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The Deck

I originally brewed this as a Gahiji, Honored One Pillow Fort/Force Combat brew based on my initial observation, while testing online, that if you presented as the least threatening deck at the table until the critical moment, it was surprisingly easy to win out of nowhere. I kept running into the problem, however, that I felt like a lot of cards in that deck were slow and clunky or wound up benefiting my opponents more than I wanted them to in the long run and, unless I got lucky, often hindered me from winning the game in the final 1v1. As a result, I tabled the deck and never bothered to convert it to paper; that is, until I read Queen Marchesa: Politics, Aikido, and Control. This deck is super neat and the theory behind it formalized a lot of the intuitions about EDH that I had never put into words. This deck, obviously, is very different from that one but the inspiration is there and I wanted to give credit where it is due.

I wanted to brew in Naya instead of Mardu. Even though black is my favorite color in magic, I feel like I lean on it too often in brewing and wanted to make something with green in it instead. In particular, I felt that the inclusion of green would help me with ramping and fixing in ways that are much more difficult (or expensive) outside of green and would allow me a chance to brew with some cards I own that wouldn't otherwise have a home among my commander decks.

Even though the deck is a political control deck, I have, to the best of my ability, avoided putting combos, land destruction, and stax pieces in the deck despite being tempted to many time in the brewing process. I think there are viable and powerful directions that the deck could go involving such effects, but they go against the spirit of the brew.

The Commander

I went back and forth for a long time as to whether to have Gahiji, Honored One or Marisi, Breaker of the Coil helm the deck but, in the end, I decided there were more pros to having Marisi command the deck than Gahiji. Marisi is capable of coming down earlier than Gahiji and, while neither of them immediately affect the board state, I feel as though Marisi just does more. Goad is a very powerful tool and being able to goad all of my opponents creatures merely by landing combat damage while having that combat protected from my opponents casting spells is very nice and feels very in-theme for the deck. Not having to worry about responding to my opponents' spells during my combat also allows me to hold up more reactive spells for my opponents' turns.

The Ramp

The deck uses green to focus on a land-based instead of rock-based ramp strategy. Due to the "social contract", I find that in most pods it is much safer to invest in land-based mana ramp than rocks or dorks. Cultivate and Kodama's Reach provide ramp and secure land drops for future turns. Similarly, Harrow and Springbloom Druid allow me to sacrifice a land in order to both ramp and fix my mana. Since the deck runs almost exclusively basic lands I've chosen to include both Riftstone Portal and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove in order to allow my lands to be able to tap for additional colors of mana. Mina and Denn, Wildborn and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove also round out the land ramp package by allowing me to play an additional land on each of my turns. For other sources of ramp, the deck runs one of each of Klothys, God of Destiny and Selvala, Explorer Returned. Both of these cards can provide incidental ramp in addition to the other utilities they provide the deck. Curse of Opulence is also a fun political card that doubles as temporary mana ramp.

Card Draw and Tutors

Since the primary goal of this deck is to play reactive control and find toolbox-y effects to steer the course of the game, tutors are extremely valuable and this deck runs quite a few of them. Sunforger, unsurprisingly, is a star in this role as it can fetch nearly every instant I run in this deck. Relic Seeker is in the deck specifically to go find the Sunforger. Open the Armory is primarily in the deck to find the Sunforger as well but can find other targets. Eladamri's Call and Signal the Clans are also include as they are both creature tutors that the Sunforger can go find. Holistic Wisdom is a weird old card that feels like a good synergy piece with the toolbox-y nature of the deck as it allows me to, for two generic, trade in a card from my hand for a better one from the yard.

Earlier versions of this deck suffered for lack of card draw. While tutors are helpful, they do not generate card advantage and I often found the deck running out of gas. To this end I've included a variety of card advantage generators that feel on flavor for the deck. Grenzo, Havoc Raiser and Robber of the Rich help the deck by providing miniature Stolen Strategy effects that can allow for a form of impulsive draw while that doesn't run the risk of stranding my reactive spells in exile. Selvala, Explorer Returned and Mikokoro, Center of the Sea allow for very controlled group-hug-style draw effects that can be helpful for the deck. Likewise, Horn of Greed is, with any luck, a goodwill-generating group-hug card-draw effect that benefits me asymmetrically because of the deck's focus on land-based ramp. Oakhame Adversary is potentially a very cheap rattlesnake for the deck that can draw me cards and help trigger Grenzo's or Marisi's goad effects. Runic Armasaur and Mangara, the Diplomat are both very powerful and flavorful sources of card draw for the deck as they generate card advantage for me from what my opponents choose to do. Palace Jailer can act as an O-Ring on a stick while also making me the Monarch. Rowen synergizes nicely with the deck as I run 30 basic lands and Lifecrafter's Bestiary can help with card selection while also giving occasional card draw from casting creatures. Thaumatic Compass   can go grab land drops while it's in Journeyer's Kite mode but turns into a nice maze effect in the late game. Lastly, while Key to the City doesn't generate card advantage it can help with card selection through its slow rummage effect.

The Sunforger Package (and Other Instants)

As a nod to the Marchesa deck that helped inspire this brew, I've chosen to have Sunforger play a very central role to the strategies of the deck while being careful not to make the deck overly reliant on a non-commander card. The Sunforger Package focuses on a combination of removal effects, protection effects, and situational punishes for what my opponents are doing. The deck includes Swords to Plowshares for exiling creatures and Forsake the Worldly for exiling artifacts and enchantments. Chaos Warp and Generous Gift can remove any type of permanent and Red Elemental Blast can remove any blue permanent. Rebuff the Wicked and Dawn Charm are surprise counterspells in white that can protect me and my permanents. Similarly, Veil of Summer, Seedtime, and Red Elemental Blast are anti-meta choices that can help me punish countermagic from my opponents. Boros Charm is a nice modal utility effect that can protect my board from wipe effects. Deflecting Palm and Comeuppance are powerhouse aikido effects that can punish my opponents for targeting me with big damage spells or attacks while Grab the Reins and Debt of Loyalty allow me to take control of my opponents' big threats and turn them back against them. Price of Progress and Mercadia's Downfall allow me to take advantage of the few nonbasic lands the deck runs by causing massive amounts of damage to my opponents for the nonbasic lands they will undoubtedly be running. Lastly, Honor the Fallen is a good surprise anti-graveyard tech that doubles as incidental life gain.

Utility Pieces

Additional utility pieces in the deck include Blind Obedience since it slows down artifact-centric combos and enables the very potent Extort mechanic. In a similar vein, Cindervines hurts player for playing lots of non-creature spells and doubles as removal. Finally, Brash Taunter is a nifty new card that fills in for effects like Backlash and Delirium that the deck can't run without being so expensive as Dong Zhou, the Tyrant. Finally, Mirage Mirror's clone effect is a great color bend away from what Naya can normally do and scales to how powerful my opponents' utilites are.

Pillow Fort

The deck uses fewer of the traditional pillow fort effects like Ghostly Prison and Windborn Muse since the mini-Disrupt Decorum in the command zone makes them less necessary but does include some effects still such as Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs and occasionally Mangara, the Diplomat. Selfless Squire is a strong standalone threat that can fog a big attack or damage spell and Righteous Aura can help lessen the impact of big damage spells and attacks. card:Labyrith of Skophos and Spires of Orazca both offer reasonable Maze of Ith effects for the deck as well. Additionally I've chosen to include Children of Korlis as a way to help deal with and recover from life loss effects in a way that fog effects cannot.

Rattlesnakes

Since I've decreased the number of pillow fort effects that the deck is running, I've increased the number of rattlesnakes the deck is running. I cannot forget that Marisi is the commander, and bodies that discourage my aggressive opponents from attacking me are going to often also be difficult for my opponents to block and can help me get goad triggers. Oakhame Adversary is a snake that can generate me card advantage and Marisi triggers while Skullwinder is a political Eternal Witness for you and a (temporary) ally. Vivien, Champion of the Wilds can help me sneak in these deathtouch creatures at instant speed and discourage flying blockers by giving creatures I control reach. This can be especially powerful with Hornet Nest as I can use this synergy to put a bunch of flying deathtouch bodies onto the board. Stonecoil Serpent is a reach threat that dodges much of the most popular removal in EDH and scales to fit anywhere in the mana curve that I need it. Fervent Champion is also a champion in this regard as it is not only an ideal wielder for the Sunforger due to its ability to reduce the cost of attaching equipment but it is also has first strike making it potentially very undesirable to attack into or block once it is wielding the Sunforger. Lastly, in lieu of Serra Ascendant, I am running the fairer Lone Rider   because I believe it is less watered-down than Angel of Vitality but easier to pull off in this deck than Speaker of the Heavens.

Incentivizing Opponent Attacks

One of the big drawbacks of Pillow Fort strategies is that, unless you actively point your opponents against each other, they really only to bring the game to a standstill. Goad effects such as Marisi and Grenzo do the best job of this. In that same vein, Agitator Ant is a strict upgrade over Orzhov Advokist. Spirit en-Dal is a cheeky synergy piece with these cards that can grant my attackers a form of evasion that most decks aren't equipped to deal with. In general, however, I tried to include more effects that make my opponents' attacks stronger than ones that force my opponents to attack elsewhere. Cards like Boros Charm and Duelist's Heritage can give a creature actual double strike while Gisela, Blade of Goldnight does double duty for the deck by doubling the damage my opponents deal to each other while halving the damage they deal to me and my permanents. Kessig Wolf Run and Mina and Denn can grant creatures trample and make them big and Key to the City can go a step further and make a creature unblockable. Lastly, I've traded in the old Armadillo Cloak for the much better Shadowspear. Not only is this a nice target for Relic Seeker and Open the Armory after I've gotten the Sunforger out but it gives a strictly better Bonds of Mortality effect for situations where I need to remove stickier permanents.

Closing the Door

The win condition of the deck is essentially outlined above. The deck focuses on guiding the aggressive player that will inevitably be at most tables toward killing my opponents while using incidental life gain/chip damage effects and reactive control to gain incremental advantage eventually leading to a kill through some combination of Gisela, Blade of Goldnight and the big damage spells and threaten effects the deck uses. In addition the effects above the deck also includes Hymn of Rebirth as a surprise Rise from the Grave and Disrupt Decorum to act as a smaller Insurrection for the deck.

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84% Casual

Competitive

Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 year
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

5 - 0 Mythic Rares

38 - 0 Rares

20 - 0 Uncommons

7 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.00
Tokens 3/3 Ogre, 1/1 Insect, 3/3 Elephant, Gold, Monarch
Folders Ideas, Commander Decks
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