The Decks Files, Part 7 : Black White

Having so many decks means that it’s REALLY time consuming to keep decklists updated. Not every deck is on, and many that are have changed significantly. That said, IF YOU WANT A DECKLIST: leave a comment or send me a message and I will find time to fix, or create, the decklists on TappedOut.

Here’s the Quick Rubric I’ll use for some of the questions.

How often do I want to Play it? How “Good” is it? How much do I like it?
5=  More than once in a Row  I’d play it against “Competitive decks” or if I actually want to try to win  One of my very favorites
4=  Often  It can hold its own  I really like it
3=  Sometimes  It might win under special circumstances  It’s okay
2=  Under certain circumstances  Just for Fun  Something’s not quite right
1=  Rarely / have to be in a certain mood  Winning would be a miracle I might actually take it apart… maybe

*I am alternating Ally/Enemy WUBRG pairs for two colors.

Commander:Teysa, Orzhov Scion #1Teysa-sleeve
Name:  Teysa Token Craziness; Teysa Number One
Style: Tokens, Combo
Want to play?: 5
“Good?”: 5
Like?: 5
Deck Notes: This is my favorite deck. It’s the one I put the most care into, and the one I’m most interested in keeping updated. It’s pretty competitive (it can win on turn 3 with a god draw), and can win in a few different ways: token swarm, board clearing, combo-ing off. Most of the cards are in Russian, and I finally acquired a Foil Russian Teysa last year or so (the most expensive card I’ve ever purchased).  There are probably a few Goodstuff ways it could be better, but I still keep a few pet cards like Nip Gwillion in there.


Commander: Vish-Kal, Blood ArbiterVish Kal Blood Arbiter
Name:  Vishing you a Good Life
Style: Lifegain
Want to play?: 3
“Good?”: 3
Like?: 3
Deck Notes:  This deck is about gaining and spending lots of life. It started out with a few other W/B tricks, but they migrated to other decks.  It can also win through alpha-striking with Vish-Kal. Some of my highest life-totals have come via this deck.  It can be slow, though, and it used to share several cards with Teysa (mostly lands) that made it a pain to re-assemble.


Commander: Obzedat, Ghost Council — GUILDObzedat, Ghost Council, Magic, Gatecrash
Name:  Orzhov Guild
Style: Guild Wars
Tribe?: Orzhov
Want to play? 4
“Good?”: 4
Like?:  4
Deck Notes: Unsurprisingly, this is probably my favorite of the Guildwars decks. Obzedat is pretty strong, and it just grinds out wins with removal and bleeding (like the Orzhov should)


Commander:Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts
Name:Teysa Alone
Style: Creatureless
Tribe?: Teysa
Want to play?

Deck Notes: Also, unsurprisingly, I love New Teysa as well. While there were creature-d versions of the deck I considered playing, I decided that she was just too good for other creatures. It’s a combination of attack diversion and Voltron Teysa. My favorite card in the deck is Thrull Retainer (for flavor and style), but I also bought a Force Field for it as well. The only problem is board wipes and her casting cost. I have a foil Korean version for the general (no Russian… yet)

Commander: Teysa, Orzhov Scion #2Teysa-german proxy
Name:  Spirit of Discard
Style: Tribal, Discard
Tribe?: Spirits
Want to play? 2
“Good?”: 2
Like?:  3
Deck Notes: Teysa is too awesome to just have a single deck. This one is more focused on making and having lots of spirits than comboing out or exiling your team. It also plays more to the tribal aspects.  Discard is the sub theme, often tied to Spirits. The Foil German Teysa leads this one.

Commander: Atheros, God of PassageAthreos, God of Passage, Magic, Journey Into Nyx
Name:  House of Black and White
Style: Tribal,
Tribe?: Clerics
Want to play? 3
Good? 2
Like?:  3
Deck Notes: I have a Black Cleric-Demon deck (Ob-Nixilis) and a White Cleric-Angel deck (rotating cast of commander), this one plays both colors of clerics to take advantage of Edgewalker and many many Shadowborn Apostles.

 CommanderTriad of FatesTriad of Fates, Magic, Theros
Name: Counter Factual
Style: Counters
Want to play? 2
Good?: 2
Like?:  3
Deck Notes:  This deck plays as many different flavors of counters as possible (except +1/+1 counters!… I tried to skip Charge counters too, but it was too hard). It’s mostly for silliness (Frankenstein’s Monster!), but it ended up being pretty fun in it’s debut. I dream of having many individulized counter tokens to use with it.


Game #148: Triad of Fates

Game #148: Triad of Fates
Date: 2015-02-04
Location: Family Game Store
Vs. Gisa; Karona (dragonlord); Horde of Notions; GrimGrin
Result:  Fun Loss

Triad of Fates, Magic, TherosvsKarona, False God, Magic, ScourgeGhoulcaller Gisa, Magic, Commander 2014Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, Magic, GatecrashHorde of Notions, Magic, Lorwyn

Lazav was being Grimgrin again, and a different Karona deck was being played (this one was super dragony post Fate Reforged. I was playing a deck that might not have had a win condition.

I started with a 3 land hand and a Quest for the Nihil Stone and Serra’s Hymn.  Gisa came early with a Gauntlet of Power, but I think it got destroyed.  Grimgrin’s pet Crypt Rats came out and did their thing. Then Gisa had Necropotence and a Caged sun.

I spent a lot of time playing with counters. I had Power Conduit and a Astral Cornucopia for 3.  The big play came when Horde of Notions Reforged the Soul pumping my Quest up to 22 counters (and thus fueling the Power Conduit for a long time).  I also built up a Time Bomb to 4.  And was using tricks to use Magistrate’s Scepter every other turn (I have since added Clock of Omens, which is a flavor fit AND would let me have a janky infinite turns machine).   I was also playing lots of Will of the Council  with Coercive Portal and Brago’s Representative.

Gisa was doing things with a Lashwrithe and 1000 year elixir and a caged sun and building up guys, Karona had stuck some pretty dangerous dragons like Utvara Hellkite, possibly thanks to a Dragonstorm for 2.

I had moved on to playing with Eye of Doom (everyone picked on Gisa) and was building a Darksteel Reactor up  (I think I got up to about 12, and had the board not mostly wiped, could have maybe won with it on the next turn(s) via tricks and magewright stone, 100 year elixir and Coretapper (who got killed)). But I had to get on offensive defense and start using Triad to exile creatures and also use Parallax Wave.

I had to blow up the world with Oblivion Stone (saving a few of my things), and I totally cast Frankenstein too, but ultimately couldn’t hold on.  However, I got to do lots of things with random counters, have several Votes (which unfortunately always went my way) AND cast Frankenstein. so it was fun.

About the Deck (tapped out someday)

The plan for this deck was “All of the Counters except +1/+1 or Charge.” But, as I was building it, I realized that it couldn’t be done in any sort of playable way with out at least Charge Counters.  We’ve got Page, Quest, Time, Fate, Verse, Doom, and more. Technically Frankenstein can have +1/+1 and so can Spike Cannibal, but the former will always get +2/+0 counters on my watch, and the latter is there to punish those who play with the dreaded +1/+1.     I wish Giant Fan were black bordered.

This deck was under construction for a LONG time.  When it needed a last bump, I realized that Will of the Council was good in W/B and a good flavor fit as well.  Lastly I added in some flavorful filler like “Doom Blade” and will also add in “Clock of Omens” for synergy and flavor

Game #132: Athreos, God of Passage

Game #132: Athreos, God of Passage
Date: 2014-05-28
Location: Family Game Store
vs. Balthor; Captain Sisay; Arcades Sabboth
Result: Neutral Loss

Athreos, God of Passage, Magic, Journey Into NyxvsBalthor the DefiledCaptain Sisay, Magic, From the Vault: LegendsArcades Sabboth, Magic, Legends

I was excited to try this deck out on my last regular Wednesday game for awhile. I had a very landy hand including the first Cavern of Souls (cleric) I had ever put in a deck. Liliana (of Balthor) was making people Discard, and Sisay fetched up a Tolsimir and started building up an army of other legendary thigns, but then Balthor Decree of Pain-ed. I cast Obzedat’s Aid to get back a discarded Treasury Thrull and had a Harvester of Souls, but I stalled out at 5 lands. Balthor got pretty messy with Candelabra of Tawnos and Yawgmoth’s Will (that got him back two tutors, one of which got a Coat of Arms). Balthor killed Arcades and left Sisay at 1. I was at a large life total (And I banishing light-ed the Coat of Arms), but I could’t hold off his Akroma’s Memorialed army, and I lost.

I played the deck again immediately afterward, but I didn’t record the game (because the first game wasn’t bad enough to warrant a re-do, and also because I wanted to focus on playing). I do remember that I got to looping some Shadowborn Apostles with Edgewalker, and that Athreos actually did quite a bit of general damage before I lost the game.

About the deck (no TappedOut yet)

I was initially bummed about Athreos because it didn’t fit right in to Teysa, but then I decided it would actually make a fun different BW strategy. I had first thought of making it a “Seventh Seal” deck with a Grim Reaper and then making it Chess themed with black and white knights and clerics etc, but eventually I decided I didn’t want to be that theme-y with this build. Several people online had posted Cleric/Shadowborn Apostle based decks, which I liked. I have a “divine” cleric deck (Heliod/Avacyn/etc.. ultra mono white) and a Demonic Deacon deck (with Nefarox, 13 demons and Shadowborn apostles), so I decided to make a BW cleric deck as well (Becasue I’ve always wanted to try Egdewalker).
In building the deck, it also kind of became a Constellation deck and took on a heavy Enchantment theme. There’s at least one Enchantment creature cleric that is free with Edgewalker. This deck started from a huge pile of cards. I enjoy playing it, but I’ve found that mostly people let me recur things rather than taking damage.

Game #116: Obzedat, Ghost Council (GUILD)

Game #116: Obzedat, Ghost Council (GUILD)
Date: 02-13-14
Location: Home
Vs. Boros Guild
Result: Neutral Loss

Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, Magic, Return to RavnicavsAurelia, the Warleader, Magic, Gatecrash

This was second to last of the decks I had remaining (and one that I didn’t mind playing as a one on one), and, having just lost to it, I wanted to get the game over with. Most of the poeple at my normal game store no longer have Guild decks, so this was a good opportunity. My fiance asked for the fast red-white one, so I fetched Boros. I had a 3-land hand with a lot of high-cost things in my hand, but I went with it anyway. She started quick with a Guildmage, and a Courier Hawk and then built into an Assemble the Legion. I managed to get to 4 lands and an Absolver Thrull (though it didn’t have an enchantment to hit when I cast it). She played an Aurelia and a Gleam of Battle, which became a 2 Turn clock (4, then 5, then 6, then 7). I had a Hissing Miasma which was keeping the soldier tokens at bay. I got to 5 and cast Obzedat. I had an Obzedat’s Aid in hand, but not enough turns left to be forced to discard something so that I could bring it back and have a chance (Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts was the thing I discarded, but it was too little, too late. I had no way to get the Absolver Thrull to die and take Gleam of Battle with it.

In my hand: Angel of Despair; Necropolis Regent; Obzedat’s Aid; Merciless Eviction; Culling Sun; Treasury Thrull; and Pontiff of Blight. All would have been great to have, but you need lands to cast spells.

About the Deck
Orzhov is my favorite Guild of all of them. This deck skews more to the Extort side of the guild, but it does have a bunch of Haunt cards (since this is really the only deck I’d put Haunt cards into).

Game #84: Vish-Kal, Blood Arbiter

Game #84: Vish-Kal, Blood Arbiter
Date: 2013-12-04
Location: Family Game Store
Vs.: Wort, the Raidmother; Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (modified)
Result: Neutral to Slightly Unsatisfying loss

Vish Kal Blood ArbitervsOloro, Ageless AsceticWort, the Raidmother

Next game! I start the game with 2 lands.  I stay at 2 lands for the first 7 or 8 turns, only casting a short-lived Ajani’s Pridemate.  Of the cards I had in hand or drew in that span, all but three cost 3 mana (Mimc vat, Praetor’s Grasp, Mortify, Tainted Sigil, the Level-up guy that becomes 9/9, other cool stuff).  I was not pleased.

While I was waiting for my ‘turn 3’ Oloro had a Luminarch Ascension several times, despite Wort’s best efforts, thanks to Sun Titan and also an Avacyn.  I finally get to 3 lands, and play a Mimic Vat (no 2nd swampt to Praetor’s Grasp and hope for a Swords to Plowshares from Oloro).  Then Wort plays a spell that gets rid of Avacyin, but also costs me a Land (back down to 2 lands).  Eventually I get to 4(!) lands and play a Praetor’s Grasp (only getting Oblation), but by this time Avacyn is hiding under the Angel that gets a bunch of things back from the Graveyard.  I manage to get an active Blood Chief Ascension, but it gets Ashen-Ridered (I’m beginning to hate that card).

I cast Crypt Ghast. Wort turns all of her lands into 3/3 creatures and swings at Oloro, putting him at 6. Wort is at 1 life and I am at 12 due to Oloro deciding to split his attacks between the two of us the previous turn.

As I’m about to take my turn, Oloro uses a sac effect on his Ashen Rider (grrr) to exile my Crypt Ghast, so I scoop.

(Had I kept the crypt ghast, and thus had access to more than 4 mana, my next draw would have been a Sol Ring. Casting that with Extort would have killed Wort and dropped Oloro to 5. I could have then cast Unspeakable Symbol and extorted, putting Oloro to 4 and then paid 6 life to put 2 +1/+1s on Crypt Ghast and swung for the win, since Oloro was utterly tapped-out)

About the Deck (  this is not the most current list  )

This deck is mostly about gaining absurd amounts of life and then using that life to pay for awesome things. It has a tiny reanimation theme to make use with Vish-Kal’s abilities. It does play Mikaeus now, too.  I haven’t added in some of the new cards from Return to Ravnica, but I probably should. It probably also really wants stupid Gray Merchant, but I haven’t slotted him in yet either. it also needs more lands.  I like this deck, but it can be slow and doesn’t shuffle well for me.

On Teysa

On Teysa: A Love Letter to my Favorite Commander

I have many decks, this is true, but one deck stands out as my very most favorite deck:  Teysa, Orzhov Scion (#1).*

Teysa Orzhov Scion

Foil Full Art, Alt-Art Proxy I made for her (from found art)

When I first met Teysa, back in the days of Ravnica (when I was reading about things on, but not actively playing), I wasn’t that impressed by her and her big ugly friend.  I hadn’t yet fallen in love with the idea sacrificing my own things for fun and profit.  But when EDH came on to my radar, she reentered my life (tagging along with 15 or so other legendary creatures I won in a bulk ebay auction), and I took another look at this forgotten Badass Goth Lawyer  Advisor Advokist, and realized what I had been missing.

This was one of the first 10 decks I built back in the summer of 2010, and it has probably gone through the most modifications and updates of any deck that I have.  Along with Animar, it’s the only deck I actively ask “What does the next set have for the Deck?”.  It is also one of the only three decks (of 110) that I have in Sleeves (Because they are Teysa Sleeves).

teysa-russian foil

This is the holy grail: a Foil Russian Teysa. It took me years to find and came to me from Italy via Finland. Only 100 Euro.


The first versions of the deck were a mess of cards, there was a lot of reanimation, and discard effects, but also a bunch of just random cards (Auspicious Ancestor!).  Eventually I started tuning it towards Token Making and Reanimation, but it was still kind of sloppy (and it still is!).  Certain cards that are just plain bad (Nip Gwyillion — cheapest creature that is both black and white. Blood Pet, because she had Thrulls and it sacs itself) but they stay in the deck because I like them.


I don’t buy “sexy anime” sleeves, but sometimes cards show up in them. This “sexy lawyer” one seemed to fit Teysa both in color and theme, so the Russian one lives there.

The current version of the deck, if given enough time, can get pretty ridiculous. It has a number of infinite loop combos, but they’re not easy to set up or protect (with a God Draw and no Interference, it fits the “Can Win on Turn 3” requirement)**.  It can also get by with a massive Token swarm  (also having exiled most enemy blockers).  It can sometimes gain tons of life.  It doesn’t do any of them super efficiently though.


Teysa-german proxy

Before I tracked down the Russian one, I got a Foil German one. The creature type – “Mensch, Berater” is one of my favorites of all time.


As this is an early deck, it has a pretty small land-base (~34 Lands). I should probably increase it.  My hope is to some day have enough Russian Alara #238 Swamps for it.  I haven’t picked the plains yet, but I have 8 Russian ones for now.


Alara Swamp #238 (NEED RUSSIAN ONES) and Random Russian Plains

The non basics include most of the W/B duals, though I haven’t slotted in Temple of Mystery yet.  I think all of the Ravnica lands are Russian (though not the foil guildgate), Godless Shrine, as well as the Caves of Koilos. Volrath’s Stronghold is helpful recursion, and the requisite Coffers/Urborg is in there for extra Mana.  Strongly considering adding: Phyrexian Tower and maybe Mistveil Plains.

teysa-nonbasics2 Teysa-nonbasics1

Other Mana Production:

Both Altars are great Sac Outlets, Sol Ring (while not in all my decks) is requisite. Black Market can make for huge turns, and Scuttlemutt has the added bonus of making a creature both White and Black (because Painter’s Servant is still banned).  I could probably use a Signet or some other Mana Rocks or accelerants, but I don’t know what to cut.  Blood Pet is hiding with the creatures.



The Rune-scarred Demon is a Russian one. My only Diabolic Intent is here. I might group Academy Rector here as well.  Liliana is on the block. She does tutor twice (theoretically), but she might be better as a land.



Bodies that bring Bodies back are key components to this deck. Reveillark/Karmic Guide and another white weenie can make for a board wipe with Teysa.

Graduated: Adarkar Valkyrie, Doomed Necromancer

On Probation: Reya Dawnbringer, Coffin Queen, Apprentice Necromancer

Absent: Gravecrawler (deck doesn’t do Zombies), Mikeaus (he’s in enough other decks)


The Nim Deathmantle can do recursion tricks with the Altars, and since it makes the creature black, it can produce some little White Tokens. With Archon of Justice it can eventually exile all of the things.  Cauldron Haze is on the way out, and the other Russian spell (Immortal Servitude) might be too, since it’s narrow in what it brings back. Animate Dead could be any number of other things, but it’s been there since the beginning, and it’s also Sun Titan-able.  The rule for pimping the deck is Russian>Foil, so the Debtors’ Knell is no longer shiny.


For Fun and Infinite Recursion (during the Upkeep only): Hell’s Caretaker and Thornbite Staff.  Ashen Rider is their new best friend.



Bodies that bring friends to the Party

Creatures that generate tokens are helpful in this deck.

Wearing out their Welcome: Cloudgoat Ranger is probably becoming Captain of the Watch again (1 more mana, but the deck would rather have buffed soldiers than kithkin ones).  Requiem Angel doesn’t trigger on Spirits going to the ‘yard.

Getting an Invite: Captain of the Watch, Abhorrent Overlord (many black tokens!).

Life of the party: Twilight Drover (need more dice!) and Darien plus pain-lands  (or Darien, plus a token, plus Blasting Station plus Soul Warden for a do-nothing loop).

Waiting in Line: Ophiomancer.  Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts (I don’t get to control the token production, even if they are w/b)


Other spells that bring buddies

Waylay says: 2W: activate Teysa.

Bitterblossom: is Russian AND Rebecca Guay

Mobilization:  the russian version is in a R/W Soldier deck right now, comrade.

Lingering Souls isn’t that great, but the art is pretty. Spectral Procession is Slow. Murder investigation is relatively new, and hasn’t happened yet.

Beckon Apparition makes a W/B token!

Field of Souls doesn’t trigger off token deaths, but lots of regular creatures die too.


Other Planeswalking Friends:

I never seem to do well with Elspeth, K-E. I may switch her out for the New Elspeth. She costs more to cast, but makes a full Teysa activation with her +1. Sorin is relatively new.




The Life Gainers of the Party

Since a lot of creatures are coming in to play on my side, it’s nice to gain life. Soul warden also neutralizes Bitter Blossom.


And For your Combo-Victory Needs

These plus Teysa, plus another creature = damage to infiinity and beyond.


Other Stuff

Theirs’ is not to Question Why…

Mass Destruction or Worse: Angel of Despair, Archon of Justice, Necrotic Sliver

Fodder: Nip Gwyllion, Blood Pet

Graveyard hate: Puppeteer Clique

Possibly Irrelevant Old Man: Academy Rector (though it does grab Darkest Hour, it’s not much for being recurred)

teysa-todie The Sac-Pack:

If I die, you die too: Grave Pact, and Butcher of Malakir, Victimize

All your not-exiled by Teysa’s are belong to It that Betrays (hooray for reanimation)

Sac Outlet or one-hit-winner: Fallen Angel (plus lots of tokens)


Boring Protection or targeted removal. 


The Most Recent Additions/Swaps

Cauldron Haze: out, Abhorrent Overlord: in. CH was too situational

Grave Betrayal: out, Ashen Rider: in.  I only want to steal via creatues (ItB, Puppeteer Clique).  The Rider fits more along the lines of the clear-a-path for tokens strategy, and is way better with Hell’s Caretaker.   teysa-newadds

My relationship with Teysa is a complicated one.  There are things that I want to stay the same forever, and there are exciting changes I hope to make.



*I also have a Spirit Tribal/Discard Theme  Teysa, Orzhov Scion Deck (because the Foil German one needed a deck to rule) and a Creatureless  Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts (Because she is also pretty bad-ass, even if she doesn’t quite fit in this deck).

**  Turn 1: Plains, (W)Sol Ring
Turn 2: Swamp, (b/w)(2)Blasting Station, (b/w) any 1 CMC creature
Turn 3: Swamp, (1bw)Teysa, (b)Darkest Hour: sac the now-black creature to the station, Teysa makes a now-black spirit and station untaps. Repeat.

Game #70: Teysa, Orzov Scion #1

Game #70: Teysa, Orzov Scion #1
Date: 2013-10-23
Location: Family Game Store
Vs.: Kami of the Crescent Moon; Balthor, the Defiled

teysa-russian foilvsBalthor the DefiledKami of the Crescent Moon


I had been saving my very favorite deck for a special game, and I decided #70 was a good one. Of course, I was playing Balthor, so who knows how it was actually going to pan out. I’d never played aginst KotCM’s player before, so I didn’t have much to go on for what to expect.  I had 3 lands in my opening hand, so I was happy.

Balthor started strong with Urborg, Phyrexian Arena, Carrion Feeder and a Bazaar of Baghdad. Kami drew a bunch of cards. We get Prosperitied and I have to discard (Reya Dawnbringer, Reveillark, Reassembling Skeleton, and other stuff that I have plans to get back).  Curse of Swine is foiled by Sacrifice outlets allowing us to ditch our guys to avoid exile to PigTown.

Balthor gets a big Patriarch’s Bidding, which includes a Grey Merchant of Asphodel.  I’m ready to start doing lots of tricks with Reya, Karmic Guide and Reveillark, but we get Evacuated.  Then, more Gray Merchant and we die.

It was an okay game, but Teysa didn’t get to do super fun things (she may not have even hit the board).

About the deck: 

This deck gets its own post!