Adaptive combo list designed for competitive EDH (cEDH) that can alternate between stax and fast combo. Credit goes to tw0handt0uch and Garta for finding the original combo line.

Paradox Sisay is a flexible adaptive combo deck that can both threaten to combo off repeatedly as well as find relevant hate pieces to slow down or stonewall other decks at the table. The deck runs a diverse suite of stax pieces which can be adjusted as necessary to suit your meta. The deck can combo by storming off with legendary spells or establish a lock on the game by shutting off the opponents' lands.

Unfortunately, Sisay has a large weakness in that the deck is very commander dependent and the combo is sorcery speed. Although a number of cEDH decks fall into this category, this is particularly problematic for Sisay because people often prioritize her as a target of creature removal in order to deny her first fetch. Along the same lines, people often tutor stax pieces that are problematic for Sisay in particular - Phyrexian Revoker, Linvala, Keeper of Silence, Aven Mindcensor, and Cursed Totem.

Because Sisay can flexibly play out either a stax or combo gameplan, it is important to evaluate other decks at the table for their winning speed and the interaction that they might have. Big thanks to Lobster/Sigi/Neunviertel/SirOzzsome for creating the following graph that shows a quick comparison with other common decks played in cEDH.

In comparison to other cEDH decks, Sisay ranks in the middle both in combo speed and interactivity. Again, her flexibility is the most important attribute to enabling wins against a variety of tables. She has great tools for slowing down faster decks before she drops, as well as good tutor targets to often lock them out of the game completely. Against slower and more interactive decks, she can play the role of fast combo and seek to end the game early or play the long game with great tutor targets of her own.

Finally, Sisay's main advantage over other decks in a similar speed / interactivity tier is again in flexibility - this time, in deck construction. Selesnya colors offer a wide selection of tools to quicken Sisay's combo speed - she can add protection spells to help ensure the combo, increase nonland mana sources to drop Sisay faster and help enable the combo, or add additional ways to grant Sisay extra untaps. She can also be slowed down significantly in favor of more interaction - there are more stax pieces that can be included to slow down the table while leaving Sisay's core combo intact as well as additional tutorable legendary targets that can shut down the game. The current decklist is designed to be as close to the center as possible and played in a meta that features a variety of decks. There's a lot of room for adaptation, which will be detailed in the Single Card Discussion heading below.

Although I will explain a number of different potential combo lines in this section, it is only recommended that you run the two that are best for your metagame and most compact. My deck currently only runs the Cloudstone Curio and Thousand-Year Elixir lines listed below.

Combo Starter

Starting the combo requires a non-land mana source that produces two mana, Captain Sisay, and enough mana to both cast Paradox Engine and another spell for an untap trigger.

Inventors' Fair Lines

Now you can freely fetch and cast all three mana legendaries from your deck. The most important ones are Dosan the Falling Leaf, Reki, the History of Kamigawa, and Azusa, Lost but Seeking. The extra land drops let you play Gaea's Cradle for extra mana and Inventors' Fair. The main Inventors' Fair targets are Cloudstone Curio, Blasting Station, or Thousand-Year Elixir - the combos for each tutorable target are listed below.

Cloudstone Curio lets you draw your deck by bouncing and replaying legendary creatures, as Reki, the History of Kamigawa will trigger on each cast. It also lets you make infinite mana by bouncing and replaying small creatures (such as mana dorks). Be careful not to deck yourself, since Reki's trigger is not optional (bounce Reki after drawing the last card). After drawing the whole deck, a variety of things can win the game. Blind Obedience will give you infinite extort, card:Ulamong, the Ceaseless Hunger will exile all your opponents permanents, Eternal Witness can be looped to repeatedly cast Beast Within and Swords to Plowshares to destroy all permanents and Beast tokens; the list goes on and on. Note that Hushwing Gryff and Torpor Orb both shut down this line.

Blasting Station lets you repeatedly sacrifice a creature and ping the board down, together with Bow of Nylea. Sacrifice a cheap legendary creature (ideally Hope of Ghirapur) to ping someone for 1, return the creature from your graveyard to the bottom of your library using Bow of Nylea, and tutor it again with Captain Sisay. This lets you cast that cheap creature again, triggering untaps and letting you repeat this loop. Unfortunately, Null Rod and Stony Silence shuts down this line, as does Rest in Peace.

Thousand-Year Elixir combos with Selvala, Explorer Returned to mill your opponents and works through both Null Rod effects and Torpor Orb effects. It is critical that Dosan the Falling Leaf is in play before going for this line, to protect your combo. Fetch Selvala, Explorer Returned and use her Parlay ability together with Captain Sisay's fetch to draw your deck. Repeatedly cast Green Sun's Zenith once your library is empty to prevent yourself from decking and use Selvala to deck the other players. In a pinch, Lightning Greaves will do the same job - however, the Greaves will not work under a Null Rod or Stony Silence.

Legend-Only Lines

This line costs more mana with stricter color requirements to loop (specifically 1GGW) than the Inventors' Fair lines, so it's harder to assemble. However, all of the combo pieces are tutorable with Captain Sisay which can be advantageous if for some reason you can't get a land drop to play Inventors' Fair. The required legendary cards are Saffi Eriksdotter, Bow of Nylea, and one of the Amonkhet Monuments (e.g. Bontu's Monument). Begin by fetching and casting all three of these legends. Sacrifice Saffi targetting any creature, then use Bow to move her back to the bottom of the library. Fetch Saffi using Captain Sisay again and cast her. This triggers a Paradox Engine untap as well as the Amonkeht Monument. This loop can now be repeated for infinite monument triggers.

The best monument for this line is Bontu's Monument as infinite drain will kill the table. Oketra's Monument will yield infinite tokens and Rhonas's Monument yields infinite pump and trample, which can work well if you can grant your creatures haste. Unfortunately, the best tutorable source for haste is Akroma's Memorial which is fairly bad. However, these are the only two monuments with relevant static abilities for play outside your combo turn. Hazoret's Monument gives you infinite rummage triggers, which allows you to perfectly sculpt your hand and arrange your deck together with Bow of Nylea. This should allow you to assemble a win. Kefnet's Monument is unplayable garbage.

Additional Combo Tips

It is possible to win with a non-land mana source that only produces one mana as long as there's a creature that isn't summoning sick. After doing the line described above, you can fetch Rishkar, Peema Renegade to put a counter on that creature and turn it into a mana dork. Together with the Mox Opal and the one mana you start with, the combo continues as normal. Rishkar also makes the Legend-Only line much easier to assemble, as he helps satisfy the stricter green requirement.

Free spells such as Noxious Revival, Land Grant, Mox Diamond, and Chrome Mox are valuable because they provide a free Paradox Engine untap. As such, if you already have enough non-land mana sources to start your combo it can be better to play a land instead of playing Mox Diamond and pitching the land, as you can use it later on as a free untap.

Captain Sisay's tutor ability makes her uniquely capable of fetching stax pieces that are relevant to the other decks at the table. The fetchable stax package consists of Hokori, Dust Drinker, Kataki, War's Wage, Linvala, Keeper of Silence, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Thalia, Heretic Cathar. If your opponents have open mana or you aren't capable of comboing with Paradox Engine, it is often better to fetch a hate bear instead of forcing the combo. Notably, thanks to Rishkar, Peema Renegade fetching a hate bear often will not be at a cost to your combo.

The stax combo that can lock your opponents out of the game is Living Plane together with either Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite to destroy all opponents' lands or Linvala, Keeper of Silence to prevent them from being tapped for mana. This lock is generally harder to assemble than the combo lines listed above, but it is a plan B for when the Paradox line is unavailable.

The symmetrical stax pieces currently included in the decklist are Static Orb, Winter Orb, and Trinisphere. We break parity on all of these effects by tutoring Gaea's Cradle, which will provide more mana for us than our opponents. The asymmetrical stax pieces should also always be run for obvious reasons: Aven Mindcensor, Manglehorn, Phyrexian Revoker, and Aura of Silence. Finally, we run both Ravages of War and Armageddon as a way to reset the game. The deck has a fair number of legendary lands, which lets us rebuild very quickly from either of these. Together with our mana dorks, resolving one will usually set us fairly far ahead of the game.

Most other stax pieces can be adjusted to suit your meta. Cards such as Containment Priest, Eidolon of Rhetoric, Ethersworn Canonist, Hushwing Gryff, Hall of Gemstone, Stony Silence, and Grafdigger's Cage are currently included as meta calls. Although some of these stax pieces do stop our own combo lines, Miren, the Moaning Well is fetchable with Sisay and gives us the option to sacrifice our own stax pieces and go off. Alternative or additional options to consider for your meta are listed below.

As mentioned in the introduction, one of Sisay's strongest points comes from flexibility in deck construction. As such, this section will talk about potential cards for inclusion as opposed to the specific choices made for the decklist above. These are roughly broken into three categories for each section: mandatory, good, and maybe.



  • Azusa, Lost but Seeking - Tutorable and allows Inventors' Fair to be played even if a land drop has been expended.
  • Dosan the Falling Leaf - Tutorable and offers protection during the combo. Very risky to play if you aren't comboing.
  • Hope of Ghirapur - Tutorable and enables metalcraft for both Mox Opal and Inventors' Fair.
  • Thousand-Year Elixir - Good haste effect for Sisay, enables Selvala combo line.
  • Selvala, Explorer Returned - Good for Elixir line, makes mana in a pinch (risky).
  • Blind Obedience - Wincon for infinite storm in the Curio line while being a decent stax piece otherwise.
  • Blasting Station - Good utility card that can snipe down Aven Mindcensor or some hatebears. Enables Bow of Nylea combo line.
  • Bow of Nylea - Tutorable Reclaim. Destroyed / sacrificed legendaries can be returned to the deck and tutored for. Enables the Legend-Only combo line as well as the Blasting Station line.


  • Aetherflux Reservoir - Typical storm outlet but weak to Null Rod, Stony Silence. Not deterministic if your draws with Reki are bad and not tutorable with Sisay, so this replaces the Inventors' Fair fetch.
  • Bontu's Monument - Tutorable and combos with Curio. Can potentially replace Hope as a Metalcraft enabler although it's expensive. Best monument to use with the Legend-Only combo line.
  • Saffi Eriksdotter - One of the only legendary creatures that can sacrifice itself. Enables the Legend-Only line.
  • Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger - Tutorable and exiles all opponents' permanents after generating infinite mana with Curio loops.


  • Sylvan Safekeeper - Protects Sisay and other stax pieces as well in a pinch.
  • Mother of Runes - Protects Sisay and other stax pieces - better than Safekeeper early on.
  • Lightning Greaves - Only offers protection at sorcery speed, but performs double duty by granting Haste and enabling Selvala combo.


  • Grand Abolisher - Like Dosan and City but asymmetric and a creature.
  • Dragonlord Dromoka - Tutorable Abolisher but much more expensive. Protects your combo in only the grindiest matchups.
  • Apostle's Blessing - Protects both Sisay and Engine. Cheap spell to trigger untaps in a pinch.
  • Faith's Shield - Protects anything or everything. Also a cheap spell to trigger untaps.
  • Rebuff the Wicked - Protects anything but worse against damage spells that don't target and spells with ETB triggers.
  • Silence - Amazing card that can protect your own combo or stop someone else's combo. Unfortunately doesn't stop Flash Hulk.
  • Autumn's Veil - Prevents countermagic and offers protection for Sisay.
  • Vines of Vastwood - Protects only creatures, but it can potentially interrupt opponents' combos by targetting their creatures.
  • Concordant Crossroads - Allows activating Sisay immediately but can potentially open up wins to other players.
  • Reverent Mantra - Protection for creatures that can also be a free Paradox untap.


  • City of Solitude - The same effect as Dosan, but not tutorable. A risky drop when you're not already trying to combo.
  • Quirion Ranger - Can offer extra mana and a land drop with a dork out. Fetching both Engine and Opal on the combo turn shortcuts the need for a free spell to combo.
  • Scryb Ranger - Same as Quirion Ranger in utility, but costs one more mana and gains flash.
  • Wirewood Symbiote - Worse than the Rangers but it can return Rishkar in a pinch to make more mana.
  • Nature's Chosen - Same as Quirion Ranger but much riskier.
  • Lapse of Certainty - Hard-ish counterspell in white.
  • Ephemeral Shields - Free protection spell, but only against creature destruction.
  • Riftsweeper - Great if a legendary card gets exiled and reasonable meta call against Food Chain decks.



  • Arbor Elf - Unreliable one mana dork.
  • Boreal Druid - Reliable one mana dork, but only makes colorless.
  • Devoted Druid - Two mana dork that can make two mana when it counts.
  • Mana Vault - Cheap mana rock that can enable early Sisay or Paradox Engine.
  • Voyaging Satyr - Two mana dork that works extra well with Cradle.
  • Everflowing Chalice - Two mana rock that can be a free spell for a Paradox untap.
  • Lotus Petal - Temporary fast mana to land a faster Sisay and combo sooner. Can be a Paradox untap in a pinch.




  • Containment Priest - Stops a large number of creature-based combo decks.
  • Eidolon of Rhetoric - Stonewalls Storm, Food Chain, High Tide, etc.
  • Ethersworn Canonist - Same as Eidolon.
  • Rule of Law - Same as Eidolon, but can't be sacrificed to Miren to turn on your own combo.
  • Kataki, War's Wage - Tutorable answer to artifact-heavy decks.
  • Manglehorn - Blind Obedience but only for artifacts, with a destruction stapled on.
  • Thalia, Heretic Cathar - Tutorable asymmetric effect that slows down fetches significantly.
  • Tangle Wire - Partly asymmetric effect that slows down the whole game significantly, but only for a few turns.
  • Sphere of Resistance - Symmetric effect that hurts storm decks the most; dirty early drop.
  • Trinisphere - Symmetric effect that hurts storm decks the most; dirty early drop.
  • Thorn of Amethyst - Symmetric effect that hurts storm decks the most; dirty early drop.
  • Hushwing Gryff - Great against creature combo decks.
  • Torpor Orb - Same as Hushwing, but can't be sacrificed to Miren.
  • Null Rod - Great against artifact heavy and non-green decks.
  • Stony Silence - Same as Null Rod, but can't be hit by Manglehorn.
  • Rest in Peace - Stops many graveyard-based decks.
  • Grafdigger's Cage - Stops tutor-into-play effects, flashback, and reanimator.
  • Aura of Silence - Great against artifact heavy and enchantment heavy decks, doubles as a naturalize.



  • Green Sun's Zenith - A dork on 0, fetches anything on higher, and prevents decking yourself in the Elixir / Selvala combo line.
  • Chord of Calling - Instant speed tutor into play is powerful and can surprise people (e.g. dropping Dosan on 3)
  • Eladamri's Call - Fetches any creature, with extra utility if fetching a hatebear with flash.
  • Enlightened Tutor - Fetches Mana Crypt on fast combo lines, Living Plane on stax lines.
  • Worldly Tutor - Fetches any creature.


  • Recruiter of the Guard - Fetches almost any creature in the deck.
  • Survival of the Fittest - Fetches any creature, enables Loyal Retainers lines. Sisay can fetch a reanimation target, then Survival can pitch it to find Retainers.
  • Fauna Shaman - Similar to Survival, but usable only once per turn.


  • Sylvan Tutor - Worse than Worldly, but it will do in a pinch.
  • Idyllic Tutor - If you're all in on the Living Plane plan.
  • Sterling Grove - Better than Idyllic Tutor, but really only gets Living Plane. This card is better if you want to go a more enchantment stax route.


  • Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite - Often wipes the board and doubles as a beatdown plan in a pinch.
  • Land Grant - Free spell to untap with Paradox Engine, effectively a land in hand most of the time.
  • Noxious Revival - Free spell that can mess with opponents' graveyards or set up next turn's play.
  • Sylvan Library - Repeatedly refuels your hand.





  • Path to Exile - Worse than Swords, but hard removal is hard removal.
  • Deglamer - Shuffling is often better than destroying.
  • Song of the Dryads - Sorcery speed removal that hits all permanents.
  • Fiend Hunter - Creature removal - easier to tutor for than other options.
  • Banisher Priest - Same as Fiend Hunter, but Recruiter of the Guard can hit it.


  • Oust - Worse than both Swords and Path, but can hurt commander-dependent decks.
  • Lignify - Sorcery speed removal but it makes commanders harder to recover.
  • Darksteel Mutation - Similar to Lignify.
  • Natural State - Narrower Nature's Claim that's good in faster combo builds.




As discussed in the gameplan section, evaluating the combo speed of other decks at the table is very important for this deck. In particular, this should guide your opening hands because you need to decide if your hand has the tools to combo off earlier than the other decks. If not, then the hand should be capable of interacting with the other decks at the table through interaction and stax.

Hands with a lot of mana acceleration tend towards fast combo lines. The mana dorks or mana rocks let you drop an early Sisay and provides the fuel for Paradox Engine when you go for the combo. It is important to keep a cheap spell in hand in order to get the first untap with the Paradox Engine.

Hands with a mix of mana acceleration and relevant stax are ideal, because it lets Sisay play the most flexibly, either looking for an opening to combo or slowing the game down. Look for openings to tutor Paradox Engine and combo off - however, if people are holding up interaction it's generally recommended to slow down the game by tutoring for stax pieces.

Hands without much acceleration but with a lot of relevant stax can be risky but certainly playable. These hands depend the most on turn order and the speed of other decks. If you can drop the relevant stax pieces before the other decks can combo off, then you can slowly tutor for more stax pieces to lock down the game, and Rishkar to enable your own combo lines.

All other hands should be mulliganed - hands with irrelevant stax pieces, not enough mana, or with too many fetchable but narrow cards in hand (e.g. Elesh Norn, Bow of Nylea, Dosan) are bad. Ideally your hand should be able to support playing Sisay by turn 3 - she can help you tutor your way out of bad hands.

For the most part, for each expensive card in the deck you can look for it in the Single Card Discussion section and try to find a replacement. However, I'll go over some potential alternatives that can replace the most expensive cards (more than $20) in this section. Each card will be listed in order of price.

In order of importance to the deck and getting the most value out of buying the card, I would recommend acquiring Mana Crypt, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Mox Opal and Azusa, Lost but Seeking first. The rest of the cards will improve your deck but won't have as high an impact for their price.

  • Gaea's Cradle - Extremely powerful card but replaceable with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Nykthos is much worse under Static Orb, but still helps you break parity on most other stax effects and can make a significant amount of mana.
  • Ravages of War - Although the original printing for this card is expensive, there's actually a judge promo version that's much cheaper. One card I would try replacing this with is Cataclysm, which is much harder to break parity on but equally powerful. Cataclysm is much more powerful than Ravages when Sisay is out just because your opponents can lose a significant number of nonland mana sources and you can rebuild much more consistently.
  • Living Plane - This card is extremely replaceable because the combo with Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite or Linvala, Keeper of Silence is a tertiary plan. The closest substitute to this card is Nature's Revolt which serves the same function but is one mana more expensive.
  • Savannah - Ideally this deck has two fetchable dual lands in order to more consistently cast your double-white spells. That said, as long as you have your first fetchable untapped dual land in Temple Garden, the second one is fairly optional. Including Canopy Vista or Scattered Groves are fine budget alternatives.
  • Mox Diamond - This card enables the fastest combo lines and acts as a free untap for Paradox Engine. This can be replaced with any other card in the ramp section.
  • Horizon Canopy - This card is unnecessarily expensive and offers very marginal benefit. Cut it for any cheaper ETB untapped land, like Brushland, Mana Confluence, City of Brass, or even a basic.
  • Mana Crypt - This card is a cEDH staple and enables the fastest combo lines, acts as a free spell to untap Paradox Engine, and overall amazing. This can be substituted for any card in the ramp section but I highly encourage purchasing this card first if you're looking to upgrade your deck just because it's a staple in every cEDH deck.
  • Mox Opal - This card is amazing because it enables the best combo line since it's tutorable with Sisay. If Mana Crypt is the first purchase that adds the most power to this deck, then Mox Opal comes at a very close second. The combo lines will still work without Mox Opal, but they will just require more starting mana, or the inclusion of more cheap legendaries (especially 1-drops) in order to make more mana. Again, can be substituted for any ramp card.
  • Verdant Catacombs - The most expensive fetch. Just run any other land that can make both green and white mana in its place.
  • Cavern of Souls - Mostly useless unless you expect a lot of counterspells on Sisay. Substitute with any other land that can make both colors of mana.
  • Misty Rainforest - Same as Verdant Catacombs.
  • Bloom Tender - Enables the combo line on its own because it makes two mana with Sisay out. That said, it can easily be replaced with any other ramp card.
  • Arid Mesa - Same as Verdant Catacombs.
  • Azusa, Lost but Seeking - Allows you to expend land drops during the combo line to play Inventor's Fair. Cuttable, but it can make your combo turn a little slower. There's no amazing substitute for this card unfortunately but more ramp spells can make it so that you don't need to drop a land before casting Paradox Engine.
  • Ancient Tomb - One of the best two-mana lands. Just run any other land.
  • Marsh Flats - Same as Verdant Catacombs.
  • Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite - This card is an amazing tutorable board wipe that also makes beatdown a viable plan. You could try Crovax, Ascendant Hero as a mini-version that will still kill most dorks, but it's really not the same. If you're looking for a good mass-pump spell Spear of Heliod might just be better, but it's hard to replicate the board wipe effect unfortunately.



  • Thorn of Amethyst - Thalia is fetchable for the cases where I need it - dropping T1 Thorn is also not as good in a meta with a lot of creature based combo.
  • Eternal Witness - Good card, but this deck really needed another dork. Trying out Arbor Elf in this slot.
  • Hall of Gemstones - Haven't been happy enough to see this card in a number of matchups; replaced with Sphere of Resistance.
  • Cloudstone Curio - Too much of a dead card outside the combo turn. Replacing with Blasting Station since I already run Bow of Nylea for that combo line.


  • Grafdigger's Cage - Missed this in the last update, helps stop Yisan and Flash Hulk, among other things
  • Arbor Elf - back in because mana dorks are extremely useful and because of the inclusion of a Savannah.
  • Sphere of Resistance - more universal stax piece than Hall of Gemstones.
  • Blasting Station - New combo line involving recurring Hope of Ghirapur repeatedly. Station can ping off some hatebears outside the combo turn, making it much more useful than Curio.


Please login to comment

Compare to inventory
Date added 5 months
Last updated 6 days

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.16
Tokens 3/3 Beast
Folders Decks I Might Use, Commander, cEDH, Take Note, Competitive EDH, sissay, cEDH, cEDH
Top rank #16 on 2017-06-20
Views 1280