Commander Corner: Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker

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.

[c]Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker[/c] ended up being a mainstay in my Commander arsenal, right next to my prized [c]Ruhan of the Fomori[/c] 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.

[d title= “Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker (EDH)”]


1 Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker


1 Bojuka Bog

1 Cabal Coffers

1 Crypt of Agadeem

1 High Market

1 Myriad Landscape

1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

1 Phyrexian Tower

1 Reliquary Tower

27 Swamp

1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

1 Westvale Abbey




1 Abyssal Gatekeeper

1 Apprentice Necromancer

1 Augur of Skulls

1 Big Game Hunter

1 Blood Artist

1 Bloodgift Demon

1 Bone Shredder

1 Butcher of Malakir

1 Cadaver Imp

1 Carrion Feeder

1 Coffin Queen

1 Crypt Ghast

1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel

1 Grim Haruspex

1 Harvester of Souls

1 Hell’s Caretaker

1 Marsh Flitter

1 Myr Sire

1 Nezumi Bone-Reader

1 Ogre Slumlord

1 Pentavus

1 Perilous Myr

1 Pilgrim’s Eye

1 Plagued Rusalka

1 Ravenous Rats

1 Reaper from the Abyss

1 Sadistic Hypnotist

1 Sidisi, Undead Vizier

1 Skirsdag High Priest

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Triskelion

1 Viscera Seer

1 Zulaport Cutthroat




1 Doom Blade

1 Hero’s Downfall

1 Malicious Affliction

1 Tragic Slip


1 Demonic Tutor

1 Diabolic Intent

1 Mutilate

1 Sign in Blood


1 Attrition

1 Black Market

1 Dictate of Erebos

1 Grave Pact

1 Infernal Tribute

1 Phyrexian Arena

1 Phyrexian Reclamation




1 Ashnod’s Altar

1 Champion’s Helm

1 Charcoal Diamond

1 Coldsteel Heart

1 Commander’s Sphere

1 Lightning Greaves

1 Skullclamp

1 Sol Ring

1 Swiftfoot Boots

1 Unstable Obelisk

1 Worn Powerstone


1 Ob NIxilis Reignited


It really is a deck that is mostly just 1/1s. It may look a bit unassuming; we are playing [c]Ravenous Rats[/c] and [c]Myr Sire[/c] in a format where cards like [c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c] and [c]Survival of the Fittest[/c] 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.

[c]Marsh Flitter[/c] can generate an army, [c]Ravenous Rats[/c] will tear your opponents hand apart, and [c]Big Game Hunter[/c] 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 [c]Shirei[/c]. 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 [c]Demonic Tutor[/c] and [c]Diabolic Intent[/c] to help us find exactly what we need, and [c]Phyrexian Arena[/c] and [c]Skullclamp[/c] to give us the raw card advantage that we need. [c]Skullclamp[/c] 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 [c]Shirei[/c]. This is where things can fall apart.

[c]Shirei[/c] is fragile. Extremely fragile. We have [c]Lightning Greaves[/c], [c]Champion’s Helm[/c], and [c]Swiftfoot Boots[/c] 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.

[c]Phyrexian Reclamation[/c] does a decent impression, but it is nowhere near effective as [c]Shirei[/c]. 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.

[c]Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker[/c] 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 [c]Karador, Ghost Chieftain[/c] decks, make more tokens than [c]Rhys the Redeemed[/c], and decimate more peoples’ hands than [c]Nicol Bolas[/c]. 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