"All who set foot in Paliano are pawns in someone's play for power."


My commander is Marchesa d'Amati, the Black Rose of Paliano. With the throne held by Brago, King Eternal , she realized that the only way to usurp power was to undermine its influence. At the head of her network of assassins, rogues, and purchased politicians, Marchesa moved her pieces towards checkmate.

This deck flirts with death, risking everything to achieve a satisfying victory.

Aristocrat decks usually focus on repeatable ways to generate tokens. Spending more than a few mana on something that is only going to be sacrificed isn't worth it. Marchesa flips that on its head, as the sacrificed creatures return at the end of the turn.

Dethrone is a weak way of protecting creatures that want to be sacrificed compared to our enablers. They can only eat one boardwipe until they are weak to any form of removal. That's not to mention that they can only be sacrificed once per turn cycle. I draw satisfaction from the sheer number of cards in this deck that never see play outside it. Unspeakable Symbol? Vigean Graftmage? What is this jank? Well, it's the best jank we have.

The graft creatures can be sacrificed every single turn, but their true strength lies in granting that luxury to Sower of Temptation or Kokusho, the Evening Star. They also protect the commander the moment it hits the field, when the deck is most vulnerable.

Drana is an odd inclusion in this category because she fails to protect creatures or enable our engine. She is here because she enables this hodgepodge to get into the red zone without necessarily going for dethrone, or to double-down on it.

I'm combining these since they share two purposes. Obviously they both produce mana, but most importantly they both allow us to keep chasing dethrone. Other decks can enter a death spiral from running this many painlands, but not us. Don't worry, there are plenty of ways to gain the life back later.

Land-outlets may not be particularly powerful, but there is little opportunity cost.

I'll admit that there might be a bit too much redundancy here. It's just that the ability to draw cards off of any of our dying creatures is addictive and quite potent. Erebos and Necropotence have the increased benefit of managing our life total.

I have danced around this long enough. So far you've read about how this deck sacrifices creatures, how it can sacrifice creatures more often, and what it gains off of sacrificing creatures, but what is being sacrificed? I'll begin with the value options.

Whether it's the classic Sad Robot or the broken Dockside Extortionist, creatures with "one-and-done effects" are crazy when it's "one-and-one-and-one-and"--

Okay, now it's time to talk about Wizards' word choice in Marchesa's last ability. "Whenever a creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it dies, return that card to the battlefield under your control at the beginning of the next end step." Did you catch that? If you steal a creature with, say Mark of Mutiny , and sacrifice it, Marchesa will return it to your control in the next endstep. For your opponents, there are fates far worse than death for their best creatures. Other Marchesa lists lean on this text a lot harder and it's a blast; I'm just going for a more artistocratic build.

Death triggers in a can. Whether it's squid, goblins, soldiers, or sea creatures, they all provide fodder for Mayhem Devil effects.

Welcome to one of the main win conditions. While Marchesa references the combat step a few times in her text, I rarely win the game with combat damage. Flinging Flayer of the Hatebound for 9 damage per turn (four times per turn cycle) or looping Kokusho with Metallic Mimic gets around pillowfort cards that are difficult to remove in these colors.

- Bastion of Remembrance - Blood Artist - Mayhem Devil - Zulaport Cutthroat

I lean heavier into Blood Artist than most. Sure, it takes a little setup, but when I'm throwing a Sling-Gang Lieutenant and its gobbos at my opponents' faces every turn, who can blame me?

- Annul - Chaos Warp - Feed the Swarm - Swan Song

Graveyard hate takes the wind out of our sails. If you aren't prepared to protect your fun, then you won't have any.

This one is a bit meta-dependent. If my meta does shift and I find myself in need of more ways to sweep the board, Last One Standing , Blasphemous Act , Massacre Girl , and Profaner of the Dead come to mind.

Throughout this primer, you have seen win conditions slotted into a solid value engine. What has been missing up to now was the Craterhoof Behemoth of the deck. Sure, Kokusho does end the game, but this is how the game is ended out of nowhere.

Black Market is a black Omniscience . Untapping with this is a guarantee that the turn will reshape the flow of the game.

Jokulhaups, with Marchesa on the board, wipes every land, creature, and artifact, removing any chance of interaction when our creatures return to the battlefield at end of turn...

Dethrone realizes its true potential. It's a straightforward win condition, but no less powerful.

This was my first commander deck. With it, I sought to build a creature deck that was resilient to boardwipes, which plagued my meta. I soon discovered that she was capable of being more than a simple umbrella against wraths. This became my pet deck and it amassed quite the reputation among my playgroup. A dependence on Marchesa and a weakness to Rest in Peace are among the deck's few weaknesses, but proper sequencing and politics can serve to circumvent such shortcomings. While this deck is not my most competitive, that honor belonging to my Queen Marchesa stax list, it is easily the most enjoyable. If aristocrats is an archetype that you have always wanted to play, look no further. Not only does Marchesa provide something that aristocrats decks need, but she does it in colors that are not often seen in this archetype. I hope that you give her a try; there is truly nothing like it.

deck-large:the-rose-has-thorns This deck is a lot of things, but control is not one of them. That's where Queen Marchesa comes in. If you want to know what it feels like to play as the player with the highest life total, the one everyone is trying to dethrone, then wonder no more. It's not just control; it's Mardu STAX!


Updates Add

Hail Phyrexia! Hail Yawgmoth, Thran Physician !

There are now eight sac outlets that are so good that they are irrefutably the go-to choices. The awkward ninth card is Attrition , which might get the axe. It is great for removing creatures, but the deck isn't really in need of removal. That job is done better by Grave Pact, Dictate, Sower, Vindictive Lich, ect. I may consider that ninth sac outlet slot a utility sac slot, and replace Attrition with Priest of Forgotten Gods . In other news...

Sling-Gang Lieutenant -Senpai

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2 months ago)

+1 Pyreheart Wolf main