Description

The Spirit of Self Sacrifice

When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way. -Morihei Ueshiba

Hello and welcome to my current take on a Mardu Aikido Control deck! This deck has evolved considerably over time. Initially, this was a Queen Marchesa deck, then it became a Zurgo deck, and in it's current iteration it is designed to operate effectually with either commander! The great thing about this is the deck more or less never gets old - it is obviously fundamentally always the same deck, but it is quite surprising how differently both commanders play out with the Aikido shell!

That deck is fun and very rewarding/challenging to play. When I played exclusively The Queen I had an eye on striking out with something a little different than the rest of the Aikido community. Zurgo Helmsmasher was a commander I'd had my eye on as a potential replacement, and when I acquired an awesome alt artwork copy of Garrosh Hellscream I knew I had to make the switch. But after awhile, I began to really miss Marchesa! The Monarch sub-game is a ton of fun, and Zurgo basically demands aggression backed by Aikido protection, as opposed to Marchesa playing a more patient game. So basically I set out to subtly tweak the Zurgo list to accommodate either commander.

Obviously, this list can never be optimized for both commander simultaneously, but it doesn't have to be. This is my "75%" list, where it is powerful enough to compete, but I really just play it for funsies.

What does each Commander offer us?

The main playstyle differentiation between Zurgo and Marchesa is our aggro level. Marchesa is all politics all the time - you typically aren't winning unless you get others to do the dirty work for you, and you aim to stay under the radar until the perfect moment. This style of play is, quite frankly, awesome, but sometimes you just want to Wreck Face!

Zurgo, by nature of being in the 3-hit-club, is likely to draw some concerned glances from the table. We are very unlikely to be the "lowest threat level" based on any reasonable analysis. So how does this combine with all the Aikido effects that we know and love? Quite well actually! By raising our threat level to Midnight, we actually force our opponents into some awkward attacks into our obvious deflection. Our Aikido is still a deterrent, we just make the calculation much more difficult for our opponents than in a more passive style.

Using a powerful duder like Zurgo as our commander also increases the damned if you do, damned if you don't potential of Repercussion, a pet card of mine. This allowed me to expand on that general theme, including cards like Mogg Maniac alongside King Minotaur.

When we put The Queen in the command zone, the complexion changes. Suddenly we are a much more innocuous player. Our ability to steal games out of nowhere goes down, our total win conditions goes down, but our defensive capabilities improve and we are highly unlikely to get hated off the table.

Ultimately, split commanders turns this deck into two completely different styles. That increases replayability, and fun times!

A Brief Word about my Playgroup

It is important to put anything you see into the context of my own experience. I make these decklists and fleshed out explanations because I'm seeking feedback. If I can deliver some inspiration to you, dear reader, then all the better!

That being said, here are the contours of my group: we like to win and are competitive people, but we are fundamentally casuals. This means that things like infinite combos are no-nos for us. We have one unofficial house rule, that if you assemble and demonstrate an infinite loop you can utilize it no more than 5 times per turn. This keeps any wanna-be combo players in check and leads to longer developing games. Combos that don't go infinite are highly encouraged, because it is still fun to assemble a Rube Goldberg and go off!

We do encourage aggro decks to keep the filthy control players in check. As such, a lot of my deck building prioritizes curve very heavily. I typically don't like to play more than six-eight four-drops, and ideally no more than five 6+ drops. I have found that the sweet spot on the commander curve is really around three-four mana. If we prioritize this spot in our curve, we can almost always drop multiple spells in a turn later game, which can often change the board state significantly more than playing an eight drop that fishes out a board wipe in response.

Card Choices

A comprehensive list of each card choice by category, including excluded cards and my reasoning. If you have suggestions or disagree with a choice I made, let me know in the comments section and let's discuss!

Whether we are playing Zurgo or Queeny changes a lot on the draw front, due to access or lack-there-of to Monarchy. I have therefore built my draw suite with the Lowest Common Denominator in mind. As a general rule, I try to include 10 card advantage effects at a minimum in my decks. This deck may currently lack real card draw effects, stay tuned or give your comment it is much appreciated!

  • Humble Defector
  • - A pet card of mine. This card is amazing for the archetype, as giving out political favors works well with our general politicking strategy. Oftentimes cards in the right opponents hand are just as strong as cards in our own hand, a standard Aikido philosophy.
  • Wall of Omens
  • - The synergy with Eldrazi Displacer is insane, and a cantriping wall isn't bad on it's own either. I personally love cantrips, and this card really pulls it's weight at any point in the game.
  • Eldrazi Displacer
  • - This is such a versatile and powerful card. This deck only has a handful of reasonable blink targets, but I still find that most of the time when he is on the board I'd rather hold up all my mana to sink into his ability. In conjunction with a nice blink target like Aurelia, the Warleader he really pulls his weight.
  • Restoration Angel
  • - The base level ability to reset or save a creature is nothing to scoff at, and I continually try to find ways to expand my blink package. If I decide to go this route, combos off with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker as well, but my meta currently does not allow for infinite loops.
  • Queen Marchesa
  • - If she is in the command zone, she is a fantastic draw spell!
  • Sun Titan
  • - Strong strong source of card advantage. This guy does work, whether it is repeatedly recurring Commander's Sphere or bringing back a Ghostly Prison for value. Also combos well with Eldrazi Displacer.
  • Tithe
  • - Acts as a CIPT land at worst, and will usually actually draw us an extra card. Helps us keep the land drops coming, and fills our hand with Looting fodder.
  • Phyrexian Arena
  • - Arguably the strongest card draw effect in EDH. Play it early, and let it do some work for you.
  • Underworld Connections
  • - Arena #2. Comes at mana disadvantage, but will sometimes play better by being an optional effect.
  • Necropotence
  • - Different than Arena, much higher risk/reward ratio. Can sometimes kill us or lock us out of the game, but it can also draw us like 20 cards instantaneously.
  • Damnable Pact
  • - Black Fireball is a criminally under played card. Draws when you need it to draw, kills when you need it to kill.
  • Thaumatic Compass  Flip
  • - While I do believe I have too many land-draw effects, this one is well worth it for the flip side.
  • Sunforger
  • - While this does make it pretty obvious that you are holding up Aikido effects, this still does what you want it to do. Also turns Zurgo into a 2 hit wonder.
  • Mind Stone
  • - Ramp that features down the line as a 1-shot draw effect. Combos with Sun Titan quite nicely.
  • Arch of Orazca
  • - A pricey way to draw cards. Basically free roll from a deck building perspective, and offers us Wingding mana for Eldrazi Displacer.
  • Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
  • - A very effective way to load up the group with threats and answers. We can then hopefully craft the narrative to our advantage, in terms of how to _use_ those threats and answers.
  • Path of Ancestry
  • - Scrying and perfect fixing for virtually no cost will catch on soon enough, I promise!

Notable Exclusions

You probably have ideas from other Mardu decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

  • Faithless Looting
  • - An awesome way to cycle through the deck. there are several ways to gain value from the GY in the deck, but at worst this allows us to get rid of excess lands or effects we do not need in favor of new cards. Cut for Humble Defector.
  • Dusk Legion Zealot
  • - Vampiric Visionary may warrant inclusion as my blink package increases.
  • Key to the City
  • - Another way to recycle useless cards, and get Zurgo in there to boot. Currently cut as it is just low effectiveness and doesn't generate real card advantage.
  • Commander's Sphere
  • - Ramp that features down the line as a 1-shot draw effect. Combos with Sun Titan quite nicely. Currently cut as 3-mana ramp less effective with Marchesa
  • Read the Bones
  • - I don't mind including a few one-shot CA effects. Read the Bones is the best of those as a way to dig through up to 4 cards looking for your answers. May warrant inclusion.
  • Painful Truths
  • - See above regarding 1-shot effects. More total CA, but less dig potential and awkward without 3 distinct color sources.
  • Sea Gate Wreckage
  • - In a deck featuring Diamond mana and lots of ways to theoretically achieve hellbent, this does some real work. Main issue is that we have so many reasons to hold back cards, so hellbent looks easier to achieve on paper than in practice. This deck needs to be played patiently, and this card goes against that mindset.
  • Geier Reach Sanitarium
  • - A fine way to recycle cards, basically a free inclusion from the land slot.
  • Ghostway/Eerie Interlude
  • - Strong candidates to add if the blink package keeps increasing.
Ten ramp spells is my go-to for most decks, and this deck may need to be beefed up a bit in this area. This mana base has had to support 2 different CMC commanders, so similar to the Draw section, my aim is to support the Lowest Common Denominator 4-drop commander, and prioritize 2 mana ramp.

  • Sol Ring
  • - Just run it, every time.
  • Rakdos Signet
  • - I think signets are excellent. 2 mana ramp is the perfect CMC, and signets offer fixing and "color-washing", turning mana of 1 color into another.
  • Boros Signet
  • - I think signets are excellent. 2 mana ramp is the perfect CMC, and signets offer fixing and "color-washing", turning mana of 1 color into another.
  • Orzhov Signet
  • - I think signets are excellent. 2 mana ramp is the perfect CMC, and signets offer fixing and "color-washing", turning mana of 1 color into another.
  • Mind Stone
  • - Another 2 CMC ramp spell that can be exchanged for a card late game.
  • Curse of Opulence
  • - A fun "Aikido" card by virtue of incentivizing attacks elsewhere. Get them stacks.
  • Myriad Landscape
  • - I think this warrants inclusion in any 3 or fewer color deck. Just run enough basics and you've built yourself a Harrow out of the land slot.
  • Drownyard Temple
  • - A freebie from the land slot that can potentially give us some value. Makes wingdings for Eldrazi Displacer.

Notable Exclusions

You probably have ideas from other Mardu decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

  • Commander's Sphere
  • - Color fixes and can be exchanged for a card for free! Cut for 2 mana ramp.
  • Mana Crypt
  • - An obviously strong card, but out of my budget for this deck.
  • Grim Monolith
  • - Not necessarily the right fit for this deck, although I'd consider it. Outside of this deck's budget for now.
  • Wayfarer's Bauble
  • - I may eventually pop this bad boy in. I think this card is criminally underplayed as a Rampant Growth for non-green decks.
  • Knight of the White Orchid
  • - Another way to ramp for resilient lands. Plays nicely with Eldrazi Displacer as well. Might warrant the fit.
  • Solemn Simulacrum
  • - Just a great value card. Color fixes and ramps and can often play a role preventing attacks towards you as your opponents worry about giving you free value. Turns out, they already did just by not attacking! It is crazy to me that I cut this guy, but I just really wanted to play Restoration Angel.... But again, that synergy is ridic. I need to get Sad Robot back in there.
  • Kor Cartographer
  • - Sad Robot Lite. Plays well with Eldrazi Displacer.
Pillow Fort is critical to playing our political game and making the most out of our Aikido deterrents. Pillow Fort effects typically act as a tax on resources, making the prospect of attacking you seem less worthwhile compared to other folks. Stage one of our political framework, this is usually the most obvious set of dis-incentives. I believe that table talk is important here - make sure people know why attacking you doesn't make sense. Like Geo-politics, a clear set of conditions allows other state actors to make the most rational decisions.

  • Mother of Runes
  • - A pet card of mine, I try to include Mom in all my white decks. She makes board states very easy to manage, and can be used as a bargaining chip to boot.
  • Shieldmage Advocate
  • - Another pet card for this Aikido style, I really enjoy this card. Another strong bargaining chip and political tool, this also protects us from Repercussion damage.
  • Orzhov Advokist
  • - I think this card is wayyy under rated. People often fail to realize that A) We can utilize the effect ourselves to pump one of our dudes and B) People love free stuff. In most scenarios, they will accept the free stuff gladly. Icing on the cake is that WE PLAY AIKIDO EFFECTS! Bigger creatures = bigger redirect.
  • Eldrazi Displacer
  • - This is such a versatile and powerful card. Even in a deck with only a handful of reasonable blink targets this guy does work. He clears blockers or fogs attacks like a champ.
  • Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
  • - Probably the strongest standalone card in the deck. Yes, it draws massive hate. Yes, it dies to Doom Blade. But when it sticks we basically can't lose. Really helps mitigate Repercussion damage.
  • Ghostly Prison
  • - Classic Pillow Fort effect. I try to run in every deck featuring white, especially this deck.
  • Solitary Confinement
  • - When running Queen Marchesa in the command zone this card is kind of a no-brainer due to guaranteed Monarchy. It loses some luster with Zurgo there, but is still an incredibly powerful card with the right setup.
  • Blind Obedience
  • - Kind of on the line of being an actual "pillow fort" effect, but Kismet effects are strong, and this one comes featuring lifegain and for a very efficient cost.
  • Worship
  • - A wonderful card. On our turn with indestructible Zurgo this allows us to go off with Repercussion and Blasphemous Act and sit pretty at 1 life when it all goes down.
  • Thaumatic Compass  Flip
  • - Flip into Maze of Ith. Profit.
  • Maze of Ith
  • - A classic pillow-fort card. Always use the original _The Dark_ art because it looks weird and crazy.
  • Kor Haven
  • - Maze #2. Great inclusion. Also makes Diamond mana.

Notable Exclusions

You probably have ideas from other Mardu decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

  • Story Circle
  • - Some metas may not be okay with you playing this card, but it is really quite important for this deck. The deal is that it helps prevent the damage to us from Repercussion, which is absolutely critical. It can also of course name a different color for general value and pillow-forty goodness. Hard cut to make.
  • Sphere of Safety
  • - A common inclusion in Pillow-Fort decks. My problem is two-fold. 1) the mana cost is too high for the value of the effect and 2) it requires you to build your stack around it, and I hate going all-in on enchantments.
  • Greater Auramancy
  • - If I can ever get my hands on one of these i;d strongly consider it. Stronger in the version running the Queen.
  • Force Bubble
  • - If I ever add a Dark Depths/Solemnity package this card will go in hands down. I aspire to that, for what it's worth.
  • Delaying Shield
  • - If I ever add a Dark Depths/Solemnity package this card will go in hands down. I aspire to that, for what it's worth.
  • Phyrexian Unlife
  • - If I ever add a Dark Depths/Solemnity package this card will go in hands down. I aspire to that, for what it's worth.
  • No Mercy
  • - I own 2 extra No Mercy's that I could add in, I just honestly don't think it is as exceptional as it seems at first blush. I still think it is a great card but I much prefer tax effects on my pillow fort to rattlesnake effects.
  • Icy Manipulator
  • - An old classic that I've thought of including from a nostalgia perspective, _Ice Age_ art all day.
  • Forcefield
  • - I would absolutely LOVE to have a copy of this card. It was tailor made for countering our own Repercussion. Far too expensive for me, although there is a less expensive collector's edition version with a gold border.
Aikido effects are best described by the card Deflecting Palm. Use their own aggression against them. This is part 3 of your political deterrent. Never broadcast your hand, but similarly never miss an opportunity to make a statement that the rest of the field CANNOT mistake. Never leave an explicit challenge unpunished, never fail to live up to your threats, and never cross the terms you've created under an alliance.

This category includes fogs, redirects, copies, and threaten effects.

  • Selfless Squire
  • - One of our strongest fogs. Turning a big smackdown attack into your own giant creature just feels fantastic.
  • Batwing Brume
  • - Textbook Aikido. Turn their own aggression onto themselves. technically tutorable with Sunforger, though please beware it will do nothing since it was cast "for free".
  • Dawn Charm
  • - A versatile modal fog. I love modal spells, bsically almost every charm is playable in my opinion. This card will be a fog 75% of the time, but that other 25% it will do so much more.
  • Teferi's Protection
  • - The strongest fog ever printed. I resisted buying this for quite some time, but I really can't picture running an Aikido deck without this card.
  • Reverberate
  • - Highly under rated effect. I run Fork variants in probably close to 50% of my decks, including in blue for Twincast. I think more people should pick up that trend. This is a textbook Aikido effect in my opinion, and is often a modal spell that can do it all.
  • Imp's Mischief
  • - Another card that deserves more Aikido love. This is what you want out of a spell - turn the opponent's aggression against them.
  • Deflecting Palm
  • - The posterchild for the entire Aikido archetype. Highly efficient, highly effective. Sunforger target to boot.
  • Delirium
  • - A version of the Palm effect. Worth inclusion.
  • Comeuppance
  • - 4 mana is about as much as we are willing to pay for a fog effect, but this can be so much more than that. This can often wipe our opponent's board.
  • Grab the Reins
  • - Threaten effects are pretty amazing. Even more so at instant speed. Having modal cost to add Fling is just gravy here.
  • Word of Seizing
  • - Threaten effect with a little more versatility behind it. Additionally great at stopping combos in their tracks by virtue of _split second_.
  • Zealous Conscripts
  • - Threaten effects are pretty amazing. Threaten effects on a stick are even better. Blink synergies galore, I think this card is just phenomenal and worth inclusion in just about any red deck.
  • Disrupt Decorum
  • - Another recent printing from C17 that is worth the add. This is a global threaten, basically, and causes some real mayhem. In my experience this creates a very interesting game dynamic, as folks rarely blame you for the damage this causes. _People don't forget._
  • Arcbond
  • - A most interesting Aikido effect. This can completely turn the game on it's head, dealing massive damage and wiping the board in response to a block. Very effective on a chump blocker blocking our Zurgo. Functions similarly to Repercussion.
  • Mirage Mirror
  • - Clone is sort of the epitome of Aikido, and having a colorless Clone that can reset itself every turn is just gravy for the archetype.

Notable Exclusions

You probably have ideas from other Mardu decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

  • Backlash
  • - A version of the Palm effect. It can be awkward to use, because it requires proactive casting to actually prevent a combat step.
  • Debt of Loyalty
  • - I have thought a lot about adding this card. The flavor is excellent, as is the effect.
  • Holy Day
  • - I have strongly considered Adding a 1 mana fog effect. 1 mana effects in general are so efficient and allow for some wonderful 2 or 3 spell turns.
  • Angel's Grace
  • - A card I've strongly considered. The ability to survive a Repercussion or even just give ourselves a guaranteed extra turn is quite powerful. Note, this won't save us from commander damage past that turn, unless it prevents damage exceeding 20.
  • Eye for an Eye
  • - I absolutely adore this artwork, and while it isn't the strongest Aikido effect ever, it still puts in work. If I get an _Arabian Nights_ copy I will be adding it for sure.
  • Mirror Strike
  • - One of the few ways to deal actual bona fide commander damage via a re-direct. A little pricey for my taste.
  • Boros Fury-Shield
  • - A very solid spell. Add if you want more Backlash effects.
  • Emrakul, the Promised End
  • - I really want to include this. It was a late late cut, but it kind of screams "Aikido" to me. We can _literally_ use the opponent's threats against themselves!
A good politician knows when it's time to make friends. These tools will allow you to influence the table more proactively by conferring some boon on another player. Be careful not to swing too hard into bed with one player, however - you cannot tie yourself down with foreign alliances. Subtle application is the best application, moderation in all things my friends. You know you've done it right when your patron feels like they won out on the deal, the target of your patron is mad at them and not you, and you spent nearly no resources to coordinate it all.

  • Mother of Runes
  • - very useful as a bargaining chip. Make friends anc ash in those favors later.
  • Shieldmage Advocate
  • - Need to remove that big duder threatening to win the game? Return your buddies Swords to Plowshares and let him take care of it!
  • Orzhov Advokist
  • - Everyone likes free things. This let's everyone at the table build up their own Tarmogoyf. Whether by virtue of the effect or because of our "kindness", people are disincentivized or unable to attack us.
  • Eldrazi Displacer
  • - This is such a versatile and powerful card. Even in a deck with only a handful of reasonable blink targets this guy does work. He clears blockers or fogs attacks like a champ.
  • Dawn Charm
  • - Sometimes regenerating our opponent's guy or fogging a key combat step can really gain us some long-term friend advantage. It can also make an enemy, so beware.
  • Boros Charm
  • - Giving double strike out can be quite handy.
  • Curse of Opulence
  • - Again, people like free stuff. Especially free gold. The target? They probably aren't quite as pleased.
  • Austere Command
  • - Pick and choose what lives and what dies with one of the ultimate modal spells. Decide who is a friend and who is an enemy.
  • Maze of Ith
  • - Save your friends some damage. Plain and simple single target fog.
  • Kor Haven
  • - Save your friends some damage. Plain and simple single target fog.

Notable Exclusions

You probably have ideas from other Mardu decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

  • Key to the City
  • - I enjoyed this card a lot, but it is pretty durdly and needed to find a cut.
  • Any Removal Spell
  • - Any removal spell can qualify for this. Carrot's are simply the act of doing favors for quid pro quo future value.
These are your win conditions, and some holdovers from my previous iterations of the deck. A light touch is needed - no one wants to deal with that unpredictable Rakdos player at the table. Don't show your true colors until you can remove some heads.

  • Repercussion
  • - One of the most important cards in the deck. This creates some real lose-lose situations. Be careful, however, without a way to mitigate the damage this can be a double-edged sword.
  • Serra Ascendant
  • - The ability to occasionally start the game with a 6/6 flying lifelinker is too good to pass up. Some metas may frown on this card that was obviously not templated with commander in mind, but I think it is fine. Commander suffers from a lack of aggro starts in my opinion, and with a removal heavy format it is unlikely to go the distance.
  • Mogg Maniac
  • - An effect in a similar vein to Repercussion. This acts as part rattlesnake, part wombo-combo with Blasphemous Act.
  • Boros Reckoner
  • - The strongest iteration of the original Mogg Maniac effect. This is a hyper efficient creature that can do some busted things.
  • Aurelia, the Warleader
  • - Just a powerful Boros beater. Combined with Zurgo she can kill a player out of nowhere. AMAZING synergy with Eldrazi Displacer.
  • Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
  • - Drop this card and proceed to win with your double damage. Bonus points for flashing in with Scout's Warning.
  • Rakdos Charm
  • - This card can win games out of nowhere against token decks. Modal spells are great, and this charm is no exception.
  • Boros Charm
  • - See above regarding modal charms. If your opponent miscalculates and lets your Zurgo through while already on 7 commander damage the double strike is a swift kill.
  • Arcbond
  • - This card is situationally amazing. If it proves too narrow I may eventually remove it, but it gets the nod for now over more vanilla board wipe effects.
  • Damnable Pact
  • - Black Fireball is amazing. Kill them out of nowhere.
  • Blind Obedience
  • - This damage starts to add up, and the incidental lifegain is amazing for building up a buffer against self-inflicted wounds.
  • Sunforger
  • - Turns Zurgo into a 2-hit wonder.

Notable Exclusions

You probably have ideas from other Mardu decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

  • Chandra's Ignition
  • - Not many decks can feature this beauty and actually resolve it more than a handful of times. Zurgo's indestructibility changes the math a bit. Great mass damage spell to play off of Repercussion and Mogg Maniac. Cut with switch to dual commander split - Bad with Marchesa!
  • Stuffy Doll
  • - The most resilient iteration of the Mogg Maniac effect. This does have some serious downsides compared with the other 2, notably that it costs 5 mana and targets one player. This can create a permanent enemy. One sneaky play is resetting the target using Eldrazi Displacer. Cut because of mana cost and single player effect causing hate.
  • Acidic Soil
  • - In this iteration of the Aikido deck, one-shot damage effects don't quite cut it. Much stronger in Queen Marchesa where we need the incremental damage, or decks featuring Heartless Hidetsugu and more damage doublers.
  • Price of Progress
  • - See above.
  • Seize the Day
  • - This is a card I would like to feature. The added synergy with looting effects makes it especially attractive. Suggest a cut and let's discuss.
  • Master of Cruelties
  • - Less desirable I think in this iteration of the deck. For starters, haste enablers become less attractive as our commander has haste built in. Additionally, we are a little more all in on our commander damage plan. May still be correct to include him, time will tell if we need to include more Plan B cards.
  • Heartless Hidetsugu
  • - A pet card of mine. Less powerful here than in my previous iteration with the Queen as commander. Incremental damage is less critical with a 7 power commander.
  • Assault Suit
  • - Great to give Zurgo indestructibility during every main phase. In a different version of this deck, we go slightly heavier on an equipment package and grab a Stoneforge Mystic. Not the plan for now.
Necessary for all decks, these are some removal spells I will have access to. These can often act as Aikido or Carrot effects by virtue of your table talk. It's all about framing, use your words like resources.

I include Mass Removal, but often you aim to let boards develop and manage the chaos. "Chaos is a Ladder" after all.

  • Swords to Plowshares
  • - Classically powerful and efficient removal. Probably the best targeted removal spell in the game.
  • Path to Exile
  • - STP's Modern cousin. 1 drop removal is so key that this is still worth it. Asks little from us to make great.
  • Hide/Seek
  • - A modal spell with some interesting uses. Gaining us life is a nice option, can gut the random combo (especially great in response to a tutor), and dodges indestructibility and GY shenanigans. Solidly powerful card that deserves to see more play.
  • Anguished Unmaking
  • - New school Vindicate. Kills what we need it to, dodges GY recursion, and is instant to boot. Great spell for all Orzhov decks.
  • Lapse of Certainty
  • - Your opponent's will not expect a straight up counterspell in the Mardu colors. Combined with Reverberate and Imp's Mischief creates a very convincing stack manipulation package. If we can force a shuffle after the counter, say via Hide/Seek, it is closer to a hard counter.
  • Rakdos Charm
  • - Modal artifact removal is great.
  • Reverberate
  • - Modal everything is great. Our counterspell and an extra STP.

Mass Removal

  • Blasphemous Act
  • - One of the top board wipes in the game. Key to the Repercussion/Boros Reckoner package.
  • Arcbond
  • - Great in conjunction with a whole slew of cards in my stack. This inclusion is tied directly to finding better synergies for Repercussion, but just generally works well with Zurgo for a variety of applications.
  • Fumigate
  • - Superior to a vanilla Wrath of God effect due to the lifegain. The extra mana is well worth the buffer it can help create.
  • Archangel Avacyn  Flip
  • - I didn't quite know how to classify Avacyn. She is a protection spell, a beater win condition, and a board wipe sort of wrapped into a messy versatile package. I love the card and I love Flash threats!
  • Austere Command
  • - In case it is not yet clear, I love modal spells. This may be the best board wipe out there.

Notable Exclusions

You probably have ideas from other Mardu decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

  • Pyroblast
  • - A pet card of mine, not currently making the cut over other interaction.
  • Crackling Doom
  • - Always on my short list to add to Mardu decks. It is too good not to include, but I'm struggling with the cut. Lack of ability to hit your common utility creatures does lower the value a bit as well.
  • Vindicate
  • - The OG answer anything card. Sorcery speed is a bummer, especially for this deck, but the ability to handle Glacial Chasm is really important for a deck that cares about the combat step and 3 mana is a lot more efficient than the 4 that Utter End costs. Cut for blink effects.
  • Utter End
  • - 4 mana for single target removal feels above rate, regardless of how unconditional it is.
  • Chaos Warp
  • - 3 mana remove anything. Strong, and may indeed need to replace Vindicate for the value as an instant.
  • Fiery Confluence
  • - I love modal spells, and I love this spell. I currently own 1 copy, and it is in my Neheb, the Eternal deck. if I acquire a 2nd it will go in here.
  • Vandalblast
  • - I believe this card belongs in any deck featuring red. I couldn't find a cut =( Help!
  • Merciless Eviction
  • - I think there isn't room for two 6-mana wraths, and I think Austere Command is just plain better.
  • Damnation/Wrath of God/Day of Judgment
  • - There are better versions of this effect these days.
  • Toxic Deluge
  • - I currently own 1 copy, but I think this is the best wrath effect in the game. Kind of a non-bo with Zurgo, however, so unlikely to make the cut.
  • Chandra's Ignition
  • - Described previously in the damage section, this card can actually be cast reliably with our Zurgo in play. Cut for Dual commander capability.
  • Inferno
  • - I love this card, and I love the original _The Dark_ artwork. It fits thematically, it fits with Repercussion effects, and it's instant speed which is only somewhat relevant given our desire to keep Zurgo alive. That being said, it is 7 mana... I can't fit it for now.
  • Star of Extinction
  • - A great combo with Repercussion, but it costs 7, so no go.
  • Comet Storm
  • - I love this card, and am thinking on making a cut for it. Works well with the direct damage theme and is basically a modal spell.
  • Rolling Earthquake
  • - Of all the earthquakes I believe this to be the strongest. I would feature Comet Storm over this, however.
There are several categories wrapped up here. Every deck needs cards to fill gaps, graveyard hate, tutors, incidental lifegain, etc.

  • **Graveyard Hate** - Critical in my meta, and really all developed metas
  • Rakdos Charm
  • - Modal awesomeness.
  • Bojuka Bog
  • - freebie.
  • Scavenger Grounds
  • - freebie.
  • **Incidental Lifegain/Prevention** - This deck can do a lot of damage. To us. Let's try to protect ourselves. Really helps to offset This.
  • Hide/Seek
  • - Incidental lifegain when the removal is not needed.
  • Mother of Runes
  • - damage prevention and a turn 1 play.
  • Shieldmage Advocate
  • - helps tremendously with preventing Repercussions of the highest order.
  • Fumigate
  • - incidental lifegain on a wipe.
  • Shambling Vent
  • - free from the land slot!
  • **Tutors** - I have a few here, I have the expensive ones but they are in my Licia, the Sanguine Storm decklist for now. Filling up decks with alt art proxies for cards that I own one real copy of!
  • Enlightened Tutor
  • - Great to search for my most mentioned card, Repercussion!
  • Demonic Tutor
  • - The best tutor in the game. I have 1 real copy from revised and then I found a vendor that sells alt art proxies that I use in the rest of my black decks.
  • Expedition Map
  • - Can go and grab a Maze of Ith, Bojuka Bog, or generic utility land [X].
  • Tithe
  • - Easy to replace a land with this guy, so why not?
  • **ETC** - Cards that are single category go here
  • Scout's Warning
  • - This is arguably my favorite white card of all time. I feel this is stronger than Vedalken Orrery for a variety of reasons, most notably the surprise factor. I run it in almost every white deck.
  • Mistveil Plains
  • - Combo with Sunforger.
  • Lightning Greaves
  • - Protecting Zurgo is key, and this does it fo' free.
  • Reverberate
  • - This does it all, I just wanted to remind you of it yet again.

Notable Exclusions

You probably have ideas from other Mardu decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

  • Shred Memory
  • - GY hate + tutor card, I used to run this but cut it during the shavedown. Meta call perhaps.
  • Academy Rector
  • - I own a gold-bordered version, but honestly I have been trying to avoid running gold-bordered cards. If I get a real copy I'd add it in a heartbeat.
  • Vampiric Tutor
  • - I have 1 in my Licia, Sanguine Tribune storm deck, it is a bit outside of the budget for this deck.
  • Beseech the Queen
  • - A powerful tutor. Part of my goal for this deck is to be light on tutors.
  • Recruiter of the Guard
  • - A likely add at some point, especially if I want to flesh out the Eldrazi Displacer package further.
  • Stoneforge Mystic
  • - A likely add at some point, especially if I want to flesh out the equipment package further. If I ever acquire a Batterskull she goes in.
  • Dark Depths
  • - I so desperately want to include this along with every card that combos with it. I also want to add it to my Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper lands deck.... So I need 2 copies. Ugh.
I won't elaborate on this too much. I tried to keep colorless sources to a minimum with the mana intensive low curve. I don't own ABUR Duals, my fetches and shocks are stretched across 12 EDH decks, and I love Karoo lands.

One notable exclusion - Dark Depths! I love the idea of a whole Solemnity/Dark Depths package, I hope to make that a reality.

I hope you enjoyed my new iteration of a Mardu Aikido/Control deck! Please leave a comment and let's discuss!!!

<img src="https://dl.dropbox.com/s/woy83gw4re84hu3/aikido_hp.gif?dl=0" style="position:fixed;top:0px;left:0px;width:100%;height:100%;z-index:-1;"

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Compare to inventory
Date added 8 months
Last updated 2 weeks
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.84
Tokens Gold, 1/1 Assassin, 20/20 Avatar, Monarch
Folders Inspire, Uncategorized, Good Primers
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Revision 7 See all

2 weeks ago)

-1 Word of Seizing main
+1 Graven Cairns main
-2 Swamp main
+1 Price of Progress main
-1 Sun Titan main
+1 Flamekin Village main
+1 Thespian's Stage main
+1 Queen Marchesa main
-2 Plains main
+1 Weathered Wayfarer main
+1 Necrologia main
-1 Path to Exile main
+1 Vampiric Tutor main
-1 Wall of Omens main
-1 Drownyard Temple main
-1 Hide/Seek main
+1 Iron Myr main
-1 Wastes main
+1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth main
+1 Dark Depths main
and 54 other change(s)