How They Brew It - Revival of the Fittest

Michael Celani • July 10, 2023

Extus, Oriq Overlord | Illustrated by Chase Stone

Hey you! Welcome to Hell. We've been waiting for you! That's right, your last rites have officially been conducted, meaning all the paperwork has officially cleared and you're finally allowed to start your new afterlife. Congratulations! Now, some of you may be a bit confused as to why you ended up here instead of purgatory, heaven, reincarnation, or nowhere at all.

You may also notice that you are dressed in a fancy suit. Yes, it turns out the ancient Egyptians were right: everything you were buried or cremated with is what you take with you to the next life. That's why all the pharaohs and emperors are the one percent here! That might not seem fair, but y'know, Hell. Protesting that you were wealthy in life, too? Well, you weren't buried with any money, so sucks to suck, Rockefeller!

Underworld Market

Welcome, welcome! Let me get a good look at you. Oh, wow, let me guess: cut too many corners on your submarine, didn't you? Unforced errors make for the best customers. I'm Michael Celani, once alive, twice a business mogul. In life, I used my vast fortune to finance illegal avocado growing operations so that I could sell their seeds as artillery ordinance to tyrants. In death, I run the illustrious service you see before you: Revival of the Fittest. Your bank accounts might be frozen over, but it don't mean Hell has to before you can recover.

So what can we do for you? With my boy Extus, Oriq Overlord here, we can return you to life for twenty-four hours, just long enough for you to withdraw all your funds before kicking the bucket again, thereby creating a wire transfer across planes of existence. Using our state-of-the-art soul vessels developed by our lifeside-counterpart Boston Dynamics, you can track down any of your next-of-kin that's already collected your sizable inheritance and take it back for yourself, by force, if necessary. For this, all we ask is a modest ten percent transfer fee. I know your own personal Hell is being poor, so it's a small price to pay for salvation, wouldn't you say? Just sign on the dotted line, and we can get started.

Strong Armed

Why do this? I'm an antisocial Darwinist; so long as it makes me richer, I'm all for it. That's why I'm in the Fourth Circle, after all. But let me tell you, there's a lot of goody two-shoes up there that oppose trickle-all-the-way-down economics, so for once, you'll need to actually be strong instead of paying other people to be strong for you. That's why you need the Strike Team addon, available for a mere additional twenty percent. It comes chock-full of mercenaries that'll combat trick your power up so you can punch through anything. (You'll also need it because Extus, Oriq Overlord is your commander, and everyone seems to forget he has natural double strike, making it real easy to hit that 21-damage threshold.)

  • We've found a ton of Bloodrush creatures to help you warmonger your way to wealth: say hello to Skinbrand Goblin, Pyrewild Shaman, Rubblebelt Maaka, and Scorchwalker. As long as Extus, Oriq Overlord is attacking, you can discard these creatures to give him a sizable power and toughness boost for cheap. Plus, since they're creatures, you can easily bring them back to your hand during combat: just cast instants!
    • And that's not all, because we've got not only Bloodrush, but something better: you can Channel Ironhoof Boar for a buff at any time, even outside of combat. This is great if you've got a ton of sorceries in hand, but not a lot of instants.
    • Don't forget that you can use Bloodrush on creatures you don't control, too. If an enemy just let a dork through for a few damage, feel free to pump it up to ten and force the unlucky victim to waste removal just to survive.
  • Evoke Inner-Flame Acolyte for a single red mana to give Extus, Oriq Overlord haste alongside a decent power boost. You'll also have a small window to use him as sacrifice fodder when you do this, so don't miss out!
  • You're going to be casting a lot of noncreature spells to recur your Bloodrush creatures, which is why Livaan, Cultist of Tiamat is the perfect choice as backup. Be wary though: since he's legendary, you can't rescue him with Extus if things go wrong.
  • Haze of Rage has both Storm and Buyback, so you'll not only be able to pretty consistently get two or more power out of it on cast, but you'll also recur multiple creatures since Extus' Magecraft works not only when you cast a spell, but also when you a copy one.
    • Add in a Storm-Kiln Artist and nabbing infinite Treasure (which we will gladly take off your hands as a form of payment) isn't unrealistic, either. Just don't forget that your creatures are unbelievably huge when you do this, too; take a swing that turn to knock out at least one player.
  • Since creatures will be leaving your graveyard constantly in this deck, Thran Vigil will almost always put a +1/+1 counter on Extus any time you cast an instant or sorcery, which adds up fast thanks to that double strike.
    • Ghost Lantern plays very similarly, but it also has an Adventure that can recur a couple of creatures on its own, including any legendary creatures you might have lost along the way.

Barrier Skip

Really wish you hadn't hired all those security forces around your private vault, now, don't you? We've planned for this. Another five percent gets you a soul vessel that comes equipped with state-of-the-art cloaking technologies, guaranteeing that nobody will even know you're alive again. Use these tools to bypass anything standing between you and your money, and if you can manage to steal the Declaration of Independence with it I'll throw an extra three hours on your clock.

  • Discard a creature that you'll just get back to activate Key to the City, an effect that makes Extus truly unblockable. You can also pay some mana at the start of your next turn to refresh the card if you need to find something better to use.
  • Prowler's Helm is an extremely cheap Equipment that renders Extus intangible to anything but Walls.
  • Unfortunately, we can't really justify Whispersilk Cloak since that Shroud is just too unwieldy, but Bilbo's Ring does a respectable impression that also draws you cards when you attack alone for some reason.
  • Finally, Rogue's Passage and Shizo, Death's Storehouse can get Extus through crowded board states, and they're effectively free inclusions since they're lands. You might think there's no such thing as a free lunch, but that's a misnomer; you just have to have your friends pay for it.

Life's an Adventure

Like the way you treated everyone else in your life, your strike team is disposable, but sometimes, you need to off more than just one heir. Market research shows that most of our customers need to kill at least three people before they've recovered their wealth, so you'll need to find a way to use your combat tricks multiple times. That's why you need to add the Adventure Team package, a steal at just fifteen percent. Not only are these cards instants and sorceries that trigger Extus, Oriq Overlord, they're also creatures themselves. With careful play, you can easily raise Extus' power to 11 and make him difficult to block all while ensuring there's always at least one instant or sorcery you can cast to keep the chain going.

  • Faerie Guidemother and Rimrock Knight are the cream of the crop; the Adventures are cheap, they buff up Extus' power, and you can easily cast the creature side of it later for practically no investment.
    • Silverflame Squire isn't quite as good on offense since his adventure is rather pricey, but don't count out using it as a defensive tool to trick someone who thinks you're shields down.
  • Your opponent has one nasty blocker stopping you from swinging? Try Murderous Rider or Giant Killer. They're reasonably costed and easy to recur removal spells, and the creatures they're attached to aren't bad either.
  • If your opponents are catching on to your gameplan and trying to remove your commander at instant speed, use Shepherd of the Flock or Blessed Hippogriff to protect him. Blessed Hippogriff is especially good since its creature component can also jump Extus over a crowded field.
  • Every once in a while, you just have to blow up a Sol Ring, and that's why Embereth Shieldbreaker makes the cut. It's also extremely cheap, making it easy to chain into other Adventures.
  • Order of Midnight, like Ghost Lantern, also can recur two creatures with one spell, but this one's much better since it's attached to a body. This is a particularly good card to tutor to your graveyard with Vile Entomber, since it makes it possible for you to rescue legendary creatures easily.
  • And if you just want to ruin everyone's day, Realm-Cloaked Giant and the not-quite-an-Adventure-but-close Selfless Glyphweaver are board wipes you can cast again and again. Selfless Glyphweaver even leaves Extus alive, and if you have Livaan, Cultist of Tiamat up, that's 20 guaranteed damage to an enemy's face.

Cost of Doing Business

Now that you're linked to the robot and the soul upload process has started, everything's good to go. Except there's one more thing we should tell you. See, the rules of the afterlife require that you're given your last rites for your money to transfer over with you. And if your soul leaves Earth without that, well, no money, no afterlife. What are the odds someone's going to bury a lifeless robot that just killed a bunch of people? Slim, if you ask me. Fortunately for you, we've got a way around that, but it'll cost you a whole forty-nine percent. Better make the choice before the upload completes, slick.

Our Instant Immolation package lets us perform your last rites for you remotely. Whenever you're ready or at the time limit, we'll simply sacrifice you using one of these lovely spells. Whether it's Bone Shards, Altar's Reap, or my personal favorite Final Payment, the thing that makes these spells unique is that sacrificing a creature is part of its cost. So, with Extus, Oriq Overlord on the field, if you cast a spell like that and sacrifice one of your creatures -- say, an Adventure creature -- that permanent will be in the graveyard by the time you actually finished casting the spell, meaning you can legally target it with Extus' triggered ability. And since Adventure creatures themselves can trigger Extus, you can easily keep casting pump spells and discarding Bloodrush creatures until you're big enough to wipe the floor with your opponents. But the fun doesn't stop there.

You can use this technique to effectively turn all of your cheap sacrifice spells, like Village Rites, into bounce spells with upside, so whether it's a great enters-the-battlefield trigger or a great dies trigger, you can always repeat it. You can even loop those cards with Ardent Elementalist to draw lots of cards or destroy tons of enemy permanents, and if you happen upon either of your Casualty spells (Rob the Archives or Dig Up the Body) while doing this, it'll be impossible for anything of yours to stay dead. Or maybe you've drawn Underworld Cerberus, which is usually a massive nonbo in this deck. Simply sacrifice it to Village Rites, return it with Extus' trigger, and then resolve the Cerberus' death trigger and watch all your creatures come back to your hand. It's truly diabolical!

Payment for Services Rendered

With all packages included, your total cost comes to ninety-nine percent of assets returned, leaving you with the one percent. How ironic. I guess this really is Hell, after all! Well, not for me, but who's counting? Oh, my accountants are. So long, and thanks for all the money!

If you enjoy How They Brew It, go ahead and check out the Discord and my other projects on my website. My new Discord bot lets you suggest deck ideas or even make me create short videos roasting your favorite commander, or you can even earn the ability to see new decklists early. Come check it out!

Revival of the Fittest (Extus, Oriq Overlord EDH)

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Commander (1)
Creatures (28)
Sorceries (8)
Instants (15)
Artifacts (9)
Enchantments (4)
Lands (35)

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Newly appointed member of the FDIC and insured up to $150,000 per account, Michael Celani is the member of your playgroup that makes you go "oh no, it's that guy again." He's made a Twitter account @GamesfreakSA as well as other mistakes, and his decks have been featured on places like MTGMuddstah. You can join his Discord at and vote on which decks you want to see next. In addition to writing, he has a job, other hobbies, and friends.