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Friday, October 20, 2017

Set Review Commander 2015 – Meren of Clan Nel Toth

July 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Hello fellow EDH-ers. Welcome back to the Commander 2015 Commander review as we move into halfway through the Commanders. Today we will be looking at the Golgari color combination of the set. Today featured Commander is also the Experience Commander for the Golgari color. An individual who found her true calling after her near-death experience.

 

From Betrayal to Vengeance

Jund

Staying alive every other day.

 

Before we begin our review of Meren let us look at the brief introduction of her past. Meren early life started with her in the Jund shard of Alara, born in the clan of Nel Toth. Like all Shaman apprentices of the clan, in order to show that they can be a Shaman proper, she and the others will be forced to drink a potion called Dreamfire Draught and face an Elemental. The point of the initiation rite was not to defeat the Elemental but rather to connect with it instead, proof to show that the apprentices can connect with the world. During Meren’s time in the clan, she was then trained under a village elder known as Kael.

 

On her initiation, Meren was poisoned by the Dreamfire Draught and caught by delirium and searing pain as the elders raised a rock Elemental for her to face. For unknown reasons at that moment, she was not able to connect with the Elemental and was forced into defense as the poison ate away at her. However unlike most apprentices who only tamed the Elemental, she was eventually able to best the Creature. While the others merely use the surge of power or the heartbeat of the world to tame the Elemental, she unknowingly drew upon the darkness between the beats and outright destroyed the Elemental with what she would eventually learn to be necromancy.

Rockslide Elemental

Feeling the Land.

 

After her triumph ordeal, she was deemed dangerous and evil after the elders watched in horror when she collapsed and destroyed the Creature entirely. While some believed her magic to be a sign of great power, others including her mentor Kael believed it to be dark magic and that she must be slain. The elder circle eventually reached a compromise of not killing Meren but let her fight the Dreamfire Draught which they thought to be guaranteed death. However Meren managed to survive it and left clan Nel Toth finding her place on a patch corrupted by the Grixis shard.

 

Drawing upon the power she used before, Meren felt at home in Grixis, improving her arts of Necromancy there in order to exact vengeance

With her brief history done, let’s have a look at the stats of the Shaman turned necromancer.

Meren of Clan Nel Toth

Card Name: Meren of Clan Nel Toth

CMC: 2BG

Types: Legendary Creature – Human Shaman

Card Text: Whenever another creature you control dies, you get an experience counter.

At the beginning of your end step, choose target creature card in your graveyard. If that card’s converted mana cost is less than or equal to the number of experience counters you have, return it to the battlefield. Otherwise, put it into your hand.

P/T: 3/4

 

As the Experience Commander of Golgari, I feel that Meren truly embraced the aspects of the color combination very well. Feeding you experience counters as other Creatures die among your ranks and bringing them back at the end of your end step. I like how she brings back Creature to your hand at first and then directly to the battlefield as your experience counters grow more; like her process of growing stronger as a necromancer. Her ability is no doubt a strong one even at the starting stage. This is because regardless of how, you will still get a Creature back from the graveyard. For starters, you can return the lower cc Creatures at first to cast them again. These lower cc Creatures can die to feed you with more experience counters and then eventually they will be return to the battlefield directly. The best part of Meren ability is that it triggers at the end step. This means that she is actively helping you the same turn she hits the battlefield. She just has to stay till the end step for you to reap the rewards she has to offer. Her presence on the battlefield is definitely a major threat to your opponents the longer she stays on the battlefield. What makes this even more dangerous or better is that the experience counters do not go away even when she dies. Also her being in Golgari colors means you have access to a lot of reanimation and retrieval methods to bring her back should you leave her in the graveyard instead of back to the Command Zone. Her low cc is also affordable for at least a few casting from the Command Zone. So overall, Meren is a very good Commander choice and also a superb support Creature for reanimation decks.

Animate Dead

“The Dead is a resource, the graveyard is a gold mine. If you look hard enough.”

 

The Living, the Dead and the In-between

One way to abuse at Meren’s abilities is to use Creatures which help your board development. Usually these Creatures are low to middle cc and will require returning to the hand for recasting the first few times you “reanimate” them with Meren. That is just temporary as they can be return to the battlefield straightaway very fast due to their relatively low cc. From there, it will be a process of sacrificing them and recasting them till your experience counters exceed their cc and you can move on to bigger cc Creatures. Below are some examples of such Creatures which you can consider to use to develop your board of advantage.

Name Abilities
Ainok Guide / Borderland Ranger / Civic Wayfinder / Farhaven Elf / Gatecreeper Vine / Loam Larva / Nissa, Vastwood Seer / Ondu Giant / Quirion Trailblazer / Silverglade Elemental / Sylvan Ranger / Treefolk Harbinger / Ulvenwald Hydra / Wood Elves / Yavimaya Dryad Develop your mana base by tutoring for Lands.
Brutalizer Exarch Tutor for Creature or whack down opponent’s board.
Bottle Gnomes / Brindle Boar / Disciple of Griselbrand / Ravenous Baloth Creatures with means of sacrifice for life gains. Builds up experience counters and keeps you alive at the same time.
Cartographer / Corpse Cur / Deadwood Treefolk / Entomber Exarch / Eternal Witness / Gravedigger / Greenwarden of Murasa / Stoic Builder / Titania, Protector of Argoth ETB retrievers which can return card of specific things to everything from the graveyard.
Carven Caryatid Good card draw. Good defense Creature which can kill the smaller attackers and can also be thrown in front of the bigger ones and might still survive it due to its high toughness.
Elvish Visionary / Wall of Blossoms Low cc card draw.
Fierce Empath Tutor for the bigger and usually finisher Creature.
Grave Sifter / Skullwinder Political tools. These retrievers retrieve things from the graveyard at the same time earning you some allies.
Multani’s Acolyte Card draw with Echo upkeep as means of self-sacrifice for building up Experience counters.
Mwonvuli Beast Tracker Tutor for Creature with your desired ability of either Deathtouch, Hexproof, Reach, or Trample.
Rune-Scarred Demon Late game tutor for anything.
Sakura-Tribe Elder Develop your mana base and has self-sacrifice ability to feed you Experience counters.
Sidisi, Undead Vizier Mid game play. Uses Exploit to tutor for anything and build Experience counters.
Woodland Bellower Mid game tutor for 3cc nonlegendary Green Creature.
Yavimaya Granger Land tutor with Echo upkeep as means of self-sacrifice for building up Experience counters.

 

Sidisi, Undead Vizier

Anything you need, for a cost.

 

Opposite to board development is destroying the board. Meren recurring ability can also be use on Creatures with ETB or LTB triggers which destroy things or disrupt your opponents. Treat it as a form of threat neutralizing or outright resource denial; either way Meren can be very devastating if left unchecked, outright controlling everyone in the game. Below are some such Creatures which you can consider for use.

Abyssal Horror / Brutal Nightstalker / Cackling Fiend / Corrupt Court Official / Earsplitting Rats / Entomber Exarch / Hag Hedge-Mage / Liliana’s Specter / Ravenous Rats / Rotting Rats / Sibsig Icebreakers / Thieving Sprite Hand disruption.
Acidic Slime / World Breaker The Slime is still in my opinion arguably the most all-round MVP 187 Creature till date with its versatile targets. World Breaker might had top the Slime if not for its higher cc; which is reasonable as World Breaker exiles its target instead of destroy it and has its own recurring ability.
Ally (Bala Ged Thief / Hagra Diabolist / Kalastria Healer / Turntimber Ranger) Meren’s recurring ability can be used to recur the desirable Ally which you see fits.
Bane of Progress Anti all Artifacts and Enchantments. Double edge blade as this also take out your sacrificial outlets for Meren.
Big Game Hunter Destroy the big guns on the battlefield.
Bone Shredder / Dakmor Lancer / Dark Hatchling / Nekrataal / Overseer of the Damned / Shadowborn Demon / Shriekmaw Creature removal with legs and wings.
Brutalizer Exarch / Nessian Demolok / Terastodon / Woodfall Primus NonCreature permanent threats removal.
Conclave Naturalists / Indrik Stomphowler / Reclamation Sage Naturalize with legs.
Gilt-Leaf Winnower / Halo Hunter / Stingerfling Spider Specific Creature removal.
Spore Frog Anti combat damage with self-sacrifice.
Uktabi Orangutan / Viridian Corrupter / Viridian Shaman Artifact removal with legs.

 

World Breaker

“Le World si moi Oyster~~”

 

With all that being said, Meren is only as strong as the amount of experience counters you have. If you do not have any experience counters on you, Meren is just a retriever at your every end step. Not saying that it is a bad thing but it creates sort of a delayed effect of having to cast the returned Creature again as oppose to having the Creature return directly onto the battlefield; since the Creature is return to your hand at your end step, you will have wait for your turn to come by before you can cast it again. Meren is just a reanimintor enabler in this and has no means of ways by herself to earn you the experience counters. Many who had played Meren will know to include sacrificial outlets to help build up the experience counters. Speaking of that I like to bring to attention of the below Creatures which benefits you when they die. These Creatures are actually redesigned Creatures to make them worked like their old counterpart before combat damage was revised to not use the stack. In the old ruling, combat damage used the stack too. This allowed Creatures like Mogg Fanatic to be able to deal its combat damage and then be sacrificed to deal its ability damage. Now combat damage is by itself a step and cannot be interact when dealing thus having to choose whether to let Mogg Fanatic deals combat damage or sacrifice it to deal one damage. With that, Wizards had been updating some of those Creatures to give them die triggers to make them able to deal combat damage and still has the same effect as their predecessors. It is to be noted that the old Creatures are not bad in any way. In fact they are good with Meren as they come with their own ways to sacrifice themselves. The new ones can be consider as more copies of their predecessors. Two of such updated Creatures are the aforementioned Mogg Fanatic being updated as Goblin Arsonist and Sakura-Tribe Elder as Viridian Emissary. Both Creatures provide extra values to your sacrificial outlets. Speaking of which, below are some sacrificial outlets you can consider to add in to help gain that experience counter.

Altar of Dementia / Undercity Informer Sacrificial outlet to mill cards.
Ashnod’s Altar / Phyrexian Altar / Soldevi Adnate Sacrificial outlet for mana.
Attrition / Stronghold Assassin Sacrificial outlet to destroy nonblack Creature.
Birthing Pod Ultimate sacrificial outlet which double as tutor. Toolbox material.
Blasting Station / Fodder Cannon / Krovikan Horror / Skull Catapult Sacrificial outlet for damage.
Blood Bairn / Blood Host / Bloodflow Connoisseur / Bloodthrone Vampire / Carrion Feeder / Devouring Swarm / Fallen Angel / Flesh Carver / Flesh-Eater Imp / Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet / Nantuko Husk / Phyrexian Broodlings / Phyrexian Ghoul / Scourge of Skola Vale / Vampire Aristocrat Sacrificial outlet who self-pump.
Brood Butcher / Cabal Patriarch / Fell Shepherd / Phyrexian Plaguelord / Plagued Rusalka Sacrificial outlet to kill Creatures with till end of turn minus to the toughness.
Bubbling Cauldron / Disciple of Griselbrand / Gutless Ghoul / Kheru Dreadmaw / Life Chisel / Starved Rusalka Sacrificial outlet for life gain.
Carnage Altar / Culling Dais / Greater Good / Infernal Tribute / Phyrexian Vault Sacrificial outlet for card draw.
Champion of Stray Souls Sacrificial outlet for selective Living Death.
Corpse Harvester Sacrificial outlet to tutor for Zombie and Swamp.
Corpse Traders / Mind Slash / Nezumi Bone-Reader / Sadistic Hypnotist Sacrificial outlet to disrupt opponent’s hand.
Evolutionary Leap Sacrificial outlet to get a Creature from your library top.
Gate to Phyrexia Sacrificial outlet to destroy Artifact.
Ghoulcaller Gisa / Feed the Pack / Korozda Guildmage / Ooze Garden / Spawning Pit Sacrificial outlet for tokens.
Gnawing Zombie Sacrificial outlet to kill opponent with life loss and gain life.
Golgari Guildmage Sacrificial outlet to retrieve Creature.
Golgari Rotwurm / Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord Sacrificial outlet to kill opponent with life loss.
Hell’s Caretaker Sacrificial outlet to reanimate Creature.
Helm of Possession Sacrificial Creatures for stealing Creature.
Jinxed Idol / Jinxed Ring Sacrificial outlet to pass it around. Fun card to disrupt everyone.
Kheru Bloodsucker Sacrificial outlet to self-pump plus kill opponents with life loss and gain life if sacrificed Creature toughness is 4 or greater.
Malevolent Awakening Sacrificial outlet to retrieve Creature from graveyard to hand.
Perilous Forays Sacrificial outlet for Land ramp.
Plaguemaw Beast / Throne of Geth Sacrificial outlet to Proliferate.
Vampiric Rites Sacrificial outlet for life gain and card draw.

 

Vampiric Rites

“We need more blood….”

 

Last but not least, with so much dying of Creatures on your side, there are also numerous ways to benefit even more from that. Below are cards which enhance the sacrifice of your Creatures adding on more value to it.

Blood Artist / Falkenrath Noble / Wayward Disciple / Zulaport Cutthroat Gain life and make opponent lose life whenever your Creature dies.
Butcher of Malakir / Dictate of Erebos / Grave Pact Forces everyone to sacrifice Creatures as you do.
Catacomb Sifter Scry 1 whenever your other Creature dies.
Grim Haruspex Draw a card whenever your other nontoken Creature dies.
Liliana, Heretical Healer Gets a Zombie and transform into Planeswalker whenever your other nontoken Creature dies.
Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest Pumps your army up with each sacrifice of another permanent.
Pawn of Ulamog Gets Eldrazi Spawn token whenever your nontoken Creature dies.
Sifter of Skulls Gets Eldrazi Scion token whenever your other nontoken Creature dies.
Savra, Queen of the Golgari Add on force sacrifice on opponents for your Black Creatures sacrificed; or life gain for your Green Creatures sacrificed.

 

Savra Queen of the Golgari

“Your sacrifices will do good for the community.”

 

Conclusion

"From here on, Death shall not be your salvation."

“From here on, Death shall not be your salvation.”

Meren is in herself a very powerful Commander for decks which involve a lot of Creatures dying. There is a vast amount of card interactions which can be abuse with her triggers that prove her worth as a Commander. Because of how her trigger works, she is quite self-sustainable as the Experience Commander; allowing her to work without further help as soon as long as she is on the battlefield even without any experience counter. If you like sacrificial abilities, then Meren is definitely the Commander of choice and also definitely the best support Creature to the theme if you have other Commander in mind.

 

So what do you think of the elementalist turned necromancer? Would you prefer her as a Commander or a common Creature in your deck? Share with us what you think of her or what other combos or interactions with her which we might have missed out in the comments below. And with that, we shall end it here for today article. Hope you had enjoyed today article. Here’s hoping to see you in our next article. Till then.

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

Comments

2 Responses to “Set Review Commander 2015 – Meren of Clan Nel Toth”
  1. LazarusDraigon says:

    Just a heads up [[wayward disciple]] which is identified as a card that gives value for whenever a card dies has a color identity of W/B, it being the flipped side of [[pious evangel]], therefore it can’t be included in an edh deck with [[meren of clan nel toth]] as the commander

    • Edward says:

      Hi LazarusDraigon,

      First of all, thank you for reading the article and thanks again for pointing out that Wayward Disciple cannot be use if Meren of the Clan Nel Toth is the Commander.

      I actually didn’t notice that as I was thinking of my Abzan Commander deck when including the Disciple in the list.

      Nevertheless, thanks for pointing it out.

      Cheers, 😀

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