It is time for more...'experiments'... The pain will only be passing; you should survive the process...

I wasn't initially interested in Mairsil, the Pretender for a number of reasons, probably chief among them being the "only once each turn" clause. Recently though I've been wanting a deck that I can just throw fun cards into. All my other decks are so focused on a particular strategy that they don't allow for very many off the wall cards. Mairsil however just wants activated abilities and the only real limitation on him is no or . This gives us access to every activateable in and that is a lot of crazy.

Mairsil suffers from the voltron problem. This might be the worse case of it I've ever seen in fact... Most of the creatures in most Mairsil decks get shoved into the cage to take advantage of their abilities so often Mairsil will be the only creature in play. Many of the artifacts are treated the same way. Luckily some the best methods of abusing Mairsil take the form of AEtherling, Mirage Mirror, and Pack Rat. More on these later.

Mairsil, unlike other commanders, can only be built one way unless you are only using his colors I guess. The only option with him is to use activated abilities, any other strategy and we should just use something else. There are several ways to go with activated abilities though. So keep reading ;)

By the way 'The Cage' is simply a reference to any card which gets exiled with a cage counter on it.

My manabase is fairly basic, since it is mostly basic lands but there are some pieces I want to address.

Training Grounds and Heartstone might be the strongest permanents I've put in the deck. I count them as part of the manabase because they save me a ridiculous amount of mana over the course of a game and have won me more than a few games. It can be hard to see their value so over the course of six games that I got either out early I averaged how much mana they saved me and came up with 16. Their value will vary as one of those games the amount saved was 0 and another was 34 but if using high costed abilities these can be invaluable.

Prismatic Geoscope, Patron of the Moon, Gilded Lotus, and Dreamstone Hedron are often less about accelerating mana and more about keeping the ball rolling. They do accelerate you but they accelerate you in the mid to late game where acceleration is often times not as useful. Still being able to use Spikeshot Elder 3 times is better than 1 time.

Sol Ring, Rakdos Signet, Izzet Signet, and Dimir Signet are the true mana accelerators. These are played early enough to make a big difference in when Mairsil comes out to play.

Cephalid Coliseum and Inventors' Fair just add good value.

Hanweir Battlements and Flamekin Village give you the most important keyword Mairsil could ever ask for. It is a damn shame it isn't on him naturally.

Homeward Path because this deck does almost nothing if Mairsil, the Pretender is on your opponent's field instead of yours...

In the opener I said that I avoided Mairsil because of the "once each turn" clause in his text box. Well now I'm going to inform you of how we brake that.

AEtherling and Deadeye Navigator will flicker Mairsil. Flickering also protects from removal.

Quicksilver Elemental makes a new instance of all of his abilities. So each time you pay you can use any ability again this turn.

Mirage Mirror works very similarly to quicksilver but instead makes Mairsil into a new copy of himself for . In addition you can make him into a land in response to Wrath of God or other removal.

Pack Rat makes a token copy of Mairsil, you sacrifice the original and keep the new one. This allows you to use all his abilties again. This also dodges targeted removal.

The flickering and the Pack Rat will allow you to cage a new thing without having to recast mairsil. I think one of the mistakes other people make is using bounce which works but it puts Mairsil back in the hand. So you have to wait until your turn and spend to recast him... Or you could flicker for and keep the party going into your opponents turn.

The next thing needed is haste because we want to tap or maybe untap mairsil. Hanweir Battlements and Flamekin Village are a good start but Anger, Fervor, and Skyship Stalker are great too. Each time Mairsil is flickered or recast he will be summoning sick again and this means it is a whole lap around the table before you get to do some of the best stuff. Keeping some of your abilities as mana only like using Spikeshot Elder instead of Hateflayer can really save your bacon!

You may have noticed that many of these can save Mairsil from removal so be careful on timing and use these towards the end of each opponent's turns to maximize their effectiveness. While the voltron problem is still a big annoyance for any Mairsil deck effective use of his abilities will mitigate it more than most decks can. Try to use tutors to fetch AEtherling, Mirage Mirror, or Pack Rat first as these are the most effective first pieces to cage. These will often be the difference between a win and a loss for Mairsil.

As mentioned in the opening there are several ways to go with activated abilities. The following are the most obvious to me. This is meant to cover Mairsil decks in general but I cannot cover every possible card inclusion that might be of interest.

Honestly this method is pretty simplistic and will be an option in most Mairsil decks simply by accident. I would consider this a secondary way to win since you have to hit one person at a time.

Vector Asp is one of the more important pieces for this style but you can also use pump effects from the likes of Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief or Chimeric Staff to get up to a lethal blackjack (21 commander damage) swing. It is important to keep in mind that you can 'only use abilities once each turn' from Mairsil so the pump from Skyship Stalker simply will not work.

Unblockable is immensely useful anytime you are looking to swing with your commander. Rogue's Passage, Cephalid Inkshrouder, and Marchesa's Smuggler are all prefect for this role.

Mairsil, the Pretender really pushes towards being a combo deck or at least having a combo to finally win the game. The way he works and interacts with everything you can very easily find combos by accident. Magic cards were not designed to interact in this way without becoming broken by accident.

Quicksilver Elemental, Mirage Mirror, Pack Rat and anything else that allows you to make a new instance of Mairsil is going to be the center piece of most combos. These effects are the only way to use a single ability more than once a turn. Helm of the Host is a good card that you might consider running but it will only give you one additional Mairsil a turn and as such will not allow you to combo off like the other mentioned cards.

Here are some combos you could run:

Tree of Perdition + Hateflayer, both caged. Set target player to 4 life than blast them for 4 damage. Mairsil's toughness will need to be reset I usually do this by flickering him with AEtherling.

Anthroplasm + Sage of Hours, both caged. Just take all the turns you bastard, welcome to solitaire...

Mirror-Mad Phantasm + Laboratory Maniac, Phantasm caged. Use the caged Phantasm's ability and put Mairsil into your command zone so your entire library goes to your graveyard. Have LabMan in play, draw a card.

Prismatic Geoscope + Staff of Domination, both caged. Infinite Mana.

There are many other things you can do too. These are just common ones that are pretty self contained.

The reason I separate this is because of how we abuse Mairsil. This method of building takes great advantage of cards like Anthroplasm and Lux Cannon. However by putting all these counters on Mairsil and focusing around these effects AEtherling and Pack Rat, among other similar effects, become terrible cards. The token Mairsils won't have any counters and flickering removes all his counters that have accumulated on him. Using Quicksilver Elemental and Mirage Mirror is still really good.

I might recommend including the brick counter cards in this style of deck. All of them just want 3 brick counters and then they do their really good effect. Oracle's Vault, Pyramid of the Pantheon, and Edifice of Authority.

Formatting courtesy of Suns_Champion's Suns_Champion's Well of Ideas

Reading the Decklist: Here is an explanation for my custom categories and the criteria I have for putting cards in them.

There are 4 Custom Categories and a list of 'Other' because I just don't know how I want the rest of them organized.

Mana: This includes everything that has the main purpose of making mana or accelerating mana.

Card Advantage: This is everything that has the main purpose of drawing cards, searching for cards, or putting things in the graveyard.

Removal: This is everything that has the main purpose of taking resources from our opponents.

Abuse: This is everything designed to brake Mairsil's rules

Other: An assortment of the rest of the effects in the deck, it would just take too many extra little categories to organize these.

Specific Card Choices: Here are all of my card choices and explanations.

Evaluating the Deck: Here is a breakdown of the deck's strength, weaknesses, combos, non-bos, synergies, and politics.











Nonbos: as with any deck with 100 diferent cards, there are some anti-synergies here too.

Politically, this deck...


Group hug:









Chaos/Group Slug:

This deck is based on:

Currently the #_ most upvoted ____ deck on TappedOut

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I know it is a part of the base game rules but it is very important that you understand how it works if you are going to play Mairsil, the Pretender. So I'm going to explain it as best I can here and give some resources that might explain it better.


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Date added 10 months
Last updated 4 days
Exclude colors WG

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 4.26
Tokens 1/1 Construct, 1/1 Faerie Rogue
Folders My Commander, Mathas, Mairsil, mairsil, mairsil, Decks I like, Interesting Commander Decks, decks inspiration, idea decks, TTS Decks, See all 17
Top rank #5 on 2018-12-07
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