Zur the Enchanter - Esper Cycling Budget Deck Tech

Benjamin Levin • February 22, 2024

Zur the Enchanter | Illustrated by Pete Venters
Zur the Enchanter | Illustrated by Chase Stone

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another installment of BathroomBrews! While the spoiler season is in full swing for the new Fallout decks, I wanted to get back to basics with an oldie but a goodie, so today I present you Zur the Enchanter. However, instead of building a normal enchantment-based deck, my friend took this commander and built a powerful cycling deck. He's been trying to make a cycling deck work for several years now, but nothing has felt good to him. That was until he realized Zur was the answer. The best cycling enchantments turn out to be three mana, so why not run a tutor from the command zone? The best part is the deck can function without Zur; however, he does help a ton.

Without further ado, let's get into it. 

The Mana

I'd normally start off with ramp, but instead, I'm simply calling this section mana since we only have two ramp cards: Arcane Signet and Sol Ring. That's it. No other Signets nor Talismans here. The deck doesn't actually need ramp to function. Most of the deck is three mana or less, so it's more important to hit your land drops, which is where all the landcyclers come in. In total, there are 11 cards with some form of land cycling on them, like the new Lord of the Ring cyclers with Eagles of the North, Troll of Khazad-dûm, and Lórien Revealed. That being said, my favorite landcyclers are Jhessian Zombies and Sanctum Plowbeast. Not only do they have gorgeous art, but they also fix two different land types. 

As for the mana base, it mostly consists of lands that enter the battlefield tapped. This is because we want to load up on as many lands with basic land types as possible so we can fix our mana. We have all of the Dominara United and Kaldheim common lands along with Raffine's Tower. If you want to improve the mana base, I'd add the new surveil lands and shock lands. Lands with types are important, so I'd be hesitant to cut them for untapped lands.

Cycling Support


As I mentioned at the start of the article, the best cycling enchantments are three mana or less. These would be Crystalline Resonance, Astral Slide, and Astral Drift. Both Astral Slide and Astral Drift help protect our creatures from removal and remove problematic creature tokens while Crystalline Resonance becomes a copy of any permanent on the battlefield. Usually, you want it to become a copy of your win conditions, which we will cover later on. We also have New Perspectives, Drake Haven, and Faith of the Devoted to round out the enchantment cycling support. 


The cycling creatures in the deck provide a wide range of utility. There's Cloud of Faeries, which is basically free since it untaps two lands when it enters; Archfiend of Ifnir, a Massacre Wurm at home; and Herald of the Forgotten, a way to get all your cycling permanents back. I thought about swapping out Herald for Living Death, but Herald gets our lands back, so it stays. One of the budget changes I made was Jo Grant, who gives historic cards cycling and grows as we cycle. There are also the Ikoria cycling payoffs with Valiant Rescuer and Flourishing Fox.

The Other

The last two cards get their own category because they don't share a card type with anything else. We have Fluctuator, which reduces cycling costs by two mana, making most of this deck free to cycle, and Shadow of the Grave, a two-mana instant that will return all of the cards we discarded or cycled in a turn back to our hand. This is also cute tech if you have a Tergrid, God of Fright or Tinybones, Trinket Thief in your playgroup.

Draw and Discard Support

Because cycling is technically us discarding, we can include some unique payoffs that you don't see too often, unless you have a Anje Falkenrath at your table. There's Dying to Serve which makes a tapped 2/2 once a turn whenever we discard. Next is an unrated card in my opinion, Containment Construct. This artifact creature will let you play spells you cycle away on the same turn. And finally, Bone Miser is a Waste Not, but for when we discard cards. This is arguably the best creature in the deck as it improves the win conditions of the deck.

The draw support shouldn't be that surprising. We have Ominous Seas to create 8/8 Krakens when we draw cards, and we have Alhammarret's Archive to double up on card draw whenever we cycle.


What kind of Esper deck would we be without interaction? In total, we have 13 spells that can remove pesky permanents, protect our key creatures, or counter our opponents' spells. Nimble Obstructionist can counter abilities we don't control and replace itself; if you play against someone with a lot of fetch lands, countering their ability to fetch lands is fun. One of my favorite board wipes is Decree of Pain; you can either cycle it to clear out tokens, or hard cast it to draw a million cards. Lastly, one of the most obscure pieces of interaction, but one of my favorite, is Power Taint. It slowly chips away at someone's life or forces them to pay two each turn.

Win Conditions

The primary win condition of this deck revolves around two key enchantments: Mystic Redaction and Psychic Corrosion. Both enchantments act as mill engines to rip apart our opponents' decks. I think Mystic Redaction is better because it works when we cycle for lands, but either one of these will allow you to end the game quickly. To help speed up that process we have Copy Enchantment and Mirrormade. These, along with Crystalline Resonance, can mill players between six and eight cards each time you cycle. The best part is Zur can tutor these win conditions directly into play. Be on the lookout for instant-speed wins with this deck. My friend won games with removal on the stack, so don't be afraid to just go for it.

The Upgrades

The appeal of this deck is, aside from the six cards I cut to make this a budget deck, three of which were lands, the deck is pretty cheap. However, if you want to add some additional upgrades there are three I'd suggest: Laboratory Maniac and Thassa's Oracle are back-up win conditions for the deck, while Estrid's Invocation is a more expensive Copy Enchantment. I'd cut Jo Grant and Dying to Serve to add Laboratory Maniac and Thassa's Oracle. But like I said at the start of the article, surveil and shock lands would be the biggest upgrade to the deck in my opinion.

Zur the Cyclest | Esper Cycling | Budget EDH | BRBMTG

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Commander (1)
Artifacts (6)
Instants (13)
Creatures (22)
Lands (36)
Enchantments (16)
Sorceries (6)

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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.