Commander (1)

  • Phenax, God of Deception

Lands (39)

  • 1 Academy Ruins
  • 1 Cabal Pit
  • 1 Cephalid Coliseum
  • 1 Creeping Tar Pit
  • 1 Darkslick Shores
  • 1 Darkwater Catacombs
  • 1 Dimir Guildgate
  • 1 Dismal Backwater
  • 1 Dreadship Reef
  • 1 Drowned Catacomb
  • 7 Island
  • 1 Jwar Isle Refuge
  • 1 Nephalia Drownyard
  • 1 Nykthos, Shire to Nyx
  • 1 Maze of Ith
  • 1 River of Tears
  • 1 Salt Marsh
  • 1 Sunken Hollow
  • 1 Sunken Ruins
  • 7 Swamp
  • 1 Tainted Isle
  • 1 Temple of Deceit
  • 1 Tolaria West
  • 1 Underground River
  • 1 Underground Sea
  • 1 Volrath’s Stronghold
  • 1 Watery Grave

Creatures (25)

  • 1 Consecrated Sphinx
  • 1 Consuming Aberration
  • 1 Diluvian Primordial
  • 1 Eater of the Dead
  • 1 Geth, Lord of the Vault
  • 1 Glen Elendra Archmage
  • 1 Havengul Lich
  • 1 Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker
  • 1 Mortivore
  • 1 Nemesis of Reason
  • 1 Nezumi Graverobber
  • 1 Nighthowler
  • 1 Oona, Queen of the Fae
  • 1 Rune-Scarred Demon
  • 1 Sepulchral Primordial
  • 1 Sewer Nemesis
  • 1 Sire of Stagnation
  • 1 Solemn Simulacrum
  • 1 Surgespanner
  • 1 Trinket Mage
  • 1 Undead Alchemist
  • 1 Venser, Shaper Savant
  • 1 Wight of Precinct Six
  • 1 Withered Wretch
  • 1 Wrexial, the Risen Deep

Other Permanents (16)

  • 1 Charcoal Diamond
  • 1 Dimir Signet
  • 1 Dissipation Field
  • 1 Heartless Summoning
  • 1 Keening Stone
  • 1 Mana Crypt
  • 1 Mana Vault
  • 1 Mindlock Orb
  • 1 No Mercy
  • 1 Oversold Cemetery
  • 1 Phyrexian Arena
  • 1 Phyrexian Reclamation
  • 1 Sky Diamond
  • 1 Sol Ring
  • 1 Talisman of Dominance
  • 1 Thousand-Year Elixir

Instants and Sorceries (19)

  • 1 Brainspoil
  • 1 Bribery
  • 1 Counterspell
  • 1 Cryptic Command
  • 1 Cyclonic Rift
  • 1 Damnation
  • 1 Demonic Tutor
  • 1 Dig Through Time
  • 1 Dismiss
  • 1 Forbid
  • 1 Lim-Dul’s Vault
  • 1 Mana Drain
  • 1 Mystic Confluence
  • 1 Reanimate
  • 1 Rise of the Dark Realms
  • 1 Shadow of Doubt
  • 1 Sudden Spoiling
  • 1 Treasure Cruise
  • 1 Visions of Beyond

It seems crazy to try to mill multiple players, and in EDH of all formats. The trick is often to mill yourself first. This deck runs a hand full of creatures that get bigger as graveyards get bigger. Only a few of these creatures benefit from your graveyard filling up, and sometimes you will mill yourself aiming to buff these cards. Most of the time, in the early and mid game, filling your graveyard will give you plenty of value with Academy Ruins, Volrath’s Stronghold, Oversold Cemetery, and Phyrexian Reclamation. Those cheap recursion effects, especially the latter three, can generate huge advantage in the late game. I’ve had games where I repeatedly payed the buyback cost of Forbid with creatures, and then simply fished the creatures back to hand. 

Phenax, God of Deception, the Commander, does not need to be played the second you hit 5 mana. Play it if there’s nothing better, but it’s better to get creatures out first since creatures with summoning sickness will not be able to activate the ability Phenax grants (unless you have Thousand-Year Elixir on the field). As an indestructible god of Theros, Phenax need only be cast once in some games. Additionally, players are reluctant to waste removal on something that doesn’t seem threatening. This deck as a whole can seem quite inconspicuous.

As the game progresses and players’ graveyards fill up, your *(star) power creatures in combination with Phenax become increasingly dangerous. Every activation allows them to mill for more the turn after. If there’s an opening, a gigantic Consuming Aberration can end the game by attacking. Otherwise, the mill plan can snowball fast. The creatures that grow with graveyards are so important. Cards like Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker and Nemesis of Reason are not really expected to win the game alone, but they are great enablers. 

There is only one combo in the deck, though it’s not exactly infinite. Eater of the Dead and Phenax create a loop that can continue for as long as there are creatures to exile from graveyards. With Phenax, Eater of the Dead taps to mill target player 4, then it can untap itself for 0 mana, and it must exile a creature from any graveyard. This can be done at instant speed and in response to any attempt at breaking it up. This combo can definitely kill creature-heavy decks in one turn. If the opponent’s graveyard runs out of creatures to target, you can target your own graveyard and untap Eater of the Dead, and then continue milling the opponent, hopefully revealing more creatures.     

Keening Stone seems really slow, and it is, but it’s also a reliable win condition in one card. Powerful cards like Bribery will probably get you targeted, but at a certain point in the game, diplomacy will cease and players will attack you no matter what. At that point, it’s nice to have some strong options. If Rise of the Dark Realms ever resolves, you become the archenemy, but you often win anyway. 

If you’re at all interested in this unconventional deck, proxy it and bring it to your next EDH meet-up. I personally have had a lot of fun with it.

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