Today I’m going to discuss my current version of Tivit after my near miss at winning a local 2K. There was stiff competition and I managed to fire off a win attempt in top 4 as well as finish 4-1-1 in the swiss.
Tivit is one of the top cEDH decks that takes advantage of Time Sieve to take enough turns to kill all of your opponents.
Five artifacts generated will be sacrificed to Time Sieve to create one of the simpler combos to execute. It can win with Thassa’s Oracle and Demonic Consultation/Tainted Pact as a powerful pivot.
Esper is one of the strongest color combinations in cEDH: blue for counters, black for tutors and removal, and white for Silence effects. We lack Dockside Extortionist, but the deck has a very high individual power level.
I’m confident with the list as I’ve had enough games for each of the situational cards to pull their weight.
HOW I PLAY TIVIT
I have four tournaments with Tivit under my belt and I win the most when I resolve an early commander and threaten quick kills. The common wisdom with Tivit is to control the board and not get too aggressive casting the sphinx, but the deck lacks the ability to easily turn the corner without the commander on the battlefield.
Temujin is the premier Tivit pilot and they are masterful at threading the needle between winning the game and interacting with the table. Most people are not Temujin and I am certainly not. I believe my win percentage skyrockets by piloting Tivit in an unexpected way.
When the rest of the table is making mulligan decisions, seeing a Tivit pilot may lead them to believe I can stop turbo decks and keep greedier hands. It can’t be all on one player to stop the turbo deck(s) at the table; I want to land a quick Tivit and leave up a couple pieces of interaction with treasures and then threaten a win.
Tivit is a card advantage engine with clues, mana acceleration treasures, and a win condition with Time Sieve. When I began playing Tivit I felt like I was making mistakes keeping so many hands, but most other cEDH decks play more complex combos with cards that are weak in a vacuum. I’m happy with hands that curve out with mana rocks and interaction.
The hands where I felt in the best position to win the game involved casting Tivit on turn one or two.
An early Mystic Remora has felt like a trap the more I play Tivit. Hands that cast Remora on turn one and then pay the cumulative upkeep for a couple turns risk falling behind quickly. It’s highly dependent on the commanders in your pod as well as your seat placement if it’s worth getting aggressive with Remora. Stronger players will wait for your Remora to be sacrificed or play creatures and urge the remaining two opponents to do the same.
Dockside Extortionist is the scariest threat against Tivit since you’re making five artifacts often. You may be able to politic at the table and convince one of your opponents to give an additional treasure to avoid being bottlenecked on clues and fuel a Dockside. You can also indicate to the table that the third treasure can help cast interaction if one opponent looks particularly threatening. It doesn’t work often, but is an angle to consider.
Tutors will typically fetch Mana Crypt to cast Tivit early in the game. Hold onto tutors for Time Sieve until you’re ready to win with backup interaction in most cases as you will immediately be viewed as the threat.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir- You read that right, the ¾ flash Teferi from the original Time Spiral set. I strongly prefer Mage of Zhalfir to Time Raveler because you can flash him in before untapping with Tivit to threaten a Time Sieve kill. A five-mana creature with flash is difficult to counter whereas a three-mana sorcery-speed planeswalker is difficult to resolve on a win attempt turn. I drew it once in the 2K swiss rounds and it won the game immediately as Force of Will and red blasts are some of the few ways to easily interact.
Sisay decks recently began experimenting with Teferi as it’s a high-impact legend. It was in a tournament-winning deck a few months ago, but it feels like an even stronger inclusion in Tivit despite it currently flying under the radar.
Hullbreaker Horror- This is a matchup-dependent win condition. If you’re in a quick pod then Horror won’t pull enough weight, but when the board is mired with stax pieces or your Time Sieve is gone then this ⅞ can win in a plethora of ways.
Hullbreaker Horror can generate trillions of mana by bouncing a pair of mana rocks to your hand repeatedly if they cost less than the mana required to cast. Trillions of colorless mana can then be filtered into colored mana with some of the more expensive mana rocks to cast Tivit repeatedly and draw as many cards as you need with the clues generated. Thassa’s Oracle can then win the game with a few cards remaining in the deck, extort your opponents to death with Blind Obedience, or clone Orcish Bowmasters to ping the table. The world is your oyster.
Displacer Kitten and Tivit already ask you to play all of the expensive colorless mana rocks such as Grim Monolith and Mana Vault making Hullbreaker Horror easier to cast. You may also cast Hullbreaker Horror the turn after Tivit comes down with the treasures generated. I’ve been impressed with Hullbreaker Horror and other Tivit pilots have as well.
Horror can be found by Wishclaw Talisman and then bounce it back to your hand; a similar idea as finding Opposition Agent for value.
Talion, the Kindly Lord- A fantastic card advantage engine that flies under the radar and pressures Ad Nauseam opponents. I typically name “two” although it’s also defensible to name “one.” I play this card in every deck with an Underground Sea. Four-drops play well in Tivit since you can tutor for Mana Crypt on the first turn often.
Flesh Duplicate- A third clone effect as most opponents will have Dockside Extortionist. I prefer Flesh Duplicate to Phantasmal Image because it can combo with Displacer Kitten and Hullbreaker Horror while not immediately dying to Orcish Bowmaster pings.
Urza, Lord High Artificer- Another powerful four-drop that helps curve into Tivit and Hullbreaker Horror. Generating five artifacts with Tivit provides massive synergy. I rarely activate the five mana ability because clues don’t need to tap in order to sacrifice; a much more useful mana sink. The constructs can grow out of control quickly with Tivit making for an effective clock on stalled boards.
Blind Obedience and Dauntless Dismantler- Two permanents that slow down Dockside Extortionist. In pods with fast red decks this is one of the key stax pieces to prioritize. Most pods feature Dockside making this a welcome card in most opening hands.
Spell Snare- Outside of the staple counters I like Spell Snare as the second tier as it counters Dockside, Underworld Breach, and Grand Abolisher. More versatile than Stern Scolding and Blue Elemental Blast as it can also be used to push through win attempts. This card is generally underplayed in cEDH although it’s picking up steam.
Stern Scolding- The second flex counter for Dockside Extortionist. I will face this annoying goblin in nearly every pod and I want to stop it. Blue Elemental Blast could find a home in the deck at a future date, too.
Counterbalance- This card does not play the same as in sixty card formats. It will not counter every spell and that’s ok. It will likely reveal a card with mana value of 0,1,or 2 which effectively shuts off many win attempts requiring multiple spells.
The mid game Counterbalance gets nasty when clues can reset the top of the deck to try and counter more spells. Rhystic Study, Talion, and friends accomplish the same goal; I’ve won multiple games where I beat three opponents with Counterbalance single handedly.
Sensei’s Divining Top looks like a strange exclusion, but it’s too mana-intensive for my liking.
Gilded Drake- I have been underrating Gilded Drake in Tivit. Giving the opponent a 3/3 flyer feels like a disadvantage, but it can be used to attack opponents playing Ad Nauseam. The Gilded Drake being in play can also lead to additional utility for my three clone effects.
A removal spell on a pesky asymmetrical stax piece such as Drannith Magistrate might help advance your own game plan, but it may also lead to a turbo deck executing an Underworld Breach win. Taking an asymmetrical stax piece allows you to take your cake and eat it, too.
I’m going to make a Gilded Drake proxy to give to my opponents to avoid accidentally leaving it behind after a match as it will typically be on another battlefield.
At this point there are more than seventy-one spells I would like to play in Tivit so I need to leave some at home.
Pact of Negation- I like Pact of Negation to push through wins, but it falls short at protecting from win attempts as it has a steep upkeep cost. It’s currently the last card I cut, but can find its way back in the deck after Blue Elemental Blast.
Teferi, Time Raveler- A combo with Displacer Kitten and most mana rocks that falls short in the average game. When I attempt to cast Teferi it will trigger alarm bells as passing the turn with Teferi is very dangerous. Non-creature spells are simple to counter for most blue decks meaning it’s difficult to force through to protect a win attempt.
I prefer Teferi, Time Raveler in Blue Farm as the deck has more stax effects that prevent Underworld Breach wins.
Sheoldred, Notion Thief, Narset, Parter of Veils, and Windfall- These cards are typically played as a wheel package. I’m going to test these combos in the future, but space is limited.
Cursed Totem- A symmetrical stax piece that stops my Ranger-Captain of Eos, Urza, and Dauthi Voidwalker. I only play Grafdigger’s Cage because it’s strong against both green tutors for Dockside and Underworld Breach lines. Sevinne’s Reclamation is the only card negatively affected by Grafdigger’s Cage. Totem is more narrow and cannot be found by Urza’s Saga.
Dovin’s Veto, Drown in the Loch, and Permission Denied- I prefer Mana Drain, Muddle the Mixture, and Delay if I’m holding up two mana.
Get Lost- Tivit pilots have reported positive results and am eager to test.
Damn- Toxic Deluge has been the only sweeper that has impressed given how aggressively I cast Tivit.
Mnemonic Betrayal- I’m not a fan of Mnemonic Betrayal in most decks. It’s a potential bomb in heavy Grixis pods, but can fall short on average. If it’s worth casting it’s typically worth countering, but spending mana to defend means less resources to cast the cards from graveyards. Tivit has plenty of win conditions as well.
An Offer You Can’t Refuse- I like this counter in Grixis decks since it can stand in for Lion’s Eye Diamond/Lotus Petal in Breach combos. Esper is just playing it as an interaction spell and giving opponents two treasures can backfire. I prefer to stick with the counters that provide me an advantage since Tivit doesn’t have to interact with every spell on the stack.
Chain of Vapor- Tivit doesn’t need to worry about too many stax pieces that prevent combos and Esper decks don’t typically need to bounce all of their mana rocks on a pivotal turn. Again, I prefer Chain of Vapor in Grixis decks to fight through stax pieces and bounce my own Dockside Extortionist. Esper decks play to the board more which makes the chain component of this spell a potential downside, too.
Mystical Tutor and Ad Nauseam- If I don’t play Ad Nauseam then the most likely card to find is interaction or a win condition. This announces to the table my intention in either direction. It combos with Counterbalance, but that synergy isn’t enough to warrant including.
Touch the Spirit Realm- The channel effect is surprisingly narrow making the primary use case a three-mana removal spell at sorcery speed. The only time I found myself wanting this card was when I had Enlightened Tutor and couldn’t find an answer to Collector Ouphe.
Tezzeret the Seeker- An expensive sorcery-speed win condition. I prefer Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Hullbreaker Horror at the top of the curve.
Dismember- I continue to see most cEDH decks leave Dismember at home, but it’s a nimble removal spell that can even be cast with colorless mana. The life loss isn’t a big deterrent because it’s easy to redirect damage to players with Ad Nauseam. It’s excluded because I’m prioritizing additional counters for Dockside Extortionist.
Tivit is a great deck to play if you’re new to cEDH or a veteran. There’s no reward for winning a game with a convoluted line; a simple win with Time Sieve earns the same amount of match points. Tivit can serve up aggressive starts or sit patiently on a grindy board. If playing with powerful and flexible cards is up your alley give this deck a spin!