Competetive Meter

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Inspiration & Playstyle

Elsha has incredible potenial for competetive commander play. Much of the inspiration for the deck was drawn from decks like Jhoira and Urza . The central strategy is to gain large value with lots of reduced to free artifact spells until you can draw you library out. While Elsha might not appear to be again a clear advantage from playing these spells like Jhoira does, Elsha's second and third abilities allow for a far more flexible way to "draw a card" by casting things off of the top of your library. It is important to note that once you've learned to pilot this deck, it can win on turn three or four very consistently; therefore, you ought to have the consent of a playgroup before playing this. While one or two lightning-fast games might be fun, most playgroups don't enjoy being beaten over and over again by the same deck. If you are new to cEDH, please be mindful that your playgroup is also trying to have fun.

Summary & Goals

Imagine that there is a commander that said "Increase your handsize by one." and "When you cast the last card that you drew, draw a card." Essentially, that is what Elsha allows you to do. When you cast the top card of your library, you now have a new top card. That card then can be cast using Elsha , and so on. The main goal of the deck is to dig through the deck as quickly as possible. Along the way, you'll likely find and be able to play cards that will expedite your search. Your quarry in this search is one of the win-cons listed below. In fact, this deck doesn't need Elsha to win. She is just there to make the search easier.

Win Cons

The central combo of this deck is the Elsha + Top combo. With your deck in hand, you can win via
  1. Jace, Wielder of Mysteries
  2. Grapeshot
If you find yourself in a pinch or with a Top in the graveyard, you can still pull off a couple combos. The first of which is the Jace + Thought Lash combo. Together, these two let you instantly deck yourself for the win. If that is out of the picture, you can go for the Isochon Scepter + Dramatic Reversal combo. With this, you can get infinite mana and potentially infinitely mill yourself (and oppentents with Ghoulcaller's Bell out). The infinite mana can then be dropped into Urza to pull out your deck. The mill can work as a convoluted Thought Lash . Lastly when all else fails, you can go the beat down route. Note that this is only to be used when the game is in a lock or you've lost every other way to win. Dealing lethal commander damage via Elsha can end the game as an absolute last resort.

Tips & Tricks

While there are ways to bring back Top if it get countered, destroyed, or discarded (such as Codex Shredder and Academy Ruins ), they might not be the best route to victory. If you find yourself in a pinch, a fantastic card to go after is Thought Lash . Thought Lash was listed as a combo piece in many of the wincons, but its utility far surpasses that of just a wincon. Thought Lash and Elsha can dig through the deck to find the card(s) that you need to win. With a cost reduction of or more on your artifacts, Thought Lash and Elsha can pull out most of your mana rock for free. Also, don't underestimate the fact that Elsha let's you cast card from the top of your library at instant speed. If you are digging with Elsha , you can cast a card like Opt then continue to cast things until you find something, like a land, that you can cast. Each card that is not a win con can be put into at least one of four categories. All of which help close out the game. Those five categories are ramp, sifters, reducers, and enablers.
  • Ramp cards (the vast majority of which are mana rocks) are pretty straight forward. Since the goal is to win as quickly as possible, having the resources to get Elsha and start digging is paramount. In the first couple of turns, your main priority should be to hit your land drop then play as many mana rocks as possible.
  • Sifters are cards that get pesky cards out of your way. Since Elsha only allows you to play noncreature, nonland cards off of the top of your library, you want to try to keep those out of the way. This is one of the hardest parts of learning to pilot this deck. There are many cards (not just lands) that would normally be very helpful; however, this deck has lots of redundant effects. So, if you already have enough of such an effect, move on. Any card that lets you scry or draw a card when you cast an artifact is a sifter. However, the most efficient sifters are Thought Lash and Top .
  • Reducers are cards that reduce the cost of artifact spells. There are some cards, like Cloud Key , that let you choose what type of spell to reduce the cost of. Do NOT choose any type of spell other than artifact. Artifacts compose almost half the deck and will help you deck the fastest.
  • Enablers are cards that help your win cons; however, most of them do the same job, so once you have one, you're golden. Even though this is listed in the sifters, Top is the best enabler in the deck. In combination with any reducer and Elsha , you can draw you entire deck.


Other than countermagic, the removal here is scant. If you find yourself in need of removal, I would stick to cheap removes, like Lightning Bolt and Demystify . As you can see from the deck's name, this is meant to be a cEDH deck on a "budget". Yes, this deck is pretty pricy as it has all of the main cEDH pieces that aren't super expensive. If you want a list that has all of the core cEDH cards like orignal dual lands and Mana Crypt , see my Elsha the Artificer (Full cEDH w/ Primer) list.

Meta Adjustments

I don't play in a heavily conpetetive meta, but it is my assumption that if you play in a competetive meta, you've been playing a while and know what you would adjust. For a casual meta, I would tread lightly. EDH is meant as a way for everyone to have fun. Again, most people don't like to be mercilessly beaten repeatedly. If you playgroup does not enjoy playing against this deck, I would not play it too often against them. Elsha can be great fun and doesn't have to be competitive; however, this is not that decklist.


Updates Add

After giving it some thought, I realized that the Dramatic Scepter combo is a valuable backup line of play. Also, Jace was removed because I shouldn't need a dedicated slot for a pure wincon. After my deck is in my hand from the Top combo, I should be able to play any of the other combos and win.

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100% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 1 month
Last updated 1 week

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.86
Tokens 1/1 Construct, 1/1 Spirit
Folders EDH, cool, new deck ideas, ideas
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