MTG Deck: Tortured Burgers (and Primer) (2023)

From midnight to 1 am last night, I was captivated by a single idea. As a Tortured Existence (Tort Ex for short) player, how can I usefamily cauldron, a now legal card to deplete via jumpstart, to create an even better Tort Ex deck? I present to you, after hours of testing and writing this brochure:


tortured burgers

(Other potential names include Hilda's Torture and the Slaughterhouse Four, but I don't want to get kicked out of Magicfest)

Much of the deck is some of the main movers from the classic BG Tortured Existence deck, such asspore toad,tomb scrapermigolgari brown scaleloops and win withcrypt ratsand a big hitter likerig angler. I won't talk about that part of the deck, as there are Tort Ex primers online. Instead, I'll talk about 5 things: the changes from the classic Tort Ex deck, the decision to use Abzan's colors, the sideboard, maybe the board, and why I think this deck is worth playing over the original.

Tort Ex Classic Deck Changes

The most obvious deck changes are the additions of 4swapped cowmi 3family cauldron. While the Swapped Cow may seem like a draft, it's surprisingly powerful in combination with Tortured Existence. Not only can you drop it randomly for free food, but if you have two cows and a Tort Ex, you can only spend a single black mana to swap a cow in your hand for one in the yard, creating a food token.

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This is what makes the Family Cauldron so great.

With a Sac Out, two Cows, Tort Ex, and a familiar, you might as well have won. Withcarrion feederand the aforementioned cards, you can spend a single black mana to drain your opponent by one, gain one, and put a +1+1 counter on the feeder. I'm going to call this loop "Cauldron Cow". If you can spend 5 mana per turn... most decks can't get past that level of value, especially with the added spore toad. If you cannot attack for any reason (cough coughElder Stonehorn) you can usethinking witchto create an updateJace the mind sculptorseal of fate effect, although drawing cards can prevent this if your opponent doesn't come empty-handed first.

The reason I'm runningHorror of the Broken Landsaboutrig angleris discussed in the Maybe Board section.

Why Splash White?

Basically, there are three reasons for white sneezes. The first is that it's much easier to get splashed with white with the reveal of new prosperous lands (they're not exhausted yet, so you'll have to google them). BG Tort Ex has played 4goose jungleand some other exploited land, so the cost of exchanging your old land for prosperous land is extremely low.

The reason we're splashing white on red/staying BG is twofold. First of all, being able to forcefully throw a switch cow that's stuck in your hand in a pinch can be critical to winning a game, even if the cow isn't very strong. Second, it allows us to playAuramantemitrip to nowhere, which cover some of the deck's biggest weaknesses. If you're hanging out with Tort Ex and a player tries to destroy you, being able to return an Auramancer and save your Tort Ex can be a game win. In fact, it might be okay to play another copy of Auramancer, but more testing is needed and there are very few flex slots. The main platform does not perform any removal other thancrypt rats, then travel to nowhere to kill large creatures likemnemonic wall,rig angler,Horror DinrovaoUlamog CrusherIt's also super important. Playing 3 of these main decks can also be a great deck upgrade, but once again more testing is needed.

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the shop window

The deck includes a fairly traditional Tort Ex trimmer, but with a few tweaks. First off, the deck has fewer Smoke Spiters than usual, which I decided to do because the deck already has a great aggressive matchup and they are useless against the absolute worst matchup in this deck: Tron. Faerie Macbre is great for opposing Tron decks or Graveyard decks, so I'm running 3 copies. There are two spore frogs in the main one and two on the sideboard, which some may find interesting. Spore Frogs might be better in the main deck for setting up Spore Frog critical loops against aggro, but again I think the aggro combo is already pretty good, especially with the Cauldron Cow loop. Finally,Growing Tree Peopleit is good for super grindy games,gnaw to the boneis good against aggro, andcaustic caterpillarthey are for artifact decks or enchantment decks (or decks that do enchantment-based removal)

the maybe board

I've included a list of cards that may be worth playing, but more testing is needed to determine if they're worth playing. Note that just because it says x1 doesn't mean I think playing just 1 copy is correct, I used x1 because I don't know how many you should play if you want to test these cards.

innocent blood,burial beetle,village rituals,bone chips: These four cards are here for essentially one reason: Thatfamily cauldronmipathfinder satyrthey are pretty much useless after your ETB is activated. Innocent blood and bone chips are really strong, black removal spells are cheap, village rites are great draw cards, and burial beetle can double the number of counters created from a carrion feeder or grow from a thinking witch. The problem, however, is that having only 5 cards in the deck worth drawing makes me very skeptical that they won't get stuck in the player's hands. Maybe one or two of these cards are worth playing, but I'm not sure. When I first created the deck, I thought aristocrats were worth leaning on (heh, aristocrats), but after some testing, I don't think these cards are worth much.

Auromante,Stinky Grass Imp: I honestly think this deck should run another copy of each (main board or Auromancer side), but I don't know what to cut. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd like to hear his thoughts (assuming you've read this far).

rig angler: Sigh... Gurmag Fisherman. I absolutely adore this card, and it's been in every poor deck I've made so far. Gurmag Angler can often win games on its own, such as turn 2 satyr wayfinder orcommunion with the godsin a 3 5/5 corner it's obviously too strong.

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However, there are a few reasons why I decided to playHorror of the Broken Landsabout the fisherman of Gurmag. The first is that this deck doesn't really have many cards that he wants to explore other than lands. Gurmag Angler often ends up rotting away in my hand, either because I don't have enough cards in my graveyard, or because all the cards in my graveyard are cards I want to Tort Ex back. Horror of the Broken Lands can be removed immediately if I don't need one. dredge. Second, although a 5/5 is very big, it often can't attack due to the large number of blockers. Using Tort ex to make a Sold Cow loop,golgari brown scale, or any other creature, Horror can easily attack15damage. If you get the cauldron cow loop with the carrion feeder, you can attack for 20 extra power and drain your opponent by 5 for 5 mana. The Cauldron Cow loop is the reason I decided to choose Horror over Angler.

Why play this deck over the classic Tort Ex?

I think the main advantage of this deck is pretty simple: the Cauldron Cow loop is better for killing Tron decks.

Tort Ex F-ing decks suck at beating Tron. Tron is, as hard as it is for me to admit, essentially a better Tort Ex deck (since he's a tougher, crazier deck)

Family Cauldron, however, changes things up. Not only is it impossible to counter once it starts, but it also doesn't rely on combat damage to win. Due to the flash ability of the Tron deckElder Stonehorn, the only way a traditional Tort deck can win is to inject 20+ damage into Crypt Rats probably over 10+ turns or take out Tron. The two were basically impossible, which is why Tort Ex was kicked out of the meta. But now? I think this deck has a chance. Again, more testing is needed (and I'd love for people to send me links to videos/streams of them testing the deck), but I really think this version of the deck is a serious contender for the classic Tort Ex deck, and even as a actual meta cover.

Thanks for reading my giant primer! I really hope it explains all of my choices during deck building, and I hope everyone has fun!

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Edit: Added Vessel of Nascency and Sakura Tribe Elder to main, removed 1x Horror of the Broken Lands and 1x Satyr Wayfinder. It should make the deck more consistent.

Edit 2: In: 1 Ash Barrens, 1 Thriving Swamp, removed a Forest and a Thriving Grove (more black mana = good)

Issue 3: Removed a Familiar Cauldron, Carrion Feeder, and Broken Lands Horror for a Stinky Imp, Crypt Rats, and a Sakura Tribe Elder. Thanks for the Skitzafreak tips!

Issue 4: Removed a cow, a thinking witch, and a satyr seeker from the front page. Added a sanitarium skeleton, along with a trip to nowhere and trimmer tree man farming.

Added to sideboard for meme value.

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