Sift Through Sands - Deathleaper, Terror Weapon and Neyam Shai Murad

Wes Stuckey • October 19, 2022

Deathleaper, Terror Weapon, Mirko Failoni and Neyam Shai Murad and Fajareka Setaiwan

The Call of War

Hello everyone! In this week's Sift Through Sands, we're going to depart from our usual examination of a card package in two different decks to examine the new Warhammer 40,000 commander decks. Here's the catch: the decklists we're looking at today contain no other cards from the 40k set (it's just the commanders). Without further ado, let's look at our legends: Deathleaper, Terror Weapon and Neyam Shai Murad.

Our Picks

Neither Deathleaper, Terror Weapon nor Neyam Shai Murad are the main commanders for their decks, but both of them scream "build around me!". They're mechanically distinct, but their complexity is about the same. Many of the new legendary creatures in 40k are easy enough to understand and fun to build around - perfect for Warhammer veterans trying to get into Magic! Deathleaper wants to head an aggressive deck of fast attackers, while Neyam encourages building an unorthodox political graveyard deck. Let's start with Deathleaper!

Death Leapperd

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Playing Deathleaper, Terror Weapon

Deathleaper, Terror Weapon is dangerous, and getting it out to give our creatures double strike is essential. Before it enters (sometimes as a nasty blocker because of flash), some early game support in the form of Champion of Lambholt, Gala Greeters, and Tinder Wall will establish our board. This deck features few hasty creatures that bounce back to hand on the end step, notably Reinforced Ronin, Viashino Sandsprinter, and Shatterskull Charger, meaning we can get some early hits in before Deathleaper enters the battlefield to utilize our trampolining creatures.

As we're building around enter the battlefield effects, Devilish Valet, Rose Room Treasurer, and Primal Forcemage, become instant problems for our hapless prey. Finding ways to bounce and re-cast our heavy hitters ensures they benefit from Deathleaper. Playing Noetic Scales can put a wrench in our opponents' plans, while First Responder becomes a defensive piece and Jaxis, the Troublemaker lets us temporarily clone our scariest creatures.

Our jankier inclusions all revolve around establishing some board control and making sure our creatures keep connecting. Damping Engine will often not affect us, since many of our creatures will be going back to hand, while Uphill Battle and Bedlam deal with pesky blockers. Putrefax can potentially win the game in a turn, and Elemental Mastery can increase our damage output tremendously. Most importantly, giving Stangg haste will make our opponents rue their laughter as they take 12 to the face.

Reanimate and Resurrect

Neyam Shai Murad is a weird card, reminiscent of Dawnbreak Reclaimer and Tempt with Immortality, but the deck plays closer to Tasigur, the Golden Fang. The art of Neyam is in the communication that takes place, since her ability's effectiveness is dependent on both her connecting and an opponent's choices. By being an ally and using graveyard hate to manipulate the reanimation choices, Neyam Shai Murad creates an interesting game of give and take. Let's look at the list.

My Neyam is Murad

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Commander (1)
Artifact (15)
Creature (28)
Enchantment (4)
Instant (6)
Sorcery (9)
Planeswalker (1)
Land (35)

Playing Neyam Shai Murad

The success of this deck comes from unassuming cards with sacrifice effects. Morgue Thrull, Blood Pet, and Chromatic Star aren't exciting cards, and that's the point. Our opponents will seldom balk at returning these cards to play with Neyam, providing us with incremental resources that will put us ahead in the long run. Filling everyone's graveyard can come with obvious mill cards like Eye Collector, or in the more favorable form of excess draw, with Font of Mythos. The Font allows us to enable the deck without making too many enemies, provided we give our opponents what they want.

Exiling cards from graveyards is another centerpiece of the deck. Cards like Necropolis Fiend, Scrabbling Claws, Egon, God of Death, and Kaya, Orzhov Usurper all let us remove cards we don't want to see (like most lands), letting us nudge opponents in the direction of cards we want them to choose to return. Cycling cards like Street Wraith, Landscaper Colos, or Angel of the Ruins give us initial advantages before we can return them to play.

Winning the game comes with similarly incrimental gains. Soulshriek can make Neyam into a one-hit killer, especially when she has evasion due to Skeleton Key or negotiation. Syr Konrad, the Grim and Tormod, the Desecrator both give us upsides to cards leaving our graveyard. Most excitingly, unusual cards like Immortal Coil and Morality Shift find a home here and perform exceptionally well.

I hope you all enjoyed today's experiment in Sift Through Sands! Building with the restriction of no new 40k cards was difficult (so many of them rule!) but rewarding. The uniqueness of both of these decks shows the potential many of these new commanders have, and that was a delight to work with. I'd love to hear what commanders from the new set are you're planning on building. Or even better, tell me about some arbitrary deck constraints you've built with! Until next time!

The untenable Wes Stuckey is the jankiest Magic player to roam the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (their first brewed deck was Blind Seer "old cards"). You can find them slinging spells, running campaigns, and listening to music with friends and the cat.