Kess, Dissident Mage

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Legality

Format Legality
1v1 Commander Legal
Arena Legal
Block Constructed Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Commander: Rule 0 Legal
Custom Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Gladiator Legal
Highlander Legal
Historic Legal
Legacy Legal
Leviathan Legal
Limited Legal
Modern Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Penny Dreadful Legal
Vintage Legal

Kess, Dissident Mage

Legendary Creature — Human Wizard

Flying

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

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DreadKhan on unthinkable apocalypse

2 months ago

I'm not certain the Commander has enough explosive power to consistently win vs 2 decks, but I have very good results in 1 v 1 with my Rakdos deck, and it often has spare cards by the end of the game, be it wipe or removal, because the deck just runs so much of those, with lots of the removal hitting more than 1 target (I love stuff like Phyrexian Purge, Fire Covenant, Make an Example, and Volcanic Offering can each be a terror of a card, and a deck running all of them has lots of pinpoint removal that will clear lots of stuff out. Ashes to Ashes and Reckless Spite also exist fwiw, and if you aren't certain you'll have creatures out, Tergrid's Shadow can do a bit of work, as can Plaguecrafter or Demon's Disciple, cards Sedris can recur for 2B even. Another value card is Dredge the Mire, which can cheat in the 3 worst creatures in people's graveyards, note certain creatures will kill you if you control them, so check before playing! Necromantic Selection not only clears the field, it also gives you back the best thing, this is extra juicy if you use some sort of Indestructible creature(s) that won't die. If you consistently have a fairly big creature, or one with Deathtouch and Lifelink, Chandra's Ignition is one sided by definition, one of many cards that shines brightly with Basilisk Collar (which is also very good with Jaya Ballard, Task Mage or even good old Banshee, Jaya's 6 damage wipe really is amazing if you've got Collar on her, though it'll kill her too). If you expect to have multiple opponents, Goad is a very strong effect, Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant is potentially pretty solid, lots of card draw. There is also Kardur, Doomscourge that will force everyone's hand. Spectacular Showdown is a great card if you've actually got a board of your own to finish people off, keep in mind that on your next turn, you not only won't have been attacked by any pre-existing creature, everyone else will have swung for the fences with Double Strike, and they will likely have nothing left to defend with, making your Double Strikers very effective. Another Goad source that is great with a creature heavy board is Agitator Ant, which is hilarious a lot of the time. If you're using Goad effects, War Tax can let an opponent have a way around them, if there is a tax to attack Goad fails, and War Cadence is absolutely devastating with Goad, even a tax of 1 to block can make blocking impossible for weenie decks, and you can use either on anyone's turn.

As you've got access to Blue, there are a few non-Rakdos tricks you can use, the most hilarious I know of is Mass Diminish, note that it lasts until your next turn and have a good laugh. There is also Sudden Spoiling, which is powerful but lasts for that turn, or Polymorphist's Jest, which is similarly a 1 turn solution. I use Mass Diminish more aggressively, to make a player hyper-vulnerable to attackers (and make them unable to counter attack), getting two casts is just savage. Visions of Duplicity can create some chaos with it's two casts, Cultural Exchange is obscene if someone else has better creatures. Bident of Thassa is glorious if you want both of it's effects, forcing people to attack is incredibly mean, and this doesn't require you to run a weenie like Goblin Diplomats, but that's also a fun card fwiw. If you're going to run Oriq Loremage, you might slip in a huge creature to Unearth, something like Dragon Tyrant can be huge and not break the bank, Double Strike and Firebreathing are really good together, and you won't have to pay the upkeep with Unearth, he's dead before that matters.

I was looking at your land count and average Mana Value and I think you probably are running too few lands at this point, it's very tempting to cut them, but 30 is probably too few for a MV that is over 2.5. You might get away with adding 2 mana ramp, but I'd still aim for at least 36 lands (or MDFCs that count as a land, you probably already have the best two MDFCs in those colours, but people also run Malakir Rebirth  Flip) to ensure you can consistently cast stuff. There is a smattering of ways you can run less lands/ramp, but these all come with downsides, but in Grixis you can run 4 solid Bounce Lands, Dimir Aqueduct and Guildless Commons should be in here as well if you want a lower land count, these let you hit another land drop when you draw them. You might also run stuff like Thran Dynamo or Worn Powerstone to help you hit higher MVs sooner, ramping by only 1 mana feels bad compared to hitting a land drop most of the time, there is also Gilded Lotus, but hitting 5 mana can be rough. Coalition Relic can charge for 1 turn, Skyclave Relic is super versatile/rugged, and Everflowing Chalice can be huge if you want, 6-10 mana is absurd but sometimes comes up. Cantrips like Ponder and Preordain are also good at digging for a land, but I know in Talrand it stings pretty bad when you Preordain and don't find a land and I needed one. As for some cards to remove, I'll take a look, but if I'm trying to build a deck that can handle attention, I look first at cards that will hurt only 1 player, unless that card will almost certainly end that player, either right away or in a few turns.

A few to consider removing (I may be missing why you have them in, so user discretion is advised or something): Archive Trap, Outpost Siege, Palace Siege, Ponder, Preordain, Haunting Echoes, Cruel Ultimatum (this seems insanely hard to cast, and hits only 1 player, unless you can copy it I'd run Captive Audience if I want to hose one player hard), Cranial Extraction, Cormela, Glamour Thief, Kess, Dissident Mage, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger, Lobber Crew, Loyal Subordinate, Nekusar, the Mindrazer, Obeka, Brute Chronologist, Phenax, God of Deception, Runo Stromkirk  Flip, Spear Spewer, and Thermo-Alchemist.Some maybe cards include Angrath, Captain of Chaos, and Cryptolith Fragment  Flip (for another land, maybe a better rock, there is Thought Vessel, but fixing is sweet in Grixis).

Hope some of this is helpful!

Jett2112 on Kess, Dissident Midrange

3 months ago

I love your support creatures but I feel like you should bring in a Snapcaster Mage. That and Mission Briefing will help to recur counterspells and removal on opponents turn since Kess, Dissident Mage can't do it.

This deck as shown now seems more "turbo" than "control" to me with that Ad Nauseam, Simian Spirit Guide, Grim Monolith etc. If you want to lean in to the turbo storm line consider Baral, Chief of Compliance, Archmage Emeritus and Yawgmoth's Will

Baral, Chief of Compliance + Lotus Petal + Brain Freeze + Underworld Breach = storm off till your own deck is gone and then usually have enough Brain Freeze copys to mill all opponents.

There are ways to make a storm or magecraft win with Archmage Emeritus, Storm-Kiln Artist and Underworld Breach but that would mean raising the curve and running cards that are bad topdeck by themselves.

+1 this is a proper cedh deck! Check out my "cruel control" version of Kess cedh Pox Diamond to see what I mean about the difference between "turbo/storm" and "control". Also I have a pretty extensive maybe board there that might have some spice edhrec won't show you.

Jett2112 on spells spells and more spells

5 months ago

The first step to improving this deck I think is to add 1 drop instants and sorceries to max out the potential to play a spell from the graveyard every turn with Kess, Dissident Mage. Brainstorm Lightning Bolt Thoughtseize etc.

Jett2112 on Kess

5 months ago

I like Mental Note a lot! 1 mana draw spells are really powerful in Kess, Dissident Mage decks. have you considered Thought Scour? It's a strictly better version since you can hit an opponents top deck when they Vampiric Tutor

Neotrup on Kess, Dissident Mage and Adventures...

5 months ago

Kess, Dissident Mage allows you to cast an instant or sorcery spell from the graveyard. This means you can move any card from the graveyard to the stack, as long as the resulting spell is an instant or sorcery. You are allowed to cast Granted from Fae of Wishes being in your graveyard, or cast Flamethrower Sonata  Flip from Torrent Sculptor  Flip being in your graveyard. Because Fae of Wishes goes on an adventure when Granted resolves rather than going to the graveyard, you'll be able to cast it later rather than being permanently exiled by Kess, Dissident Mage's ability.

RawlMage84293 on Kess, Dissident Mage and Adventures...

5 months ago

Kess, Dissident Mage and Fae of Wishes in the graveyard. Can I cast the sorcery side of FoW, and then later cast it as a creature?

Agrippa91 on Zombardment for multiplayer

6 months ago

While browsing for a card that would give me value from sacrificing creatures by drawing cards I came across Priest of Forgotten Gods which is insane with the haste provided by Anger. This lead me to cut Grave Pact which rotted in my hand too often because of its high cost and black mana. The priest does something similar and more for a much greater cost and is recurrable with Victimize. Adding two more Misty Rainforest because this deck really wants to hit its land drops until turn 4-ish and 4x Ponder aren't as reliable in an 80 card deck.

I'm really glad I could get yet another angle of attack in this deck that synergizes with its main theme.

I briefly considered Unearth, but can't really see it being that great since it doesn't recur Kess, Dissident Mage and doesn't provide the 2-for-1 that Victimize does when you sacrifice a Bloodghast, Arclight Phoenix or Elemental token. You also don't really want to entomb for a 2-drop on turn 1 with Unearth, but rather spend your Entomb and Buried Alive on your actual recurring cards.

Despite being really graveyard-heavy, I'm comfortable this deck can fight well even with a Rest in Peace effect out due to Young Pyromancer, Priest of Forgotten Gods, Goblin Bombardment in conjunction with Expressive Iteration and the plethora of cantrips.

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