Maybeboard


land

Introduction

Just a note before I begin this extremely long piece, I know I am certainly not the first person to make a deck similar to this, but I would really really really appreciate it if nobody copied this deck card for card or something along those lines. Obviously, I can't stop you but I would deeply appreciate it if you didn't. This deck is my pride and joy and of COURSE, you can use it, just if you do, please give me credit for the decklist, I have worked long and hard perfecting it, and it would sadden me deeply to know someone used that hard work without consent. I love sharing my work on this site, and again, people are welcome to use this, all I am asking is for a quick comment saying just that. Thank you :D!

Welcome to Double Trouble EDH! (Overview)

Thank you, EVERYONE, for making this deck the NUMBER ONE (gosh..) Rafiq deck on tapped-out entirely, created around October of 2019 as you can see on the date added! It's inherently my child both on the site and in real life, and I'm quite happy to see it has advanced this much! I have worked super long on this primer, the decklist, and the CSS you see around you, and so if you enjoy that too be sure to drop a quick upvote, I'd appreciate it and I almost always upvote your decks in response! Anyways though, as for the function, it is a pretty simple (but very effective) Voltron deck, using an underplayed Voltron commander that works much better than many would typically think, though it does not use the commander in the traditional way (more on that in a second). Many people diss my commander deck, saying it's not "Proper Voltron" but they tend to think differently after they get wrecked. Anyway, my goal is obviously the same as any other Voltron deck, to win with commander damage, but rather than doing so with Auras, Equipment, Counters, or anything like such, my goal is much more of a speedy win...

I tried Aura decks and equipment decks, I even tried +1/+1 counter decks, and heck even a mix of them all, but in the end, I found that simple, one-time use, pumping spells work the best. I play ramp spells, cast Rafiq of the Many (my commander) earlier than usual, and then give it all sorts of buffs and effects using instant and sorcery spells, along with the help of a FEW auras/equipment that are cheap in mana. This win is super cheap in mana, easily accessible, and VERY fast! The biggest reason it's so effective is that there are no specific cards you need to win, rather cards that can help you win faster, in most cases. It is a very simple deck, that doesn't see too much played on the board, and yet is again extremely fast! There are great lands that help you win, amazing pump spells, sweet unblockable spells, and of course the best ramp in town. It's loaded with synergies and a few combos so you can have HUGELY explosive turns, and have a hell lotta fun! Read on to find what makes this deck so efficient, because there is much more than what typically meets the eye...!

unclesam

Why Rafiq?

Before I get into the deck, I wanted to answer a question I get quite a lot. Why Rafiq? Despite what it may seem, this decision was and is very thought out. I needed to have green in my deck, because my ramp section would be horrible without it, and I needed the speedy pump spells, both of which had the very best options in green. (I will talk in depth on each of those later on). Ramping is harder in colors that don't include green, and while it is possible, the thing I was going for needed the certain spells available only in green. So I needed a green commander. I also wanted unblockable spells, which were crucial for the speedy win I had in mind, and those were ONLY available in blue. Blue also gave me the option for counterspells which I find helpful. So now, I need a commander who uses simic () Now white I was a little more hesitant about. Its main use in my deck is removal and disruption, though it has also proven slightly useful in my pump section as well. Personally, I would have preferred black, but there weren't many good Sultai () Voltron commanders that could work with the theme I was going for. So what about Temur? () The main option I could have done with this was Animar, Soul of Elements . However, by delving into him I would be basing the deck more around creatures and counters, leaving much less space for the stuff I was going for. That said, the only combination left was Bant, () and as I investigated this I found the one and only Rafiq! He has a worthy mana cost and gets double strike on HIS OWN, not to mention he also has exalted. This double strike ability makes the pump spells much stronger, and now that I have thought about it more I realize Rafiq really is the perfect fit. With all of this, there was no theme that I had to base it around for him, allowing me to use my speedy win theme! (Instead of something like creatures with Animar, etc). Many people prefer Aura and Equipment Voltron decks which are indeed very effective, but they also take quite a bit longer. Equipment takes a while to start actually being lethal, and once you start using auras the deck gets into a more enchantress theme. Once you get into the game they dominate, but for me, I invoke the essence of speed. This is why, ladies and gentlemen, I chose Rafiq.

land

Lands

So let's jump into the deck! This is by far one of my favorite parts about this deck! Lands are ramp and just so fun they- sorry. It's weird. For me, ramping in game just feels fun to do, to get a bunch of mana early on, which is reflected in the number of ramp cards in relation to the average CMC (around 2). But anyway, let us begin with lands! I have all three Bant filter lands: Wooded Bastion , Mystic Gate , and Flooded Grove , the first two of which are NOT from double masters, and are the old Lorwyn ones. Personally, I would use the signets (since we are talking about lands with a similar effect) if I had thought of them when I began constructing the deck (I was a beginner at the time ok) and nowadays it's just insanely hard to find even one cut, much less 3. And I suppose I could use one, probbaly simic, but it just feels like unnecessary cutting. That aside, I also have all the three Bant shock lands Hallowed Fountain , Breeding Pool , Temple Garden , which are SUPER useful since the deck generally lies on winning fairly quickly. These shocks are obviously extremely useful, as they give you the option of choice, one of the most valuable things in magic. PLUS, now that I have all three fetches (see below) the shocks are like 50x better, since you can crack a fetch and get a shock. Also, I personally loathe and hate all lands that come in tapped, so you won't find much of that here- most of them like Cathedral of War got cut. I have the three Bant fetches as well as a briefly mentioned: Windswept Heath , Flooded Strand and Misty Rainforest , the last of which I happened to open in a Zendikar Rising box topper which I was super happy about. The fetches are probably the best lands in the deck, but it isn't really worth it to run a Crucible of Worlds since I only have the three plus one more (I'll talk about it later), and I'm not incredibly invested to buy other fetches. So instead, I have the three Bant fast lands, Razorverge Thicket , Seachrome Coast , and Botanical Sanctum , as for me the first couple turns are the most important, rather than late-game turns if those turns even happen. Once I have the mana to get Rafiq out, I typically don't need anything else which is why these lands are super valuable as opposed to something slower but more long-term. Then, last but not least I have the five horizon/pain lands, Adarkar Wastes , Yavimaya Coast , and Brushland (for the pain lands) and Horizon Canopy , and Waterlogged Grove for the horizon lands. Like many of the other lands, these definitely do NOT come in tapped, and I am a player who is always more than willing to pay life in exchange for mana, though I draw the line at things like Tarnished Citadel , as it starts to make things messy when it gets to 3+ life per tap.

Gee that was a lot. Oh, wait- I'm not done. But don't leave yet- trust me- the fun is JUST getting started. But if you have places to be as I'm sure you do, feel free to skip over these lands unless you like an in-depth explanation as much as I do! Ancient Tomb is a staple and a must-have for most decks, and is an amazing asset in most games, even when I use only one of the two colorless, since for me I like to have options even if they don't always work the best as they should- I'd rather use half the tomb most times and stil have the option for two rather than not have the option for two and not pay two life- this deck needs things as fast as can be! I also have the typical Command Tower and Exotic Orchard . Exotic orchard works just fine in this deck as almost everyone is playing simic these days. Similar to the orchard I have Reflecting Pool , as well as City of Brass and Mana Confluence , my personal favorites. I always love a steady source of any-colored mana, no matter the price it comes at. Gemstone Mine also is a great card in my deck, as I rarely need a land more than three times, even if I do get it in turn 1, due to the fact that I tend to win fast in one turn and don't play TOO much on the board. Prismatic Vista is also a great fetch land allowing you to chose, yes, from basics, but still, it comes in untapped and can be very useful in almost all situations. To top it all off, I had to have Strip Mine as it is a staple for commander decks, and it's always extremely helpful in putting my opponent back a turn. As for cuts, I have pretty much gotten everything that regards lands, though a Fabled Passage will be cut if WotC ever prints a horizon land.

Ramp

And now, we move on to ramp! Ramp is by far, one of the most crucial and important parts of this deck, as getting Rafiq out early can EASILY decide the fate of the game. With the ramp cards in this deck, you can get him out anywhere from turn 2 and beyond, thus giving you a hopefully speedy win as the theme of the deck goes. Some people have mentioned that there is too much ramp in the deck, but trust me, the deck has the perfect amount of ramp necessary to win, no more and no less! And so, first off, mana dorks. There is Noble Hierarch , which not only provides any kind of mana this deck could need but ALSO has exalted, buffing Rafiq and giving mana, making it one of the best ramp cards in the deck. Bloom Tender is also quite amazing, as in the worst-case scenario it can simply tap for a green, yet with Rafiq out, it adds a whopping 3 mana (), providing all the mana I could ever need to win, in addition to any lands already on the battlefield. I also included the everlasting Birds of Paradise and Sylvan Caryatid , as 1-2 mana ramp spells are the most needed and best kind in this deck. The new addition of Ilysian Caryatid has brought much fortune and aid to the deck, providing mana to cast Rafiq and giving us more once he is out/attacks, etc. I do also have fun with Selvala, Heart of the Wilds , where I pump Rafiq and then pay a green to add like 10 mana and play even more stuff XD. Selvala does not typically help with getting Rafiq out faster, but it can add a hell of a lot of mana once she is indeed out. The thing is, I also bought Pemmin's Aura for the deck, as it can protect, buff, and have a chance at getting Rafiqs damage through. However, Bloom Tender + Pemmin's Aura , Pemmin's Aura + Selvala, Heart of the Wilds , AND Ilysian Caryatid + Pemmin's Aura all give me infinite mana, which is a great addition to the deck if it comes up. Sadly, infinite mana isn't SUPER helpful in this deck, as everything from the pump spells to the unblockable spells to the removal spells cost very little, yet I will certainly never say no to an infinite amount. One time use ramp spells like Three Visits and Nature's Lore are very helpful, giving us a turn extra in lands, as well as letting us use that land immediately rather than bringing it to the hand instead. The more permanent ramp spells like Emerald Medallion , Burgeoning and Exploration are also SUPER useful! Emerald medallion can take that off of Rafiq, but it also can help lessen the cost of most of the pump spells later on, a crucial part of its role in the deck. The latter two can sometimes even put Rafiq out turn 2 on their LONESOME, making them great additions to the deck even if they do not ramp in themselves. Sol Ring and of course Arcane Signet simply had to be included as is obvious, in addition to the fact that due to their mana cost they fit wonderfully into the deck. I also have Land Tax since its a great card and helps represent white in the deck! Bear Umbra also doubles as a pump/ramp spell! Untapping your lands can give you more mana to play pump-spells DURING combat which can be very unexpected and helpful in almost all games. That about sums up the Ramp section, but read on to find the most important parts of the deck!

combat

Unblockable Spells

You pump Rafiq, than attack, but what happens if your opponents just block? Yes you could give it flying, but what if your opponents have fliers? I hated that about Voltron Decks, and since blocking was the main reason I continued to lose, I knew I had to do something about it. I would end up having so many pump spells, and then my opponents would just block, and I'd end up flipping the table. To avoid broken tables, I added a good deal of spells that can help Rafiq give that Commander Damage without worrying about blocking. I understand these take up spots that could be well used in a commander deck for other cards, but having them can change the tides of most games, and they help my deck stay unique. Again, the cards are pretty regular for unblockable spells, and you can check out the list under "unblockable". Shadow Rift and Slip Through Space provide very helpful card draw, which is always good in getting me the last pump spell I needed to kill someone in one turn, with a similar effect from Aqueous Form though not as immediate. Sometimes, if I have a few unblockable spells, I feel comfortable with simply using these on their own and just drawing a card, even if Rafiq isn't it out yet, if I need another land or pump spell, etc. Artful Dodge is amazing, because of its cheap flashback cost, which really makes it two unblockable spells in one.If I don't draw any other unblockable spells, Artful is ridiculously powerful, and I have to say it has truly saved me many games. Giver of Runes can protect him from other spells as well, and can be put out earlier, making it a super good card. Having it out there can really discourage attacks at him, and they also provide a first target rather than Rafiq being the primary one. I can use this to give him protection from a certain color and thus make him unblockable to that color, which doesn't always work against multicolored decks but is still DEFINITELy worth it due to the flexibility of the giver. Mother of Runes is quite similar, and while it does not offer protection from colorless, it also does allow "any target". This means if someone tries to get rid of it, I can activate it in response and protect itself, whereas the giver can not do that as it says "Other" creatures. There are also some more unblockable spells labled under "Multipurpose"! Steel of the Godhead is quite expensive mana wise, but its vast variety of effects makes it a great card. Unblockable, buffed, and even lifelink all rolled into one, allowing us to gain a ton of life without worrying about blocking, and giving us 4 extra commander damage. Spirit Mantle is also an amazing card, not only basically giving Rafiq unblockable but also protecting him from any creatures that might have dangerous abilities towards him, for a mere two mana, one of which is colorless. Aether Tunnel and Distortion Strike help give Rafiq strength, and believe it or not, having that one extra power point can really decide the winner of a game since you only need to get Rafiq to a 10 power to win (due to his own exalted and double strike triggers), or in other words, +7/+7. card:Distortion Strikes second ability is also similar to Artful Dodge , except even better, as it does not even require a mana cost at the next turn, basically giving us two entire turns of unblockable, which is almost always enough to kill someone, at the expense of just one mana. The good thing about Artful dodge though, is that if someone kills Rafiq by that time, I can simply flash it back later, but with Distortion, I have no choice but to cast it the following turn. The final three unblockable spells are Infiltrate , Cloak of Mists (both pretty self explanatory) and Thassa, God of the Sea . Thassa is great, though if you draw it AFTER Rafiq is cast it can be a bit problematic due to mana costs. The reason it's so good though is that it gives us a steady reusable stream of unblockable spells for only two mana, in addition to letting us scry once per turn. It is also hard to get rid of due to its indestructible abilities! Also, though that is all the unblockable spells, some that I either want to include or had to take out but might put back in later can be found below, on my maybeboard description!

Pump Spells (Gosh I wrote too much)

Now pump spells are as you may have guessed, pretty much the most important aspect of the deck. They are all relatively cheap in mana, which is what makes them just so powerful. As is known, there is strength in numbers! (get it? numbers? pumping Rafiq?) Let's first look at the temporary pump spells. Might of Old Krosa is a great card, giving Rafiq +4/+4 for only one mana, though it also gives us the option to be cast as an instant for only +2/+2, which is not an amazing option, but still an option nonetheless. An important thought to keep in mind is that Rafiq needs +7/+7 not including his exalted trigger to get a one-hit kill. Thus, having +4/+4 can seriously help support that especially if I only need one more for +3/+3 or less to automatically get the kill. Groundswell is similar, though less driven by choice, and usually gives Rafiq +4/+4 due to the number of lands in the deck. If you didn't somehow play a land that turn, there is of course the weaker option though I would rather recommend waiting until later turns, unless of course +2/+2 is all you need to knock someone out. I don't enjoy using conditional cards as such, but sometimes they end up being one of the best options, just like in this case, as groundswell can usually turn out quite fine in my experiences. Phytoburst gives Rafiq +5/+5, almost everything he needs to do a one-hit KO, though of course, it is sadly a sorcery, though for Rafiq that isn't a huge deal. Nonetheless, if our opponents know what is happening when we swing it can get quite dangerous, though again in many of my experiences, it doesn't make a ridiculously large difference. Titanic Growth , Larger Than Life , and Monstrous Growth , which are virtually the same, though titanic can be cast at instant speed, which is certainly something that can give you a huge edge up in many games and can save you lots of pumpspells if your opponents are planning on killing Rafiq. Larger than life isn't amazing compared to this, as is monstrous growth, as I don't really ever use trample since I have unblockable spells, yet still, +4/+4 for 2 mana isn't really that bad, though I am always looking for new pumping options. But speaking of killing Rafiq, I have Blossoming Defense and Vines of Vastwood , both of which can pump Rafiq relatively or quite well, while also providing some protection: a very valuable thing in Voltron decks. Vines of Vastwood is especially good, as if you only have , you can still protect Rafiq without casting the entire two mana to pump and protect him, as I don't always have 2 green open to just protect him. Blossoming Defense is also a great card though, as it can be played for 1 mana too and yet it also gives a smaller buff, a buff that has certainly come in clutch for me in quite a multitude of games. The next card, card:Might of the Nephillim, is possibly one of the best here, doing everything I need to one-hit someone aside from a single point of damage, that I can almost always deal with using a separate pump spell or on the following turn. +6+6 is GREAT for only two mana, at instant speed. Or maybe... you have Might of Oaks , the one pump spell that completely knocks someone out aside from the use of any other pump spells. While it does cost 4 mana, 3 of that is colorless which I can usually easily get with all the ramp I have. The following two single-use pump spells are Briar Shield and Seal of Strength . Why are these considered single-use spells? Well, I typically don't use them as an enchantment, and they are instead in the deck for their sacrificing abilities, which is basically a 1 mana +3/+3 if I want them to be. Seal of strength is quite amazing too as you can play it for a single mana even BEFORE Rafiq comes out, though of course you'd have to be wary of enchantment removal. People typically don't see its power until it is too late though, meaning I can usually do such safely. It is also good because if someone goes to destroy it, you can sacrifice them in response and still get the pumping part, making them quite flexible with whatever is going on. Now on to some of the last single-use pump spells, which in some respect are in their own category: Mutagenic Growth and Invigorate . These literally cost no mana and are almost never seen coming, increasing the chance of your victory, and helping you win even if you don't have any mana left over. You typically don't want to hard cast them, though I suppose that is also always an option. Playing things like this after you are tappedout for such a small price is so strong, as they can usually finish the job if I are tappedout from pump and unblockable spells. Even if I'm aren't tappedout, they are still ridiculously powerful, for SURE. Now for the grand finale, the one and only... Berserk !!! Berserk is an expensive but amazing pump spell, though by itself it isn't necessarily the best. After you play one of the lesser pump spells, Berserk can completely finish the job, and is super cheap in mana letting us usually have some mana leftover afterwards as well, to cast anything else I may wish to do. Even by itself, it is basically a 1 mana +/3+3 which is already the strength of Briar Shield ! After that, it just gets even stronger. One of the most amazing parts about Bersek is also, its synergy with Indestructible. Some cards mentioned later give Rafiq this ability, letting us double his power for one mana at no second cost. But alas, what about the more permanent pump spells? well- enchantments make up the majority of this sub-section! Blessing of the Nephilim wouldn't normally be something you'd want, but due to the fact it lasts much longer than something like Giant Growth , it has functioned very well in the deck and is a great supporter for something like berserk. It also helps represent white more in the deck and even out the colors used. Bastion Protector and Shield of the Oversoul are both very synergistic with berserk, allowing us to keep Rafiq despite what it says, due to the fact that Rafiq would now be indestructible. Bastion can also be played BEFORE Rafiq is out, and I have played in many times very early with something like Sol Ring or Ancient Tomb . Shield can only be played later, but also gives Rafiq the extra flier ability, which is always great especially if your opponents obviously don't have fliers, as it saves us the cost of unblockable spells. Favor of the Overbeing is also similar to this, allowing us to save Rafiq as a blocker and giving us a better chance at getting his damage in, and of course pumping him by two extra, which actually turns out to 4 due to his double strike. And now, we strike down to the final two cards, that certainly tip towards the more expensive side in mana. Finest Hour is obviously pretty great in the deck, allowing Rafiq to have two turn swings, allowing us to certainly kill one person a turn though in most cases it ends up being two. Its exalted ability is also extremely helpful, in all occasions! The deck doesn't really ride with many expensive mana things, as the entire theme of the deck is to be quick with one time use spells, but nonetheless, a scarce few of these cards can be found within it. Last but not least there is Hunter's Prowess , which draws us a TON of cards, usually from 14-28, though I will talk more about draw in just a second!

Pump and unblockable spells make up the core idea of the deck, with of course ramp to help you make the journey smoother. But there are many other fun synergies that make this deck effective! There are a couple of fun draw synergies, a bunch of removal and disruption, and more! Let's take a look at those.

Draw

Another point I want to make is card draw! My deck doesn't have too much of this, but the ones I do have included are very thought out. Let's check out some of those. Hunter's Insight is AMAZING for me, as in the average swing, Rafiq deals from 14-28 damage in one hit. That's a HELL LOTTA cards in one turn. With all these cards you simply take the best pump spells, an unblockable spell or two, maybe some removal (more on that in a second), or anything you happen to find. After this happens, there's almost no stopping Rafiq. Hunter's Prowess is virtually the same thing except it also pumps Rafiq, and costs quite a bit more mana. These are both very great cards and are super-efficient card draw cards within the deck. Another factor is when you run out of cards. It happens to everyone usually, but in this deck it happens FAST. The average mana cost has stayed under 2 for very long, and there are very few huge mana cards. I end up playing all my pump spells and unblockablse spells and by the end of the turn I have virtually nothing left in my hand. When this happens you just hope you can swing in with Rafiq and not die. OR NOT. Day's Undoing is a HUGE part of this deck that I really love. When you have only 1-2 cards left in your hand, get a refresh, and possibly ruin your opponent's hands too, though there is of course the risk they may benefit from the new hand. You can also swing with Rafiq and THEN play Days too, because it automatically ends the turn. On a different note I have Sylvan Library , Mystic Remora , and Rhystic Study in here too, because they can really help me build my hand from earlier on, before I get Rafiq out, allowing me to get any last key parts of the gameplan and additionally also benefiting me even after Rafiq comes out. Sylvan and rhystic are self-explanatory, but for mystic remora, it's very important to understand the timing. If you can time it right and both predict/expect your opponents to play certain mana rocks (etc), you can draw 4-5 cards with mystic remora in one single turn cycle, making it a great card if you can time it right, and a pretty good card even if you don't. I typically scrap the remora after a turn or two, though occasionally in some situations it can last longer, as I really can't afford to continuously play the creeping cumalitive upkeep cost. And as for sylvan, I have a couple of copies of it in real life so I thought why not throw it in here, especially since it can be played quite early on. To aid all of these above cards, I have a Reliquary Tower , which can get SUPER synergistic, and can even be played AFTER some of the card draw spells, namely Hunter's Insight and its twin. Simply use their abilities, draw the tower, then if you haven't played a land or have a handy Exploration , you play the tower and keep the whole hand since you only need to discard at the end of turn. You can even play exploration if you draw it, and then use it on the tower if you draw both of them in that one swing. But before I get into the next idea, I also have Mystical Tutor to search for any of the above, including Pump Spells, Unblockable Spells, or removal, depending on the situation. A good trick I like to do with it or any sort of tutors like it, is play it on my opponents end step right before my turn that way people have fewer resources and knowledge before I can actually use the card, as for example they might have tapped themselves out or something similar. If you know you are going to draw cards from virtually any of the above you may also want to play the tutor first so you can draw the card off the top of the library. But the BEST part FOR SURE about Mystical Tutor is its insane synergy with Temporal Mastery . We can tutor for temporal, draw it, and get an extra turn for ONLY TWO MANA. Even without the tutor, if we can manage to get lucky and draw it, temporal is one of the best cards, since we can get an extra turn to swing with Rafiq, draw any cards that can help us out, and ultimately usually win the game. I used to have Diminishing Returns but it was replaced by Rhystic Study, and I'd love to find a way to get it back somehow as well, so any thoughts on that would be appreciated. While it does have a big con, it is very powerful in my deck.

Removal

On to Removal! In recent months, the deck has improved dramatically in stopping my opponent, and I am happy to say it works relatively well now, though it is certainly not at its best. For direct Removal, I have Generous Gift and Swords to Plowshares . Generous Gift is always a super funny card, and I needed something that could directly get rid of permanents in the deck, just to add more flexibility. Generous Gift was chosen over Beast Within , as white is underrepresented in this deck, and giving more cards to white could help even out the mana base. I don't typically have issues with the manabase, but since I have the option between the two I figured I might as well. Swords to Plowshares is also great in this deck, as I honestly don't care about my opponent's life-total, simply the amount of commander damage they have, and thus it works quite great for me. I do also however have a board wipe that synergizes with Rafiq! Cataclysm ! This allows me to keep Rafiq, and occasionally a mana dork or something might be lost, but for my opponents, the price is usually much worse, so it is pretty nice. Board wipes are great but killing Rafiq can really set me back, and so cataclysm is seriously wonderful as it can demolish boards and let me still keep Rafiq. I am trying to find a way to also include Divine Reckoning , as it could work almost as good as Cataclysm. The rest of my removal section (see above under disruption) isn't exactly removal, but rather things that disturb the game into my favor (hence the name disruption.) Orim's Chant is very good against most people, because it can pretty much stop them for a turn. By the time it comes back to me I can send Rafiq out to deal with them, and problem solved. Very useful in many situations. And I have to say out of everything here it has probably saved me the most, and I really recommend it in any deck that can run white. It can even ruin infinite combos halfway through, which it has done many times since I have included it in the deck. Counterspells are also quite useful, and I have a Swan Song in the deck, as well as the new Fierce Guardianship . My removal section is going to undergo some additions I hope when I find cuts, in the near future, and I would especially like to include the regular Counterspell and a Divine Reckoning . In addition to all of this though, Stoic Angel and Silent Arbiter are some of the most synergistic cards with Rafiq. Not all decks revolve around attacking, but many do, and these can GREATLY help reduce your opponents gameplan to ashes. It can also disable blocking with more than one creature, which is just another way to ensure Rafiq stays safe. I love having these cards in the deck and I hope they continue to serve me well at my local game store. To finish it off, I included a Cyclonic Rift , due to its broken powers and amazing art! Bouncing everything my opponents have with overload is super annoying for them and can almost guarantee a win for me, if of course, I can get the mana to use that part of the card! Even if I can't, I can always bounce an important card, a blocker, or anything that really is necessary at the moment.

Other within other

Another quick mention is Esior, Wardwing Familiar . This is one area the deck SERIOUSLY needs help in: protection. Rafiq is obviously going to be a huge target in almost every game and so protection has to be a huge part, or rather it SHOULD be a huge part of the deck. Yes, I do have quite a few cards that protect him in their own ways, like Bear Umbra , Blossoming Defense , Giver of Runes , and a few more, and yet the deck still manages to need a lot more protection cards, which esior will of course help with. I chose esior for a number of reasons and I'm honestly quite happy it made its way into the deck. First reason is that it is quite cheap in mana, meaning by including it I am not disrupting my mana curve or adding a card I might never play. I already have trouble using things like Finest Hour and so this is quite a big point for esior. It also can be played before Rafiq is out, meaning I don't have to start adding all sorts of protection and crazy cards the turn he comes out but instead, I can have them ready for when he enters. Esior also is quite a decent blocker, being a 1/3 with flying, and since the deck is low on creatures, especially ones I can block with it, this part also fits right in. Then of course, it makes everyone's Path to Exile s 4 mana, screwing with peoples plans and hopefully discouraging attacks against Rafiq.

That about sums it up for the "Other" section. Hope you enjoyed it- but I'm not done yet! A couple more things I'd like to say, and I would deeply appreciate it if you finished this primer! I worked long and hard on it :)

Enemies of our big boi

This deck is extremely fast and strong, yet it has a number of enemy themes and enemy cards that can completely lock down the game for me once and for all. Decks that are heavy on removal can completely shut me out, because if you can never play Rafiq there's basically no way to win. This is why I tend to like getting him out early, while people are still setting up their gameplan. Another thing to trick them with is really the fact that you don't see Rafiq coming. He is typically played in equipment decks, so when you see him you don't think of him as a threat, but all of the sudden with a couple of instant speed pump spells that can all completely change. This is what makes protection cards like Blossoming Defense , Giver of Runes , etc so powerful and necessary in decks like these. Cards that don't let Rafiq untap or attack (like Encrust ), or even get played (like Meddling Mage ) can be a huge stopper for me, and they can completely ruin a game both fun-wise and winning-wise. Without Rafiq there's no real way to win, and I can't afford to remove cards for other win conditions, it ruins Rafiq's speedy theme. Thus, any decks or commanders that can directly harm or disable Rafiq tend to be my greatest enemies, which can sadly happen VERY OFTEN in cEdh.

Maybeboard

While I love my deck so much as it is, there are SO many cards that really should be in here, except I just can't bring myself to cut anything for them! Here in the following, you will find an explanation for all the cards I want to include some way or another, or cards that I MAY include that I don't necessarily want to as of yet, and why I want to do so! Afterward, you will see the current cuts for the deck I am planning to do eventually or thinking about, updated whenever I make cuts. On a side note, as I mentioned before I do not post updates for the deck when exchanging cards (I noticed the updates feature much too late), however anything that has been in the deck that might come back as well as cards I wish to include, are again, on the maybe board and are about to be explained! Lastly, a near a card marks a card I am deeply considering for the deck that is high on my level of priority.

  • Canopy Cover : In true games of commander, it is easy for me to lose, as Rafiq can get killed again and again and again, meaning Rafiq needs a lot of protection when these games occur. Canopy cover can make Rafiq partially unblockable while providing this protection
  • Simic Signet / Azorius Signet / Selesnya Signet : We gotta love em, but sadly I created the deck long before I knew of their existence, and nowadays it's just quite hard to find even a single cut, much less three. Definitely would love to at least add the simic one though.
  • Mammoth Growth : I'm quite fond of this card as it gives us something to do earlier on in the game that we can benefit from later, especially since we can foretell with colorless mana. After we do this, it's essentially a 1 mana +4/+4. It's definitely going in when I have a moment to order it and change the primer around, probably for a Monstrous Growth or something.
  • Sword of the Chosen : Continous +2/+2, costs only 2 colorless, and can be played BEFORE Rafiq comes out.
  • Corrupted Conscience : Gives him infect, or takes an opponents creature and gives it infect
  • Unquestioned Authority : Protection (unblockable), and card draw, though costly
  • Hunt the Hunter : A pump spell I am considering. It can slightly double as creature removal, making it quite good to have. However, for one mana it only gives a very small buff, compared to other cards I currently have in the deck. In addition, it can only harm green creatures, making it weaker and conditional, and is thus something not currently in the deck.
  • Giant Growth : Pretty straight-forward. While not as good as some other pump spells, it isn't horrible, and if the deck needs an extra pump spell this is probably what will end up going in.
  • Reconnaissance : A GREAT way of protecting Rafiq, and is definitely something to consider soon. Having that ability can protect Rafiq from combat tricks, the thing is, if I am going to attack with Rafiq he will usually be unblockable first, making the chance of combat tricks relatively slim. It could be good against some "destroy target tapped creature" abilities, but those aren't seen TOO often either.
  • Shadowspear : The ability to remove such abilities from my opponent's creatures is good but doesn't really fit my theme too much, and aside from that the buff is quite small. Trample doesn't really matter here due to unblockable abilities, and so it's really just +1/+1 and lifelink which I can do without at the moment.
  • Vanishing : DEFINITELY something I have been looking at for quite a while, as Rafiq is truly a target in most games when you know his power in this deck, and so having vanishing could truly be an asset, protecting him until my next turn. However, I won't always have two blue mana open every turn cycle, but nonetheless is certainly possible and is thus high on my priority for consideration.
  • Blackblade Reforged : Cards like this just really take way too long to use. My deck is meant to have a fast theme, and while these artifacts have good abilities, using them just completely counteracts my entire theme that I am going for, and starts to turn Rafiq into every other slow, similar, Rafiq deck.
  • Heroic Intervention : Not only protects Rafiq, but everything I own as well, giving them both hexproof and indestructible. This is very useful, as of course Rafiq is often targeted, and having something like this up my sleeve (or up a sleeve!) is very useful thing to have, making it high on my priority list.
  • Invisibility : If I ever need some extra unblockable spells because I am finding the amount I have now isn't working, my next choice will definitely be this, as it is both permanent and usually gets the damage through. It can make you feel very bad when you play against Arcades, the Strategist though...
  • Prowler's Helm : Does not require a certain color, but does indeed cost quite a lot when you put its two costs together, as well as being conditional. Not something I will use probably, but its good to see all my options.
  • Sword of the Animist : Costs quite a decent amount of mana for my deck, gives only the smallest of buffs, and gives us some ramp that also comes in tapped, as well as the fact that this deck is low on basics. While it's possible, this probably won't join Rafiq's 99 very soon.
  • Veil of Secrecy : Temporary unblockable, but also gives Rafiq hexproof! This is a great unblockable spell I am considering, but the fact that it cost two mana and isn't even permanent kind of brings it down in my eyes.
  • Hadana's Climb  : The flipside is a great resource and can buff Rafiq A LOT, especially after I've played a pump spell or two. However, it just takes too long to get to that point, and as a result, is not included in the deck.
  • Riding Red Hare : Guaranteed you've never heard of this card. It buffs Rafiq, and makes him unblockable, though is quite pricy in mana. The chance we can play this and something else ends up being quite slim. Nonetheless, it is certainly up there and may one day enter the deck.
  • Kaho, Minamo Historian : A very unique and fun card to think about! Kaho could set up everything we need, with unblockable spells, pump spells, and even something like Hunter's Insight ! Having everything we need in one card is a WONDERFUL resource, and though he is pricy in mana, he makes up for that in his ability, making him quite high on my priority list!
  • Triumph of the Hordes : Why would I think about this card if I only have one creature? Well, it basically is a SECOND Might of Oaks , giving us a one-hit kill in a single card. It could feel really bad if it gets countered though, and as stated I already using a card like it.
  • Pearl Medallion / Sapphire Medallion : While these guys are certainly good (and I have the green version in the deck) I just don't have enough white or blue cards that also use colorless mana in the deck for them to be worth it. There is of course Rafiq himself, but there are better ways of going about Ramp than these. However, they certainly could be used if the deck needs more ramp.
  • Stonewood Invocation : Costly, but basically completely protects Rafiq with a buff, since people can't respond or target him.
  • Lotus Petal : One free mama towards Rafiq can easily help put us ahead by a turn, and can help us cast other things for the combat phase. Certainly worth considering!
  • Green Sun's Zenith : basically could be a ramp card, allowing me to tutor for Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch or something similar, and put them on to the battlefield for just a single mana more. 2 mana for a dork like that sounds great if you ask me.
  • Land Tax a magnificent art, but just a bit too conditional. I usually have more or the same amount of lands, and don't run an insane amount of basics.
  • Explore / Growth Spiral : While these are great I found that the deck needed more cards that directly gave us mana rather than relying on chance and hoping for the best. Instead, cards like Nature's Lore and Arcane Signet work much better here.
  • Mark of Sakiko : Insane with the ramp, yes, but after combat, I have no real use for green mana. My entire deck plays before the combat step, so while the synergy may be godly, I don't know what use I would have for it and it would end up going to waste, making it quite a pointless card here.
  • Oracle of Mul Daya : Good, but too expensive in mana to matter in this deck. If I can play the oracle, I can usually play Rafiq, and I thus would have no reason to play the oracle. I'd much rather stick to cheaper in mana ramp cards.
  • Smothering Tithe : Great, but built for the longer more drawn out games, and would have too small of an impact in the time frame my deck goes for. I prefer to win fast, and using all my turns mana on a smothering tithe just doesn't add up in my head.
  • Tarnished Citadel / Forbidden Orchard : If I feel like the deck needs more mana fixing which it really doesn't and probably won't ever have. Just in case though, here they are.
  • Gemstone Caverns : Good, but too risky, I'd rather not have the chance at just using another colorless source, and is not really worth the risk for this deck.
  • Bant Panorama : An interesting thing to think about, except it, really doesn't put us ahead in mana. We would play the land, and simply get a different land (tapped) in replace for it, putting us ahead by nothing. If I needed mana fixing, I would use this, but alas I do not!
  • Nature's Claim : If I need more removal, especially for Artifacts and Enchantments. The lifegain matters literally not at all for us, we only care about commander damage.
  • Path to Exile : This card has gone in and out of the deck SO many times, and at the moment it is out! The deck needed more pump spells and less removal, and so this is what I decided to cut! The land can be quite dangerous, but what it lacks in that aspect it gains in its super cheap mana cost!
  • Civic Saber : It can be played before Rafiq comes out for any type of mana, that way when he's out I can just tap anything and slap it on him, giving us a permanent +3. I don't really care about the defense part, as it doesn't really ever get used or needed in the game.
  • Rapid Hybridization : A funny and useful card, though not as good as some others as it only destroys, not exiles, making it horrible against graveyard decks or decks that can retrieve things.
  • Winds of Abandon : OP for the overload cost, but gives them a bunch of lands, which is usually a big mistake in edh.
  • Force of Negation : Easily counter more spells without opponents seeing it coming- however the deck already has enough counterspells and even has Fierce Guardianship , which is quite similar.
  • Teferi's Protection : Protect Rafiq, protects lands, protects- EVERYTHING!!! Definitely, something I am considering, as this can make us completely immune until we need to swing out with Rafiq and win it once and for all.
  • Divine Reckoning : A very good card for Rafiq, though unfortunately Cataclysm beat it into the deck for now. I don't need two cards with the same effect unless I seriously need it or have enough space, neither of which are true for this card- so far. The flashback ability is also something to take into account though.
  • Supreme Verdict : Very scary. The fact that it gets rid of Rafiq too kind of makes it worse sadly, though there are multiple indestructible effects that can make this much more worthwhile, like Bastion Protector . Definitely something to think about.
  • Misdirection : A very funny and unique way of countering something that I would love to try out at some point! This could allow us to steal and effect, or throw it back in someone's face! The bad part is, we normally would only have unblockable spells that we could use for its cost, and we typically do NOT want to get rid of those.
  • Slash the Ranks : Protects Rafiq, but is super expensive in mana and can save other people's key creatures as well, not to mention Planeswalkers. It is a good idea, but I have better ones at the moment and I can't see it staying in the deck very long.
  • Mirri's Guile : Definitely helpful in arranging the future to our advantage, though in the deck cards like Sylvan Library or cards that let us straight out draw is much better, and I can't see this having a huge impact on games.
  • Life's Legacy : While this could let us draw a lot of cards, it would mean getting rid of my entire gameplan, which personally doesn't seem very worth it to me. I'd much rather use something safer like Hunter's Insight . However, card draw is important and I am still considering it.
  • Merchant Scroll : A very useful tutor, allowing us to search for Mystical Tutor or a key card:unblockable spell. If blue removal enters the deck, this card might have to also join the ranks.
  • Windfall / Diminishing Returns : These are both wonderful cards that are the exact type of draw that works best in this deck. The problem? Windfall means we might not draw 7 cards and instead will usually be a lot less after we have played pump spells, while returns exiles ten cards that may be important in the gameplan. Nonetheless, they could both still function very well and are being considered for sure. Out of the two, returns is much more likely to make it into the deck if I find I am constantly in need of card draw
  • Regrowth : This is a very important concept to consider: graveyard recursion. After playing unblockable spells, pump spells, and even removal spells, this card could allow us to recast them, giving us double value on some of the best cards. It could even return other things that people have destroyed, making it a SUPER useful card I am deeply considering!!! On the other hand, it would cost the two mana return and then the extra mana to play whatever was returned.
  • Time Warp : Extra turns could be SUPER useful with Rafiq, allowing us to get the final damage we need to win! However, they are very expensive in mana, and sadly we are not in mono-red meaning we can not play some of the cheaper ones like Last Chance and Final Fortune . Despite that, it could still come in useful and I do have a few infinite-mana combos running around, so who knows, maybe this will indeed come into the deck!
  • Wild Growth / Utopia Sprawl : These useful additions could potentially increase the amount of mana our lands produce INSTANTLY, however, utopia can only enchant forests and wild only produces green. Nonetheless, they are something to think about.

  • Cut Fabled Passage for the Azoirous Horizon land of WotC ever prints it

  • Cut Civic Saber for Temporal Mastery

Conclusion

Thanks For Reading! If there are any questions or advice on the deck, shout it out below, I would love to know what people think! And if you want help on your deck, also feel free to comment it down below or mention it under my profile, I don't mind helping out people! If anyone wants to know how to style their deck like this, include backgrounds, and use pictures behind your dropdowns, just ask! I'll show anyone how to work the CSS, though I did not create or learn it myself, though you can go down to my helper shrine to see the true masters behind this deck's styling. Now also, I'm sure I'm not the first one to make a deck like this, but I've worked very hard on it and thought each individual detail out, so I'd deeply appreciate it if nobody recreated my deck or proxied it, and if you do I'd appreciate if you gave me credit for it, and just popped a note in the comments saying so. Obviously, I can't stop you, but I would value and appreciate it if you did! I also have my entire magic inventory (not including commons and uncommons of course) up on deckstats, with all my rares/mythics/legendaries with any expensive uncommons/commons so feel free to check that out as well! Last but not least, do consider dropping in my other decks, some of which you can see below!

But seriously, thanks for reading this far! Let me know in the chat you read this far, or say the amazing secret word (cookies) and I'll give a couple of your decks an upvote as well! I do also want to mention all the amazing people who helped me with this deck styling, some of which are below!

Shrine to the Helpers

The Excellently Eccentric Extra Exotic Special Thanks Section! I think I should add exhausting to that name, because it's a mouthful. But I really did want to thank.... Drumroll.... Some more drumrolls... Even more drumrolls... king-saproling! For his CSS/HTML help with the backgrounds, images, etc that I have now used on EVERY one of my other decks, and for his amazing article on html! Check out his decks! Oloro_Magic, who helped me figure out and set up the panel images you see right now! Check out their decks! tbone2072 for his help with headings and featured cards! Check out his decks too!

And of course, everyone that has commented with both support and new suggestions! 20-30 cards in my deck are from suggestions, and the gameplan would never be the same without all of those amazing people. Now also, below I have a list of future cuts I may or am going to make! When I have made the cut, I usually remove it from below so there may not be anything, as it mostly acts as a reference so I can remember what the cuts I was going to make are. Also sadly I never did use the updates feature, and as a result, most of my deck has not been shown over time in the updates, and I feel that it is too late to start doing so now. But alas, many cards I am still thinking of having or that I liked in the past are up on the maybe board, so you can always check that out too.

The Deck IRL

(May be slightly outdated, but you get the point)

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Top Ranked
Date added 1 year
Last updated 3 days
Key combos
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

7 - 0 Mythic Rares

47 - 0 Rares

17 - 0 Uncommons

24 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.12
Tokens 2/2 Bird, 3/3 Elephant
Folders My Decks, Rafiq, Bant, ..., Bant, BANT EDH, Deck references, Inspirations, Test, Fun Deck To Try, See all 14
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Revision 72 See all

3 days ago)

+1 Azorius Signet maybe
+1 Selesnya Signet maybe
+1 Simic Signet maybe