Bond of Agony


Format Legality
Pre-release Legal
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Penny Dreadful Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Dissension (DIS) Uncommon

Combos Browse all

Bond of Agony


As an additional cost to play Bond of Agony, pay X life.

Each other player loses X life.

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Bond of Agony Discussion

Pluto__ on Commanders of Ixalan: Vampires

2 months ago

It might be interesting and more flavorful to do more of a life-pay type deck, and then use life switching cards. It fits the theme of Vona more, while also being a very curious strategy.


Read the Bones

Bond of Agony

Wall of Blood

Cruel Sadist

Kuro, Pitlord


Underworld Coinsmith


Axis of Mortality

Magus of the Mirror

Repay in Kind

Mirror Universe

Soul Conduit

Reverse the Sands

You would still have lifelink cards, but be a little less focused on having the highest life total, but instead use your life to gain the advantage.

Alzandor on Queen Marchesa and her Advisers

3 months ago

Aetherflux Resevoir is already in there, so yeah great minds think a like!

I was actually going to throw in Bond of Agony for the same reason, and there isn't a whole lot of ramp here so I probably won't get a big torment of hailfire off. I did put that in my Vial-Smasher deck though and got one off for X=21 which was funny.

I'll have to look into Rimescale Dragon though, that looks like an interesting little combo. Never seen that one.

Thanks for the help!

Catalog9000 on None

4 months ago

Since this section is about card mechanics as well as rules, I wanted to post it here.

Turn 1 win combos are hard to come by. Here's one that requires only three cards.

Have in your opening hand a Providence. Reveal it and have your life total become 26.

Play a Swamp and cast Bond of Agony.


Rez09 on "Life"-hole

4 months ago

If you have a sense of humor Lich+Repay in Kind is a thing, as is Lich+Death's Shadow.

If you want to build around Cryptolith Fragment  Flip, Bond of Agony can be a decent mana sink.

If you are just looking to get yourself low Wall of Blood is absurdly efficient at the task, especially in conjunction with Fling; that combo can actually just end games if you ever have more health than your opponent.

Bou on EDH Licia, Gladii, Sanguis, Valeria Victrix

6 months ago

Hey Maumoleseullevrai! I've taken a look and it really is more brutal ;). I'm going to elaborate a bit on both your comment here and from your deck, so it's a little big.

I agree with your consideration that lifegain is not a real priority with Licia. It definitely helps casting her and Licia herself hits like a truck but once she's in the field the lifegain is pretty moot so I do understand that perspective on it. I guess why people focused on small lifelinkers is to make the life more accessible. I initially started this as a life drain deck - make everyone lose more life than you and if possible, gain from it. But have moved more and more towards voltron, though some elements do remain.

Bond of Agony is one such element. I know that you have to pay mana and life to make everyone lose life, but as we have Licia.. our life loss doesn't matter, theirs does. I would much rather cast Bond of Agony for , have everyone at the table lose 5 life equally, and then swing with licia to get 10(+) life back, than putting that same 6 mana in Debt to the Deathless, which would have to be . Sure, it would get me 6 Life and would drain everyone 2, but the dedicated mana is a hurdle I considered too high. The difference between these two spells is the intention, do you want to gain life or do you want everyone to lose life? Of course if you have more than 6 mana to spend the difference becomes a lot bigger, but I like to consider 6 a soft cap and keep mana open for other spells, instant removal etc.

As for Aerial Responder and Vampire Nighthawk, if you consider it from a pure voltron then I agree that these are not that good, however, I put them in for three reasons. They're cheap at 3CMC for the power and effects they give, They can block or attack when Licia is not in the field or is tapped, and the keywords become game-breaking, absolutely insane when I play Odric, Lunarch Marshal. Flying, Vigilance, Deathtouch, First Strike, Lifelink Licia, Sanguine Tribune? hell yes! Don't forget Odric gives these effects to all your creatures eh? so those rather small and meaningless creatures suddenly evolve into world-oblitherating killing machines that beat face for breakfast.

My concerns with going pure voltron is that I usually play in a group with 3 sometimes 4 other players. If I get too strong (or if I forget to get the next round of drinks or really any reason bleh), they will definitely focus me down. I've seen the same with my Saskia deck EDH Saskia's Warband, and I really don't want a repeat of that as I had to retire it rather early. Especially lifegain is something they can't cope with, if you play the effect once they'll assume you have more, so you can afford to take more hits. This is what I have to keep in mind when I build my decks, and that is also one of the reasons I haven't yet gone pure voltron. It's absolutely possible to swing Licia in turn 4/5 for 20/20 lifelink double strike, but if I were to do so, it would be my first and last attack in that game.

Licia is exciting! But I think putting her in one specific corner, whether it be lifegain matters or pure voltron, is a bit of a waste. She's a general, so plan ahead and use everything you can to come out victorious.

Maumoleseullevrai on EDH Licia, Gladii, Sanguis, Valeria Victrix

6 months ago

Hey! After playing with this commander, I discovered that it is a pure Voltron commander, and that lifegain is good when it allows you to play Licia faster. Cards like Vampire Nighthawk are not that good actually (well it depends how you want to play your deck).

You can take a look at my deck here for ideas : Brutal Voltron Licia, Sanguine Tribune

By the way, i see Bond of Agony in your decklist. I don't know if you realize that you must also pay X mana and the X life, making it a very poor card. Debt to the Deathless is far better.

It's cool to see someone else play a Licia deck!


7 months ago


-No Fun Allowed:

Bond of Agony is a card I have a love/hate relationship with. I also included it in an extortion deck I made (Modern) and ended up taking it out. The reason I took it out is because it's very much a "no fun allowed card." If you draw it in your opening hand you can end the game turn 1. Obviously it'd be a draw but if play Scoured Barrens as your land turn 1, and then play Bond of Agony turn 2, you autowin and the game never even started. Worse, there's not really a way anyone can deal with that type of move that early so it gives everyone at the table a feelsbadman.

I'd say something like Felidar Guardian (a card that by its nature is cheesy as hell in EDH since you START at 40 life) is cheesy, though not NEARLY as obnoxious as Bond of Agony because, though it's a "you win" card, you have to wait a full turn before the victory, allowing opponents the opportunity to wipe it off the board or decrease your life total under 40 before it's your turn again. Meanwhile, Bond of Agony is a 1 CMC victory with far less opportunity to deal with it short of a counterspell or maybe a Lightning Bolt to ensure that you can't wipe the table in one shot ( Lightning Bolt and other small burn spells are very uncommon in EDH.)

Feel free to keep it in your deck. Combos are a normal part of the game. However, while combos can often leave people feeling frustrated at how quickly they ended the game, they usually feel better knowing that the combo isn't that easy to pull off (see Duskmantle Guildmage + Mindcrank infinite combo). Just keep in mind that MTG, especially commander style play, is political in nature. If you make your playgroup hate your deck, they might not want to play with it (or possibly YOU) at all. I'm actually considering toning down my Nekbeard deck because its combos can be really ruthless. (e.g. turn 4 I made someone discard their hand, draw 7 cards, then discard a card for each card they drew. In essence, they discarded 7, drew 7 to replace them, then discarded those leaving them with 0 hand on turn 4. Not fun for them at all.)

At the end of the day, you want to win, but you also don't want to create an atmosphere where you win at the cost of other people's fun. "Pillowfort" decks are really unpopular because they slow down the game SO much. "Pure chaos" decks are also unpopular among certain playgroups because they toss the game into...well, chaos. It all depends on your playgroup! Ours is super lax and I haven't had any of my decks/cards "banned" yet for being obnoxious but I always keep it in mind when building.

On the other hand, if I plan on playing at a card shop or something I don't give a fuck. So yeah...that's my long-winded rant on unofficial EDH rules haha.


Your deck currently has 0 artifacts. You definitely want to include some. Things like Orzhov Signet, Commander's Sphere, Darksteel Ingot are great for mana ramp. Sol Ring is a cornerstone of EDH but it's definitely too expensive for our budget games. If you like EDH, though you'll want to grab one at some point. Other artifacts that would be good in this deck since you're going the lifegain route Chalice of Life  Flip + Aetherflux Reservoir are both really strong. I'm using the latter in my deck as well but I'd be careful about putting it on the board too early since it makes you a giant target. Bontu's Monument might be good for additional ramp and damage while Oketra's Monument might be good for both ramp and chump blockers (plus additional sac outlets if you use some creatures such as Cliffhaven Vampire )

-General suggestions:

The fact that this doesn't currently include Gray Merchant of Asphodel is absurd. You make me sick. You don't deserve to play black or any form of it. GET OUT. No but seriously put him in or I'm dropkicking you in the head. Cliffhaven Vampire Blood Artist (pricey but a good add as your budget goes up), Defiant Bloodlord, Zulaport Cutthroat etc can be absurd source of damage when mixed with a card like Killing Wave depending on board state.

Another strong card for a multiplayer game like this is Exsanguinate. It can really get you out of sticky situations and alternatively serve as a wincon.

Finally, EDH gets crazy very fast, so board wipes are important and you want at least a few of them to make sure you can hit the reset button if things start getting out of hand. There are budget options out there. In a lifegain deck like this, I like Fumigate but I forget what it's price is.

EDHREC is a wonderful site that can compiles a list of the most commonly used cards for specific commanders. It's a data crawler so it collects data from Tappedout and other deck building sites for it's information and it constantly updates (it already includes Hour of Devastation cards etc).

Hope this helps!

Philigan87 on No Pain, No Gain (Sub $35)

7 months ago

My first thought was Wall of Limbs, but I see it in the maybe-board.

Sunbond is maybe one to consider.
Also Ajani's Pridemate might be too good to leave out, in this deck.

Night Market Lookout is only as good as your ability to tap him. If he can't attack he's a bit shit. Soul Warden instead maybe?.

I would lose Orzhov Keyrune and instead go forBontu's Monument and Oketra's Monument. Thery're good for fixing mana and creating abusable effects.

Greed seems to good not to put in, maybe lose Retreat to Hagra (will there be that much landfall?) Underworld Connections is a cheaper, and worse, version if need be.

Trespasser's Curse seems like fun.

Miraculous Recovery just for EOT returning Felidar Sovereign for a quick and easy win.

If you need to cut costs to get stuff in Scholar of Athreos might be a cheap substitute for something.

Bond of Agony maybe?

Blood Tribute is you have enough Vamps.

Mortify is quite versatile.

Those are my thoughts.

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