MTGO: nUKe13

“Rulers come and go, but my allegiance belongs to the throne.”

For Her Majesty, the Queen! God(s) save the Queen! Long may She reign!

I’m a big fan of Mardu strategies and when I saw Queen Marchesa (long may She reign) a year after Her release in Conspiracy: Take the Crown, I’d thought I’d try her out.

That’s when it was all over for me. I fell in love with my Queen and I have hardly ever wanted to use another commander since!

To be honest, in every MtG format, I play Mardu. Mardu never seems over-oppressive while simultaneously still feeling powerful/competitive. Queen Marchesa (long may She reign!) is not overwhelmingly oppressive as a deck, but, instead, ensures a fair game for the table. Even though we run tax effects, they don’t force the opponent to pay; rather, the effects benefit and protect us and let other opponents play their game. Unless, of course, the opponents play an aggro based strategy. In that case, they will have to pick another target to attack.

Much of my inspiration comes from my time spent building and tinkering with the deck and testing out different variants. Other sources of inspiration come from:

  • EDHrec

  • Various YouTube spotlights/highlights and deck techs

  • Play group suggestions

The great thing about Mardu is it’s flexibility. This build has morphed from pillow-fort/prison, to stax/curses, to good stuff, to tokens, and finally settled on Monarch/Politics. I’m happy with the journey and I feel it has come to a triumphant conclusion as to the type of deck I want it to be.

This deck has felt the most interactive, decently competitive, and definitely the most fun as a Monarch/Council build. Basically meant for multiplayer games where the deck pits and plots opponents against each other and sits behind effects that tax opponent for trying to take the “Crown” (Monarch) from us.

Let me know if there's anything you see that could be changed. Comments and critiques are appreciated!

“Those who seize power must have the means to hold it.”

Each card in this deck provides one (or multiple) of these focused purposes:

  • MONARCH - we play every card available to ensure the phrase "you become the monarch" is triggered. Also, sometimes, when the monarch is "reinstated" to where it should be, we gain additional effects on the trigger, like Custodi Lich or Palace Jailer. I mention that, since we also run grave recursion, it is important to time which creature goes "on the stack" at which moment, so we can optimally trigger the effects. I have found, since we run so many other creatures that give us the monarch, we don't necessarily need to play Queen Marchesa (long may She reign) on turn 3/4. This allows our commander to be played when we don't have the monarch and we don't have any creatures or effects to give it back to us. After all, a Queen doesn't need to be involved with every aspect; that's why She has her loyal subjects!

  • TAX - when I first built this deck, I was more concerned with protecting myself, and keeping opponent from attacking me, than actually having a proactive win condition. This lead to me being one of the last players on the table, but I didn't have anything strong enough to fight the opponent, who had spent the whole game accumulating a massive board presence. Therefore, the "tax" that the deck carries is mostly to prevent combat and accumulate advantage by holding on to the Monarch. The tax comes in 2 forms: FIRST, a penalty for attacking us with creatures, with effects like Windborn Muse, Ghostly Prison, and even Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts. This is also affectionately referred to as “Pillow Fort”. These tax effects force the opponent to decide whether to develop their own plan, or sacrifice that plan by attacking us. Also, but has since been removed, Aura of Silence can be a nice addition that taxes powerful artifacts and enchantments from hitting the field, and can also be sacrificed to destroy one later in the game! SECOND, we have effects that tax our opponent from playing or activating their creatures, and/or spells, the turn they come down. Effects like Blind Obedience, Thalia, Heretic Cathar, and Authority of the Consuls force our opponents' creatures (and sometimes artifacts and lands) to come in tapped. In addition, we can use Royal Assassin to destroy whatever creature comes in tapped, or at least force the opponent to deal with Royal Assassin first. Because we run tax effects, and not a ton of creatures, occasionally opponents may take Monarch from us, if they attack with a big enough creature. What this actually does, if the opponent has taken the monarch from us, is it allows another opponent to attack the other opponent, without there being a blocker for the opponent (in possession of the “Monarch”) to block. We can then make deals if we have Royal Assassin to destroy a tapped creature that’s attacking an opponent that has the Monarch. Sometimes you just need to do a little “politicking” to convince opponents to attack each other for that precious card draw. For example, we can say: “I could take the Monarch back on my turn, so now may be the best (and maybe the only) time to get the effect.” Athreos, Shroud-Veiled, though it may seem slow, is a consistent, indestructible threat. The ability to bring powerful creatures back, regardless of whether they were exiled (since we run Orzhov removal) or destroyed (it is EDH, of course), is phenomenal. Athreos, Shroud-Veiled feels absolutely more proactive, valuable, and beneficial when playing board wipes or spot removal. Overall, these barriers provide protection, and encourage the group to attack each other, while we continue to influence the board state through edict effects, voting, and spot removing any problematic card that would prevent a "fair" game of EDH.

  • RAMP - since we are in Mardu colors, land ramp is non-existent, and we don’t run Cabal Coffers, Crypt Ghast, or Black Market. So, we run many mana rocks (Her Majesty needs her royalty signifying jewelry) and a couple white based, “fair” land fixing. We use Land Tax, Knight of the White Orchid, and Verge Rangers to take advantage of other decks that ramp faster than we do. We also run Smothering Tithe, Revel in Riches, Dockside Extortionist, and Treasure Vault to 1) fix our mana, 2) ramp to get big protection spells or threats down, and 3) provide an alternate win-con with the second part of Revel in Riches.

Each of these “themes” of the deck provide an interactive experience for the group. DISCLAIMER: this deck is not "Group Hug". Honestly, in my opinion, sometimes Group Hug decks can really hurt decks that are not built to ramp that quickly. Rather, this deck, and one of the greatest aspects of EDH, seeks to make deals with the group. Though it may not have quick wins, so it is not as competitive in a 1v1 game, it is a really great way to get to know the group, interact, and have a non-oppressive presence on the board and in the group, making for a really fun game of EDH!

"Dinner and Politics don’t mix."


  • Athreos, Shroud-Veiled - this helps for the long game when we have survived because of all the taxing effects. Also, having indestructible is nice since we have a lot of edict and destroy effects. Play it safe and occasionally target your own creatures so you don’t become too hated by the table.

  • Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts - protection from creatures, and token generation make this creature a great game-ending presence. Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts technically can't be blocked, so she also can get us back the monarch, if need be. Great prison/control card.

  • Skyline Despot - like I said prior, since we run ALL of the monarch trigger cards, we are the monarch, most of the game. Skyline Despot rewards us by giving us big, evasive dragons to attack opponent when the coast is clear.

  • Kambal, Consul of Allocation - along with Garrulous Sycophant, these cards slowly chip away at our opponents and threaten life total, especially later in the game.

  • Magister of Worth - if you really want to start some mayhem, play this, and convince everyone to choose "grace" and bring back all the creatures. It makes for an enormous game-deciding battle to occur (usually) and many "enter the battlefield" effects to alter the course of the game.

  • Custodi Squire - depending on how the group votes, this creature can be between acceptable and exceptional. If we are able to return a creature that triggers Monarch, great! If we return an artifact, well, that usually just ramps us. If enchantment, we can continue our chip damage or lock down so we can find another answer.

  • Throne Warden - no, it doesn’t have evasion, and yes, it starts small. But over the course of the game, we aren’t trying to out-aggro the opponent. We just hold onto the Monarch as long as possible and sit behind our defenses. If not dealt with, this creature will continually grow into a formidable threat.


  • Asymmetrical Board Wipes - Bite of the Black Rose, Mythos of Snapdax, Ruinous Ultimatum, and Merciless Eviction (usually Planeswalkers or Enchantments), all provide board clearing effects for us to take over. Since we played a more conservative game, waiting behind taxing effects to form our plans, we can then begin to play creatures and attack. Coercive Portal is also great to hold over opponents’ heads to either a) prevent opponents from going too wide or b) used to allow me to make deals with the opponents, like: “attack here and I won’t blow this up”.

  • Disrupt Decorum - one of my favorite cards in commander, and probably in the whole game of MtG. This card, as I've heard others say as well, literally wins you games when you shouldn't have. When it looks like you are going to be attacked for lethal in the next turn, this is great to play and force opponents to "duke it out". Also, Teferi's Protection can fall under this category. Use Teferi's Protection during an opponent's combat step (as long as they don't have Questing Beast or any other "damage cannot be prevented" card) and, when they have tapped out, you can encourage another opponent to attack into them.

  • Mythos of Snapdax - a relatively new addition, but this powerhouse is like a quasi-board wipe, except it hits everything, not just creatures. Most of the time, we aren’t worried about playing this on turn 4, so we have a few turns to make sure we can cast this for in order to grant us full control.

  • Stolen Strategy - this card will be hated on when it drops, but hopefully we can play it at a time when some opponent's can't do anything about it for a couple turns. This allows us to use opponents' effects and save our cards in hand for when Stolen Strategy is ultimately hated off the field.

  • Treasures - Smothering Tithe, Dockside Extortionist, and Revel in Riches all produce Treasure Tokens and either a) allows us to play spells on time (we are in Mardu and have almost no ramp) or b) can give us a win-con in a stalemate with the second effect from Revel in Riches.

“I did offer them a choice...”

  • as I said previously, it depends on the style and rules of your play group, but I like to ask the group what they would like us to destroy or exile (we use Orzhov removal, the best in the game) or what they would like us to vote for. This allows the table to interact and acknowledge the board state of the other players.

  • don't (or don't feel like you have to) play Queen Marchesa (long may She reign) on turn 3/4. She can be used later in the game when we run out of monarch triggers to ensure we get those extra card draws and effects.

  • with “voting” spells, and again, this is up to the play group, but you can have the group "vote on your vote" to ensure alliances are made, or to see the board through the eyes of the opponent.

  • it's ok to wait behind some pillow fort effects (like Ghostly Prison) and let opponents develop their board state. We run plenty of removal spells and board wipes (for all types, not just creatures), so we can deal with troublesome threats as needed.

  • if opponents are starting to become aggressive against your Smothering Tithe and all the mana it can produce, sacrifice the treasures and reset yourself. This seems counter-intuitive, but it also shows your opponents that you are reasonable and willing to help them out. It is possible that the opponent removes Smothering Tithe quickly, but make sure that all these effects that accrue advantage don’t “paint a target” on your head.

  • This is for a more competitive 1v1 game. We drop the politics and voting, since the opponent will always vote to benefit them the most, and go strictly tokens. Surprisingly, Queen Marchesa (long may She reign) makes a great token commander, since Mardu is a great color wedge for token generation, and the only way to take the Monarch is through combat damage.


  • this section will contain either mechanics or popular cards that I’ve since removed. If they ever return, the reasoning, tips, and inclusions will be here, ready to be included again.

  • VOTE - quite straight forward, these cards allow us to interact with the opponent, for alliances, and understand the game through three eyes of our opponents. These cards include the keywords "Will of the Council", "Council's Dilemma", and even our spot removal can fill that spot. Over time, I've realized more and more how important Mathas, Fiend Seeker is and how it actually leads to inner disruption between players, basically forcing them to attack or destroy creatures to gain an advantage. What I like to do, and this depends on the play style and "rules" of the group that you play in, is ask the opponent what they would like us, the controller of the spell, to vote for. This way, we can see the game from their perspective. We can cut deals: "If I vote for 'x', can you take care of 'y' for me?" This makes the game interesting and interactive. It also can help form partnerships (temporarily, of course) to be able to help each other out. Check with the group and make the game fun through voting! Just know that sometimes, the firm hand of justice will occasionally require difficult decisions, and not everyone on the table will be compliant with your decisions. Make the friends while you can!

“Hail to the true Queen! Long may She reign!”


Updates Add

Thank you all for the upvotes and support! This deck has received lots of recognition and high ratings because of you guys! So thank you!

I’ve made a couple changes to the list since the previous update, and I’ve played a couple games since then (quarantine has made my groups get-togethers hard).

I’ll keep making updates to the primer as the inspiration comes to me. So far, the deck is feeling really powerful, especially when it comes to playing the table politics.

Let me know if any of you have suggestions, changes, or critiques on the list or the primer! Long live Her Majesty! Long may She reign!

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99% Casual


Top Ranked
Date added 6 years
Last updated 2 weeks
Exclude colors UG
Splash colors WBR

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

6 - 0 Mythic Rares

66 - 0 Rares

12 - 0 Uncommons

7 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.58
Tokens Angel 4/4 W, Assassin 1/1 B w/ Haste, Copy Clone, Dragon 5/5 R, Inkling 2/1 WB, Ogre 3/3 R, Shapeshifter 3/2 C, Soldier 1/1 RW, Soldier 1/1 W, Spirit 1/1 W, Spirit 1/1 WB, Monarch Emblem, Treasure
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