|Commander / EDH||Legal|
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|Commander Anthology (CM1)||Uncommon|
|MTG: Commander (CMD)||Uncommon|
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Vow of Lightning
Enchantment — Aura
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2, has first strike, and can't attack you or a planeswalker you control.
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Vow of Lightning Discussion
1 week ago
Great list so far. Here are you my suggestions:
I'd swap out the infect cards for an evasion suite. Infect is great on paper, but you don't get to direct where it's going. Thus, it comes with #1 negative (painting a large target on yourself that says: 'kill me now') without the #1 benefit (eliminating your greatest threat in a turn or two). I think you'll do better flying lower on the radar. Stick the five commander damage and be happy. Some combination of Corrupting Licid, Sleeper's Guile, Dauthi Embrace, Shizo, Death's Storehouse, and Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep should do the trick. Add in a Nim Deathmantle to keep Xantcha on the field indefinitely.
War's Toll should incentivize others to use Xantcha as a mana sink on their own turn. Which is exactly what you want.
Glacial Chasm is good protection. Sit back and watch the world burn.
Alhammarret's Archive seems great w/Xantcha's ability, although it is quite slow. Maybe get a feel for how your opponents are dealing with Xantcha first. If you get to sit around a lot, slot this in.
If you find that Xantcha is eating removal often, Fury Storm seems like a good add. Playing Xantcha three times, and quintupling an x=6 Exsanguinate to drain the table for 30 sounds like a positively delightful way to spend 10 mana. Works with that Profane Command in your Maybeboard as well.
As far as what to swap out:
Spiteful Visions isn't asymmetrical enough. You're probably going to be using Xantcha's ability often enough to make this hurt.
Exquisite Blood isn't really working within your game plan. You're using it as a defensive option here. I think there are better options (Chasm, for example).
Blood Sun works against you too much.
Polluted Bonds could probably be swapped out for something. I get that your opponents will be drawing more, but if feels like 5 mana good stuff.
Rite of the Raging Storm might also be too cute, but it's hard to judge.
Overall, this is a really good list. Xantcha is a cool card and it's fun to see how many niche interactions she enables. Good luck with it!
1 week ago
Nice i really like this deck, take a look at
i will be monitoring this deck!
1 week ago
Hey! Thanks for the mention :)
Love the idea! In terms of pure win percentage, my deck definitely isn't the right way to go about things and I feel that a more defensive pillowfort strategy like you mentioned would net you much more wins.
While red/black aren't the best pillowfort colors in the traditional sense, they have a few cards that slow or disincentivize attackers; not to mention there are a few land and artifact cards that help too. No Mercy, Dread, Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, Maze of Ith, Mystifying Maze, Spires of Orazca (flipped from Thaumatic Compass Flip), Uphill Battle, Glacial Crevasses, Vow of Malice, Vow of Lightning, and Crawlspace just to name a few. Since most of the pillowfort cards are in white, another route could be playing a card like Queen Marchesa and running Xantcha in the 99.
I think the 8x8 theory is solid for most of these categories! I feel that the player controlling Xantcha dying is a rare enough occurrence (she'll probably get destroyed or another player could get taken out before them) that you might not need a full 8 slots dedicated to sacrificing her. If this does happen, you could always use your single-target removal on her and run a bit more of it. It's not ideal, but might save you from situations where you have a Viscera Seer or Ashnod's Altar and nothing to sacrifice with it.
Same goes with the politics and memes. Depending on your definition of memes, they could have a lot of overlap there too so you might not need to dedicate 16 slots in your deck to both of those (like Curse of Opulence, Sower of Discord, or Disrupt Decorum).
Overall I think you're on the right track and I can't wait to see what you end up with!
3 months ago
Been fine tuning my Queen Marchesa, Politics & Pillow Forts list recently, really having a hard time nailing the final 3-5 or so cards. I'd love to get your opinion on a couple things / tunings. For knowledge sake, some cards won't work as well in my meta but i'll explain as such in the individual card discussions.
I recently moved into adding some more defense/draw with solitary confinement and necropotence. As far as I'm concerned my 5 most "removable" cards right now are Rakdos Charm, Mortify, Return to Dust, Orzhov Advokist and Underworld Connections. Although the 2 tutors aren't necessarily "the good ones" I'm not gonna be able to spring 30-40$ per single card at this time so i'm sticking with my high mana cost, low monetary cost tutors for now.
Rakdos Charm - One of our players just starting playing boros soldiers, but for the most part, decks tend to be "go tall" over go wide strategies. Only 1 player uses any kind of graveyard recursion (Dragon player with Outpost Siege and a couple other minor recursions, maybe 3-4 cards out of 99 total). So, the most common case is that this is a 2 mana destroy an artifact. Sometimes might be able to make use of damage mode for 5-10 damage on someone with a damage doubler out. Fringe cases where this might just be a huge bomb of damage to opponenets.
Return to Dust - Really i just had this for enchantments. Hammer of nazahn exists in my meta as well, but I feel like with anguished unmaking, (maybe mortify?), utter end, wear/tear i might be covered? 4 mana, destroy 2 scary enchant/artifacts kinda goes against the gameplan of "let them fight" but I gotta protect myself from things like Dragon Tempest
Mortify - big creatures exist in plenty and there's a good number of enchantments i'd love to not see in play if I needed to make them disappear for my own safety's sake.
Orzhov advokist - I love love LOVE this card, but I accept it's not necessarily amazing. It's like a political handshake of "i'll help you if you don't attack me next turn" by force (even if it leaves play, the condition still applies for the rest of the turn). It buffs creatures up around the board, keeps me "safe" (it either lets me know I won't be attacked or if they don't take the counters, it lets me know that something is up, advanced warning system sort of) and the buffed up creatures make for better aikido targets, splashing back even more damage than they would have without the counters :) Just seems like it touches every aspect of the deck in some way.
Underworld connections - it exists as a draw engine, but it's the weakest one in the list for sure (can't compare with necropotence, erebos, phyrexian arena, land tax etc) ... considered swapping this to immortal sun as i don't have any PW's... but this is also not a creature heavy deck, double the mana cost and there are some but not many PW's in my meta. (On average, maybe 1 per deck). Any other card draw engines that might be more effective in it's place?
A couple things I'm wondering about...
I currently have no damage based bomb finisher, I removed Price of Progress from the list because realistically in any given game, I will have the most or 2nd most non basic lands. (I play 16 basic, 1 other player plays 15 as a 5 color deck most others are 25+ basic). My table plays pretty low budget, 100-200$ so a lot of decks are dual colored or extremely basic land heavy. I'm currently considering Exsanguinate and Acidic soil as damage based finishers (outside the aikido package of course) to go alongside Insurrection... but I don't know what to drop for it or if i should drop anything for it. I have mastermind's acquisition which could pull one from outside the game if need be.
Should I try and slot in phyrexian unlife + solemnity for additional defensive layering? Solemnity will find some uses in my meta, but not that many. There's not a ton of counters going around.. there's the cheap Vivid lands, some minor counter stuff in the dragon's deck, and the recently made soldier deck uses Cathars' Crusade and Assemble the Legion. Individually these cards will not shine, but they still count as enchantments for Sphere of Safety and they still kinda do something at least... but then there's the obvious synergies. (Already playing Delaying Shield regardless of this pairs inclusion or not)
I've looked a lot at Vow of Lightning Vow of Malice Vow of Duty with some amount of admiration for fulfilling the deck goals of "make enemies kill enemies better while staying safe myself". However I'm not sure I want enchantments that get wiped out via enemy board clears. (And in the case of vow of lightning and duty, make enemy creatures better at blocking my advances)
Also open to any other suggestions not made here as well. Thanks for your time and considerations as always!
May the queen reign for eternity!
3 months ago
Well, in regards to the control-type spells, your first priority is political effects. As in interacting with the players as a player. Vow of Lightning is an easy example of this, but also Racecourse Fury could be a bargaining chip to get others to fight each other. Most recently there's even Frenzied Fugue, which lets you nab anyone's creature, at least for your turn. These type of "forced aggression" and "theft" effects are fairly specific to red (at least when you forget Mind Control and its ilk). That vow card is part of a cycle for good reason though, as white of course has access to numerous Pacifism and Arrest variants, so don't forget those either.
What also isn't unique to red or white, but is certainly prolific in the colors, is land hate. You have access to things like Apocalypse and Razia's Purification to give you some perspective. Now these spells are not aura's, but Destructive Urge is and Custody Battle, when placed on the right creature, might as well be land hate too. You've got Conquer too, but that one's a little high priced mana wise (but it is pretty janky too.
Now as far as the voltron/tokens build, I can say to you the same thing I mentioned to someone else: "the amount of evasion you need is inversely proportional to the amount of removal you intend to play". If you'd going wide with tokens as well as tall from suiting up one creature, it is inherent that you won't play as much removal or need evasion I would think. Really what you need at that point is the recursion and protection effects, because your aggression will demand opponents play their own removal or lose to aggro (which that recursion and protection acts like redundancy for your commander Tiana to boot).
In any case, I would suggest keeping in mind the mana cost of the cards you play, versus the amount of "cheat" spells you have (like Nomad Mythmaker and Replenish). If you want to only cheat out Eldrazi Conscription (or similar cards) then you could build around that, but having the back-up plan to hard cast it with ramp is also a safe bet.
As another small thing, curses are auras too. wink*
4 months ago
Cards I would recommend adding if you want to support your pillowfort theme.
Koskun Falls Does exactly what you want to do with not exactly a back breaking downside.
Delaying Shield Nobody can take away your monarch token and lets you mitigate damage. (Also handy for negating massive fireballs for a turn.)
Smoke Can be good against green rampers and go-wide strategies. Also will make people to think twice before running over your Marchesa with quantity since they'll be open for a longer time and have much more difficulty to come get the monarch token next time.
Tainted AEther Keeps the creatures low, keeps the threats low, keeps everyone wanting to kill you high. Great way to lock boardstate in your favour after a boardwipe.
Marchesa's Decree and Hissing Miasma You want to nibble your opponents as much as you can while making them hesitate harming you if you plan to win while pillowforting. This does both and so either deters would-be attackers or makes finishing the game with Debt to the Deathless or the like easier.
Aurification It's good. Doesn't spare you from lethal but at least saves you from random chunks of damage.
Gideon's Intervention and [Nevermore] Naming opposing commanders is just so backbreaking against some decks and buys you a lot time (and a lot hate from the player). Other than that you can name common threats to your board like Cyclonic Rift and Merciless Eviction. Another card with similar effect on board is Prison Term, which lets you to put opposition into sort of a Nevermore state as they hit the field.
Vow Cycle of Vow of Duty, Vow of Lightning, Vow of Malice Works double duty. Why bother removing opposing creatures if you make them work for you and even be happy about it? Deals with offensive threats while nibbling opposing life totals. Orzhov Advokist also could work the same way in practice, but is less reliable though stronger when it works.
Soul Snare "If you attack me, I will kill your creature" is not an empty threat anymore, also counts towards your enchantment mass making cards like --Sphere of Safety and Open the Vaults more valuable. If this doesn't make big threats look at another direction then nothing will.
Well then. Since the commander herself fixes your needs of juice, the next question is: what do you stall for? (Was that a Hamilton reference?) After the long and satisfying grind of EDH, you want to finally claim the prize and call it a game. There's a few ways to go about it, but I'd recommend picking at least 6 - 10 cards which enables you to win the game when played right. In addition to what you have now I'd recommend one or two more.
X Equals Win the Game: In addition to Debt to the Deathless, other good X spells to add would be Exsanguinate or Torment of Hailfire, of which the latter is usually better but the first always consistent.
Not this turn, but maybe the next: Felidar Sovereign should net you a win when opposing resources to stop you are running thin. Or at least burn a removal spell.
More mass removal. They can't hit you if they have no creatures, and you really don't care about your own all too much. Two more of any "destroy all creatures" spells would work wonders.
As you are running on a budget here, we can't afford expensive allstars that win games basically no matter what deck you are playing. THUS we have to compensate by making our deck consistent, efficient and precise in what it does - in it's theme (Pillows, taxes and enchantments) - so the cards have more power than the total of their sum. Cards I'd cut:
Ancient Craving Good if we need explosiveness... which we don't. In EDH value this is basically 4 mana 3 life draw 1.
Read the Bones Draw 2 isn't anything to write home about in EDH either, basically draw 2/3th of a card for 3 mana. Marchesa nets you the cards over time, and you aren't in any rush.
Starfield of Nyx Would be good if you could protect your enchantments from the "creature" status as they get easier to spot and wipe remove. The recursion is amazing, but it wont matter when everything bows up, along with the starfield.
Price of Knowledge It's strong if it gets to hit the field, but not strong enough to compensate for the cost. It doesn't help us in 2 of the 3 themes of the deck but on the contrary draws hate with slow pay-off.
Bloodgift Demon Rather than having multiple ways to draw 1, focusing on pillowforting and keeping the monarch token to yourself would add consistency. A body is nice, but also a liability and lack of synergy with the rest of the deck.
Kambal, Consul of Allocation It's good at what it does, but we do not necessarily want to do that. It always universaly and equally hates on everyone, drawing hate towards you when our idea is to keep us away from the harm. Draining is nice, as long as it doesn't also drain our goals.
Sidisi, Undead Vizier Again, really good at what it does, but we need more space for cards that we need to do exactly what we want to do.
Void Winnower Strong, but really expensive for non-ramp deck and draws hate to us. Not the strong we must have.
Elixir of Immortality When a deck functions as planned and has multiple ways to win even if some get discarded to graveyard, you should be able to win before decking out.
Skullclamp Strong... but not the strong we must have.
Staff of Nin We have our economy covered as long as we are able to sustain monarchy.
6 months ago
Saw your comment in the deck advertiser. It did not fall on deaf ears.
This seems like a fun base. So here are a couple ways to make it fierce.
2) Curses- more misdirection could be Curse of Vitality or Curse of the Forsaken. Overwhelming Splendor might be an okay game ender, and a lot of other curses are fun and worth checking out, but I'm not gonna bother listing all of them here. Look them up on the gatherer.
Also a fun idea: Blazing Archon. Neither competitive nor hard to remove, but if your opponent doesn't have the stuff, it is the worst/best.
6 months ago
Awesome. Thanks for the amazing game reports. Opponnents getting salty is why I think that the deck belongs in a large and rotating meta. Familiarity breeds contempt. Getting beat this way sometimes is fun. Getting beat just about every game is not fun.
As for possible early commander aggression, I would suggest the Vow cycle. I prefer Vow of Malice, since giving them intimidate when they can't attack you is great, but giving them first strike with Vow of Lightning, or vigilance with Vow of Duty, since both can be used against you by enhancing their ability to block, is not as great. You could also consider Darksteel Mutation, even though it makes part of their offense ineffective for use against your opponents. Any of these are pretty good, and could replace or be added to Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, etc... as spot removal. I have tried all of these, but my meta did not have super fast voltron decks, and I wanted to have the versatility of the spot removal that I currently use for taking out strong utility creatures or commanders who have an effect on the game that is not related to combat. I will continue to think about the super fast voltron decks. Usually my Maze of Ith, Kor Haven, Spires of Orazca, Delaying Shield, Solitary Confinement, Forcefield, Delirium, Backlash, Fog suite, spot removal suite, Threaten effect suite, Rattlesnake suite, and suite of cards to encourage them to attack elsewhere all keep my losses to voltron under control. That being said, the only real contenders in that category in my meta have been Omnath, Locus of Mana and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, and they are not super fast.
I personally love the interaction of Selfless Squire with another Fog. They feel safe after the Selfless Squire has already hit the board, and they swing at you with everything. Fog, they are tapped, and you can swing for more than they did. You can sometimes bait people into overcommitting by dropping Selfless Squire to prevent even a modest amount of damage when holding another Fog. The usual game plan for someone who you think holds a Fog but doesn't have much to retaliate with is to attack into them. They need to be forced to play it, then you alpha-strike. That is what most people do against this deck when they get to know it. They force the Fog, then alpha-strike. I can often bait them into overcommitting by dropping the Selfless Squire against a moderate attack. Usually this makes a 10/10 Squire or more. When they see that big beater and what they think was a wasted Fog, they decide to take me out before that Squire can get a chance to get bigger. They figure that they can withstand that 10+ damage, even if I survive, so they swing with everything trying to take me out. Then I drop a Batwing Brume or something, survive, and they are tapped out. I get to swing into them for sometimes more than 40. Crazy turnaround.