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Lyzolda, the Blood Witch — Profiting from Death

Through my quest to construct a Commander deck for every color combination, I decided that at least one deck needed to take advantage of a death theme. The best candidate for such a task was certainly the king of death, black.

Choosing a Commander

From the outset I knew the commander for this deck had to be black, but what other colors could benefit from a death theme? I obviously wanted the commander to take a major role in the function of the deck, so he/she had to take advantage of ‘death’ somehow. Also, I already had a deck that took advantage of my opponents’ creatures dying, so the plan was for this deck to utilize the death of its own creatures.

There are actually quite a few generals that would work wonderfully for this idea.

Glissa, the Traitor
Kresh the Bloodbraided
SekKuar, Deathkeeper
Teysa, Orzhov Scion
Lyzolda, the Blood Witch

I decided upon Lyzolda, the Blood Witch. First, because I hadn’t seen anyone else use her as a general, and second, I like that she generates card advantage.

The Theme

The idea I had in mind while making this deck was to use cards that do something when they die, sacrifice things for benefit, or generate tons of tokens.

Black plays the primary role for the theme, while red provides a few synergy cards, but mostly support.

The Deck

Here is the list that I currently run.

The first batch of cards I looked at were black creatures that could be sacrificed repeatedly to Lyzolda’s ability. This is the deck’s primary method of generating card advantage.

Some all-stars:

Bloodghast
Nether Traitor
Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder
Bitterblossom
Army of the Damned

I can’t always rely on Lyzolda being in play, so I looked for other cards that could make use of large quantities of sacrificial fodder:

Phyrexian Plaguelord
Skullclamp
Attrition
Sarkhan the Mad
Phyrexian Tower

Knowing that the deck could reliably sacrifice creatures, I then added things that did exciting stuff when creatures died:

Mindslicer
Abyssal Gatekeeper
Tuktuk the Explorer
Skirsdag High Priest
Black Market

Filling out the rest of the deck was pretty easy. I chose cards that took advantage of death in other ways, like persist and undying, or creatures that had ‘[card bone shredder]enters the battlefield[/card]’ triggers, so I would get two benefits from them.

I also made sure I could deal with my opponents spells and permanents. The one struggle this deck has is with enchantments. The only card that reliably gets rid of one is Chaos Warp. Sadly enchantment removal is not black or red’s favorite thing to do.

How to Win

The first version of this deck was so all-in on the death theme that it had trouble winning, which sadly happens often with the decks I create. I just love synergy too much!

The best card by far in this deck is Vicious Shadows. It is so insanely powerful that I have considered removing it from the deck. I will often play it, and kill every opponent within a turn or two. The reason it is so powerful is that Commander is a game of card advantage, so players often have a full hand of cards. By the time Vicious Shadows is out, it will only take four or five dead creatures to finish someone off.

Other cards that are good at dealing damage:

Grave Titan
Army of the Damned
Skirsdag High Priest
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

Other than these, I often win with a horde of tokens.

Why This Deck Is So Fun

The thing I like most about this deck is that nearly all of the cards are synergistic is some manner, which is what I like most about playing Magic. Also, the commander is cheap, so she can be cast repeatedly each game. Another wonderful thing is that although I want to cast Lyzolda as soon as possible, she isn’t necessary for the deck to function well.

While there is extreme synergy involved with this deck, there are no infinite combos that ruin everyone’s good time. We all just want to have fun, and this deck does it very well. It’s not too powerful, so it won’t win a ton of games, but it will always survive long enough for me to have a fun.

As always, feel free to leave any comments. I am always looking forward to hearing your suggestions!

Post categories: Commander, Free, Timmy


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Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin

I'm an avid commander player with a knack for deck building. I've played commander since its genesis and have loved it ever since. If you ever want to talk about commander feel free to contact me at ARM7845@gmail.com.

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4 thoughts on “Lyzolda, the Blood Witch — Profiting from Death

  1. (If you’re looking forward to comments so much, maybe also consider responding to them? It’s something that’s done a lot on the paid side, but in my view lacking on the free side.)

    I’ve decided to remove Viscious Shadows from my Lyzolda deck for exactly the same reason you described. Ashnod’s Altar was removed earlier for the same reason as well.

    I found that I would often get stuck being unable to deal with certain types of threats, especially enchantments en large numbers of creatures. For my Lyzolda deck I’ve included some mass removal in the form of Disk, Stone and All is Dust as well as some mass creature killers such as Kagemaro, Massacre Wurm and Damnation. I also found that I could use a little life gain and reach, so Blood Artist and Falkenrath Noble have been great inclusions.

    Nim Deathmantle and Deathrender have been great too.

    In fact, I guess I might as well post my current list:

    // Lands

    1 [ZEN] Akoum Refuge

    1 [LRW] Auntie’s Hovel

    1 [B] Badlands

    1 [SOM] Blackcleave Cliffs

    1 [DIS] Blood Crypt

    1 [ON] Bloodstained Mire

    1 [WWK] Bojuka Bog

    1 [DK] City of Shadows

    1 [CMD] Command Tower

    1 [SHM] Graven Cairns

    1 [ALA] Grixis Panorama

    1 [ALA] Jund Panorama

    1 [TSP] Kher Keep

    1 [WWK] Lavaclaw Reaches

    1 [AQ] Mishra’s Factory (3)

    2 [UG] Mountain

    1 [DIS] Rakdos Carnarium

    1 [TE] Reflecting Pool

    1 [CFX] Reliquary Tower

    1 [MI] Rocky Tar Pit

    2 [IA] Snow-Covered Mountain

    2 [IA] Snow-Covered Swamp

    1 [UL] Spawning Pool

    2 [UG] Swamp

    1 [SC] Temple of the False God

    1 [CS] Tresserhorn Sinks

    1 [ON] Unholy Grotto

    1 [IN] Urborg Volcano

    1 [TSP] Vesuva

    1 [SH] Volrath’s Stronghold

    1 [WL] Winding Canyons

    1 [ZEN] Crypt of Agadeem

    // Creatures

    1 [ZEN] Bloodghast

    1 [ROE] Cadaver Imp

    1 [M10] Cemetery Reaper

    1 [ARB] Deathbringer Thoctar

    1 [RAV] Dimir House Guard

    1 [MR] Dross Harvester

    1 [TSP] Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder

    1 [NPH] Entomber Exarch

    1 [ALA] Fleshbag Marauder

    1 [UD] Goblin Marshal

    1 [ON] Goblin Sharpshooter

    1 [RAV] Golgari Thug

    1 [M11] Grave Titan

    1 [TE] Gravedigger

    1 [M11] Hoarding Dragon

    1 [ARB] Igneous Pouncer

    1 [SOK] Kagemaro, First to Suffer

    1 [LRW] Marsh Flitter

    1 [MBS] Massacre Wurm

    1 [TSP] Mogg War Marshal

    1 [SHM] Murderous Redcap

    1 [TSP] Nether Traitor

    1 [ROE] Pawn of Ulamog

    1 [SHM] Puppeteer Clique

    1 [M11] Reassembling Skeleton

    1 [AN] Rukh Egg (1)

    1 [M12] Rune-Scarred Demon

    1 [MBS] Sangromancer

    1 [SC] Siege-Gang Commander

    1 [GP] Skeletal Vampire

    1 [MR] Solemn Simulacrum

    1 [TE] Starke of Rath

    1 [SC] Twisted Abomination

    1 [M11] Viscera Seer

    1 [CHK] Nezumi Graverobber/Nighteyes the Desecrator

    1 [ISD] Falkenrath Noble

    1 [ISD] Olivia Voldaren

    1 [ISD] Skirsdag High Priest

    1 [DKA] Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

    1 [AVR] Blood Artist

    1 [AVR] Harvester of Souls

    1 [M13] Disciple of Bolas

    // Spells

    1 [ROE] All Is Dust

    1 [WWK] Basilisk Collar

    1 [FD] Beacon of Unrest

    1 [PLC] Damnation

    1 [LRW] Deathrender

    1 [B] Demonic Tutor

    1 [PS] Diabolic Intent

    1 [SOM] Exsanguinate

    1 [SH] Grave Pact

    1 [TE] Helm of Possession

    1 [SOM] Mimic Vat

    1 [B] Nevinyrral’s Disk

    1 [SOM] Nim Deathmantle

    1 [MR] Oblivion Stone

    1 [LRW] Rings of Brighthearth

    1 [DS] Skullclamp

    1 [US] Sneak Attack

    1 [CMD] Syphon Flesh

    1 [SH] Tortured Existence

    1 [VI] Vampiric Tutor

    1 [M13] Trading Post

  2. I like the death render and nim death mantle idea. I will definitely try those out. Also, I like that you run basilisk collar, rings of brighthearth, and trading post, so I’ll have to give those a try as well.

    I’d have to say that one of my favorite cards in my deck is black market. I always make it a challenge to see how many charge counters I can get on it. I think the highest it’s been is 23.

    Another card that I found to be far more powerful that I thought is skirsdag high priest. He usually makes a demon every turn.

  3. The Market has a similar problem compared to Ashnod’s Alter: give this deck a ton of mana and it’ll go combo very easily, which makes for boring end games. I have considered it in the past, but if I’m going to play anything like it the Altar is much better. I feel the City of Shadows and Crypt of Agadeem are probably as powerful as I want my mana generation to be.

    If you want to add all those artifacts I would definitely consider Hoarding Dragon. It’s been very good for me. Beacon of Unrest is one of the few ways these colors have for recurring artifacts that pretty much always comes in handy one way or another. Diabolic Intent is a pretty good and fairly budget friendly tutor for a deck like this.

    I’m surprised you don’t have a reassembling skeleton in there? 3B: draw a card is pretty decent. I also like Cemtery Reaper a lot, token generation AND graveyard removal? Sign me up. I’ve tried to focus on Lyz’ card draw ability in my build, figuring that if I need damage I can draw into it.

    I’ve actually written about Lyz myself. Got the people on my forum to pick me a general and I’ve described my thought process in regard to building the deck over the course of 3 articles. I’ve probably spent more time on her than any of my other EDH decks except for maybe Glissa (v2.0). I’d link you to it, but you probably don’t speak Dutch.

  4. Exsanguinate always felt pretty lame in the deck, killing people out of nowhere with little synergy. With Kokusho’s unbanning that will be an easy swap.

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