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Marchesa, Political Queen of Pillows

Commander / EDH Aikido Control Pillow Fort RBW (Mardu)



Enchantment (1)

Artifact (1)

Creature (1)

Queen Marchesa (long may the true queen reign) gained the throne through her cunning. She now uses her arsenal of protective spells, political shenanigans, and combat tricks to maintain her throne.

This is a political control deck that encourages opponents to target each other instead of you. The deck contains a lot of pillowfort effects designed to protect you while your opponents kill each other. Please provide feedback and upvote if you like! Please read the Notable Exclusions section to see if your suggestion has already been considered.

The following cards I have tried or put a great deal of thought into. Marchesa is a very selective queen and these cards were found to be unworthy of her splendor:

Crackling Doom: I list this one first because I'm still on the fence with it. It's been in and out of my deck a million times. It's a Mardu staple and EDHREC shows that a lot of people use it in Marchesa. I just don't like that it doesn't target. Sometimes the biggest creatures aren't the most problematic. Having said all that, it is very good card advantage and gets around hexproof/indesctructibility. It may find its way back in.

Solitary Confinement: Probably the most controversial exclusion. This is the ultimate pillowfort card and deck builders I highly respect include it. I've thought long and hard about this one and I've found that I've never been in a position where I think "oh wow I wish I had a solitary confinement to get me out of this mess". It's card disadvantage is just too steep. The whole point of Marchesa is incremental card advantage with the Monarch mechanic. The Monarch mechanic helps you achieve card parity with this enchantment...but that's not good enough. The pillowfort of this deck is strong enough without it.

Necropotence: Probably the best legal card draw spell in the format...which is exactly its problem. It screams "destroy me and punish my owner". This deck is about subtle incremental card advantage that opponents find non-threatening. Necropotence is the exact opposite of that.

Mystifying Maze: 4 mana always felt a lot for this effect. Plus I didn't like that it "flickered" the attacking creature, giving the opponent an extra ETB trigger.

Norn's Annex: This card worked ok but sometimes wasn't enough of a deterrent to attack to justify its mana cost.

Skyline Despot, Protector of the Crown, Custodi Lich, Knights of the Black Rose, Throne of the High City and Marchesa's Decree: I tried all of these and they were unnecessary. With Marchesa in the command zone, other monarch cards just aren't needed. Their abilities are mostly too expensive for what they do. Skyline Despot in particular was terrible in this build. He painted a huge target on me. He'd be effective in aggro token builds but not this pillowfort. The only one of these I'm still on the fence about is Marchesa's Decree. It's a pillowfort enchantment and it's CMC isn't bad for what it does. It may find its way back.

Ankle Shanker: Another Mardu staple. It would be great in an aggressive token build of Marchesa, but not in this pillowfort build.

Kaervek the Merciless: This card is a blast but too much of a target in this deck. Has a better home in other Rakdos builds.

Slumbering Dragon: Wow this dragon was sleepy. The "threat" of waking a vanilla dragon just wasn't enough to prevent people from attacking.

Goblin Diplomats and Goblin Spymaster: People are funny. When you force them to attack they will often attack YOU out of spite. I could see these working in an aggro or chaos build though.

Bitter Feud: Similar to the goblins listed above, people often attacked me out of spite for naming them.

Reflect Damage: On theme with the deck but just too expensive for its effect.

Luminarch Ascension and Bloodchief Ascension: These enchantments incentive opponents to attack you to prevent you from turning them on. Exact opposite of what this deck wants.

The main theme of the deck is to dissuade others from attacking you and remain the monarch. The following cards achieve this in various ways:

Ghostly Prison, Sphere of Safety, Windborn Muse, and Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, all impose mana costs on opponents should they attack us.

Maze of Ith, Thaumatic Compass  Flip and Kor Haven work great against voltron strategies or other large beaters.

Gossamer Chains is similar to the above lands. It can make attacking with one large beater seem futile, redirecting the attack to an easier opponent.

Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts, Dread and No Mercy threaten an opponent's army with destruction should they connect.

Master of Cruelties threatens any attacker with death.

Ophiomancer can repeatedly create a deathtouch snake that threatens an opponent with the loss of one of their creatures.

Karmic Justice threatens our enemies with destruction of their permanents if they dare mess with the Queen's board state.

Delaying Shield protects our queen from commander damage and infect. Also prevents the monarchy from being stolen.

Righteous Aura offers protection against massive voltron swings or burn spells for cheap.

Marchesa used her cunning to gain the throne. The deck includes political cards that encourage opponents to attack each other:

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight encourages opponents to attack each other so that they can get the double damage bonus instead of seeing their damage halved when attacking you.

Wound Reflection is similar to Gisela in that encourages opponents to expend resources attacking each other for the extra damage.

Besmirch steals and then goads a creature so that it MUST attack someone else.

Rite of the Raging Storm gives opponents beaters each turn that can only be used against each other.

Curse of Opulence encourages opponents to attack the cursed player while ramping themselves and you in the process.

Disrupt Decorum creates pandemonium forcing opponents to attack each other even if it isn't in their best interest. It can lead to resentments between opponents, exactly what our Queen loves.

Duelist's Heritage allows you to make deals with opponents. You can offer to give one of their creatures double strike if they attack someone else.

Royal Assassin can be used as a political rattlesnake, encouring opponents to go elsewhere for attacking.

Orzhov Advokist incentives opponents to leave you alone in exchange for bigger creatures to beat each other with.

The pillow fort and political shenanigans aren't the only trick Marchesa has up her sleeves. She has a few instant-speed tricks to be used in case of the enemy storming the palace.

Sunforger gives our illustrious queen a large mallet that can be unattached in order to conjure nasty surprises.

Comeuppance can be an absolute blow out against an opponent's army, crippling their board state.

Teferi's Protection is the ultimate fog. It protects our Queen and her permanents from EVERYTHING. Combat damage, X spells to the face, boardwipes, targeted removal...nothing can touch her until our next turn.

Deflecting Palm is helpful when a burn spell or a voltron commander is coming after you. 21 commander damage? Naw, you take 21 to the face instead.

Selfless Squire absorbs all the damage you take and gives you a giant beater in return.

Dawn Charm fogs combat damage, regenerates a key creature like Gisela or Dread, or counters a nasty X spell aimed at your monarch's beautiful face.

Batwing Brume fogs an attack and punishes go wide strategies.

Grab the Reins, Delirium and Backlash punish opponents for getting too big for their breeches.

Word of Seizing can really disrupt and opponent's plans due to its split second speed. It can disrupt combos, mess up alpha strikes, or steal their win con for your own purposes.

In order to keep the throne, Marchesa needs to be able to banish troublesome subjects and their toys.

Anguished Unmaking, Utter End, Wear/Tear, Mortify, Path to Exile, and Swords to Plowshares are instant-speed removal. Most of them are exile effects so they truly can't bother you anymore.

Rakdos Charm can either be used for artifact or graveyard removal. Also punishes armies from going wide.

Rest in Peace and Scavenger Grounds shut down graveyard strategies, reducing opponents' ability to accrue value over the course of the game.

Austere Command and Merciless Eviction cleanse the board of naughty subjects.

The deck mostly wants opponents to do the dirty work for you until you're left with one final opponent. The deck has a few cards that can help finish the job:

Insurrection is the most obvious one. Allow the enemy to build a large army. Steal it and crush them with it.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight + Wound Reflection doubles damage and can close out games quickly.

Master of Cruelties brings an opponent down to 1 life, making it easy to finish them off.

Rakdos Charm and can finish off decks that go wide.

Sunforger gives a big power buff that can be equipped to a creature with evasion like Dread , Gisela, Blade of Goldnight , or Vampire Nighthawk . It can also be equipped to Marchesa for commander damage.


Updates Add

Finally get a chance to update some of the changes I've made to the deck. I've been busy fine-tuning my new Animatou's Miraculous Blinking Beasts and Kestia's Divine Army decks which have been a lot of fun. Two new cards from Commander 2018 have been added. Early trials with them have been good. Descriptions below:

Orzhov Advokist ---> Xantcha, Sleeper Agent: Orzhov Advokist performs well as a political card and may return. However, I absolutely needed to make room to trial Xantcha. She does exactly what the deck wants to do: force opponents to attack one another while leaving me alone. The card draw attached to Xantcha can lead to massive life loss to the unlucky controller. In one trial game, I gave Xantcha to the Goreclaw opponent, forcing him to swing with it. The rest of the table, including myself, killed the Goreclaw opponent through draining his life with Xantcha's card draw.

Diabolic Tutor ---> Treasure Nabber: Diabolic Tutor was on my "watchlist" to get cut last time. I went back and forth on whether or not the deck needed this pricier tutor. I decided to cut it to make room for Treasure Nabber. So far Treasure Nabber has performed great, pretty much guaranteeing me one piece of ramp per turn if not more. Ironically, the Sol Ring featured in its art is banned in my playgroup. However, signets, mind stones, commander spheres, fellwar stones, and thran dynamos are everywhere. Since opponents receive their rocks back I haven't found it really generates much hate.

Sphere of Safety ---> Hallowed Burial: I've moved Sphere of Safety over to my Kestia deck where it makes more sense. At 5 CMC I sometimes found it didn't pillowfort me enough. I almost always preferred Ghostly Prison, Windborn Muse, or Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs for taxing effects. I've thrown back in Hallowed Burial. I found the deck performed better previously when it had a bit more boardwipes. Sometimes I need to hit the reset button to give me more time to build my pillowfort and generate the card advantage off of the Monarch ability.

Curse of Opulence ---> Blind Obedience: I had put Curse of Opulence on my "watchlist" to be cut last update. I love that it's only one mana but I sometimes found its incentive wasn't strong enough encourage attacks. It is a solid card to have in the opening hand, coming down on turn one and encouraging people to attack with utility weenies that come down early. However, if I drew it mid to late game it would often be dead. Having said all that, I may return to it. Blind Obedience has been in the deck before and it is my favourite of the White tapping enchantments as it comes with an incremental way to tax opponents. It makes a "non-bo" with Rite of the Raging Storm, but those are only two cards in the entire deck. This was more problematic when I had several White tapping enchantments.

Virtus the Veiled ---> Ophiomancer: Another one from the "watchlist" last time bites the dust. It really is the combination of deathtouch AND first strike that makes Master of Cruelties so powerful. With Virtus my opponents would easily make the decision to block, killing both Virtus and their blocker. Master of Cruelties gets around this by surviving combat through his first strike ability. Virtus never performed to expectations. I put back in Ophiomancer who provides a repeatable rattlesnake.

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Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 month

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.32
Tokens 3/3 Ogre, 1/1 Assassin, 1/1 Spirit, 1/1 Elemental, Monarch
Folders Decks of Interest - EDH, inspiration, edh_to_build, EDH, The Queen, Marchesa's Machinations, EDH References, all decks, Decks to Build, Ideas, See all 84
Top rank #9 on 2017-10-17
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Revision 116 See all

1 month ago)

+1 Twilight Prophet main
+1 Treasure Nabber main
-1 Crystal Ball main
-1 Read the Bones main
+1 Crystal Ball maybe
+1 Orzhov Advokist maybe
-1 Mortify maybe