The Scarab God (Amonkhet Invocations) - Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski

The Scarab God (Amonkhet Invocations) | Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski

The Scarab God is a card that dominated most of its Standard format, and it’s a powerful Dimir () commander. Makes sense given that Scarab is legendary and has a few abilities that suit Commander. Reanimation from any graveyard is one great feature, but so is dodging commander tax (if you want to).

There’s been no shortage on Dimir commanders that are friendly to zombies (Gisa and Geralf, Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver, Grimgrin, Corpse-Born), so this build for The Scarab God may be similar to other zombie tribal. I’ve also included pieces that make the most of the Big Bug God’s abilities.

Let’s get into it!

The Deck

Fact or Fiction - Illustration by Matt Cavotta

Fact or Fiction | Illustration by Matt Cavotta

The Commander

The Scarab God

The Scarab God is a god that can eternalize creatures from any graveyard.

A very nice thing about this commander is that if it dies, you get to put it back in your hand from the graveyard on the next turn and avoid paying the commander tax. If it’s exiled, it goes back to the command zone and there’s no way around it. Even if the board is swept you can cast your commander from your hand for . You’ll want to take care so that your commander isn’t reanimated or stolen from a graveyard, though.

You’ll scry your deck and deal damage to your opponents based on the number of zombies you have, so The Scarab God is better the more zombies you have around. That means you want zombies because you want them to be good. 

One of the problems with tribal decks is having their lords removed, so eternalizing your zombie lords helps there too. You can recur your fallen zombie lords and make more zombies.

Zombie Matters/Tribal

Most of this deck can be described as zombie-matters cards.

Dark Salvation

Dark Salvation gives you lots of Zombie tokens and acts as a way to spend excess mana coupled with removal.

Cryptbreaker

Cryptbreaker is a discard outlet that makes 2/2 Zombies and draws you cards.

Undead Augur

Undead Augur draws you cards when a zombie dies, and trust me, they will. It’s wrath insurance too.

Lord of the Accursed

Lord of the Accursed is a zombie lord that can give them menace to strike your opponents.

Diregraf Captain

Diregraf Captain is a zombie lord that drains your opponents.

Diregraf Colossus

Diregraf Colossus grows the more zombies you have in your graveyard and makes some Zombie tokens.

Gisa and Geralf

Gisa and Geralf lets you cast some zombies from your graveyard.

Lich Lord of Unx

Lich Lord of Unx is a zombie that does lots of stuff you want in this deck. It makes Zombie tokens, mills your opponents, and damages them.

Plague Belcher

Plague Belcher is a massive 5/4 that can “kill another creature you control” and has a high chance of killing a 2/2 token. All zombies deal one damage to your opponent upon death.

The Creatures

Baleful Strix

Baleful Strix plays defense while cantripping, and it’s a scary target for eternalize.

Solemn Simulacrum

Solemn Simulacrum is akin to Baleful Strix because it does what you want early on and provides value when eternalized.

Ertai Resurrected

Ertai Resurrected is a flash creature that can provide either a counterspell or a removal effect, and it’s very nice in this deck.

Gravecrawler

Gravecrawler always returns and can be a sacrifice outlet. It also increases your zombie count and can be a good threat with some support.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Gray Merchant of Asphodel is a black devotion threat that’s also a zombie.

Fleshbag Marauder

Fleshbag Marauder is a good zombie that makes everyone sac a creature, and it can be recurred with your commander.

Grave Titan

Grave Titan is a win condition and a zombie factory.

Sidisi, Undead Vizier

Sidisi, Undead Vizier is a way to turn a mere 2/2 Zombie token into any card from your deck.

Sheoldred, Whispering One

Sheoldred, Whispering One isn’t a zombie, but it fits the reanimation theme and is a good threat to have around.

The Planeswalkers

You want a few planeswalkers that care about the graveyard and zombies for extra punch.

Ashiok, Dream Render

Ashiok, Dream Render is graveyard hate for your opponents and self-mill.

Liliana, Death’s Majesty

Liliana, Death’s Majesty combines self-mill, zombie creation, and reanimation.

Liliana, Untouched by Death

Liliana, Untouched by Death is the most zombie tribal you’ll get on a planeswalker card.

The Key Cards

Training Grounds

Training Grounds is a must for this deck because it makes your commander’s activated ability cost just . It can be activated multiple times a turn, at instant speed no less.

Phyrexian Arena

Phyrexian Arena gives you two cards per turn for only one life a pop. This deck has some ways to mitigate the life loss, and it’s better to have something to cast than to keep the life count high.

Dread Summons

Dread Summons is a way to mill opponents, create zombies, and have more reanimation targets.

Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction give you card advantage and fill your graveyard, so you win on both fronts.

Army of the Damned

Army of the Damned give you an army of Zombie tokens, lots of them. They’ll usually be stronger than 2/2s.

Endless Ranks of the Dead

Endless Ranks of the Dead supplies you with oodles of zombies.

Warlock Class

Warlock Class is a card that adds to the damage your opponents suffer from your commander.

Interaction

Dimir is the king of interaction since blue gives counter and protective spells while black gives removal.

Cyclonic Rift

Cyclonic Rift is an auto-include in blue EDH decks.

Curtains’ Call

Curtains’ Call is a good removal spell that can be as cheap as three mana.

Counterspell, Negate, and Soul Manipulation are tools in your arsenal to manipulate the board.

Murderous Rider

Murderous Rider is both a removal spell and a zombie.

Drown in the Loch

Drown in the Loch works really well in a deck that has a mill component, milling your opponent in this case. It also works well for drawn-out games.

Memory Plunder

Memory Plunder allows you to steal a key instant or sorcery from your opponents. In EDH you’ll usually steal a 6-or-more-mana spell for only four mana.

Life’s FinaleKindred Dominance

Sweepers like Life’s Finale and Kindred Dominance help you break the symmetry and leave you with something after sweeping the board.

The Mana Base

As a strict Dimir commander, The Scarab God’s mana base isn’t hard to build. It’s not an aggressive deck, so you’ll play some tapped duals that produce .

Dimir SignetTalisman of Dominance

You have 10 to 15 Dimir duals, some Islands, and lots of Swamps. There are also some Dimir mana rocks like Dimir Signet and Talisman of Dominance.

Nykthos, Shrine to NyxCabal Coffers

Cards like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Cabal Coffers are here to make up for the fact that you have black devotion and Swamps.

Altar of Dementia

Altar of Dementia is a sacrifice outlet and allows you to mill your opponents.

These are some of the best Dimir dual lands to play, excluding Underground Sea due to scarcity:

The Strategy

This deck plays like a midrange/control Dimir deck in the sense that you play value creatures and mana rocks early in the game to stay alive and start your zombie engine. You have some counterspells and removal to control the board if you’re behind. You can also push your advantage if you have a good board.

You have lots of lords in this deck and cards that give your zombies evasion, like menace or flying, or +1/+1. A big army of evasive zombies can do the trick. Dimir has problems dealing with enchantments, like if an opponent enchants your commander with something like Imprisoned in the Moon.

Your win conditions are to play the long game and cast big spells like Army of the Damned and Torment of Hailfire. Pair that with eternalizing the best threats from your opponents and using your counterspells to keep the board advantageous.

Combos and Interaction

This is a very fair midrange deck. Although combos can be added, this has none of them. Most of your matches will be decided by resource advantage and recursion/reanimation.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Although it isn’t a Rule 0 violation, you can certainly kill someone with Gray Merchant of Asphodel and reanimate it with your commander. You’ll usually have three or four devotion on board, so draining each opponent for 5 to 10 and gaining 20 to 40 life is possible.

Living Death

Living Death is a mass reanimation spell that your commander can mess with, eternalizing the best creatures from your opponents’ graveyards.

Rule 0 Violations Check

This deck is on the fair side of the spectrum, so no Rule 0 violations. It’s your typical midrange/value deck.

Budget Options

These are some of the most expensive cards because most are staples in EDH and need a reprint. Here are some budget suggestions for the most expensive cards, keeping in mind that the power level of the deck will decrease:

Cheapening the mana base:

Other Builds

You can go the mill route with cards like Mindshriek and Mind Grind, using The Scarab God’s ability to get the best targets from each graveyard. You can also go full zombie tribal, filling your deck with every zombie matters card in MTG’s history, or you can go more of a go-wide zombies strategy with more exploit, buff, and sacrifice elements.

Dimir zombies is home to lots of combos, so a deck can also go a more competitive and combo-y route. One infinite combo is combining Altar of Dementia, Gravecrawler, and Rooftop Storm to generate infinite mill. Another infinite combo revolves around sacrificing Gravecrawler to Phyrexian Altar and pinging an opponent with Diregraf Captain to net you the mana needed to cast Gravecrawler from your graveyard again.

Commanding Conclusion

Command Tower - Illustration by Evan Shipard

Command Tower | Illustration by Evan Shipard

God, that was a lot of zombies! The Scarab God is a fun commander that you should definitely give a try. It’s a nice feeling to slowly win with hordes of zombies and using the ability to reanimate your opponents’ best creatures, exactly like a Standard, Pioneer, or Modern deck containing the god.

Which cards would play in your The Scarab God deck? Are there any suggestions you’ve make for my Scarab build? Let me know in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.

Stay safe, and until next time!

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