Maybeboard


UPDATED PRIMER!

Frontmatter

Introduction & Origin

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I welcome thee, to the one and only, Double Trouble EDH- PRIMER edition! Thank you, EVERYONE, for aiding me in unlocking the true potential of Rafiq, making this deck the NUMBER ONE Rafiq deck on tapped-out, created around October of 2019. I have deeply enjoyed this voyage through the realms of Voltron in magic, and I most certainly would not have been able to do it without all the gracious feedback and assistance the community has given to me on this deck- so seriously, before anything else, I want to thank all of you, and have you know such help is deeply appreciated. I'd recommend reading through this little introductory section first before going off to other parts of the primer!

First off, I'm well aware that Rafiq simply isn't the most popular of commanders- and that reason most likely contributes to why this is the top deck for him on the site, but hopefully, by the time you sift through this primer, you will have found some truly powerful synergies and cards, that warp his power level into something else entirely, something that you may not have originally noticed at first glance. Seriously- I mean it- the intricate synergies of individual cards and the tactics you can employ are quite interesting: a simple mana dork can be our means of not dying, speeding up the game, and actually killing our opponents! And mind you, while this is a Rafiq deck, it is NOT (as in absolutely not, NOT NOT NOT), a traditional exalted/equipment/enchantment way of utilizing Rafiq- far from it! The deck is constructed to work better in 1v1 situations, but it is most certainly viable in average games as well, usually being able to win around turn 3-4-5 in a 1v1 (not a single infinite combo is present in the deck!) and normally kills off the rest of such players in only a few turns after. It's inherently my child both on the site and in real life, and I'm dearly happy to see it has advanced this much: I have worked quite long on this primer, the decklist, and the CSS you see around you, and so if you do indeed enjoy any of those things be sure to leave a quick upvote, I'd appreciate it and I almost always upvote your decks in return! Enough talk though- you've come here not to hear me ramble on about such things, and to rather see exactly how the deck works: so let's do just that.

On a final note for these introductions, do keep in mind that if reading a huge intricate primer isn't for you, definitely DO NOT! Especially if you feel obligated to read it in order to make a comment. If you would like to suggest something, I'd absolutely love to hear anything whether I briefly mentioned it in some corner or not. The main thing is, this is not an enchantress, equipment, +1/+1 counter centered, or exalted deck. Stuff that is one of those but fits into this speedy theme is fine. But I am not. Making this. A deck centered around any of those things. That's the only thing you'd really need to know to make a comment.

pilot

Piloting the Deck

To introduce you to the type of cards the deck plays, let me clue you into a short backstory. I started playing magic around the Amonkhet block, quite recently I know, and when I was introduced to commander I knew very little about the format and had quite a low budget. After quite a bit of research, I found a commander I enjoyed- Rafiq of the Many. In all honesty, I can't say I saw something truly special or exceptional about him- my thoughts on the matter have absolutely changed now, but at the time, I was just a rather inexperienced player, not really understanding some of the intricacies that go into the game. And so I picked Rafiq, and put into the deck a bunch of cheap buffing spells (i.e., things like Giant Growth), because I wasn't completely aware of Aura and Equipment themes- as I said, I was rather inexperienced. And yet as the weeks went by, I noticed it was really quite hard to win when everyone would just block Rafiq time and time again- one may say the solution is trample, but the solution I chose (and in my opinion, the much better solution for the deck) was using unblockable spells. Cheap spells that make Rafiq unblockable until the end of turn. I began to win more and more with these cheap, fast, pump and unblockable spells, until over time I became better at magic and gained knowledge about the cards. While this base may have been relatively simple, what you see now is not- many hours are spent for each cut, every cards CMC has been analyzed, its pros, cons, how many of the type I have, how many I need, and what I see as every possible factor I can consider. It's safe to say I've been crafting it over awhile, and yet it follows the same basic principles I originally used that are INFINITELY more effective than you may currently think.

So you see, this is of course a Voltron deck through and through, where (as I hinted at before) we use low CMC spells to buff Rafiq and use even more low CMC spells to make him unblockable, swinging for insane amounts of damage that 85% of the time are enough to kill someone on the spot with commander damage. We ramp up pretty fast, play any pump spells that we can before Rafiq comes out (for ex., Bastion Protector) along with any protection pieces (like for ex., Mother of Runes) and of course the ramp pieces themselves, until we can get Rafiq out (ideally turn 3), and then swing in the next couple of turns. As weak as this gameplan sounds, trust me when I saw our board can become very swamped and very complex VERY fast. Plus, you have to keep in mind- Rafiq has double strike, and in the deck you are NEVER going to be attacking with more than one creature, allowing that double strike ability to always work out (since it must be just him attacking for him to have it). Thus, a Might of Old Krosa turns into a 1 green +8/+8, insanely strong for just a single mana. With tons of these pump spells, and a small unblockable spell (such as Distortion Strike), we swing in for 21+ commander damage and kill people out of literally nowhere. Many people diss my commander deck, saying it's not "proper Voltron" with their ideas of equipment and auras, but they tend to think differently after Rafiq demolishes them. I've certainly tested auras, equipment, and even counters, and they are indeed good- but they tend to be slower- whereas we on the other hand invoke the essence of speed. Paying 4 or 5 mana for a piece of nice powerful equipment is cool, but it's just not how the deck works- we don't want to drop huge spells, because we don't have the time to be paying all our mana in one turn for a single equipment, that can just get removed or countered. We delve into the smaller spells, and build them up into something much better than other means can ever be. The deck has tons of great lands, a wonderful ramp list to get Rafiq out fast, draw to ensure we get what we need and can continue to play things, removal and disruption to keep everyone else in check, and SO much more! So to read about some of these interesting categories, spells, and synergies, and more, sift through this primer! I guarantee you'll find some things that'll take you by surprise, as there is much more than what 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? Ok- so we like to do cheap pump spells and unblockable and all, but why Rafiq over other voltron commanders where we can do the same thing? Despite what it may seem, this decision now makes a great deal of sense compared to my first few months with him and is very thought out, even though I may have started with him by simply chancing upon him. I talked about how the deck works and wins, but not why Rafiq is the commander, as opposed to any other Voltron commander. Let's take a look at the colors first.

  • : The biggest and most important color to be able to use is green, for two major reasons. Green opens up a neverending list of options for ramping fast and efficiently, and without it most colors are left with a few common spells that work with their colors (I.e High Tide, Dark Ritual), and artifacts. Instead, green opens up the use of virtually everything else, a key factor in getting Rafiq out fast. Green also enables pumping, as the only color than can then come close is white, with some red cards too, though a great deal less effectively than green. Green has all sorts of pump spells, which are the core category of the deck, and without them, the only viable option would be auras and equipment- NOT what we are trying to go for.
  • : So what other colors are important? Well, for sure the deck needs unblockable spells to function as intended, and without blue you're simply stuck with things like Prowler's Helm and Whispersilk Cloak. Instead with blue, the concept of cheap, one-time use spells is opened up, as well as cheap enchantments. Blue also enabled virtually all counterspells (I'm looking at you, Tibalt's Trickery), a very key part of disruption.
  • : The final color in the deck is white, the more debatable color. The reason we mainly play white is because it allows us to use Rafiq! Red and black (temur/sultai) simply don't have the proper commanders for this sort of deck, though Kalamax, the Stormsire is definitely up there. The thing is, Kalamax only copies our first spell, while Rafiq basically doubles every single one (double strike). Yes, Kalamax can double other things but for the speedy concept this deck aims for, Rafiq is our man!

But colors aside, Rafiq is seriously great, not only because of what his colors enable but also because of how he is built, and his abilities! He is literally a fighter in the lore, and perfectly fits our deck, for a number of reasons. Rafiq only needs +7/+7 to completely kill someone, because he begins at a 3/3, gets +1/+1 from his exalted trigger (saving us 2 points of damage to deal), meaning on his own he's basically a 4/4 doing 8 commander damage because of his double strike. Even everything after this is doubled because of his double strike ability, making a Giant Growth 6 commander damage out of 21- for just a single mana! No other commander can make these pump spells as strong as they are, every single time, and while there are indeed many good ones, Rafiq just doubles the value of each one and when it comes down to winning, Rafiq is definitely the way to go for this stuff. Put these together with 1-2-3 pump spells, and an unblockable spell so our opponents can't block, and you can call it a game! This is why Rafiq is so strong, but let's keep reading to learn more about the card choices and deck itself!

On a side note, he is also great against many types of decks, especially lifegain ones. They can gain all the life we want, but in the end, all we care about is commander damage, making all that lifegain virtually useless (though this is true for most Voltron decks).

The Manabase

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Dual Lands

So let's jump into the deck! We all know the pain of not getting the colors we need, and I for one simply can't live with that feeling, stressing the importance of a strong landbase. I personally LOVE to play lands and ramp up a ton on early turns, and I think we can all agree it feels good. However, having a bunch of ramp and proper lands isn't just something entirely for fun- Rafiq needs to get out EARLY, and we can't afford for him to come out even the barest of turns later than he should- I can ensure this with yes ramp, but also with what you are about to see- a good landbase! Before you continue, note that each of these duals included is included with its brethren of the same ability, and while this is not so for every deck it is for this one as the color pie is relatively balanced and we need every color to get Rafiq our fast! If you're an experienced player and know the benefits of shocks and fetches, feel free to just scan the list- otherwise, let's go take a look! (On a side note, I utterly hate tap lands so you won't see too many here!)

  • Hallowed Fountain/Breeding Pool/Temple Garden: The shock lands are SUPER useful, providing access to 2 different colors and only a 1 time etb fee of simply two life, a fee that can be waived if they aren't immediately needed. This in itself makes them super useful and unconditional: either they come in tapped or not, no revealing lands or other checks to worsen them. What truly adds to their power though is their ability to be tutored by fetch lands due to their subtypes, something I'll talk about in just a moment.
  • Windswept Heath/Misty Rainforest/Flooded Strand: The fetch lands are by far the strongest lands in the deck, allowing me to get any colors I need instantly! Since they don't require you to search for basics you can search for anything with the subtypes specified by the fetch, and so something for example with a forest subtype can be searched for by either Windswept Heath or Misty Rainforest. The point this makes is that we can tutor for the shock lands (mentioned above) with these fetch lands, meaning if we have a misty rainforest and we need a white, we could find Hallowed Fountain/Temple Garden, as opposed to just a basic. In this deck they even have a special synergy with Sylvan Library and Brainstorm, though those will be mentioned in card draw. To talk a little more about the fetches outside of this deck, they are super useful with cards like Crucible of Worlds, as you have to sac them to use them, meaning you can play a fetch land once every single turn, guaranteeing you land drops each turn. They also provide two landfall triggers, one with the fetch and one for what they search for, a great ability with something like Lotus Cobra (not in the deck). These extra synergies are excluded since I find them a bit conditional and do not have all allowed fetches in the deck.
  • Polluted Delta/Marsh Flats/Verdant Catacombs/Wooded Foothills: So we have the three fetches in our colors as mentioned above, and yet we also have the fetches NOT necessarily in our colors, that have at least ONE of our colors. This is because they work very similarly to the fetches IN our colors, as with any of these we can find any color we want- for example, with Polluted Delta, we could get green with Breeding Pool, white with Hallowed Fountain, and blue from either of the previous- a concept that works with all of these fetches. Additionally, they have the same exact benefits and functions to those outlined previously!
  • Razorverge Thicket/Seachrome Coast/Botanical Sanctum: These are the fast lands, and they are quite fast! Playing them early-on allows you to use them instantly at no cost, and while this may be too conditional for some decks, it works just fine with us, as we rarely need more than 3 lands to get rafiq out due to the sheer number of ramp spells and low average CMC! While they can be a pain if they're the fourth land you draw with no ramp, this is an unlikely scenario and can be a great substitute for other fetch lands.
  • Adarkar Wastes/Brushland/Yavimaya Coast: These three pain lands are JUST GREAT: completely unconditional and can always provide colorless mana if you can't pay the life for any reason. No coming in tapped, no conditions, just immediate use at the cost of but a single life! Having options is a key part of magic, and being able to use lands like this immediately even with the price of a small amount of life is truly key, especially in a speedy deck like this one!
  • Horizon Canopy/Waterlogged Grove: The horizon lands are super useful, and it is to my great disappointment that there is no one, though you can guarantee it'll come into the deck the moment it's printed! These guys are great for reasons similar to the pain lands, providing instant, free, mana at the expense of but a single life, with no strings attached! If you're low on cards, or simply have enough mana, these guys are super good, providing card draw (if you consider it card draw) for just a single extra mana with the sac ability.

Single Lands

Duals are just great, but what about all the great and unique lands that stand alone? The deck would not be the same without these guys, and while the balance of duals is great, these guys do a ton of work too! Let's check them out!

  • Ancient Tomb: One of the best lands in the deck and a staple in most games, Ancient tomb is simply an amazing card! It works great in playing our artifacts, especially on early turns, allowing us to cast things like Talisman of Curiosity and Arcane Signet quickly and ramp super fast! While it can be a real feel bad when our only other lands are things that also produce colorless I've managed cut down on these kinds of lands, allowing Ancient tomb to live up to its full potential: it is a huge asset in the deck and works wonderfully. On turn 1, it even opens the possibility of winning on turn 2 or 3 with cards like Plague Myr.
  • Command Tower: Is there anything that needs to be said here? Any color we want or need, with no expense. Yeah, it's staying in the list forever.
  • City of Brass/Mana Confluence: As is a common pattern you may have noticed, these lands are great as they are unconditional, come in untapped, and provide ANY color we may need! While the life can add up, these are probably the most efficient lands the deck has to offer.
  • Prismatic Vista: This is also a great fetch land allowing you to chose, yes, from basics, but still they come in untapped and can be very useful in almost all situations. Just like the previous fetches, it too works great with Sylvan Library, though again, that will be mentioned later when Sylvan library is mentioned. Fetches are super useful, and even though the deck doesn't run many basics, it also doesn't run ANY OTHER effects that need to search for basics, and so prismatic vista is a super safe play since you'll almost always be able to find the basic you need, and certainly a basic in general.
  • Boseiju, Who Endures: This card is insane! An untapped land that can also be discarded to fuel something like card:Becomme Immense, and can also kill artifacts, enchantments, and even lands?! Sweet!
  • The deck runs a couple basic lands, for the courtesy of fetches (we need land subtypes to target fetches with when we already use our shocks), with a special emphasis on forests for cards like Invigorate! For these reasons, some basic-replacing cards like the cycles of kamigawa lands are not included because the subtype of basics is often more valuable than the effect, with some exceptions (i.e., Centaur Garden, card:Bosejiu, Who Endures).

(I'll talk about Centaur Garden and Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers, a bit later!). If you want to see more about lands, there are certainly a few I'm considering down below in my maybe board decisions section!

And so, that about sums up the land section! However- the manabase has MUCH more to offer than that! Let's take a look at the ramp spells!

Mana Dorks

And now, we move on to ramp! Ramping is by far, one of the most crucial 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.

Mana dorks, for those of you who don't know, are mana producing creatures- these guys are great blockers and can often provide us the mana we need just as artifacts and other means do. Having blockers is an extremely important aspect in Voltron decks, as we often have very few things to protect ourselves from incoming dangerous attacks, in which dorks can prove vital.

Interestingly, another secret strat with the dorks that is extremely important is actually buffing the dorks instead! That's right- if Rafiq is locked down and killed, or is tapped, can't attack, etc., PUMP THE DORKS! It can be slower, especially if Rafiq isn't out or functionable to double their damage and all, but many games have been won when buffing something like Birds of Paradise into the unsuspecting rival, especially if you are loaded with pump spells!

  • Noble Hierarch: Not only does it provide any kind of mana this deck could need, but it ALSO has exalted, buffing Rafiq and giving mana, making it one of the best ramp cards in the deck, especially for just a single mana! While I certainly don't base the deck on the typical exalted theme, having a dork with it is ALWAYS welcome, especially since its easy to miss killing someone by just a point of damage!
  • Bloom Tender: By far one of the best dorks in the deck, as at worse it will simply tap for a green, acting as an "eh" 2-mana mana dork. While it costs a green and would tap for a green with nothing else out, this can pay for the in Rafiq's cost, as long as you can pay the , which you most likely will be able to do. What makes it great, is that AFTER Rafiq is out or if we have other permanent spells with different colors (some likely ones are Mother of Runes, Giver of Runes, and more), then tender will tap for MORE than one- once Rafiq is out it taps for 3, and if you can pay 4 for Rafiq and still leave bloomer untapped, when you put him out you'll be able to immediately tap bloom and essentially do anything necessary, especially things that might protect Rafiq.
  • Birds of Paradise: A great flying blocker, costs simply 1 green, and taps for ANY color we might need! A great dork in the deck, and an extremely useful one at that.
  • Sylvan Caryatid: Another great blocker that can add any sort of mana we need. These cheaper, permanent dorks that can add any color are seriously a huge help in the deck, as it is those first two turns of ramp that are really the most crucial, as you want to be able to get Rafiq out turn 3 as I have stated a multitude of times.
  • Ilysian Caryatid: A dork that has brought much fortune and aid to the deck since its addition, providing mana to cast Rafiq and giving us more once he is out/attacks, etc. A simple strategy for Illysian is to attack, making Rafiq have a power of 4 (allowing Illysian to tap for two), then tap Ilysian and play pump spells! Like was stated with Sylvan Caryatid, having these smaller dorks that add 1 are truly a great asset in the deck, especially when played on earlier turns.
  • Plague Myr: Secret Tech! Plague Myr is a new addition to the deck that I have just loved. Its point is to provide a GOOD alternate attacker than Rafiq, something I mentioned I can do with some dorks, but much more so with this one. I don't include many of these because many of the best pump spells revolve around Rafiq attacking: commander based effects like Bastion Protector, color based effects like Might of the Nephilim, and even CMC effects like Boon of Boseiju. Many of these are rendered useless with different attackers and don't contribute to the plan. However, plague is a mana dork, meaning it provides mana as we need it, being able to be played easily with Ancient Tomb/Sol Ring, and also an alternate attack ability with infect, only needing +3/+3 beyond Rafiq, and +9/+9 without Rafiq, both of which are certainly viable and come quite unexpected. In fact, when playing this turn 1 with Sol Ring, and having a second land on turn 2, you can even win turn 2, with Plague Myr (in a 1v1!)! Crazy!
  • Additionally, with the major mana producing dorks like Bloom Tender, using Boon of Boseiju can be super helpful, as it untaps them! This can even be used on other dorks if we need a specific color per see.

Rocks & Ramp Spells

Aside from these dorks, there are still a great many Ramp spells. The core idea of ramp in the deck involves small, early spells as opposed to big crazy rampers, like Kodama's Reach or Oracle of Mul Daya, which cost way too much mana. I'm aware that these spells are good, but seriously- they just don't work at all. So let's take a look at the rest of my ramp choices for the deck!

  • Three Visits/Nature's Lore: These guys work WONDERFULLY for a few reasons, the first being their similarity to the fetch lands- unlike many typical ramp spells (Cultivate, Kodama's Reach, etc.), these guys don't require a basic subtype, more like Farseek all things considered. However, with shock lands you can get any color you need- need a blue? Fetch Breeding Pool. White? Temple Garden! To even further this ability, they allow the lands to come in UNTAPPED, essentially allowing us to use them immediately, synergizing great with any extra 1 drops we might want to play, such as Birds of Paradise, etc. Even if you don't use that extra land you got into play right then, it's basically a net -1 colorless to get that for later turns, which is certainly worth it.
  • Farseek: Farseek seems a bit against my theme- lands that come in tapped?! Well, Farseek is actually one of the better ramp spells, allowing us to fetch any shock or basic, just like Three Visits & Company above, with the exception of forests (which is fine since it costs green meaning we have green to use it). While the land does come in tapped no matter what, it is the equivalent of a dork, except lands are much harder to remove than dorks!
  • Sol Ring: Other permanent ramp spells are my mana rocks! Sol Ring is a huge staple in so many commander decks and is GREAT in ramping, especially on turn 1. Sol ring can be used immediately and offers two colorless- one of which can help cast Rafiq, but can also be used to cast SO many other things, including ALL of the other mana rocks mentioned here, pump spells, and basically half the deck! It's a very useful rock just as the game progresses, and works great on cards that have in their mana cost, for obvious reasons. However, since a lot of the deck isn't that expensive in mana, what I tend to do is tap the ring and float a colorless, then using it to cast something else, effectively working to cast two spells one after the other. On turn 1, it even opens the possibility of winning on turn 2 or 3 with cards like Plague Myr.
  • Talisman of Curiosity/Talisman of Unity/Talisman of ProgressArcane Signet: The talsimans are personally my favorites of the ramp spells, as they cost (great with Ancient Tomb/Sol Ring), and can a pair of 2 colors in the deck the turn they are put out at the expense of only a single life, or even just a colorless at no expense. This means, by playing these, you can immediately play any one-drops (which works great on early turns when you have things like Noble Hierarch, and other such 1 mana cards that work nicely from an early standpoint). Similarly Arcane Signet is a SUPER powerful card, functioning similar to the talismans but even better, as it adds ANY color we need, and does not cost us life, having the same benefits as the talisman: we can use it immediately, and tap it for one mana spells the turn its out, or even bigger spells (most likely dorks on early turns) if we have extra lands open. All of these rocks are just great in putting us a turn ahead, and work great on both early turns, and as support even later.
  • Lotus Petal: I always wonder if this is worth it in the deck, but whenever I get it it works wonderfully and I just can't bring myself to cut it! It can help get Rafiq out a whole turn earlier for nothing, or can give us a super synergistic early turn, not to mention the fact that a single mana more spent on pump spells can mean the difference between killing an opponent or not! I recommend though that you use it to get Rafiq out if he isn't already: don't waste it on something like a Bastion Protector unless you have a plan to put him out better than lotus, or want protection first.

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, a good deal of spots for that matter, but having them can change the tides of virtually all games by not giving my opponents a way out, and coming in very unexpected. Seriously- I should be adding MORE of these, not less, and I guarantee this deck will be 90% worse without them, especially if you play against people who know what to expect. Their small mana costs and easy use allow me to easily add them on in a turn of pump spells, and swing in for a one-hit KO- and having the amount I do in the deck ensures that I can continue this 1 hit KO against multiple people- while also ensuring I have one at all when facing someone. Let's take a close look at the unblockable spells I included. Additionally, rather than organize these by card they are sorted into bulleted categories since each unblockable spell doesn't need to be explained individually.

  • Shadow Rift/Slip Through Space/Aqueous Form: These first two provide very helpful card draw (small amounts, I know), 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 even out yet, especially if I need another land or ramp spell, etc. Since the effects last until the end of turn, you can safely just target an opponent's creature since they obviously can't attack on your turn, or you can simply target a mana dork if you need to have a target for the spell to resolve. Either way, while the card draw is minimal, it can really help you get those last few cards you need to set up the gameplan, and since they also can give Rafiq unblockable, they simply had to be included- especially with such cheap costs! Yes, you may be thinking that it's so little draw, but I think it's important to see all the options available in the deck as these really are good for unblockable, but the slight card draw is always accepted. On a side note, Aqueous form is one of the best unblockable spells in the deck, being permanent, costing a mere blue like the rest, and also allows us to scry- it can even be played the turn we play Rafiq if we have an extra blue open.
  • Artful Dodge/Distortion Strike: Another important type of unblockable spell in the deck are the reusable ones! That's right ladies and gents- ALWAYS recycle your unblockable spells- it's great for the environment! But for real, something like Artful Dodge is amazing, because of its cheap flashback cost, which really makes it two unblockable spells in one. That means from one card, I can have two ensured turns of unblockableness (is that a word?) for Rafiq, with only one blue mana per turn. 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. 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 when compared to Distortion strike, 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- as in, I can't cast it on a turn besides the following one. What's really good about these reusable ones and the permanent ones as well, is that we can use them and attack even without any pump spells, as damage is damage even if we can't pump Rafiq!
  • Aether Tunnel/Spirit Mantle/Steel of the Godhead: Sometimes though, unblockable spells AREN'T just unblockable spells. They're pump spells too! Just like you saw previously on Distortion Strike, cards like Aether Tunnel, Spirit Mantle, and Steel of the Godhead, also have similar effects- with some bonuses too. All 3 of these new cards are enchantments, meaning for just a mana more we don't have to deal with problems like recasting- they stay with Rafiq unless he is killed! This brings in what I mentioned just earlier- we can continuously attack with these even if we don't necessarily have pump spells to use. Spirit Mantle fulfills this (since protection includes not being blocked), but it also protects Rafiq from abilities, damage, and any other sort of thing we might have to deal with due to creatures- and, gives him a small buff. Aether Tunnel isn't as good as this, but it too is permanent and gives Rafiq a similar buff! Finally, steel is the most expensive in mana, but is INSANELY better, as for just 1 mana more not only does Rafiq get an extra buff compared to the others, but he also gets lifelink- meaning we are pretty much gaining around 15 life a turn, JUST off of that! While lifelink really doesn't contribute to our main goal, it certainly can be game-saving and is a wonderful extra effect- especially since the in steel can come from thinks like Sol Ring and Ancient Tomb.
  • Giver of Runes/Mother of Runes/Veil of Secrecy: Another effect similar to what was seen on Spirit mantle is more protection effects! The two rune mothers can protect him from other spells as well, in the same way Spirit Mantle did and can be put out earlier, making them super great cards. Having them out there can really discourage attacks at him, and they also provide a first target rather than Rafiq being the primary one, like Bastion Protector. They're actually a TON better than spirit mantle since I can use them to give him protection from a certain color, which is super powerful against removal. If I have giver/mother untapped, someone plays a removal spell, I can tap one of them in response and give him protection from that color, making the removal spell fizzle out, useless! And of course, the primary use, where I give Rafiq protection from a color, making him unblockable to that color- which doesn't always work against multicolored decks but is still DEFINITELY worth it due to their flexibility. The only difference between the two is that Giver can include colorless sources, where mother cannot, though mother can also target/protect herself, whereas the giver cannot. Veil is also a super good protection spell, offering unblockable and hexproof- it's a great, pretty straightforward card.
  • Cloak of Mists/Infiltrate: As we near the end of this section, very briefly I have two very standard unblockable spells, with no extra effects besides the obvious use: Cloak of Mists, and Infiltrate great because of their cheap and effective cost, despite not giving extra effects like others! They still always beat bulky things like Whispersilk Cloak/Prowler's Helm and continue to revolve around and work for our theme!
  • Another weird thing to think about is our board wipes- any board wipes (such as Cataclysm) can almost nearly function as unblockable spells. While they aren't really ones, they wipe all blockers and can allow us to swing freely for lots of damage!
  • But wait! Besides these main unblockable spells, I have some other minor spells that do in fact have the chance to give Rafiq unblockable! These cards areShield of the Oversoul and Canopy Cover, both for flying reasons.

Pump Spells

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 (pun intended). Again, I know many people prefer super big equipment spells and enchantments, but for Rafiq, we simply use one time use spells, or cheap equipment/enchantments that can make a difference, that pump A LOT!

  • Might of Old Krosa: 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, and 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. We typically end up casting this at sorcery speed, since our opponents won't usually be able to block anyway, though instant speed is also always an option.
  • Groundswell: Groundswell is a card less driven by choice, and while it usually gives Rafiq +4/+4 anyway, situations do happen where it doesn't work out. 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.
  • Become Immense: Becomme immense is a great, GREAT card, since I end up having so many cards in my graveyard! Card draw, fetches, unblockable spells, pump spells, even things that sac for buffs, all sorts of stuff that can easily lower than delve cost into something super powerful! We have might of oaks at 4 mana +7, and so we generally don't want to be casting this for 4 or more mana. Many times it ends up being a 2 mana card, occasionally even 1!
  • Giant Growth: While this is well known and self explanatory, do keep in mind that these are some of the most efficient pump spells in magic for this sort of theme, and giant growth fits in just perfectly. While it only pumps for 3/7 damage needed to kill someone, it costs very little, and it is usually the kind of pump spell we need to add on to literally ANY other pump spell in order to kill someone, assuming you get the maximum out of the other spell (i.e., +4 from either of the two above, not +2). It is very cheap, easily can be added on to other spells, and works perfectly.
  • Centaur Garden: Centaur Garden can be costly on our life total over time, but boy it is an amazing card- we often have the threshold ability, with the fetches, unblockable spells, and others, as is shown by the effectiveness of card:Becomme Immense. From here, its giant growth on a land! Super versatile.
  • Phytoburst: Phyto gives Rafiq +5/+5, almost everything he needs to perform a one-hit KO, though of course, it is sadly a sorcery- except for Rafiq that isn't a huge deal. Why? Because as mentioned before, we don't typically have to worry about blockers due to the immense evasion in the deck. 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. If people can kill Rafiq on our turn, they can obviously respond at instant speed just as effectively.
  • Titanic Growth: Titanic is pretty straightforward, can be cast at instant speed, pumps Rafiq with 4/7 of what is needed, and isn't conditional whatsoever
  • Larger Than Life: 2 mana +4 is wonderful and exactly the kind of shorter mana ranged pump spells that really contribute to buffing Rafiq a lot. The trample ability is also interesting, and synergizes well with damage based effects like Hunter's Insight, and can also help get the last bits of necessary damage through to kill someone.
  • Might of the Nephilim: Might of the Nephilim 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 INSANE for only two mana, essentially giving us +12/+12, at instant speed. Aside from it's great strength, there isn't too much to mention here.
  • Might of Oaks: 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 in the deck, as I never usually have to cast it for all 4. Might of oaks is all we need to buff Rafiq, and the great thing about it is that it can be cast at instant speed, after blockers are declared. So we can easily bluff and swing with Rafiq and then kill someone out of nowhere if we have no unblockable spells.
  • Blossoming Defense: Blossoming Defense is AWESOME, as it provides protection and can (and has) save Rafiq from being killed or targeted by virtually anything, a very valuable ability, and yet on top of this ALSO pumps him, helping us get that last few points of damage we may need to win. I seriously can't overstate the power of protecting Rafiq like this, and as blossoming defense not only protects but also pumps, it is a super valuable card.
  • Vines of Vastwood: Like blossoming defense, Vines of vastwood is also SUPER powerful, as for the average two mana like pump spells mentioned above, it can pump by 4, and is also an instant, not a sorcery. And yet we ALSO get the advantage of protection for Rafiq with the spell, proving exceptionally strong. Even if we don't have the full 2 mana open, and just per say need to protect Rafiq against a spell someone cast, we can also do that, by not kicking it! Spells that give you options like this are extremely useful in the deck, and I can't emphasize their importance enough.
  • Briar Shield: Briar shield is an awesome card, and while it may look like it would be used as an enchantment, it's more along the lines of a temporary pump spell. For just a single green, we can enchant Rafiq (working wonderfully if you have a single extra mana after you play him), and get the minor buff for the time being. Then, when we move to attack (whether it being the same turn or a turn before), we can sacrifice it, and get a Giant Growth-like buff. Typically our opponents forget it can be sacced, and even if they don't, an interesting tactic to consider is that if they move to destroy it, sacrifice it in response, so you essentially get the buff anyway and they wasted a spell.
  • Seal of Strength: Seal of strength is quite amazing for the same reasons as Briar shield above- 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 it in response and still get the pumping part, as was stated with Briar shield, making it quite flexible with whatever is going on. Having it out before the turn Rafiq can attack is valuable, as that extra mana can seriously save us in many, MANY, instances.
  • Bounty of the Hunt: I found this while looking on the gatherer for free casting cards- holy shit it's good, and I'd never seen it before. Essentially, by exiling a green card from our hand (an easy cost as the success of Force of Vigor shows), rafiq get's +3/+3 for free?!
  • Mutagenic Growth/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. For mutagenic though, it's almost always better to cas it with life, since you don't know what kind of pay-mana counterspells your opponents may have. Playing things like this after you are tapped out for such a small price is so strong, as they can usually finish the job if I'm tapped out from pump and unblockable spells. Even if I'm not, they are still ridiculously powerful, for SURE. While Invigorate is indeed conditional, we usually have a forest, due to the basics (larger forest count), shocks, fetches, and other cards that can give us forest subtypes. You can even play these cards on your dorks and block opponents creatures with dorks- something they very rarely see coming, especially when we're tapped out!
  • 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 afterward 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 or Giant Growth! After that, it just gets even stronger. One of the most amazing parts about Bersek is also, its synergy with indestructible since it says "DESTROY", oddly enough rather than sacrifice. Some cards mentioned later give Rafiq this ability, letting us double his power for one mana at no second cost. Berserk also works great as removal: play this on an opponents creature if they swing at someone else, dealing tons of extra damage to whoever they attacked, and also killing their creature at the end of their turn. Neat strategy.
  • Boon of Boseiju: A new, and AWESOME card for the deck! Boon is first of all, a 2 mana instant speed +4, putting it at the strength of titanic growth: I have no 5cmc permanents so sadly 4 is the strongest it gets. However, it then also untaps the creature, meaning this can also be used on major dorks like bloom tender! This is the great kind of double working cards the deck just loves.
  • Blessing of the Nephilim: 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: Bastion is an awesome card that has been super effective whenever I've played it, helping represent white more in the deck and can be played BEFORE Rafiq comes out, working great with cards that give 2 colorless like Ancient Tomb and Sol Ring. Having this buff can be extremely helpful to add on to other pump spells, and the indestructible on the other hand can be very useful in protecting Rafiq, also synergizing well with Berserk. Having a buff and protection is very useful on the same card, especially when it can be played before Rafiq is out!
  • Shield of the Oversoul: Shield is also quite synergistic with berserk, due to the indestructible, and it too gives Rafiq +2/+2 in addition to this ability. While it cannot be put out before Rafiq is out, it is much more flexible in its mana cost, and 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.

Keep in mind, there are quite a few cards I will talk about or have talked about in other sections that also buff Rafiq! To quickly state these cards, there is Aether Tunnel, Distortion Strike, Noble Hierarch, Spirit Mantle, and Steel of the Godhead.

Utility

Draw/Tutors/Filters

Another point I want to make is card draw! At first glance, you may just see the card draw section with only a few cards and go wow, this dude doesn't have too much draw! You're right, I don't have too much, but in fact I have quite a few other cards as well that are also card draw as secondary effects- first let's talk about the main card draw spells.

  • Hunter's Insight: Hunter's insight is one of the best cards in the deck and is AMAZING for me, as in the average swing, Rafiq deals from 14-28 damage in one hit. That's a TON of cards to draw 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. With our usual unblockable spells, we can be talking 14-28 cards in a swing, especially with Mutagenic Growth-like effects. You can also use trample effects from cards like Larger Than Life if there are no unblockable spells exist, so some damage and thus cards get through.
  • Day's Undoing: Another factor is when you run out of cards- it happens to everyone obviously, 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 unblockable spells, with most of my Ramp spells already out from earlier, 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. Cards like Day's Undoing are a HUGE part of this deck that I really love. When you have only 1-2 cards left in your hand or even less, 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, so it's good to get that swing in if you can.
  • Sylvan Library: Sylvan library is one of the best card draw spells the deck has to offer, working best when played early (preferably pre-Rafiq), and can get us a TON of cards- essentially draw 3 per turn if we want, which we usually will take in order to ease the speedy win. Even if you don't like the cards on top, you should be taking the cards so that you can afterwards draw better ones that may come after. It also has a great synergy with fetch lands- you can look at the top few and do your thing with the triggers (choosing most likely all 3 in this scenario), and then cracking the fetch in response to the draw trigger during your draw step that allows you to draw the additional ones. This essentially shuffles the library before the trigger, and then still letting you draw the cards: just different ones if the ones on top weren't in your favor at that moment.
  • Rhystic Study: While Rhystic doesn't typically help us from early on (it most certainly still can), it's insane level of power after its played simply meant it had to be included, even if it doesn't seem to be in our speedy theme. The turn cycle after we play it draws us basically around 5 cards if not more before the following turn, possibly giving us land drops or ramp that we may have needed to put Rafiq out, where after that we can get any other cards we need. It can also be played easily when paired with Sol Ring/Ancient Tomb. Funny enough, if someone plays removal spells, the Rhysic study trigger resolves from them casting removal first, meaning if you draw a Pact of Negation/Fierce Guardianship, you get to use those spells to then counter the removal before it resolves- a cool synergy!
  • Mystic Remora: Now Mystic definitely fits into our speedy win, not lasting too long (you don't want to be paying 3 and not playing other things because of it), but in its short time can prove very effective, in a similar way to Rhystic Study. While it is only non-creature spells, this means all the rocks, most other ramp spells, anything necessary besides dorks to build a fundamental gameplan counts, and in higher-power games, it only gets stronger. Just be mindful of the timing, as if this is a time your opponent might play their commander, or not need to ramp, you might want to save it for a better time- especially in the earlier turns. Additionally, it has a cool synergy when you draw off a removal spell, as was explained in the Rhystic Study explanation above.
  • Brainstorm: For just a single blue at instant speed (meaning it can be played on our opponents end-step), we can draw THREE cards, quite a lot of cards for just a single blue, allowing us to hit a land drop if we needed to at that moment, get that last pump spell we needed or possibly an unblockable spell, or even help us find an answer to disrupt our opponents! While we do have to put two cards FROM OUR HAND (not necessarily what we drew) back on the top, we essentially get to redraw those cards later, and thus if we needed ramp or lands, we can easily put cards we need LATER such as pump spells on top, and just draw them as the game progresses, allowing us to ramp in the moment and pump later. Possibly the strongest part though is its synergy with fetches. If we have cards in our hand we don't want, we can put those back, and then shuffle by cracking a fetch.
  • Ponder: Just like Brainstorm we can cast this at instant speed, allowing us to play this on our opponents end step if we wish, allowing us to draw a card, but also essentially rearrange the top cards and shuffle them away if we don't like them before we do so- something very powerful, especially for 1 blue at instant speed. This means if we don't like the cards we see, we can technically shuffle them away.
  • While the cards listed above were indeed the MAIN draw spells, there are of course a few other cards previously mentioned that ALSO incorporate card draw, despite that not being their main focus. For example, Shadow Rift and Slip Through Space both allow me to draw cards, something that I sometimes mainly use them for, simply targeting any creature with the unblockable part so I may draw a card. Another example is on the horizon lands, such as Horizon Canopy and Waterlogged Grove, both of which have card draw capabilities as well. There are even some scry abilities on previous cards too, such as Aqueous Form.

Removal & Disruption

On to the decks disruption? Recently, this section has changed drastically- you'll notice the absence of staple cards like Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, and even most board wipes. Why? Well, the deck's disruption category is primed for one thing: making sure our gameplan works. The things that harm our gameplan are primarily artifacts and enchantments that mess with Rafiq: take card:Imprison in the Moon for example. Even cards like Blood Moon are just really nasty. For this reason, the deck has high enchantment / artifact removal, as well as counterspells: these things can help make sure our stuff gets through. Creature removal is great, but it's less likely that creatures will mess us up- staxxy creatures suck, but they aren't used enough to be worth our time. Wipes are better than individual removal, as they can also remove blockers, but again- the deck is stacked with stuff that makes our gameplan work, and so we really don't need things to mess up everyone else as much. This is in fact, a really good social side of the deck as well- it wins fast, but we don't mess with people so much compared to decks that win by like 30 counterspells. Thus, must of the cards below revolve around this ideology.

  • Force of Vigor: force is an amazing removal spell- the deck is super high in green cards that can be exiled like this to serve the free cost, most of which are pump spells in which the deck has high circulation of anyway. We can get rid of any problematic artifacts or enchantments, including just things like mana rocks, at instant speed for no mana. Honestly, cards like this shouldn't be printed, but since they are, they sure as hell work. Hold up your green spells, and cast it targeting someone on upkeep, or before their turn. Just be sure to cast it on your own turn if you're worried about someone untapping and then having mana to counter spells.
  • Pact of Negation: pact is such a crazy card, especially with Rafiq: it can be annoying if we have to cast this in order to stop someone from combing off and winning (obviously worth it, as we still don't lose), but when someone tries to mess with us on our turn, we can easily turn this into a free counter and have mana open to kill. If we can win the game from there, we don't even have to worry about the next turn's cost.
  • Cataclysm: I said earlier the deck stays away from wipes, but cataclysm is an exception, because it works GREAT! 4 Mana is already a super cheap cost that the deck likes, but Cataclysm does more than just wipe. First off, it leaves Rafiq alive- already a plus, as we can keep our one favorite creature which is presumably Rafiq unless we have something like Plague Myr or want to keep Bloom Tender. It will then proceed to destroy lands- this is generally shied upon, but to the point that we will almost immediately win because of this, as we rely on little mana (not to mention all the ramp through Artifacts and other means), where we can usually thus get by when others cant. The deck doesn't plan to destroy all lands and then wait many turns where everyone does nothing- that is something magic players should never aim for. Instead, it aims to put players at such a disadvantage that we easily win as we can get by when they typically can't. It can also function similarly to unblockable spells, getting rid of any blockers or forcing players to leave blockers and kill creatures they really needed instead in order to be able to block Rafiq.
  • Nature's Claim: pretty straightforward card! The deck loves artifact and enchantment removal for reasons explained above, and as to the lifegain, Rafiq doesn't give two shits about it as it doesn't relate to commander damage. So definitely in the deck!
  • Swan Song: Swan song is quite self-explanatory, as it costs only a single mana which we will almost always have open on our opponents turns (and of course our turn), and still have the capability to play other things. It counters most removal, disruption, many combos, and nearly anything we may need to get rid of. While our opponents do get a flyer, this shouldn't be a huge deal due to our unblockable spells.
  • Fierce Guardianship: One of the strongest counterspells printed, this card works insanely well, as we almost always have Rafiq out since he is the core of the deck, and anything worthy of countering that could harm us is typically cast after Rafiq is out, though of course we may want to counter important parts of our opponent's gameplan which may occur while he isn't out. Nonetheless, the fact that we don't need to have any mana open for it, and that we can even draw it off of something like Rhystic Study on our opponents turns and play it immediately, is extremely strong.
  • Orim's Chant: Believe it or not, this is probably one of the best spells here, as (the cheap factor coming in yet again), it costs very little mana, and for just a single white, can completely shut down an opponents turn, whether they were about to combo off, synergize greatly, kill us, or do anything. If it's even your turn, or the turn before you'll win, you can cast it to ensure an opponent doesn't interrupt your win. What ensures that even more is the kicker, making them not only unable to cast spells, but also attack, essentially stopping them from everything besides landrops and abilities of already existing creatures. This card has saved me dozens of games, and can even interrupt infinite combos.
  • Note that Berserk, Spellskite and Vanishing, as was explained in their card explanations in pump spells and protection spells respectively, can also double as disruption/removal.

Protection

So we have pumps, the unblockable spells, the removal, the ramp, and even the card draw, BUT the question is- how do we PROTECT Rafiq? Well, here's what we do: we use a great many synergistic protection pieces that work very well with other parts of the deck, with the addition of individual protection spells, aiming to have what little we need to protect Rafiq in individual scenarios allowing us to fend off minor attacks and kill any disruptive players. A protection spell might also be pump for example, allowing it to work in many scenarios.

  • Veil of Summer: What a crazy card! Basically pro from blue and black (not just Rafiq, but all spells), possible cantrip, and just such an amazing turn to play before we go crazy and KO the control player!
  • Vanishing: I debated this card for a while, but when I finally tried it out, I loved it! While it works better in larger and longer games, vanishing can time after time protect Rafiq from anything at all that may come at him, whether it be a wipe, a bounce, a sacrifice, or anything, whereas indestructible and hexproof don't provide the same. You can phase him out at the end of the turn (and anything attached phases too, providing protection to those things), and just have guaranteed protection. Even if you have to phase him during combat and don't end up getting damage through, this is just such a great card even if its double blue can be rather frightening to see at first. And believe it or not, you can do this to your opponents creatures too, if you're worried about damage, them using it, etc.! In this sense, it doubles as disruption in some ways.
  • Spellskite: this little guy is SUCH a fun card to play! It can be cast easily with Ancient Tomb/Sol Ring, and functions as both a key protection piece and possible disruption. What it essentially does, is allows us to retarget most things that can be dangerous to Rafiq instead to itself, likely killing itself but acting like a sort of counterspell without actually casting a spell (its an activated ability). Not to mention the fact that we can hold up no mana and simply use the 2 life activation for it! It can then further prevent our opponents from doing many things- it can for example, steal an aura! For all applications though, spellskite can only take the target if it counts as a legal target- otherwise, nothing happens.
  • Canopy Cover: A wonderful card, costing very little mana and both protecting Rafiq, and making him nearly unblockable. This is extremely versatile and useful, and a wonderful, cheap card in the deck.
  • While the cards above are the only STRAIGHT-FORWARD protection cards, there are TONS of cards in the deck that actually DO function as protection, which is how the deck gets by and performs wonderfully in this area! Spirit Mantle, Veil of Secrecy, Giver of Runes, and Mother of Runes all give Rafiq protection, the last two of which are super cheap and flexible, allowing us to give him protection even in response to spells. In addition to this, they can be put before Rafiq comes out, and provide unblockable tactics. Bastion Protector and Shield of the Oversoul both give Rafiq some form of indestructible, protecting him obviously against damage and all sorts of destroy spells. Vines of Vastwood and Blossoming Defense can give him shroud/hexproof, protecting him from virtually any spells or effects that may be cast. And of course we have counterspells like Fierce Guardianship and Swan Song to counter things sent our way!

That about sums it up for the protection section! Hope you enjoyed it- but I'm not done yet! I have 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 :), and you're SO CLOSE TO THE FINISH LINE!

Maybeboard & Cuts

I have crafted this deck over the course of a very long time, and so as time passes, I discover new cards, new viable things get printed, and as a result- the deck changes. I am constantly fine-tuning and updating the deck, and so this section of the primer is entirely dedicated to that. In the tabs below named high priority and low priority, you will find all the cards I am considering for the deck- if it's high priority, it means I would LOVE to play it in the deck and use it, though I'm still figuring out the cuts and such. Low priority means it's a card that definitely works but just doesn't make it into the deck just yet, whereas something from high priority might. If you're reading this deck to see how it works, feel completely free to check out these categories, though they aren't too necessary in order to understand how the deck works, nor to make a suggestion in the comments

  • Noxious Revival: Reuse pump spells, unblockable spells, removal spells, BASICALLY ANYTHING! This is especially great since we can cast it with life, at instant speed! Definitely something to consider.
  • Flawless Maneuver: free protection at instant speed, fierce guardianship has worked very well I think this could as well.
  • Spellskite: SUPER cool thing I want to try, could really protect Rafiq and even have options for messing our opponents up!
  • Key to the City: Continious reusable unblockable that can be played before Rafiq is out, costing 2 colorless meaning it can be played easily with Sol Ring/Ancient Tomb, though we do have to discard cards and the deck already needs more card draw.
  • Propaganda, Ghostly Prison, Norn's Annex: These can help stax our opponents out and protect us from tons of damage, working very well against creature heavy decks, which is important as the deck is moving forward in a more protection oriented way of disrupting things.
  • 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.
  • Silence: The sheer amount of times Orim's Chant has saved me is simply uncountable, and I'm sure silence would prove to be immeasurably useful as well, if I could find a cut for it.
  • Talisman of Progress: I run the simic and selesnya talisman, but not this one- that doesn't mean I don't want it, I would actually LOVE to have them in the deck, I just need to find the right cuts to do that first. Perhaps Ornithopter of Paradise isn't as needed?
  • Knight Exemplar: this card actually seems great! It's like a second bastion effect, with the only downside being it has lesser pump and also costs two white pips.
  • Silhana Ledgewalker/Blighted Agent: I think of these as the new era in Rafiq experimentation: could having some super small, strong, evasive guys that I can pump up alternatively than Rafiq work better? I'm still debating, as Rafiq has been the centerpiece and some pump effects are exclusive to him only: whether it be colors, cmc, or his commander specialty. Including others that don't work with many cards in the deck take away from its theme- we can already somewhat do this with our dorks and the infamous multipurpose Plague Myr. Still worth trying out though.
  • Simic Charm: A SUPER flexible card, giving us the option for a buff (but a small one at that), the option for protection, or the ability to return a troublesome creature or blocker to it's owners hand. These are the kind of really good multipurpose cards.
  • Magus of the Vineyard: Actually a pretty interesting card, I'd love to use this to cast free pump spells, especially at the expense of only 1 mana, and even cast Rafiq like two turns earlier- this dude could be super helpful. Sure our opponents get some green, but it could be a fun janky thing.
  • Utopia Sprawl: These useful additions could potentially increase the amount of mana our lands produce INSTANTLY- I have many shocks, fetches, and basic forests- with some fine tuning, maybe this could work; if it could, it's the equivalent of a Noble Hierarch almost.
  • Windfall: I always need to refresh my hand after I play a ton of my temporary spells. The problem? Windfall means we might not draw 7 cards and instead will usually be a lot less after we have played pump spells. Nonetheless, it could still function very well and is being considered for sure.

Low Priority Pump/Unblockable

  • Triumph of the Hordes: This card would function similarly to card:Might if Oaks, being a one hit kill, as well as providing this to more of my creatures, along with giving them a buff and trample. The reason it is not in the deck is due to the fact that it is a sorcery, and can be avoided since it is such with blockers. Might of oaks can be completely unexpected and can be played after blockers, which is why it is in the deck and this is not. Still, is something to consider, as I could attack with multiple things and pump one at instant speed after playing this.
  • Guardian Augmenter: pump and protection, that can be played before Rafiq is out! Similar to Bastion Protector, which has been a super successful card, augmented can give Rafiq a good permanent buff, and also protect him from many things. It also has flash, making it this great instant speed pump/protection spell, and also possible blocker.
  • Inquisitor's Flail: Usually, we only go to combat with unblockable spells, so we don't have to worry about the downside as much- DOUBLE, DOUBLE damage! Pretty insane, meaning we need to buff him by only TWO power (including the exalted trigger)! The downside is, it's rather expensive in mana, though it can indeed be played before Rafiq is out.
  • 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.
  • 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, perhaps aside from veil, 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...
  • Mammoth Growth: It doesn't cost NOTHING, but it also deals with altered mana costs! What's great about this card is that I can easily pay two on an earlier turn to foretell it, before Rafiq is even out, so that once he IS out, it's basically a Might of Old Krosa or Groundswell with no other conditions. And even if Rafiq is already out I can easily foretell it for a future turn, or if I have the mana just hard cast it! This will be the next pump spell I add in if I can. I've tried it out though and it's been a bit expensive and iffy.
  • Riding Red Hare: 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, however, it's a great card and does everything we need, and is certaintly possible
  • Monstrous Growth: if I need more pump and don't have many other options.

Low Priority Lands/Ramp

  • 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 two or three. If any, I'd probably put in the simic one since it has the best colors for us to use, however, I just hate their activation cost and they really only add a net one mana, which can be better used with dorks even if they can be used right away. Even before dorks,
  • Arid Mesa/Scalding Tarn: Another fetch / land if necessary or if Lotus Cobra comes in, though I don't want too include too many for fear of thinning my deck of lands and not having shocks to fetch. The landbase is pretty stable at the moment anyways.
  • Bear Umbra: a card that was in the deck for a while and one that worked well: ramp, protection, and buffs all in one package. The thing is, it buffed very little, did not help us Ramp into Rafiq out which was most essential, and ultimately was not worth the protection at that end. It really was a nice all in one package though paying off and allowing us to cast instant speed items immediately after swinging.
  • Selvala, Heart of the Wilds: I've run this in the deck for as long as I can remember, but in the end, it is not the most optimal. We need ramping to get Rafiq out, and so as much mana selvala produces, it does not make the cut for the deck yet as it only produces mana after Rafiq is out when we need it less. It was such a fun and awesome card to have though, and I'd love to bring it back if I can.

Low Priority Tutors/Draw

  • Preordain Great cantrip draw card to think about as I have the other two major ones!
  • Hunter's Prowess: draws TONS of cards, similar to insight, but is super expensive in mana and is often countered. The buff is minimal, and while its insane draw, the deck has more optimal options at the moment. It is a great card to have though and I would love to include it if possible, as it has worked in the past.

Low Priority Disruption/Other

  • 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, since I run those very effects, and this can't be countered. Perhaps if I add more indestructible effects.
  • Cyclonic Rift: an amazing card that can bounce away any troubling things, interrupt combos, and even wipe at a later stage. The thing is, those problematic things can just come back, which isn't exactly what we always want. Its been many times, ineffective of a card compared to straight removal/protection.
  • Swords to Plowshares: swords would be great, as Rafiq does not care about life totals besides commander damage based ones.
  • 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 is focusing on more protection based disruption, and either way swords should come in before this.
  • Divine Reckoning: A very good card for Rafiq, though unfortunately Cataclysm and the other wrath beat it into the deck for now. I don't need that many wipes though so far, again the deck is orienting towards a more protection based way of disrupting. We might for instance, use a Propaganda as opposed to a wipe.
  • 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- still, it is very possible that this could work if we see our blue card count go up over time.
  • Crawlspace: Similar to our arbiter, but not a creature, and allows 2 not one swinger. This can still be dangerous, and while good is simply not as useful as we could use for a card slot, but definitely something to monitor.
  • 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.
  • Force of Negation: Easily counter more spells without opponents seeing it coming- however the deck already has enough counterspells at the moment and even has Fierce Guardianship/Pact of Negation, which is quite similar, though this is still great. It does take up a whole other turn though which is risky.
  • Rapid Hybridization: A funny and useful card, though the deck is again staying away from these things at the moment.

So above, I discussed the different parts of my maybeboard, and yet there are tons upon tons of cards that are pretty good, that just will never make the cut into the deck, for a variety of reasons depending on the card. Thus, here I describe the exclusions- some cards that I used to have in the deck, or at first glance appear like they could be in the deck, but in reality, don't work- and why. Many of these are cards I've tried out in the deck and not been happy with.

On a side note, as I mentioned a great many times throughout my description, equipment and enchantress themes are great in voltron, but not how the deck works- we win fast with cheap, one time used spells though sometimes cheap permanent spells, to buff Rafiq fast and win like so. I do not use equipment or enchantments to slow build him up and do not wish to turn my deck into either of those themes. Thus, these sort of cards are excluded and not mentioned below unless they specifically could fit the theme in some way.

  • Sword of the Chosen: Would normally give a buff of continuous +2/+2, costing only 2 colorless, and can be played BEFORE Rafiq comes out. While its good, it's simply too weak, supplying to small of a buff to be something I can include in the deck- every spot counts, and I can't see this doing enough work for its card space.
  • Finest Hour: A common voltron card, especially when paired with Rafiq- it is just against my theme though, and prone to being removed. I don't need these huge awesome spells- that's not how the deck works.
  • Corrupted Conscience: A great card that can either give Rafiq infect or give it to someone else's creature, but it's really just a huge enchantment spell that can be destroyed or countered, and if it does (and it most likely will be) it takes up all my mana for a turn and just is a huge unnecessary spell for the deck that doesn't work properly.
  • Hunt the Hunter: 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.
  • Shadowspear: The ability to remove such abilities from my opponent's creatures is good but doesn't really fit my theme too much as we are more focused on protection, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Unquestioned Authority: Offers protection (unblockable) and lets us draw a card but is a bit too costly in mana- two is the unblockable threshold as I have others that can do this for cheaper, even if they don't have the card draw.
  • Reconnaissance: Having this ability can protect Rafiq from combat tricks, and yet 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, making this a pretty conditional card slot that I won't often need. It's good with on attack triggers, and yet we have few of those too.
  • Esior, Wardwing Familiar: It's a great card, acting as a great blocker (with flying) if necessary, can be played before Rafiq is out, costs little mana, and offers protection. The thing is, that's not definite protection, and all the other side positives just aren't strong enough to make me consider it a slot in the deck,
  • Hyena Umbra: First strike is not that good since we aim to give Rafiq unblockable and avoid combat tricks- +1/+1 is just a ridiculously small buff, and while it does also protect Rafiq and cost very little, its power is just so minimal that it doesn't make it in the deck. We need our pump spells to be giving us huge buffs, and our protection spells to cover a wider range of things.
  • card:Sylvan Safeekeeper: super versatile and great in many voltron decks, but not so hot in Rafiq. Giving him shroud is the opposite of what we want: we want to cast a lot of spells on him. Even if we do it before, if our opponents kill him in response to our spells, even if we want to protect him in response, the shroud will now render all our spells on the stack as useless for him, making it a pretty bad card for the deck.
  • Swiftfoot Boots: Easily castable with Ancient Tomb/Sol Ring, protects Rafiq, and allows for earlier attacks. However, we very rarely use haste as we like to use unblockable and tons of pump to swing in for powerful turns, which we most likely can't cast the turn we play him. Thus, 3 mana permanent hexproof could be better used elsewhere even if the 2 can be paid before he enters, as we can probably do this in better ways that also offer other abilities.
  • Prowler's Helm: I mean it's not that bad, as it can be cast nicely with Ancient Tomb/Sol Ring and can be semi-played before Rafiq is out, it's just we can really be doing this in better ways for less mana (i.e., Invisibility, that push this back so much we just really won't ever be needing or using it in the deck.
  • Whispersilk Cloak: FUCK NO. I don't want a bulky artifact. That's the opposite of what this deck wants. I don't want shroud. I want to cast spells on Rafiq. This is never going into the deck. ever. So please don't recommend it lol.
  • Lightning Greaves: a wonderful card, haste is cool, but shroud is bad and I don't run enough creatures to always have something to slide it on to instead.
  • Teferi's Protection: a great card, super useful in protection, but is a bit expensive in mana- I rarely am able to hold that kind of mana up when I would need it.
  • Pemmin's Aura: This was in the deck for a great while, and while it could be great on Rafiq, offering semi evasion, protection, and buffs, I simply never end up using it, and its only other purpose would be infinite mana which I have really no use for in this deck, and I wouldn't exactly want to build the deck around a combo, especially one like this. It's really the blue that does it.
  • Smothering Tithe/Monologue Tax: 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. It's a great card, definitely broken, but not in the deck for the same reason big equipment is also not in the deck.
  • Lotus Cobra: Synergistic with fetchlands, and I have quite a few of them. A bit too conditional though, especially as I focus a lot on ramp and have a relatively small landcount.
  • Leyline of Abundance: Allows our dorks to produce extra mana but is a dud without the dorks.
  • 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- actually, I run very few, and so the chances of the trigger actually happening is slim even if it is ocassionally useful. This doesn't even ramp either- they are to hand.
  • Explore/Growth Spiral: While these are great I found that the deck needed more cards that directly ramp us mana rather than relying on chance and hoping for the best. It's far from a lands matter deck, and I get my mana in ways that don't involve lands, and with my low land count these just aren't really that great.
  • card:Okina, Temple of the Grandfathers: pump on a land like centaur garden, but we want as many forests as possible for invigorate and possibly utopia sprawl kind of effects. The plus one pump isn't worth those things.
  • Fabled Passage: I prefer not to risk lands that come in tapped, and while it would be untapped by the time we have to play Rafiq, we will likely be playing him with less lands and more dorks meaning it would come in tapped when we need it. Altogether tap lands are much too risky.
  • Somberwald Sage: A great dork- in mono colors. 3 mana of any ONE color will do very little for us when we try to cast Rafiq, and for 3 mana, we could be doing way better with regard to ramping- in fact, 3 mana is just a bit too much for the deck- it has to be really good to be in here and cost 3.
  • Exploration/Burgeoning: They cost only a single green, can get us 4 lands (enough to play Rafiq) on turn TWO, and can even help us play one drops the turn we play them with our addiitonal lands. The thing is, this is not even close to a lands matter deck, as I have a ridiculously low land count and get my mana in other ways. While they are amazing cards, they really doesn't help us that often even if in some scenarios (rare ones at that) they let us play Rafiq turn 2.
  • Carpet of Flowers: This card would be a TON of fun not to mention powerful, I love upkeep triggers and blue is a very powerful, highly used color, especially among multiple players. I'd love to include this card in my deck, but it is conditional for if they have islands and thus not the best in 1v1's, and only adds one color, whereas Rafiq needs quite a few.
  • Pearl Medallion/Sapphire Medallion/Emerald Medallion: While these guys are certainly good I just don't have enough white or blue cards or even green 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. Most cards are one drops, and these just don't get used enough to be in the deck. The signets would come in before these do.
  • Tarnished Citadel/Forbidden Orchard: Yeah, mana fixing is nice, but these just have way too high costs and the mana fixing in the deck is alreadly through the roof- I have no trouble with it almost ever.
  • Dryad Arbor: Can be tutored up with Nature's Lore effects but essentially has summoning sickness and thus comes in tapped, which is too much of a pain as I hate running tap lands and is just way too annoying to be used- I need lands I can use IMMEDIIATELY.
  • Green Sun's Zenith: It's nice that it can let us search for dorks, but if we're paying 2-3 mana for a dork at that point the zenith might as well just be a dork itself- not really a great card to include.
  • Flooded Grove/Mystic Gate/Wooded Bastion: I love the filter lands, but in this deck we can't risk having multiple only colorless producing sources on turn 1, and the fact that to produce colored mana they are conditional is just a bit much. Yes they can help cast double color mana costs but it's still not worth it especially compared to something like the fetches- I've been stuck with these on turn 1 too many times.
  • Exotic Orchard: Not bad as many play my colors, but is way too conditional and is a huge feel bad on turn 1 if we aren't going first, or if our opponents get their mana in other ways. Essentially way too conditional, and I'd rather include basics.
  • Shaman of Forgotten Ways: Costs 3, but since two is colorless we have a good chance of being able to cast it earlier, and it can definitely ensure we have enough to cast Rafiq, but it only can cast creatures and for 3 mana it's just ehhh.
  • 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, and this is just way too slow- plus, I loathe and hate tap lands with every ounce of my soul :).
  • 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. If I had a good sink maybe, but I really don't.
  • Ramunap Excavator: Can be run to get 1 guaranteed land every turn with one of the four fetch lands I run. Is it worth it though, to play something like that on turn THREE, a time where we really only need one more mana to get going? Probably not, especially since we need the fetches with it, even though it's great in lands-matter decks. I don't even have a remotely large landcount.
  • Treasure Cruise/Dig Through Time: Both great with the delve abilities, especially with all the fetches and no way to recur them, and all the temporary pump spells and unblockable spells. The thing is they have very large delve costs and I can't see myself using them often- a bit too conditional for me, since it isn't an entirely spellslinger deck and has no cards based around spellslinger at all.
  • Mystical Tutor/Merchant Scroll: I do run a lot of instants and sorceries, and I had this card in the deck for a while, but rarely used it. WHile I am based around instants and sorceries to some degree, it is in a general sense- I don't need to be tutoring for specific things, the idea is with the great amounts of pump/unblockable I should always have what I need. At the very least, this should be a draw spell not a tutor. it's also just a super slow card.
  • 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.
  • Gitaxian Probe: Great cEdh card, allowing card draw and an advantage against our enemies, but a tad bit minimal- I don't really need the one card that badly to give this a slot.
  • Collector Ouphe/Stony Silence: I run very little artifacts in the deck and these could mess up our opponents big time. However, we don't want them to render our rocks useless, despite how few they are.
  • AEther Barrier: We run few creatures and this can be detrimental to our opponents, but I can see it limiting our play what with dorks, protection creatures, etc., and I'm not sure if I'm willing to run it just yet.
  • Silent Arbiter: this guy was in the deck for as long as I can remember, but it just isn't as functional as a board wipe- it doesn't offer full evasion, or protection, and yet if we wiped instead, everything would be killed, rather than just unable to attack and block.
  • Winds of Abandon: OP for the overload cost, but gives them a bunch of lands, which is usually a big mistake in edh.
  • Strip Mine: It is obviously largely land destruction and disruption, functioning especially well in 1v1's, as it can put out opponent back a turn, and is great against things like Maze of Ith, Glacial Chasm, or huge land creatures created with something like Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor. However, it is not often that we end up wanting to sacrifice a land (and put ourselves back a turn) just to stax our opponents a little. We revolve around speed, and this is not speedy.
  • Maze of Ith: This is a great voltron card undoubtedly, however it underwent testing and I just feel like at the moment it's hard for the deck to afford missing a land drop for this card. It's meant for longer games, and less for us, since we aim to go faster.
  • Generous Gift: Costs way too much in mana for us- I don't want to have to hold up that much mana EVER in this deck,
  • Regrowth: This is a very important concept to consider: graveyard recursion. Noxious would come first though.
  • Stoic Angel: Super synergistic with Rafiq as we typically only need to untap him, but it can mess with our dorks and if our opponents creatures weren't tapped then this can't help much- plus it's super prime to being removed. A lot of my mana comes from dorks and I'm not sure I'd want this in: at the very least, silent arbiter would come first.
  • play with the idea of utopia sprawl- if so, maybe run scalding tarn too.

  • ornithopter for talisman of progress> or keep ornithopter? (If Keep, change t/o)

  • swords > pact of negation IRL
  • infiltrate for security bypass T/O
  • stone wood > bounty of the hunt IRL

Concluding Details

Enemies of Rafiq

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...

  1. Decks that are heavy on removal can completely shut me out, because if I 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. Commanders that encourage removal and sac are thus somewhat scary for Rafiq, though we high in protection, The way to combat these decks is to play protection quick, possibly before putting him out even if it delays the gameplan, and then immediately getting rid of them before they have time to set up.

  2. 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. While we have removal of our own and ways to get around tap effects, these are still pretty detrimental. There are some protection spells and ways for us to obviously get around this, but without the few of those I'm absolutely done for. Without Rafiq there's no real way to win, and I can't afford to remove cards for other win conditions, as 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.

  3. Maze of Ith!!!!!!!! BEGONE!!!!!!!

  4. Stealing! Cards that steal Rafiq can be super annoying, as it is sometimes hard to get him back: solution, kill him and then kill them. Yeah not the best but what can you do.

  5. Xantcha, Sleeper Agent is a super unique commander that is HORRIBLE against Rafiq. If they give us Xantcha, now we don't get Rafiq's "attack alone" triggers! Super weird interaction right there.

Conclusion

Anyways though, 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! In the past I have refrained from responding to comments on my own decks, as I for some reason saw it differently than it is, though I am pleased to say that has certainly changed and I'd love to discuss the deck with others! 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, and 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, without popping a quick comment below saying just that. 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 code word (cookies) and I'll give all your decks (not passed 20) an upvote! 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...

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, all the cards I consider and previously used are either under my maybeboard or exclusion explanations so feel free to check those out!

The Deck IRL

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

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Date added 2 years
Last updated 6 days
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

4 - 0 Mythic Rares

37 - 0 Rares

22 - 0 Uncommons

30 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.85
Tokens Bird 2/2 U
Folders My Primers, or To-Be Primers, Rafiq, Bant, Bant, BANT EDH, Deck references, Inspirations, Test, Fun Deck To Try, decks, See all 23
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Revision 116 See all

1 month ago)

+1 Spellskite main
-1 Stonewood Invocation main