Tainted Midrange Ad Nauseam Zur in CEDH
I've been writing for a little while about the competitive EDH format and I've focused a lot more on archetypes and general concepts of the format. This article is going to be a little bit different. Today I'm going to focus on the specifics of the deck that I've mainly been playing in CEDH. I'll talk about the overall strategy, the engines and combos, and some of the card choices.
- Tainted Zur Midrange Ad Nauseam Decklist
Updated Apr 01, 2019 by leondal using our MTG Deck Builder. This is my current build of Zur, the Enchanter. I have recently come off of the Doomsday plan, which has ...
Why Zur, the Enchanter? What makes this commander so good? Zur has a long history in CEDH has one of the top commanders. In the past, however, the strategy often revolved around winning with your commander tutoring some powerful auras and attacking for a win with commander damage. That is not how this deck wins at all.
There are two primary win conditions in this deck. The primary win condition utilizes Ad Nauseam and winning with Laboratory Maniac. The secondary win enabler is Tained Pact, which serves the same function of drawing your whole deck. If Laborarory Maniac is taken out, a copy of Sickening Dreams is in the list as a backup. If both of these conditions fail, Zur himself will help you get back into the game by tutoring up Necropotence or by switching into a control role by tutoring up Counterbalance.
Zur is a great commander because he is in a solid set of colors. He is also a tutor that gets you your backup win condition. He is fairly low cost and has no real drawbacks, other than the fact that he needs to survive one full turn rotation to get going.
Midrange Ad Nauseam Decks
MAN decks are becoming ever more prevalent in the format. MAN stands for Midrange Ad Nauseam. MAN decks are still combo decks, but they prioritize consistency and resiliency over speed. These decks can recover quite well if their initial gameplan falls short. Often times, this resilience allows you to cast Ad Nauseam purely as a card draw spell to pull you back ahead of your opponents. You can do this knowing that you have a backup combo enabler still in your deck. MAN decks also have multiple forms of card advantage and use limited STAX pieces that reduce your opponents' draw quality.
For an in-depth article on the MAN model of decks, look HERE.
This particular deck is going to rely on Zur, along with several utility creatures to generate value and cards for the long game. We also have a decent amount of interaction cards to fit in the slots we previously had taken up by Doomsday pile cards.
This deck also seeks to keep the converted mana cost quite low. Dark Confidant and Ad Naseam can hurt quite a bit in a long game and we want to limit the damage done. This is another reason I have removed all of the delve cards (like Dig Through Time).
Graveyard Hate and Anti-Synergy
One major thing I've done with this list is remove almost all of the graveyard-oriented value cards and have doubled down on graveyard hate pieces. This deck is typically slower than most of the graveyard-centric combo decks and its often just better to hate them out for a few turns while we prepare for our own combo. Although missing out on cards like Yawgmoth's Will can be tough, it's much more important to get these hate pieces in play very early.
Some of the notable hate cards are Rest in Peace, which can be grabbed by Zur, Grafdigger's Cage, which can be grabbed by Trinket Mage, and Containment Priest.
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade
A recent addition to the EDH format, Lavinia shows a lot of promise. For two mana, you're able to hate out most of the most powerful things your opponent can do. She really hampers the early mana-ramp starts from all of the powerful mana rocks and rituals. She also prevents most of the most powerful free-to-cast spells in the format, like pacts, Force of Will and Mana Crypt. It also, incidentally, hates out any sort of mana cheating, like Omniscience or Narset.
I haven't done a ton of testing with her, but I felt that she hates out my opponents just enough to warrant a spot.
This list is very similar to a recent Zuran Consultation list, which uses Demonic Consultation as a third way to push through the entire deck for a Laboratory Maniac win. I chose not to use this card for a couple of reasons. For one, I felt like it was too all-in for the type of midrange combo strategy I was going for. Secondly, it does not enable Sickening Dreams kills like Ad Nauseam and Tainted Pact do. I felt it was better to put more interaction into this slot.
Overall, I really am enjoying this deck. I have always leaned towards combo/control decks when playing other formats and this is no different. This deck can threaten to kill quickly, or sit back and garner card advantage over time and finish off your opponents while they're down.