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Xantcha, Steel on the Inside, Skin on the Outside

Commander / EDH BR (Rakdos) Casual Control Multiplayer Ramp



Welcome to my guide to my Xantcha Sleeper Agent decklist! If you like the deck, don't forget to upvote!

Steel on the inside, skin on the outside.

Xantcha was a Phyrexian construct and spy, designed to look and feel human. These Sleeper Agents were designed to assimilate into society, slowly feeding information back to Phyrexia and before their planned Invasion and final victory. Xantcha, however, could think for herself and betrayed her masters, living with Urza. Fun Fact: Xantch'a Heartstone is now Karn's personality core!

Like a Sleeper Agent, this deck does not act quickly, does not show signs of immediate threat, and aims to slowly amass mana and resources while drawing out the game as long as possible. The deck plays a rattlesnake controls style, packed with removal, disruption and good blockers that make targetting you an uncomfortable proposition. Meanwhile, that same removal and another suite of cards support Xantcha while she is behind enemy lines, keeping her safe and ready to draw you and anybody else that needs it cards. You want to the game to go as long as possible as you whittle down Xantcha's host so that by the time they finally die, your other opponents are dead, low, or behind in mana and therefore cards they can draw from Xantcha.

This deck packs a lot of ramp, choosing to primarily use Xantcha as its card-draw engine. This also gives you lots of resources for other big spells that finish off your weakened opponents and makes you durable in the face of repeated general removal. Your general plan is to drop Xantcha early on the player you think will have the most creatures. This is to minimize the chances that Xantcha will die in combat and to strengthen their ability to take out other players. Don't draw too many cards early and upset them, just play out mana rocks, hold up removal or protection for Xantcha, drop blockers and chill.

If the board turns on you or somebody is about to win, use removal and sweepers to clear threats, then use your big mana to start drawing off Xantcha and getting ahead. Cards like Insurrection, Ribbons, Kaervek, Disrupt Decorum, Kokusho and Skull Storm can wreak havoc on weakened opponents, as can the 2 damage from Xantcha's activations, and her general damage, especially when suited up with equipment or an aura. (Also you can Rings of Breathheart/Basalt Monolith if you need to 1 shot somebody and draw your deck.)

In general, though, you want to fly under the radar as long as possible, just like a real Sleeper Agent!

Mana and Card Advantage.

You have repeatable card draw for colourless mana in your command zone, and a wealth of mana to pump into it so getting shut of the game is rare with this deck.

Interactive on and off the board.

This deck has a lot of interaction from removal to disruption, redirects, combat tricks and some chaotic effects. There is normally something you can do each turn at instant speed if you need to, and you can draw and drain if you don't. This deck is also full of political interaction. This is not a deck to play silently! You want to be making deals, leveraging your general's benefit to 3 of the players at the table, your removal threat and combat tricks and the fact that Xantcha deals general damage from other people's fields. Good politics works wonders here!


Xantcha is unlike any other commander and has a lot of application and ways to play with her. She is a draw engine, a combat threat, a focal point for enemy attention to disrupt, a political donation and a way to kill players without every hitting them directly. Just like within her ranks of Sleeper Agents, Xantcha is one of a kind and brings a lot of intrigue and fun to the table almost every time.

Sacrifice/Grave Pact Decks.

Xantcha is hard to leverage when opponents have a way to freely sacrifice her that you cannot interact with. This is especially bad when an opponent has a Grave Pact of Butcher of Malakir in play, as whenever this effect triggers your opponent controlling Xantcha can opt to sacrifice her. This is especially awkward for Grave Pact, as Rakdos really doesn't have good ways to kill enchantments. If you meta has a lot of these, consider including colourless outs like Oblivion Stone, All is Dust, Karn Liberated or Spine of Ish Sah.

Non-Permanent Based Combo.

This is not a cEDH deck and doesn't always have great interaction with infinite combo instant and sorcery decks. They can leverage infinite mana to draw their decks off Xantcha, the games end quickly before you have time to whittle them down, and you can't always interact with their combo pieces. Use removal for artifacts and creatures aggressively to slow down combo kills. Give Xantcha to the player you can interact with the least, so that you and the other players can team up to try and drain them out if need be.

Thanks very much for reading my short primer on Xantcha, Sleeper Agent! I plan to add a Card Choices section if this gets some attention, so don't forget to comment and upvote!


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64% Casual

36% Competitive

Compare to inventory
Date added 3 months
Last updated 1 week

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.79
Tokens 2/2 Zombie, 3/3 Wurm
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Revision 8 See all

1 week ago)

+1 Demonic Tutor maybe
+1 Myojin of Night's Reach maybe
+1 Oblivion Stone maybe
+1 Toxic Deluge maybe
+1 No Mercy maybe
+1 Phyrexian Tower maybe
+1 Damnation maybe
+1 Torment of Hailfire maybe
+1 Spine of Ish Sah maybe