Hey folks! I’m back once again for our Commander Deck of the Week. I did a quick poll on my Twitter account (@RagingLevine) to select a mono-blue commander, and I’m happy to report that an interesting one made its way to the forefront… sort of, anyway. Honestly there was a three-way tie when I closed the poll, but I cast the deciding vote myself for the most interesting mad blue gravedigging scientist in the world…
That’s right, Stitcher Geralf. While most people were pretty excited about this, some (including fantastic #GPVegas Geralf cosplayer Alan Marling) thought Geralf would play better as a supporting cast member for Grimgrin, and after building the deck out, I can honestly say I agree. A Grimgrin deck gives you access to black and a lot more graveyard synergies, so with blue, I had to get creative.
So, let’s talk for a moment about what Geralf actually does. A five-mana 3/4 isn’t exactly an award-winning beatstick, so we’re going to be focusing on that ability. For three mana, we get to mill everyone—ourselves included—for 3 cards, pick up to two creatures that got milled, exile them, and stitch together a delightful X/X Zombie, where X is the total power of the exiled creatures. The upside is obvious—big Zombie! Big Zombie smash! Like any good endeavor, however, this has some risks and challenges, and as Geralf is a classic Innistrad entrepreneur, he’ll want you to know those up front.
First off, milling your opponents in Commander is a dicey proposition. To many Commander players, the graveyard is just another hand that’s a little more difficult to access. We get milled too, but we’re casting Geralf and paying the associated mana costs, which means we need to break this symmetry somehow.
Second, there’s no guarantee that we’ll actually hit anything good. Sure, sometimes we will hit the Ulamog/Kozilek combo and make a huge Zombie, but sometimes we’ll just toss some flashback spells in our opponents’ graveyards and end up with a 2/2, and once in a while we’ll get nothing at all.
Finally, making a moderately-sized Zombie won’t always matter. In Commander, an evasionless beater isn’t the most impressive thing in the world, so we’ll need to actually do something with the Zombies we make.
So, how do we make this deck work with all of these difficulties? Well, let’s see!
Graveyard? What graveyard?
At one point I even had Bazaar of Wonders in here, but I backed off of that one a little bit. If our opponents are going to get to fill their graveyards with toys, we’ll have to deny them of some of those toys, and we’ll have a few ways to do so. Sometimes, though, they’ll have toys, and we’ll have to live with that somehow…
Those? No, no, those are mine.
One of the best feelings in Magic is to use someone else’s card to win the game, and this deck has a few ways to do that. Spelltwine is one of my favorite cards released in the last few years, and I’m happy to have any opportunity to play with it.
Sometimes we’ll be able to use one of these cards to put the nail in the coffin, but other times we’ll actually have to find another method. That’s when you have to take things to the next level…
…because we’re all in on milling.
That’s obviously not all, as you’ll see when you scroll down. We’ve also got tools like Time Ebb to put cards on top of libraries and then mill them—or, if they’re creatures, exile them with Stitcher Geralf for a big summer blowout. I’ve skewed toward cards that mill repeatedly and preferably mill everyone, but I’ve made some exceptions for cards like Increasing Confusion and Psychic Spiral. Usually doing things to everyone will draw full table aggro, but people often like getting milled. Hopefully they will like it just up until it’s too late. We even have a few ways to take advantage of our self-mill like Back from the Brink and the totally bizarre Pedantic Learning.
Oh, and those Zombies? We’ve got a few things for them.
Odd jobs for the undead:
We don’t have tons of things for these fellows to do besides attack, but a large enough Zombie makes Altar of Dementia quite hilarious, and Wonder is going to be in our graveyard an awful lot. Hopefully we can send some big, hilarious Zombies to visit our opponents. Finally, this is a deck in which Undead Alchemist can go full metal and mill the heck out of people.
I’m out of chatter for this installment—here’s the decklist! Share, enjoy, and watch for the next Commander of the Week!