From the Brim to the Trim - Burying Opponents and Reviving Budgets Alike

(Sidisi, Brood Tyrant | Art by Karl Kopinski)
(Gyruda, Doom of Depths| Art by Tyler Jacobson)

Sidi Sidi Ya-Ya Da-Da

Greetings and salutations from a country where cough... since COUGH... from COUGH COUGH COUGH!!! Or something like that. Sorry about the fit, nasty bug, courtesy of my kids. I'm (more or less currently) Arnaud, and I'm thrilled to take you on a journey of uncanny brews, hidden gems and usage of EDHREC's filtering features.

Last time, I unilaterally decided to give Sidisi, Brood Tyrant and Gyruda, Doom of Depths a chance after all, with them being so close to achieving first place. Before we move on to this week's pair, I'd like to address the poll. I have to say, I've been genuinely surprised by the results. More than two-thirds of voters stated that they liked the intermediate decklists and actually used them. That's way more than I expected, and thus the message is clear: these lists are here to stay. Thanks again for letting me know. This might look silly to you, but I feel a probably misplaced sense of pride here. Oh well, enough with the gushing, time to look at today's endeavor.


So. This week's episode might feel a bit different than the others (yes, again). No spoilers, but this might be quite shorter than usual. You'll soon understand why. However, this might also give us the opportunity to make some hidden gems shine through.

Basically, Sidisi wants to mill cards into the deadzone to make some itty gritty Zombies, and Gyruda wants to mill big creatures back to the field. An uncanny pair, with two different yet similar goals. This will be interesting.

Let's plop in all the data from the Sidisi + Gyruda Companion from EDHREC and... Oh. Wow. Oh wow whoa. Sidisi has close to 5,000 decks to her name on the site. But with Gyruda? Only 30. Why am I getting the feeling this might not have been such a good idea?

As it stands, the full list barely holds 208 cards. That's usually in the range of what we get BEFORE we trim the expensive stuff. Onwards... I guess?

First Trim - The Cardboard Chainsaw Massacre

So, let's do our homework. No cards worth strictly more than $1 shall stay in this list. A few clicks later and...

Almost half of the cards we had at hand cost more than our threshold. How can I work in these conditions? Huh? HOW?

Hercules Hades Disney GIFs | Tenor

Let's look on the bright side. This is going to be a quick deck tech. The quickest in the series, for the best card quality ever... Well, maybe not, we'll see.

As usual, let's have a look at the cards between $1 and $2. All solid additions if you can spare the coin:

  • Farseek: Always a solid ramp spell in any deck with two colors or more.
  • Progenitor Mimic: I would have loved to copy a Gyruda, or anything else, and do it again, and again, and again, and...
  • Path of Discovery: Either draw lands or pump your creatures while getting Zombies with Sidisi and potential reanimation fodder? Talk about value!
  • Baleful Strix: You can't go wrong with a self-replacing bird which deters attacks in a most excellent fashion.
  • Nature's Lore: Best 2-mana ramp spell in green (yes, with Three Visits).
  • Massacre Wurm: This one I feel I'll truly miss the presence, eventually. In a few (many) reprints, maybe.

So. Now that the forbidden delicacies are out of our way, we're left with 108 cards. I think this is a new record, by quite a margin. Let's proceed.

Second Trim - Cardward Scissorhands

So, you know the song now, repeat after me. DRRW, DRRW... Why do you all sound like a drilling machine?

At any rate, let's see where we're at:

  • Draw: 7 (ouch)
  • Ramp: 22
  • Removal : 14
  • Wipes : 3

Yay, already we get to dig in the draft chaff bin and add some stuff back in ! You know me, I like to keep my hand quite full, and 7 spells conferring card advantage, some in clunky ways, is a no go in my book.

On the other hand, removal and even more so ramp are likely to receive a healthy haircut.

So, pay attention. On the left, I'll list the cards I want to add in the Draw section. On the right, those I'll cut from the bulky ramp and removal. Is that clear for everyone? Timmy, I can see you falling asleep back there.

Wake-up-show GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Draw (come on in!) Ramp (Goodbye...) Removal (...and to you)
Behold the Multiverse Coiling Oracle Binding the Old Gods
Chart a Course Dimir Signet Foundation Breaker
Concentrate Explore Lethal Scheme
Harmonize Golgari Signet Return to Nature
Meeting of Minds Growth Spiral
Reckoner's Bargain Paradise Druid
Sign in Blood Rampant Growth
Simic Signet
Titans' Nest


This is more like it. Down to 112 cards, after shaping up the land base. And now for the fun part!

Third Trim - Cutting Off the Rough Edges of the Heart-Wrenching Choices

You read that right, I'm merging both categories in one place. As there are so little cards left to trim down, I might as well tighten things up, since that's been the whole premise of this article insofar...

The way I see it, the plan that's taking shape before our eyes is:

  1. Bring Sidisi out, start pumping out a few Zombies.
  2. Use said Zombies to either hold the fort or refill your hand so that you can.
  3. Use Gyruda a few times and/or reanimate a few decisive threats from the graveyard.

I'm not entirely sure we have enough payoffs, so I'll probably end up adding a few cards before we're done.

So. 12-ish cards:

  • Cankerbloom: Nice and versatile, but let's be honest, we don't really care about proliferating.
  • Acolyte of Affliction: Simply too expensive for what it does.
  • Nightmare Shepherd: I love the card, but we're lacking Enter-the-Battlefield effects for it to shine its true colors.
  • Mythos of Brokkos: On paper it looks really nice, but from experience I rarely want to bring permanents back to my hand when reanimating stuff.
  • Casualties of War: After careful consideration, I'd rather do everything that truly annoys me in one single category rather than one bit of everything.
  • Izoni, Thousand-Eyed: Cute, but that's a lot of hoops to jump through for a meager effect.
  • Oversold Cemetery: I want to reanimate creatures, not bring them back to my hand!
  • Gaea's Blessing: In any other deck, this is one of my favorite pet peeves. In this however, it's almost guaranteed to blow up in your face at the worst possible moment.
  • Drown in the Loch, Counterspell and Negate: I'm not a fan of counterspells in general, and I need the room.
  • Incubation Druid: We're doing fine in ramp already.
  • Notion Thief: This is casual budget, I'm not a fan of Stax-ing our opponents from their resources.
  • Bramble Familiar: Fun on paper, sadly too slow in reality.
  • Urborg Lhurgoyf: Lacks a bit of oomph for my taste.

And now for the inclusions. I feel like we could do with a few more beaters here:

  • Baleful Force: A more than decent body for potential massive card draw. Yes it's jank, but come on, you know want to try it.
  • Ulamog's Crusher: An all-time classic in my Pauper Rakdosanimation deck. It's big, it's fat, it hits hard.
  • End-Raze Forerunners: Assuming you have a few Zombies on the field, this is a neat finisher, which you could reset either by reanimating or blinking.

And here we are.

Sidisi / Gyruda - Final Trim

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Companion (1)
Recursion (11)
Clones (6)
Ramp (12)
Wipe (2)
Mill (5)
Land (35)
Draw (14)
Blink (2)
Removal (9)
Evasion (1)
Finisher (2)

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View this decklist on Archidekt


The more I write this column, the more I fear I'll run out of things to say or experiences to share, and yet here's another one that's totally new for us. How did you like this week's iteration? Are there any spicy additions that seem obvious to you?

Let me know, and I'll see you in two weeks!

In Case I Dont See Ya Good Afternoon GIF - In Case I Dont ...

Read more:

From the Brim to the Trim – Flooding Opponents and Drying Up Budget Alike

Brew For Your Buck - Spider Senses


Arnaud Gompertz has been playing Magic since 4th Edition, back in 1995. He's been an assiduous EDH enthusiast since 2012, with a soft spot for unusual and casual Commanders. He'll always favour spectacular plays against a boring path to victory. Aside from mistreating cardboard, he's a dedicated board games player, loves a challenging video game and occasionally tries to sing with his choir.

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