Well, he was the God of this passage anyway. I’m sure most of you will pass on this regardless.

Today’s post is Magic the Gathering themed. I’d say here be dragons, but the deck only has one. As always, I recommend grabbing Autocard Anywhere if you’re interested in seeing what the cards actually do. I’ve been searching for a new Commander deck for a while and Athreos, God of Passage struck a chord with me. Back when I first started I got mercilessly beaten into the ground with an Opalescence/Replenish deck and it gave birth to a seed of something. A desire to make a better deck of my own? Or just a love of the deck? In any case, the confluence of recent Theros “constellation” cards and Magic Origins’ Starfield of Nyx gave me the idea of putting together a constellation EDH. Thing is, there’s actually not much support (and very little card draw) in the two colours. There are much better W/G/B commanders for that. So I went back to the drawing board.

I thought of Athreos as a way to utilise dumb little cheap creatures. I thought of Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker as a neat way of getting value here. Thing is, once I started putting together the deck, Shirei didn’t have a lot to take care of. I had a ton of smaller creatures, but very few in the 1 power range. So I thought about it some more. What creatures could I get that gave me value on repeated play? What sacrifice outlets worked? What was the deck looking to do over all? Well if anything it was gonna be a typical Orzhov griefer deck. Slowly draining life points from your opponent. How could I make this process a little faster? I cooked up the following list and played a few games.

// Lands
1 [NE] Kor Haven
1 [R] Scrubland
1 [GTC] Godless Shrine
1 [ZEN] Marsh Flats
1 [EVE] Fetid Heath
1 [THS] Temple of Silence
1 [GP] Orzhov Basilica
1 [ISD] Isolated Chapel
1 [WWK] Bojuka Bog
1 [MM] High Market
1 [SH] Volrath’s Stronghold
1 [US] Phyrexian Tower
1 [DKA] Vault of the Archangel
1 [CMD] Command Tower
1 [TE] Reflecting Pool
1 [PLC] Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
12 [TE] Swamp
11 [US] Plains
// Creatures
1 [ORI] Hangarback Walker
1 [TE] Blood Pet
1 [M11] Viscera Seer
1 [UL] Mother of Runes
1 [BOK] Kami of False Hope
1 [AVR] Blood Artist
1 [C14] Skirsdag High Priest
1 [NPH] Suture Priest
1 [GTC] Cartel Aristocrat
1 [GTC] High Priest of Penance
1 [FD] Auriok Champion
1 [ROE] Pawn of Ulamog
1 [ORI] Liliana, Heretical Healer/Liliana, Defiant Necromancer
1 [GP] Teysa, Orzhov Scion
1 [TSP] Basal Sliver
1 [CMD] Fleshbag Marauder
1 [US] Blood Vassal
1 [KTK] Grim Haruspex
1 [FRF] Merciless Executioner
1 [JOU] Agent of Erebos
1 [RAV] Dimir House Guard
1 [ZEN] Kor Cartographer
1 [UD] Academy Rector
1 [ALA] Ranger of Eos
1 [GP] Ghost Council of Orzhova
1 [C14] Shriekmaw
1 [MOR] Reveillark
1 [CHK] Kokusho, the Evening Star
1 [AVR] Harvester of Souls
// Spells
1 [DS] Skullclamp
1 [ZEN] Bloodchief Ascension
1 [ZEN] Luminarch Ascension
1 [CS] Coldsteel Heart
1 [WL] Mind Stone
1 [CMD] Orzhov Signet
1 [ORI] Sword of the Animist
1 [C14] Malicious Affliction
1 [AP] Phyrexian Arena
1 [UL] Martyr’s Cause
1 [JOU] Banishing Light
1 [ALA] Oblivion Ring
1 [IN] Phyrexian Altar
1 [M14] Dark Prophecy
1 [GTC] Immortal Servitude
1 [SH] Grave Pact
1 [THS] Whip of Erebos
1 [PLC] Damnation
1 [DKA] Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
1 [TSP] Return to Dust
1 [M11] Day of Judgment
1 [R] Wrath of God
1 [JOU] Dictate of Erebos
1 [IN] Rout
1 [AVR] Exquisite Blood
1 [RAV] Pariah’s Shield
1 [MBS] Phyrexian Rebirth
1 [CMD] Martyr’s Bond
1 [LRW] Austere Command
1 [SHM] Wound Reflection
1 [GP] Debtors’ Knell
// Sideboard
SB: 1 [JOU] Athreos, God of Passage

So how does it play? It’s a blast when everything works well, but it has a habit of running out of steam. Match ups I played were:

Titania, Protector of Argoth: Very little land. Got steamrolled by land destruction and a mass of 5/3 elementals. I had a Wrath of God/Grave Pact in hand, but when they played Zuran Orb it was all over.

Rafiq of the Many: Stalled the ground with High Priest of Penance. Gained incremental advantage with Blood Artist and Pawn of Ulamog. Liliana, Heretical Healer and Viscera Seer had a bit of fun. When Skirsdag High Priest showed up I finally had something a bit bigger to beat back with. Game ended soon after.

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death: Blood Artist and Suture Priest were too much. My opponent got some bollocks off with Kiki-Jiki, Karmic Guide and Necrotic Sliver, but after luring him into sacrificing the sliver, I killed Kiki-Jiki and took the game over with some Athreos beatdown. At this stage I was surprised how quickly Athreos comes online. B/W can fittingly turn on the devotion in a heartbeat.

The deck has a ton of fun little interactions. Skirsdag High Priest and Liliana, Heretical Healer get activated with ease. Liliana does some spicy stuff once recurred. Fleshbag Marauder and Merciless Executioner read 2B: Opponent sacrifices a creature and loses 3 life. In the event they let me grab the cards back, things get silly. Blood Pet and Viscera Seer are some serious MVPs, activating most of the deck, recurring with ease and draining the opponent well. I’m suspicious of Grim Haruspex while my creature count is so low and I’m not convinced the usually solid Dimir House Guard is pulling its weight. At times it stalls out without drawing into stuff.

The deck above is actually the post-change version, I added in a bunch of format staples to get a bit of recycling going on. Phyrexian Arena, Skullclamp, Phyrexian Altar. Part of me wants more creature based sac outlets, which I might look into. The deck feels like it could want Mikaeus the Unhallowed, but he’s in nearly all of my B/x EDH decks. The deck could actually use Karmic Guide and Phyrexian Plaguelord, but where do they fit. I don’t want the deck being top-heavier than it needs. Small, cheap threats are the name of the game. I still need to get a lot more playtesting in before feeling secure on my choices, but this could be a neat 1v1 deck in the making.

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