LITERALLY Everything Can Be Cast At Instant Speed!


Welcome to my optimized (or some would describe as 75%) Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage control/combo deck with an instant tribal theme where doing nothing is doing something! With a healthy mix of permissions, draws, and removals, this deck can basically control the entire board without breaking a sweat! Nothing is better than sitting on a fat stack of cards while just doing things on your opponent's EOT. The cards in my decklist are mostly either historic, instants, or cards with "flash" for the instant speed tribal theme. As my list evolves, some cards listed in the primer will not be reflected in my decklist.

Rafwyn "Raff" Capashen is a distant relative of Captain Gerrard Capashen. He became the ship's mage of Jhoira's crew on the rebuilt Skyship Weatherlight. Rafwyn is a young illusionist with unruly brown hair who has studied at the Tolarian Academy. He is the son of Aron Capashen, who is the head of the highest house of Benalia. Despite his noble heritage he prefers to go by the name of "Raff". Raff offered to join the Weatherlight after his older sister Danitha refused.


General Strategy

This is primarily a control/combo deck. The deck direction is fairly straightforward, which is to survive the game long enough through permissions and interactions to eventually assemble our win condition. Early game is basically ramping with the plethora of mana rocks included in the deck and only answer any threats directed at us when necessary. Mid game is where we start deploying some of our bigger threat and start drawing a bunch of cards. We should be at a commanding position late game if we are able to survive long enough to win.

The Commander

Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage is a four mana human wizard with flying and flash. This allows us to hold up our mana and cast him at an opportune time. His second ability is similar to a Leyline of Anticipation effect for historic spells (artifacts, legendaries, and sagas) which gives us an option of a reactive draw-go gameplan while we let the table duke it out. What this means is that traditionally proactive historic cards with interactive effects like Tormod's Crypt are given a fresh new way to play them when the ability to play them at instant speed is introduced. Artifacts that traditionally come in tapped or with an upkeep clause like Nevinyrral's Disk / Worn Powerstone / Scourglass are also much better now since you can just flash them in at opponent's EOT. The same can be said about legendary creatures like Empress Galina , Arcanis the Omnipotent , or Ertai, Wizard Adept that can't activate their abilities on the turn them come into play but with flash makes them playable by essentially giving them pseudo-haste.

Historic Spells (when given Flash)

The following are traditional proactive historic spells that are given a totally new way of playing with the ability to cast them at instant speed:

Unlimited Reusability and Never Decking Out

This deck is designed to never ever deck out by ourselves and having unlimited spells reusibility. This means that the removal or counterspell we just used will come back to our hand later. All this is achieved with the following engine:

With a draw mechanic like Azami, Lady of Scrolls or tutors like Mystical Tutor , we will always be able to quickly get our spells back to our hand and use it all over again ad naseaum. Chromatic Lantern turns all of our fetchlands into usable lands once all of the possible lands are in play. This also helps thin out the deck even more to get to our spells easier.

Notable Synergies

Isochron Scepter Imprint Targets

Win Conditions

Dramatic Reversal + Isochron Scepter + mana rocks tapping for a combined or more = Infinite mana

  1. Play Isochron Scepter and exile Dramatic Reversal.

  2. Tap any nonland mana source(s) to produce 3 or more mana.

  3. Pay 2 of that mana to tap Isochron Scepter and cast the copy of Dramatic Reversal.

  4. When Dramatic Reversal is cast, untap Isochron Scepter and your nonland mana sources.

  5. Repeat steps 2 and 4, making infinite mana and untapping of nonland permanents.

After generating infinite mana and untapping of nonland permanents, we can then proceed to draw our entire deck with Arcanis the Omnipotent / Azami, Lady of Scrolls / Blue Sun's Zenith / Staff of Domination and win with:

Alternatively, as mentioned in the section above, imprinting Mystical Tutor with at least and a draw engine like Azami, Lady of Scrolls available will enable us to take infinite turns with Nexus of Fate and draw into our win conditions eventually. If our combo pieces are removed or we can't combo off for some reason, the following are alternative win conditions to help us get to the promise land:


The following are cards I've considered/tested but have decided to exclude:

  • Linvala, Keeper of Silence : This is a control deck and linvala breaks the spirit by being more of a death and taxes/stax creature.

  • Mindslaver : Becomes too clunky early to mid game and only useful when opponents have a good boardstate (which is rare when I'm piloting this deck).

  • Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir : The sorcery speed clause for my opponents is actually a double-edged sword. I sometimes need my opponents to shore up answers when I do not have one.

  • Kira, Great Glass-Spinner : Interferes with too many of my stuff that targets my own creatures. Also doesn't save creatures from targeted removal with Raff's flash due to the way it is worded.

  • Urza's Ruinous Blast : It's unfortunate that it exiles artifacts since I need them for Paradox Engine . Would have to give this a pass.

Visit this link for the budget version. The guide on upgrading it to the tuned version will be out soon!

+1 for some Raff Capashen love



Updates Add

This is a major update. The following are the changes I've made::

  • Removed Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur for Empress Galina : Jin often sits in my hand for too long and becomes irrelevant late game. Galina's ability to take care of problematic legendary permanents will always be relevant. Since I can flash her in, Galina becomes so much better in this deck.

  • Removed Padeem, Consul of Innovation for Planar Portal : Padeem never made any impact over the course of several games. Portal acts as another tutor for any card in my deck. With the ability to flash it in with Raff, this card becomes better when it comes to mana investment versus payout. I might test out Planar Portal too in the near future.

  • Removed Nezahal, Primal Tide for Staff of Domination : Nezahal is a great card in my deck but I feel that his high cmc prevents me from establishing my board better and oftentimes feel like a win more. Staff just does so much more in addition to being an infinite mana outlet. The untap ability is very useful with a few of my utility creatures.

  • Removed Spell Burst for Mystic Confluence : Spell burst was too mana intensive and only becomes powerful with Paradox Engine or late game. Confluence draws me cards in a pinch, answers creatures, as well as counters spells if needed.

  • Removed Dispeller's Capsule for Mind Stone : Capsule felt too clunky most of the time and having more mana rocks will make the deck more efficient.

  • Removed Counterspell for Swan Song : Swan song, although less versatile, is another good permission and imprint target on isochon scepter to make infinite bird tokens.

  • Removed Forsake the Worldly for Crush Contraband = Switched to a strictly better answer.

  • Removed Island for Kor Haven : Having defense against voltron is important.

  • Removed Lightning Greaves for Neurok Stealthsuit = The option to save any of my creatures at instant speed is strictly better for the 0 equip cost and haste.

  • Removed Thran Temporal Gateway for AEtherspouts : With this major update in removing two of my more mana intensive creatures, I don't have enough high CMC historic permanents to make this worth it's one or two activation. Replaced it for another conditional one-sided boardwipe.

  • Removed Kira, Great Glass-Spinner for Brainstorm : Kira was in the deck for a while and I've misunderstood its ability in which I could flash it in to save a creature from targeted removal. It seems that it is not the case upon rules clarification. It also hinders equipment and untap shenanigans. Ultimately, I think it is just not worth it to include in my deck anymore. I think brainstorm might fit in nicely here since it's a great scepter imprint target and wins the game instantly with paradox engine.

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