Colors Galore, Colors Amiss: Making Sacrifices pt. 3

In my last two articles, I covered a few sacrifice outlets in each of the individual colors. But lets just be honest here, we’re playing Commander, the majority of us aren’t playing just one color. We want to expand our horizons, join the Guilds of Ravnica, explore  the Shards of Alara, delve deep into the Planeshifted Lairs of the Elder Dragons, and some brave souls seek to conquer even the great power of the Maelstrom. Multicolored decks dominate the format, allowing for greater utility within each deck and diversified strategies, the likes of which no other format has seen, but the Multicolored behemoths we normally face in our day to day spell-slinging endeavors have a potent counterpart:  Artifacts. The artifact sacrifice outlets I’ll be discussing today are potent and diverse in their applications, and because of their lack of color, they can find a home in any deck you choose. Today I’ll be discussing sacrifice outlets with multiple colors and those void of color.

 

MULTICOLORED MONSTERS:

 

  • Circle of Despair

As we discussed in the White section of these articles, repeatable fog effects are powerful, turning the tide of combat in your favor, or at the very least preventing any loss on your part. Circle of Despair is another of these effects, with a subtle, yet very important difference. Unlike Knight-Captain of Eos, Circle of Despair can prevent damage from any source of your choice! Combat damage, burn spells, activated abilities, any source of damage can be prevented by simply paying one colorless mana and sacrificing a single creature. This effect is repeatable, it is cheap, and it is potent. Not to mention that the card its attached to only costs three mana! An efficient piece of utility in any deck running white and black.

 

  • Doomgape

When I think about what makes a good sacrifice outlet, mandatory upkeep triggers aren’t necessarily what comes to mind. However, when that mandatory sacrifice cost is strapped to a 10/10 Trampler for only seven mana that gains you life, I tend to get behind the idea. Doomgape is a weird one in my opinion, but when you’re determined to make your creatures die at some point or another, he’s a decent way to go about it. When you sacrifice your creatures, you always want to get something in return, and life is always a good reward in my opinion. At the very least, should you decide he’s not doing his job well enough, he can always sacrifice himself for a quick ten points of life, and I’m okay with that idea. Doomgape is an undoubtedly powerful beater, swinging for ten damage at the least, a reliant sacrifice outlet every turn, and a boon to your life total. I feel like his upkeep cost is a fair price to pay for everything he has to offer. If you’re playing Green and Black, consider tossing him in somewhere near the top of your curve. You might just be surprised.

 

  • Golgari Guildmage and Korozda Guildmage

I put these two in together because they work so well together. I mean think about it. You use Korozda Guildmage’s second ability, sacrifice a creature, get a bunch of tokens, use Golgari Guildmage’s first ability, sacrifice a token, get back the creature you initially sacrificed. In the late game, this is a great way to produce tokens in mass quantity. While I feel Golgari Guildmage falls short a bit when it comes to its overall power, I can’t deny that instant speed recursion is a powerful ability. When someone destroys your creature, you want to be able to get it back at the end of their turn, before you untap, so you can cast it again. You don’t want to have to wait to get it back. Korozda Guildmage on the other hand, is actually a wonderful uncommon. A perfect way to turn unnecessary creatures into an army, or to push a key creature through your opponent’s defenses. If you don’t want to play both, I would highly recommend one or the other. Both of these little guys have their uses, one for recursion, the other puts on the pressure. Take your pick, try them out, the final decision is yours.

 

  • Atogs, just…Atogs…

The reason why I don’t list any specific Atogs is because there are so many that could go on this list. The Atogs are interesting creatures. They take the idea of sacrifices to another level, allowing you to sacrifice not only permanents, but cards in your graveyard, card advantage, and even turns. Primarily found on the plane of Dominaria, Atogs are creatures known for their insatiable appetite for various substances. Their diets differ from sub-species to sub-species, feeding on things like artifacts, creatures, corpses, enchantments, terrain, and even time itself. The Subtype Atog makes the list because of their ability to find homes in almost any deck.

Sacrifices Artifacts:  AtogMegatogLithatogSarcatog

Sacrifices Enchantments: Auratog, Phantatog, Thaumatog

Sacrifices Lands: Foratog, Lithatog, Thaumatog

Sacrifices your Graveyard: Necratog, Psychatog, Sarcatog

Sacrifices your Hand: Phantatog, Psychatog

And then there are your Atogs unlike any others. Chronatog has an insatiable appetite for clocks, watches, sundials…wait, no, sorry. He just eats time. I’m not sure how sacrificing a turn could work out in your favor, especially if you’re only getting an extra three damage out of the deal, but if you’re playing infinite turn combo, he could work out fine. Who cares if you have to sacrifice one turn if you’re planning on taking all of the turns for the rest of the game? Atogatog is cannibalistic, seeking to eat other Atogs to increase his strength. Somewhat disturbing, but fun nonetheless. Atogatog is also a Legendary Creature, so why not play them all? Tribal Atogs seems like a blast.

 

OH NO! WHERE’D ALL MY COLORS GO?!

 

When it comes to the colorless sacrifice outlets, there’s somewhat of a loose theme to the cards. A lot of them have the word “Altar” in their name, which makes sense I guess. You can’t have a proper sacrifice without an altar. I should know. I have one in my basement…

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. These cards fit into any deck you want. Their lack of a color identity allows them to see play anywhere, and generally their mana cost is low, making them efficient. They never feel bulky or slow, and they generally facilitate most strategies. And the nominees are:

 

  • Altar of Dementia

Mill is generally an underwhelming strategy in Commander, not impossible, but more difficult than in any constructed format due to the increased deck size and popularity of Eldrazi and Colossi. However, Altar of Dementia doesn’t have to be played in Mill strategies alone. This card has a variety of uses, allowing you to keep opponents from drawing specific cards and shut down scry, filling your opponents graveyards for reanimation spells, filling your own graveyard for Living Death or Living End, and paired with cards like Leyline of the Void or Rest In Peace, you can easily get rid of your opponents threats for good. Perfect for Mill, perfect for Reanimator, perfect for Control. Overall, this altar is just a good card.

 

  • Ashnod's Altar

Ashnod’s Altar, generally played in creature heavy decks and decks revolving around tokens, has become somewhat of a “hate magnet” in my local meta. Unless you can use it immediately to combo off, most people will destroy it as soon as possible. I don’t see this as a reason not to play the card, I see it as a testament to the card’s power. That two colorless mana produced by sacrificing a creature doesn’t seem like a lot, until you realize that it facilitates playing seven and eight-drops in the early turns of the game. Playing a Kozilek, Ulamog, Darksteel Colossus, Blightsteel Colossus, or any one of the Praetors or Titans a few turns earlier than they would normally hit the table is a quick way to end a game, and when you can sacrifice a few little guys to cast these behemoths in your first few turns, you’re sitting pretty.

 

  • Phyrexian Altar

Similar to Ashnod’s Altar, mentioned above, Phyrexian Altar is both a mana producer and a combo machine. However, while Phyrexian Altar only produces one mana at a time, it does hold one advantage over Ashnod’s Altar. It produces Colored mana, allowing you to cast colored spells by sacrificing your creatures.

 

  • Carnage Altar and Culling Dais

We all like drawing cards, we all like being able to draw cards when we normally could not, and card advantage is a key factor in whether or not you can win a game. If you run out of cards to play, you can’t do anything. Well, both Carnage Altar and Culling Dais work to prevent that from happening, though they have their key differences. Carnage Altar costs a bit more to activate, but allows the cards to be drawn immediately, which is better when digging for answers. If you don’t care about the card draw being immediate, then Culling Dais is the card for you, allowing you to draw multiple cards in one fell swoop if you so choose. However, Carnage Altar is a repeatable ability, Culling Dais is a single use effect. Both card only cost two mana, both require you to sacrifice creatures, both cost only colorless mana to activate. Try them both and figure out which better suits your play style.

 

  • Miren, the Moaning Well

In the white section, we mentioned a card called Worthy Cause. While speaking about that card, I mentioned Miren, the Moaning Well. As a land, this card can’t be countered, which is a huge plus, and instant speed life gain is a great tool to have in any deck. A great fallback in tight situations, Miren can find a spot in any deck’s land base.

 

LEADING THE CHARGE:

If you want to play a sacrifice-centered deck, you’ll obviously want a Commander who has synergy with the idea of your creatures dying. There are a lot of them, and they produce a multitude of effects. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

  • Ghave, Guru of Spores

Ghave is a token generator, a sacrifice outlet, and a pump spell all in one. Known for his ability to infinite combo, Ghave is a solid choice. He is White, Black, and Green, giving you access to some of the best sacrifice outlets in the game, and is by far one of the best Commanders to run your sacrifice effects around.

 

  • Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord

Another Green and Black Commander (there seems to be a theme here already), Jarad is a powerhouse, providing you with power whether your creatures are on the battlefield or in the graveyard. Jarad loves it when you sacrifice creatures, especially when you’re sacrificing them to him as they only make him more powerful when they’re dead. A great Commander to play with cards like Lord of Extinction and Nighthowler and all of the sacrifice effects you want.

 

  • Shattergang Brothers

My current Commander, and a powerful one at that. These brothers love sacrifices, and they use them to their advantage, clearing the board repeatedly. Play all of your sacrifice outlets and death triggers with these guys, and they’ll leave you laughing at your opponents.

 

  • Atogatog

Because Atogs. Thats it.

 

  • Brion Stoutarm

This guy is a blast, not the best general competitively speaking, but one of the most fun Commanders I’ve ever played. Sacrificing your creatures to throw them in your opponents faces is fantastic, and gaining life from it is just icing on the cake. Playing this guy alongside Bloodshot Cyclops, who I mentioned in my last article, was a ton of fun. Play big creatures and double damage effects for quick kills, but run your mana producing sac outlets and some smaller creatures to help get those big guys out there and in the air.

 

  • Ertai, the Corrupted

This guy is mean, quite possibly the epitome of control in my opinion, allowing you to counter spells at the price of a creature. Played with your typical black reanimation spells and creatures, this guy can control a game with his eyes closed. For this Commander, creatures and enchantments are just another Counterspell to add to your list.

 

  • Savra, Queen of the Golgari

Her name is quite fitting, Queen of a guild that thrive off  of death and its spoils. Continuously cycling your creatures into other resources, in her case life, and killing off your opponents creatures is her game. Paired with multicolored Golgari creatures and a sac outlet, Savra can essentially be another Grave Pact in your list.

 

  • Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter

Vish Kal is a Voltron General, attempting to kill off your opponents using his strength alone. And where does he find his strength? Unlike other Voltron Generals, Vish Kal doesn’t find his strength in the form of Equipment or Auras, he simply drains his power from other creatures. An efficient sacrifice outlet by himself, Vish Kal runs a deck that loves it’s death effects. Why simply sacrifice creatures to Vish Kal when you can sweeten the deal? This general is a heavy hitter, and a solid source of removal, turning his counters into kill spells.

 

 

In my next series of articles, which will partner with these, I’ll be covering some of the best creatures to run in order to feed into your outlets. You can’t have the power without the fuel, right? As always, thank you for reading. Leave a comment below and feel free to share with your friends. Your feedback is much appreciated.

 


 

Evan Erickson

Author: Evan Erickson

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