Rats, Rats, and more Rats

Those of you who follow the lunar calendar will know that we have recently entered a new cycle in the history of stars. That’s right, the Chinese New Year has come and gone, and the year of the rat is in full swing. To celebrate this event, Wizards of the coast put out a Secret Lair devoted to the small critters with some of the most adorable artwork I have ever seen.

As well as giving you great new art for Legendary Creatures like Marrow-Gnawer and Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni, it also gave us a reprint of Pack Rat and five copies of Rat Colony. If you were fortunate enough to get hold of a copy of this Secret Lair, you might be wondering what to do with these beautiful new cards that have worked their way into your collection.

Well, lucky for you, I have been working on my own tribal rat deck for Commander, and it uses all the cards in the set. So, I thought it would be a good idea to share the fruits of my labours with you all in the hope that it will inspire you to swarm your EDH play groups with a tidal wave of these furry critters.

To lead this motley crew, we will be using one of the reprinted legendaries from Secret Lair, Marrow-Gnawer. Coming with the in-built ability to give all your rats Fear, Marrow-Gnawer also has the added benefit of being able to dramatically increase the number of rats on our side of the board. This has the upside of increasing the playability of another rodent from the Secret Lair, Rat Colony.

Starting off as a simple 2/1 for two mana, this little pest can quickly get out of control thanks to Marrow-Gnawer‘s sacrifice ability. Teamed up with the fact that these critters are virtually unblockable depending on what your opponents are running, you can see how quickly you can potentially eliminate an opponent or two. What’s more, we can run any number of them in the deck. I settled on twenty-eight for my deck, which is slightly more then the five the Secret Lair givers you. But with this level of ridiculousness you will want to run at least this many.

Our deck doesn’t just rely on Rat Colony to win the day though. We have several other support creatures to help us claim victory. First of all, we have two “lords” in the form of Metallic Mimic and Adaptive Automaton, as well as some ‘rat matters’ support with Ogre Slumlord and Ratcatcher. We also run three addition rats with Pack Rat, Throat Slitter and Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni, all with unique skills. Next, we have some creature spells that also work as “tutors”, with both Sidisi, Undead Vizier and Razaketh, the Foulblooded. Finally, we have some solid black creatures in Crypt Ghast and Gray Merchant of Asphodel.

Since we are a tribal deck, we will want to help support our rats with some additional spells. Herald’s Horn not only allows us to cast our copies of Rat Colony for only a single black mana, but also can provide some card advantage when needed. Door of Destinies, Vanquisher’s Banner, Coat of Arms, and Obelisk of Urd all pump the majority of our creatures, making even our 1/1 Rat tokens a legitimate threat, and Bad Moon and Eldrazi Monument round off the suite.

Since a lot of our deck revolves around low-cost creatures, we don’t need to go overboard on the mana ramp, but a Sol Ring, Mind Stone, and Hedron Archive are always useful when our commander tax gets too high. We also run a little bit of recursion with Gravepurge and Death Denied, just in case some monster decides to wrath the board will all our furry friends in play.

Speaking of removal, we will want to run some of our own. Hero’s Downfall is a great single-target spell, while Kindred Dominance is a fantastic way to sweep the board of all non-rates. Black can sometime struggle with Artifacts and Enchantments however, so I decided to run Universal Solvent, Scour from Existence, and Nevinyrral’s Disk just to cover all bases. Lastly, while not removal in the traditional sense, Grave Pact works wonders at keeping less creature-heavy decks from mounting a significant assault on our life total.

Next, we have some card draw with both Skullclamp and Arguel’s Blood Fast. I also run a Mirage Mirror, because the only thing better than killing your opponent with a tidal wave of rats is to beat them up with a copy of their most powerful creature. The last non-land cards in the deck form a sort of combo win-con, but it’s not a guaranteed turn three finish so you shouldn’t lose any friends for playing it. The combo works as so:

Firstly, you play Carnival of Souls, followed by Bontu’s Monument. These two cards will allow you to play Rat Colony for a single black mana, draining your opponents for one and giving you another mana to do it all over again. We then cast a Secret Salvage, exiling a Rat Colony from our graveyard and getting all the others out of our deck. you then go to town and drain the table for all the life you can, finishing anyone who is left with a lethal attack next turn.

Finally, we move on to our mana base. Since we are a mono-coloured deck, we can get away with running a fair number of basic Swamps. Twenty-nine to be exact. The rest of our thirty-six lands are a combination of utility lands that fill niche roles. Barren Moor and Desert of the Glorified give us card draw when we are flooded with lands, while Reliquary Tower gives us an unlimited hand size. God ">Temple of the False God  is a nice budget “sol” land, while ">Ifnir Deadlands gives us some additional removal. Lastly, Ghost Quarter gives us an out to other players’ problem lands, and , Tomb of Yawgmoth">Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth allows us to use all our colourless-producing lands if we are lacking in Swamps.

Commander (1)

Creatures (39)
28 Rat Colony
Metallic Mimic
Adaptive Automaton
Ogre Slumlord
Pack Rat
Throat Slitter
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Razaketh, the Foulblooded
Crypt Ghast
Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Artifacts (14)
Sol Ring
Universal Solvent
Mind Stone
Mirage Mirror
Bontu's Monument
Hedron Archive
Herald's Horn
Door of Destinies
Nevinyrral's Disk
Vanquisher's Banner
Coat of Arms
Obelisk of Urd
Eldrazi Monument

Enchantments (3)
Bad Moon
Arguel's Blood Fast
Carnival of Souls

Instants (4)
Death Denied
Hero's Downfall
Scour from Existence

Sorceries  (2)
Secret Salvage
Kindred Dominance
Lands (36)
29 Swamp
Barren Moor
Desert of the Glorified
Reliquary Tower
Temple of the False God
Ifnir Deadlands
Ghost Quarter
Urbory, Tomb of Yawgmoth

And there you have it, my version of Rat Tribal for Commander. I have had a ton of fun building and testing the deck over the last few months, and now Secret Lair Rats is out in the world it seems it has never been a better time to let your furry side loose. But what do you think of the deck? Is it the kind of deck you want to play? Do you have some tweaks you would like to make? Why not let us know about it in the comments below. While you’re there you could like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.

We also have a Patreon so if you want to support future content for the site consider becoming one of our Patrons. Just $1 a month would do so much to help us create more of the content you enjoy. If you have any ideas for new and exciting decks you want me to look at you can contact me directly @MTGTengu over on Twitter. But until next time remember no matter the game you play or where you play it, Good Luck and Have Fun.

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