Last updated on December 1, 2022
Emry, Lurker of the Loch | Illustration by Livia Prima
Somewhere around 10 years ago I decided to teach my best friend from high school how to play Magic. I’d just bought Duel Decks: Izzet vs Golgari and I wanted to try it. He got immediately hooked with the graveyard mechanics of the Golgari () Swarm and actually now has their signet tattooed on his arm.
A few years later we got into Commander. He built a Sidisi, Brood Tyrant deck and discovered the wonders of adding blue to your graveyard strategy. And about a month ago or so he told me he wanted to build an Emry, Lurker of the Loch deck.
It took him 10 years, but he somehow managed to become such a big fan of Golgari that he found a way to play a pseudo-graveyard strategy in a mono-blue artifact deck. This deck is full of ETB and LTB effects, and it actually has plenty of ways to go infinite. Keep that in mind when building this because it might clash with some playgroups’ Rule 0.
I’m not big on cEDH myself so I don’t particularly know tons about the format’s meta, but I’d advise using this deck in more competitive settings. Let’s dive right into it!
Whir of Invention | Illustration by Christine Choi
Hope of Ghirapur
Sai, Master Thopterist
The Reality Chip
Urza, Lord High Artificer
Muddle the Mixture
Whir of Invention
Secrets of the Dead
Thopter Spy Network
Rings of Brighthearth
Sensei's Divining Top
Seat of the Synod
Snow-Covered Island x21
This isn’t a kitchen-table kind of deck because it mostly wins through combos. There are several ways to get infinite mana, enters- and leaves-the-battlefield abilities, card draw, self-mill, and storm count. Most of these require several pieces to work, but they’re still infinite combos that can net you a win with little to no interaction.
Any other ways to build an Emry, Lurker of the Loch EDH deck fall short in terms of power when compared to all the possible combos it could have. So make sure to know if your playgroup’s Rule 0 allow for decks like this one.
Emry, Lurker of the Loch is one of this deck’s main engines. The two things you care most about here are Emry’s own cost reduction, and its tap ability. Chances are you’re playing your commander for a single blue mana more often than not thanks to how many artifacts the deck plays, ensuring you can easily have one of your combo pieces on the field whenever you need.
This commander’s tap ability is what justifies more than half the cards in the deck. Everything revolves around you being able to exploit this ability as much as possible to generate mana and trigger various ETB and LTB abilities. This commander can’t win the game by itself, but it’s central to the rest of the deck.
- Basalt Monolith
- Chromatic Sphere
- Chromatic Star
- Chrome Mox
- Everflowing Chalice
- Jeweled Lotus
- Krark-Clan Ironworks
- Lotus Petal
- Mana Crypt
- Mana Vault
- Mind Stone
- Mox Amber
- Mox Opal
- Patriar's Seal
- Sol Ring
- Vexing Puzzlebox
The strong focus this deck has on artifacts allows you to take away some lands and replace them for mana rocks that synergize better with your commander. It’s important to note that several of these can also become combo pieces when the right cards are in play.
Keeping the cost of your artifacts low is always good in any artifact deck, but in this case it also makes Emry’s activated ability way better. It can also be extremely important for the infinite combos.
This is a mono-blue deck, and no mono-blue deck is complete without a handful of counterspells or redirection cards.
- Codex Shredder
- Conjurer's Bauble
- Grinding Station
- Isochron Scepter
- Mesmeric Orb
- Mishra's Bauble
- Urza's Bauble
- Chakram Retriever
- Mirran Spy
- Walking Ballista
- Brain Freeze
- Dramatic Reversal
- Mirrodin Besieged
This deck has a few possible combos, and most of them work in relatively similar ways. Most of these combos also make use of a lot of the cards I’ve placed in other categories but those are mostly interchangeable as long as their effects are similar enough.
The Mana Base
This is actually a relatively simple mana base. I’ve already mentioned the mana rocks because in this particular case those play right into the deck’s strategies and combos.
Mystic Sanctuary is a good way to make sure you can recover any spell you might have accidentally milled or played at the wrong time. Academy Ruins, Buried Ruin, and Inventors' Fair are all here because of how they interact with artifacts. Seat of the Synod and Darksteel Citadel are artifacts, and that’s it.
I decided to add Snow-Covered Island instead of regular Islands because they can be circumstantially better, and they’re definitely prettier. They can easily be replaced by regular basic lands or some other utility land you may want to play.
The Strategy and Combos
This entire deck’s strategy revolves around combos. Most of the cards that aren’t combo pieces are there to keep you in the game until you can combo, or to actually find the needed pieces.
One of the most direct combos to pull is to have Emry, Lurker of the Loch, Mirran Spy, and any self-sacrificing mana rock (like Lotus Petal). This combo quickly gives you infinite mana, infinite ETB and LTB triggers, and an infinite storm count. You can add Grinding Station for an infinite mill combo.
You’ve got something similar with Krark-Clan Ironworks and Codex Shredder. Use Codex Shredder to mill a card, sacrifice it to Krark-Clan Ironworks to generate two colorless mana, tap Emry, Lurker of the Loch to return it to the battlefield, which triggers Mirran Spy. Repeat for infinite colorless mana and mill.
You can also use the same idea to cast artifacts and build your storm count. Then you can cast Brain Freeze for what’s essentially an infinite storm count either by drawing or recovering it from the graveyard with Conjurer's Bauble.
One of the deck’s more complex combos uses Basalt Monolith and Mesmeric Orb with Emry and Mirran Spy or Chakram Retriever on the field. You can use the first two to mill your entire deck into the graveyard, then you just use your commander’s ability to cast any of the artifacts in your graveyard as many times as you want or need.
I think it’s pretty clear that this deck’s strategies depend on having ways to untap Emry, Lurker of the Loch. Almost every card in the deck is there to complement that, and the ones that aren’t are mostly control to protect yourself.
Rule 0 Violations Check
This whole deck is probably gonna be a Rule 0 violation in most casual playgroups. It plays almost exclusively into combos with next no interaction. It’s extremely swift and very powerful, which is a good thing, but it’s also a big drawback for casual settings.
There are ways to build Emry as a casual EDH deck. You can take most of the combo cards out and replace them with a stronger focus on artifact creatures or something similar. You can even keep Mirran Spy and have some smaller combos available.
This deck has a few expensive cards, but they’re mostly necessary for the deck’s combos to work. I’ll try to offer some replacements for the most expensive ones, mostly those that go for over $10.
Chrome Mox, Jeweled Lotus, Lotus Petal, Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, Mox Amber, and Mox Opal could be replaced by Mox Tantalite or Lotus Bloom. They obviously aren’t as good but they’re cheaper and they serve a similar purpose.
Grinding Station is a card that’s pretty hard to replace. I didn’t find any cards that worked as well as it does, so I’d just fill its spot with any other card that could work well with the deck. The same thing goes for Mystical Tutor.
Another card that’s hard to replace is Isochron Scepter. You could use Spellbinder, but again, it’s not nearly as good. Either Trading Post or Extruder can work as replacements for Krark-Clan Ironworks.
Cards like Sensei's Divining Top and Urza, Lord High Artificer have replacements like Brainstone or Grand Architect, but their spots can also be replaced with cards that have other utilities. This same thing applies to Rhystic Study, but you can also use Mystic Remora in its place.
Walking Ballista’s spot could be taken by Hangarback Walker or Monoskelion. Almost any counterspell is a reasonable replacement for Swan Song.
Ancient Tomb, Academy Ruins, and Strip Mine can all be replaced with other utility lands, but Ghost Quarter and Temple of the False God are good starting points.
Emry, Lurker of the Loch is almost exclusively a combo card. Any other build you might choose is probably gonna be weaker or way more casual.
The main alternative strategy you should go for with this commander is a full artifact deck. You should have tons of strong artifact creatures and utility artifacts that can hasten your game. Anything that relies on sacrifices works too since Emry helps you keep your graveyard easy to access in case you need it.
Dramatic Reversal | Illustration by Eric Deschamps
This is probably my first decklist that goes into cEDH territory. I’m not a fan of the format myself so I don’t really build decks like this one. There are plenty of ways to make mono blue EDH decks, but I think Emry, Lurker of the Loch puts an original spin on a very common archetype and that’s what caught my attention.
But enough about me. Do you like this deck? Would you like playing it or against it? What’s your opinion on infinite combos like the ones in this deck? Feel free to leave a comment down below or join us on the Draftsim Discord.
That’s all from me for now! Have a good one, and I’ll see you next time!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: