Heroic Intervention - Michael Myers, the Murder King
October 30th by Flynn Davies
"It's Halloween, everyone's entitled to a good scare."
- Lee Bracket to Laurie Strode
Hello, and welcome to Heroic Intervention, a biweekly article series aiming to take a pop culture character and turn them into a commander deck. Once again, it is that time of year where ghosts, ghouls, and the things that go bump in the night come out to play with us mortals. Yes, Halloween is less than a week away and it’s time to get in the festive mood! Every year I like to get into the Halloween spirit, either by eating far too much candy while dressed up as a creature of the night or by watching a marathon of bad scary movies. However, this year I wanted to get into the holiday spirit by building a deck themed around one of my favourite horror movie characters. I give you Michael Myers, the Murder King!
Tymaret, the Murder King is a legendary creature from the original Theros set which I have always been fond of, particularly because of the art. Tymaret’s activated abilities make him a powerful commander for an aristocrats style deck as well as an enabler of game winning combos if we can generate enough mana. In this deck, Tymaret is our Michael Myers. If you are unfamiliar with the character, Michael Myers is the primary antagonist in the Halloween film series. Michael Myers is a character of pure evil, murdering his older sister at the age of six. Fifteen years later, Myers breaks out of his psychiatric hospital, and returns to his hometown on Halloween night to continue his murdering spree. John Carpenter, the characters creator, has described Myers as "almost a supernatural force—a force of nature. An evil force that's loose," a force that is "unkillable.” With all this in mind, the parallels between Tymaret and Michael Myers were obvious. Plus, who can ignore both the characters fondness of masks!
Link to decklist:
Make 'Em Bleed
Our game plan for this deck is to overwhelm our opponents with our aggressive creatures and devilish combos or drain them out with our death triggers. So, for this deck to best function, we need creatures that can come out fast and grant bonuses when they die. Judith the Scourge Diva is a card that allows us to power up our other creatures by +1/+0 and when a nontoken creature we control dies, we can deal 1 damage to any target. This is amazing because the more damage we can deal to our opponents through combat and death triggers, the faster we can win the game. A card with a similar effect is Ayara, First of Locthwain which reads “Whenever Ayara, First of Locthwain or another black creature enters the battlefield under your control, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain one life. In addition to this we can also tap Ayara and sacrifice another black creature to Draw a card. This creature is amazing in the deck as it allows us to drain our opponent’s life whenever we play a creature, as well as having a built-in sacrifice outlet and card draw to help us refill our hand. I would also consider Anax, Hardened in the Forge is a possible diamond in the rough. If we’ll already be looking to sacrifice our own creatures, the ability to break through stalemates with a reliable stream of Satyr tokens is going to make a world of difference for the reach of this deck. Combine that with Purphoros, God of the Forge and we have a quick way to cut down our opponent’s life totals.
If our opponents are getting a little too far ahead in board presence, Fleshbag Marauder and Plaguecrafter are excellent group slug creatures, causing each player to sacrifice a creature (or planeswalker in the case of Plaguecrafter) when they enter the battlefield. Massacre Wurm also serves as a possible one-sided board wipe, giving creatures our opponents control -2/-2 until end of turn. In addition, Massacre Wurm reads “whenever a creature an opponent controls dies, that player loses 2 life”. This ability is amazing as naturally in a deck based around a fictional horror movie murderer, we’re planning to destroy a lot of our opponent’s creatures. Unmistakably, as we are running such a large number of fast and frightening creatures, for this deck to succeed we have to have an equally as powerful ramp and draw engine.
Tools of the Trade
For a deck in our colours, our choices for mana ramp and card draw are quite limited. Luckily for us, Michael Myers has never been afraid of using some equipment to get the job done. Phyrexian Altar is a colourless artifact for 3 and reads, “sacrifice a creature: Add one mana of any colour.” This works perfectly in our deck as whilst we can use it to generate mana, it also serves as a free sacrifice outlet for our creatures. In addition, this deck largely strives off Phyrexian Altar as it enables a handful of the evil combos within the deck (more on that later), so we want to protect it with everything we’ve got. Another great source of mana ramp within the deck is Bontu’s monument, which is a colourless artifact for 3 says “black creature spells you cast cost 1 less to cast. Whenever you cast a creature spell, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.” This ability is amazing as all but a few of our creatures have black in their colour identity, making them more affordable to cast whilst simultaneously draining our opponent’s life. Finally, we are running a handful of mana rocks to ramp us in this deck and ensure we are able to cast all our spells on curve. These cards include Mind Stone, Rakdos Signet, Commander’s Sphere, and Sol Ring.
Looking towards our tools for card draw, Skullclamp gives an equipped creature +1/-1 and whenever the equipped creature dies, we draw two cards. The equipment synergises perfectly in our deck, especially with our low toughness creatures that can be recurred from the graveyard as we can continuously bring them back and reequip them to draw more cards. If necessary, we are also able to sacrifice Commander’s Sphere and Mind Stone to draw a card. A final two cards to mention that allow us massive card draw in the deck are Midnight Reaper and Grim Haruspex which allow us to draw a card whenever a nontoken creature we control dies. Our final equipment in the deck doesn’t exactly relate to ramp or card draw, but it wouldn’t be a Michael Myers deck without his signature weapon. Rakdos Riteknife gives the equipped creature+1/+0 for each blood counter on Rakdos Riteknife and has “Tap, sacrifice a Creature: Put a blood counter on Rakdos Riteknife.” The tool also has added benefits for the cost of BR and sacrificing the equipment to make target player sacrifice a permanent for each blood counter on Rakdos Riteknife. Admittedly, this card is perhaps more of an inclusion for flavour over function however it stills provides a way to power up our creatures as well as having a built-in sacrifice outlet.
Back from the Dead
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of Michael Myers’ character is that he is a force seems to be virtually unkillable. Whether it be bullets, stab wounds or fire the boogieman always seems to come back to enact his revenge. Of course, the argument could be made that Michael Myers doesn’t die because he makes people money but whichever way you look at it, being able to come back from any injury equals profit so that’s what we’re going to do in this deck. While our commander Tymaret has built in recursion which allows us to avoid commander tax if we allow him to go to the graveyard, it is also important that we can recur our other creatures and continuously sacrifice them to maximise the effects of our death triggers. Bloodsoaked champion is a 2/1 Human Warrior for B that can’t block and reads “Raid – 1B: Return Bloodsoaked Champion from your graveyard to the battlefield. Activate this ability only if you attacked with a creature this turn.” Bloodghast is a similar creature that we can return from our graveyard to the battlefield whenever a land enters the battlefield under our control thanks to its landfall ability. At a minimum, with these creatures and our commander on the battlefield we can continue to fling them at our opponents using Tymaret’s ability just to bring them back from the graveyard and repeat the process. Some other notable creatures with built in recursion that we run in this deck are: Nether Traitor, Reassembling skeleton, Gravecrawler, and Squee, Goblin Nabob, all of which are relentless and everlasting threats to sacrifice as we please.
Parallel to these creatures is All Hallow’s Eve which is a sorcery spell and reads “exile All Hallow’s Eve with two scream counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, if All Hallow’s Eve is exiled with a scream counter on it, remove a scream counter from it. If there are no more scream counters on it, put it into your graveyard and each player returns all creature cards from their graveyard to the battlefield.” This card is amazing in both flavour and function, being able to bring all our creatures back from the graveyard. The clear downside of the card is that it also returns all our opponent’s creatures back to the battlefield. To try and counter this downside we can use Bojuka Bog and/or Rakdos Charm to exile our opponents’ graveyards. Or if that doesn’t work, we can just steal our opponents’ creatures and sacrifice them ourselves.
Evil as All Evil Does
At the core, Michael Myers is a being of pure evil, killing without hesitation or remorse. But it would be unfair to say the masked murderer isn’t one of horrors most inventive killers. Each character’s death in the franchise is a little different, and so I’ve decided to include theft as a sub-theme in the deck so we can steal our opponents creatures, using them to our advantage until we decide to sacrifice them in our own unique ways. Captivating Crew is a powerful creature in the deck that’s ability reads “3R: Gain control of target creature an opponent controls until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn.” While we can only activate this ability any time we could cast a sorcery, it allows us to take them most powerful creatures from our opponents side of the battlefield and swing in with them, and inevitably sacrifice them to our own engines. Kari Zev’s expertise is a sorcery spell for 1RR that allows us to gain control of target creature or vehicle until end of turn. Tin addition to this it reads “you may cast a card with converted mana cost 2 or less from your hand without paying its mana cost” which is is amazing as most of our spells our low to the ground. Mob Rule, a sorcery for 4RR, is perhaps the most powerful of all our theft cards, allowing us to choose between gaining control of all creatures with power 4 or greater until end of turn, or gaining control of all creatures with power 3 or less until end of turn. Even if we are in a position of vulnerability this card can outright win games, stealing all our opponents creatures and letting us swing in for lethal damage.
Trick or Treat
I think it’s safe to say Halloween is Michael Myer’s favourite holiday given it’s the one night of the year he gets all dressed up and goes out on the town. And of course, it wouldn’t be in good Halloween spirit unless we had a couple tricks up our sleeve. As previously mentioned, this deck’s real power comes from a few evil combos within the deck that we can use to torment our opponents and even win the game outright.
The first combo involves Gravecrawler and Diregraf Colossus in combination with Phyrexian Altar. Gravecrawler is a 2/1 Zombie for B that we can cast from our graveyard as long as we control another zombie and Diregraf Colossus is a 2/2 Zombie for 2B that reads “whenever you cast a Zombie spell, create a tapped 2/2 black Zombie creature token.” How this combo works is we can continuously sacrifice Gravecrawler to Phyrexian Altar and use the mana we generate to recast it from the graveyard because we control another Zombie. Not only will this give us an arbitrarily large amount of cast triggers, but each time we recast Gravecrawler from our graveyard we will trigger Diregraf Colossus’ ability and create a tapped 2/2 black Zombie creature token. From here we can create an endless amount of tapped Zombie tokens which we can then use in combination with Phyrexian Altar to create infinite mana. Following this closing the game is as simple as casting Tymaret and using his first ability to deal damage to all our opponents until we win.
The second combo is very similar and quite simple, the only difference being we are swapping out Diregraf Colossus for Plague Belcher. Plague Belcher is a 5/4 Zombie Beast for 2B and most importantly reads “Whenever another Zombie you control dies, each opponent loses one life.” By repeating the same process of continuously sacrificing Gravecrawler to Phyrexian altar and using the mana we generate to recast it from the graveyard, we will drain all our opponents life and in turn win the game.
The final trick I’ve included in the deck is perhaps the most evil of all but also the quickest route to victory. This combo generates infinite mana in our colours, entering the battlefield triggers, and leaving the battlefield triggers. The key pieces of this combo are Worldgorger dragon and any one of the three reanimate enchantments (Animate Dead, Dance of the Dead, Necromancy). Worldgorger Dragon is a 7/7 Dragon Nightmare with flying and trample that reads “When Worldgorger Dragon enters the battlefield, exile all other permanents you control. When Worldgorger Dragon leaves the battlefield, return the exiled cards to the battlefield under their owners control.” The reanimate enchantments allow us to enchant a creature in a graveyard and return it to the battlefield under our control for us long as we control the enchantments. As this is the scariest trick in our arsenal, its explanation can be quite the mouthful so I have broken it down into steps to follow below.
Have Buried Alive and any one of the three reanimate enchantments in your hand. Cast buried alive, burying Worldgorger Dragon, Gravecrawler and Reassembling Skeleton.
Cast the reanimate enchantment, targeting Worldgorger Dragon.
Worldgorger Dragon enters the battlefield, causing it to exile all other permanents we control. The reanimate enchantment gets exiled along with all our other permanents.
The reanimate enchantment's leaving the battlefield effect triggers sacrifing Worldgorger Dragon.
All permanents exiled with Worldgorger Dragon return to the battlefield. This includes the reanimate enchantment.
Target Worldgorger Dragon with the reanimate enchantment. Have this ability stay on the stack and in response, tap all lands we control and activate any abilities of permanents we control.
Let everything resolve.
Repeat steps 3-7.
Once we have repeated this process enough times, we can cast our commander Tymaret, and use his first ability and all the mana to repeatedly cast and sacrifice Gravecrawler and/or Reasssembling Skeleton to clear the table. Other cards in the deck such as impact tremors in play with this combo can also cut down life totals and let us quickly close the game.
"The darkest souls are not those who choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to break free from the abyss and move silently among us."
- Dr. Samuel Loomis
When researching some spooky commanders to build, there were so many options, but none of which had the flavour, affordability and power sneak that Tymaret, the Murder King offered. I really enjoyed creating this deck based around a character from one of my favourite horror movie franchises and want to thank you for reading my article. There are many ways to build around Tymaret, but this is the concept I think worked best for me. I would like to hear back from you! What did you think of my build? Was it on theme? Feel free to contact me @mtg.rapture on Instagram with your thoughts. That is all for this issue of Heroic Intervention. Join us again in two weeks for our next fusion of pop culture and commander. Happy Halloween everyone!