This week we’re covering the new Universes Beyond Commander release for Magic: the Gathering, which combines two of our favorite games in the best way. Today we’re talking about the new cards in the Necron deck.
Necron Dynasties is a mono-black deck, focusing on artifacts and graveyard interactions. The flavor fits extremely well with the ‘just won’t die’ lore around the Necrons, and both of these avenues are very powerful.
Returning Mechanic: Unearth
Our second deck without a new mechanic, the Necrons appropriately drag their way up from underneath the surface of their tomb worlds with Unearth. Unearth lets you recur the creature from your graveyard one last time, as it has the downside that if it would leave the battlefield or at the end of the turn, it’s exiled. Since the deck wants to be playing with reanimation this means there is a bit of tension in the deck but it’s a solid ability.
Szarekh, the Silent King
BPhillipYork: This guy is the commander, I guess, whatever. His ability is cool, it really depends on how many cards there are that use the graveyard as a payoff in the deck. If you’re going to use it to reanimate some enormous fatty, that’s tempting.
FromTheShire: Fortunately the Silent King is not as wildly powerful as he is on the tabletop, although considering that he could maybe have used a little punch up. That being said, with the amount of cards you’re going to dump into your graveyard, this is some card selection, and the fact he flies upgrades his attack trigger since you should generally be able to safely trigger it without dying.
Imotekh the Stormlord
BPhillipYork: So this is strong. It’s not so much the “giving +2/+2 and menace” so much as it is, “whenever one or more artifact cards leave your graveyard, create TWO 2/2 black Necron Warrior artifact creature tokens. That has enormous potential. There is an existing group of artifact creatures that recur themselves or each in groups, getting them into your yard isn’t that difficult. Once you have the right combination of them, if you can line up an altar to keep sacrificing them and keep getting Necron warriors, you can just keep generating ETB triggers and death triggers and sacrifice triggers and leaves graveyard triggers. So, really game-ending combo potential right out the box, really easy to get to the place where you are generating value each time you iterate. I would say this is the “real commander” of the deck, it’s certainly the one I would default to.
FromTheShire: The buff and evasion are nice riders, but you’re here for the tokens. The deck has a bunch of ways to recur artifacts, and making two tokens per instance is very, very nice. Artifacts as a whole are very powerful and have some fun shenanigans you can pull as well, depending on how far out of 40k and into pure Magic you want to tweak the deck.
Anrakyr the Traveller
BPhillipYork: This is an interesting ability, you could use it with Unmarked Grave and Entomb (or Buried Alive) to get back artifacts. His casting cost is only 1 colored mana, and generating a ton of colorless mana often isn’t very hard, so this could be a way to turbo something out that you really want. I would run this as commander over Szarekh any day.
FromTheShire: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, cheating costs is powerful and using your life as a resource is great. Being able to cast from your graveyard is excellent since black has a very difficult time getting artifacts back unless they are creatures. No built in evasion so you have to be a little more selective with your attacks to keep him alive but you’ll still be thrilled to have him out.
BPhillipYork: Turning things into artifacts is potentially really dangerous, and it’s one-sided which gives you certain options. It also lets you use artifact tutors and reduce cost of artifacts, all of which are potentially really big. This seems like it could see a lot of play out side of Necron decks.
FromTheShire: I haven’t done a count but I don’t think there are a ton of creatures in this deck that aren’t already artifacts, but the utility is nice and grows as you swap things out. The second ability is a really nice way to flood the board with Warriors as an added bonus for doing what you wanted to anyway.
BPhillipYork: Pretty strong, can sacrifice token artifacts for card draw, which can be quite useful.
FromTheShire: Great way to turn all of the Warrior tokens you’re churning out into card draw, and you can unearth it in an emergency.
BPhillipYork: This is really solid for looping and using value-generating creatures, like Solemn Simulacrum. Sort of hilarious loop where you use this in conjunction with Chronomancer to sacrifice and recur artifacts and net card draw off it and ETBs and deaths and artifact entering and those are a lot of potential triggers.
FromTheShire: Solid piece of protection for your most important creature, or for allowing you to sac real cards to Chronomancer and get them back.
BPhillipYork: Solid way to get something out and sacrifice creatures when you need them to die for various reasons, also to get out big expensive artifacts or creatures to pull off a combo.
FromTheShire: Great source for big bursts of mana to power out something powerful, and for getting creatures into the graveyard so you can get them out again and keep the trigger train rolling.
Rocco Gest: Making him tap for the effect thankfully mitigates infinite combos you can achieve, but not by much. Technically Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal are on the table if you’re playing Dimir, but you’re probably doing something other than trying to make a tapping creature an infinite sac outlet with that. That being said I like him a lot for my Tymaret, the Murder King deck to abuse Gravecrawler a little more.
Lokhust Heavy Destroyer
BPhillipYork: Well another everyone sacrifices a creature is a valuable addition, this one is a bit pricier but it’s a 3/2 flier with unearth which is a viable double dip, though at 8 mana, that’s a lot.
FromTheShire: Helps control the board and lets you put something of your choice in your graveyard to recur, very solid.
BPhillipYork: This could be a way to recover from a board wipe or something like that, but it feels pretty clunky. You’d need to hang on to this in your hand, then play it after the wipe, then use it, paying 7 mana to then one turn later start recasting your legendaries, which is pretty slow recover.
FromTheShire: It’s nice that this is just a blanket return, not a ‘that died this turn’ or anything. Not particularly splashy but it fits the flavor well and you’ll be happy to see it late game.
BPhillipYork: 5 mana, but flash and destroys a creature and makes someone mill. If you’re milling and reanimating that’s a fairly decent ETB, but the cost is pretty high.
FromTheShire: A little pricey but Ravenous Chupacabra is a very solid creature, and this has the benefit of having a larger body, flash, and letting you fuel your graveyard. Worth the extra mana.
BPhillipYork: This is nice in that you can hold back your creatures then tap down to cause some life loss before your turn, then instantly untap, but if that is your strategy then you’d want to create a lot of small artifacts, tokens, token creatures, treasures. This deck doesn’t seem that geared towards this.
FromTheShire: You’re probably not going to get a MASSIVE hit off of this stock, but you could easily be doing this for 5-6 regularly. The mana investment combined with only being target opponent means it’s not outstanding though it’s solid for dealing damage through board stalls which do happen with precons.
Out of the Tombs
BPhillipYork: There’s some shenanigans to be had with this card, filling your yard can be good, and the auto-recursion is neat, eon counters are also used by Magosi, the Waterveil, which is sort of a cut-rate Time Vault, but you could set this up so you keep taking turns, milling out your deck, until you’re exiled it all and then return Thassa’s Oracle and win the game. Other than that it’s a solid way to mill out most of your deck if a game goes long, so you can access those cards.
FromTheShire: Extremely thematic and fun, and at some point I am going to get extremely blown out by a Krosan Grip trying to do nonsense with it.
Rocco Gest: This is a cool fun way to abuse an empty deck without playing Jace, Wielder of Mysteries or Laboratory Maniac. Will most people use it for this purpose? Probably not, but it’s cool that it’s here.
BPhillipYork: This definitely wants to be bouncing in and out of your graveyard, generating triggers. At 5 for a 3/2 you basically only want to be reanimating this, or having it flow through play with something like Sneak Attack.
FromTheShire: 5 mana for 7 power across 3 bodies isn’t bad, especially with the uses you have for the tokens. Definitely a good reanimation target.
Shard of the Nightbringer
BPhillipYork: Well that’s definitely a lot of life. Causing someone to lose 15-20 life on average and gain that much is a big swing. But for 8 mana, you end up with an 8/8 flier. If have some way to cheat this out, maybe, but this one isn’t even an artifact (which makes sense, flavor-wise).
FromTheShire: Solid fuck you in particular piece, and once someone drops from 40 to 20 in a moment, an 8 power flyer becomes a serious problem.
Shard of the Void Dragon
BPhillipYork: Uh this thing is fairly brutal. It’s another Archon of Cruelty, just a creature that will cause absolute havoc if it is allowed to sit on the board and attack. The fact it will keep getting even bigger, with built-in evasion is fairly scary. Since it doesn’t rely on a cast trigger it’s a perfect cheat-out target, either reanimating or sneaking or cloning from the yard.
FromTheShire: Obligatory That Art Though because damn. A big flying beater that grows pretty quickly as you progress your game plan that also does a Sheoldred, Whispering One impression is pretty heinous.
BPhillipYork: Giving out evasion is fairly useful and pumping power is also useful, 3 for a 3/2 with menace that gives menace and +1/+0 is pretty all-around solid but not too showy of a card. Unearth is a nice bonus on top of that.
FromTheShire: Another solid example of a Lord buff, both in terms of Magic and 40k, plus it gives menace on top of it which is very nice. Can be unearthed late game too to screw up blocking math and get you through to close out the game.
BPhillipYork: This is really good, you just want to cheat this out, use it to reanimate, and kill it somehow and reanimate it again. It costs 7 so you can’t loop it to reanimate itself which is too bad, but even so bringing back a bunch of artifact creatures is potentially a big deal, especially when there are a bunch of 0-cost artifact creatures.
FromTheShire: So this is basically a famously fair Protean Hulk that is limited to your graveyard, and if you can’t find something dumb to do with that you’re not really trying.
Rocco Gest: So this plus Karmic Guide plus Biotransference plus Viscera Seer (added bonus of scrying cards you don’t want to mill to the bottom) is a neat way to mill your whole deck, or at least mill until you reanimate something other than Karmic Guide. I’m slowly reconsidering buying this deck.
The War in Heaven
BPhillipYork: At 6 mana this is okay, the immediate payoff of draw 3 lose 3 life is okay, but compare this to Bolas’ Citadel. Even so returning 3 creatures with net mana value of 8 or less is pretty solid for a part 3. I have an Abzan enchantress reanimator saga deck this will slot really nicely into. Kind of niche, but fun.
FromTheShire: In the precon this is a solid little value piece. If you start bulking the deck out I’m not convinced it stays, in large part due to suffering from the semi-longstanding issue of being a Saga, which are generally not good enough for Commander.
Their Name Is Death
BPhillipYork: This is an interesting board clear, possibly a one-sided or mostly one-sided board wipe, which is often dangerous. I can see this card being played outside of the 40k decks, but 6 mana is a lot when there are a ton of 4-mana wraths running around.
Their Number Is Legion
BPhillipYork: Cool card, and nice that it fits nicely into the mill strategy, really nice that you won’t regret this getting dumped into your yard. BBBB + x is a lot of mana, a lot of black mana too, though generating maybe 4-5 artifact creature tokens is potentially really swingy.
FromTheShire: A lot of the X spells creature token cards are at this rate or require XX in their cost, and this gains you a bunch of life on top of it which is great as a rider. You’d always prefer it was an instant not a sorcery, but being able to cast it from your graveyard helps a lot, especially with as much self milling as you’re going to be doing.
BPhillipYork: This is interesting, but at 6 cost it feels like too much. Yes, you could be skimming around forcing sacrifices, but generally it’s only going to do an additional couple or few damage, or else the player you hit will just sacrifice a chump creature.
FromTheShire: You want to be looking for the person with half a dozen creatures or so to get your value here – if they only have one Voltron dude they’ll just take one and move on, and if they’re going wide with tokens, well what does it matter if they lose one. Giving your opponent the choice rarely works out well for the playability of cards like this.
Trazyn the Infinite
BPhillipYork: So this is a really nice way to be okay when you mill useful artifacts into your graveyard. Bolas’ Citadel would be the big one I would think of offhand. You could also use this with Asmodeus the Archfiend and the card that turns all your creatures into artifacts everywhere for a BBB draw 7.
FromTheShire: More often than not in this deck this is going to be a nice value piece rather than an Necrotic Ooze style wincon since you’re limited to black, but it’s a really fun and good value piece.
Rocco Gest: More interactable than Mairsil the Pretender and easier to make actually function too.
BPhillipYork: A nice way to target someone for board damage, but this has potential to be dangerous for letting someone who needs combat triggers for a payoff swing through on your dime as it were.
FromTheShire: Very fun political piece to both get your damage through and incentivize other players to attack your target. Really useful when the table agrees that that one guy definitely needs to die right now before he combos off and kills you all.
Canoptek Scarab Swarm
BPhillipYork: This could potentially exile a lot of things, especially if your pod plays fetch lands, which could turn this into an exile a yard with a real payoff, there’s a lot you can do with a horde of artifact creatures.
FromTheShire: Every commander deck should have at least on or two pieces of graveyard hate simply because it’s dangerous not to, and this not only covers you but it also gives you a bunch of useful tokens, and it can be reanimated to do it over and over. Really nice.
BPhillipYork: This is really cool. There’s recursion loops you can run with some of the artifact creatures that have triggers returning themselves or other artifacts, with those and cost reduction or various things this is a way to draw out your deck. It’s also just solid, solid card draw and a 4/4 flyer on top of it. Obviously, it’s a bit pricy at 5, but colorless mana is cheap. Also confusing to have a flying spider, so many spiders have reach in Magic, it’s practically baked in.
FromTheShire: Outstanding value engine even before you start whipping stuff in and out of your graveyard. Once you do you can easily be drawing multiple extra cards per turn, and it’s a solid flyer on top of it all.
Canoptek Tomb Sentinel
BPhillipYork: This is fairly brutal. You see Meteor Golem around sometimes, this thing is easier to cast and it exiles instead of destroying, it is a conditional trigger, obviously. The same artifact recursion loops are available with this bad boy, as well as reanimating creatures. Really solid for “a thing”.
FromTheShire: You’re already going to be whipping stuff in and out of your graveyard as fast as you can, so having an exile for not just a creature but any nonland permanent is outstanding.
BPhillipYork: This is a really interesting card. Unblockable in and of itself is useful, and the ability to sacrifice it to ramp means you could use it to fill out your deck’s resources. In decks that care about lots of mana, swinging through, or getting tons of specific basic lands out (probably to power a Cabal Coffers) this is a solid option.
FromTheShire: In a non-green deck you could easily play this just for the one time value, in this deck where you’re going to be reanimating it it’s even better.
Rocco Gest: Oh cool! White ramp!
Convergence of Dominion
BPhillipYork: There’s an interesting sideline developing in cards that reduce in graveyard costs and allow you to pay for those costs, which makes it easier and easier to set up loops. Also I really like the art.
FromTheShire: Very specific piece, good nonetheless. The mill isn’t badly priced and is a good sink for excess mana.
BPhillipYork: Hexproof is an all-around solid ability, giving it to artifact creatures is pretty limited but now with multiple ways to turn everything into an artifact it is a pretty solid protective measure. 4 Mana for a 3/3 isn’t too bad for something like this, if it’s to protect combo pieces.
FromTheShire: Flavorful as hell, extremely good ability, solid body, love everything about it.
Rocco Gest: This feels pretty good from a flavor perspective being that in 40k these bucket chickens protect Crypteks from being shot at from across the map. The ability is great. For 4 mana you really can’t complain.
BPhillipYork: In conjunction with things like Convergence of Dominion and a ton of mill this could be absolutely bonkers for just slamming out your whole graveyard in one go and bum-rushing someone (everyone) which is a really awesome win condition. 4 for a 3/3 flyer with crew 2 is pretty weak aside from that ability, but that ability is so swingy it has a lot of potential.
FromTheShire: I think most of the time you’re not going be using the unearth because you want stuff to stick around to be reanimated, but when it’s go time this is supremely powerful.
BPhillipYork: Love it. I think the vehicles that WotC incorporated into this set are big brutal things. A crew 4 7/7 with flying and indestructible is really cool. I like how it mirrors the toughness of vehicles in the 40k universe, and obviously it doesn’t match it exactly, it’s a solid attempt.
FromTheShire: Seems very appropriate for this iconic superheavy to be a indestructible flying beast that also pops out a steady stream of Warriors. No notes.
BPhillipYork: Neat. Equip 4 is a lot, but if you have a creature with really solid ETB or death effects or both, and a variety of ways of recurring it, or the ability to make a ton of mana this could be a decent way to keep ramping things up. Certainly can be combined with Skullclamp and altars for some true shenanigans.
FromTheShire: Brings me back to Nim Deathmantle in a way. Lifelink is always a nice bonus and making your most important creature extremely hard to kill is very solid.
Sceptre of Eternal Glory
BPhillipYork: At 3 mana, this would be really good. At 4 it’s a bit more questionable. For mono-color decks, I can see the point, especially black. Black especially tends to have higher amounts of color pips, but that is a fairly limited case. If your deck is full of haymakers that cost 6+ mana, this is a way to get over that threshold.
FromTheShire: Especially in this deck it’s pretty damn solid, and you will almost always be tapping for 3, which is a great piece of ramp into your more expensive stuff.
BPhillipYork: ETB lands are a really tough sell. There’s potential for something like this, if you have some way to mill out your deck and win with it I could see it (something like a loop to mill yourself into Thassa’s Oracle maybe using Angel’s Grace) that’s a lot of steps to go through though, for a land that enters tapped and sacrifices itself to do it’s thing.
FromTheShire: It’s a pretty expensive way to bring back a single creature, but it’s on a land so that ups the usefulness for sure,
BPhillipYork: Mill strategies rely on cards like this to just go through the deck, but there are so many solid mill cards by this point that this probably only ticks boxes for you in specific mill/recursion/artifact creature set ups.
FromTheShire: Not exciting but it’s the kind of card you need to make your engine run, and the lifelink is nice.
BPhillipYork: Well I think this ability is really cool. But a mostly unblockable 6/6 is kind of blah. 12 mana to make someone lose 12 life? Not meaningful really.
FromTheShire: Even in Commander, 6 damage per turn adds up faster than you would think, and nobody is ever blocking this.
BPhillipYork: Grabbing a swamp is fine, especially if you’re looping recursion and need a lot of swamps to do it. Otherwise, compare this to Solemn Simulacrum, which is better in multiple ways, and costs the same, and still doesn’t see so much play.
FromTheShire: I wish this actually ramped instead of just fetching. That being said, making sure you hit your land drops consistently is really nice, and you’re already set up to recur it.
BPhillipYork: Well, this is a win condition card. 2 mana for this trigger is totally fine, this is another death trigger and this, interestingly and uniquely enough triggers off exile as well, which is pretty cool (could also be used with your commander in some weird way, or say Food Chain and Eternal Scourge)
FromTheShire: Now we’re talking. Especially if you combine it with Marionette Master this really puts the hurt on people.
Rocco Gest: Krark Clan Ironworks sends its regards.
BPhillipYork: It’s like a cool ability, and fun, and gets big, probably, or lets you recover from a board wipe in some ways, but in a 4-player format this doesn’t really cut it. The art is extremely on point, and reminiscent of Terminator.
FromTheShire: Kind of a neat beater to drop after a board wipe.
BPhillipYork: This costs too much mana and it’s cut from the deck.
FromTheShire: Deathtouch and first strike is a great combo but you need to do some work to make it threatening.
BPhillipYork: Amazing ETB from grave trigger, really solid for recursion, nice that it has it’s own built-in unearth to let you grab it in the case of a mill. Decent as semi-filler for a deck that needs ways to cycle through looking for key cards.
FromTheShire: This is some sick card draw and one of your best reanimation targets.
BPhillipYork: I like the art. Making a Necron is cool, to crew itself, I guess. For a 3/1 flyer that… doesn’t really do much.
FromTheShire: Iconic and decent little flyer but yeah this is mostly here because it’s thematic.
Next Time: Forces of the Imperium
That wraps up our look at the third of the crossover Warhammer 40k decks. Join us next time as we review the Imperium themed deck, picking out our favorites, and talking about the future build-arounds. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.