All I have in exchange for victory

Ad Victoriam is a combo deck centered on lifegain and weaponized it.

I was always drawn to and what it represent. Mardu is a state of mind, one of resilience in face of adversary, an ideal and the will to fight for it.Licia, Sanguine Tribune, who is at the helm of the deck, represent best this philosophy with her ability to sacrifice some of your life force to gain great power.

Two words : the artwork. I was really attracted to the card and the centurion aura around it. Plus, her effects are really strong and allow a playstyle that revolved around life as another expandable value which I did not experience until then.

Colors - brings the majority of our lifegain. allows us to trade that life for value such as draw, removal or empower; basically, weaponize our life. Finally, makes use of our empowered creatures.

First Strike - This is a really strong keyword especially on a powerful creature such as Licia. Few creatures can afford to take her hit and retaliate. It makes her a powerhouse in defense as well as offense.

Lifelink - In our game plan to exploit our life pool, this keyword is invaluable. Tied with her power, we are sure to stay healthy.

Pay 5 life - This is what makes Licia really scary and embodied the philosophy of the deck : you pay life to get more power.

CMC - Her CMC is very high and synergize with cards such as Sacrifice. Unplayable at first sight, her unique ability to reduce her casting cost for each life gain makes her reliably cast-able for ; thus, bypassing commander tax while conserving her CMC. This is her corner stone and one we will abuse.

Lifegain for the sake of lifegaining is not a working strategy. In this deck, it is use to offset the cost of "pay X life" card as well as reduce the cost of our Commander. As such, we do not aim at incremental lifegain but a good amount ideally each turn but one turn is all it takes.

Notable Inclusions

Children of Korlis : This is a versatile card, it can either allow us to recover from a huge blow, kill two opponents with the reservoir or drain everyone with effects like Sanguine Bond or Vizkopa Guildmage.

Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis : This one is kind of a pet card. I like planeswalker card and they are really unique. Her minus 3 equals a cost reduction of 5 on our commander, which is great, and the escape mechanic makes her resilient.

Icatian Moneychanger : Probably the best turn 1 of our deck. You can cast Licia, Sanguine Tribune on turn 3 with him.

Umezawa's Jitte : We rely on lifelink to gain life which means combat damage. The Jitte allow us to store charges which we can use to either : boost our creatures, remove creatures such as mana dork or gain more life. This is a real swiss knife.

Draw and card advantage are the fuel of every deck. Thanks to our access to black, we have at our disposal its great suits of value-engine. Those use life as a drawback to their efficiency but with our lifepool, it is a mere nuisance.

Notable Inclusions

Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion : can filter an unsuitable hand while giving enough mana to use the new cards you draw. The fact that the mana does not disappear while you go through phase opens up the possibility to cast a huge spell that your opponents might not expect. It also fuel the graveyard for Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis and nothing is really lost thanks to our recursion package.

Vilis, Broker of Blood : This card is a real beast. First, its activate ability destroy utility creatures who are often at 1 toughness but it triggers its passive effect, since you paid life, you got to draw ! Furthermore, it synergize with our draw package : most of them have you pay life as a counterpart, getting twice the effect.

These cards are mostly meta-dependant. They are great in mine but it might be underpowered in yours. We do not have the ramp of or the control of but excels in slowing down opponents.

Notable Inclusions

Hushbringer : Flying and lifelink make this fae a good addition in our lifegain plan. Her ability can nullify a lot of strategy notably the deck based on sacrifice. As a less potent alternative, we also run Torpor Orb but redundancy is good; besides, ETB effects are common enough.

Silence : Can prevent your opponents to disturb your plans. Can also prevent the other combo guy to going off for a turn.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet : Disrupt any graveyard based strategy such as Mikaeus, the Unhallowed while pumping our board with tokens. The lifelink is just the ice on the cake.

I love value so I always make sure to have some kind of recursion in my deck. The new addition of Lurrus of the Dream-Den with Ikoria allow us to re-cast our lifegaining creature such as Icatian Moneychanger to keep re-casting Licia, Sanguine Tribune through the game.

Our win conditions all revolved around life. We have three principal ways of winning a game :

Aetherflux Route

Bolas's Citadel is an awesome value engine by utilizing our pool to cast spells. Combine it with Sensei's Divining Top and Aetherflux Reservoir and you have an self-sufficient machine giving us plenty of life to laser anyone. The combo proceed as follow :

Chandra Route

MTG has few creatures who can be pump with life. The few I know of are Licia, Sanguine Tribune, Wall of Blood, Moltensteel Dragon and Immolating Souleater. I preferred the dragon over the souleater as it starts at 4 power so we can use a little less life to achieve lethality. You can then proceed to use Chandra's Ignition. Repercussion can also allow us to achieve lethality with fewer life spent.

Lifegain Grind

You might have been disrupted too many times or lost your combo pieces but that does not mean we are done yet. Without our combo, we are still a gain life machine and we can make use of it with Vizkopa Guildmage, Sanguine Bond or both. Each point of life we gain therefore become a point of damage.


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63% Casual

37% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 1 month
Last updated 2 days

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

6 - 0 Mythic Rares

50 - 0 Rares

14 - 0 Uncommons

13 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.00
Tokens 2/2 Zombie, None Treasure, Companion, 1/1 Human Soldier, 5/5 Horse
Folders snazy (EDH), Study then build, copy/paste
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