Introduction

This is a competitive Marath (GWR, Naya) deck for multiplayer EDH. I've played with this deck many times before and I'm confident that the current list is its final form. Of course, cards from new sets may be added in the future. Check the 'last updated' log to make sure the list is up-to-date before using it or asking questions about it.

About the deck

In brief, if you have ever played with a competitive Prosh list, this Marath list plays very similarly: you make tokens, then take advantage of it by generating lots of mana ( Gaea's Cradle , Earthcraft , Xenagos, the Reveler ) and drawing lots of cards ( Shamanic Revelation , Collective Unconscious , Regal Force ). Let me start by saying that I do believe that Prosh is superior to Marath. This is mainly because Prosh has access to and its tokens are a triggered ability. That said, I believe that Marath also has the potential to be as competitive as any Prosh list, and in fact, I've prefered to play Marath over Prosh because it feels more flexible than Prosh lists. Unfortunately, however, most Marath decks I've seen before are really bad, which motivated me to design a decent one. So, the idea here is to make Marath as competitive as possible.

Marath has the advantage of being more than a token generator: it can occasionally be used as removal. The ability to add counters is irrelevant when you are not generating more counters than removing counters. (As a side note, I'll go ahead and say that I don't think it's ever correct to play cards that add more counters to Marath because they are always dead cards otherwise. Also, Marath will always enter the battlefield with more counters than before because the number of counters scales with its casting cost.) This means that Marath has two main abilities: generate elemental tokens and deal damage to creatures/players/planeswalkers. Its flexibility makes Marath relevant no matter the stage of the game (early, mid, late). Even if you occasionally get flooded, that's gonna be okay because you can use the extra mana for Marath's abilities and buy time until you draw relevant spells.

The deck is not meant to interact a whole lot, so play aggressively and take chances. You are the player to be stopped, not the one trying to stop other players from doing whatever they want.

Win conditions

There are three win cons in the decklist (in order of safer/easier): (1) Purphoros, God of the Forge + Empty the Warrens storm; (2) Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combos; and (3) creatures hitting face (beatdown). If you are storming, Purphoros is the go-to win con. Get to at least 8 storm, cast Purphoros, and then cast EWarrens to deal 40 damage to each opponent. If Warrens was exiled, use token generators ( Marath, Will of the Wild , Avenger of Zendikar , Deranged Hermit ). If Purphoros was exiled, Kiki-jiki combos are the to-go win con. Kiki can make infinite copies of Restoration Angel and Village Bell-Ringer , and the latter will usually give access to infinite mana as well because it untaps mana dorks after every trigger activation. If Purphoros and Kiki were exiled, deal lethal damage with Marath or cast creatures and hit face. I've never had to win this way but it's theoretically possible.

Before going for win cons 1 and 2, always try to protect them with City of Solitude or Defense Grid . Both combos are easy to disrupt and if you don't protect either win cons, you can actually lose the game. For example, I've seen people casting Comeuppance in response to Empty the Warrens with Purphoros on the battlefield, and then lose the game as a result of it.

Single card discussion

Here I'll talk about some of my more controversial card choices and the reasoning behind them. I'll start with cards that were included in the deck, and then talk about some of the cards that were not included. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Riftstone Portal , Chromatic Lantern , Skyshroud Elf : This is a mana fixing package that I added for two main reasons. First, they let your lands tap for multiple colors, which is particularly useful when you have Earthcraft on the battlefield. Skyshroud, in particular, lets you convert all the mana in your mana pool into either or . Secondly, this package makes you less susceptible to Blood Moon effects, which can outright take multicolored decks out of the game. Of course, if you don't see much of such effects in your meta, you might want to change Riftstone and Lantern for something you like or that you want to test (I'd never remove Skyshroud though). The way you get value from Riftstone is by either saccing it with Crop Rotation or dredging it with Life from the Loam . Updated on Nov 3rd 2019: Lantern has been removed for Dockside Extortionist .

  • Mentor of the Meek : It's a slow card most of the time but it has good synergy with mana dorks and tokens, at least good enough to make the cut. I think this is a flexible card slot and if something better comes up in the future, I'll probably remove Mentor. Update Sept 28th 2017: I've changed my mind about this card. It's just too damn slow to make it worth it. Mentor's 3 CMC is very deceptive because the actual reason you play it is to use its triggered ability, which requires you to pay . In the most likely scenario, you will draw cards with Marath's token ability, which also requires you to pay . So, let's say you want to draw x cards, then Mentor's actual cost would be 3 + 2x. Now, compare this to Tooth and Nail . TaN gets you two cards for 7, which is the same cost to draw 2 cards with Mentor's ability (3+4). However, TaN lets you tutor a game winning combo (a 2-card creature combo), while Mentor gets you random draws. You don't even need to solve the probability of drawing a 2 card combo at random to realize that it ought to make Mentor's expected cost way higher than TaN's cost. In a mono white deck, I'd definitely play Mentor. Here, there's no question that TaN is much better. Updated on Nov 3rd 2019: Not playing any of them at this point. Mentor is too slow and TaN is too expensive.

  • Wall of Roots : This is an underrated mana dork. It works very well with Marath because you can activate it every turn, so you can use it during your opponent's turn to generate an additional elemental token from Marath. It's an early game wall for nasty early game creatures (e.g., Goblin Lackey ) and it works great with Birthing Pod .

  • Stoneforge Mystic : Even with only one equipment in the deck ( Skullclamp ), Stoneforge is way too good to not make the cut. The reason is that it's much easier for us to find Stoneforge than it is to find Skullclamp, and the synergy is great with Imperial Recruiter and Recruiter of the Guard (tutor mystic > get clamp > sac recruiter). I've tested other equipments (mostly swords and the deathtouch one) but my conclusion is that they do not belong to this deck, as they incentivise us to tap creatures to attack and that's not something we want to do. However, if you still want to play another equipment, play Sword of Feast and Famine , as it works great with cradle.

  • Life from the Loam : The deck has 8 fetchlands and 2 utility lands that go to the gy (Stripmine and Horizon Canopy ). To me, this is enough reason to run Loam to make sure we can develop our mana base every turn. On top of that, we have Exploration and Oracle of Mul Daya , so making sure we can access multiple lands each turn will greatly benefit us. It has synergy with Riftstone Portal and graveyard recursion spells as well, particularly Past in Flames .

  • Fecundity : It benefits everybody, yes, but it rewards us much more than most players. Of course, you don't want to play this card carelessly--you should always evaluate the pros and cons given the board state. You should play it to protect your board, rather than as a card advantage engine. Fecundity makes control decks crumble really fast. Updated on Nov 3rd 2019: Fecundity has been removed. The list is getting too tight for cards that don't do stuff right away. Running Light Up the Stage in its place.

  • City of Solitude and Defense Grid over Red Elemental Blast and Pyroblast : In the first version of the deck, I used to run the blast duo. A few games later, however, I've noticed that in many matchups, those cards were either dead (opponents not playing blue) or not effective (opponents interacting with cards that were not blue, or having access to multiple counters). City and grid was my response to that. The deck was never designed to play as control; instead, we want to protect our stuff. Both city and grid are amazing at that. I've thought about running Grand Abolisher instead of City but city is more resilient than abolisher and much easier to cast from cradle mana. I don't think City and Grid are meta dependent, unless your meta is just combo. Only then I think the blast duo is better.

  • Final Fortune : This is a controversial one. Let me start saying that this card is not for every deck. It's not even for every combo deck. But what I can tell you is that in this deck, this card is amazing. Instead of waiting for another turn to win and hope your opponents won't destroy your board state, you can just cast Fortune and win the game. There are so many situations in which this card is good. You made lots of tokens but you can't produce enough mana to go off: cast fortune, take another turn, untap all your stuff, draw another card, and win then. You were going off and your opponents did something that messed your combo: cast fortune, take another turn, untap all your stuff, draw another card, and win then. Don't go around casting this card carelessly though, because if it fizzles (it never happened to me), you will lose for sure (the deck has nothing to prevent the trigger from resolving). With some practice, however, you'll be able to tell exactly when you should cast it, even if it means taking a chance because you'll likely not have another turn anyway (your opponent is gonna win next turn)--it's an instant. Remember that if you win, you can't lose. Updated on Nov 3rd 2019: Fortune has been removed to find place for Smothering Tithe .

  • Saproling Symbiosis and Spontaneous Generation : I've tested both these cards and my conclusion is that they are not necessary in this deck. They are good and they synergize with what the deck is trying to do but it turns out, mana dorks and Marath are very reliable and accomplish multiple things at the same time. Both cards did not make the cut.

  • Craterhoof Behemoth : Another good win con but most of the time, if you can win with hoof, you can win with any of the other win cons as well. Hoof is also easy to disrupt and we would need to run something like Concordant Crossroads to make effectively kill +2 opponents. Kiki and its combo enablers have very good synergy with other spells in the deck, which makes me favor it over hoof. Did not make the cut.

  • Yisan, the Wanderer Bard : Mentor of the Meek used to be Yisan. It's a good card but I found it to be too slow for this deck. It can do neat things like if it gets to 3 counters, you can win with it as long as you have 9 mana (get bell ringer, then resto, then kiki) but again, I prefer the immediate card draw engine that Meek can offer.

  • Worldly Tutor : I've never been a fan of card disadvantage tutors (mystical, worldly, etc) and we are already running Enlightened Tutor , which is much better because it gets Food Chain , Earthcraft , Skullclamp , Defense Grid , etc. I don't know. The only thing I can say is that I've never missed worldly here.

  • Tooth and Nail : It wins the game with Kiki combo but its mana cost is too high to ever be relevant in a competitive game. Chances are if you can cast it, you can win any other way as well. Didn't make the cut. Updated Sept 28th 2017: I've changed my mind about this card. I've been unhappy with Mentor of the Meek and decided that TaN is a better option. One gives you card advantage and the other wins the game; If given the choice, I prefer to win the game. I talked about the actual cost of Mentor in the SCD section about it. Updated on Nov 3rd 2019: The card has been removed because it's too expensive to play.

  • Battle Hymn : Good synergy with tokens but red mana is not what you need most of the time. If cradle got banned, however, I'd probably try to find a place for this card. (For those who play duel or are trying to adapt this list for duel, BHymn might be useful.) Didn't make the cut.

  • Counter/token doublers ( Doubling Season , Parallel Lives , etc.): I talked about this in the previous sections. In brief, we don't need them. You can only go infinite if you also have two other cards on the battlefield (e.g., earthcraft + marath, mana echos + marath), so it's a 3 cards combo, two of which are hard to find because they are not creatures. Second, they are expensive mana-wise. Chances are you won't be able to go infinite before turn 6 or so (because you need to cast them before casting token generators), and the deck wants to win then or before t6. They do nothing without token/counter generators. The number of counters on Marath already scales with its CMC, which increases every time you cast it... Didn't make the cut.

  • Cryptolith Rite : This is a fixed version of Earthcraft . However, as long as I can use the broken version, it won't make the cut. A good alternative to keep in mind though. For example, if you want to adapt this list for duel, you should definitely check this card.

  • Beastmaster Ascension : It's a win con similar to Craterhoof Behemoth that won't give trample to your creatures. Hoof didn't make the cut, so this card won't make it too.

  • That's it for now. Might add/remove new cards in the future.

Videos (new to old)

Alternative builds

Maybe this list is not quite what you were looking for. If that's the case, make sure to check the following alternative lists that other users put together:

  • RylandL's Marath Dockside: An interesting take on a combo list that also features hate-bears to disrupt other cEDH strategies. The deck's name comes from the dockside-sabertooth combo but the list is very focused on Yisan-related interactions. Make sure to study them before playing the deck.

Updates Add

Changes:

Alright... Now you cannot say I didn't try Smothering Tithe! And just like I imagined, tithe does not belong in this deck and honestly, it doesn't belong in most competitive decks that can play it. First, it sits at an awkward 4 CMC for a resource development spell. On average, it's a net -1 mana by turn 5 and net 2 mana by turn 6 in a four-player table. In my mind, mana dorks help us develop our mana so much more efficiently than tithe that I feel even a Fyndhorn Elves is better than tithe. Second, it's the sort of card that wants the game to go long (or stall), as we'd get in a control shell or stax. This deck is a dedicated combo list, so by turn 4, we don't really want to sit there and slowly develop our mana with tithe. We want to cast our payoffs then! So, we're bringing Final Fortune back to the deck, which we had removed to find room for tithe.

As kalka pointed out, we should reconsider how useful Past in Flames is in light of the several changes that the deck has gone through over the years. PiF was in the very first version of the deck and back then, we used to play more sorceries and instants to justify its inclusion. We still play sorceries/instants but the deck has shifted towards a greater reliance on permanents than non-permanents, mostly because it's easier for us to tutor for permanents in Naya than non-permanents. For instance, we can untap cradle and enchanted lands with Candelabra of Tawnos, instead of relying on Rude Awakening, so we cant even net mana with PiF anymore. In its place, we are now playing Sevinne's Reclamation. This card is a very good gy recursion spell here. It brings back most of our permanents and it's a 3 for 1 (when flashbacked, we can target twice) and just like PiF, it's great with Gamble. At the very least, it seems an interesting card to test, and that's what we will do for now.

Comments

Date added 3 years
Last updated 11 months
Exclude colors UB
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

13 - 0 Mythic Rares

57 - 0 Rares

14 - 0 Uncommons

12 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.47
Tokens Copy Clone, 1/1 Goblin, 1/1 Squirrel, 1/1 Elemental, 2/2 Satyr, */* Elemental, 3/3 Beast, Treasure
Folders EDH, Edh Ideas, EDH, Comp EDH, Competitive Marath, Gauntlet, "Come not within the measure of Marath." - Shakespear, Cool Concepts, Take Note, Marath Ideas, See all 14
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