Teneb, The Harvester – My First MTG Commander Deck, by Mark Pinder

Teneb, The Harvester - My First Commander Deck

Teneb, The Harvester – My First Magic: The Gathering Commander Deck

I thought today I’d write about my first MTG Commander deck featuring Teneb, the Harvester. Teneb himself has a special ability to return creatures from a graveyard back into play after dealing combat damage to an opponent. So I decided a deck that abused the graveyard would be something that would interest me.

When the original Commander sets came out in June 2011 I decided to get into Commander and at least have one deck, I chose the one with Teneb, the Harvester as I had enjoyed playing the card in the past. With hindsight I rather wish I’d grabbed the Angels with the value of Kaalia, of the Vast.

The deck has been improved over the years and whilst I try not to use Standard legal cards I do on occasion do so.

[Deck]1 Teneb, the Harvester
1 Blossoming Sands
1 Jungle Hollow
1 Scoured Barrens
1 Shambling Vents
1 Hissing Quagmire
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Treetop Village
1 Forbidding Watchtower
2 Swamp
2 Plains
3 Forest
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Meadow
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Orzhov Guildgate
1 Golgari Guildgate
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Woodland Cemetary
1 Rupture Spire
1 Command Tower
1 Sandsteppe Citadel
1 Orzhova, The Church of Deals
1 Rogue’s Passage
1 Vesuva
1 Wasteland
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Maze of Ith
1 Dark Depths
1 Volrath’s Stronghold[/Deck]

[Deck]1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Ink-eyes, Servant of Oni
1 Eternal Dragon
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Ohran viper
1 Artisan of Kozilek
1 Reya Dawnbringer
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Rune-Scarred Demon
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Necrotic Sliver
1 Angel of Despair
1 Acidic Slime
1 Ashen Rider
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Kokusho, the Evening Star
1 Shriekmaw
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
1 Baneslayer Angel
1 Eternal Witness
1 Adarkar Valkyrie
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One
1 Siege Rhino
1 Karador, Ghost Chieftain
1 Sun Titan
1 Cloudthresher
1 Debtor’s Knell
1 Fated Return
1 Beacon of Unrest
1 Unburial Rites
1 Dread Return
1 Marshal’s Anthem
1 Grim Harvest
1 Decree of Justice
1 Batterskull
1 Elspeth, Knight Errant
1 Sol Ring
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Coalition Relic
1 Brainspoil
1 Dimir House Guard
1 Dimir Machinations[/Deck]

[Deck]1 Hero’s Downfall
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Austere Command
1 Life’s Finale
1 Akroma’s Vengeance
1 Fated Retribution
1 Rout
1 End Hostilities
1 Hallowed Burial
1 Wrath of God
1 Day of Judgement
1 Damnation
1 Martial Coup
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Path to Exile
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Vindicate
1 Mortify
1 Putrefy
1 Utter End
1 Abzan Charm[/deck]

I’ve always like man lands and with the Battle for Zendikar block adding Hissing Quagmire and Shambling Vent make excellent additions to Stirring Wildwood, Treetop Village and Forbidding Watchtower.

Playing three colour’s means the mana base is always going to be tricky, I’ve added Ravnica Karoo lands, Vivid lands, guild gates and the Khan’s life lands. This does mean a lot of come into play tapped lands but the format is much slower. The deck also runs plenty of panic buttons in board wipe should things get too hot.

Orzhova, the Church of Deals allows me to have a slow win condition.

Rogue’s Passage brings an added evasion presence to the deck.

Maze of Ith allows the deck to prevent one attack and in a multi player environment it can even dissuade attackers from even trying.

Dark Depths is a fun card that we can tick down or if we draw the Vampire Hexmage just win the game.

Volrath’s Stronghold is a card I like, allowing me another option to return creatures from my graveyard to my hand.

Necrotic Sliver, Angel of Despair, Acidic Slime, Ashen Rider, Shriekmaw, Qasali Pridemage and Vampire Hexmage make up a suite of cards to be used as removal not just of creatures but various other form’s of permanent.

Courser of Kruphix and Eternal Dragon are cards to help smooth out the mana and improved land drops. I like Eternal Dragon as a creature anyway but we could improve the mana base to exploit fetch and shock lands. I’ve been reluctant to utilize Standard legal cards in Commander but we also have plenty of Modern legal cards too.

Eternal Witness and Ohran Viper are two solid utility cards, Ohran Viper allows card draw and Eternal Witness is great for returning any spell in your grave yard to be used again.

The threats in the deck are solid, but several come with bonuses to support the graveyard manipulation of the deck. I particularly like Rune-Scarred Demon as it allows to search for a card and it’s still a large threat.

Ink-eyes, Servant of Oni
Artisan of Kozilek
Reya Dawnbringer
Chameleon Colossus
Rune-Scarred Demon
Wurmcoil Engine
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Baneslayer Angel
Adarkar Valkyrie
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Siege Rhino
Karador, Ghost Chieftain
Sun Titan

Sun Titan is increasingly become less effective in the deck as few 3 cmc permanents to return but it can return powerful ones like the Courser of Kruphix and Eternal Witness. This is one of the ongoing problems with any Commander deck in that over time decks change and what was once a key card may become sidelined over the years. Commander decks can last a life time rather than eighteen months for Standard, this deck started its life in 2011 when the original Commander decks came out. My oversized Teneb is a bit battered but still sits on the table proudly after over four years.

My Wurmcoil Engine is a German foil version, I don’t know why but I just feel this creatures name just sounds so German in flavour that I had to pick up a copy.

Siege Rhino is in the deck as it has become iconic with Abzan and with all the ways to return creatures the life gain and loss can be quite significant.

Debtors’ Knell, Fated Return, Beacon of Unrest, Unburial Rites, Dread Return, Marshal’s Anthem and Grim Harvest make up the reanimation engine. My favourite card is the Debtors’ Knell but Marshal’s Anthem can also be highly useful.

Sol Ring, Chromatic Lantern and Coalition Relic provide a limited degree of ramp and mana fixing to assist the deck stabilizing its board presence.

To allow me to search Demonic Tutor with Brainspoil, Dimir House Guard and Dimir Machinations. This is a tutor engine I really like as it usually provides an appropriate answer, I also think Worldy Tutor or Eladamri’s Call could be useful on creature search after running Anafenza, the Foremost in Tiny Leaders.

I like board wipe and this deck runs several from four cmc to 6 cms with the added bonus of a Martial Coup. Austere Command, Life’s Finale, Akroma’s Vengeance, Rout, End Hostilities, Wrath of God, Day of Judgement, Fated Retribution and Damnation. The plan is that I have mass removal at 4 cmc and 5 cmc to be tutorable with Dimir House Guard or Brainspoil if needed. Rout and Fated Retribution also allows for potential instant speed removal if needed. As the game can go rather long with this deck I have considered In Garruk’s Wake.

Individual removal is more flexible Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Maelstrom Pulse, Vindicate, Mortify, Putrefy, Hero’s Downfall, Utter End and Abzan Charm. Mortify and Putrefy can be used against pesky enchantments or artefacts as well as creatures.

I have been considering adding Ruinous Path and Planar Outburst with all the man lands in the deck being able to make them bigger has a certain appeal. Anguished Unmaking looks like an interesting card from Shadows over Innistrad especially as in Commander the loss of three life isn’t as taxing.

I enjoy playing this deck, recently though the deck seems to have either lost some of its zip or maybe other decks have just improved more around it. So with that in mind whilst still keeping the re-animation core central to the deck, how would you improve the deck?

Thanks for reading,

Mark Pinder

Teneb, The Harvester - My First MTG Commander Deck, by Mark Pinder
I thought today I’d write about my first Magic: The Gathering Commander deck featuring Teneb, the Harvester.

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Mark Pinder
I have competed twice at GB nationals in 2010/2008, was Runner Up at Senior Nationals 2010, Won a Grand Prix Trial which took me to Paris 2009. My love of the game was such that I did previously win a writing competition on MTG Twincast which led to me being a Feature Writer for around a year until the Sponsor sold up but still did the occasional article. There is also a verb "To Pinder"colloquially used in northern magic communities which means "to gain life", I was a solid fan of Martyr of Sands/Proclamation of Rebirth combo and many players have heard those fateful words, Sacrifice Martyr of Sands, gain 21 life against me to see the game go out of their reach with lethal damage available to them next turn.