Kess, Dissident Mage

Kess, Dissident Mage

Legendary Creature — Human Wizard

Flying

During each of your turns, you may cast an instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. If a card cast this way would be put into your graveyard this turn, exile it instead.

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Printings View all

Set Rarity
Modern Horizons (MH1) Mythic Rare
Commander 2017 (C17) Mythic Rare

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Legality

Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Block Constructed Legal
Leviathan Legal
Legacy Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Kess, Dissident Mage occurrence in decks from the last year

Commander / EDH:

All decks: 0.02%

UBR (Grixis): 0.87%

Kess, Dissident Mage Discussion

Torekai92 on Crosis, Hand of Blood

1 day ago

multimedia, thanks for all of the feedback! We are thinking more or less along the same lines. The cards you suggested cutting are on the chopping block for sure, along with a few more. Talisman of Creativity, Dark Ritual, Thief of Sanity, Kess, Dissident Mage, and Whispering Madness are all good suggestions I think. I hadn't thought of Dragon Tempest so thats a good idea. I for sure plan on grabbing most of the specters at some point.

I'll comb through all of your suggestions and see what I like. Thanks again!

multimedia on Crosis, Hand of Blood

1 day ago

Hey, I agree Nicol Bolas can be devastating repeatable discard in multiplayer Commander. It's a more powerful Grixis Commander then Crosis.

No matter the Commander choice here's some budget cards $2 or less each to consider adding. Several of these suggestions are in the maybeboard. When you're playing a high CMC Commander then more low CMC ramp helps.

Crosis has flying and most Specters also have flying which makes Dragon Tempest a two drop haste enabler for the majority of your creatures. Consider cutting the other Dragons and high CMC creatures for more Specters or creature that can give you more value?

Whispering Madness is a wheel and it can be repeatable with cipher which can be powerful with flying creatures. Read the Bones, Painful Truths, Brainstorm are mana efficient draw spells. In multiplayer Commander the versatility of Mirrormade is great, especially on a budget. With all the discard from multiple opponents The Eldest Reborn can do a lot and have many targets to choose from to reanimate.

Mask of Memory and Mask of Riddles is low CMC equipment that can be repeatable draw with flying creatures. Sunken Hollow, Dragonskull Summit, Grixis Panorama, Ash Barrens are lands to consider adding.

Cards to consider cutting:

  • Hideous Visage
  • Slate Street Ruffian
  • Fill with Fright
  • Traveler's Amulet
  • Phantasmal Dragon
  • Territorial Hellkite
  • Boltwing Marauder
  • Hypersonic Dragon
  • Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury
  • Arcanis the Omnipotent
  • Moltensteel Dragon
  • Tyrant's Familiar
  • Gruesome Deformity
  • Fear
  • Foresee
  • Ambition's Cost
  • Mind Rot

Good luck with your deck.

Spirits on Kaalia, Mirror Breaker EDH

5 days ago

Hi Knixx,

It fairs very well. It depends on your goal, if you just looking to win, consistently definitely go with a Thrasios, Triton Hero or a Kess, Dissident Mage. For myself, I want to win, but want to enjoy doing it. It doesn't have the card advantage of or enough tutor/counter interactions to be as consistent as several of the Competitive+ commanders, but feel Kaalia of the Vast falls in that.

Generally cEDH theory with Kaalia of the Vast is to abandon the damage line, you can see some recommended changes under Maybeboard Sushi. I haven't found that it significantly improves my win ratio, but it may be the way to go.

I have Turn 1-Turn 3 win potentials, and have a Turn 4.x average win. I do find, I'm almost exclusively combo wins now, <20% of wins involve combat damage.

So in short, yes this deck and Kaalia of the Vast can be competitive, not on a level consistent with some others. Abandoning combat damage is key to having success, you'll see I've pretty much abandoned but can still be pushed a little further. Funnest commander, maybe Animar, Soul of Elements, so for me, competitive and entertaining.

dingusdingo on Fish, Kess, and Consultation [Competitive]

2 weeks ago

With the recent addition of everybody's/nobody's favorite fish Thassa's Oracle, the competitive scene has been in a tizzy trying to figure out how to adapt and react. Most brewers have been fixated on adapting two lists to fish, specifically TnT Flash Hulk and Najeela Consultation Hulk, which are arguably tier 0 deck builds and are head and shoulders ahead of other tier 1 competitive decks because of the printing of Oracle. I think most people have missed a third well known commander who benefits massively from the printing.

Kess, Dissident Mage is very promising in this new meta, and I would like to present the argument that Kess is a tier 0 build in par with TnT Fish Hulk and Layered Najeela.

For those unaware of how the combo works, here we go.

DO NOTE: We must have no duplicates of basic lands in our mana base to use Tainted Pact. While competitive pact players may know this, it is worth restating for the purposes of education and discussion in the thread.

If we are holding Oracle + Pact in hand, we don't need Kess to reuse. We can simply Oracle, then in response to ETB use the pact.

This combo has gained a lot of resiliency over previous Laboratory Maniac or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries lines.

  • Thassa's Oracle is cheaper to cast by .
  • We do not need to run a draw spell with Oracle in order to win, while we do with Labman. This most likely saves us another mana, and it definitely saves us being required to hold another card to cantrip to win.
  • The combo is safer to resolve if we face interaction. We resolve Oracle first, the trigger goes on the stack. A trigger is much harder to counter than a spell. Once the trigger is stacked, anything that happens to Oracle we don't really care about, since we can win with 0 devotion assuming 0 cards in library. Previously, a Laboratory Maniac could be removed in response to whatever draw would cause you to win, meaning you would lose instead.
  • Fish Consultation allows you to attempt another win if stopped. Lets say we are on Labman + Pact. If our Tainted Pact resolves, but our labman is countered, we are most likely going to lose. While using Oracle + Pact, if our Pact is countered, we still have our library and can attempt another win. Similarly, because we resolve the Oracle first to get the ETB trigger stacked, we aren't in danger of Oracle getting countered and then us using Pact and being left with no library.
  • If you have Kess in play, you can execute the entire combo for 4 mana. If you already have both pieces, you can execute the entire combo for 3 mana and ignore graveyard hate.

So how is this any different than Fish Hulk? Simple. Kess, Dissident Mage can turn a single tutor into a winning line. The ability to use Demonic Consultation or Tainted Pact allows us to assemble and execute the entire combo from a single tutor, as the component that exiles for us also tutors the second card needed for the combo. This means that Kess + Forbidden Tutor is a winning line, similar to how Najeela has a few different one card combos with the commander for winning. Before the Oracle printing, a Kess deck would also have to stock up on cheap "draw a card" spells to supplement the Consultation strategy. Now that need is gone, and the overall strategy can be executed much faster due to the lower mana cost requirements and also card requirements. This means that you have more ability to simply race other decks if that is the best gameplan. The value nature of Kess allows you to go longer in grindier games or match ups. Most decks are pigeonholed into all-in combo or grindier control, but the speed and resilience of the combo paired with being able to reuse our GY really gives Kess the best of both worlds.

I would also argue that new printings have added resilience and more consistency to the build as well. Spellseeker is another way to find the 1 card wincon. Dark Petition is certainly more fringe but could very well see play, especially in lists that skew Ad Nauseam for Bonus Round. Scheming Symmetry is another new topdeck tutor, and the symmetry can be broken on it by cantripping, then immediately starting the winning line. The deck will continue to benefit from any new usable tutors, removal, or card draw that is printed, and these new prints won't invalidate lines or cause grief when making changes for them.

The final piece of the puzzle is the large amount of flex slots in a Kess deck. If you want an additional combo, you can slot it pretty easy and there are good choices. If you want more hate pieces because you see Fish Hulk every pod, you can grab things like Cursed Totem very easily. Lots of green dorks or creature heavy boards you can get Pyroclasm and friends. Kess is blue, and already slots a good amount of counterspells and interaction. On top of protecting the combo, you can also choose to play a more midrange game and stop win attempts early, and grind value before comboing out later. Alternatively, you can just jam the combo if you have the tutors and mana to make it work. While Flash is easier to cast, Flash Hulk does require two pieces in hand to get the combo rolling, making it easier to see coming and harder to assemble.

Of course, Fish has other applications. Hermit Druid spiked in price for a reason, as did Sacred Guide. A card like Hermit Druid also requires haste enablers to make it go, which lowers your overall card quality and puts the pilot into awkward binds of either jamming the Druid and passing a rotation, or holding Druid in hand and trying to assemble Greaves + Druid or Banditland + Druid. Sacred Guide similarly hurts deckbuilding, mostly by requiring that a color in the identity be completely ignored for the sake of the combo. They are also basically worthless outside of the combo. Tainted Pact is an enabler and a tutor at instant speed, as is Demonic Consultation. You can always use them to fetch Pact of Negation or Force of Will in a pinch, should you have no other options to stop an opponent from winning. While it is unlikely you are going to win after exiling 0-99 cards in order to find whatever you name, you are being improved from "losing" to "most likely losing". The most important part of it is though that the forbidden tutors are actually tutoring while exiling, serving a dual purpose in the deck and improving slot efficiency. This even has a leg up over other Consultation builds, where the forbidden tutors are seen mostly as dead-draws for A + B for winning.

TL;DR Consultation Kess is also arguably a tier 0 build and was a big winner from the Fish printing.

triproberts12 on Commanders that create an interesting ...

1 month ago

I think the biggest thing to avoid, in my experience, is relying on too narrow a strategy to make a deck "unique."

I built a Dragonstorm deck under Kess, Dissident Mage , but every game followed the formula of draw/tutor cards, cast rituals, win or die immediately after being punished by removal. I built Tatyova, Benthic Druid as druid tribal, but it inevitably ended with me digging into Cyclonic Rift or Craterhoof Behemoth every game.

A unique strategy needs enough singles to fill the 99 that it doesn't play out the same every game, or else it will be miserable to play and to play against.

papafranku99 on Grixis Midrange

1 month ago

Zuzur it was really more of a stumble than research to be honest! Call the Bloodline is also a good fit for triggering madness for sure.

God-Eternal Kefnet and Kess, Dissident Mage could be a very mean combo, i'll have to revisit your deck in a few playtests after the changes :)

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