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Glissa the Traitor
~ Metal | Rock | Land | Pod ~

This deck has a midrange-oriented strategy. It has a large toolbox of ETB creatures that can be chained with Birthing Pod . I also added a small land subtheme with Dark Depths and Thespian Stage's. It uses a lot of tutoring cards for creatures and lands.

Deck: Sort creatures by ascending CMC (Pod chain view)
Deck: Sort cards by function


★ Primer ★

The Themes

I am a big fan of The Rock decks played during the old Extended format. I decided to create an EDH to honor their ancient glorious time. Being also a fan of artifacts and phyrexians, my choice went obviously on Glissa, the Traitor . Moreover, her story has something similar with Sarah Kerrigan from Starcraft's storyline, a character I loved during the first game.

This deck has four main themes:

  1. Rock: This is a midrange deck shaped as a "Rock" deck. The Rock is a deck which has been less defined by the cards it uses and more by the strategy it employs. In general it's a black-green midrange deck which attempts to generate card advantage over longer periods of time and finish the opponent off with a big creature.

  2. Pod: To support a "Rock" strategy, I use a large toolbox of ETB creatures than can answer any situation, with a package of some tutoring cards. Among those tutors, there is Birthing Pod . It is very effective in its job (reusable). I consider it as a signature card.

  3. Metal: "Rock" strategies need also card-advantage. Glissa's recursion ability will help in this case. So I added a lot of artifact "toys" to support the deck. At one point, the deck had more than 35% of artifacts recurrable with Glissa (creatures and noncreatures). Artifacts were the previous main theme. Then my meta evolved with more grave-hate cards and I couldn't make Glissa work under such pressure. So the deck took a shift: I decreased my dependency on graveyard shenanigans and changed the main theme to a more-oriented creature toolbox deck (Pod). I still kept the most powerful Glissa's toys and a bunch of artifact creatures that like to be eated by Birthing Pod and recurred by Glissa afterwards.

  4. Land: I like diversity. So I added a second little subtheme about lands. I don't mean landfall, but a land-theme more like Realms deck from Legacy. For more responsiveness, I added some very useful utility lands and, of course, the well-known Legacy combo Thespian's Stage + Dark Depths .

Why Glissa?

Glissa, the Traitor has several advantages:

  • Cheap mana cost, allowing us to cast her often.
  • colors. Best for killing creatures and ramping into big beaters.
  • A great artifact recursion ability. We have a card-advantage engine on a stick.
  • First-Strike & Deathtouch. She excels in attack and defense onto the battlefield.

Due to its colors and its inherent recursion engine, Glissa is often used as a Stax general. While it's a powerful strategy with her, it's also the most unfun for your opponents. Thus, you should avoid this route if you wish to play a lot this deck without being a constant Archenemy on tables.

Building tricks: Glissa loves sacrificing artifacts, holding equipments, and protecting Planeswalkers.

Glissa is for you if:
  • You like artifacts.
  • You like graveyard's shenanigans.
  • You like being able to reuse useful effects (card draw, graveyard hate, land ramp, removal, etc...)
  • You like having a general that will always win in combat.
  • You like having a general looking like Sarah Kerrigan from the StarCraft videogame.
Glissa isn't for you if:
  • You don't like any of the things above.
  • You prefer decks filled with blue and countermagic.
  • You prefer berserking with creatures all the time.
  • You don't like Phyrexians.
Types breakdown
  • 38 lands (+10 ramp cards, -3 nonmana lands)
  • 28 creatures (+1 Glissa, including 11 artifact-creatures)
  • 14 artifacts (noncreature)
  • 7 sorceries
  • 6 instants
  • 6 enchantments
  • 1 planeswalker

25% of the deck are artifacts. This is not a heavy artifact deck.

Mana Fixing & Rainbow Lands
  • Basics: 4x Forest , 3x Swamp . 7 in total is just enough for the ramp cards we are playing inside this deck. Do not go below that number, it's already tight.
    The deck could use more Forests than Swamps (5-3 or even 6-2) due to color distribution, but I prefer to have access to at least 4 basic Swamps in case of nonbasic lands hate from my opponents.

  • Fetchlands: Marsh Flats , Misty Rainforest , Polluted Delta , Verdant Catacombs , Windswept Heath , Wooded Foothills . I play 6 fetchlands. They are nice for color fixing and much better with Loam and Crucible. But you can cut them if you feel that the deck needs more utility lands of if you are looking after a budget version. !flexspot

  • Duals: Bayou , Overgrown Tomb , Woodland Cemetery , Tainted Wood , Twilight Mire , Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth . I play almost all the best duals for BG. Some are missing, but no space left, except if we decrease the number of basic or utility lands.
    Note: Urborg is a color fixer that comboes really well with Cabal Coffers.
    Note: The deck is hungry for mana symbols. When you pay generic manacost, first spend your black mana.

  • Rainbows: Forbidden Orchard , Command Tower . I tend to not use any rainbow-land like City of Brass, Mana Confluence and Tarnished Citadel because they harm you. I have enough fixing and need to keep a bunch of basics for my ramp cards. Exception for Forbidden Orchard . This land is very famous within Glissa EDH decks: it hugs your opponents by giving them tiny tokens, then get value from Glissa when that little 1/1 dies.

Mana Acceleration
  • Ancient Tomb : Speeds up your game quite a bit. The pain can be avoided later with Urborg.

  • Gaea's Cradle : Usually we always have at least one creature on the battlefield. So, it's just an extremely buffed forest. Late game, this land can produce a huge amount of mana in combination with Myr Battlesphere or Avenger of Zendikar.

  • Cabal Coffers : Even if we have so few Swamps, Cabal Coffers can prove its power each game, thanks to Urborg. When I have some land-tutors in hand, this is usually the first combo I tutorize for.

Cycling Lands
Utility Lands

This deck use a lot of land-tutoring cards. I play the best utility lands that fit my strategy and cover my weaknesses.

  • Bojuka Bog : This grave-hate land interacts very well with Crop Rotation in order to remove a graveyard at instant speed.

  • Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage : A well-known legacy combo that easily creates a 20/20 flying indestructible Marit Lage token. If Thespian's Stage copies Dark Depths, it will not have the Ice counters on it and will immediately trigger. But before the trigger is put onto the stack, State-based Actions are checked and the Legend Rule applies: you need to put the original Dark Depths into your graveyard. Then you may resolve the trigger and sacrifice the copy to create the huge Marit Lage token. Don't forget that the token is legendary in case you're able to recure the lands.

  • High Market : Helps to protect our creatures against exile effects. With Glissa, an artifact-creature is better burrowed than exiled. Better option if you can afford it: Phyrexian Tower .

  • Strip Mine , Dust Bowl : They help against nasty opponents' lands. Recurrable with Loam and Crucible.

  • Yavimaya Hollow : Regenerating our creatures is a great advantage. It helps protect Glissa against opponents' sweepers and our own Oblivion Stone. Keep in mind that it doesn't work if your creature has shroud (eg: Lightning Greaves, Sylvan Safekeeper).

  • Maze of Ith : Efficient attack deterrent.

  • Volrath's Stronghold : Efficient creature recursion.

  • Blast Zone : This a very slow removal, but it only takes a land slot and can be recurred with Crucible of Worlds and Loam. So, why not use it? Hex Parasite can even remove its initial counter to allow the land to destroy creature tokens. !testing

  • Bazaar of Baghdad : So expensive card! So complicated card! So powerful card! This lands trades card-advantage for card-filtering. A difficult card to use optimally. When games get grindy, the recursion engines can let Bazaar become a card-advantage engine when you lack a hand. Urborg allows this to also tap for mana when necessary. Play it wisely. Fortunately, Glissa and Loam helps against the card-disavantage by recurring our discarded artifacts and lands. Alternate budget version: Geier Reach Sanitarium .

Bazaar Mini-Primer Show

This deck is built around a large creature toolbox that allows us to answer any game situation. We use a lot of creature-tutors in order to find quickly the right answer to any problem.
To search inside our toolbox, we have 7 tutoring cards, the most iconic being Birthing Pod .

For each step of the Pod chain, there should be at least one artifact creature for more interactions with our commander Glissa's recursion ability.
Those cards are tagged with the flag A.

0-cmc Creatures Show

1-cmc Creatures Show

2-cmc Creatures Show

3-cmc Creatures Show

4-cmc Creatures Show

5-cmc Creatures Show

6-cmc Creatures Show

7-cmc Creatures Show

Apex of the Pod Show

Generic Tutors
  • (B) Vampiric Tutor : The Mirage tutors are card-disavantagers and I tend to avoid them. Exception for this one because you can fetch any card.

  • (1B) Demonic Tutor : Best tutor ever printed. Should be played in any black deck. It's a black staple.

  • (B) Entomb : This is a great tutor within our strategy. Entomb an artifact to get it back with Glissa. Entomb Genesis to recur your creatures! Entomb a requested land if you have Crucible out. Entomb Loam for graveyard landy shenanigans. etc...

Creature Tutors

To support my creature toolbox package, I use the best creature tutoring cards.
Other options are: Yisan, the Wanderer Bard , Fauna Shaman , Worldly Tutor , GSZ , Chord of Calling , and Natural Order .

  • (G) Traverse the Ulvenwald : A ramp card early game. A great tutor mid/late game. Assuming we have Delirium (which isn't difficult in this deck), we can tutorize a nonbasic land or any creature for just one mana.

  • (1G+G) Survival of the Fittest : The most broken card in this deck. I think Survival of the Fittest is broken in any deck, but it shines here. Discarding artifacts, which will come back with Glissa, to tutorize a creature that you can discard again to loop the effect, this is strong. This card is so overpowered that I could understand its banishment if the EDH Rules Committee decides it.

  • (3pG+1pG) Birthing Pod : The Pod is a reusable tutor that sacrifices creatures we could get back with Glissa if they were artifact. The whole deck is built around this card: we have a wide variety of ascending cmc with at least 1 artifact-creature for each step.

  • (3G) Defense of the Heart : A light-costed Tooth and Nail that is easy to trigger (only 1 opponent needs to have 3+ creatures. Do you want my tiny Spirit token from my Forbidden Orchard?). Because it brings 2 creatures, it worth waiting for the risk of being just answered during the whole table turn. When sacrificed, it's also an extra card type for Delirium and Emrakul.

  • (XGG) Finale of Devastation : A great tutor that can also reanimate from our graveyard, and even close the game with enough mana.

  • (5GG+2) Tooth and Nail : A BIG! tutor that can change the fate of a game alone. Sidenote: I won't play the 1-card winning combo that uses Triskelion + Mikaeus. This isn't a combo deck. !testing

Land Tutors

Usual targets for the land-tutors are (in this order):
→ Mana: Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers .
→ Beatdown: Thespian's Stage and Dark Depths .
→ Protection: Yavimaya Hollow or Maze of Ith .
→ CA: Bazaar of Baghdad (if we have too many artifacts + Glissa).

  • (G) Traverse the Ulvenwald (SOI): See above.

  • (1+2) Expedition Map : We use a lot of utility lands in this deck. Not to mention we also play Urborg-Coffers and Gaea's Craddle for extra mana. This cog intends to help us find our key lands quickly. Recurrable with Glissa.

  • (G) Crop Rotation : See Expedition Map, but at instant speed.

  • (4GG) Ulvenwald Hydra: See creatures section above.

Manarocks & Ramps
Cantrip Options
  • (0) Mishra's Bauble , (1) Chromatic Sphere , (1) Chromatic Star : The Cantrip Triad. These three cards are the cheapest cantriping baubles. Their purpose is only to bring extra card draws. Almost cracked immediately after casting, you will get them back as soon as an opponent's creature dies with Glissa here, and re-cast/re-sac them easily (cheap mana cost is important). Rinse & repeat. The later two allows to fix my early manabase. If you love this playstyle, you can also use Conjurer's Bauble and Urza's Bauble , with Flash enablers support and -whynot- Salvaging Station .

  • (1+B) Nihil Spellbomb : Our primary grave-hate solution (in conjunction with Bojuka Bog, Deathrite Shaman, and Phyrexian Scriptures). Its cantrip effect can turn into a draw engine with multiple successive Glissa's triggers.

  • (1+1) Sensei's Divining Top : Top-deck enabler that -almost- never dies to removals. And if it would, it will come back with Glissa.

  • (1+1) Skullclamp : Great draw engine that can transmute our useless ETB creatures or little tokens (Thopters, Plants, Myrs, etc.) into extra cards.

Removals

Artifact removals are extremely powerful with Glissa.

  • (B+1B) Executioner's Capsule : Glissa's signature card. It's a repeatable Doom Blade with Glissa on the battlefield. Read it like this: "1BB: Destroy target nonblack creature." When the Capsule's ability resolves and kills an opponent creature, it's already in the graveyard (it's an activation cost). Thus, when the creature is destroyed and Glissa triggers, you may get back the Capsule and repeat the process.

  • (4+1) Nevinyrral's Disk : Slow but cheap boardwipe, repeatable with Glissa. When the Disk (or O-Stone) resolves and destroys everything, Glissa will still "see" the opponent's creatures destroyed and she will trigger for each of them. Because all your artifacts are already in your graveyard when you put the Glissa's triggers onto the stack, you may target them, including the Disk (or O-Stone).

  • (3+5) Oblivion Stone : Aka "O-Stone." See Disk above. Faster (doesn't enter the battlefield tapped) but more mana intensive. Fate counters are rarely relevant.

Equipments

This list used to have a bunch of equipment (boots, Batterskull, Jitte, etc..) because they were great on Glissa, but they were finally each, one after the other, cut from the deck.

Utilities
  • (3) Crucible of Worlds : A much needed toy to recur acceleration/utility lands eventually destroyed by our opponents, get back dredged lands, repeat fetchlands, repeat wastelands, or bring back Dark Depths + Thespian Stage for a second round.
Instants
  • (BG) Abrupt Decay : Cheap, fast and efficient removal. Its 3-cmc limitation is rarely a problem.

  • (BG) Assassin's Trophy : Cheap, fast and efficient removal. A better Abrupt Decay that can hit anything.

  • (2G) Beast Within : Cheap, fast and efficient removal. Can hit anything, even lands. The 3/3 Beast token is barely annoying.

Sorceries
  • (1G) Regrowth : See Eternal Witness, creature section above.

  • (1G) Life from the Loam : Our second signature card after Birthing Pod. Loam has a lot of synergies with our land package. Recurs acceleration/utility lands eventually destroyed by our opponents, gets back dredged lands, repeats fetchlands, repeats wastelands, or brings back Dark Depths + Thespian Stage for a second round, etc. More efficient than Crucible because it takes up to 3 land cards back at the same time and can dig our library (dredge 3).

  • (XBB) Black Sun's Zenith : A wrath effect that deals with indestructible creatures. Chosen over Toxic Deluge because our deck cannot afford paying 11-13 life to deal with common huge fatties (Colossus, Kozilek, Emrakul, etc.)

  • (G) Exploration : Ramp option extremely insane earlygame, and working very well lategame with Loam and Crucible.

  • (1G) Sylvan Library : 2nd Top. See Sensei's Divining Top above in the noncreature artifacts section. This one has the ability to draw extra cards in exchange of life.

  • (1BB+B) Attrition : With Glissa on the battlefield, sacrifice an artifact-creature to destroy a nonblack creature an opponent controls, get the artifact back, and repeat the process. I tend to avoid color-conditional removals, especially nonblack because black is common in my meta, but it's too good here to be ignored.

  • (1BG+X) Pernicious Deed : Efficient boardwipe. It's a signature card from old "The Rock" T2/Extended decks.

  • (1G+G) Survival of the Fittest: See tutors section above.

  • (3G) Defense of the Heart: See tutors section above.

  • (3BG) Vraska the Unseen : 2-for-1 Pulse (maybe more). As maybe you already noticed, I don't use any sorcery-speed removal (eg: Maelstrom Pulse), but I made an exception with Vraska as she removes a threat while staying on the battlefield, ready to threaten other permanents in a near future. She's -almost- alway used to destroy a permanent, then +1, then (if she's still alive) destroy another permanent.

This is a list a card that have found once a slot in this deck and were cut at one point because of meta's evolution or better upgrades.

  • (3GG) Acidic Slime : Removal on a stick, but slow.

  • (2G) Awakening Zone : It is a multi-purpose ramp card. The Eldrazi Spawns created are also nice chumpblockers and are free fodder for Skullclamp.

  • (3+3) Burnished Hart : The Hart is a recurrable effective ramp card. Slower and less interesting than Sad Robot, it ramps yet better.

  • (XGGG) Chord of Calling : Fetch for any creature in our library and put it directly onto the battlefield, at instant speed! Moreover, it has Convoke. But too much green-mana intensive.

  • Command Beacon : To use when Glissa's casting tax is too high. Recurrable with Loam and Crucible.

  • Dakmor Salvage : Dredge 2, comboes with Gitrog. Better with discard outlet.

  • (0) Dryad Arbor : Only there ~~because~~ if we play Green Sun's Zenith (GSZ) for a ramp on turn 1. Still decent with Skullclamp and Loam.

  • (1GG) Eldritch Evolution : A 1-use Pod cousin with a cheap mana cost. Its +2 cmc allows us more flexibility than Birthing Pod, but it's still a limited scale. Unfortunately, Eldritch Evolution is card-disadvantage and exiles itself. They're better tutor options.

  • (2GG) Garruk Wildspeaker : This planeswalker is a polyvalent ramp card. We lose his value if he dies, but he's well protected by Glissa. His Ultimate can be game-ending with Avenger of Zendikar. Replaced temporarely by Skyshroud Claim (testing).

  • (1B) Golgari Thug : Recursion + dredge card. Removed because dredge isn't as necessary as before and we have enough recursion.

  • (XG) Green Sun's Zenith : Aka "GSZ." It's like you put the creature from your library directly onto the battlefield, for just one extra mana. The "shuffle-back-to-library" is a nice bonus. If we start a game with it in our hand, we usually keep it to fetch Dryad Arbor on turn 1 for a fast and furious ramp. The only big inconvenient is its limitation to green creatures, which was the reason I cut it.

  • (2+0) Lightning Greaves : Gives shroud and haste. Shroud is very important for Glissa who is frequently a prime target. Haste is only relevant with our big beaters. Chosen over Swiftfoot Boots even if the Greaves doesn't work well with Yavimaya Hollow, because it costs 0 to equip.
    Imagine: a Marit Lage 20/20 flying indestructible shroud haste? Exciting!

  • (3BB) Liliana, Death's Majesty : All her loyalty abilities are useful to us! Her +1 dredges our deck for digging extra artifacts and produces a chumpblocker that defends the PW. Her -3 is an efficient reanimation spell that interacts well with her first ability. And her -7 is an easy-to-reach boardwipe. Was finally cut because I needed extra room.

  • Mishra's Workshop : Since I revamped the deck and decreased the number of artifacts, it's often a dead card. Fortunately, I can use Urborg to help this land produce mana for my nonartifact spells.

  • (3GG) Nissa, Vital Force : Wait.. her emblem does what? And you get it on the next turn she arrived? Well, that's incredible. We use her mainly to get her emblem, by protecting her with a 5/5 and with Glissa. If this plan isn't possible, her built-in Nature's Spiral is still decent. Was cut because needed in another deck.

  • (3G) Oracle of Mul Daya : RAMP! in uppercase! Playing lands from the top of your library is like drawing extra cards. It's a green staple. Was replaced by Metalworker because I needed my Oracle in another deck.

  • (3) Pilgrim's Eye : Chumblocker that draws us a land. He's less effective than Sakura-Tribe Elder, but he chumpblocks better because he has flying (a weakness of this deck). He's fodder for Birthing Pod or Skullclamp. Recurrable ramp card with Glissa.

  • Reliquary Tower : The tower that allows us to have a god-sized hand. Not really relevant here.

  • (2GG) Scapeshift : Crop Rotation fest! An extremely powerful land tutor. We consider it as a ramp card because it can bring acceleration lands. Was cut for extra room, but could come back.

  • (3G) Skyshroud Claim : One of the best ramp spells. Can get two duals in one shot and put them onto the battlefield untapped. Tested in place of Garruk Wildspeaker , then replaced by Mana Crypt.

  • (2B) Stinkweed Imp : It's a dredge 5 ability (great for digging extra artifacts and other dredge cards) and it's a wall that nobody wants to attack into due to its deathtouch-like ability. I've noticed that opponents tend to leave me alone if the Imp is around since it's a cheap and recursive creature that isn't worth someone else's removal (except maybe an exiling effect). Moreover, my opponents usually don't want to see that creature in my graveyard. Was cut for extra room, but could come back.

  • (2G) Tireless Tracker : In this deck, the Tireless Tracker can quickly create a lot of Clue tokens. Slowly but surely, it will grow in size. So, it's a slow and efficient draw engine that can be turned into a beating creature.

  • (4) Treasure Keeper : We all love Cascade effects. Feels better with Meren.

  • (6GG) Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger : The apex of the pod chain. Huge body with trample that doubles our mana and neuters the opponent's mana base. Fits better to Stax strategies.

  • Because it's a Green deck, I tend to use as few as possible artifact manarocks, even with Glissa. Green already give access to the best ramp cards. I don't need to have an extra weakness of having a fragile mana base. Artifact boardwipes are common in my meta.

  • Sakura-Tribe Elder : Chumpblocker that ramps. Fodder for Pod and Skullclamp when not needed. Easily recurrable with Genesis. Replaced by Wall of Roots because of Pod.

  • Thornbite Staff : Favorite equipment of any creature with Deathtouch, especially with Glissa to generate card advantage with her triggers. I removed it because it was way too slow (mana hungry).

  • Panharmonicon : Not enough ETB creatures.

  • Mindslaver : Personal choice. I know I know, this is the best artifact to play with Glissa in conjunction with Forbidden Orchard. While it is a powerful combo, it will only neuter one opponent. Then you become the Archenemy and have multiple opponents to face now. It is also mana hungry, rendering you naked against the rest of the table. Moreover, I hate people playing extra-turn cards: multiplayer EDH rounds are long enough. Thus, I am forbidding myself to use such cards except if they allow me to win instantly.

  • Mikaeus, the Unhallowed & Triskelion : This isn't a combo deck. Winning this way is not my playstyle.

Note: Foils in the maybeboard denote cards I really want to put into the deck.

Please, +1 Upvote this deck if you liked it!


List of Changes Show

My other EDH decks Show

Suggestions

Updates Add

Pretty much one year passed without any update, but the deck is still live.

New additions include the following cards. Many landfall-related cards were cut because needed in another new deck:

Cards being tested (flexspots): Phyrexian Scriptures , Mirage Mirror , Inventors' Fair , Vivien's Arkbow , Sheoldred, Whispering One

May the Fourth be with you!

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Casual

97% Competitive

Date added 3 years
Last updated 2 weeks
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.05
Tokens 1/1 Thopter, 4/4 Elemental, 0/1 Plant, 1/1 Assassin, 3/3 Beast, 1/1 Myr, 1/1 Spirit, 3/3 Wurm, 20/20 Avatar
Folders My EDH, Interesting Commander Decks, Interesting decks, immediate make
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