As promised, here is the Thraximundar list that is giving me a headache:

CREATURES – 24

Duplicant
Solemn Simulacrum
Steel Hellkite
Avatar of Woe
Butcher of Malakir
Deepfire Elemental
Skeletal Vampire
Fleshbag Marauder
Promise Of Power
Massacre Wurm
Mulldrifter
Phyrexian Ingester
Scourge of Kher Ridges
Shriekmaw
Kagemaro
Trinket Mage
Phyrexian Metamorph
Consecrated Sphinx
Sphinx Of Uthun
Defiler Of Souls
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Rune-Scarred Demon
Ingot Chewer

SPELLS – 38

Coalition Relic
Darksteel Ingot
Sol Ring
Expedition Map
Sensei’s Divining Top
Phyrexian Arena
Fact Or Fiction
Syphon Mind
Blue Sun’s Zenith
Wheel Of Fortune
Mystical Tutor
Liliana Vess
Demonic Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Crystal Shard
Phyrexian Reclamation
Goblin Bombardment
Nihil Spellbomb
Minion Reflector
Spinal Embrace
Grab the Reins
Delirium
Savage Beating
Wild Ricochet
Word Of Seizing
Insurrection
Slave Of Bolas
Beacon Of Unrest
Praetor’s Grasp
Cauldron Dance
Twisted Justice
Grave Pact
Oblivion Stone
Life’s Finale
Barter In Blood
Black Sun’s Zenith
Damnation
Decree of Pain

LANDS – 37

Scalding Tarn
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Crumbling Necropolis
Badlands
Underground Sea
Volcanic Island
Watery Grave
Steam Vents
Blood Crypt
2 x Island
2 x Swamp
2 x Mountain
High Market
Miren, the Moaning Well
Volrath’s Stronghold 
Shizo, Death’s Storehouse
Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
Shinka, The Blood-soaked Keep
Temple of the False God
Academy Ruins
Keldon Necropolis
Phyrexian Tower
Strip Mine
Terramorphic Expanse
Evolving Wilds
Command Tower
Reflecting Pool
Mystifying Maze
Vesuva
Tolaria West
Crosis’s Catacombs
Bojuka Bog
Halimar Depths

I SWEAR THIS IS IN THERE SOMEWHERE – 1
Rooftop Storm

So you can probably see that there’s a soft ‘sacrifice’ theme going on here, with a ‘good-stuff’ list hiding badly beneath it.  Really, I wanted to take a legend who passes the “Hasty or Indestructible?” test and apply a shell based around him or her in a ‘general-centric’ manner.  I was aiming to fill these colors out to begin with, and I’m a sucker for any body that can side-step indestructible opposing creatures.  Thrax’ should be cast early and often, and pump up quite a bit while running head-long at Ulamog for maximum value.

The deck really seems to suffer from running out of steam.  I think it comes out of the gate well enough, and just ends up hitting a wall and keeling over somewhere after the first board wipe takes out any sort of initial board position.  I’ve spent a few games just sitting, drawing one per turn and watching as things spiral out of my control, before just plain losing.

AREAS OF CONCERN

1) Theme

I feel like I may not have gone in hard enough in this area in favor of playing other good-stuff cards.  Some things cross over well (Goblin Bombardment and Grave Pact) and some are solid when they work, while also enabling some interesting play choices (Twisted Justice), but there are so many knee-jerk includes like Kagemaro, First To Suffer and Insurrection that are great cards, but don’t really have synergy with the general. 

2) Fuel For The Fire

Looking closer at the breakdown, there’s not a ton of draw, and a good chunk of it is high-costed; my early options seem limited to Wheel Of Fortune and Phyrexian Arena.  For a deck in the three best colors for draw, this seems pretty off.  I guess Mulldrifter hits early and on theme, so that’s good, but it still seems light.  Acceleration and mana-fixing seem a bit on the weak side overall too, which is probably why I broke with my tried-and-true 36-land tradition.

3) Back To Synergy

I feel like I may have been blinded by too many cool things to have missed a lion’s share of synergy that would push the overall power level up to where I want it to be.  I guess I have Phyrexian Reclamation and Crystal Shard to get some value out of certain creatures, but that’s kind of weak-sauce now that I really look hard at it.  There’s no strong draw or recursion engine at all to speak of.

MOVING FORWARD

So I’m looking for help with a redesign.  I’m pretty sure I want to focus on a strong deck with good synergy based around the general.  I know there are cards I’ve missed, and maybe some I *should have* missed.  I wouldn’t mind if the deck went heavier on instants and abilities for maximum flexibility.  I also don’t want to just rebuild another good-stuff deck…I want “power through synergy”.  Most importantly, I need more gas in this thing.  Running out of gas sucks when you’re talking zombies, after all.

Zombies Tribal is completely okay, as long as it meets the criteria I’ve laid out here.

(Speaking of…yeah, Rooftop Storm can probably go if it absolutely HAS to…)   

DANGLING THE CARROT

I had made mention that I’d offer up something to the person that can help me out of my mess here.  I’d like to keep my promise, so I’m offering up an acrylic paint alteration of the card of your choice to the person who presents me with the new decklist I decide to run with.  (Hopefully y’all saw my Progenitus alteration, so I’m not fooling around here…I do know what I’m doing.  Mostly.)  If you can put a list in front of me that hits all the marks and pulls me out of my slump with Thrax’, I’ll pony up for any card with a street value of $10 or less, and put any sort of alteration you’d like on it.  If you absolutely are dying to have your copy of Xiahou Dun done up borderless, I’m glad to do it, but you’ll need to send me a copy.  I’ll pay shipping and insurance in that case.

As a side bonus, all submitted decks and ideas will will be posted in a future article here.  And since I’m in a great mood today, I’m upping the ante for a great cause; if you haven’t wandered over to Commandercast lately (and you should), Andy and crew have jumped on board with “Gifts Given”, a fantastic donation project to Child’s Play, a charity aimed at helping improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world.  I’ve been trying to come up with a way to donate, so here it is:

FOR EVERY DECK SUBMISSION, I’M MAKING A DONATION OF $5 IN CASH OR CARD VALUE TO GIFTS GIVEN. 

Send your deck submissions directly to me via E-mail here.

Note: Andy is closing the donation period by the end of the month of November to be able to have time to manage and submit the donation, so please have your lists in a few days before the end of the month.

Who’s got my back?  It’s for a great cause.
—>DJ