As soon as I saw Arcades, the Strategist I knew I needed to build a defender deck. I have always wanted to build a wall deck. So here it is, a deck that will instill envy in our opponents as we look down upon them from our magnificent ramparts and go

When I first started building this deck I was just throwing every wall with a cool ability/artwork (i.e. Wall of Tears or Wall of Resistance ) into the deck. After some time however, I had to reconsider what Arcades really does. He mobilizes these walls into an aggressive fighting force that also provides card advantage. I realized that it was more important to have cheap, very large walls, or walls with solid abilities. As a result I focused more upon two types of walls/defenders: beaters and utility.

Our beaters: Wall of Junk, Shield Sphere, Wall of Tanglecord, Angelic Wall, Wall of Nets, Wall of Ice, Tree of Redemption, and Wall of Denial

Our 'utility' walls:

Wall of Kelp - pay to draw a card and add an additional defender

Wall of Mulch - recycles our walls into cards

Crenellated Wall - buffs any of our defenders

Axebane Guardian, Overgrown Battlement, and Sylvan Caryatid - ramp and color fixing

Jeskai Barricade - save an important creature and instant speed card draw

Wall of Omens and Wall of Blossoms - draw two cards on ETB

Geist of the Archives - more card filtering

We can't always rely on Arcades surviving so other ways to animate our guardians of stone are important. We also need other ways to ensure that the walls hit with their big butts. Belligerent Brontodon, Wakestone Gargoyle, Assault Formation, and Rolling Stones help with this.

Cards like Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive, Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa, and Wonder grant our 0 power creatures evasion. Next we have cards like Stalwart Shield-Bearers, Hold the Gates, Oathsworn Giant, and Defender of the Order which provide global buffs.

These cards will keep our defenders ever vigilant and allow our walls to slip past our opponents defenses.

This deck relies heavily on Arcades sticking around, so to ensure that he has some longevity I have included Swiftfoot Boots, Asceticism, and Heroic Intervention. Eerie Interlude provides more blink protection as well as more ETB triggers. I would run Lightning Greaves but I currently lack an additional copy. Because Arcades is so important I have also included a copy of Open the Armory to ensure that we always have access to our protective equipment.

A card like Meekstone does a ton of work in this deck as most of our creatures slide under its 3 power threshold.

The deck runs four board wipes: Cyclonic Rift is in there just because the deck runs blue and it's Cyclonic Rift. The other board wipes: Fell the Mighty, Slaughter the Strong, and Dusk all spare our creatures (mostly) but should hit the bulk of our opponents' boards. Dusk even provides a bit of recursion for us.

Sun Titan can bring back most of our creatures and all of our artifacts and enchantments. Eternal Witness provides and additional recursion source and falls under Tetsuko's toughness threshold.

Temur Sabertooth is a seemingly random inclusion, but the card does work in this deck. Not only does it protect Arcades in a pinch, it can also bounce a wall like Wall of Omens for more value when needed.

The rest of the cards are your standard removal, card draw/tutor, and ramp spells. Our defenders won't be caught sleeping on the job!

Here are some cards which I have seen suggested for other Arcades decks that I chose to exclude:

Dragon Throne of Tarkir - I am not really sure why this card is being thrown into so many Arcades lists. The effect is actually pretty terrible in a deck that runs only a small number of creatures with power larger than 1. I think the hype mainly stems from the fact that the Throne gives a creature defender so it can still attack with Aracdes.

Sunscape Familiar - this card still might make the cut as the mana reduction is the real deal, but as of right now my curve is already pretty low.

Perimeter Captain - Another card that may eventually make the cut after some testing, but the marginal lifegain doesn't seem worth it when I am looking for aggressive, large defenders (i.e. Wall of Junk), or defenders with more impact (i.e. Wall of Omens).

Retribution of the Meek - This is a bad board wipe and you shouldn't be playing it. Far more creatures survive this than I think people realize. Maybe it's just my meta, but I have never seen this card have the impact people expect it to have.

Aluren - a) I don't have one and the card is quite expensive; b) while it is awesome to be able to flash walls in at anytime, Aluren is a symmetrical effect. There are a lot of very strong ETB effects on creatures with cmc 3 or less in EDH. I am not so sure allowing my opponents to cast creatures at instant speed is very beneficial.

I am always open to discussion about my exclusion choices so if you really think I should be playing one of these cards please speak up!

I would love suggestions for improvements, however, please see my exclusion list prior to suggesting a card. Also, if you could please include which card you think I should remove in place of your suggestions that would be awesome! Thanks for taking a look and please +1 the deck if you like it!


Updates Add

The first major update centers around the current debate about whether cards like Rolling Stones or Wakestone Gargolye should be in the Arcades deck. Yes redundancy in EDH is essential, but the debate postures that Animate Wall type cards which don't also allow your walls to deal damage with their butts are trap cards. You could pair the animate cards with Belligerent Brontodon , but after some play testing with this list I have found that I would rather just recast Arcades or go find/return Assault Formation than try to cobble together a Plan C. In place of the cards which I have removed from the list ( Rolling Stones , Wakestone Gargoyle , Belligerent Brontodon ) I have added more protection in Lightning Greaves and Momentary Blink and an additional cheap defender Steel Wall .



90% Competitive

Top Ranked
  • Achieved #34 position overall 1 year ago
Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 year

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.75
Tokens 3/3 Beast, 0/1 Plant Wall, 2/2 Morph
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