EDH Deck Time: Sisters of the Stone Death

Its time to build a deck for EDH.

I played Sisters of Stone Death as my commander some time ago, but that deck was mostly just my former Nath of the Gilt-Leaf, who got usurped by the sisters after being in the deck and noticing that they were fun. So, it may have taken me almost a year, but here we are. Usurping Nath’s deck wasn’t that good an idea, because Sisters need a lot of mana, whereas Nath isn’t that greedy for an EDH deck. With a deck built around the sisters, this has a much better chance of thriving. After three games with this deck (one win), its fun to play, although not necessarily very competitive (which it doesn’t necessarily need to be).

So, lets go through the cards. If you want to take a better look at the deck, I put it up on TappedOut.

The Gorgon Package

First, we obviously have the sisters

Sisters of Stone Death

but she also brought her extended family.

Hythonia the Cruel
Keepsake Gorgon
Pharika’s Mender
Reaper of the Wilds
Visara the Dreadful
Xathrid Gorgon
Vraska the Unseen

They might be from three different planes, but maybe some unthinking planeswalker put them there. Of course, Vraska can do by herself. Maybe she’s the secret power behind the throne.

All in all, these are mostly control creatures. Mender is just a little bit of recursion and Reaper is about controlling your draws, although she’s a bit too hard to control to make that very profitable in EDH. Gladly, the family is there to help, Auntie Hythonia sometimes giving quite a few scrys at the same time. Xathrid Gorgon has a very special role as she can make quite a few difficult monsters (such as Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre) if not harmless, at least less harmful.

Pest Control Package

Although our ladies abover are doing a pretty good job already, keeping other players devoid of creatures is always good. Therefore this small suite of other creatures who are more or less doing the same thing. Besides the good, ole Assassin, these can also get very aggressive. Especially considering the evasion.

Avatar of Woe
Arbor Colossus
Royal Assassin
Sheoldred, Whispering One

Couple of sweepers. I’ve found two to be plenty, with the Rock cards there mostly for token strategies, but also for just sweeping things other than creatures.

Damnation
Decree of Pain
Gaze of Granite
Pernicious Deed

… and sometimes you don’t want to kill everything. I’d like to add more, but this was all I had room for. Consuming Vapors might be problematic, but you just need something for the aforementioned Ulamog. Also, lifegain can be very good at times, although this particular deck doesn’t really use life as a resource.

Go for the Throat
Hero’s Downfall
Murder
Consuming Vapors

… and there’s Liliana. I could put her somewhere else, but she’s in the deck mostly as “pest control”. Also, since Sisters are an excellent mana dump, keeping everyone out of cards in hand is a pretty good tactic.

Liliana of the Veil

Card Advantage, Recursion and Tutoring

More card advantage would be good. However, we do have the Sisters and therefore we’ll always have something to put our mana into (unless they get tucked). Garruk can do many things, but in EDH he’s usually used best as a very cheap draw spell. If he’s on the board with Sisters, we can get seven cards for five mana. Very effective. With all the sweepers in the format, Harvester can also draw plenty of cards with only six mana.

Harvester of Souls
Garruk, Primal Hunter

With some people playing milling strategies in our meta, recursion is just great. Especially Creeping Renaissance, since it has flashback and can get you plenty of stuff after a poorly thought out Traumatize. Praetor’s Counsel in hand is even better, but the Renaissance just has that much better chance of hitting the graveyard at an opportune moment. Burial and Stronghold give us recurring advantage and can be really good. Witness is there just for the early game, but can be a good combo with any other recursion we have.

Praetor’s Counsel
Eternal Witness
Disturbed Burial
Volrath’s Stronghold
Creeping Renaissance

.. and the tutoring. This deck has a lot of tools, but often just a couple of them. A few tutors help. Ambition might be a bit unnecessary, as we don’t really have game winning two card combos or anything like that, so maybe it would be better to lose it, but it feels fine. The flashback is very expensive, but again, there’s some milling in our meta, so flashing it back can be really good. The Demon is also a very good body.

Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Increasing Ambition
Tooth and Nail
Rune-Scarred Demon

I don’t know where to put this primordial exactly, but we’re mostly talking card advantage here and I think it belongs here more than the other categories. Can also disrupt opponent nicely, if they try to bring something to their graveyard for a combo.

Sepulchral Primordial

Ramp

Plenty of ramp. Our commander is pretty greedy with mana, so to get her online in a decent amount of turns, we need to ramp. A lot. I don’t like to use manarocks in this deck. I don’t have any artifacts in the deck, which makes certain cards dead against us (thus basically making our opponents artifact hate work for us). Plenty of creatures, because bodies are easily reused with our recursion, and plenty of sorceries to get our mana. Of course, another Liliana, which I even wrote an article about. She’s mostly used to get the swamps, with not much point in going for ultimate (although, I’m happy to do it). The second ability can be very strong in the late game, as it can kill creatures that would otherwise be very difficult to handle. Again, once nice body in the group with the much hated Vorinclex.

Liliana of the Dark Realms
Yavimaya Elder
Dawntreader Elk
Fertilid
Frontier Guide
Ondu Giant
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Boundless Realms
Cultivate
Explosive Vegetation
Farseek
Kodama’s Reach
Nature’s Lore
Rampant Growth
Ranger’s Path
Skyshroud Claim
Khalni Heart Expedition
Thawing Glaciers

General Utility

Generally, its good to be able to destroy non-creature permanents, so some cards for exactly that purpose. Again, mostly with bodies, as those can be recycled. Also, Acidic Slime trades up and the two others have great bodies as well. Primordial also serves the purpose of ramping even more. Bramblecrush and Rain of Thorns are for extra flexibility. Cremate is just the greatest EDH-card ever. I’m not even kidding. There are so many recursion based combos and this card can disrupt them with one mana and it also replenishes itself. Even if none of your enemies play recursion (which has never happened), you’ll be able to cycle it with only mana.

Acidic Slime
Sylvan Primordial
Terastodon
Bramblecrush
Rain of Thorns
Cremate

Also, I have some extra ways of protecting my creatures. Sheltering Word can be a big blowout, if you opponent has been keeping that one spot removal in his hand to stop your big attack with Sisters. Also, the life is nice. Asceticism and Broken Fall are there just to keep my creature alive. Broken Fall is especially good, since its very hard to destroy as long as there’s at least on targetable creature on the battlefield.

Sheltering Word
Asceticism
Broken Fall

Lands

Mostly just mana, but with two more utility lands (some were in the lists above). Bojuka Bog is a staple in these decks, again with all the recursion running rampant. Grim Backwoods isn’t as obvious a choice, but its actually probably my most tutored card as it can be very good against tucking. Drawing cards is often a good idea too and if I have recursion, it can be a great part of a ad-hoc combo.

Bojuka Bog
Command Tower
Gilt-Leaf Palace
Golgari Guildgate
Golgari Rot Farm
Grim Backwoods
Overgrown Tomb
Tainted Wood
Twilight Mire
Woodland Cemetery

Plenty of basics, just to have plenty of lands to find with my ramp cards. Still, I’ve run out a couple of times.

13 Swamps
15 Forests

Final Note

Previously I’ve talked about my process of designing these decks. Cards I hadn’t used before or in a long time include the Theros Gorgons, Grim Backwoods, Asceticism, Broken Fall and Sheltering Word. Thusfar they all seem very good, although Asceticism has a habit of getting destroyed very quickly.

I’ve played this deck three times now with one win. Granted, not all the opposing decks were very competitive, but I think this deck strikes a good balance of being fun to play and being a real threat, without being oppressive.

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