Hello there, fans of Wizards of the Coast's premier trading card game, Magic: The Gathering! From time to time, we all like to get a little spooky. Usually this desire to get macabre happens around October, just before and during Halloween festivities, but for the more-inclined among us, we tend to keep it dark all year round. To give you all a reminder of the kind of spookiness we're capable of in the middle of April, we wrote up a deck tech based on Commander's own queen of reanimation, Meren of Clan Nel Toth.
You can find the deck list we are referring to in this article by clicking here.
Meren of Clan Nel Toth is a black-green commander who thrives on a cropping up of experience counters. These counters occur whenever a creature you control other than Meren dies. It doesn't matter how those creatures die, however, so they can be sacrificed to fuel other abilities if need be. With these counters, you are in turn able to summon increasingly powerful and impactful creatures from your graveyard, relative to your experience counter count versus the mana value of the creature you wish to resurrect. If you can't reanimate a creature you can at least do a decent impression of Raise Dead.
The ability to get a new creature back every end step is prolific, even if it ends up simply going back to your hand (but it probably will just go back into play, if we're being frank). With that capability, you can devote much of your deck to sacrificial shenanigans and other synergies. So, here are a few of the cards we have added to our version of a Meren of Clan Nel Toth deck.
Spore Frog is one of the cards that comes to the forefront of most Meren players' heads when they think of the commander's creatures. For one green mana, the cutest Frog in Magic: The Gathering can be resurrected as early as the same turn Meren enters play, all setup considered. By sacrificing it you keep combat damage off of you for one turn (be wary of this in multiplayer scenarios!). If you can manage to be the only other of two players left in the game, with a Spore Frog available to you, you're practically untouchable.
If you thought that a Spore Frog in this deck alongside Meren was a problem, imagine a Spore Frog that:
- Does everything Spore Frog already does
- Comes back from your graveyard at each of your end steps
- cannot be interacted with by opponents save for via split-second target-free removal
This seems absurd, of course, except via the addition of Dawnglade Regent. A relatively new card from Commander Legends, Dawnglade Regent gives you the Monarchy, allowing you to draw another card every end step, but also gives your permanents hexproof as long as you are the Monarch. As you lose the Monarchy whenever you're damaged by an opponent's creature in combat, Spore Frog combined with Dawnglade Regent and Meren of Clan Nel Toth makes you unable to take combat damage (or rather, it does… but that damage is prevented in full).
Shifting gears for a moment over to sacrifice benefits, we have Contamination. This card has seen a disgusting upsurge in price lately, with some reporting prices of upwards of $100 per copy! As such, this card may be a tad hard to pick up, but believe us, it's well worth it if you have it. Combined with token generators like Dreadhorde Invasion or Bitterblossom, Contamination effectively reads "At the beginning of your upkeep you lose 1 life" and "Players' lands only produce black mana". Feel free to add an experience counter each upkeep if Meren is in play as well, while your opponents reel under the stress of being mostly unable to cast anything!
It That Betrays
The final card we will discuss in this article is It That Betrays. A monstrous Eldrazi creature originally from the Rise of the Eldrazi expansion, It That Betrays is much like its spiritual descendant, Tergrid, God of Fright. It steals anything the opponent sacrifices, short of token cards. This makes things very difficult for opponents when it comes to rebuilding a board state, especially when It That Betrays commences attacks, since it has the Annihilator ability. A truly formidable card, it costs twelve mana, but for Meren, seeing twelve creatures sacrificed is enough for her to summon such a colossal force of destruction for the win.
This deck has proven itself time and time again for many a Magic: The Gathering player, and as such Meren is one of the most popular commanders in the Commander format. Have you got any experience with Meren of Clan Nel Toth? How does your deck handle? Let us know in the comments below!