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TL;DR – Some of you may die, but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make.
Mayhem Devil is a card that has seen a lot of constructed play in formats like Pioneer and Historic. While other commanders may have abilities that effect each player, Mayhem Devil has the ability to target anything, face or place. Additionally, Mayhem Devil triggers on any permanent’s sacrifice, no matter which player is sacking. This deck is built around sacrificing stuff, benefitting from it, and forcing our opponents to sacrifice stuff too.
We have several ways to sacrifice things, though we’ll start with our creatures with free sacrifice outlets. Carrion Feeder, Bloodflow Connoisseur, Viscera Seer, and Bogardan Dragonheart can each sack creatures to your hearts content for a benefit. Other creatures like Body Dropper and Lampad of Death’s Vigil‘s sack outlets come with a mana cost, but can fill the role in a pinch.
So what will be sacrificing? In terms of creatures they come in two main flavors: make more stuff to sack or do something when they die. Cards like Grim Initiate, Butcher Ghoul, and Nested Shambler are two-for-one sacks while Goblin Instigator and Lazotep Reaver give you extra fodder up front. Mogg War Marshal is the best of both worlds in that it makes a body when it comes down and leaves. Impulsive Pilferer is a sacrifice powerhouse since it leaves a treasure token to sack when it dies, but then makes up to three more bodies that self sacrifices using the encore ability. And since each of those also make a treasure token you’re looking at eight total permanents to sacrifice through the card’s lifespan.
Besides sacrificing our own permanents , we’re also going to be forcing our opponents to do the same with cards like Fleshbag Marauder, Crack the Earth, and Innocent Blood, turning these into splitable four damage spells so long as Mayhem Devil is around at the time the sacrifice triggers go on the stack. We’re also including Feign Death and Undying Malice which can do a lot here: keep our commander on board, turn Fleshbag into a pseudo-boardwipe that can deal up to eight damage.
Speaking of interaction we’re in black and red so the usual staples like Cast Down, Lightning Bolt and Snuff Out are obviously here, but we can also yoink our opponents creatures with Act of Treason and Bloody Betrayal, smack people around with them, then offer ’em up for sacrifice. If games of Magic were won by satisfaction this deck would be S-tier.
The ever important aspect of drawing more cards is solved with Night’s Whisper and Sign in Blood (duh) but the majority of our card draw comes in the form of “sack a thing draw two” spells like Village Rites, Deadly Dispute, Reckoner’s Bargain, and Costly Plunder. Since three of these can hit artifacts we are running artifact lands in our color, but our plethora or blood and treasure tokens are ideal targets. Big Score draws us cards and make tokens so even though four mana, discard, draw two is pricey up front it pays off in the long run. Other token makers like Voldaren Epicure and Vampire’s Kiss are here along with Experimental Synthesizer to keep up our tempo, but we are kind of sad we can’t bounce it for more shenanigans.
Since a lot of our stuff is going to end up in the graveyard we’re running cards like Blood Fountain (which is running double duty) and Unearth to get more value of cards like Dragon Egg and Fleshbag Marauder. Reaping the Graves works really well here since you can respond to graveyard hate and save a few dudes before your graveyard is put in time-out. Additionally a pair of boney-boys: Sanitarium Skeleton and Persistent Specimen are here to die over and over.
We’re including a copy of Dimir House Guard and while he is a free sac outlet, he’s usually better utilized as a tutor to fetch one of our many three cost tools. Have a problem creature? As a helpful redditor pointed out we need help reading our cards so Dimir House Guard is getting the boot! In it’s place we’re adding Fireblade Artist because its now legal and cool. Lastly, or our favorite of all is Aspect of Gorgon. If you’re at all familiar with how deathtouch works in conjunction with Mayhem Devil you’re going to be able to work out a lot of deals if you’re able to resolve it, or just clean the board and swing in with ol’ Sticky Fingers attached to force your opponents to deal with your commander before they can play more creatures. Cue maniacal laughter.
There isn’t usually much to talk about regarding lands in pEDH, though we’re we’re armed to the teeth with sac lands like Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse and the new New Capenna sack lands (though they are considerably worse that you don’t get to choose the time you sack.) Tramway Station works well here and Mortuary Mire is a nice bit of graveyard interaction. These are all great synergies, but on the downside here is that our mana base is notably slower. To help offset this we’ve purposefully kept our curve really low, topping out at a few four mana value spells. As such, we’re throwing in a couple cycle lands to help you find some spells.
The great thing about this deck (and for others the worst, maybe?) is there are a lot of decisions to be made. When should you sack and what? Where do you aim Mayhem Devil’s triggers? Do you hold up an Evolving Wilds just in case or sack it now to play on curve? This deck creates a lot of variable lines of play which means taking your time and thinking over your options is crucial since sequencing becomes incredibly important to playing the deck efficiently.
Closing out games here is likely going to be a slow process unless you’re able to keep a few of those highly buffed creatures around. As such, we’re throwing in a copy of Makeshift Munitions to help seal the deal.
- Killing your own stuff is just plain fun. Benefitting from it makes it even better.
- Lots of lines of play mean your plays are never as obvious as they should be (though as we mentioned this might be a con for some)
- Lots of blood tokens means digging for stuff is easy, treasure tokens are great ramp.
- Good deck for politicking since you’re able to choose damage individually.
- Using our creatures for fodder means we’re usually light on blockers making you a target for combat phases.
- Sometimes global sack cards can be useless without your own fodder on the field, often making you use your commander if you really need to resolve one.
- Speaking of which Mayhem Devil is going to die. A lot. With only a couple ways to protect our commander via spells be prepared to spend all those treasure tokens on commander tax, but don’t be afraid to send Mayhem Devil to the yard if you’re holding onto an Unearth.
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