Second draft of Xantcha EDH. Exploring several themes here, trying to determine the best route to push the deck. Some group slug, some rattlesnake, some aikido. Hard to go 100 percent in the aikido direction, as losing white means lacking any fog effects.

Ultimately, I think I need to run the deck through the paces to determine which way it will function best. As you can see from my maybeboard, there are a number of cards I'd like to try out.

Please let me know what you think!

Breakdown of card choices:


  1. Burnished Hart - Great ramp option for Rakdos colors. Comes down early, able to dissuade initial attacks because swinging into a creature who is just going to chump block and then grab two swamps isn't an effective tempo play. Self-sacrifice ability plays well with Coffin Queen in the late game for additional card advantage. At worst, it's a 6 mana, 2-land ramp effect.
  2. Coffin Queen - Fragile but effective once she's online. Responding at instant speed to reuse Custodi Lich or Gonti, Lord of Luxury triggers is not outside the realm of possibility. Plays well with our targeted removal and discard effects like Painful Quandary to use opponent's creatures against them. Benefits from activated ability cost reduction of Heartstone.
  3. Custodi Lich - Optimally played following a board wipe, to take advantage of lower creature count and better targets. Introduces monarch to the game, which will further motivate players to attack each other in the most logical manner. Targeted sacrifice is important, as you can specify players who aren't currently controlling Xantcha.
  4. Endbringer - Does everything we want: clears out chump blockers, influences combat, and provides card advantage.
  5. Gonti, Lord of Luxury - Mid-game play to provide some potential answers outside our limited colors and an okay rattlesnake effect. Targeting the green player at best could provide some enchantment removal. Most of the time you'll probably hit ramp, which isn't bad for what eventually becomes a mana hungry deck.
  6. Master of Cruelties - In a worst case scenario, this dude gets threatened and kills you. In a general scenario he provides effective rattlesnake support. And in a best case scenario you Disrupt Decorum everyone's creatures and then more-or-less take someone out. Also plays well with Bedlam and Dauthi Embrace.
  7. Neheb, the Eternal - primarily included to take advantage of main-phase Xantcha activations without tempo loss. Plays well with Master of Cruelties and Virtus the Veiled
  8. Royal Assassin - Rattlesnake effect. Fragile like Coffin Queen, but once he's online, he provides solid motivation for players to attack someone else.
  9. Vampire Nighthawk - Rattlesnake effect and all-around solid three-drop. Lifegain is welcome in a deck that tends to bleed a lot.
  10. Viashino Heretic - Repeatable artifact removal. Turns on Bloodchief Ascension. Heartstone benefits it. Plays well with Neheb, the Eternal and Wound Reflection.
  11. Virtus the Veiled - Additional rattlesnake effect. Meant to provide same value as Master of Cruelties, though requires more support to be effective.


  1. Crown of Doom - Great incentive to influence combat being directed not at you.
  2. Expedition Map - Tutors for some essential lands like Maze of Ith, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and, naturally, Cabal Coffers
  3. Heartstone - Decreases Xantcha's activation cost to 2 for everyone. Sure, it gives the symmetrical benefit to their other creatures, too. Shouldn't frequently be much of an issue. Copying this with something like Sculpting Steel or even Mirage Mirror can end the game quickly for one person.
  4. Mirage Mirror - Great, flexible card that I find slotting into most decks. The options are endless. Copy Maze of Ith for another safety net? Done. Copy the biggest creature for a good rattlesnake deterrent? Yup. Copy a land to save itself from artifact removal? Yes yes yes.
  5. Rakdos Signet - You're in Rakdos, you're gonna slot this in. Hitting infinite mana with this in play means you're going to be able to recast Xantcha again (assuming you have a sac outlet) and take out TWO players, not just one.
  6. Sol Ring - Can't find a reason not to run this. I don't play Vintage, so...
  7. Talisman of Indulgence - Rakdos, nothing to see here, move along.
  8. Thaumatic Compass - Allows you to hold up mana to respond however you need to while still being able to hit your land drop. Late game it becomes Maze of Ith no. 2, which ain't bad.
  9. Thought Vessel - Low cost ramp, lets you keep all the cards you draw with Xantcha, too.
  10. Vedalken Orrery - I like to play things at instant speed. Being able to flash in a No Mercy seems strong.
  11. Wayfarer's Bauble - Non-green ramp. Grabs swamps for Cabal Coffers. 'nuff said.


  1. Bedlam - High-risk card. Enables Xantcha, Sleeper Agent, Master of Cruelties and Virtus the Veiled. Encourages opponents to attack through the main threat's defenses, the hope being that the main threat isn't me. I have not resolved this card yet, so it's a potential candidate for replacing with more targeted unblockable enabling tools.
  2. Bloodchief Ascension - Group slug. Grants much-needed lifegain, but can also end the game for some folks with a well-timed board wipe. Goes infinite with Mindcrank, which I don't currently have in this build.
  3. Curse of Opulence - Great means to influence combat and ramp a bit a the same time. Can contribute to a surprise Revel in Riches, especially if Vedalken Orrery is in play. Good thing I'm running all these cards.
  4. Dauthi Embrace - Targeted evasion. Let's you keep Xantcha from getting removed by a convenient block. Provides additional political power by enabling other threatening creatures to take out threatening opponents. The double black activation cost is somewhat limiting, however.
  5. Infernal Tribute - My dedicated non-land sacrifice outlet, and personal favorite card from my youth. Lets you sacrifice Xantcha, if necessary! Let's you sacrifice most things, if necessary! Turn extra lands into card draw! And since my deck runs no token creatures, I'm not limited in the things I can get rid of.
  6. Necromancy - Instant speed any-graveyard reanimation. Favorite use thus far was targeting an opponent's Greenwarden of Murasa during their second main phase to grab two Regrowth effects. Use your opponent's stuff against them. It's the best.
  7. No Mercy - The premier rattlesnake card. I don't think I've ever resolved it.
  8. Painful Quandary - Group slug. Keeps Maelstrom Wanderer stupidity somewhat more in check. Weird art.
  9. Pestilence On a relatively empty board in the mid- to late-game, this can frequently keep the board clear so Xantcha can continue to swing. Throw in a Repercussion for more stacked trigger fun.
  10. Phyrexian Arena - This is EDH and card draw is good.
  11. Phyrexian Scriptures - Testing this out to see if it functions even in not-great conditions. Optimally, you land this on turn 4 after resolving Xantcha, and then disrupt your opponent's tempo. Targeted for cutting if I need the space.
  12. Polluted Bonds - More group slug and life gain. You know what EDH players love? Ramping. Slot this in to make them earn their shenanigans. Ignore the fact that a five-drop might be too late to really profit off that. Then remember you include this and Vedalken Orrery to live the dream of resolving a Polluted Bonds in response to your opponent's attempted Boundless Realms.
  13. Repercussion - More punishment and deterrence to blocking. Plays well with Blasphemous Act for surprise wins.
  14. Revel in Riches - Included as a minor, alternate win condition. I can see replacing it with Black Market, but we'll see how it performs.
  15. Stolen Strategy - Fits the "use your stuff against you" sub theme perfectly. Gives you some excellent reach. Scales well.
  16. War's Toll - I want people to attack. I don't want to play a 3-hour game of EDH. This card assists with both of those things.
  17. Wound Reflection - Win condition. Turn moderate damage into a high amount. Excellent art.


  1. Blasphemous Act - Staple, resets most boards. Usually costs one red. As previously discussed, not bad with Repercussion.
  2. Cannibalize - Included to exile opponent's second best creature other than Xantcha, because we know Xantcha will definitely be their best creature. Turns Xantcha into a faster clock. Bit of a non-bo with some of our opponent reanimation suite. But com'on, what other deck wants to run this card?? You can probably see my bias.
  3. Demonic Tutor - Play any card in your deck for +2 mana.
  4. Disrupt Decorum - Essential combat forcing effect. Great for clearing the path for some of our high-impact saboteur effects.
  5. Fiery Confluence - Highly flexible mass removal: Artifacts, small creatures. And if Neheb, the Eternal is in play, does an absolutely adequate impression of Mana Geyser. Turns on Bloodchief Ascension. Lots of solid interactions here.
  6. Night's Whisper - Early card draw, included mostly to smooth out hitting land drops.
  7. Reanimate - Included to grab opponents' creatures that have been discarded or destroyed. Slower than I'd like, but hard to beat the mana cost.
  8. Syphon Mind - Draws cards, encourages Xantcha activations, scales well with larger groups.
  9. Toxic Deluge - Cheap, flexible mass removal. Clear out the board of smaller creatures so Xantcha can attack unhindered. Or wipe the board, if you have the life to spare.
  10. Vandalblast - Solid EDH mid-game artifact removal. Fine trading it with someone else's Sol Ring in the early game.
  11. Void - Trying this out to see if it provides the flexibility I'm hoping it will. Five mana to remove the most troublesome creature or artifact -- and potentially hit some other cards from hand, seems promising.


  1. Arcbond - Can create absurd amounts of damage. Can end the game for any number of players, including yourself. Loves Repercussion and Wound Reflection. One of the most delightful surprise effects to play.
  2. Chaos Warp - Sometimes you need to remove an enchantment. The flip is a fun downside, too.
  3. Curtains' Call - Most of the time this hits two creatures for three mana. Worst case scenario is removing two creatures for five mana, which is still more effective than two Dark Banishings.
  4. Fork - Great early, great late. Piggy-backing on a key draw or removal spell, countering a counterspell, stealing a win from someone's 20-point Exsanguinate: you can't go wrong with this one.
  5. Price of Progress - Ends the game. Hopefully with you on top. When in doubt: Wasteland or card:Stripmine your own non-basics to decrease the hit you take here. Congrats, you're a Legacy/Vintage player running against Burn.
  6. Rakdos Charm - Highly flexible card. Instant speed graveyard hate, artifact removal, damage. Someone out there has Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. In the eternal words of Scar from Lion King: be prepared.
  7. Sudden Spoiling - I don't own Darkness, so here's a (mostly) uncounterable fog effect. Also stops Laboratory Maniac wins.
  8. Terminate - Simply one of the best single removal spells in the game. Extra cool points if you run the original printing (like I do).
  9. Thrilling Encore - Solid effect to respond to a board wipe. Grabs Xantcha again, letting you give her away again. Steal all your opponent's tasty creatures with tasty ETB effects.
  10. Warping Wail - Slotting this in place of Reverberate. Included primarily as a counterspell of mass removal sorceries. A well-timed Ruination or From the Ashes can be particularly brutal to this deck. Few people will play around it.
  11. Wild Ricochet - Expensive, but redirecting a spell and copying it are excellent ways to use opponent's spell against them.
  12. Word of Seizing - My meta is full of planeswalkers, and they frequently end up one turn away from their ultimates. The salt is real.


  1. Badlands - The best dual land in the deck. Fetchable, comes into play untapped, lets me feel cool about having invested a good amount of money in cardboard.
  2. Blood Crypt - Second best dual land in the deck.
  3. Bloodstained Mire - Fetches dual lands, swamps.
  4. Bojuka Bog - Sometimes you need to exile the Sharuum the Hegemon player's 'yard.
  5. Cabal Coffers - Can get big mana, which is always welcome.
  6. Command Tower - EDH.
  7. Dragonskull Summit - Solid dual land.
  8. Graven Cairns - I love filter lands in two-color decks. Hence, the include.
  9. High Market - Land-based sacrifice outlet. Plays well with Word of Seizing
  10. Luxury Suite - Excellent new dual land.
  11. Marsh Flats - Fetches duals and swamps.
  12. Maze of Ith - Essential to prevent folks from attacking you early. Essential to surviving in the late game.
  13. Molten Slagheap - Hold up mana to respond however you need to. If nothing happens, add a counter.
  14. Mountain - In case opponent casts From the Ashes. Also necessary for Thaumatic Compass
  15. Rakdos Carnarium - Slow but plays well with Vesuva and Thespian's Stage.
  16. Rocky Tar Pit - On color, on theme, slower fetch.
  17. Rogue's Passage - Give Xantcha unblockable. Give any creature unblockable.
  18. Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep - Give Xantcha first strike, increasing her survivability in combat. Virtus the Veiled likes this one, too.
  19. Shizo, Death's Storehouse - Give Xantcha fear, increasing her survivability in combat. Virtus the Veiled likes this one, too.
  20. Smoldering Marsh - third best fetchable dual land in the deck.
  21. Strip Mine - Take out opponent's Phyrexian Tower so you can give them Xantcha (just kidding, probably not a great idea to give the black player running Phyrexian Tower your Xantcha).
  22. Sulfurous Springs - Solid dual land. Plays well with Sun Droplet, which I regret cutting more and more each day.
  23. Swamp - See above comment regarding From the Ashes. Also Cabal Coffers.
  24. Tainted Peak - Solid dual land
  25. Temple of Malice - Scry! Lets you know early on that the one-lander hand you kept was misguided.
  26. Thespian's Stage - So many targets. Someone is usually running Temple of the False God. Otherwise, increase your Maze of Ith effects. Can copy a basic land if someone casts non-basic land removal.
  27. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - Cabal Coffers
  28. Verdant Catacombs - Black fetch.
  29. Vesuva - Similar flexibility as Thespian's Stage. Mine's in French.
  30. Wasteland - Like Strip Mine, but nicer?


Updates Add

Going to finally cut Bedlam and put Burning Wish in its place. I've already got the Wishboard figured out, and I'm finding less and less I need a mass unblock effect like Bedlam. I mean, truthfully, I don't think I've ever drawn it or had an opportunity where I could have resolved it. But I like the idea of having some additional flexibility with Burning Wish, so we'll try that one out instead.

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Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 year

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

5 - 1 Mythic Rares

53 - 7 Rares

22 - 2 Uncommons

10 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.17
Tokens 1/1 Eldrazi Scion, Gold
Folders 1, Inspiration
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