Ascension to the Throne
The best defense is a good offense

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This is the second part of Marchesa's journey with the first part being all about dethroning and plotting. With Marchesa finally becoming the queen, she is finding herself in a difficult situation trying to defend the throne. Queen Marchesa is a commander with a variety of strategies she can helm with mainly Pillowfort, Stax, Midrange/Aggro, Combo, and Mardu Control. This deck's strategy is a form of Mardu Control utilizing an arsenal of hatebears, Sunforger, and powerful equipments to control the board to victory. I find that this allows me to utilize her abilities to the full extend and create unfair boardstates when she is or isn't the Monarch. If you love unconventional ways to control the board using equipments and politics, this deck is for you!


The main strategy is to control the flow of the game with politics, Sunforger, the five elemental swords, and hatebears. When situation arises where attacking is unprofitable, Marchesa can get her monarch back with Kaya, Ghost Assassin. Once the pod is fully under your grasp, either let the Queen kill her adversaries herself with the power of the elemental swords or assemble the Kormus Bell lock (see the next section for more information) to close out the game.

The ideal boardstate is to have Queen Marchesa and Sunforger out with open mana at all times which will allow me to both develop my boardstate and answer any threats. Leonin Shikari and Puresteel Paladin will make Sunforger control almost impossible to deal with especially with Mistveil Plains out. The most important thing that makes this deck tick is threat assessment. Hatebears like Kambal, Consul of Allocation will force my opponents to choose their spells sparringly (also prevents spellslingers from going crazy) while Angel of Jubilation stops almost every sacrifice strategy. Dumping every equipment and creatures on the board is often the incorrect line of play and should be played sparringly to prevent a total blowup. The key is to have open mana and a full grip at all times to create a perception that you have the answers to threats. It is sometimes alright to let our opponents get the Monarch especially if we are in need of extra bodies versus card draw and when we have Skullclamp to abuse the tokens generated.

There are four types of common opening hands that will dictate the direction of the gameplay:

  1. Creature driven hand: Go aggressive while building up resources and suiting them up with equipments mid to late game to create a favorable gamestate
  2. Equipment driven hand: Suit Marchesa up and take her the voltron way to aggressively defend her throne while actively protecting her with sunforger
  3. Spell heavy hand: Sit back and politic/control the boardstate while setting up the neccessary path to victory
  4. Mixed hand: Gauge the pod and threats before chosing the direction to take


The following are hatebears selected specifically to combat common strategies encountered in commander:

Notable exclusions include the following which is more suitable in a stax build:


Securing the throne is a tough endeavor as the power to draw a card at every endstep is a very tempting advantage that is hard to resist. The following are notable synergies to protecting the throne:

The following is my finisher win condition of infinite combat steps combo:

I have decided to retire this deck's signature combo Kormus Bell lock in favor of the above due to it being more of a dead draw most of the time. However, the combo will be listed here for commemorative purposes:


The following are explanations on the various choices included in the Sunforger package. As you can see, the list is tuned towards a very combo-centric meta and could be replaced with other cards according to the meta:

The following are cards I want to test out in the future:


This deck started out as Gisela, Blade of Goldknight as an equipment based aggro deck. When Queen Marchesa got released, I decided to port her basic framework over. With the addition of black and a potential draw engine at the helm, the problem of running out of gas is all but eliminated. By adding a more dedicated hatebear and sunforger suite, I can effectively control the board as needed. When it comes down to win conditions, I initially debated between the Restoration Angel + Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Worldgorger Dragon + Animate Dead + Comet Storm/Piranha Marsh combo. However, I find that as singular cards, they don't really do much for the deck strategy I am going for. I then settled for the Kormus Bell combo as a thematic way of locking down the board permanently to close out the game. Kormus Bell by itself is also useful to discourage boardwipes.

Optimizing the deck comes with a hefty price tag, however it is entirely possible to build it on a budget. The elemental swords could be replaced with Sword of Vengeance, Mask of Memory, Loxodon Warhammer, Champion's Helm, and Neko-Te (there are also other variety of equipments to choose from). Mana Crypt can be replaced with Fellwar Stone or another signet. Bitterblossom can be replaced with either another equipment or pillowfort like Righteous Aura. The expensive tutors can be replaced with Diabolic Tutor and Beseech the Queen. The expensive land bases can be replaced with more basic lands and scrylands. Mana Crypt is replaceable with Bastion Protector or Selfless Spirit. Dictate of Erebos/Grave Pact and some sac outlets can also be added to control the board in a more affordable way.

Long live the Queen!


''Those who seize power must have the means to hold it.'' - Queen Marchesa


Updates Add

I'm heavily debating on moving away from the Sunforger package route to make space for more hatebear, will be debating what to cut and which direction to take this deck in the next couple of weeks.

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