe 1 Altar of the Brood 1 Ghoulcaller's Bell 1 Nihil Spellbomb 1 Sol Ring 1 Grindclock 1 Lightning Greaves 1 Mesmeric Orb 1 Mind Stone 1 Mindcrank 1 Darksteel Plate 1 Sands of Delirium 1 Unstable Obelisk 1 Whetstone 1 Hedron Archive 1 Caged Sun 1 Keening Stone 1 The Cauldron of Eternity 1 Bloodchief Ascension 1 Phyrexian Reclamation 1 Animate Dead 1 Necromancy 1 Phyrexian Arena 1 Palace Siege 1 Hero's Downfall 1 Grisly Spectacle 1 Price of Fame 1 Fated Return 1 Reanimate 1 Shared Trauma 1 Black Sun's Zenith 1 Dread Summons 1 Finale of Eternity 1 Sign in Blood 1 Read the Bones 1 Toxic Deluge 1 Damnation 1 Beacon of Unrest 1 Necromantic Summons 1 Rise from the Grave 1 Yawgmoth's Vile Offering 1 Life's Finale 1 Necromantic Selection 1 Rise of the Dark Realms