From a young age, I was terrified of many things. I was scared of clowns, heights, and even to this day, deep, open water. I had so many nightmares as a child I scarcely know how I made it through my early days. However, there was one character in a certain card game that I feel taught me a few good lessons about fear, and helped me through my formative years as a result. I'm talking, of course, about Chainer, Dementia Master.

From a young age as a fledgling Magic: The Gathering player, I'd been enthralled by the Odyssey and Onslaught sequence of blocks. From my first acquisition of an Odyssey Tournament Pack to the expansion of the Cabal in the Dominaria set, the continent of Otaria on Dominaria has always had my heart. This was not limited to the cards, either—the books hold a special place in my heart as well. Of the stories, two characters were my favorites: Ixidor, Reality Sculptor, the early antagonist of the Onslaught story, and Chainer, Dementia Master, the protagonist of Chainer's Torment—the book which carries the story of the Torment set.

I built my Chainer, Dementia Master Commander deck in 2017, during a rough patch in my life. I'd just moved out of my parents' place and was scoping out my future and all this entailed. I had a few different decks within the format—not the least of which was an Edgar Markov Vampire tribal deck—but I was more than willing to let each and every one of those decks be dismantled to fuel this Nightmare of a deck, pun intended.

I've written about my Chainer, Dementia Master deck before, on other sites. I'm always looking for a reason to write about this deck wherever I can, because it really is that cool of a deck. I've also dismantled the deck about twice—once on financial grounds, and another time to fuel other decks with its contents. But in the end, I can't bear to part with Chainer, Dementia Master.

The key thing that makes Chainer, Dementia Master so relatable (for lack of a better word) is the courage he as a character has. In order to find Nightmares to summon, he needs to encounter them in his own psyche, in an area known as Dementia Space. Therein, he confronts and conquers his nightmares in order to be able to summon them at will from his mind.

As someone who shares the mindset that one must become one's own fear to conquer that fear, I can relate to this practice, in a roundabout way. In essence, Chainer, Dementia Master taught me that clowns are just as harmless as any person in a suit (John Wayne Gacy notwithstanding). Heights get less scary the taller you are, and, as for the ocean… Well, It takes a lot to emulate the ocean, so we are still working through that. Ultimately, though, this literary therapy is what makes Chainer, Dementia Master my favorite character in Magic: The Gathering and, by a similar token, my favorite Commander deck.

I'm rambling. Let's talk about why you're here: the deck tech.

According to ChannelFireball's chart on Commander power level, as well as various others that can be found with a quick Google search, the deck I'm showcasing here would be ranked around a six in power, meaning the deck is "Focused." This is defined as containing "powerful card interactions, but few or no infinite/game-ending combos." However, with careful analysis and a lot of play time, my Chainer, Dementia Master build is probably more apt to be a seven or eight in power—just above the cut for strong, casual commanders, but just shy of competitive levels.

Some key reasons that you might want to use this deck are:

This deck may not be for you in the following cases:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Threnody for the Victims of Dementia by Josh Nelson

'Threnody for the Victims of Dementia' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Josh Nelson

Event:

Rank:

Commander

Market Price: $1142.56

Cards

Beseech the Queen

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $5.86

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222434_200w.jpg

({2/B} can be paid with any two mana or with {B}. This card's converted mana cost is 6.)
Search your library for a card with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of lands you control, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

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Wurmcoil Engine

Market Price: $15.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218392_200w.jpg

Deathtouch, lifelink
When Wurmcoil Engine dies, create a 3/3 colorless Wurm artifact creature token with deathtouch and a 3/3 colorless Wurm artifact creature token with lifelink.

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Geier Reach Sanitarium

Market Price: $0.91

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196744_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}: Each player draws a card, then discards a card.

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Ancient Tomb

Market Price: $38.91

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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Thespian's Stage

Market Price: $1.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218436_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}: Thespian's Stage becomes a copy of target land, except it has this ability.

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Reanimate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $10.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215960_200w.jpg

Put target creature card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. You lose life equal to its converted mana cost.

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Phyrexian Altar

Market Price: $37.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180774_200w.jpg

Sacrifice a creature: Add one mana of any color.

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Solemn Simulacrum

Market Price: $1.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215510_200w.jpg

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 your library.
When Solemn Simulacrum dies, you may draw a card.

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Altar of Dementia

Market Price: $2.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191735_200w.jpg

Sacrifice a creature: Target player mills cards equal to the sacrificed creature's power.

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Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $57.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/57649_200w.jpg

Horsemanship (This creature can't be blocked except by creatures with horsemanship.)
Sacrifice Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed: Return target black card from your graveyard to your hand. Activate this ability only during your turn, before attackers are declared.

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Sangromancer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216046_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever a creature an opponent controls dies, you may gain 3 life.
Whenever an opponent discards a card, you may gain 3 life.

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Swiftfoot Boots

Market Price: $3.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222522_200w.jpg

Equipped creature has hexproof and haste.
Equip {1}

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Dead of Winter

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.49

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191139_200w.jpg

All nonsnow creatures get -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of snow permanents you control.

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Carrion Feeder

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191578_200w.jpg

Carrion Feeder can't block.
Sacrifice a creature: Put a +1/+1 counter on Carrion Feeder.

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Deserted Temple

Market Price: $19.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9595_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{1}, {T}: Untap target land.

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Blood Artist

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216042_200w.jpg

Whenever Blood Artist or another creature dies, target player loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.

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Phyrexian Arena

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $10.94

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/121534_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

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Font of Agonies

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

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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Necropotence

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $27.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145298_200w.jpg

Skip your draw step.
Whenever you discard a card, exile that card from your graveyard.
Pay 1 life: Exile the top card of your library face down. Put that card into your hand at the beginning of your next end step.

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Sol Ring

Market Price: $2.74

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222389_200w.jpg

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

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Fabled Passage

Market Price: $5.49

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215556_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206460_200w.jpg

When Gray Merchant of Asphodel enters the battlefield, each opponent loses X life, where X is your devotion to black. You gain life equal to the life lost this way. (Each {B} in the mana costs of permanents you control counts toward your devotion to black.)

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Command Beacon

Market Price: $29.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222470_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Sacrifice Command Beacon: Put your commander into your hand from the command zone.

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Ash Barrens

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219248_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
Basic landcycling {1} ({1}, Discard this card: Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.)

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Mirage Mirror

Market Price: $4.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/134930_200w.jpg

{2}: Mirage Mirror becomes a copy of target artifact, creature, enchantment, or land until end of turn.

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Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Market Price: $25.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/179536_200w.jpg

Each land is a Swamp in addition to its other land types.

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Razaketh, the Foulblooded

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $19.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/135056_200w.jpg

Flying, trample
Pay 2 life, Sacrifice another creature: Search your library for a card and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

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Nim Deathmantle

Market Price: $9.48

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/36519_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +2/+2, has intimidate, and is a black Zombie. (A creature with intimidate can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or creatures that share a color with it.)
Whenever a nontoken creature is put into your graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {4}. If you do, return that card to the battlefield and attach Nim Deathmantle to it.
Equip {4}

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Nirkana Revenant

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $9.54

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/167821_200w.jpg

Whenever you tap a Swamp for mana, add an additional {B}.
{B}: Nirkana Revenant gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

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Entomb

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $14.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/179538_200w.jpg

Search your library for a card and put that card into your graveyard. Then shuffle your library.

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Phyrexian Tower

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $17.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222448_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Sacrifice a creature: Add {B}{B}.

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Mausoleum Secrets

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.82

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176443_200w.jpg

Undergrowth — Search your library for a black card with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of creature cards in your graveyard, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.

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Snow-Covered Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190652_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Buried Alive

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.02

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 your library.

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Kokusho, the Evening Star

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $17.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145283_200w.jpg

Flying
When Kokusho, the Evening Star dies, each opponent loses 5 life. You gain life equal to the life lost this way.

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Oubliette

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222767_200w.jpg

When Oubliette enters the battlefield, target creature phases out until Oubliette leaves the battlefield. Tap that creature as it phases in this way. (Auras and Equipment phase out with it. While permanents are phased out, they're treated as though they don't exist.)

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Abhorrent Overlord

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/70992_200w.jpg

Flying
When Abhorrent Overlord enters the battlefield, create a number of 1/1 black Harpy creature tokens with flying equal to your devotion to black. (Each {B} in the mana costs of permanents you control counts toward your devotion to black.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature.

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Cabal Coffers

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $78.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/37339_200w.jpg

{2}, {T}: Add {B} for each Swamp you control.

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Viscera Seer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/72322_200w.jpg

Sacrifice a creature: 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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Chainer, Dementia Master

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $6.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9626_200w.jpg

Nightmare creatures get +1/+1.
{B}{B}{B}, Pay 3 life: Put target creature card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. That creature is black and is a Nightmare in addition to its other creature types.
When Chainer, Dementia Master leaves the battlefield, exile all Nightmares.

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K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.87

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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Strip Mine

Market Price: $13.00

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/109194_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Sacrifice Strip Mine: Destroy target land.

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Demonic Tutor

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $35.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/179462_200w.jpg

Search your library for a card, put that card into your hand, then shuffle your library.

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Ashnod's Altar

Market Price: $8.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118444_200w.jpg

Sacrifice a creature: Add {C}{C}.

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Vampiric Tutor

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $114.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118433_200w.jpg

Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it. You lose 2 life.

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Gate to Phyrexia

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $55.83

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

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

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Rings of Brighthearth

Market Price: $59.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15610_200w.jpg

Whenever you activate an ability, if it isn't a mana ability, you may pay {2}. If you do, copy that ability. You may choose new targets for the copy.

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Animate Dead

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118424_200w.jpg

Enchant creature card in a graveyard
When Animate Dead enters the battlefield, if it's on the battlefield, it loses "enchant creature card in a graveyard" and gains "enchant creature put onto the battlefield with Animate Dead." Return enchanted creature card to the battlefield under your control and attach Animate Dead to it. When Animate Dead leaves the battlefield, that creature's controller sacrifices it.
Enchanted creature gets -1/-0.

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Basalt Monolith

Market Price: $1.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218842_200w.jpg

Basalt Monolith doesn't untap during your untap step.
{T}: Add {C}{C}{C}.
{3}: Untap Basalt Monolith.

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Dimir House Guard

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.87

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/13253_200w.jpg

Fear (This creature can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or black creatures.)
Sacrifice a creature: Regenerate Dimir House Guard.
Transmute {1}{B}{B} ({1}{B}{B}, Discard this card: Search your library for a card with the same converted mana cost as this card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library. Transmute only as a sorcery.)

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Crypt Ghast

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $6.84

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/94301_200w.jpg

Extort (Whenever you cast a spell, you may pay {W/B}. If you do, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain that much life.)
Whenever you tap a Swamp for mana, add an additional {B}.

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Field of Ruin

Market Price: $0.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206646_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Field of Ruin: Destroy target nonbasic land an opponent controls. Each player searches their library for a basic land card, puts it onto the battlefield, then shuffles their library.

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Hypnotic Specter

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/32639_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever Hypnotic Specter deals damage to an opponent, that player discards a card at random.

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Arcane Signet

Market Price: $2.97

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222385_200w.jpg

{T}: Add one mana of any color in your commander's color identity.

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Skullclamp

Market Price: $4.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222364_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +1/-1.
Whenever equipped creature dies, draw two cards.
Equip {1}

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Rune-Scarred Demon

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145314_200w.jpg

Flying
When Rune-Scarred Demon enters the battlefield, search your library for a card, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.

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Imp's Mischief

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $15.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/14741_200w.jpg

Change the target of target spell with a single target. You lose life equal to that spell's converted mana cost.

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Burnished Hart

Market Price: $0.96

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196582_200w.jpg

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

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Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Market Price: $22.68

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222763_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}: Choose a color. Add an amount of mana of that color equal to your devotion to that color. (Your devotion to a color is the number of mana symbols of that color in the mana costs of permanents you control.)

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Massacre Wurm

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.15

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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Massacre Girl

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188199_200w.jpg

Menace
When Massacre Girl enters the battlefield, each other creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn. Whenever a creature dies this turn, each creature other than Massacre Girl gets -1/-1 until end of turn.

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Gonti, Lord of Luxury

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.21

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Deathtouch
When Gonti, Lord of Luxury enters the battlefield, look at the top four cards of target opponent's library, exile one of them face down, then put the rest on the bottom of that library in a random order. You may look at and cast that card for as long as it remains exiled, and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any type to cast that spell.

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Nevinyrral's Disk

Market Price: $2.33

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Nevinyrral's Disk enters the battlefield tapped.
{1}, {T}: Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and enchantments.

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Maze of Ith

Market Price: $7.22

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{T}: Untap target attacking creature. Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt to and dealt by that creature this turn.

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Necromancy

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $20.45

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You may cast Necromancy as though it had flash. If you cast it any time a sorcery couldn't have been cast, the controller of the permanent it becomes sacrifices it at the beginning of the next cleanup step.
When Necromancy enters the battlefield, if it's on the battlefield, it becomes an Aura with "enchant creature put onto the battlefield with Necromancy." Put target creature card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control and attach Necromancy to it. When Necromancy leaves the battlefield, that creature's controller sacrifices it.

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Butcher of Malakir

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.91

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Flying
Whenever Butcher of Malakir or another creature you control dies, each opponent sacrifices a creature.

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Homeward Path

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{T}: Add {C}.
{T}: Each player gains control of all creatures they own.

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Thought Vessel

Market Price: $10.10

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

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Ghost Quarter

Market Price: $1.08

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{T}: Add {C}.
{T}, Sacrifice Ghost Quarter: Destroy target land. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle their library.

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Expedition Map

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{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Expedition Map: Search your library for a land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

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Lake of the Dead

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $70.01

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If Lake of the Dead would enter the battlefield, sacrifice a Swamp instead. If you do, put Lake of the Dead onto the battlefield. If you don't, put it into its owner's graveyard.
{T}: Add {B}.
{T}, Sacrifice a Swamp: Add {B}{B}{B}{B}.

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Magus of the Coffers

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $5.33

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{2}, {T}: Add {B} for each Swamp you control.

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Darkness

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $6.25

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Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn.

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Crucible of Worlds

Market Price: $40.81

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You may play lands from your graveyard.

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Sheoldred, Whispering One

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $16.89

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Swampwalk (This creature can't be blocked as long as defending player controls a Swamp.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield.
At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, that player sacrifices a creature.

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Dictate of Erebos

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $7.71

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Flash
Whenever a creature you control dies, each opponent sacrifices a creature.

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Bloodghast

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $12.42

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Bloodghast can't block.
Bloodghast has haste as long as an opponent has 10 or less life.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may return Bloodghast from your graveyard to the battlefield.

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Temporal Extortion

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $13.51

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When you cast this spell, any player may pay half their life, rounded up. If a player does, counter Temporal Extortion.
Take an extra turn after this one.

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Bojuka Bog

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.52

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Bojuka Bog enters the battlefield tapped.
When Bojuka Bog enters the battlefield, exile all cards from target player's graveyard.
{T}: Add {B}.

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Torment of Hailfire

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $8.97

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Repeat the following process X times. Each opponent loses 3 life unless that player sacrifices a nonland permanent or discards a card.

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Lightning Greaves

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Equipped creature has haste and shroud. (It can't be the target of spells or abilities.)
Equip {0}

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Doom Whisperer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $4.14

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Flying, trample
Pay 2 life: Surveil 2. (Look at the top two cards of your library, then put any number of them into your graveyard and the rest on top of your library in any order.)

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Damnation

Color Identity:B

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Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.

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Chainer, Dementia Master is a 3/3 for five mana, which seems under-par by today's standards of Commander players. However, because we don't make use of combat except in serious binds, his stats only matter when removal is concerned. Sure, he doesn't avoid a Lightning Bolt, but that is why we protect our commanders, right?

His abilities are why we play Chainer, Dementia Master, however. His first ability, an anthem for Nightmare creatures, is irrelevant except in cases where combat matters. His last ability, the one that exiles all Nightmares when Chainer, Dementia Master leaves the battlefield, seems detrimental to our cause, but can be worked around with careful planning. So far, though, the commander we are working with feels pretty weak.

That is, however, until you read his second ability, which is where Chainer, Dementia Master shines. At instant speed, paying three black mana and three life, Chainer, Dementia Master can reanimate any creature from any graveyard, turning it into a black Nightmare in addition to its other types (although it doesn't retain its other colors). This ability allows you to reanimate any creature you'd like, even in response to opponents attempting to reanimate that creature themselves. It's like eBay sniping, only less frustrating for the buyer./p>

Creatures

This deck houses some of the most fearsome black-aligned creatures in all of Magic: The Gathering. Some of those creatures are not large or particularly intimidating, but size doesn't matter when their abilities are strong. Creatures such as Bloodghast or Viscera Seer have been picked for their tenacity or their utility. Viscera Seer in particular is important as a  one mana sacrifice outlet. Cards like that are your failsafe in case Chainer, Dementia Master is removed from the field when you have creatures in tow that you wish to retain for later.

The most important creature outside our commander in this deck is Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed. An obscure card with a novel effect, Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed can recur our instants and sorceries from graveyard to hand. Coupled with our commander, Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed facilitates some disgustingly-strong loops with cards such as Torment of Hailfire, Temporal Extortion and Darkness.

Artifacts and Enchantments

Many artifacts in this deck are good for Chainer, Dementia Master game plan. While most can't be recurred, they provide ample acceleration and security to the deck. For example, Skullclamp allows Chainer, Dementia Master to draw cards off of creatures dying, while Crucible of Worlds allows Chainer, Dementia Master to recur lands (thus adding to the deck's recursive effectiveness).

It is important to note that two artifacts in particular lend themselves to infinite combos in this deck: Rings of Brighthearth and Nim Deathmantle can do pretty nasty things when combined with cards like Basalt Monolith or Ashnod's Altar. While I don't recommend cutting Ashnod's Altar, you can choose to avoid the combo capabilities of it with Nim Deathmantle, or you could cut the Nim Deathmantle out entirely. To make Rings of Brighthearth less disgusting, two cuts must be made: the aforementioned Basalt Monolith and Deserted Temple.

Also of note: sacrifice outlets are vital for this deck. Chainer, Dementia Master exiling ability is nothing to take lightly—it's as devastating a liability as Chainer, Dementia Master himself is an asset. Therefore, cards like Ashnod's Altar, Phyrexian Altar and Altar of Dementia are all auto-inclusions in this deck.

As for enchantments, black has a variety of different options for you to choose from. Effects such as that of Grave Pact are great here. However, Grave Pact itself is too color-intensive (even for a Mono-Black deck such as this). Dictate of Erebos will do fine as a replacement, as will Butcher of Malakir where creatures are concerned.

Instants and Sorceries

While not as important to your overall game plan as the cards that enable them, non-permanent spells help you gain an edge in the game. It's good to keep in mind that tutor effects, such as Demonic Tutor or Beseech the Queen, are basically wildcards to get you the cards you're missing from your plan. It's best they be used proactively unless you're in a serious bind (such as mana screw or aggressive targeting).

It's fun also to note that, when thinking of what Mono-Black can do in relation to the abilities of other colors, the following cards in this deck will do the jobs of similar cards outside of black:

Lands

Speaking of the acceleration of mana, many lands in this deck will, at some point or another, inevitably create more than one mana at a time. Ancient Tomb comes to mind as a good example of a card that will do this with no extra work put in, while Cabal Coffers and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx will do the same with an established board state.

The Game Plan

In the beginning of the game, you will want an opening hand of between three and four lands, a sacrifice outlet, a mana rock and a creature you can cast with what you have. A tutor can substitute any of these things, but it's better to use fewer tutors in the early game if possible.

Your early game consists of turns one to three, occasionally going as long as through turn four. Any later than this and you've likely faced enough disruption to slow your plan to a crawl. Remember, this doesn't mean you're down for the count… yet. Just lay low and let your opponents do the infighting. Either way, during this time you want to make sure your mana base is established and some relevant pieces are set up for when you bring your commander out, signaling your midgame.

The midgame of this deck goes from turns four through six, but can last through turn eight in a bad or slow spot. The first thing you'll want to do here is summon Chainer, Dementia Master and protect him at the first possible convenience. This is where tutor priority shifts to equipment like Swiftfoot Boots or Lightning Greaves. In a perfect world where you already have one of those cards in play, you can now tutor Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed and initiate that game plan (it helps that Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed can recur most tutors in the deck).

It's vital to recognize this deck is at its weakest during the midgame as your life total will begin to dwindle, but don't panic! The life total can be seen simply as a resource here—it'll bounce back in time. In case you're worried enough about it, consider Entomb a Sangromancer.

In your endgame, which is ideally between turns seven and the game's end, you will likely initiate loops of Kokusho, the Evening Star or Gray Merchant of Asphodel, or be in the throes of looping Torment of Hailfire with Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed. One or two uses of Torment of Hailfire usually causes the remainder of the table to concede, but if not, the effect of the card itself ought to end things in a few cycles of the loop.

Final Notes

Chainer, Dementia Master is strong. The deck I've crafted, out of perhaps 50 or more games with slight changes over time, has a fairly-impressive estimated 80% win rate. It's caused playgroups to quake where they stand and even put some bounties on my victory. Needless to say, it's gross.

There haven't been a lot of changes to make in this deck lately, with regard to new cards. Even with some slight tweaks over time, the deck hasn't changed much. If a new card is released to shake the deck up for the better, it'll be included. If that new card changes the deck's game plan for the worse, the deck will adapt. In the end, Chainer, Dementia Master always prospers.