Necron Dynasties Upgrade Guide

Welcome back everyone, this is Lenny from the Scrap Trawlers. You may also know me from the Power Sink articles on EDHREC. Today I'll be tackling some upgrades for the Necron Dynasties preconstructed deck from Universes Beyond: Warhammer 40,000. Szarekh, the Silent King will be staying on the throne for this upgrade. The other commanders are powerful and interesting, but I like the card advantage Szarekh provides and the other commanders want significantly more changes to the deck. If you want a detailed run down of the original deck, take a look at my previous article, but for reference, here's the original list.

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Ancient Technology

I think the deck is already well constructed for the most part, but there are still plenty of improvements to make while maintaining the feel of the precon. First of all I want to have more control over what goes in and out of the graveyard. Tortured Existence lets us exchange a creature in our graveyard with one in our hand. This useful for ditching high cost cards in favor of cheaper creatures we can use right now or for getting something where you want it to be for a reanimation spell, and if you happen to have Imotekh the Stormlord in play you can turn one black mana into four power worth of tokens. You just know I had to include Scrap Trawler, the namesake aside, this another great way for us to keep getting our artifact creatures back. We can loot cards withDeal Broker . Like Illuminor Szeras, Soldevi Adnate let's us turn our creatures into mana and the extra sacrifice outlet helps keep our creatures from getting exiled with the Dawn of the Dead we'll be adding. Ultimately, the battlefield is where we want our creatures to be.

IN: Tortured Existence, Soldevi Adnate, Dawn of the Dead, Scrap Trawler, Deal Broker

We also want to do something about the slow, clunky starts this deck can be prone to. We don't really want to bet taking the first three turns off and a good place to start changing that is in the ramp package. Cultivator's Caravan, Leaden Myr, and Millikin all can be picked up by our commander's mill effect and the latter two can help crew vehicles if you don't need the mana. With so many artifacts in the deck, Foundry Inspector is going to save us a ton of mana.

In: Cultivator's Caravan, Millikin, Leaden Myr, Foundry Inspector

I also want to give a boost to the win conditions of the deck. Cranial Plating makes a Commander damage kill more of a possibility, so let's add Lashwrithe as well to take advantage of all the swamps in the deck.. Like many cards in black, Szarekh has quite a few black pips in its cost, so devotion is an angle we want to look at. Mogis's Marauder gives haste and intimidate equal to our black devotion and it's a nasty surprise alongside a Living Death. We won't be getting any hipster cred with Gray Merchant of Asphodel, but Gary will help us stay in the game with its life drain. Finally I want to add a powerful attacker since I'll be cutting some of the ones in the deck. Triplicate Titan is a great card to get off a Dread Return and conveniently leaves behind some pretty good tokens if it dies.

In: Lashwrithe, Mogis's Marauder, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Triplicate Titan

Finally let's talk utility lands. We don't really need to mess with the land base, but there are a few lands I want to discuss. Geier Reach Sanitarium can filters the hand, while Phyrexia's Core gives us a sacrifice outlet for any artifacts we want in the yard. Considering the Necrons have tomb worlds I'm shocked Buried Ruin didn't get a reprint here. We'll be adding it as one more way to get back an artifact. Ghost Quarter seems on theme and deals with lands you'd rather not see like Scavenger Grounds.

IN: Geier Reach Sanitarium, Phyrexia's Core, Buried Ruin, Ghost Quarter

 

All of these cards will run you just $12.14 USD at the time of writing this. There are of course, plenty of other cards you could add, especially if you're willing to spend some coin. For those folks, I've got some suggestions later in the article so keep reading.

Acceptable Losses

Now that we have some cards to add, let's talk about the cards that are better left buried, starting with the mana base. In general, I'm not a fan of cycling lands unless the deck is has some kind of synergy, so Barren Moor, Polluted Mire, Desert of the Glorified are cut. Reliquary Tower and Thought Vessel are great cards and welcome reprints, but since this is a reanimator deck, I'd rather not lose out on the ability to toss a good creature into the bin when discarding to hand size. We're Gilded Lotus in favor of cheaper mana rocks.

Out: Reliquary Tower, Barren Moor, Polluted Mire, Desert of the Glorified, Thought Vessel.

Some cards in the precon are great, but just don't serve the strategy, so those are easy cuts. We don't really have the kinds of activated abilities to make Trazyn the Infinite worth keeping and it's really the kind of card that's better as a commander. Like Trazyn, Convergence of Dominion doesn't really have the cards to make it worth including. Milling three is useful, but at three mana it's just not enough to include if we aren't benefitting much from that cost reduction effect. Similarly, Necron Overlord requires mana and tapping artifacts to drain life from one player. It's just too much of an investment for such a low payoff in this decks, but I could see it doing work in a deck more focused on artifact tokens. Shard of the Nightbringer would have had a place in the deck if its trigger didn't need it to be cast. Most of the reanimator effects bring creatures straight to the battlefield and so it's more likely to just be an 8/8 flier and we can do better. Lychguard needs more legendary creatures to shine and since we're already taking one out, this can go too.

Out: Trazyn the Infinite, Convergence of Dominion, Necron Overlord, Gilded Lotus, Shard of the Nightbringer, Lychguard

I usually try to stay positive when discussing cards, but sadly there are a few cards I just can't make an excuse for keeping in the deck. With Their Number Is Legion, we're looking at paying five mana for our first tapped necron. Even with life gain tacked on that's an abysmal rate for a spell that exiles itself on cast. Tomb Blade gives your opponents a choice to sacrifice a creature or lose life for each creature they control. You're never going to get a good resolution from this ability and you can do better for evasive creatures at six mana. Psychomancer only triggers for nontoken artifacts and target a single player, which I don't think will be impactful enough to keep it. Night Scythe and Plasmancer aren't particularly useful and Sautekh Immortal has you waiting around for that perfect moment to cast it, that probably isn't coming and even if you do get it, it's just a big creature with no evasion.

Out: Their Number Is Legion, Tomb Blade, Psychomancer, Night Scythe, PlasmancerSautekh Immortal

Let's take a look at the list, now that we've made changes. The average mana value is still pretty high at 3.67, but that's to be expected in a reanimator deck. This version should have more to do in earlier turns and a lot more control over what goes into the graveyard.

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Unlimited Power

I tried to keep my upgrades easy on the wallet, especially considering how much these particular precons are going for. If price isn't an issue for you, there are tons of upgrades to make. Naturally, mono black staples like Cabal Coffers, Demonic Tutor, and Torment of Hailfire fit in here like they do just about every black deck. Wurmcoil Engine would be a slam dunk in the creature suite, especially if we build in more cards for sacrifice and recursion. Speaking of sacrifice, Grinding Station is a powerful way to fill up our graveyard while Krark-Clan Ironworks or Ashnod's Altar would let us turn unneeded artifacts or creatures into mana for other things. Arcbound Ravager comes down early and let's you convert your artifacts into +1/+1 counters. Sensei's Divining Top would let us see everything we would mill with our commander, and let us draw a crazy amount of cards if e can play the top with Mystic Forge. Why stop at reanimating our own creatures when we can just get everything with Rise of the Dark Realms. We can also just avoid needing to use reanimation altogether by making most of our stuff indestructible with Darksteel Forge. Finally I want to give special mention to Phyrexian Scriptures which isn't nearly as expensive as the other cards here, but destroying nonartifact creatures is so good in this deck I thought you ought to be aware of it even if I didn't include it in my upgraded deck.

That's all for this upgrade guide, but artifacts are a wide open strategy and there are all kinds of things you could do with this deck to say nothing of using one of the other awesome commander that came in this release. So how would you go about upgrading this deck? Were there any cards I missed? Let me know in the comments, because I plan to get my hands on this one.

Scrap Trawlers is a Magic: The Gathering budget EDH streaming and video group, with gameplay, deck techs, chats, and more. Catch our videos at youtube.com/scraptrawlers. Andy, Nick, Lenny, and Bert.