Thrull of the Chase
- Legends Warehouse News
- 24 Oct, 2017
One of the hardest parts about brewing Mono-Black in Commander is that, for the most part, they often end up looking the same. Someone’s Sheoldred, Whispering One will be about 85-90% the same cards as a Sidisi, Undead Vizier or Chainer, Dementia Master deck. Mono-Black has a problem in that the vast majority of decks are just piles of good cards with generic effects. It’s something that has existed for years, and the more they enforce that Black gets access to “everything, with a price” for their slice of the Colour Pie, this problem will continue to happen. That’s why when I brew Mono-Black decks, there has to be something unique about the Commander that leans away from the “good stuff” pile of cards. Commanders like Phage, the Untouchable and Marrow-Gnawer each have their own niche appeals, but for my taste, Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder offers a distinct balance between uniqueness and power.
Endrek Sahr was a wizard of the Ebon Hand during Fallens Empires known for his ability to stitch together thrulls. These grotesque creatures were in fact living beings despite being made of dead flesh. By combining alchemy with necromancy, Endrek Sahr created minions suited for serving the Order of the Ebon Hand in both daily tasks and sacrificial rites. His thrulls soon became too powerful and numerous, eventually rebelling against the Ebon Hand and overrunning Sarpadia. However, Endrek Sahr was flung into the future by a time rift during Time Spiral, escaping an ordered execution due to his creations. This is why Endrek Sahr creates Thrull tokens whenever you cast a creature, but too many Thrulls in play cause him to get overwhelmed and sacrificed.
ENDREK SAHR, MASTER BREEDER
Attempting to play token decks without Green or White is always a challenge due to the lack of Doubling Season or Anointed Procession, but with Endrek Sahr, we make it work. Since we actually don’t want to have more than seven Thrull tokens in play at a time, this actually places an interesting restriction on what kinds of creatures we can include in the deck. As a result, we have to keep the number of creatures the cost more than six to a minimum. With a steady string of 6CMC creatures and free sacrifice outlets, we can turn Endrek Sahr into a value engine, constantly churning out tokens that we can sacrifice for a variety of effects.
First things first, we need free sacrifice outlets in order to sacrifice our tokens and keep our Commander around. Ashnod’s Altar and Phyrexian Altar are the most obvious inclusions for this category as they allow us to sacrifice our tokens for mana and enable us to cast even more threats. Sadistic Hypnotist and Phyrexian Plaguelord fall into similar roles in that they give the deck a way to rip our opponent’s hands and boards to shreds by turning our tokens into Mind Rots and removal. Altar of Dementia can play into the reanimation element of the deck by using our Thrulls to mill our opponents, while Skullclamp can turn our tokens into card draw. Blasting Station is one of the more powerful win conditions in the deck as its untap will trigger multiple times when creatures enter the battlefield. As such, we can tap the Blasting Station and sacrifice our tokens one by one as they come into play to machine gun our opponents.
To get even further value from sacrificing our Thrulls, I’ve included Blood Artist, Falkenrath Noble, and Zulaport Cutthroat to help drain our opponent’s life totals and keep us alive. Smothering Abomination and Dark Prophecy give us plenty of card draw so we always have cards in hand to work with, and there’s even a reanimation package of Hell’s Caretaker, Champion of Stray Souls, and Victimize that uses our tokens to bring back our bigger creatures. Finally, Grave Pact, Dictate of Erebos, and Butcher of Malakir will trigger whenever we sacrifice a token and force our opponents to sacrifice a creature of their own. This is great for keeping the board clear so we’re the only ones with creatures in play.
With the notable exception of Razaketh, the Foulblooded and Butcher of Malakir, every creature in the deck costs less than six mana. This is so we won’t have to sacrifice Endrek Sahr right away after casting a threat. Fortunately, there are an astounding amount of Mono-Black staples at six mana. From Grave Titan to Massacre Wurm, six is really where the power level balances out with the amount of mana required, so this actually more or less negates Endrek Sahr’s drawback since we won’t typically have seven or more Thrulls in play at once. As well, we can also turn these tokens into threats on their own with Ascendant Evincar, Caged Sun, and Thrull Champion, giving us an aggro plan should the sacrifice value engine fail us.
For an alternate win condition, we can use Pontiff of Blight to turn each of our spells into a massive Drain Life. Since we can go wide with our tokens, Pontiff of Blight gives each of them extort, so whenever we can a spell, we can pay a Black mana for each of our creatures to drain our opponents for one life. What really drives this over the top is that while each opponent only loses one life, we gain the total amount of life lost, so it only gets stronger the more players there are at the table. This gives us a great way to abuse all the mana ramp we get access to by virtue of being Mono-Black, such as Crypt Ghast and Cabal Coffers.
Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder offers players a unique experience unlike the majority of Mono-Black Commanders. While others are just piles of good stuff you can play and reanimate, the sacrifice engines and pump effects in this deck give Endrek Sahr a completely different way to play. While there are still the typically amount of staples you see in most Black decks, Endrek Sahr uses them as a means to an ever-churning value engine rather than using them as the main win conditions. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well Endrek Sahr performs and the deck, much like the Thrull Rebellion, can get out of hand rather quickly. Endrek Sahr is the perfect amalgamation of a token deck with a classic Attrition-style deck, and I wholeheartedly recommend building it if you’re tired of the same old Mono-Black Commander experience.