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A Smile a Day Keeps Death Away V1.1 | PRIMER

Commander / EDH Aristocrats Competitive Primer RBW (Mardu) Reanimator


"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenienve from it." - Mark Twain

Welcome to my Alesha deck. This deck is awesome to play, it can compete with a lot of other 70-85% decks but can also shift down a couple of gears if you have a more casual playgroup. The deck has a lot of lines and rewards you for learning its playstyle.

Since Alesha's ability allows us to only revive smaller creatures, thus deck is not about making big flashy plays that hit the opponents for massive damage, but rather a death by a thousand cuts playstyle

Alesha's colors and ability allow you to play a lot of different combos. While combos make the deck (obviously) better, I prefer to play a more grindy list that isn't as focussed on combos. I do run the combo Restoration Angel + Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker , but only because these cards are amazing by themselves, and "accidentally" happen to combo together. I do not run the Murderous Redcap + Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit combo exactly for that reason, those creatures are far worse in a vacuum.

Yes, if you like:

  • to adapt your gameplan based on your opponents.
  • to generate value over time.
  • high-synergy decks.
  • a "death by a thousand cuts" playstyle.
  • being more under the radar.
  • picking off opponents one by one.

No, if you like:

  • making big, flashy plays.
  • having one big attack to win the game.
  • dealing massive amounts of damage at once.

The general gameplan is to just accumulate card advantage and hit the opponents for chipdamage. The deck is capable of playing the long game. The creature arsenal of this deck allows you to play more like toolbox deck, always getting the right answer at the right moment. When no answers are required, you can just grind for value with one of the many card-advantage generators in the deck.

We obviously first need to get creatures in the Graveyard before we bring them back with Alesha's ability. While we could just simply wait around for our creatures to die, there are plenty of ways to get them right where you need.

Attacking with Alesha can be considered the single most important thing of the deck, as it is the main source for card advantage and toolboxing. While Alesha's 3/2 first strike stats hold up fine in the first few turns of the game, it gets drastically worse as the game progresses. To make sure we can keep the attacks coming, we need to give Alesha some form of combat protection.

As I mentioned before, this deck doesn't necessarily win all by itself, it rather grinds people out and benefits from opponents dealing damage to each other. There are a few ways to win by yourself though:

The deck has a sub-theme of aristocrats, simply because the engine is so efficient at recycling and abusing small creatures. For those of you unfamilair with the term "Aristocrats", it refers to the theme of sacrificing creatures for payoff effects. For this we need three components; something that generates creatures to sacrifice, something that lets us sacrifice creatures, and something that rewards us for sacrificing creatures.

These cards care about creating multiple creatures for us to sacrifice, and preferably allow us to bring them back with Alesha's ability.

  • Angel of Invention creatures two creatures with her ETB and, because of this, is a good target to sacrifce and recur over and over again.
  • Karmic Guide is essentially free sacrifice fodder since it brings back another creature (ideally one that creates even more bodies).
  • Reveillark gives immediate value upon sacrificing and also combos nicely with Karmic Guide.
  • Seasoned Pyromancer brings almost always two tokens to the table, and can even exile itself in a pinch to create two more bodies
  • Siege-Gang Commander is the best value we can get in Alesha, making a total of four bodies.
  • Sling-Gang Lieutenant might not be effective as his red cousin, it's still three bodies and comes with a build-in sacrifice outlet.

These cards let us sacrifice creatures

  • Viscera Seer is one of the most popular sacrifice outlet, and for good reason. A very low cost of one mana, and not requiring additional costs to sacrifice anything makes it an-auto inclusion. In a way this card is very similair to Carrion Feeder . I choose Viscera Seer for two reasons; being able to block can be useful and the scry is in this deck more relevant than the +1/+1 counters on Carrion Feeder .
  • Yawgmoth, Thran Physician is an amazing sacrifice outlet that immediately converts the sacrificed creatures into a draw engine.
  • High Market While not the most reliable sac-outlet, is a land with no other requirements. Also works great to sacrifice your creatures in response to exile-effects.
  • Phyrexian Tower , see High Market , altho the Tower often does a nice job of ramping.
  • Diabolic Intent is just a very efficient tutor.
  • Victimize is one of the most underrated reanimation spells in Commander in my opinion.
  • Goblin Bombardment is cheap to play and requires no additional mana to sacrifice creatures.

These cards care about creatures dying.

An example scenario is if you have Purphoros, God of the Forge + Goblin Bombardment + Blood Artist out and you draw into Karmic Guide . You play Karmic Guide , triggering Purphoros, and bring back Siege-Gang Commander , triggering Purphoros another 4 times. Then you sacrifice everything to Goblin Bombardement. This will deal a total of 20 damage, and you get to do it all again next turn by bringing back Karmic Guide with Alesha's ability. The creatures by themselves seem small and underwhelming, but as cogs in the machine can provide a solid damage output.

I will explain some card choices you might not see in every Alesha deck.

  • Grim Haruspex might be out of Alesha's range, but is still the most efficient creature to draw cards with upon death triggers. The deck has plenty of sacrifice outlets so it's pretty common to bring a creature back with Alesha, Sacrifice it, Draw a card, and do it all over next turn.
  • Rix Maadi Reveler is a card you love to see in your opening hand, but also holds up in the mid to late game. We will never be casting it for the spectacle cost, but the ability to loot a card helps to set up certain graveyard plays.
  • Victimize is a reanimation spell that I've been very impressed with. The sacrifice a creature clause is often not a problem, and it allows you to get your best two creatures back.
  • Nahiri, the Harbinger also allows us to dump creatures straight from the hand into the graveyard, while simultaneously dealing with problematic permanents. Her ultimate is pretty underwhelming in this deck though.

While most Alesha decks are fairly similair at their base, there are some popular cards I decided not to run.

  • Mentor of the Meek is a card I recently cut, while I don't think it's a bad card per se, it was always a bit underwhelming, the card did not do enough by itself which made me never want to reanimate it with Alesha.
  • Ravenous Chupacabra often feels clunky and just ends up as a 4 mana bear. Attacking with Alesha is something you want to do for maximum value, getting back a 2/2 that removes one creature is just not strong enough. Maybe if it exiled the creature I would consider running it.
  • Gonti, Lord of Luxury is a bit too "RNG" for my taste, I rather have a card that I know can get direct value, without being depended on the opponents top four cards.
  • Disciple of Bolas is a card that I'm usually a big fan off. However, the creature line-up in this deck consists of small, efficient creatures, often making Disciple rather underwhelming
  • Archetype of Finality has a pretty solid ability to support Alesha on her attacks, but unfortunately is just too damn expensive. 6 mana for a 2/3 with a narrow effect is not good enough in my opinion. Yes, you can bring her back with Alesha, but often enough it just ends up being a dead card in your hand

Overview of changes made to the deck as new sets come out.

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100% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 8 months
Last updated 4 days

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.00
Tokens 1/1 Servo, None Copy Clone, 1/1 Elemental, 1/1 Goblin, None Treasure, 2/2 Morph, 1/1 City's Blessing
Folders Alesha, My decks, potential deck ideas, Alesha, Decks to Try
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