We love a weird tribal deck here on EDH Showcase, and this time around I was very surprised to see just how much depth there was to Skeleton tribal! ArchRaccoo32 put together a deck that exploits all sorts of synergies enabled by Skeleton shenanigans, principally taking advantage of the rewards on offer when creatures die and are brought back over and over and over again. Considering Skeletons are amongst the most resilient creatures in Magic (even if they’re not the most powerful), there is a lot you can do with creatures that just won’t stay dead. Let’s check it out!
Spooky Scary Skeleton Tribal by ArchRaccoo32
The classic Skeleton in Magic has ability that prevents it from staying dead. It can either regenerate, or become indestructible, or return from the graveyard back to the battlefield. I’m talking about cards like Reassembling Skeleton, Unworthy Dead and Drudge Sentinel – cards such as these form the… backbone… of this tribal deck. There is no shortage of Skeletons like this, too: Duty-Bound Dead, Restless Bones, Cinderbones, the list goes on.
How are we taking advantage of them? In a few different ways. These things can chump-block endlessly, so how about finding a way to make those blocks more profitable? With cards such as Death Baron and Paragon of Open Graves, you can give your Reassembling Skeleton deathtouch, turning any chump-block into a full-on trade that greatly benefits you, as you can bring back your little 1/1 to kill the next attacker.
There are other ways to juice up these little creatures: Paragon of Open Graves joins cards like Bad Moon in boosting their stats, Cover of Darkness makes them difficult to block and Coastal Piracy makes them draw cards. We can play Coastal Piracy thanks to our blue-black commander, Skeleton Ship, whose activated ability is made all the more spicy thanks to Crumbling Ashes!
There aren’t too many other blue cards of note – just a bunch of pretty standard interaction like Cyclonic Rift and Counterspell, and tribal payoff card Reflections of Littjara. There are plenty of other terrific tribal payoffs though, as you’d expect in a tribal deck like this: everything from Patriarch’s Bidding to Vanquisher’s Banner.
Where this deck really excites my interest, however, is how deep it goes on Skeleton flavor. It’s not just Skeleton cards that are being played, but also cards related to skeletons and bones from a flavor perspective. You can equip your Skeletons with a Bone Saw and a Skeleton Key. You can sacrifice them to Skull Catapult or Bone Splinters. You can vex your opponents with a Boneyard Parley or a Skull Storm. And – best of all – you can equip Skullclamp to your Reassembling Skeleton, building a repeatable, endless Divination. Amazing.
Any deck that goes this deep on flavor is going to get a huge thumbs-up from me, and this deck does it in style. From its sweet commander to all the weird little synergies it manages to exploit, this Skeleton deck would be very welcome at any EDH table I played at – I love lists like this. If you’ve got a similar list you’d like showcased, send it in! The best place to get at me is on Twitter, via DM.