Welcome Back,

Sorry for the large break, had some minor surgery cause some rather major problems. It’s good to be back again though. So let’s get down to it.

I remember when I got the idea for this deck. I was walking to my local game store and talking to my friend about EDH. We were looking though various commanders, and he found one that he thought was pretty interesting. He showed it to me, and my gears started immediately turning. I just started rattling off different ways to abuse it, what cards synergize well with its ability. We both got really into this card, and talked about it for the entire walk down to the store. I eventually had to apologize to him, as I ended up taking this commander for my own nefarious purposes. Over the next few months, I built it, bought it, and refined it until I was satisfied with what i had before me.

Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker ended up being a mainstay in my Commander arsenal, right next to my prized Ruhan of the Fomori deck. He gave me something unique that I can’t really find with many other commanders. He does one specific thing. What he does though, he does so well. A deck full of 1/1s can’t be that powerful, right?

mtgcom_arcana_747_pic1_en (1)

Its face kind of bothers me. Is it just covered in eyes and has a weird, toothy mouth? I’m not sure honestly. I like it, though.

Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker (EDH)

Commander (1)
Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker
Lands (37)
Bojuka Bog
Cabal Coffers
Crypt of Agadeem
High Market
Myriad Landscape
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Phyrexian Tower
Reliquary Tower
27 Swamp
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Westvale Abbey
Creatures (33)
Abyssal Gatekeeper
Apprentice Necromancer
Augur of Skulls
Big Game Hunter
Blood Artist
Bloodgift Demon
Bone Shredder
Butcher of Malakir
Cadaver Imp
Carrion Feeder
Coffin Queen
Crypt Ghast
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Grim Haruspex
Harvester of Souls
Hell’s Caretaker
Marsh Flitter
Myr Sire
Nezumi Bone-Reader
Ogre Slumlord
Perilous Myr
Pilgrim’s Eye
Plagued Rusalka
Ravenous Rats
Reaper from the Abyss
Sadistic Hypnotist
Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Skirsdag High Priest
Solemn Simulacrum
Viscera Seer
Zulaport Cutthroat
Instants (4)
Doom Blade
Hero’s Downfall
Malicious Affliction
Tragic Slip

Sorceries (4)
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Intent
Sign in Blood

Enchantments (7)
Black Market
Dictate of Erebos
Grave Pact
Infernal Tribute
Phyrexian Arena
Phyrexian Reclamation
Artifacts (11)
Ashnod’s Altar
Champion’s Helm
Charcoal Diamond
Coldsteel Heart
Commander’s Sphere
Lightning Greaves
Sol Ring
Swiftfoot Boots
Unstable Obelisk
Worn Powerstone

Planeswalkers (1)
Ob NIxilis Reignited

It really is a deck that is mostly just 1/1s. It may look a bit unassuming; we are playing Ravenous Rats and Myr Sire in a format where cards like Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Survival of the Fittest are legal. A lot of these cards might not look like much at face value, but getting to trigger their effects two times every turn cycle can end up being back breaking.

Marsh Flitter can generate an army, Ravenous Rats will tear your opponents hand apart, and Big Game Hunter will cut the opposing forces in twain. These small effects eventually add up to an insurmountable amount of card advantage and pressure until they just wither away into nothing. To pull this off though, we need some set up.

In order to make this whole contraption work, we need three major things. We need creatures, a cheap sacrifice outlet or two, and Shirei. We also need a proper mixture of creatures and sacrifice outlets. If we have two many creatures, we just are playing 1/1s that get rapidly outclassed. Two many sacrifice outlets without enough fuel don’t really do much of anything.  

We have cards like Demonic Tutor and Diabolic Intent to help us find exactly what we need, and Phyrexian Arena and Skullclamp to give us the raw card advantage that we need. Skullclamp ends up being one of the best cards in the deck unsurprisingly enough due to the massive amount of cards we can draw with it. Once we get our right mix of sacrifice outlets and value creatures, we drop Shirei. This is where things can fall apart.

Shirei is fragile. Extremely fragile. We have Lightning Greaves, Champion’s Helm, and Swiftfoot Boots to protect him though. You also have plenty of ways to strip their hand of any removal they may have in their hand. You better be ready to have him killed if you don’t have any boots to suit him up with, cause he is a magnet for removal once they read what he actually does. He is the most important card to this whole operation. Without him, this entire deck just falls apart.

Phyrexian Reclamation does a decent impression, but it is nowhere near effective as Shirei. You should not run her out unless you are sure he is not about to immediately die. It’s the cost you have to pay for playing a five mana 2/2 as your general. If he sticks around, its not long until your incremental advantages become backbreaking for the entire table.

Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker brings something unique to the table. Having such a narrow ability may pigeonhole him to this one type of strategy, but it’s a damn good one. You can out-value the most stubborn of Karador, Ghost Chieftain decks, make more tokens than Rhys the Redeemed, and decimate more peoples’ hands than Nicol Bolas. You would be amazed with what you can do with a bunch of 1/1 creatures, some sacrifice outlets, and a forgotten Kamigawa legend that nobody has ever heard of.

Thanks for stopping by. Now that things are a bit more stable, I should be bale to do my original plan of every other week with some Commander goodness for you guys and gals. It’s been a hectic few weeks for me, but I’m glad to be back on a bit of a more proper schedule. I missed writing, and I hope I can keep this up for you readers without any more interruptions. I’ll see you soon.

-Steven Gulsby

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