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Marchesa, Political Queen of Pillows

Commander / EDH Aikido Control Pillow Fort RBW (Mardu)

MegaMatt13


Description

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.

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.

Rite of the Raging Storm: This card does what the deck wants: incentive opponents to after each other. Too often though it was a "non-bo" with my tapping enchantments.

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 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.

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.

Vampire Nighthawk is a flying rattlesnake.

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

Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker, and Karmic Justice threaten 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.

Kismet, Blind Obedience, and Authority of the Consuls slow down the opponent (and make blocking awkward). They can buy Marchesa time to set up the pillow fort.

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

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

Mathas, Fiend Seeker encourages opponents to use removal spells on each other, fostering resentment.

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 also be used politically. Make an ally by offering to kill a creature coming at them. Dissuade others from attacking you with the same threat.

Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion is similar to Duelist's Heritage in that it can buff our own creatures or be used politically to help opponents if they target each other.

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.

Pacification Array can tap down naughty rebels and can be used politically to help other others connect with their creatures.

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.

Delirium and Backlash punish opponents for getting too big for their breeches.

Batwing Brume fogs and punishes opponents for going wide.

Word of Seizing steals anything at split second speed. It can prevent voltron alpha strikes or infinite combos from going off.

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

Anguished Unmaking, Utter End, 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 shuts down graveyard strategies, reducing opponents' ability to accrue value over the course of the game.

Austere Command, Hour of Revelation, Hallowed Burial, and Merciless Eviction cleanse the board of naughty subjects. The latter two get around indestructible creatures.

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 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.

Exsanguinate can finish off those long, grindy games (which is how this deck often wins).

Rakdos Charm and Batwing Brume 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.

Suggestions

Updates Add

Two changes to the deck recently. I've taken out Authority of the Consuls and Blind Obedience. I have been slowly removing these tapping spells (Kismet and Loxodon Gatekeeper previously). They work great in standard control decks, like my Ayli: Eternal Sacrificing deck, but were sometimes counterproductive in here. I want my opponents to be attacking each other and my pillowfort/rattlesnakes are strong enough to deter them from attacking me.

I've thrown in Rite of the Raging Storm and Arguel's Blood Fast  Flip to replace them. Testing out the blood fast as another cheap card drawing enchantment that synergizes with my game plan of leaving mana open until my opponent's end step. Another card draw spell may be unnecessary but I'm willing to try it out. Rite of the Raging Storm was in previously but I had taken it out because of all the tapping enchantments I had. Too often it was a "non-bo" with giving opponents a tapped Lightning Rager that would then have to be sacrificed. That won't be an issue anymore. It furthers my game plan of encouraging opponents to damage each other as the lightning ragers are not allowed to attack me.

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Revision 79 See all

3 weeks ago)

-1 Arguel's Blood Fast  Flip main
+1 Wear / Tear main
-1 Wear maybe