Dominaria United (DMU) is poised to bring some exciting cards to the commander table, but of those spoiled thus far none has me more excited to build around than Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. I’m a known Phyrexian fan boy, without question, but the efficient damage-dealing engine that is the newest black praetor is going to be doing some serious work in the future. If you want to bring some apocalyptic power to the commander table, you’ll be hard pressed to find a creature that does it more efficiently.
Like Nekusar and the original Underworld Dreams, Sheoldred’s final line of text offers a clear line to victory. Making your opponents draw cards is surprisingly easy, and mono black has a number of cards that can really make the rest of the table hurt. While there are an endless number of Wheels and Windfall effects that makes Sheoldred a killer in the 99, I’m going to focus on what you can run to make her a game-ending commander.
There are a number of cards that work similarly to Sheoldred, punishing the opponents for drawing cards, but you can’t rely on those smaller pings of damage. No, the real power provided by Sheoldred is her ability to outright kill a player with the right pieces. Most notable is Peer Into the Abyss, which likely results in one dead opponent, but Damnable Pact and Eldritch Pact can do a reasonable impression with enough mana or a stacked graveyard respectively.
Life from Death
Sheoldred’s damage dealing text is the primary reason to run her, since that results in a winning line, but that isn’t all she does. First, there is her keyword, Deathtouch, which makes her a pain to block and can create plenty of problems. Giving her first strike makes her essentially unblockable, and any card that transforms her into a pinger turns her into a removal spell. You can comfortably run an equipment package with her and you’ll be quite happy with the results.
Sheoldred also rewards you with life for drawing cards, and removes the downside from most of black’s card draw effects, such as Sign in Blood. Similarly, Sheoldred softens the pain from a lot of cards that want you to pay life, and gives you additional incentives for running cards that take advantage of a lifegain strategy. The trick with Sheoldred is going to be finding the balance between all the cards that she rewards you for playing, though it’s particularly worth noting that she represents yet another easy way to kick off the Sanguine Bond x Exquisite Blood combo.
Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is going to be quite the spicy card to brew around, with more cards from Dominaria United likely to add extra value to her gain and drain abilities. Nevertheless, I have an early build for Sheoldred all ready to go, so if you’re as excited as I am to play with the newest praetor we have a great skeleton to start from (or, more aptly, to compleat for yourself). Let me know if there are any key pieces for Sheoldred 2.0 that I’m missing. (Presented with the original Sheoldred in the command slot until The Apocalypse is up in the database.)