How to Play the Dungeon of Death Precon in EDH
This is the comprehensive guide to playing the Dungeon of Death precon, overseen by Sefris of the Hidden Ways! This guide holds all the useful information needed to pilot Dungeon of Death to victory straight out of the box!
This deck’s overall game plan is to venture into the dungeon continuously by filling its graveyard and to reanimate massive threats that will end the game.
Venturing into the dungeon is an extremely weak mechanic in commander, but Sefris of the Hidden Ways completely offsets this by offering up to four ventures per turn cycle and granting a full-on reanimation upon a dungeon’s completion. For that reason, this deck will mostly be looking to venture into the Lost Mine of Phandelver, since it can be completed in four rooms while also providing more relevant triggers than the Tomb of Annihilation. To trigger Sefris’s venture ability, the deck has plenty of cycling, looting, and creature-based effects.
The biggest strength of this precon comes from its ability to reanimate and potentially loop some of the strongest creatures in the entire format.
- Karmic Guide is possibly the best creature-based way to reanimate creatures in the format, and this deck gets access to it. It works well with or without Sefris, and can cheat big creatures into play ahead of schedule with Merfolk Looter or other discard effects. Similarly, Sun Titan will provide boatloads of value every turn while also being able to send in chip damage.
- Ashen Rider is the best creature in this deck; it comes with a powerful ETB ability, equally powerful death trigger, and is the most in-demand reanimation target for Sefris. Dungeon of Death is happy to loop this card with Sefris, Unburial Rites, Victimize, and other effects until an opponent stops it.
- Phantasmal Image is very versatile; it can copy an Ashen Rider to further press the advantage, or a card drawing creature like Cloudblazer, as well as any creature an opponent controls. It will essentially never be bad in this deck.
The other thing this deck accels at is playing defense.With Sefris out, every chump block triggers a venture, and opponents definitely don’t want that to happen.
With cards to control the board like Plaguecrafter and Hostage Taker, Dungeon of Death can work to keep the board from becoming too threatening, and it also has amazing blockers like Baleful Strix, which is nearly impossible to attack into. There are times it will block, die, and come back right away to draw another card with Sefris.
This deck had potential to be the strongest of the four Adventures in the Forgotten Realms precon decks, but it was intentionally held back in a major way. Dungeon of Death contains zero free repeatable sacrifice outlets, and that ends up being its biggest weakness. It eliminates infinite combo potential with Karmic Guide, Sun Titan, and other recursive creatures, and also makes it tougher to reliably venture four times per turn cycle.
The other glaring weakness of this deck is a noticeable lack of powerful reanimation targets. Dungeon of Death can accrue endless value, but sometimes that isn’t enough to close out a game. It needs more firepower, and relies heavily on finding one of its better creatures like Ashen Rider or Meteor Golem, and on stealing or cloning opposing creatures with cards like Nihiloor, Phantasmal Image, and Hostage Taker.
To really pilot this deck to victory and navigate past its weaknesses, it’s important to know some of the best cards it has access to.
- Radiant Solar allows for unrestricted venturing, and can cause some insane turns that can help this deck close games. This card works best when reanimated with Sefris at sorcery speed, where it can be followed up with cheap creatures that then cause another creature to be reanimated, which then triggers another venture into the dungeon.
- Necromantic Selection is a powerhouse of a boardwipe that actually grants the deck access to a finisher controlled by someone else. If the board isn’t unmanageable, it might be worth waiting for a game-ending threat to steal.
- Propaganda, when played specifically at the precon level, will actually work wonders for this deck’s defense, allowing it plenty of time to set up its larger plays. Outside of the precon power level, this card becomes considerably weaker.
While those cards overperform and work to make up for the deck’s weaknesses, the following cards can mostly function as liabilities.
- Reassembling Skeleton works nicely when discarded, but that can only happen once. With no sacrifice outlets in this deck, the functionality of this card decreases to almost nothing, as it’s too slow to repeatedly chump block.
- Thorough Investigation is playable outside this deck, but as it is constructed, Dungeon of Death has very few creatures that can reliably attack, and that leaves this card feeling counterproductive.
- Hama Pashar, Ruin Seeker looks like it has all the right words on it, but at the end of the day, the deck is working towards the Sefris completion bonus and not the rooms of the dungeons themselves. Even with room triggers doubled, this card won’t pay itself back quickly enough.
All in all, Dungeon of Death has a good shell, with powerful value-generating format staples it can lean on to close out games. Keeping its weaknesses in mind and playing to the deck’s strengths will help Dungeon of Death secure many more victories.