Hey team-

Happy Friday!  We’re diving into Imshan’s winning Thraximundar decklist today (and it’s going to be a long post), so I’ll keep the intro short; some of you may have noticed, but we’re now officially online at http://www.generaldamagecontrol.com/!  Update your browsers…or don’t, because the old way still works too.  (I’m nothing if not a slave to the old school…)

So…on to the goods!

IMSHAN’S THRAX REDUX

For those of you just tuning in, we just put the wraps on a deck redesign contest featuring my failed Thraximundar list.  For those who don’t know him, Imshan (a.k.a. Sinis) is one of the Commandercast crew, as well as a regular on the Official EDH Forums.  He was one of two co-winners that stepped up, deconstructed my terrible list, and resurrected a far superior offering.  Today, we’ll take a look at what he did, and where we ended up.  (spoiler: It’s somewhere that decks don’t suck…)

I had asked for a list that had a significantly stronger internal synergy; one of the problems I tend to have in my decks is that I fall into the “good stuff” trap like there’s no tomorrow.  From Imshan:

“My offering will take Thraximundar in a sacrifice themed direction aiming at synergy with Thraximundar’s second trigger with some minor zombie and skeleton action.  Sacrifice effects have always been decent, and they play into Thraximundar’s text with relative ease.”

Killer.  When I first built my initial list, I was focused on the fact that Thrax’ has haste (I’m a big fan of actually getting a chance to use my general from time to time…), and I keyed in on the ‘sacrifice’ ability as the real draw.  Honestly, I could care less about the +1/+1 counters being added; I really only had visions of Ulamog and Darksteel Colossus dropping dead at the sight of him.

But what about the rest of the deck?  Why does it suck as bad as it does?  I’m sick of sitting around doing nothing.  Fortunately, Imshan has my back here:

“At first glance, I think you’re running a lot of really high curve creatures.  Deepfire Elemental and Scourge of Kher Ridges are pretty off-theme, and are really pricy for what they do.  Skeletal Vampire is also really pricy, and even though it’s got some sacrifice goodies on deck, it’s unpalatably expensive and weak.  High cost creatures are better served in a reanimator-style deck, where the costs are typically cheated and their come into play value is extracted multiple times.  Here, their expense is unwelcome.   Additionally, Thraximundar is easily a win condition; the fatties don’t necessarily contribute to that, and are not quite capable of substituting for it as some other choices are.  Cards like Shriekmaw, Mulldrifter, etc. are spot on; they sacrifice if you evoke them, are low curve, they do stuff.  Playing them as permanent bodies can help for chump blocking, or other sacrifice mechanics.  Some expensive creatures such as Steel Hellkite and Avatar of Woe serve purposes that suit their costs.”

Right on…guilty as charged.  What else?
  

“You’re also running a few cards that I like to think of as ‘mono-colour fixers’ that really shine in single colour decks that don’t have a particular piece of the colour pie, but require the missing mechanics to work.  Specifically, Phyrexian Ingester and possibly Duplicant are costly and could be substituted for cheaper and more synergetic substitutes.  These guys are great in mono-blue, but black has a ton of good cheap and synergistic creature removal, making these guys a tad redundant.  Similarly, Oblivion Stone shines in decks without other board wipe options, but is redundant or even bad next to Damnation, Decree of Pain, and others.”

…He’s good.  😉

Finally, Imshan explains the master plan:

“To help all this stuff out, I’m going to recommend some low curve creatures, draw, and especially sacrifice-removal.  I’ve also included more graveyard hate, which is where people usually get more gas.  Power through synergy.  Here is the updated list, with new additions in bold and explanations after.  There’s lots of room to change stuff around, and find a spot for Rooftop Storm.  Explaining the cuts would take a lot of space, but I generally removed cards that I thought were just too high mana cost and didn’t generate enough value.  The mana base is spectacular, except Keldon Necropolis and Crosis’ Catacombs, which is too costly to activate effectively and a lousy temp-loss respectively.”

I love it.  Power through synergy.  This is exactly where I wanted to head with this deck to begin with.  Here’s the list:

General

Creatures – 25

Enchantments – 4

Artifacts – 5

Planeswalkers – 1

Sorceries – 18


Instants – 9


Lands – 37
2 x Island
2 x Swamp

Halimar Depths

There we go!  This list does a ton of things better than the original one did.  Right off, the overall CMC average of the deck probably dropped by about three or four with the substitutions Imshan made, which makes this thing so much easier to get off the ground.  He also did a far better job than I did at really adhering to the ‘sacrifice’ theme, getting in with cards like Chainer’s Edict, Innocent Blood, and Gatekeeper Of Malakir that I just glossed over for more standard-color inclusions.  I managed to miss completely that in this deck, a card like Geth’s Verdict manages to be removal and creature pump at instant speed, and he’s spot-on with the inclusions.

I somehow also managed to miss the awesomeness that is Curse Of The Cabal and It That Betrays in my first pass.  For someone like me who tends to be head over heels for big, splashy, expensive-as-hell cards, this is absolutely inexcusable.  I can’t wait to cast these things!

He does a great job of upping my graveyard hate, which is important in any metagame (and especially so in mine), and I get to retain Rooftop Storm with the zombie subtheme, so I’m stoked there too.  And he pulled some of my janky land inclusions for better ones that fix mana (Grixis Panorama) and open up swampwalk (Urborg), so both are welcome.

All in all, Imshan did exactly what I wanted to see in a revision, and I couldn’t be happier with this thing.  Thanks very much for the help, Imshan!  I really appreciate it.

Coming up shortly, we’ll get into some playtesting results with this badboy, and then move on to Patrick’s co-winning straight-up zombie tribal list.  We may get a bit off-topic between then and now, though – I have a few bones to pick with some recent happenings, and a story or two to drop as well.  (I’d hate for you to think I’ve gone soft already…) 

As always, thanks for dropping in, and stay tuned!

—>DJ