Tayam's Little Shop of Horrors - Budget EDH Deck Tech

Benjamin Levin • March 8, 2024

Tayam, Luminous Enigma | Illustrated by Sam Burley
Insidious Roots | Illustrated by Monztre

Hello everyone! Welcome to another installment of BathroomBrews. In this week's deck tech I wanted to build around one of my favorite cards from Murders at Karlov Manor: Insidious Roots. As a lifelong Golgari lover, this enchantment is exactly what I want in a deck. It's a cheap payoff for moving creatures in and out of the graveyard that provides mana and bodies. I originally was going to put it into my Tormod, the Desecrator deck, but instead, I wanted to lean into the Plant theme of the card, but as it turns out, there are zero legendary Plant creatures.

I started flipping through my binder for inspiration, as one does, and that's when I saw it. The perfect commander to build around this card: Tayam, Luminous Enigma. She wants creatures with counters, can easily move creatures out of the graveyard, and has great art. While she isn't a Plant, she is seen holding a tree, so that's good enough for me. With my commander in one hand and my random uncommon enchantment in the other, it was time to get brewing, or should I say gardening?

Welcome to Tayam's Little Shop of Horror! 

The Fertilizer

As is tradition, let's kick things off with the ramp. There are more Plant mana dorks than I expected when starting this brew. We have Ilysian Caryatid, Sylvan Caryatid, Utopia Tree, Vine Trellis, and Wall of Roots. We have Beanstalk Wurm, Topiary Stomper, and Rampant Rejuvenator to put actual lands into play. The best mana dorks in the deck are Wall of Roots, since it puts a counter on itself that Tayam can remove, and Rampant Rejuvenator, because as it gets bigger, we get more land. Just make sure it doesn't get exiled. 

To fuel Tayam's ability, we need to have counters on our creatures. Some creatures put counters on themselves, such as Carrion Feeder, Vinelasher Kudzu, Bloodbriar, Bloodline Pretender, Phytohydra, and Vulturous Zombie. Their only purpose is to help fuel Tayam's ability. Next up are the Plants with scavenge: Slitherhead and Dreg Mangler. Finally, we want ways to put counters on all of our creatures. Felidar Retreat, Retreat to Kazandu, and of course Insidious Roots are all-stars in the deck, but the best is Avenger of Zendikar. Not only does it give us a ton of Plants, but whenever a land enters our battlefield, all of our Plants get a counter. 

"Fake" Plants

Unlike some popular creature types, such as Vampires or Humans, there isn't a critical mass of playable Plants, and while I could just jam every Plant into a deck, I still wanted it to be an actual deck, so we have to fill out some spots with these "fake" Plants also known as changelings. We have Realmwalker to let us cast Plants from the top of our deck. Mirror Entity is one of the backup win conditions in the deck, letting us turn all of our weak Plants into massive threats. And Graveshifter lets us return a creature from our graveyard to our hand. 

The Graveyard Stuff

While Tayam's ability does mill us, we want to include more ways to help fill our graveyard. Ideally, we'd have creatures do this, but Grisly Salvage and Grapple with the Past are staples in graveyard decks for a reason. The new-ish Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler is repeatable mill with the added upside of recurring a cheap creature. 

As I mentioned earlier, I picked Tayam for her ability to move creatures in and out of the graveyard, but we don't want to be reliant on our commander for the deck to function. Dredge is great here because it mills us and returns the card, in this case Greater Mossdog, to our hand. We can also exile creatures from the 'yard to trigger Roots and the other payoffs, which I'll get to shortly. Woodwraith Strangler is a free and repeatable way to exile creatures from our graveyard, and Creakwood Ghoul is graveyard hate, which we can also target ourselves with. 

When I build a deck around a single card, I try to find other cards that have a similar effect, and what's better than Chalk Outline and Soul Enervation from the same set? Both of these enchantments are great payoffs for any card leaving our graveyard, not just creatures. Soul Enervation is a win condition, and Chalk Outline provides great value. Of course, we're including format all-star, Syr Konrad, the Grim. Unlike the enchantments, Konrad checks whenever each creature leaves a graveyard, not one or more, so if you exile 30 creatures, you hit each opponent for 30. 

Victory for the Plants

The primary win condition in this deck is combo. The most notable is Syr Konrad and Living Death. All you need is Syr Konrad in play and cast Living Death. When it exiles everyone's graveyard, Syr Konrad will trigger for each creature exiled, hopefully dealing enough damage to let you win the game. 

Next is a convoluted three-card combo involving Tortured Existence, Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler, and Insidious Roots. You also need a creature in your hand and the graveyard, but that should be easy enough to do. All you need to do for this combo is pay a black and swap a creature from your hand and graveyard using Tortured Existence; this will trigger Roots, giving you a Plant. Then thanks to Tyvar's static, we can tap that new Plant for a black to repeat this process, giving you infinite ETBs, counters, and cards leaving your graveyard. This, in conjunction with any of the drain effects listed above, or a sac outlet with Bastion of Remembrance, will win you the game. Worst case, you try to combo right before your turn and untap with an army of Plants. 

The Upgrades

There aren't a ton of upgrades I'd suggest you pick up aside from improving the mana base, but if you're looking to improve the consistency of the deck, you could add The Gitrog Monster, Life from the Loam, and Ashnod's Altar. Because we're milling so often, Gitrog quickly becomes a powerful draw engine. Life from the Loam helps us fill the graveyard while returning lands to our hand. Finally, Ashnod's Altar gives us mana to use for Tayam's ability. This along with Tayvar and Roots in play means we can mill our entire deck, which is great because our combo pieces are all three mana or less, so we can recur them with Tayam's ability.

Little Shop of Horrors - Tayam Budget Deck

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Lands (36)
Instants (3)
Creatures (45)
Enchantments (9)
Sorceries (4)
Artifacts (1)
Planeswalkers (1)

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

Ben has been playing Magic since 2012 and started creating Magic the Gathering content in October of 2022 on YouTube under the name BathroomBrewsMTG (YouTube.com/@BRBMTG). Primarily focusing on budget EDH content. When he isn't thinking or talking about MTG, he is usually playing video games, spending time with his wife or playing with his two cats. You can find him on Twitter @BathroomMTG.