Few formats so deftly blend flavor and function as Commander, where you literally recruit a historical figure to lead your army. But what's the connection between these legendary cards and their actual legends? It is possible to build decks in such a way that we can see these stories play out in the course of a game? Or, if we're feeling loose with the fabric of time/space, perhaps retell the stories in our own way?

Just what in the heck is going on here, anyways? Let's find out!

Today, we'll delve into the ancient lore of Magic: The Gathering and fuse it with our deck building. The result will be fully playable Commander decks, complete with themes and synergies, that also recount a story from Magic's fabled past. All card and deck building choices will serve to tell the tale, allowing you to regale your playgroup (while you simultaneously crush them).

So join me, brave brewer, on this quest to recreate the past. And win while doing so.

Today's tale is a decades-long saga of students-turned-soldiers, of time meddled with to the point of collapse. Betrayed love. Grand ambition gone awry. And in a way, a preview of the invasion to come, many, many years later. You've likely heard mention of the great Urza, Lord High Artificer, the artificer who sowed Legacy Weapon and Urza's Ruinous Blast in equal measure? This is one of his stories. One that, like anything the man touched, gave rise to both heroics and tragedy. Despite Urza's brilliance, his past was haunted by Phyrexian Walker. That conflict would drive the man's existence, and it lays the groundwork for our deck building.

But before we get to that, a few ground rules are in order.

1. Every Card Must Be Functional

Our mission is to design playable Commander decks that not only detail one of Magic's story arcs, but also seek to actually win the game. As such, while it pains me to leave certain cards on the cutting room floor, it's a necessary evil. Artifact creatures like Yotian Soldier and Dragon Engine make frequent appearances in "The Brother's War." But sadly, their stats provide little in the way of impact. So all cards chosen must serve a functional role in addition to a flavorful one.

Sorry, old buddies.

2. No Flavor Fails

Certain cards may be powerful, but their connection to Magic's lore may disqualify them. For example, take the notorious Cyclonic Rift. It's a staple of many decks running blue, and no doubt powerful, but also intrinsically linked to the Izzet Guild. It's their spell, with their logo literally stamped right onto it. As such, we won't run it without a connection to Ravnica. Similarly, a card like The Elderspell is a direct reference to an event in "War of the Spark," so it's out of bounds. Our deck's card selections won't be as fully optimized as those free to include any card they wish. Depending on how much "narrative vs. competitive" matters to you personally, I leave it up to you to tinker with the builds as you see fit, leaning them in the direction of your choice. Creativity is a key to Commander, after all.

Hard to envision these elsewhere.

3. It's Not Block Constructed Either

Today's Tolarian tale may not involve Amonkhet, but I see no reason something like Scavenger Grounds is out of bounds. Such an environment could feasibly appear in many worlds, not just that of Amonkhet, and the graveyard hate it provides is an important tool for a Commander deck to have in its pocket. Thus, we're allowing ourselves some wiggle-room in regards to picking cards that could feasibly fit into the narrative. Urza may not have had access to a Solemn Simulacrum on Tolaria, but I see no reason he couldn't have easily built one in his spare time. The card could be printed in any set, not just a Mirrodin-bound one, and thus applies to a variety of situations.

 Solemn Simulacrum

Sand and metal. Lots of places have those.

Okay, boring stuff's over! Let's begin.

"Time Streams" by J. Robert King is the third entry in the "Artifacts Cycle" novels, which recount the early adventures and aspirations of Urza, starting with "The Brother's War." To those new to Magic: The Gathering, these four books make for a fantastic starting point, laying the foundation for literally dozens of characters and locations, many of whom (Teferi, Master of Time, Karn, the Great Creator, Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain) are still key players today.

Yep, Teferi was annoying to deal with even in childhood.

I've chosen Book 3 because its central conflict fits twin Commander decks like a glove. In brief, the Planeswalker Urza has recruited the great mage Barrin to serve as headmaster to his new school of wizardry and artifice. Think Hogwarts crossed with MIT. Barrin, Tolarian Archmage handles much of the magical instruction and day-to-day affairs of the school, along with his wife Rayne, Academy Chancellor. Urza has bigger things in mind.

Note: Here, Urza's card is prior to him ascending to a Planeswalker, but it's the best example of the man we have to work with. Unless you want me to bring in Blind Seer.

The Tolarian Academy is no mere school. It's one part training facility, one part weapon's laboratory. At this point in the story, Urza is well aware that Phyrexia, old-school Yawgmoth-era Phyrexia, is planning an invasion of Dominaria. The school is partly designed to train mages and artificers for this eventual invasion. But more importantly, it houses a project designed to prevent said invasion from occurring at all. Barrin and Urza have a secret laboratory devoted to time-manipulation, ultimately hoping to prevent the Phyrexians from ever rising to power in the first place. Think "Back to the Future." And the Delorean, in our case, is this ever-popular fellow:

Okay, maybe Karn's more like Marty McFly. Point is, he is the only being that can time travel.

In the background, Shivan artificer Jhoira has found a castaway washed up on the academy shores. The two immediately hit it off. She hides her new boyfriend, Kerrick, in a cave, confiding in Karn to keep her romance a secret. Sadly, in this version of "Twilight," Edward really does want to feast on Bella's blood, because Kerrick has a sinister agenda. He's actually a Phyrexian Sleeper Agent, an artificial human designed to infiltrate societies and act as spies. He's come to the island for recon, as the Phyrexians have been actively hunting Urza.

Then these guys started showing up.

Kerrick's betrayal leads to nearly everyone getting slaughtered, but Urza is able to send Karn a few days into the past to prevent the calamity from ever happening. He succeeds, but unintentionally tears open the fabric of time-space while doing so. That's what you see illustrated in Karn's Temporal Sundering. As a result, much of the Tolarian Academy is destroyed, warped time-pockets are scattered throughout the island, and the survivors get out of dodge.

Urza and company wait a full decade to return. Upon their arrival, fresh batch of students in tow, Urza and Barrin are shocked to find Jhoira. She survived the time-blast and has spent the last ten years studying the island's new temporal pockets. Some speed things up tremendously. Others slow things down. Many are quite lethal to anyone who so much as touches one, though Jhoira does figure out that drinking "slow water" works to extend one's life. That's why she's still presently kicking around as Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain.

On the plus side, Jhoira reveals that young prankster Teferi also survived the time-blast, only stuck inside a bubble of extreme slowdown. And on fire. Rough deal. They do manage to get him out, but their victory is short lived. There's a much, much bigger problem. Kerrick and his Phyrexian Negator army survived as well, cast into a chasm wrapped in fast-time. This means for every one year that passes in normal time, Kerrick and his Phyrexian buddies get ten. And they want out.

Kerrick has gone all Mindy Clarke from "Return of the Living Dead Pt 3" and now goes by K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. Using what little materials they can salvage from their chasm, the Phyrexians have been amassing a new army to break free. After a few failed attempts to destroy the chasm, it becomes clear to our heroes that they must ready themselves for war. When K'rrik breaks free of the chasm, all of Tolaria will be at risk. His resources are limited, but K'rrik's got ten times longer to prepare than our heroes, who suddenly find themselves his gatekeepers.

Get ready for battle!

Choose Your Player

Barrin, Tolarian Archmage vs. K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

For this first look at telling a story through deck building, I thought it'd be fun to represent both sides of the conflict, giving players a chance to build both decks and pit 'em against each other. Likely alongside two other very confused EDH players, but I'm sure you'll fill them in on the details.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Barrin, Tolarian Archmage - Lore and Consequences by Matt Lotti: Intrepid Tautog

'Barrin, Tolarian Archmage - Lore and Consequences' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Matt Lotti: Intrepid Tautog

Event:

Rank:

Commander

Market Price: $378.38

Cards

Mana Breach

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $3.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/2982_200w.jpg

Whenever a player casts a spell, that player returns a land they control to its owner's hand.

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Waterfront Bouncer

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6765_200w.jpg

{U}, {T}, Discard a card: Return target creature to its owner's hand.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $3.49

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({T}: Add {U}.)

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Mulldrifter

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231265_200w.jpg

Flying
When Mulldrifter enters the battlefield, draw two cards.
Evoke {2}{U} (You may cast this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it enters the battlefield.)

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Mystical Tutor

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $25.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118447_200w.jpg

Search your library for an instant or sorcery card, reveal it, then shuffle and put that card on top.

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Buried Ruin

Market Price: $0.64

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219501_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Buried Ruin: Return target artifact card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Tolarian Sentinel

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233758_200w.jpg

Flying
{U}, {T}, Discard a card: Return target permanent you control to its owner's hand.

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Imaginary Pet

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.21

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At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have a card in hand, return Imaginary Pet to its owner's hand.

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Myriad Landscape

Market Price: $1.00

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Myriad Landscape enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Myriad Landscape: Search your library for up to two basic land cards that share a land type, put them onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

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Disappear

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6160_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
{U}: Return enchanted creature and Disappear to their owners' hands.

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Portal Mage

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

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Flash
When Portal Mage enters the battlefield during the declare attackers step, you may reselect which player or planeswalker target attacking creature is attacking. (It can't attack its controller or its controller's planeswalkers.)

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Tolaria

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $11.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4051_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.
{T}: Target creature loses banding and all "bands with other" abilities until end of turn. Activate only during any upkeep step.

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Evacuation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $5.07

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Return all creatures to their owners' hands.

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Attunement

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $3.76

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Return Attunement to its owner's hand: Draw three cards, then discard four cards.

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Mind Stone

Market Price: $1.00

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{T}: Add {C}.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Mind Stone: Draw a card.

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Tidespout Tyrant

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.82

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/167785_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you cast a spell, return target permanent to its owner's hand.

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Karn, Silver Golem

Market Price: $44.98

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Whenever Karn, Silver Golem blocks or becomes blocked, it gets -4/+4 until end of turn.
{1}: Target noncreature artifact becomes an artifact creature with power and toughness each equal to its mana value until end of turn.

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Disruptive Student

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.37

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{T}: Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}.

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Portal of Sanctuary

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

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{1}, {T}: Return target creature you control and each Aura attached to it to their owners' hands. Activate only during your turn.

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Commander's Sphere

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236125_200w.jpg

{T}: Add one mana of any color in your commander's color identity.
Sacrifice Commander's Sphere: Draw a card.

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Watcher for Tomorrow

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191583_200w.jpg

Hideaway (This creature enters the battlefield tapped. When it does, look at the top four cards of your library, exile one face down, then put the rest on the bottom of your library.)
When Watcher for Tomorrow leaves the battlefield, put the exiled card into its owner's hand.

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Curfew

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.22

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Each player returns a creature they control to its owner's hand.

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Sunken Hope

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.19

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At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player returns a creature they control to its owner's hand.

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Temporal Manipulation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $25.82

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/179458_200w.jpg

Take an extra turn after this one.

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Karn's Temporal Sundering

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $3.30

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(You may cast a legendary sorcery only if you control a legendary creature or planeswalker.)
Target player takes an extra turn after this one. Return up to one target nonland permanent to its owner's hand. Exile Karn's Temporal Sundering.

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Umbilicus

Market Price: $2.34

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At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player returns a permanent they control to its owner's hand unless they pay 2 life.

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Endless Sands

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212385_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}: Exile target creature you control.
{4}, {T}, Sacrifice Endless Sands: Return each creature card exiled with Endless Sands to the battlefield under its owner's control.

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Voidmage Husher

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/14423_200w.jpg

Flash (You may cast this spell any time you could cast an instant.)
When Voidmage Husher enters the battlefield, counter target activated ability. (Mana abilities can't be targeted.)
Whenever you cast a spell, you may return Voidmage Husher to its owner's hand.

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Riptide Laboratory

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216053_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{1}{U}, {T}: Return target Wizard you control to its owner's hand.

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Burnished Hart

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236099_200w.jpg

{3}, Sacrifice Burnished Hart: Search your library for up to two basic land cards, put them onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

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Scavenger Grounds

Market Price: $1.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236219_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice a Desert: Exile all cards from all graveyards.

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Conjurer's Closet

Market Price: $5.21

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At the beginning of your end step, you may exile target creature you control, then return that card to the battlefield under your control.

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Blood Clock

Market Price: $2.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12403_200w.jpg

At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player returns a permanent they control to its owner's hand unless they pay 2 life.

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Chain of Vapor

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $8.98

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/124193_200w.jpg

Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand. Then that permanent's controller may sacrifice a land. If the player does, they may copy this spell and may choose a new target for that copy.

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Crawlspace

Market Price: $12.45

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No more than two creatures can attack you each combat.

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Laboratory Maniac

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $5.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180811_200w.jpg

If you would draw a card while your library has no cards in it, you win the game instead.

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Temporal Aperture

Market Price: $24.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7066_200w.jpg

{5}, {T}: Shuffle your library, then reveal the top card. Until end of turn, for as long as that card remains on top of your library, play with the top card of your library revealed and you may play that card without paying its mana cost. (If it has X in its mana cost, X is 0.)

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Lonely Sandbar

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236228_200w.jpg

Lonely Sandbar enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
Cycling {U} ({U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Patron Wizard

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $11.82

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9364_200w.jpg

Tap an untapped Wizard you control: Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}.

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Wizard Mentor

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7114_200w.jpg

{T}: Return Wizard Mentor and target creature you control to their owner's hand.

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Khalni Gem

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/33341_200w.jpg

When Khalni Gem enters the battlefield, return two lands you control to their owner's hand.
{T}: Add two mana of any one color.

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Solemn Simulacrum

Market Price: $2.00

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When Solemn Simulacrum enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.
When Solemn Simulacrum dies, you may draw a card.

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Helm of the Host

Market Price: $19.87

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162254_200w.jpg

At the beginning of combat on your turn, create a token that's a copy of equipped creature, except the token isn't legendary if equipped creature is legendary. That token gains haste.
Equip {5}

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Coral Atoll

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227336_200w.jpg

Coral Atoll enters the battlefield tapped.
When Coral Atoll enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you return an untapped Island you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {C}{U}.

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Thopter Assembly

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171165_200w.jpg

Flying
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control no Thopters other than Thopter Assembly, return Thopter Assembly to its owner's hand and create five 1/1 colorless Thopter artifact creature tokens with flying.

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Equilibrium

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $8.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/2891_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a creature spell, you may pay {1}. If you do, return target creature to its owner's hand.

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Wizard's Retort

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.31

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This spell costs {1} less to cast if you control a Wizard.
Counter target spell.

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Erratic Portal

Market Price: $7.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4322_200w.jpg

{1}, {T}: Return target creature to its owner's hand unless its controller pays {1}.

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Soldevi Excavations

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $30.46

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4237_200w.jpg

If Soldevi Excavations would enter the battlefield, sacrifice an untapped Island instead. If you do, put Soldevi Excavations onto the battlefield. If you don't, put it into its owner's graveyard.
{T}: Add {C}{U}.
{1}, {T}: Scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)

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Enter the Infinite

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/67317_200w.jpg

Draw cards equal to the number of cards in your library, then put a card from your hand on top of your library. You have no maximum hand size until your next turn.

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Sapphire Medallion

Market Price: $42.14

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Blue spells you cast cost {1} less to cast.

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Worn Powerstone

Market Price: $1.88

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171171_200w.jpg

Worn Powerstone enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {C}{C}.

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Flood of Tears

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $2.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192548_200w.jpg

Return all nonland permanents to their owners' hands. If you return four or more nontoken permanents you control this way, you may put a permanent card from your hand onto the battlefield.

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Mental Discipline

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6208_200w.jpg

{1}{U}, Discard a card: Draw a card.

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Crystal Shard

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $2.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11474_200w.jpg

{3}, {T} or {U}, {T}: Return target creature to its owner's hand unless its controller pays {1}.

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Noetic Scales

Market Price: $6.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6953_200w.jpg

At the beginning of each player's upkeep, return to its owner's hand each creature that player controls with power greater than the number of cards in their hand.

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Stern Proctor

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7055_200w.jpg

When Stern Proctor enters the battlefield, return target artifact or enchantment to its owner's hand.

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Midnight Clock

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198581_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}.
{2}{U}: Put an hour counter on Midnight Clock.
At the beginning of each upkeep, put an hour counter on Midnight Clock.
When the twelfth hour counter is put on Midnight Clock, shuffle your hand and graveyard into your library, then draw seven cards. Exile Midnight Clock.

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Temporal Adept

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12848_200w.jpg

{U}{U}{U}, {T}: Return target permanent to its owner's hand.

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Remote Isle

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212453_200w.jpg

Remote Isle enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Scrivener

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9375_200w.jpg

When Scrivener enters the battlefield, you may return target instant card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Sky Diamond

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231277_200w.jpg

Sky Diamond enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.

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Rayne, Academy Chancellor

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6228_200w.jpg

Whenever you or a permanent you control becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, you may draw a card. You may draw an additional card if Rayne, Academy Chancellor is enchanted.

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Master Transmuter

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $2.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218614_200w.jpg

{U}, {T}, Return an artifact you control to its owner's hand: You may put an artifact card from your hand onto the battlefield.

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Silent Arbiter

Market Price: $1.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212165_200w.jpg

No more than one creature can attack each combat.
No more than one creature can block each combat.

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Mystifying Maze

Market Price: $1.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/140115_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{4}, {T}: Exile target attacking creature an opponent controls. At the beginning of the next end step, return it to the battlefield tapped under its owner's control.

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Desert of the Mindful

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236225_200w.jpg

Desert of the Mindful enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
Cycling {1}{U} ({1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Barrin, Tolarian Archmage

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215711_200w.jpg

When Barrin, Tolarian Archmage enters the battlefield, return up to one other target creature or planeswalker to its owner's hand.
At the beginning of your end step, if a permanent was put into your hand from the battlefield this turn, draw a card.

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Urza, Lord High Artificer

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $37.79

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190836_200w.jpg

When Urza, Lord High Artificer enters the battlefield, create a 0/0 colorless Construct artifact creature token with "This creature gets +1/+1 for each artifact you control."
Tap an untapped artifact you control: Add {U}.
{5}: Shuffle your library, then exile the top card. Until end of turn, you may play that card without paying its mana cost.

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You may be wondering why I didn't go with Urza, Lord High Artificer as this deck's general. While it's true Urza is the big-name nemesis of the Phyrexians, in order to capture the feel of the Tolarian Academy, I wanted to portray sorcery and artifice in equal measure. And play up a theme on time-manipulation. This made Barrin, Tolarian Archmage a more natural fit. He's far easier to build around than his Barrin, Master Wizard, is a more relatable and sympathetic character, and his abilities match well with temporal manipulation. No worries, Urza, Lord High Artificer is in the deck, but the central focus is on bounce and tempo shenanigans, with an artifact sub-theme in the background.

The Faculty and Staff

We run a large suite of creatures that play well with Barrin, Tolarian Archmage's enters-the-battlefield ability. Portal Mage, Voidmage Husher and Stern Proctor provide repeatable utility and protection via repeated bounce. In addition to Barrin's build-it card advantage, we draw with Solemn Simulacrum, Watcher for Tomorrow, the classic Mulldrifter (what, they can't have elementals on Tolaria? See Rule #3) and Scrivener.

In addition to ETB-creatures, however, we also run a team of supporting players that bring their own bounce abilities to the table: Tidespout Tyrant, Tolarian Sentinel, Waterfront Bouncer, Temporal Adept, Wizard Mentor and Imaginary Pet. Each of these troops is adept at bouncing your own creatures, triggering Barrin, Tolarian Archmage. The defensive nature of the ability also means your deck's "engine" responds well to board wipes and removal, as you're often able to save pivotal creatures. Bouncing opposing threats doesn't hurt, either.

Note: Remember to bounce Barrin, Tolarian Archmage back to your hand, not the command zone, so you can get around the commander tax!

We also include Urza, Lord High Artificer and Karn, Silver Golem to play well with our collection of artifacts. I enjoy Karn's ability to suddenly bring an army of mana rocks to life and go for an unexpected win. Other characters include Rayne, Academy Chancellor for a degree of card advantage and Disruptive Student as homage to young Teferi. With the high volume of Wizards in the deck, Patron Wizard can become quite scary. So can Thopter Assembly, with all the various bounce outlets.

Finally, there's Laboratory Maniac. We'll be drawing a lot of cards in this deck, and while the dream would be locking up the game and running your opponents over with animated artifacts, attacking with Thopters, or simply bouncing all their permanents, the Maniac ensures that if we resolve Enter the Infinite, we can potentially snatch a win out of nowhere.

The Class Syllabus

Evacuate

Speaking of the aforementioned "win out of nowhere," Mystical Tutor provides us a flexible option to grab Enter the Infinite, or a valuable bounce-sweeper like Evacuation or Flood of Tears. Seeing as we're messing with the time-space continuum, Temporal Manipulation, Temporal Aperture and Karn's Temporal Sundering fit right in! Cards like Curfew and Chain of Vapor also provide multiple sources of bounce for a single mana investment.

The Rest of the Curriculum

We also run a large number of supporting permanents to keep us safe from opposing threats while bouncing our own for value. Cards like Crystal Shard, Noetic Scales, Erratic Portal, Sunken Hope, Equilibrium, Blood Clock and Umbilicus can be used for defense or offense, clearing away attackers or blockers as needed, while frequently generating us value. Along those same lines, cards like Conjurer's Closet, Portal of Sanctuary and Helm of the Host squeeze additional value out of our ETB effects.

The School Grounds

Our mana rocks are mainly here to ramp us, but they do provide some additional utility. Khalni Gem acts as another bounce outlet, and there's card advantage to be had from cashing in Commander's Sphere, Mind Stone and Midnight Clock.

Obviously, Tolarian Academy is banned in EDH. But despite the precisely 0.001% chance of banding showing up at your Commander table, I still couldn't leave classic Tolaria off the list. Other highlights include Mystifying Maze for additional defense, Soldevi Excavations to scry, Scavenger Grounds and a few Deserts for graveyard protection, and the nicely synergistic Riptide Laboratory and Coral Atoll.

So, we've seen what time-bending strategies the good guys are bringing to the table. Quite the array of spellcraft and robotics. But what about our metallic antagonists? How will they combat their temporal adversaries?

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth - EDH Lore by Matt Lotti: Intrepid Tautog

'K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth - EDH Lore' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Matt Lotti: Intrepid Tautog

Event:

Rank:

Commander

Market Price: $427.89

Cards

Bone Dancer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $10.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5995_200w.jpg

Whenever Bone Dancer attacks and isn't blocked, you may put the top creature card of defending player's graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. If you do, Bone Dancer assigns no combat damage this turn.

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Contamination

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $51.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6825_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Contamination unless you sacrifice a creature.
If a land is tapped for mana, it produces {B} instead of any other type and amount.

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Corrupt

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93570_200w.jpg

Corrupt deals damage to any target equal to the number of Swamps you control. You gain life equal to the damage dealt this way.

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Magus of the Abyss

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218594_200w.jpg

At the beginning of each player's upkeep, destroy target nonartifact creature that player controls of their choice. It can't be regenerated.

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Buried Ruin

Market Price: $0.64

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219501_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Buried Ruin: Return target artifact card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Charcoal Diamond

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226319_200w.jpg

Charcoal Diamond enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B}.

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Mortuary Mire

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212430_200w.jpg

Mortuary Mire enters the battlefield tapped.
When Mortuary Mire enters the battlefield, you may put target creature card from your graveyard on top of your library.
{T}: Add {B}.

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Leechridden Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122246_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)
Leechridden Swamp enters the battlefield tapped.
{B}, {T}: Each opponent loses 1 life. Activate only if you control two or more black permanents.

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Oversold Cemetery

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $18.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/10509_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have four or more creature cards in your graveyard, you may return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Massacre Wurm

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.71

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215523_200w.jpg

When Massacre Wurm enters the battlefield, creatures your opponents control get -2/-2 until end of turn.
Whenever a creature an opponent controls dies, that player loses 2 life.

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Unstable Obelisk

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236138_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{7}, {T}, Sacrifice Unstable Obelisk: Destroy target permanent.

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Gate to Phyrexia

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $104.91

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/3284_200w.jpg

Sacrifice a creature: Destroy target artifact. Activate only during your upkeep and only once each turn.

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Sol Ring

Market Price: $2.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236137_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}{C}.

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Plague Dogs

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6220_200w.jpg

When Plague Dogs dies, all creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn.
{2}, Sacrifice Plague Dogs: Draw a card.

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Smokestack

Market Price: $24.77

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/7044_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a soot counter on Smokestack.
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player sacrifices a permanent for each soot counter on Smokestack.

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Phyrexian Totem

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/36886_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {B}.
{2}{B}: Phyrexian Totem becomes a 5/5 black Horror artifact creature with trample until end of turn.
Whenever Phyrexian Totem is dealt damage, if it's a creature, sacrifice that many permanents.

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Body Snatcher

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6143_200w.jpg

When Body Snatcher enters the battlefield, exile it unless you discard a creature card.
When Body Snatcher dies, exile Body Snatcher and return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield.

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K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196427_200w.jpg

({B/P} can be paid with either {B} or 2 life.)
Lifelink
For each {B} in a cost, you may pay 2 life rather than pay that mana.
Whenever you cast a black spell, put a +1/+1 counter on K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth.

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Netherborn Altar

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212144_200w.jpg

{T}, Put a soul counter on Netherborn Altar: Put your commander into your hand from the command zone. Then you lose 3 life for each soul counter on Netherborn Altar.

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Junk Diver

Market Price: $2.90

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/166851_200w.jpg

Flying
When Junk Diver dies, return another target artifact card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Phyrexian Plaguelord

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/133623_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Phyrexian Plaguelord: Target creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn.
Sacrifice a creature: Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.

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Phyrexian Defiler

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6359_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Phyrexian Defiler: Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn.

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Attrition

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $8.79

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/47411_200w.jpg

{B}, Sacrifice a creature: Destroy target nonblack creature.

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Phyrexian Furnace

Market Price: $0.89

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6085_200w.jpg

{T}: Exile the bottom card of target player's graveyard.
{1}, Sacrifice Phyrexian Furnace: Exile target card from a graveyard. Draw a card.

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Pestilence Demon

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.60

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122256_200w.jpg

Flying
{B}: Pestilence Demon deals 1 damage to each creature and each player.

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Thran Dynamo

Market Price: $4.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196462_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}{C}{C}.

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Phyrexian Revoker

Market Price: $1.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218816_200w.jpg

As Phyrexian Revoker enters the battlefield, choose a nonland card name.
Activated abilities of sources with the chosen name can't be activated.

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Magus of the Mirror

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/83237_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Magus of the Mirror: Exchange life totals with target opponent. Activate only during your upkeep.

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Noxious Gearhulk

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236554_200w.jpg

Menace
When Noxious Gearhulk enters the battlefield, you may destroy another target creature. If a creature is destroyed this way, you gain life equal to its toughness.

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Myriad Landscape

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236156_200w.jpg

Myriad Landscape enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Myriad Landscape: Search your library for up to two basic land cards that share a land type, put them onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

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Nuisance Engine

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/37404_200w.jpg

{2}, {T}: Create a 0/1 colorless Pest artifact creature token.

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Phyrexian Reclamation

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216460_200w.jpg

{1}{B}, Pay 2 life: Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Grafted Skullcap

Market Price: $0.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/2935_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your draw step, draw an additional card.
At the beginning of your end step, discard your hand.

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Priest of Gix

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/36890_200w.jpg

When Priest of Gix enters the battlefield, add {B}{B}{B}.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235544_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Phyrexian Delver

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171125_200w.jpg

When Phyrexian Delver enters the battlefield, return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield. You lose life equal to that card's mana value.

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Buried Alive

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180895_200w.jpg

Search your library for up to three creature cards, put them into your graveyard, then shuffle.

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Rogue's Passage

Market Price: $1.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236159_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{4}, {T}: Target creature can't be blocked this turn.

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Jet Medallion

Market Price: $48.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/94132_200w.jpg

Black spells you cast cost {1} less to cast.

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Pestilence

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/2679_200w.jpg

At the beginning of the end step, if no creatures are on the battlefield, sacrifice Pestilence.
{B}: Pestilence deals 1 damage to each creature and each player.

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Font of Agonies

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183211_200w.jpg

Whenever you pay life, put that many blood counters on Font of Agonies.
{1}{B}, Remove four blood counters from Font of Agonies: Destroy target creature.

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Reprocess

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/3052_200w.jpg

Sacrifice any number of artifacts, creatures, and/or lands. Draw a card for each permanent sacrificed this way.

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Magus of the Will

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218819_200w.jpg

{2}{B}, {T}, Exile Magus of the Will: Until end of turn, you may play lands and cast spells from your graveyard. If a card would be put into your graveyard from anywhere this turn, exile that card instead.

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Victimize

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226880_200w.jpg

Choose two target creature cards in your graveyard. Sacrifice a creature. If you do, return the chosen cards to the battlefield tapped.

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Ancient Tomb

Market Price: $53.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/179473_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}{C}. Ancient Tomb deals 2 damage to you.

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Liability

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.50

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Whenever a nontoken permanent is put into a player's graveyard from the battlefield, that player loses 1 life.

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Salvage Titan

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218787_200w.jpg

You may sacrifice three artifacts rather than pay this spell's mana cost.
Exile three artifact cards from your graveyard: Return Salvage Titan from your graveyard to your hand.

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Phyrexian Processor

Market Price: $2.54

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As Phyrexian Processor enters the battlefield, pay any amount of life.
{4}, {T}: Create an X/X black Minion creature token, where X is the life paid as Phyrexian Processor entered the battlefield.

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Oblivion Stone

Market Price: $2.41

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{4}, {T}: Put a fate counter on target permanent.
{5}, {T}, Sacrifice Oblivion Stone: Destroy each nonland permanent without a fate counter on it, then remove all fate counters from all permanents.

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No Rest for the Wicked

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.56

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Sacrifice No Rest for the Wicked: Return to your hand all creature cards in your graveyard that were put there from the battlefield this turn.

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Breeding Pit

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.19

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At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Breeding Pit unless you pay {B}{B}.
At the beginning of your end step, create a 0/1 black Thrull creature token.

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Yawgmoth Demon

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12897_200w.jpg

Flying (This creature can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.)
First strike (This creature deals combat damage before creatures without first strike.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may sacrifice an artifact. If you don't, tap Yawgmoth Demon and it deals 2 damage to you.

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Plaguebearer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.89

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4374_200w.jpg

{X}{X}{B}: Destroy target nonblack creature with mana value X.

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Phyrexian Scriptures

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162174_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target creature. That creature becomes an artifact in addition to its other types.
II — Destroy all nonartifact creatures.
III — Exile all cards from all opponents' graveyards.

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Polluted Mire

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.21

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Polluted Mire enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B}.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Thought Vessel

Market Price: $2.89

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You have no maximum hand size.
{T}: Add {C}.

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Mutilate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.59

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93723_200w.jpg

All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn for each Swamp you control.

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Cathodion

Market Price: $0.04

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When Cathodion dies, add {C}{C}{C}.

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Everglades

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.49

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/94457_200w.jpg

Everglades enters the battlefield tapped.
When Everglades enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you return an untapped Swamp you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {C}{B}.

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Iron Maiden

Market Price: $2.69

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At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, Iron Maiden deals X damage to that player, where X is the number of cards in their hand minus 4.

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No Mercy

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $43.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6349_200w.jpg

Whenever a creature deals damage to you, destroy it.

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Barren Moor

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.00

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Barren Moor enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B}.
Cycling {B} ({B}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Withering Boon

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5299_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, pay 3 life.
Counter target creature spell.

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Commander's Sphere

Market Price: $1.00

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{T}: Add one mana of any color in your commander's color identity.
Sacrifice Commander's Sphere: Draw a card.

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Toxic Deluge

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $19.53

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219532_200w.jpg

As an additional cost to cast this spell, pay X life.
All creatures get -X/-X until end of turn.

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In a strange way, I kinda sympathize with Kerrick. I mean K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. Sure, he's a twist-villain designed specifically to sneak into human civilization and sow the seeds of invasion. Yes, he massacred an entire school with an army of Phyrexian monstrosities. But how'd he wind up? Stuck in a pit, with all the time in the world and nothing to do but plan a way out. Old-school Phyrexians looked like what you'd get if David Cronenberg tried his hand at the Borg, so his companions aren't pretty. What's worse, said companions are now the only raw materials he has to work him.

Somehow, K'rrik is tasked with reconstructing an army out of partially-broken Phyrexians. A daunting task, and one that fits this deck's "recycling" theme perfectly.

The Scrap Heap

Our initial constructs are straightforward in design. They play well whether they're heading to or getting out of the graveyard. Salvage Titan, Bone Dancer, Phyrexian Delver, Junk Diver and Body Snatcher all have methods to either return themselves or something else to this mortal coil when they perish. And death is a valuable resource to a Phyrexian, so cards like Phyrexian Plaguelord, Phyrexian Defiler, Plague Dogs, Noxious Gearhulk, Plaguebearer, Magus of the Abyss and Massacre Wurm are all well suited to dolling out death in wide swaths. This deck is all about recycling and reprocessing, so we pack a large assortment of reanimation to get the most out of our (and hopefully, our opponents') creatures dying on a regular basis.

Reanimation just so happens to lend itself well to big, nasty threats, so we also run the on-theme Yawgmoth Demon (who helps eat our own artifacts), Pestilence Demon and Magus of the Mirror to assist as finishers. The Magus is especially nasty, as K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth allows you to self-inflict a ton of life loss to devilishly swap away.

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce

K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth is all about keeping a stocked graveyard, especially when we run many ways to squeeze value from said 'yard. Magus of the Will is an obvious inclusion, but innocuous enchantments like Phyrexian Reclamation and Oversold Cemetery can be scary powerhouses here, keeping a consistent flow of strong and/or value-generating creatures pouring out of the grave. Additional reanimation comes in the form of Victimize and No Rest for the Wicked, an especially nasty card to drop after casting a Toxic Deluge, Oblivion Stone, Mutilate, or going off with Pestilence. With so many creatures dying, Liability is sure to be doing some serious damage.

Because we're all about working with scraps, our deck packs additional sources of fodder generation to feed powerful engines. Nuisance Engine and Breeding Pit are straightforward, but their ability to continuously power cards like Attrition, Reprocess and the aforementioned Phyrexian Plaguelord is not to be overlooked. Phyrexian Processor can be used as another fodder engine, though with enough of a life investment, it can easily become a threat generator. The life payment it provides also works well with Magus of the Mirror and Font of Agonies.

Other than pure flavor, some of the final inclusions to K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth's arsenal help fill in key gaps. It's important to have answers to problem artifacts, and with the amount of fodder generation and recursion in our deck, Gate to Phyrexia can do some serious work. Phyrexian Furnace provides some tasty on-theme graveyard hate. And I can almost guarantee you that no one will see counterspell Withering Boon coming!

The Leftovers

Before I get destroyed on social media, let me address the elephant in the room. No, Phyrexian Negator, despite being a primary footsoldier to K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth, is not in the deck. I refer back to Rule #1. Phyrexian Negator gets an A+ on flavor, but is likely more of a liability than a tool in your deck. However, I wanted to give the poor guy a tribute—thus, the inclusion of Phyrexian Totem. Just keep your finger off the Pestilence button while he's animated, okay?

Rounding out our mana, Mortuary Mire goes right along with our reanimator theme. As I built this deck, I also noticed a bit of a "bleeder" sub theme arising from all the life loss/payments, so Leechridden Swamp made for a fun and fitting inclusion. Finally, as punk-rock K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth can grow awfully large on his own, and in tribute to his sneaking into the Academy, Rogue's Passage felt like the perfect addition, providing flavor while allowing K'rrik to act as a potential finisher.

* * *

Now that I've presented the story as it was written, I'm curious to see which direction you'll take it. Will the Tolarians stand against K'rrik and company, or will you rewrite history and bring about an early Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria? That, my friends, is all up to you. To say Magic: The Gathering has a rich history is an understatement. It's an entire treasure trove of stories. And it's the reason I love the lore of our game so much.

I hope you've enjoyed this fusion of flavor and function. By all means, feel free to tinker with both decks however you see fit. The story is now entirely in your hands. Thanks for reading, and if you've any ideas for story arcs you'd like to see covered in the future, let me know!