pie chart

My cockatrice list for GAAIV

Commander / EDH




Should be updated in sync with my Trice list, it's as real time as possible. People have been asking about my affection for Planeswalkers, and my reasoning here is this: 2/3 GAAIV will pretty much block everything in the format. People in cEDH often do swing down walkers if the can do so freely(like with Dark Confidant/Aven Mindsensor/Thalia style value creatures) and to me there aren't that many creatures that can get through GAAIV without dying. I was never super happy with Narset Transcended previously, but I've come to the conclusion I need more draw.


16.9.17 Should play Dramayic Reversal combo.

10.9.17 Telepathy sucks, Paradox Engine in.

28.4.2017 Hulk became legal in EDH and changed the landscape. Cut the following: Thirst for Knowledge, Muddle, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Serra Ascendant one basic Island. Added: Narset Transcended, Grafdigger's Cage, Repeal, Dispel and currently trying out Telepathy after it's strong showing in the cEDH tourney. Manifold Insights is going if I think I need more draw. Also considering Treasure Cruise now that I'm trying PW Narset.

18.1.2017: Considering playing Predict

26.9.2016: Misdirection out, Muddle the Mixture in. Considering Etherium Sculptor for Cloud Key, even tho Humility is relevant. Also Considering Mystic Confluence because of the versatility.

Update 12. of July, 2016: Arcane Denial out, Chrome Mox in. Noticed Brainstorm had been lost in edits, put that back in, land count fixed to 33.

Update 11. of July, 2016: C-Sphinx out, JVP in. Reconsidering Muddle, but not sure about it yet.

Update 20. of April, 2016: Council's Judgement out, Mox Diamond in.


Updates Add


Hey man, firstly - huge fan of the list and much respect for repping GAA4 in the cEDH tournament. I've been playing GAA4 for a long time myself and received some feedback from you a while back on how to improve my own GAA4 deck, so tried out your build and found myself blown away by the results. I've got a few questions based on my experience playing it, and if you have the time to answer it'd be awesome.

1) Why no Muddle the Mixture? I've found that the deck sometimes struggles to tutor for RiP and the double-purpose tutor/counter seems to fit well enough with the deck objectives to work, perhaps replacing Swan Song or Negate?

2) How much use do you get out of Mental Misstep? Is it mainly to stop those explosive starts? I'd be interested to know the reasons behind its inclusion. Same question for Misdirection - I see the cards' power, I'd just love to know what you were specifically looking to combat with those cards.

3) Do you have any advise about how you would tweak the build in a mid-range heavy meta? I understand control/stax is inherently weak against midrange but I'd like to know (besides play a different deck) what you'd change if you were forced to play it vs a lot of midrange. [Any guesses what my local meta is heavy in?]

4) I own this deck physically, and as such, can't afford a copy of Timetwister - what would you have in the slot instead if not that card?

June 30, 2016 1:29 p.m.
  1. Muddle the Mixture is a solid card, and I could see myself replacing Arcane Denial with Muddle. It was in when I played the deck as Brago(its way better in Brago since Strionic is cmc 2). It's a solid card, but atm I have my reasons for running Arcane Denial instead. If you feel like Muddle is better, you should play it.

  2. Mental Misstep hits many relevant things, and since the deck plans on going long, you can run more conditional counterspells like MM. It's actually very, very good. Misdirection is usually there to help resolve a big X draw eot or back up my winning combo(decks combos are bit mana intensive, Rings basalt costs 8 and Helm Rip costs 7).

  3. More draw and Pseudo draw. JVP lets you filter draws(bit bad with C-Totem and Humility tho) C-Sphinx is a total bomb vs Midrange, and Idyllic Tutor getting Future Sight helps you grind out games.

  4. Abolish, Muddle, Jace Vryn Progidy are all solid cards for that slot. You dont need to mimic Twister effect(like with something silly like Day's Undoing), just add any card you would run if the deck were 105 cards instead.

June 30, 2016 6:54 p.m.

Thanks for getting back to me with an in-depth response so quickly! Aye, I've run Jace VP in the deck and have felt him to be a powerhouse; although now I run Humility, Totem etc - the anti-synergy is real.

I'll give Idyllic Tutor a trial as well, always a fan of consistency.

Again, thanks friend. Whilst my deck on TappedOut is now basically a clone of yours, I do credit you in the first sentence of the brief primer, but do let me know if you'd prefer I take it down.

June 30, 2016 7:30 p.m.

I am trying out JVP in my GAAIV now. I considered the options and it seemed like the logical choice.

July 11, 2016 5:42 a.m.

Thoughts on Recruiter of the Guard? It can tutor for any of your creatures.

September 23, 2016 4:27 p.m.

RedReveng3 all the creatures are kinda meh, Recruiter is not the worst but I wouldn't cut anything for it. If my meta were heavy on some 1 certain thing I needed to hate on, sure, I might play Recruiter.

September 28, 2016 10:11 p.m.

Hey! Love the deck list. I'm just curious if you have any advice about how you run it? What are you normally tutoring for, how are you normally winning?

The wins I see are:RIP/helmstroke

Both of those "only" kill one person, though obviously if you have the mana to kill someone with a stroke, you're probably in a pretty strong position, but still. I'm just curious what you're generally tutoring for, and how you think about trying to end the game, esp given the amount of hate a deck like this is likely to draw!

January 7, 2017 5:11 p.m.

Will you be adding Walking Ballista from AER, and if yes, what will you cut? Also curious about your thoughts on Whir of Invention in this list. It can fetch Basalt, Grim Monolith, or Rings for mana or Helm for the kill, but it seems a tad costly - even at instant speed. Obviously a slam dunk for decks like Teferi and maybe Brago, but I'm not sure here since the UUU cannot be reduced like it's green sister Chord of Calling can.

Also, what are your thoughts on Armageddon/Ravages of War? I am curious if you ran them and found them unnecessary or what. I run Armageddon in my GAAIV list, but am considering cutting it, which may mean cutting Crucible of Worlds as well. Any feedback welcome. Thanks!

January 8, 2017 10:38 p.m.


Helm+Rip is an easy one, but "Rings+Basalt+Top/Staff" or "Power Artifact combo+ X Draw" into draw deck into Stroke of Genius, Twister, Stroke, Time Spiral, Stroke is another way to take out the table. If Stroke and is exiled, but you managed to draw your deck, you can dump all your artifacts, tick up Tezzeret and kill them with 5/5 robots. Also, Rings+Basalt+Voltaic Key+Helm kills fools just fine.


Walking Ballista is pretty much a tad less crummy Goblin Cannon, so no, I don't really need it. Doesnt work through Humility or Cursed Totem either.

Whir is tricky. Haven't decided on it yet. Maybe.

Geddon and Ravages really hurt my lategame plan of casting an X draw and winning from there. Some variation of GAAIV might want those, but I'm not that heavy on Stax. I've found Crucible to be quite underwhelming, so I don't play it.

January 10, 2017 9:16 a.m.

Thoughts on Trophy Mage? I figure it's probably a no but can obviously tutor for some key pieces. After playing the deck quite a lot I find Future Sight/Cloud key to be fairly durdly in comparison to the rest of the deck. Whilst I do appreciate the pieces are also strong individually, I'm unsure on their inclusion.

I've also enjoyed [Inventor's Fair] as another artifact tutor with relatively low opportunity cost. Would you try the Dramatic/Iso Scep combo? I think after a little testing it seems to be more reliable than the above combo, thoughts?

January 10, 2017 8:14 p.m.

Wondering about your thoughts Torpor Orb and a switch from Fellwar Stone to Prismatic Lens?

January 29, 2017 8:11 a.m.


I think Fellwar Stone is overall a better card than Lens. Also, Torpor Orb isnt really that bad, but its only good in very specific matchup, so it ends up being blank a lot.


Trophy Mage doesnt seem the worst assembling Rings+Basalt+Staff is fairly easy with it, but overall it doesnt seem like it would pack enough punch. Its blank when you are "directioless" and have nothing to pull you into any line, and I dont like that.

Top+Sight+Key is a tricky combo; I have been very pleased with Top and Sight, Sight often winning me games by just being there, but Cloud Key is in all honesty, a blank card.

Inventor's Fair and Whir are cards I have yet to make a decision on. Fair seems like it might pull its weight, giving me another mana sink with a low opportunity cost isnt half bad. It all comes down on how B2B is in your own games. Seems good tho.

Scepter+Reversal combo in this deck, well, I dont really like. It would replace the Power Artifact combo and there is plenty of suppirt in the deck for that already. It does kinda help with the grind aspect(pitching Brainstorm to it) but im not sold on it. Idea of looking for Reversal to complete the combo is just un appealing.

I think its reasonable inclusion if you also include Predict, Into the Roil and perhaps even Arcane Denial for the draw engine.

January 29, 2017 9:05 a.m.

What are your thoughts on treasure cruise? Not as good as dig through time, but providing a nice card boost.

January 30, 2017 3:24 p.m.


No, Cruise is not worth running. DDT in eot paying 4 or 5 mana for it, is still doable, but Sorcery-speed Cruise is just a big nope. Key is to look at the flexibility, since its rarely "Sorcery, U: Draw 3".

January 30, 2017 6:30 p.m.


Win condition?

February 17, 2017 1:41 p.m.


What do you mean? Helm+Rip, Rings+Basalt+X, Draw deck dump artifacts and play Tez, there are bunch of different wincons.

February 19, 2017 9:30 a.m.

I am working on my own version of Grand Arbiter and this list was very useful to help me make it more focused. Out of curiosity, have you tried Invoke Prejudice and/or The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale? Both seem really good on paper, especially against creature based decks but the price makes me hesitant to pick them up unless they are fully justified in the deck.

February 24, 2017 1:36 p.m.


Invoke Prejudice as a quad blue is insanely hard to cast, so no on that.

Tabernacle is a good card. If you feel that its needed, its a decent inclusion. I'm trying to hedge my bets vs all decks, so I can't focus too much on stopping creature decks, but as a meta card, Tabernacle is five by five.

February 27, 2017 2:03 a.m.

Kind of what I figured with Invoke Prejudice. One day I will find a deck to play it in. And if I can ever convince someone to part with a Tabernacle I will definitely give it a shot as my meta has quite a few creature based decks (I need one for my Kozilek deck anyway so even if it is unnecessary in this deck, I'm not wasting money). Thank you for the input.

February 27, 2017 1:53 p.m.

What are your thoughts on Academy Ruins?

Is it excluded due to effects such as Back to Basics? Or is Ruins simply not relevant?

March 26, 2017 8:07 a.m.


I tried it, but I rarely needed to get back artifacts so I cut it. If you are not using it, its a Waste(pun very much intended) and the antisynergy with B2B is also important.

Long story short: Tested it, didnt seem relevant enough times, cut it.

March 30, 2017 2:14 p.m.

Would Baral, Chief of Compliance be of any use to you?

April 24, 2017 6:37 p.m.

Thoughts on Approach of the Second Sun? Seems like the perfect environment for it.

May 2, 2017 7:49 a.m.

Have you ever thought about playing Augustin as Stax? What are your thoughts on your reactive approach compared to a strategy with less targeted removal/counters and more preventive global effects?

May 11, 2017 3:01 p.m.


I think the combos people use nowdays are too cheap to really be stopped with the multiple stax piece strat.

But, for the sake of argument lets go through some of the basic symmetrical pieces and whats wrong with them.

Winter Orb: People play very few lands nowdays. Most decks consider a hand with 3 lands "flooded" or "low on action" so its kinda awkward to control that resource. Also, T1 Winter Orb sucks, and T3/4 its already way behind the curve.

Null Rod: GAAIV can play through a Null Rod, but can't win through it. Many decks can just ignore it can jam in cheap combos.

Trinishphere: 3 mana pieces are really awkward since on T2 you want to play out a rock and T3 GAAIV. Also it fucks me just as bad as it does other decks. All my lovely 1+one colored mana things are not 3 mana.

Static Orb: People play fewer lands -> people have fewer permanents. GAAIV instead plays lands and has permanents. Also my combos are expensive and its also 3 mana.

Ive found it that good players will durdle until they have enough to go off under stax. Nature's Claim and Chain of Vapor are so cheap that its hilarious how hard it is to remove those ctitical stax pieces.

May 13, 2017 6:07 a.m.

I understand your points on the mentioned cards and I agree on most - I don't like to play these "don't untap" mechanisms either because they are easily removed and they don't always hinder the opponents enough. Stuff that messes with permanents while leaving them in play is often not good enough...I see this every time I play my storm deck. As long as the spells don't cost more destroying or disabling the permanents doesn't really disrupt my play then.

However, the power of a turn one trinisphere or Lodestone Golem with the help of Mishra's Workshop shouldn't be underestimated. I don't know how your deck plays exactly but I am usually able to cast cast Augustin in turn 2, sometimes turn 1 and at worst in turn 3. I've had several games with that build in which 2 or 3 other players weren't able to do anything useful at all because the costs of spells increased each turn or every second turn in the early game. My main opponents here are Arcum Dagsson, Hermit Druid, Teferi/Venser (both control/combo), infect and Elves aggro/combo. If you want you can have a look at my list Augustin's $t4ks (4000$ Solution/Stax) and compare it to yours

May 13, 2017 7:30 a.m.

Based on the conditions that GAA4 has permanents and other players in higher tiers tend not to, I've found that, whilst a full stax suite can be really meh for high tiered games, Tangle Wire can be situationally good. However - I'm largely inclined to agree with BigLupu, having moved from a heavy stax variant to a more control oriented list, able to fight faster at the expense of being less oppressive when ahead - the sleeker version feels a lot stronger, although that's just my anecdotal evidence.

May 13, 2017 9:36 a.m.

deadmanwaltzing actually my thought was that it hurts someone who relies more on spells than permanents when you increase the cost of the spells and have constant sacrificing effects on the board that reduce the few lands and other resources that most competetive decks have.

I assume this list here is for 1 vs 1 online play, while I usually play 3 player matches and 1 vs 1 too, but not quite as often. I feel it's very hard to control more than one player without several global effects that prevent them from playing spells

May 14, 2017 3:41 a.m.

So I'm wondering what other win cons do you have here besides Rip Helm Combo? Is it just that and infinite mana into stroke to mill someone? or are you just rip helm everyone on same turn via untapping helm? I'm interested in making this deck problem is my fnm group doesnt allow infinites that i can choose when to stop they only allow 3 times of the same loop. mabey you can help me understand this guy a bit more.

August 28, 2017 7:33 a.m.

Hello BigLupu,

I am currently making rhe transition from Brago to GAAIV. I have certrain question about cardchoices and line of plays since I couldn't find a primer or big explanation:

1: What does this deck want and how does it lock opponents? It can't put on a Static Orb Lock and such. But besides Stroke of Genius and Helm+RIP am I not seeing a wincon to kill 3 players at once.

2: Why are cards like OG Thalia, Thorn of Amethyst and Vryn Wingmare not played as additional taxations?

3: And what about Crucible of Worlds with the repeated use of Strip Mine and Wasteland?

4: How is Narset working as a draw engine? Because she looks pretty weak for 4 mana. Especially when she gets down after one use. This seems fairly possible with me playing in a creature heavy meta (Prossh, Thrasios/Tymna, Gitorg, Derevi and Tasigur).

5: What are the usual tutortargets for let's say Fabricate or Tezzeret? They are probably not the same as I would in Brago.

Sorry if there is a primer or some sort. I just want to know if I would like the deck before I throw in my cash to get the deck "finished".

September 11, 2017 5:57 p.m.


1 You want to keep going on, not to stop the natural progression of it. You want to slow it down just enough that incremental card drawing becomes better than tutoring and faster decks falter to having more card disadvantage. GAAIV is the thing that prevents you from instantly dying to having less tutors and colors. Your point is to keep the game going until those "Stroke of Genius for 5" ses really start to pull their weight. If you play a Sphere of Resistance and they kill it, it's fine, it bought you time to come up with a gameplan.

1,5 You win by using the combos explained above, but the real test is patience. Go off too soon and you get stopped, too late and well, its too late and you died. With this deck tho, it's rarely "too late"

2 I don't like Thalia because Humility and the fact I have no creatures so I might just kingmake the game for random elfdeck. This is not a "traditional Stax" you are not trying to bore your opponents to death, but just drag the game to your own comfort zone.

3 It's an option, but it rarely comes up. Effectively using that would take like 5 turns and I ain't about that life. Versus bunch of Cradle decks its a consideration with Tabernacle.

4 If it doesn't work for you, don't play it. It does wonders to have a UW costing threat/card draw engine after GAAIV, but it included it under the assumption that GAAIV blocks donger beats well enough. If that is not the case you shouldnt play it. Sidenote: -2 has good synergy with Treasure Cruise and DTT.

5 The optimal line is to have bunch of mana, then complete Rings+Basalt+Top or Helm+Rip with those cards. Ofc, if you feel like its a good plan, you can run DramaticScepter combo also. Voltaic Key+Top+Paradox Engine wins too, but you can't fetch Engine straight up.

I started working on a primer, but im easily distracted, dunno if you can open this link tho since its via Discord

September 15, 2017 10:51 a.m.

If you had to cut three cards, which would be the first 3 you'd cut?

What do you think some of the best counterspells are if a player wanted to throw in a little more countermagic?

December 10, 2017 12:03 p.m.

Compare to inventory
Date added 1 year
Last updated 3 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.31
Tokens Narset, 1/1 Bird
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