$40 Commander Deck – Serial Killer

Serial Killer
Kresh the Bloodbraided

Lands: 38
Savage Lands
Tainted Peak
Tainted Wood
Transguild Promenade
Rupture Spire
Jund Panorama
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Golgari Guildgate
Rakdos Guildgate
Gruul Guildgate
Akoum Refuge
Vivid Marsh
Vivid Crag
Vivid Grove
Dragonskull Summit
Temple of the False God
Llanowar Wastes
Sulfurous Springs
Urborg Volcano
Grand Coliseum

Creatures: 21
Blood Artist
Harvester of Souls
Royal Assassin
Slum Reaper
Reaper from the Abyss
Butcher of Malakir
Fleshbag Marauder
Algae Gharial
Acidic Slime
Ogre Slumlord
Havengul Vampire
Deathbringer Thoctar
Sylvan Primordial
Sepulchral Primordial
Tsabo Tavoc
Lim-Dûl the Necromancer
Toshiro Umezawa

Artifacts: 6
Glaring Spotlight
Altar of Shadows
Swiftfoot Boots
Whispersilk Cloak
Mimic Vat
Darksteel Ingot

Enchantments: 4
Vile Requiem
Vicious Shadows
Grave Betrayal
Animate Dead

Instants: 14
Rend Flesh
Doom Blade
Go for the Throat
Victim of Night
Ultimate Price
Hero’s Demise
Human Frailty
Cradle to Grave
Dark Banishing
Ancient Grudge

Sorceries: 16
Killing Wave
Death Stroke
Violent Ultimatum
Soul Reap
Barter in Blood
Dregs of Sorrow
Premature Burial
Geth’s Verdict
Syphon Flesh
Ashen Powder
Kodama’s Reach

It’s the personal touch that’s important.

Let me tell you a little bit about the place where I live. It’s story time. You see, where I’m from, life is as worth about as much as a Razor Boomerang. Every day the common people go about their lives while these powerful beings fight each other. We are pawns in their little game, and their game is destructive. Blink, and the Wrath of God destroys everyone you’ve ever known. It’s all terribly… impersonal.

No one celebrates life any more, because no one fears death. The common people have resigned themselves to their powerlessness in the face of these beings. They have accepted that they are going to die, and their deaths will mean nothing. They will die, just like all the others.  I stand opposed to the powerful beings by reminding the good people that death is still a scary thing.  Every time my name passes the whisper of a frightened child, I strike back against the powerful beings that take the purpose from our lives.

In a world of constant slaughter, one artist fights against the extinction of fear. Blood is my canvas, and my art gives people the dignified, horrible deaths they deserve. Their deaths… are personal. Theirs alone, to share with no one else. It is my solemn responsibility to ensure their gruesome ends, so that they will not be forgotten as another lost body in the midst of eternal carnage.

I am an artist. I end people’s lives with style and flair.



Pretty simple, actually.

Simply put, when you pilot this deck, you are stepping into the mind of a serial killer.  You’re not looking to make massive changes to the board state at any given time.  That is for bumbling fools who have no appreciation for art.  Their work is brutal.  Yours is clean.  Elegant.  You affect the ongoing game in a far more subtle way.  You wield a scalpel, not a megaton bomb.  The theme is targeted destruction.

Single-target destruction is undervalued in Magic, and especially in  Commander.  As such, it gives us an inexpensive soft-control engine for a deck to build upon. The remainder of the deck is about maximizing the value in killing our opponents’ creatures (and other permanents.)

This deck wants to play a soft control game, taking it nice and slow for a while. It changes the “rules” of the table by making players think twice about whether or not to play a particular permanent. Usually, the removal that players are counting upon seeing is Sweepers, like Day of Judgment. They analyze the board to determine whether or not a sweeper is likely to be played soon.

You get to deprive them of that assumption, because you are not beneath destroying a single creature, especially in retribution for being attacked. So, hopefully, you slow down the progress of the battlefield until players think they’re safe by casting creatures with Hexproof or Shroud. You then get to pounce with sacrifice effects like Barter in Blood or put them under a Glaring Spotlight.


The easiest path to victory is to protect your own general, Kresh the Bloodbraided, with a Whispersilk Cloak or Swiftfoot Boots. With all the killing that will be going on at the table, he will reach 21 power quickly, and start taking opponents out of the game.

The key to victory is how well you maximize the value of your destruction effects. Bring nasty creatures you’ve exterminated onto your side, either through reanimation spells like Ashen Powder, the death-channeling magics of Lim-Dûl the Necromancer, or the technology of the Mimic Vat.

Several creatures in the deck get more powerful as death happens around them. Algae Gharial and Lumberknot cannot be targeted as they grow. Havengul Vampire grows a bit quicker.

In the late game, you have Grave Betrayal and Vicious Shadows at your disposal, and each destruction spell you wield becomes a powerful weapon.



Using our standard TCGPlayer optimizer criteria, the deck comes out to $39.01. I’m pretty pleased with the power level of this deck for that price, though it certainly has much room for improvement. So how do we do that? Well, it depends on where you want to go with the deck – there are several options.

Um… Rawr.

Kresh the Bloodbraided is traditionally considered a “sacrifice and recur” general, allowing for strong control options. This kind of deck wants to include sacrifice outlets like Sheoldred, Whispering One and Attrition, along with cards that let you take advantage of your creatures dying, like Grave Pact, and many of the cards already in our deck. It also wants cards that create more creatures when they die, like Sprouting Thrinax and Mitotic Slime for maximum sacrifice value.

Kresh also makes a great Voltron general, and can get downright unfair when made indestructible through the use of Darksteel Plate and the like. Just one sweeper is enough to kill the rest of the table, make Kresh huge, and clear his path to do 21+ general damage to the entire table quickly. With this strategy, you will need means of digging him out of the library when he gets tucked (and black has PLENTY of tutors to make this happen, in conjunction with green’s creature tutors).

“In love with serial killing.” Well, it’s a good bet the NSA is now reading my blog.

If you’re in love with the “serial killer” theme, then you can spend some money to make this deck even better. Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor are great for digging out the Glaring Spotlight from your deck when Hexproof creatures start showing up. Black Market makes you more powerful the more creatures die, by giving you more mana to work with. Isochron Scepter allows you to imprint one of your 2-cost destruction spells (like Victim of Night) and cast it many times. Blade of the Bloodchief is an excellent piece of equipment in this deck. Also, the mana base could definitely use some shoring up – the deck definitely wants Command TowerBlood Crypt and Overgrown Tomb in it.


One thought on “$40 Commander Deck – Serial Killer

  1. Love the Blood Artist flavor. ❤ Too bad he's not getting reprinted. Without him, Esper players won't think twice about casting Supreme Verdict anymore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s