Epic Experiment - Sedris, Goblins, and Belchers

(Sedris, the Traitor King | Art by Paul Bonner)

Epic Preparations

Hello, EDHREC fans! I’m Bernardo Melibeu, and this is Epic Experiment, a series where we throw all common sense aside and experiment with some unusual strategies, changing how we normally build our deck. Is it going to work? Who knows?! We’re making science here. When you’re an Izzet mage, blowing things up is half the fun.

Today we're going to talk about one of the most interesting commanders in Grixis. He has a powerful ability that allows us to temporarily reanimate any creature in our graveyard. Yes, we're going to build a Sedris, the Traitor King deck.

Each creature in your graveyard has unearth {2}{B}. ({2}{B}: Return the card to the battlefield. The creature gains haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step or if it would leave the battlefield. Unearth only as a sorcery.)

Observation 1:

Sedris tends to lose out on popularity when compared to similar commanders. Marchesa, the Black Rose is generally more favored as a creature-based Grixis commander, and in terms of direct reanimation, Chainer, Nightmare Adept or even Karador, Ghost Chieftain have a more abusable version of the same effect. However, we do have the advantage of cheating on mana costs.

Observation 2:

Being a six-mana nongreen commander is pretty rough, especially when we then have to pay another three mana to actually start getting value from him.

Observation 3:

Given the previous factor, one should carefully consider before building around Sedris, since he paints a big red target on himself when he's out on the battlefield. On the other hand, he can be a great support for creature-based strategies because he offers a Flashback type of strategy.

Observation 4:

Sedris offers many great lines when played as a creature-based combo commander, with Entomb + the Unearth ability becoming a very efficient way to put any creature in our deck into play.

The Old Formula

As we can see, the average Sedris list try to play the grindy game, with lots of great ETB triggers. This is a bit confusing since we lose the body at end of turn, which means that we can't really abuse them. That being said, I love Teferi's Veil as a way to get around Unearth's downside.

The Epic Ingredients

When building my last article (Lich's Mastery Sidisi), I considered Goblin Charbelcher, but quickly threw down the idea. Ever since then, though, I've been in a Belcher mood, so here we are.

If we play a deck with a critical number of Goblins and we trigger Goblin Recruiter's ETB, we can stack the top of our deck with Goblins and then activate the Charbelcher, guaranteeing a whole lot of damage to a single target. If we'd like to go whole-hog, we can also use Mana Severance to remove all the lands from our own deck, guaranteeing we get a lethal hit from the Belcher! This combo is a fun way to reconcile flavor and functionality, since we're shooting Goblins at our enemies! It isn't a guaranteed one-hit K.O., but for an aggro deck like Goblins, chances are good that this chunk of damage will finish someone off.

By this point you might be wondering about Sedris's role in this plan. It's simple: he provides support by reanimating key Goblins. There are plenty of great Goblins that fuel this deck other than just Goblin Recruiter. Goblin Engineer, for example, can help us find Goblin Charbelcher, which our other cards can more easily scoop out of the graveyard. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker is a great way to chain key ETB effects. Even cards like Skirk Prospector can help us get to the very important seven-mana mark (the amount of mana we need to cast and activate Charbelcher in the same turn).

I may have buried the lead here a bit, but the best thing about this deck is that Goblin Charbelcher is just the Plan B. You read that right, the Belcher is our backup plan. Our main plan is to beat face with our Goblins. Playing Belcher dictates a certain structure for the deck to help support it, but that doesn't mean this structure gets to have no life of its own. In our case, it has plenty of great tribal support.

Goblins, as a whole, are a great tribe for this type of build because they get plenty of utility on relevant bodies. For removal, we have many great options like Gempalm Incinerator, Goblin Cratermaker, Goblin Trashmaster, and Munitions Expert. For mana advantage we have a few choices: Dockside Extortionist, Treasure Nabber, and Wily Goblin, for example, are some cheap ways to not get behind on mana.

The Mixture

Sedris, Goblins, and Belchers

View on Archidekt

Commander (5)
Creature (43)
Artifact (18)
Sorcery (12)
Instant (9)
Planeswalker (5)
Enchantment (5)
Land (45)

As you can see, we're an aggressive deck at heart, with a very live combo gameplan. Mana Severance is an almost free support in this build, since it has the same CMC as Goblin Recruiter (which means we get some extra value from Transmute cards) and it also makes it easier to "reload" the Belcher once we fire.

We're also rocking a pretty good artifact reanimation suite, with many efficient one-shot effects, like Beacon of Unrest, Trash for Treasure, and Daretti, Scrap Savant. These effects and the artifact tutors are great at finding Belcher, however we need a backup target, otherwise they can go to waste pretty quickly. Enter Bolas's Citadel one of the best ways to accelerate our aggro plan.


Goblins are good on their own, which releases us from the typical burden of combo decks that feel the pressure to assemble the combo as quickly as possible. This makes outright aggro an acceptable strategy for us while also prolonging the life expectancy of the deck, since multiple games can have very different outcomes.

Early game, we hit the ground running, filling the board with all the Goblins we want; any that die to nasty Wrath of God effects can be brought back with Sedris later. This doesn't mean that we should be completely careless with the lives of our Goblins; when to play which Goblins is still an important element for our threat assessment and longevity.

In the mid-game, if our aggro plan is working - say, Krenko, Mob Boss has made so many Goblins our opponents can't keep up, or our Distant Melody has kept our coffers stocked - we can, of course, continue to just smash. However, we can also start looking for a piece or two of the Belcher combo, especially if there's one opponent whose Ghostly Prison has prevented us from attacking them. This is the out-of-nowhere way our aggressive deck can take out an unwary opponent who thought themselves safe from our army. Keep in mind, though, that the proper Charbelcher combo is a one-time deal.

Sedris himself is the late-game play. If our Gobbos have perished, he can bring them back in spectacular fashion for one final hurrah. Don't rush to play this commander; save him for later, when your opponents think the coast is clear.

Epic Results

Balancing out the high number of Goblins together with some of the Belcher support was pretty difficult. I can't really tell if we have the correct ratio, so tinkering with this list may prove useful if you would like to take up this strategy. Lowering the mana curve by cutting out some of our bigger Goblins and go all-out in the aggro plan, for instance, may allow us to cut a land or two, which helps the Belcher's odds ever so slightly.

Buried Alive with our commander can provide a very useful toolbox. I don't personally think that this is a reliable synergy, but it's a staple in Sedris for a reason. Additionally, more artifact tutors to lean into the combo elements of the deck could help improve its performance. Tezzeret, the Seeker can tutor for Charbelcher right away, for instance.

Finally, if Sedris isn't your cup of tea, but you still want to Belcher people to death, Wort, Boggart Auntie can do a pretty good impression. We'll lose Mana Severance and some of the artifact tutors, but it's nothing that a few other black tutors can't handle!

That’s it for this Epic Experiment! What do you think about this list? Did you have a blast ? Do you have any questions about the deck? Which cards did you like? Which didn’t you? Was the Epic Experiment a success? Please let me know in the comments below!

Bernardo has been playing(on and off) since portal and somehow manage to survive mirrodin block while being a total casual(beast tribal ftw?). He loves all the shades of blue and being the one saying "nope", while holding a full grip of cards in hand.

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