Maybeboard


Pillowfort aikido control - encourage infighting and weaken your opponents, control the game, win out of nowhere, preferably when there's only one player left. Backup plan, combo off.

This is the deck where you always have a plan, always a trick up your sleeve, and greatly rewards tight play, accurate threat assessment, knowing your cards well, and knowing how to play your opponents. The core shell offers a great amount of flexibility, and can be effective in a wide open meta, but also tailored to work exceedingly well in smaller metas. The deck can be scaled to your budget or group’s power level and can easily be adjusted to work within low powered casual pods or tuned to combo utilizing multiple redundancies and cards we might already play on their own. This can be particularly useful in high powered metas where opponents may be running wincons that are difficult for you to leverage for your own gain and where you need more reliable, independent wincons of your own while still utilizing an aikido shell.

This deck was inspired by precociousapprentice's primer here. Definitely give his primer a read, it is fantastic. This primer intends to be an ongoing, living project to provide the community with a more up to date primer on the deck, and a means to catalogue all the ways in which the deck can be adjusted to one’s meta in an accessible format.

We have also broken down the list by custom category, which we have found can be useful for getting a better grasp of what roles each card in the deck is intending to fill. Click to show custom categories.

  • You enjoy using your opponents' strengths against them.
  • You prefer to let your opponents do your dirty work for you.
  • You enjoy letting opponents think they are winning while plotting their downfall.
  • You enjoy close political games where all parties interact, have fun, and have the chance to do what they came to do.
  • You enjoy having a flexible toolbox available to tune for your meta.
  • You enjoy watching the light fade from an opponent's eyes when they think they've bested you and you reflect their Aetherflux Reservoir back in their smug face for double damage.
  • You need to turn creatures sideways every turn.
  • You need to make big flashy plays each turn.
  • You are opposed to hanging back and being patient, waiting for an opportunity, or can't stand to "draw, go" at all.
  • You only like linear decks.

Particularly good matchups for this deck:

  • Wide strategies
  • Tall strategies
  • Decks that rely on damage or combat in general (including Aetherflux Reservoir)
  • Decks that land ramp heavily

This deck is extraordinarily flexible, and offers you an answer for just about any situation. This is, of course, meta dependent and you will want to adjust your list as such, but the list presented here is intended to work in a wide open mid-high power meta.

Much of this revolves around the backbone that Sunforger gives to the deck. With it, you can tailor an easily fetchable suite of instant speed responses that can even be reused if need be via Mistveil Plains. If you choose to go the combo route, it can even assist you in comboing off.

This deck does best when there is at least one creature combat based deck at the table, but has a toolbox that can address other strategies as well. It is also definitely the most fun in games where creatures and combat matter.

More difficult matchups for this deck:

  • Fast combo
  • Mill
  • Some alternate wincons, or wincons that say “you win the game” and ignore board state

In general, this deck is less geared to handling alternate wincons, or wincons that don’t revolve around board state. Wincons like Labman / Thassa’s Oracle, infinite damage or mill combos, and anything that says “you win the game” are hard to turn against your opponents. Mardu is great with removal but weak on counterspells, so when dealing with some combo decks we have to be proactive. Politics plays a big role in controlling these sorts of decks as well. More on this below.

Aikido as a playstyle focuses on being non-threatening and encouraging resources to be spent taking down other opponents. Aggression towards us is met with swift and brutal retaliation, often aiming to utilize an opponent’s strength against them.

Not presenting yourself as an immediate threat is our first line of defense. When other players look to be more dangerous, you’ve already gotten the first layer of your pillowfort going. Actual pillowfort cards just help you reinforce this.

It is important that we allow opponents to work to their strengths, so that we have something to use against them. However, this is a balancing act and requires the pilot to be well versed in the strategies of other decks, being proactive in warning the table when another player is pulling ahead. Removing our opponent’s key pieces is vitally important, however heavy handed disruption will only bring focused aggression towards us. Therefore, our best option is to use our opponents against one another. If we are able to convince an opponent to use their removal elsewhere it not only removes a threat to us but removes interaction that may be aimed at us later on.

It is a common misconception that aikido decks lack a means of winning. The key here is to have your opponents do most of the legwork for you, while you subtly control the flow of the game and dictate exactly how the game will end once your opponents are weak, ideally with at least one other player already knocked out.

This is a highly political control deck with a large and dynamic response package thanks to Sunforger. Mardu colors work well for us, containing many damage redirection and multiplication effects, pillow fort, removal, tutors and card draw, and more.

It is pretty important that you hit some sort of draw engine by T3 or T4, whether it be Marchesa or one of our black draw engines. We run a low curve and a slim mana base, so getting this online is priority number one. You’ll often have the chance to play a pillowfort card T3 on the way there, but getting your draws going should be first in your mind when deciding on your opening hand.

From there, you’ll want to work on discouraging attacks or encouraging them to be directed elsewhere, while you find a way to grab Sunforger. There are many efficient ways to do this in the deck, and a Ghostly Prison or a single deathtouch blocker can buy you a surprising amount of time when there are 2 other more viable targets for your opponents to hit. Curse of Opulence really shines here, often netting you 3 mana per turn cycle (not including your own turn) in the early game.

As early as possible, identify what each deck is aiming to do, and start steering the game towards a favorable 1v1 or 1v2 endgame matchup. Identify which player would be easiest to take out with one of your answers, and work to enable them to come out on top of your other opponents. Do this subtly, or you will be targeted for kingmaking. It’s also beneficial of course that all your opponents are weakened, so that the final opponent doesn’t steam roll you too.

Discouraging attacks towards us is another important line of defense, and allows us time to set up Sunforger and other important engines.

Ghostly Prison and Windborn Muse - do a great job at deterring attacks and making you an unattractive target given the amount of resources it would require, especially in the early-mid game.

Maze of Ith - a cheap, reusable, single target fog. Tutorable by Weathered Wayfarer is icing on the cake.

Delaying Shield - keeps you from losing the Monarchy, and combined with Solemnity prevents you from taking damage.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight - double duty by greatly reducing the damage both you and your permanents take, and doubling damage directed at your opponents’ lives and permanents, encouraging attacks elsewhere. Gives you a lot of reach in closing out the game.

No Mercy - classic “don’t tread on me”. With this out, opponents have to really commit to hitting us, knowing that they could lose anything they bring our way.

Cards that use your opponents' strength and effort against them. These become devastating with a Wound Reflection or Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. Almost all of these are easily accessible by Sunforger allowing you to win out of nowhere. With how we encourage opponents to swing at each other, never underestimate how devastating a well timed Deflecting Palm can be.

Comeuppance - can be a fog, a one sided board wipe, or a damage reflection.

Deflecting Palm - single target damage reflection, an aikido classic.

Harsh Justice - multi-source Eye for an Eye. As we are likely sitting at decent life, have efficient life gain, and have damage reducers/doublers, the damage is way more devastating to our opponents. An alpha strike into Harsh Justice can easily knock a player out.

Deflecting Swat - a likely free redirection effect.

Reverberate - piggyback off your opponents’ spells or punish them by copying it back at them.

Delirium - great anti-tall tech, doubles as a fog.

Disrupt Decorum - one sided board clear and force your opponents to kill each other off at the same time. Devastating with Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, Wound Reflection, or Repercussion

Mirage Mirror - Combos with Delaying Shield to prevent all incoming damage, or with Dark Depths to create a flying, indestructible 20/20 at instant speed. Also useful to create a copy of the best card on the table for only 2 mana. Someone about to draw cards? Copy a Smothering Tithe. Someone about to untap a lot of mana and go off? Copy a Rhystic Study. Need a beater? A big blocker? A second Wound Reflection? Incredibly flexible and useful.

Necromancy - cheap graveyard recursion with the option for instant speed. Get back your own or steal your opponent’s.

Rakdos Charm - multi use artifact or grave hate or anti-wide tech

Repercussion - weakens the table and discourages chump blocking. Game ending with Disrupt Decorum or a Blasphemous Act (stack the triggers so you take damage last).

Price of Progress - heavily punishes decks that ramp. Can wipe a table, and we can easily make this asymmetrical.

Aikido as an archetype is based around using your opponents’ strengths and wincons against them, and so is inherently less reliable and straightforward than just linearly ploughing your way to your own wincons. Control pieces (in addition to a healthy removal suite) are crucial to keeping opponents from running off with the game, buying ourselves time to set up against fast linear decks, and help you keep the game within your realm of control. You want to stop your opponents from winning, yet you want them to play to their strengths so that you have something to use against them. Finding the balance here is probably the hardest part of piloting the deck. See the Flex Slots section below for some other suggestions on control pieces that may work in your meta.

Aven Mindcensor - essentially a counterspell against tutors that continues to shut down all tutoring and fetching. Brutal early game against decks that run a lot of fetches, and against combo decks.

Blind Obedience - shuts down fast aggro and busted artifact ramp starts. Extort can net you some life as an added bonus.

Drannith Magistrate - shuts down not only opponents’ graveyards but also command zones. Will likely get removed but great at slowing down the table for a few turns while you set up.

Kambal, Consul of Allocation - taxes spell decks, prevents infinite combos, and can net you a steady stream of life gain over the course of the game.

Solemnity - shuts down counter based strategies, and synergizes well with pillowfort cards and Dark Depths. Notably, it does not hit planeswalkers.

Pyroblast / Red Elemental Blast - good for countering counterspells as well as removing pesky blue permanents, of which there are many. I have blown up many a Rhystic Study with this, have used it to shut down an opposing combo, and have protected my own wincons with it.

Strip Mine - best used on a Gaea's Cradle, Cabal Coffers, etc

Sunforger - gives you access to a whole suite of answers and wincons. Additionally, many of our creatures have flying, making Sunforger a decent beater. See Sunforger section below.

Cards that reward opponents for directing their efforts elsewhere, as opposed to just making it harder for them to swing at us. These cards can be important political tools, and can net you allies and advantages.

Curse of Opulence - ramp that draws attacks away from us and towards someone else, and can come down T1. Can do a decent Smothering Tithe impersonation for much less mana, and can really knock an opponent down.

Duelist's Heritage - a great political tool for incentivizing attacks towards our opponents by offering to give creatures double strike. Can be used later in the game to give our own creatures double strike, and combined with a Sunforger equipped lifelinker, can be a great beater. Throw in a damage doubler to top it all off. Great underrated card.

Frontier Warmonger - a new addition warranting further testing, but looks promising as yet another way to keep opponents off our backs early game, keeping them attacking opponents, and gives us something to work with later on via Deflecting Palm, Delirium, etc.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight / Wound Reflection - both give our opponents reasons to swing at each other by providing as much bang for their buck. It is important to note that with Gisela, damage is doubled for both the attacking creature and the blocking creature in this scenario, and so becomes a lot more enticing when someone is open as opponents won’t want to lose their creatures that they swing with. Both of these easily pivot into major wincons later in the game. It is common to swing with a double striking, Sunforger wielding Gisela, Serra Ascendant, or Vampire Nighthawk, then doubling that with Gisela or Wound Reflection for some serious chunk damage and life gain using our political cards. These cards can easily result in a surprise blowout once you identify an opening and your opponents are weak.

Scheming Symmetry - another Vampiric Tutor is always nice, and with 3 opponents, you can easily give it to the player that is struggling (or at least, not playing combo) to get them back in the game and gain an ally. Also useful to ask an opponent to fetch removal for something that’s an issue which makes it a pseudo two for one. Useful to enable the stompy player at the table to help them beat down other enemies, and give us something to throw back in their face once we get to the endgame 1v1.

Sunforger may be the most important card in this deck. The deck isn’t dead in the water without it, but when you have Sunforger online you have all your answers, all your wincons, and all your defenses at your fingertips, for a measly . Getting this engine online should be your priority after getting your draw engine going, alongside finding some way to pillowfort or discourage attacks (which Sunforger also contributes to).

You as a pilot have a huge amount of flexibility here when it comes to your Sunforger package. You should absolutely view what we have here as only a template, and tailor it to what you find most useful in your meta. I have tailored this list to work well against a wide variety of groups, but if you find yourself struggling against certain decks, or often face some of our worse matchups, you should absolutely tinker with this. More options down below in the Flex Slots section.

Generous Gift - like Chaos Warp can hit lands, but can also be used to destroy our own Academy Rector to essentially flash in any enchantment in our deck, whereas the rest of our removal exiles. Don’t underestimate how relevant this is, this can easily win you games, and is worth the tradeoff that some decks can recast problematic lands from the grave.

Path to Exile / Swords to Plowshares - ultra-efficient exile effects, always great in hand or via Sunforger.

Anguished Unmaking - another great, almost universal, exile effect.

Hide / Seek - artifact/enchantment removal, or surgically remove an important wincon from an opponent's deck. Requires you to understand opposing strategies and combo pieces to get full use of this, but can be a seriously powerful tool for stopping someone from winning if used at the right time.

Boros Charm - can protect you from a board wipe, or a tutorable double-strike enabler which can give considerable reach in this deck.

Teferi's Protection - not only protects you from anything and everything, but often turns such situations to your advantage. Being tutorable is insane. Someone board wipes? Tutor for this and blow everyone out next turn, or at minimum gain a massive tempo advantage. This card is an absolute staple without Sunforger, and with Sunforger becomes straight bonkers.

Rakdos Charm - doubles as artifact removal, as well as a tutorable wincon against wide/token strategies. Can kill a table with a damage doubler out.

Comeuppance - can be a fog, a one sided board wipe, or a damage reflection.

Deflecting Palm - single target damage reflection, an aikido classic.

Harsh Justice - multi-source Eye for an Eye. As we are likely sitting at decent life, have efficient life gain, and have damage reducers/doublers, the damage is way more devastating to our opponents. An alpha strike into Harsh Justice can easily knock a player out.

Deflecting Swat - a likely free redirection effect.

Reverberate - piggyback off your opponents’ spells or punish them by copying it back at them.

Delirium - great anti-tall tech, doubles as a fog. You can also run Backlash, though by personal preference I prefer Delirium because you can use it after an opponent has already tapped the creature, rather than proactively having to guess whether it’s about to come at you.

Enlightened Tutor - a tutorable tutor! We have many important enchantments (and some artifacts) in this deck so being able to Sunforger an enchantment to the top of our library can be very powerful. Need pillowfort? Check. Need ramp? You got it. Need a wincon? Whatever you need.

Lapse of Certainty - no one expects a while counterspell. Can help us resolve a wincon someone is trying to counter or buy the table a turn from someone trying to combo off.

Price of Progress - one of the deck’s wincons. Can easily do 40+ damage for only . There are multiple ways to make this effect asymmetrical.

Pyroblast / Red Elemental Blast - good for countering counterspells as well as removing pesky blue permanents, of which there are many. I have blown up many a Rhystic Study with this, have used it to shut down an opposing combo, and have protected my own wincons with it. Interchangeable for our purposes.

Arcbond - Can be used as an instant speed boardwipe and combos with Repercussion as a win condition. Can also target a lifelinker.

Mistveil Plains - not a target, but allow us to cast Sunforger targets multiple times. Notably, this is fetchable via fetchlands or Weathered Wayfarer.

Scroll Rack and Sensei's Divining Top are also important to mention here, as they are not only ways for us to filter our draws and maintain card quality/selection, but also give us a means to dish instants back into our deck to draw the gas we need without having a clogged up hand.

Weathered Wayfarer opens up a lot of utility land options that would otherwise be less reliable or consistent, and further contributes to our toolbox-y nature.

Maze of Ith - useful single target fog. Just having a Maze of Ith on the field untapped already encourages opponents to not waste their time with you, even if they do have multiple potential attackers. Can be used on creatures swinging at opponents as well if you’re in the mood to make deals with someone. Kor Haven comes at essentially triple the mana cost as Maze of Ith, but if you really want a second fog land it is a decent option.

Slayers' Stronghold / Hall of the Bandit Lord / Hanweir Battlements - haste enablers give us a huge amount of explosiveness and contribute greatly to our ability to win out of nowhere. While you can use a Sunforger slot for this, I tend to prefer utility lands as our Sunforger slots are already crammed (less so if you have the fortune to tune to a less diverse meta) and lands are still tutorable via Weathered Wayfarer.

Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep - applying first strike to Queen Marchesa is quite nice with deathtouch, and costs little for us to run.

Dark Depths - a wincon that steps a little bit out of the aikido playstyle, but synergizes well with cards we would already consider running such as Mirage Mirror and Solemnity. Sometimes you just need a 20/20 flying indestructible beater. You can give it haste with a utility land and go for the surprise kill, or cast Arcbond targeting a chump blocker with Gisela, Blade of Goldnight or Wound Reflection if you like to watch the world burn.

These fit pretty well with cards we would already consider playing, have utility on their own, and are easily tutorable.

Smothering Tithe, Underworld Breach, and Wheel of Fortune, mill everyone. If you don't have 7+ cards more than everyone else (you likely won't), you'll have to cast an Angel's Grace. Or don’t mill everyone fully, generate near infinite mana, and play a shit ton of cards.

Repercussion + Blasphemous Act - useful on their own, and somewhat tutorable. Can even cast Blasphemous Act while you have an Academy Rector out of you really have to.

Delaying Shield and Solemnity or Mirage Mirror make it so you can't die from damage. Delaying Shield on its own prevents you from losing the Monarchy.

Weathered Wayfarer - decent ramp that isn't Land Tax (low basic count). Importantly, Weathered Wayfarer opens up Dark Depths and other land based lines which really helps with our utility land slots. If you play more basics, Land Tax is good as well, and even synergizes with Scroll Rack as a draw engine.

Dark Depths works ok with Solemnity and Mirrage Mirror. Can be tutored with Weathered Wayfarer which is decent ramp given our curve and playstyle and doesn't draw immediate aggression. Bit slow in a fast meta. Play the long game and tutor Slayers' Stronghold or similar first before dropping Marit Lage if you can.

Want more combo for higher power metas? See Combo Options section under Flex Slots.

I’ll note first off that in addition to classic black tutors, we also run Enlightened Tutor, Scheming Symmetry, and Weathered Wayfarer.

Enlightened Tutor is especially nice because not only can you grab Sunforger with it, but if you have Sunforger out already you can access it via Sunforger and we have plenty of powerful enchantments in the deck.

Scheming Symmetry may not be totally apparent at first, but it gets a slot not only as a second Vampiric Tutor but because you can use it as a political tool. This requires you to have a solid grasp of what your opponents’ decks are probably running, but you can use this to make a deal, redirect the table’s attention elsewhere if you give it to an opponent who will use it to play a big flashy bomb, use it to help a struggling player in order to balance out the power of the table, or even give to the stompy player with a lot of mana open so you have something to use your more classic aikido cards on like Deflecting Palm or Delirium. If you’re smart with this, Scheming Symmetry opens up a ton of opportunities. Just don’t give it to the combo player for the love of god.

Weathered Wayfarer has been detailed above, so I won’t go into depth here, but we do have multiple utility lands that either enable our wins, or are wincons themselves. Grabbing something like Hanweir Battlements allows for much more explosive swings with beaters like Dark Depths and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, and ensure that they don’t have to survive a turn cycle. Can also grab both parts of the Dark Depths and Thespian's Stage, though keep in mind you have to reveal it.

Rough priority of tutor targets:

Combo pieces if you run them - obviously. More on that below. Top priority if you need to end the game fast/now, otherwise you can afford to wait.

Necropotence - absurd value especially if you can hit BBB turn 3 or 4, but also will set off alarm bells for opponents.

Sunforger - helps you control the game, keep yourself alive, tutor your wincons, combo, everything.

Mana Crypt - T1 tutor into Mana Crypt via 3 1cmc tutors can be the right choice in some high power metas.

Stax pieces as needed - Hushbringer / Kambal, Consul of Allocation / Blind Obedience / Linvala, Keeper of Silence / Solemnity / Drannith Magistrate / Aven Mindcensor

Delaying Shield / Phyrexian Unlife / Solemnity / Mirage Mirror if you're taking hits. Stabilizes and sets you up to win off Ad Nauseam if you grab Phyrexian Unlife (but not Delaying Shield).

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight / Wound Reflection help you close out the game, encourage fighting, and weaken opponents. I don't usually tutor for this unless I'm flush, I'm okay to just draw into one mid game. You can do some serious chunk damage and lifegain with Sunforger, Duelist's Heritage, Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, etc already but these make it often lethal.

Rakdos Charm - can deal massive damage to go wide decks and also acts as anti-graveyard tech. The Shatter mode can be used in a pinch.

Batwing Brume - both a fog and anti-wide wincon. Has no effect when cast via Sunforger!

Fire Covenant - extremely efficient removal spell which can be tutored by Sunforger.

Sudden Spoiling

Smoke - may be warranted if you go up against a lot of creature combo or really fast aggro.

Acidic Soil - Similar to Price of Progress except not castable off Sunforger - hyper efficient damage that we can sometimes make asymmetrical. Depending on the meta can be more damaging.

Price of Progress - one of the deck’s wincons. Can easily do 40+ damage for only . There are multiple ways to make this effect asymmetrical. Generally better than Acidic Soil as you can cast it off Sunforger, but depends on how many basics vs non-basics your opponents run.

Aven Mindcensor - great against Crop Rotation or any effect trying to tutor out a troublesome non-basic. Also extremely effective in response to a combo player’s tutor.

Rest in Peace - no explanation needed. For when you really need anti-graveyard tech and the benefit outweighs the heavy handed approach.

Kunoros, Hound of Athreos - grave hate that is also a good Sunforger wielder, useful for when Rest in Peace is too much, but you still want something.

Rakdos Charm - multi-use as anti-wide tech, anti-grave yard tech, and artifact removal.

Drannith Magistrate - general stax that stops not only many graveyard strategies but also stops commanders from being played, which hoses many decks. Expect this to be met with removal, so use the time you buy with this well.

Bojuka Bog - noteworthy as we can fetch it with Weathered Wayfarer.

Grand Abolisher - anti-counterspell tech

Pyroblast / Red Elemental Blast - anti-counterspell tech

Silence - use it to protect yourself, or stop an opponent.

Tithe Taker - anti-interaction tech.

Turbo Ad Naus lines synergize extraordinarily well with a lot of cards that fit our game plan.

Ad Nauseam using Angel's Grace, Phyrexian Unlife, or even Teferi's Protection to draw your deck, then cast Sickening Dreams to win. Wanna do it fast and have multiple combos to pick from? Throw in fast mana (moxen, crypt, vault, monolith, etc) so you have tons of mana after you draw your deck then play whatever combo you like. If using Phyrexian Unlife keep in mind you will still take lethal infect damage from Sickening Dreams, so you'll need to still cast Angel's Grace, but it will let you draw your deck to find it (or find a Yawgmoth's Will or Underworld Breach if any combo pieces are in your grave).

Better yet, Sunforge Angel's Grace or Teferi's Protection, Sunforge Enlightened Tutor (or removal on your Academy Rector if you have to) for Phyrexian Unlife, Sunforge Silence for combo protection, whatever. The Ad Naus option is highly synergistic with Sunforger and can be built to be fast and reliable.

You can also fire off a high powered Ad Naus hail mary if you really need to (if you keep your mana curve low) and regain your life lost via milling into Children of Korlis which can also be a useful fog or disincentive. Also nice with Fire Covenant if you run it, Sunforgeable board wipe.

Dualcaster Mage and Twinflame are another compact option and both are cards we could consider running in this shell. Requires another creature you control, but can create infinite creatures with haste.

Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs - a decent option in creature heavy metas - but an expensive pillow fort card. It’s rare to make ogres as people tend to send their creatures elsewhere (which is fine).

Archangel of Tithes - if you want more taxes on attacks aimed at you, this is much better than Baird, Steward of Argive or other similar options. The second clause may raise some alarms, but is not as bad as something like Luminarch Ascension or Assemble the Legion and will likely stick for at least a while.

Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker - kind of like No Mercy, with the addition that it works for non-creature sources, but gives the opponent the agency to choose what they lose. Super effective against ping damage or most infinite damage combos due to separate triggers, but outside of those applications it can be less impactful than No Mercy if opponents have lots of fodder to sacrifice (token decks, etc). A good option to consider.

Intervention Pact - a Sunforgeable fog with some pretty serious lifegain upside. As far as pacts go, the upkeep cost is not so bad.

Glacial Chasm - also pairs well with Solemnity. This is another option alongside Delaying Shield and Phyrexian Unlife if you need more ways to become immune to damage, though Glacial Chasm carries a somewhat significant downside on its own, and having both of the two already mentioned should be enough.

Virtus the Veiled - rattlesnake blocker that doubles as a wincon with Wound Reflection and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. Might draw removal.

Master of Cruelties - another rattlesnake blocker that doubles as a wincon, first strike is nice. Mana cost is a tad high. Might draw removal.

Serene Master - another rattlesnake if you need more creature based deterrents, and less likely to die while blocking, though less utility than some of our other options which have flying and lifelink that hold a Sunforger better. Very flavorful.

Karmic Justice - does work in removal heavy metas, and if your build tends to draw more removal or pulls a higher threat level.

Selfless Squire - can save your life and turn into a solid beater or wincon. Somewhat situational, but if you can hold up the mana it can be great.

Backlash is good if you want two Delirium effects. I prefer Delirium because it can be used more reactively, as opposed to Backlash having to be used more proactively, but you can go either or.

Acidic Soil if you want another Price of Progress slot, but isn't Sunforgeable. This does serious work against decks that like to ramp.

Eye for an Eye - another classic, though generally Harsh Justice is preferred.

Mana Tithe - great for denying turn 2 ramp but I'm not really playing in pods where that move is worth the hate (nor are the games that dependent on it). Good in really fast/greedy metas though.

Chaos Warp - the best removal red has to offer. Notably, can hit lands. The only reason this isn’t in the deck is because Generous Gift fills the same role, can also hit lands, and can also hit our own Academy Rector to flash in any enchantment from our deck which can swing games.

Wear / Tear / Despark are also good removal options to fit in your Sunforger toolbox.

Hushbringer - hits a huge number of decks. Bit of a removal target, but can be incredibly effective for the time that it stays down.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence - many commanders have activated abilities, especially in cEDH / high power combo decks. I have found that this is significantly less useful in more mid-power metas however, as it seems to hit fewer, and less important, creatures. Very meta dependent, may work great for you.

Aura of Silence - will probably draw removal but slows down the game, especially with decks that rely on artifact ramp early on. A little narrow to be useful in the later game since it only hits artifacts and enchantments, but it also doubles as removal.

Deafening Silence - very likely to draw removal, but is likely to hurt your opponents more than you. Can really help slow the game down so that you can set yourself up. Just watch the salt, you may take some heat for this.

Authority of the Consuls - good against aggro / wide decks, though if you don’t want to run both this and Blind Obedience, I like the latter’s ability to hit artifacts (typically mana rocks) and extort.

Stranglehold - an option if you need something that sticks to the board a bit better than Aven Mindcensor though you will lose out on the utility that a flying creature provides (easily get Monarch back, evasive Sunforger wielder.

Leonin Arbiter - lower to the ground option, comes out faster if you’re playing against fast combo / cEDH decks.

Illumination - we’ll take counterspells in white where we can, a good option for Sunforger.

Imp's Mischief - spell redirection, though not containing or keeps it from being an auto-include.

Withering Boon - another counterspell, valuable in Mardu, though not containing or keeps it from being an auto-include.

Smoke - may be warranted if you go up against a lot of creature combo or really fast aggro.

Alms Collector - strong against blue decks that like to draw lots of cards. Card advantage is one of Mardu’s weak points, and in more competitive metas this card not only slows down opposing decks but helps shore up one of our weaknesses. Highly meta dependent, as this won’t be nearly as useful in more casual metas and may be somewhat of a dead card.

Containment Priest - good stax against “unfair” decks and several cEDH strategies.

Cursed Totem - similar to Linvala, Keeper of Silence if you need something more resilient and faster.

Rite of the Raging Storm - the mana cost is just a bit high and was eventually cut from this deck, but this is still a decent and fun card in this shell. The fact that opponents don’t have to swing with the tokens is a bit of a let down, but with the right persuasion it’s easy to get them to, as they have little reason not to. Great with Duelist's Heritage out, and I was reluctant to cut it due to that interaction.

Orzhov Advokist - similar to Frontier Warmonger, and may work better in some groups that are loath to take the goad option.

Weathered Wayfarer opens up a lot of utility land options that would otherwise be less reliable or consistent, and further contributes to our toolbox-y nature.

Maze of Ith / Kor Haven - useful single target fogs. Just having a Maze of Ith on the field untapped already encourages opponents to not waste their time with you, even if they do have multiple potential attackers. Can be used on creatures swinging at opponents as well if you’re in the mood to make deals with someone. Kor Haven comes at essentially triple the mana cost as Maze of Ith, but if you really want a second fog land it is a decent option.

Slayers' Stronghold / Hall of the Bandit Lord / Hanweir Battlements / Flamekin Village - haste enablers give us a huge amount of explosiveness and contribute greatly to our ability to win out of nowhere. While you can use a Sunforger slot for this, I tend to prefer utility lands as our Sunforger slots are already crammed (less so if you have the fortune to tune to a less diverse meta) and lands are still tutorable via Weathered Wayfarer.

Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep - applying first strike to Queen Marchesa is quite nice with deathtouch, and costs little for us to run.

Dark Depths - a wincon that steps a little bit out of the aikido playstyle, but synergizes well with cards we would already consider running such as Mirage Mirror and Solemnity.

Bojuka Bog - fetchable anti-graveyard tech.

Rogue's Passage - in metas with many clogged board states, you may need a way to force through that late game Sunforger wielding Serra Ascendant.

Hall of Heliod's Generosity - can recur enchantments that have either been destroyed or that have been discarded earlier in the game. Nice as we don’t have a lot of recursion options.

Ancient Tomb - we really like our colored mana in this deck, but there’s no denying the usefulness of this card. Try it if you’re playing in a higher power meta. Gemstone Caverns is also another decent consideration in such metas.

Twilight Prophet - - good if you are running a more enchantment/permanent based build where getting City’s Blessing is less of an issue. Should be noted that you only have to achieve the ten permanents once so it works well with Smothering Tithe and Curse of Opulence.

Xantcha, Sleeper Agent - draw and group slug, but meta dependent. The drain/draw has never gotten activated by other players quite as much as I would have hoped, but a 5/5 beater that has to swing each turn is also useful. Fun, but definitely more casual.

Erebos, God of the Dead - helps with decks that like to gain a lot of life, or decks that aim to use Aetherflux Reservoir, though in the latter scenario I find it best to just wait for an opportunity to reflect the laser cannon back at them.

Humble Defector - solid political draw if you need more of it, but be careful, you don’t have a way to control it once you give it away and you may or may not get it back. Letting opponents draw lots of cards is never a good idea, and can contribute to the game getting out of your ability to control.

Yawgmoth's Will - ultimately replaced by Underworld Breach due to combo reasons, but fantastic utility and can really be a great hail mary card late in the game. I didn’t get enough use out of either of them to warrant playing both since we aren’t a graveyard deck, but in a control heavy meta it could be useful.

Tithe - another T1 ramp card, and a Sunforger target

Land Tax - really helps hit your land drops, and can be paired with Scroll Rack for a (somewhat fragile) draw engine. Good option if you have the basics to support it.

Sword of the Animist - we have lots of creatures that opponents won’t want to block, so we have no problem swinging with this to get out a bunch of lands, something that white desperately struggles with. Solid option if you’re also running extra equipment tutors like Open the Armory.

Chance for Glory - this one is a bit cheeky but hear me out. It is important to note that the indestructible clause is indefinite, an extra turn late in the game gives us an insane amount of reach in finishing off that last opponent (or two!), and if needed we have several ways to prevent losing the game after the second turn. While somewhat fragile, you can also use Mistveil Plains to loop it turn after turn.

Dawn Charm is a good option but I wasn't casting it much at all in my meta. Definitely worth considering as it has multiple useful modes.

Open the Armory / Steelshaper's Gift - we rely on Sunforger a lot, and if your list struggles without it you may want to consider running extra tutors for it (especially if black tutors are out of your budget). Open the Armory can also get auras which can be handy.

Stolen Strategy - while using opponents’ cards and wincons is a key facet of aikido decks, we want the ability to pick and choose what we use. You get 3 per upkeep, but the number of times that our own cards were better for furthering our game plan was too high to justify a CMC of 5, and the disruption to opponents is too minor (not to mention potentially salt inducing).

Bitter Feud - high mana cost, only works on two players, and even then only on damage from each other, and somewhat likely to get you targeted by those two players.

Solitary Confinement - solid protection, but it comes at a steep cost. Even with Queen Marchesa online to break even, you’re still negating one of your few draw engines, and we don’t make use of the graveyard enough (or have enough cards we are willing to toss) to make this an easy cost to bear.

Thaumatic Compass   (and Kor Haven) are nice if you need more Maze of Ith effects. Compass is just way too slow however. Kor Haven can work if you really need it, but it effectively costs 3 mana and if you're pillowforting/politicking effectively you shouldn’t need it. I wouldn't even say that Maze of Ith is super critical to the list, but it's fetchable with Weathered Wayfarer which is really nice.

Key to the City - the card draw is nice in a pinch and I love making opponents' creatures unblockable while they swing at each other. Unfortunately, the cost is just too restricting in a non-graveyard based deck, and the unblockable ability is too situational. It was never what I wanted to draw when I did. Can be a fun political card though, if you’re going for a more casual list.

Sun Droplet - too little, too late, or a dead draw.

This deck has been my baby for some time, and I’m fortunate to own many staples from over the years. However, none of these high priced cards are necessary. You can use this section to get a feel for what upgrades provide the most bang for your buck, and what you can easily cut to really bring down the cost of the deck.

Rough order of what to cut first:

Congrats you’ve shaved off $2200!

If you want to go further, consider:

Here are some good budget friendly cards:

Milestones:

1st Overall - May 2020

1st in Primer - May 2020

2nd in EDH - May 2020

1st in Pillow Fort - April 2020

If you like this deck, or this style of deck, join us on Discord! Marchesa Aikido

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You may also like my K&T aikido deck: Welcome to the Colosseum

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Casual

91% Competitive

Top Ranked
  • Achieved #1 position overall 2 weeks ago
Date added 4 months
Last updated 1 day
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

23 - 0 Mythic Rares

46 - 0 Rares

19 - 0 Uncommons

6 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.61
Tokens Gold, 3/3 Elephant, None Treasure, Monarch, 1/1 Spirit, 1/1 Assassin, 20/20 Avatar
Folders Uncategorized, best primers, EDH, EDH, Uncategorized, Cool decks, Decks i like, EDH Decks, Interesting Brews, Queen Marchesa, See all 21
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