Deck Tech: Psychatog
I recall several years ago, when a close friend had brought my eye to Pauper EDH, the spark of imagination that came to my mind. This new wave, this new way to tackle the game with new generals, it felt like a high that I hadn't had in quite some time. At first, I figured that there would be a ceiling on what I could do, and how I could compete against other standard EDH decks. It didn't take long until I came across the more competitive side of the format.
I've waited a long time to talk about this; My pride and joy, my weapon, and my PDH baby. It's finally time to chat about the behemoth that is Psychatog. In this article, I am going to break down how I play The Tog, as well as make key notes to mechanics around the deck that make this weapon ever so dangerous.
Be ready to have a lot of fun with this guy. A deck like this is very much intended to utilize the commander to cause damage, but not in the usual "Voltron" way of doing things. The main point is to discard, or exile from your graveyard, then deal lethal damage when the time is right. With a deck like this, you're best off forgetting about politics.
The majority of the spells in this deck are dedicated to three tasks.
1) Filling the Graveyard.
2) Card Draw.
3) Making Psychatog more dangerous, by making it stronger,
and making it unblockable.
Since the deck is dedicated to filling the graveyard, graveyard utilizing, and card draw, the deck tends to move very quick. Getting the strategy ready as soon as possible is fantastic, but with a strategy this precise, there are weaknesses to be addressed.
As we have talked about in previous articles, flying is quite prominent in this format. This is a deck that is focused primarily on getting its own strategy ready, so it's quite limited on removal of such things. The main way this deck addresses that is by fighting fire with fire. This deck will either work to give Psychatog flying, or bring out fliers to chump with while we buy ourselves more time. The below cards are in the deck solely for protecting ourselves from fliers.
The other weakness of the deck is a fair deal more complicated to handle. Graveyard hate is always important to remember, just in case. Well, this deck is the "just in case" people will expect. You can't prevent a Bojuka Bog from being played, and it will be quite difficult to stop a Nihil Spellbomb or a Tormod's Crypt. So it's important to keep that in mind. Don't plan to build a "Super Attack" with a massive graveyard. You can't predict when this will happen, so don't rely entirely on your graveyard for one massive hit.
Talking about "Transmute"
Several problems will arise, and several solutions are in your deck and ready. Let's discuss grabbing them sooner. This deck is prepared with cards with Transmute. Transmute is an ability that essentially turns the card in your hand into a tutor. For example, Dimir Infiltrator has a CMC of 2. If you Transmute it from your hand, you can tutor for a 2-drop.
The deck is geared up with seven cards with Transmute, that can serve as their own individual card. The trick is to know what to grab at the right time. That's going to depend on the state of the game. It's important to assess if you are more in need of card draw, or a flying deterrent. In some cases, you can also tutor for a means of making Psychatog unblockable.
In special cases, several other potential grabs may be your best shot. It's quite important to assess these special cases.
Many times, a creature that would have been really great (such as Ulamog's Crusher), will end up in the graveyard, by design of this deck. Exhume is a great way to bring out a dangerous threat incredibly early. Ghostly Flicker will be one of those cards that will be mentioned several times on this site, due to it's addition in several combos. In our case, it will pair with the expected Archaeomancer (naturally), and Peregrine Drake, for an infinite mana combo. If your hand seems empty, grab a Rhystic Study. The last is a personal favorite of mine. This is a deck that can really maximize the impact of a weapon like Essence Harvest. Losing life will be inevitable with a deck like this, especially if your opponents know what is coming.
The Land Base
The choice of spells, and the lands we picked were no accident. In fact, we have little intention of actually keeping a lot of the lands we draw. The average CMC of this deck being so low allows us to either discard, or cycle many of the lands that come to our hand.
Although we are fine with tossing lands from our hands, the added fetch lands will be of more value if used as intended. An extra chance to thin out the deck is always important, since we also can fill the graveyard with a card we don't mind exiling.
That will sum up the overall lowdown of playing Psychatog, and key concepts to consider when building around it. Below is the full deck tech, via TappedOut. Here, you will find great card choices for you to add to your Tog build.
Do you agree with the full tech? Do you have any things that you would change? Try your deck and let us know how it goes. This is simply one way to play the deck, and I encourage you to try anything out. Fun comes from expression, so feel free to try out your own ideas.
Click here to see the full tech.