The God of Fright is a very good description for a commander that wants players to discard cards and sacrifice their permanents so that it can steal them for itself. When opponents see Tergrid as the commander, they start showing feelings of unease and discomfort. This can either be a positive, distracting a player before the game even begins, or negative as it immediately turns everyone against us from the very first turn on. With Tergrid, God of Fright // Tergrid's Lantern Kaldheim gave us a new double-faced monoblack commander with a powerful, synergy-driven effect on the front side and an alternative win condition on the back side (provided you can generate a lot of mana).
In order to maximize the value we gain from Tergrid's effect, we should prioritize cards that affect each opponent or each player. Keep in mind, even if we lose X number of cards/permanents together with our opponents, we are still netting more stuff than we put in. Most importantly, we actually gain more stuff than what our opponents are losing. If our opponents have to sacrifice one creature each, we may be gaining three. So spells like Awaken the Erstwhile, Dark Deal, Smallpox, Fraying Omnipotence, and Death Cloud can be game ending even if they affect us as well.
Of course we need to have Tergrid present on the battlefield to be able to steal our opponent's stuff. However, don't be afraid to play edict effects even when our commander has not come out to play yet. This is a form of control deck, after all, and since our commander costs five mana to cast, we might find ourselves vulnerable until then. For that reason, we want to consider cards like Demon's Disciple, Fleshbag Marauder, Merciless Executioner, and Plaguecrafter as removal spells to disrupt our opponents. Liliana's Triumph, Soul Shatter, Szat's Will, and Vona's Hunger add extra edict effects at instant speed.
In order to put more pressure on our opponents, we can include other creatures that also force sacrifices, making sure to clear their board and take those creatures ourselves. Anowon, the Ruin Sage, Archfiend of Depravity, and Sheoldred, Whispering One are the prime examples here, while Rankle, Master of Pranks and Vindictive Lich are very flexible in their ability that we can choose which effect to activate depending on the situation.
Another effective way to keep our opponents off balance is to attack their hands. It's nice when we get to steal cards with Tergrid this way, but even just disrupting an opponent's strategy until we set up our own game plan is quite relevant. Mind Rake, Syphon Mind, Delirium Skeins and Stronghold Rats are perfect for either goal. Most notably, we can sacrifice Mindslicer to one of our own edict effects and make everyone discard their entire hand.
If we run out of spells to force our opponents to sacrifice creatures or discard cards, we can always cast our commander's other side, Tergrid's Lantern. This artifact makes an opponent lose 3 life unless they sacrifice a nonland permanent or discard a card. If we manage to generate a lot of mana, we can even activate it several times per turn and slowly drain our opponents of options. I did not include a way to generate infinite mana in this version of the deck, but I did include Extraplanar Lens and Cabal Coffers. They help us cast It That Betrays and activate the Lantern, so that we can still steal whatever our opponents sacrifice.
The deck might look easy, but in reality it is very difficult to pilot. This is not so much due to the interactions of the deck itself but more because of the perception others have of the commander. Similar to Tinybones, Trinket Thief, this deck can make people very salty, and once they are bitten, opponents will often come gunning for you regardless of the current board state. Another trap that this deck might tempt you to enter is to try and only cast your commander and your edict/discard when you can do both in the same turn. It's easy to leave yourself open early on in the game. Like I explained above, use the spells that force sacrifice and discard to control the game and stall opponents until you are in a comfortable position to cast your commander and start stealing their stuff.
What do you think of the God of Fright? Is this a playstyle that you enjoy or something that your playgroup will immediately hate? Tell us in a comment below!
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