Quite often I take a single card for inspiration in my deck building; and last week I decided to try and build a deck around Teysa, Orzhov Scion.
Teysa, Orzhov Scion is a Legendary creature that is a popular commander in EDH, but it sees virtually zero play in Modern (or any other formats). Therefore, to test if she is strong enough for Modern, I built a couple of different decks that utilize her abilities, including a combo deck with Painter’s Servant, and a BW Tokens deck with cards such as Lingering Souls and Spectral Procession.
The deck that I am presenting today is the only one that I am happy with, although Teysa plays a smaller role in it than intended (which is fine; the card is inspiration but should not restrict our creativity). It’s an ‘Aristocrats’ deck, although the deck does not play the namesake cards Cartel Aristocrat and Falkenrath Aristocrat. Aristocrats is a deck type that looks like an aggro deck with lots of underpowered creatures, but it could be more accurately described as an anti-creature control deck. It does not deal damage by attacking, but rather by blocking and draining the opponent when creatures die, with Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat.
This variant has a Humans theme, with Xathrid Necromancer as the main pay-off. More tokens means more sacrifices and more life drain. Champion of the Parish is a powerful one-drop that often deals 6-10 damage, bringing you sooner into lethal range with your sacrifice outlets and drain effects. Dark Confidant, another Human, provides card advantage.
There are many possible variants of this deck; a stronger beatdown plan means you’d be less reliant on the graveyard (since a card like Scavenging Ooze destroys your deck). Adding Green allows you to play Collected Company and various other creatures. It is even possible to go with Zombies over Humans, and build the deck around Gravecrawler sacrifices. I intend to test a couple more varieties, and if I find another that I like I will let you know.