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Remember 1994, when Legendary creatures ruled kitchen tables everywhere? Not because they were especially powerful or efficient; it was because they had cool names.
Ramses Overdark, how is it I always come back to you? You’re an overcosted 4/3 creature at six mana. It must be your special ability. Yes that’s it. “Tap: Destroy target enchanted creature.” Wait, really?
I’ve built many Commander decks over the years, but few get as much regular game play as good ol’ Ramses. Make no mistake, he’s terrible. His ability nets 0 card advantage (sometimes worse), and he costs so much to cast you’ll probably age a few years each time you play the deck. So why then?
This is a nostalgia deck for me. Ramses was Bolas’s imperial assassin in Madara from thousands of years ago. His own agenda of deceit led to his demise, but his legend lives on.
I built this deck with theme in mind, as Ramses leads his own Assassin Guild. I’ve loosened my definition of what counts as an assassin to a broader mechanic of tapping to kill another creature, rather than restrictively limiting it just the creature type. (It’s hard to argue Mechanically speaking, Avatar of Woe or Visara aren’t assassins.). I’ve also expanded guild membership to rogues and thieves, to supplement my underworld cartel.
Special note: As I cling to my nostalgic roots, I made sure to include the original OG Asssassin. I distinctly remember that Royal Assassin was in my very first booster pack back in 1994. My friends were so jealous of me at the time, lol. Although I’ve upgraded to the JSS foil version, Royal Ass will always bring back the fondest of memories for me.
While I do feature Ramses’ ability, I try not to be a handcuffed by it. It’s acceptable, but It’s way too quirky to dedicate the entire deck to revolve around it. I limit my auras to self-recurring spells (Fools Demise) or death triggers (Shades Form) to try to get collateral value out of using this fringe ability. Dead Man’s Chest is an interesting way to gain card advantage.
Early versions of this deck (~2013) lacked reliable win conditions. Ramses typically lurked about, only interacting with the table in subtle ways. Growing impatient, I needed to find a way to end the game quicker. As I brainstormed options, I implemented poison as the classic assassin’s tool, to strike and kill with surprising lethality. The amount of poison/infect has varied through the years of this deck, but poison remains as it’s hidden identity. Coincidentally, there are three auras that grant infect, to add cross synergy with this theme.
With the density of enchantments, it makes sense to synergize with constellation effects. Blightcaster and Doomwake Giant offer the best value. Screams from Within can be a clever, one-sided wrath with Doomwake if cast in the correct order, which makes piloting the deck very sneaky.
This deck isn’t Tier 1, and it never will be (I’m looking at you, Wall of Putrid Flesh). Regardless, I try to embrace its theme, and laugh as this terrible Commander occasionally steals a victory.
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