I can't believe how long it took me to consider Aristocrats in EDH. But I just playtested it with my group, and not only did it go undefeated all night but I'm also happy to report that it's probably the most enjoyable deck I've ever played. No surprise, since Aristocrats was super fun to play in Standard.

For the uninitiated, Aristocrats is a deck archetype centered around stealing your opponents' creatures, beating your opponents over the head with said creatures, then sacrificing said creatures before control reverts back to your opponents. For that, you need steal spells and sac outlets. I've included several of both, one of which (Falkenrath Aristocrat) is responsible for the name of the archetype.

The steal/sac strategy is good for some temporary offense, but mostly it's a defensive strategy aimed at removing threats as you build your black mana ramp capabilities in preparation for one of the game-ending X spells. Also included are cards that synergize with creature death and also some red control magic (Fork spells) for when your X spells get countered. In the absence of countermagic, those control spells can also double as mana ramp in a roundabout way when you copy your own X spells. Edit: I've thought a lot about how to handle a counter to your X spell and whether to Fork the counter back on itself or simply copy your own X spell. It would seem that the results are the same. But I realized that since priority begins with you after you cast the X spell, you shouldn't wait for a counter before you fork. Because if a counter doesn't come, two powerful X spells resolve. But if you pass priority in anticipation of a counter and the counter doesn't come, you will miss your chance to Fork your own spell and only one will resolve. The moral of the story? Fork em if you got em. Right away.

A word about the commander... there are many Mardu commanders worth considering. Edgar Markov is a great choice if you want to go vampire tribal. White can be removed to make the mana situation much more palatable, and there are several good Rakdos commanders to choose from if you do. But Queen Marchesa is fantastic for this deck archetype. The reason is not card draw, it's defense. Sure, you'll get that extra card on the turn she comes out, but once you lose Monarch status, don't be in such a rush to get it back. First, you'll receive a steady stream of 1/1 deathtouch tokens as a quasi pillow fort, and add to that the fact that your opponents will all be foaming at the mouth to attack each other for that Monarch card draw. If you lay off the attack and keep your 1/1s untapped, they'll forget all about you as you set up for the kill. And of course you can get Monarch status back anytime you want as long as you're not worried about being attacked.

Also gotta give a shout out to all the commanders that are neither OP nor absolutely essential for their deck's strategy. Because that means your opponents won't waste removal on them, so you don't have to waste deck slots on protection, such as Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, Asceticism, etc. It's so nice not to be a target and also not to care when something bad does happen.

I doubt I have to explain or list any of the steal spells, sac outlets, or death synergy cards - except to say that Insurrection + sac is so much more fun than an overloaded Cyclonic Rift. But for those new to Legacy formats, the black mana ramp might need some 'splainin'. It all boils down to Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. Several cards can combo with it, including Cabal Coffers, Magus of the Coffers, Crypt Ghast, Nirkana Revenant, and the ult from Liliana of the Dark Realms. So focus on getting Urborg out. Expedition Map and Weathered Wayfarer are there to help you do that. Even use Demonic Tutor or Vampiric Tutor if you have to. Caged Sun, Black Market, and Doubling Cube are also there to help you maximize your X spells.

As always, upvote if you're so inclined. And your suggestions are welcome in the comments.

P.S. - Here is the more detailed graphic art I commissioned for Queen Marchesa. I had to have it simplified for the actual card art. Graphic art I commissioned for Queen Marchesa.


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Date added 1 year
Last updated 6 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.20
Tokens Copy Clone, 1/1 Assassin, Monarch, Liliana, 20/20 Avatar, 1/1 Faerie Rogue
Folders Other People's Decks, Reference, EDH Suggestions, Fun decks, EDH, Decks I like, Favorites, Borrow from, Commander, EDH, See all 19
Top rank #3 on 2017-12-29
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