Too-Specific Top 10 - Sac Tokens

(Vito, Fanatic of Aclazotz | Art by Marta Nael)

Treasure & Blood, Blood & Treasure

Welcome to Too-Specific Top 10, where if there isn’t a category to rank our pet card at the top of, we’ll just make one up! (Did you know that Mage's Attendant is the only white card to make a token that can sacrifice itself to counter a spell?)

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has brought us a whole lot of treats, and most of them are pretty straightforward. What I wasn't expecting, however, was an Orzhov commander that cares about artifact tokens.

Don't get me wrong, you don't have to build him that way. If anything, most will probably lean into the typical Orzhov Aristocrats brew, cobbling together sac outlets and Carrier Thralls. Much as you might expect it, however, Vito, Fanatic of Aclazotz doesn't just trigger on creatures dying: He triggers on anything dying. So why go find all those sacrifice outlets when you can put together a deck of stuff that sacrifices itself?

Top 10 Orzhov Sacrificial Token Makers

First off, before we delve into all the tokens that sacrifice themselves, I just want to state that this in no way has to be a token deck. Vito is happy with anything getting sacrificed. So, to start, a top ten of the top cards that do just that:

Top 10 Orzhov Cards That Sacrifice Themselves

  1. Evolving Wilds
  2. Myriad Landscape
  3. Mind Stone
  4. Commander's Sphere
  5. Terramorphic Expanse
  6. Misty Rainforest
  7. Marsh Flats
  8. Verdant Catacombs
  9. Wayfarer's Bauble
  10. Scalding Tarn

"But wait a minute, those are all lands and ramp spells!", I hear you saying. That's right, and don't you forget it when you're putting together your own brew. Any Vito deck worth its salt should have its entire ramp and land package filled with stuff that kills itself, no matter what your bigger strategy is.

As for our bigger strategy, however, there is something about stuff that makes tokens that is inherently better that a Mind Stone: When you sacrifice the token, you still have another permanent left over to also sacrifice.

So, no need to get too complicated this week. Instead, let's just go hog wild making tokens, sacrificing them, and then sacrificing the things that made them!

Criteria: Orzhov cards that can create a token capable of sacrificing itself. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.

10. Rosie Cotton of South Lane

(Helms 84 Decks, Rank #1,904; 15,604 Inclusions, 4% of 377,678 Decks)

Food tokens have gotten out of control lately, but they're actually probably one of the worst tokens for Vito. Two mana to sacrifice them is a lot, and we could care less about the life gain. None of which is to say that we won't be featuring them. WoTC knows they're a bad token, which is exactly why it's so easy to make hordes of them! More importantly, when it comes to Rosie Cotton of South Lane, however, is that we'll be making a ton of tokens regardless, making her a threat to win the game even before you consider that more tokens means more already large flying threats. What it does mean is that we're going to have to go heavy on mana to make sure we can sacrifice all this Food we're going to inevitably end up with.

9. Shambling Ghast

(18,639 Inclusions, 1% of 1,613,495 Decks)

Luckily, Treasures make mana! Hands down the most popular token type of all the masses of token types that Wizards has enthusiastically supplied over the last few years, Treasures are ever present across any Commander game these days. With that said, I don't see enough Shambling Ghasts at tables. With a sacrifice outlet, it literally pays for itself, making it a better Myr Moonvessel in just about every way, starting with the option to remove a utility creature or grab a Treasure token.

This won't be the last thing on our list to make Treasure, but it will be one of the best things to do so in your deck, that much I can guarantee.

8. Rakshasa Debaser

(18,835 Inclusions, 1% of 1,613,495 Decks)

Rakshasa Debaser, on the other hand, I wasn't really happy to have end up on this list. It's a great card, don't get me wrong, it's just a great card for some other deck. Encore is something that Vito can get down with, but at eight mana? Yeah, not so much.

7. Fain, the Broker

(Helms 280 Decks, Rank #1,331; 18,950 Inclusions, 1% of 1,613,495 Decks)

We lightly covered how good it is to shove +1/+1 counters on 4/3 Vampire Demons with Rosie Cotton of South Lane, but Fain, the Broker allows for a lot more than that. His Treasure ability is great, once you get the +1/+1 counter ball rolling, but I think what might actually be the best of this card when it comes to our version of Vito is his last two abilities. Having a sacrifice outlet for expensive Food and Clues is great, but if we do find ourselves with a lot of mana and no Clues or Food to use it on, then being able to repeatedly use Fain with his untap is going to get us Vampire Demons all on its own.

6. Sifter of Skulls

(21,516 Inclusions, 1% of 1,613,495 Decks)

If you don't have a sac outlet like Fain, the Broker, however, then cards like Sifter of Skulls get a lot worse. Don't get me wrong, if we were doing the typical Aristocrats build where we were drowning in creatures and sac outlets, then this would be one of the best cards in the deck. As it is, however, we probably need this slot for something that makes Treasure and Food, not for a four mana card that doesn't do anything on its own.

5. Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff

(Helms 417 Decks, Rank #1,156; 22,362 Inclusions, 10% of 220,043 Decks)

Speaking of a card that makes Treasure, Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff might be the best new card that does just that! Just be aware that Lotho scales with the table, so if you're playing against a more methodical play style, then he's not going to get much going for you. After all, he is just a cheaper Monologue Tax on a stick, a card that pretty much everyone now agrees is rather subpar. No, the strength of Lotho is him being two mana and pumping out a ton of Treasures against high-powered tables, which is precisely why most of these inclusion numbers come from cEDH piles.

4. Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia

(Helms 483 Decks, Rank #1,086; 45,561 Inclusions, 3% of 1,613,495 Decks)

A lot of folks describe Jadar as some sort of bad Bitterblossom, but I honestly couldn't disagree more. Getting the tokens at the end of turn instead of your upkeep is a complete game changer, and them being 2/2's really helps with offense. That's also the other difference with Jadar in the negative column: Decayed tokens can't block, so you don't get any defense out of them. Combine that with you only being able to keep one at a time, the Zombies being larger, and them not flying, and the comparisons fall apart pretty quickly.

Still, Jadar is a two mana thing that makes a token every turn. When it comes to Vito, he's also the better option, as the tokens will also sacrifice themselves during combat. Win-win!

3. Pawn of Ulamog

(47,830 Inclusions, 3% of 1,613,495 Decks)

The same speech I gave for Sifter of Skulls applies to Pawn of Ulamog, only his three mana cost gets him a little closer to the 99. Not close enough, but still.

2. Grim Hireling

(72,198 Inclusions, 4% of 1,613,495 Decks)

Lotho is far from the only Treasure enabler making waves at cEDH tables, it turns out. Outside of the two-mana realm of Dockside Extortionist and Lotho, however, there is also the more expensive variants of Professional Face-Breaker and Grim Hireling. For those that haven't seen that particular nonsense play out, you might be confused as to why low-to-the-ground decks that typically don't care about combat would be finding a slot for these expensive creatures that only pump out a Treasure or two a turn, and only if you get through.

The answer is that they don't pump out a Treasure or two, they pump out three to six of them! Their poorly worded combat damage triggers, you see, trigger on each player dealt combat damage, meaning that if you have multiple opponents, you can swing in on all of them and have Grim Hireling hand you two Treasures for each player you dealt damage to. In other words, in a four-person pod, with fliers stacking your board state? This thing is good for six Treasures a turn, in all likelihood.

1. Pitiless Plunderer

(113,554 Inclusions, 7% of 1,613,495 Decks)

I think if you'd presented Pawn of Ulamog, Sifter of Skulls, and Pitiless Plunderer to me in a vacuum with Vito, I probably would have told you that Pawn of Ulamog was best with him. What I didn't take into consideration was how deep down the Tri-Token well I'd be going. There is now a link and a synergy between Clues, Food, and Treasure that cannot be denied, and it's enough to pull this four mana monstrosity across the finish line despite us wanting to be a low-to-the-ground deck that keeps all its mana involved in sacrificing three things on every player's turn. We'll still be struggling to trigger Pitiless Plunderer on the regular without designated sacrifice outlets, but High Market and Hostile Hostel will hopefully provide some opportunities along with the normal flow of the game.

Honorable Mentions

There are a ton of ways to build Vito, but no real reason to not dip a little bit into all of them to some extent. With that in mind, have a couple more top tens of various things that Vito will trigger on:

Top 10 Orzhov Eggs & Baubles

  1. Soul-Guide Lantern
  2. Mishra's Bauble
  3. Chromatic Star
  4. Nihil Spellbomb
  5. Urza's Bauble
  6. Brainstone
  7. Chromatic Sphere
  8. Conjurer's Bauble
  9. Golden Egg
  10. Stone of Erech

There's a lot more to this rabbit hole if you want to go a full eggs build with Vito, but overall this list is more than deep enough if you're just dipping a toe in.

Top 10 "Food and Another Token" Creators

  1. Field-Tested Frying Pan
  2. Oath of the Grey Host
  3. Devouring Sugarmaw
  4. Vault 101: Birthday Party
  5. Overencumbered

Alternatively, this top ten barely gets halfway there, and only does that on the back of the new Fallout spoilers that won't be out for months. Still, it's good to keep in mind that we're getting more in this space soon (after just having gotten even more from Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who), and also that if you're in Food or Tri-tokens, Nuka-Cola Vending Machine is the most broken thing since Academy Manufactor.

Finally, here's the deck list I know you've been waiting for!

Vito Sac Tokens

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Instants (7)
Creatures (31)
Lands (29)
Artifacts (25)
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (3)

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
View this decklist on Archidekt

It plays pretty smoothly, although it's worth it going in to realize that Vito is not going to fly under the radar and will most likely be constantly removed. Still, even if that is the case, you have enough Treasure and ramp to keep on recasting him, or enough general synergies to keep a game plan going without the life loss and Vampire Demons.

Nuts and Bolts

There always seems to be a bit of interest in how these lists are made (this seems like a good time to stress once again that they are based on EDHREC score, NOT my personal opinion…), and people are often surprised that I’m not using any special data or .json from EDHREC, but rather just muddling my way through with some Scryfall knowledge! For your enjoyment/research, here is this week’s Scryfall search.

What Do You Think?

We have a private challenge among the EDHREC writers to, well... complete the 32-deck challenge of making a Commander deck for each of the different possible color identities in Magic, only with decks published in articles. Almost five years in, I'm very close to completing the challenge, with various four-color options, Sultai, Mardu, and Esper being the remaining things I need to build.

With that said, this is only the second ever Orzhov brew I've made, possibly not just for an article series, but in all of my EDH career (since 2010). Of the two-color pairs, I've always found Orzhov and Selesnya to be the ones I tend to shy away from, a sentiment most folks only half agree with me on:

Top 10 Color Pairs

  1. Dimir: 802,869 Decks
  2. Orzhov: 719,495
  3. Rakdos: 717,108
  4. Izzet: 694,891
  5. Azorius: 699,370
  6. Simic: 682,991
  7. Golgari: 682,335
  8. Boros: 673,957
  9. Gruul: 665,998
  10. Selesnya: 660,274

Which, of course, begs the question:

And finally, what are your favorite token makers? Do they make tokens which can sacrifice themselves? Do you think an Orzhov Aristocrats deck without sacrifice outlets can be viable, and is Vito the commander to do it with?

Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the table that keeps on finding its own way to the alley out back.

Read more:

Too-Specific Top 10 - Aggro Advisors

Trading Dudes for Foods: Bant Aristocrats

Doug has been an avid Magic player since Fallen Empires, when his older brother traded him some epic blue Homarids for all of his Islands. As for Commander, he's been playing since 2010, when he started off by making a two-player oriented G/R Land Destruction deck. Nailed it. In his spare time when he's not playing Magic, writing about Magic or doing his day job, he runs a YouTube channel or two, keeps up a College Football Computer Poll, and is attempting to gif every scene of the Star Wars prequels.

EDHREC Code of Conduct

Your opinions are welcome. We love hearing what you think about Magic! We ask that you are always respectful when commenting. Please keep in mind how your comments could be interpreted by others. Personal attacks on our writers or other commenters will not be tolerated. Your comments may be removed if your language could be interpreted as aggressive or disrespectful. You may also be banned from writing further comments.