Rogues. What are they even good for? As it turns out, the schemers and ne’er do-wells can do quite a lot. A deck that is close to my heart, Sygg’s Rogues is a fun control deck for EDH that features a lot of cunning, utility, and some cards you probably haven’t heard of. Overall, the deck aims to utilise a range of effects to slowly choke opponents out of the game, while allowing itself to deliver chip damage and be played at a consistent tempo through card draw.
At a cheap and flexible two hybrid-mana, Sygg, River Cutthroat can be played out early, and is generally not seen as a high-priority target for removal. This consequently means he tends to generate a lot of value, especially in the early to mid game. On top of this, his rogue creature type allows for an enjoyably unique and underplayed tribe! However, it’s important to note that Sygg himself is not inherently necessary to win, but he is a fantastic card-draw engine that helps to keep you fuelled up throughout the game.
When playing tribal, synergy is important. In order to make the rogues the best they can be, a few cards are useful to have in the deck. Firstly, Frogtosser Banneret, Vanquisher’s Banner, and Herald’s Horn are going to let you play more of your merry band of miscreants for cheaper, while also keeping your hand full. Secondly, Metallic Mimic, Oona’s Blackguard, and Stinkdrinker Bandit are going to give your creatures more value, either in the form of +1/+1 counters, or by rewarding your unblocked attackers with a temporary buff.
On the topic of counters, the deck also runs a number of counter producing permanents, both in the form of creatures and utilitarian enchantments/artifacts. Briber’s purse is a flavourful artifact that can not only save yourself, but be used to bargain with other players, either preventing them from being attacked with specific creatures, or to allow some of their damage to go through. Night Dealings is a four-drop enchantment that effectively allows you to Diabolic Tutor once or twice a turn, depending on your mana and damage output. Additionally, Blighted Agent and Etrata are win-cons in the deck, providing a source of unblockable infect damage and removal. Corrosive Mentor also provides Wither to all of your black creatures, making them that little bit more spicy and incentivising opponents to not block or attack you. Lastly, Inexorable Tide allows you to proliferate any time you cast a spell, giving all of the above added value.
At the core of the deck is a toolbox of useful spells and format staples, designed to keep you alive, take control, and reach the finish line. Included are mana rocks such as EDH staples Sol Ring, Thought Vessel, and Commander’s Sphere. Disciple of Deceit, Diabolic Tutor and Nightveil Sprite filter what ends up in your hand, and as well as that, Notion Thief, Coastal Piracy and Jace, Unraveler of Secrets are also going to keep your hand filled to the brim, with Jace’s ultimate offering a degree of control over your opponents. Finally, a number of simply useful cards are Memory Plunder, Whip of Erebos and Notorious Throng, for those occasions where you decide you’d like to keep your life total above zero.
As with many dimir control decks, a small counterspell package is included. Sygg’s consists of Counterspell, Countersquall, Dream Fracture, and Perplex, and in addition, a number of cards are also run to help counter and punish a range of different strategies often played in EDH. These include Tainted Remedy (lifegain), Painful Quandary (spellslingers), Evil Twin (commander-reliant decks), Elixir of Immortality (mill), and Cruel Reality (creature-light decks). Against go-wide strategies such as tokens and other combat based decks, Dissipation Field, Propaganda, and Marchesa’s Decree are all useful deterrents.
Of course, no deck is complete without removal! In Sygg’s Rogues, the main removal comes in the form of stopping your opponents playing their cards in the first place. As mentioned before, Jace and Psychic corrosion are great for this, however discard also plays an important role in the deck. Gonti, Lord of Luxury combines nicely with Conjurer’s Closet, allowing you to play your opponent’s cards, with Knacksaw Clique providing a similar effect. If your opponents already have cards in hand that you feel are better elsewhere (namely all of them), Larceny, Raider’s Wake, and Helm of the Ghastlord are useful solutions to this problem. Telepathy also provides useful threat assessment for everyone at the table, and allows you to more efficiently direct your discard arsenal. Lastly, Cyclonic Rift plays into the discard theme by removing your opponents’ boards and allowing you to force them to discard what they just had out.
Perhaps the most important feature outside of the manabase, are a number of unblockable creatures and effects to stop your fragile rogues from bumping into things bigger than them. Keeper of Keys and Deepchannel Mentor provide said effects, keeping your creatures safe during combat, while Invisible Stalker, Inkfathom Mage and Etrata can provide combat shenanigans on their own, as well as an additional form of player removal. On top of this, two cards with the Cipher mechanic are run, and add value to your unblocked creatures. Last Thoughts grows your hand, whilst Stolen Identity grows your board with useful copies of creatures. But what are rogues without useful tools? Equipment such as Quietus Spike and Trepanation Blade provide substantial damage output, often dealing lethal damage. To complement this, the deck also runs Whispersilk Cloak, Cloak and Dagger, and a couple of Swords provide protection and other useful effects.
Last, but by no means least, is the manabase for the deck. The deck runs only thirty-three lands, but due to the amount of card draw in the deck, not having enough land is rarely a problem. In the deck are six dual-lands, two cycle lands, three any-colour lands, five colourless lands, nine Islands, and eight Swamps.
With that, you have a full band of rogues, and all the kit they could possibly need!