Conditions Allow - Ghost of Ramirez DePietro EDH

Ben Doolittle • March 5, 2021

(Ghost of Ramirez DePietro | Art by Grzegorz Rutkowski)

Dead Men Tell Tall Tales

Welcome to Conditions Allow, the article series where we take a legendary creature with a drawback and try to turn it into a strength! Except for this article, that description is more of a...guideline. While building Ghost of Ramirez DePietro EDH doesn't exactly come with a downside, he requires you to use your cards in a specific enough way that he hasn't really found his niche yet either. When this spectral pirate deals combat damage, you can take a card you previously discarded or milled and return it to your hand. But if you're going to mill ourselves it is usually to reanimate a big threat early. Cards like Faithless Looting and Cathartic Reunion help facilitate the same goal.

The most common partner for the Ghost of Ramirez DePietro according to EDHREC is Tormod, the Desecrator. The most popular cards for this particular pair, however, are  focused around Tormod. DePietro is just there as a way to generate Zombie tokens with Tormod's triggered ability.

There are a couple cards that stand out as being very good with our undead pirate, though. Dimir House Guard has transmute, which lets you discard it to search your library for a card with the same mana value and put it into your hand. Ghost of Ramirez DePietro can then attack to put the house guard back into your hand. With these two cards, you can tutor for the perfect card every turn.

This is great, but we can make it even better. If you pick Ravos, Soultender as your partner, you'll get two cards back from your graveyard every turn. Ravos can return your transmute creatures, leaving the Ghost of Ramirez DePietro to turn looting and cycle effects into card advantage. Gaining access to white also lets you play Swell of Courage, and a couple of other cards with reinforce. Another good option would be Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder. While less thematic than Ravos, Bruse Tarl still lets you retrieve two cards from the graveyard per turn. He also gives you red, for Unpredictable Cyclone and Zirda, the Dawnwaker. Unpredictable Cyclone is a card I've been wanting to brew with for a while, so for this article, I'm going to choose Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder.

Bruse Tarl, Ghost Herder

One downside of choosing Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder over Ravos, Soultender is that we lose access to the full suite of transmute cards. There are only four cards with transmute in Jeskai colors, which let us search for cards with mana value zero to three.

Luckily, some of the best cards we could want to search for cost three mana. When testing this deck I quickly realized it costs a lot of mana to transmute and cycle in the same turn. Zirda, the Dawnwaker helps, reducing the cost of cycling, transmute, and reinforceAs Foretold is another great mana engine. Remember that it lets you cast a spell with mana value equal to or less than the number of time counters for free every turn. We'll include a suite of one mana interaction like Path to Exile and Mana Tithe to take advantage of As Foretold as early as possible. If the game goes long enough though, there's nothing better than casting a free Cryptic Command.

If you prefer to play more aggressively, you can search for Duelist's Heritage to double up on double strike. The Royal Scions are a repeatable source of trample, in case your opponents have some tokens or mana dorks lying around. Otherwise, the royal twins are a solid card advantage engine. If your tutor is Tolaria West, one of the best lands to search for is Dark Depths, followed by Thespian's Stage to summon Marit Lage.

An honorable mention in this category is Vedalken Aethermage. By cycling this creature we can search for any wizard, from Auramancer to Windcaller Aven. Archaeomancer is another great option, which combos nicely with Astral Slide and Escape Protocol. Tutor up Naban, Dean of Iteration next to bury your opponents in card advantage. In terms of flexibility though, nothing beats Gamble. The Ghost of Ramirez DePietro takes all the risk out of Gamble, turning it into a cheaper Demonic Tutor.

Bringing Reinforcements

A compelling reason to play Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, on the other hand, is that he lets you deal extra combat damage. Giving the Ghost of Ramirez DePietro double strike not only generates extra card advantage, it halves the number of attacks it takes to eliminate a player with commander damage.

Transmute is a powerful ability with the Ghost of Ramirez DePietro, but reinforce lets you take full advantage of our commander. By discarding a card with reinforce you can put a +1/+1 counter on target creature. The extra power is compounded by the double strike provided by Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder. The Ghost of Ramirez DePietro will deal six damage on the first turn he is reinforced, then eight, and finally 10. That's three attacks to take out a single player.

If you need to win a little faster, Swell of Courage lets you put many counters on your commander at once. Similarly, Shark Typhoon can generate large tokens while also drawing fresh cards. It's also worth noting that both are relatively difficult to interact with. If it weren't for the next card in the list, I'd say these were the best cards in the deck.

Beware the Cyclone

Getting a cycling card back to hand with the Ghost of Ramirez DePietro is good, but its great if we have Unpredictable Cyclone in play. The interaction between these two cards lets us cycle the same card type, every turn, guaranteed. We'll slowly whittle away at the cards of that type in our deck, until we only have one target left. If you like enchantments, that could be Omniscience or Eldrazi Conscription. If creatures are more your style, maybe Sphinx of the Second Sun or an Eldrazi Titan. Personally, I like Beacon of Tomorrows.

I'm only including two sorceries in this deck, both with cycling. This gives us the ability to quickly and easily make Beacon of Tomorrows the only sorcery left in this deck. From there, we can cycle a sorcery every turn, casting Beacon of Tomorrows and reshuffling it into your library for infinite turns. The Ghost of Ramirez DePietro can then hunt down his victims at his leisure.

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This deck was a lot of fun to put together. Transmute cards don't see much play in Commander, and the Reinforce cards see even less play. Getting to play unique cards is always great, especially when they work really well with an underplayed commander.

But what do you think of the Ghost of Ramirez DePietro? Does he have a place, or is he too clunky? Would you rather play Bruse Tarl, Ravos, or a different companion altogether? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.

Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.