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When it comes to my edh collection, Reyhan is my all time favorite. She's fun to play with and against, consistent and can hold her own against high powered matchups. And even over 4 years I still discover new ways to utilise her and evolve the deck. So suggestions, feedback and upvotes are always appreciated! You never know what hidden utility there still can be uncovered.

About Reyhan and Ishai: Show


"To suffer a defeat and yet lose none of your strength." That's what Abzan stands for. This piece of flavor translates beautifully into Reyhan's ability to keep power on board even if creatures fall.

However, I thirsted more! And to do so,.. have you ever heard of rule 704.K, better known as the infamous legend rule?

legend rule Show

Well you should, otherwise we'd only run clones in EDH. But have you considered using the rule to your benefits? Because Reyhan is a good example of one. As of yes! She and her "clones" their ability all trigger simultaneously if one becomes sacrificed.

This strategy inspired me to build an Aristocrats themed deck resolved around Counters. And a great aspect to this strategy is to clone Reyhan and create allot of value.

Aristocrats Show

But as far as Golgari or even Abzan goes with +1 counters, this strategy wouldn't work without blue in the color pie, which is where Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker comes in. While looking like an underwhelming Managorger Hydra that can commander-damage and fly, Ishai provides us blue for that simic synergy while also letting us splash white for cards like Basri's Lieutenant or Gift of Immortality .

So why Reyhan, Last of the Abzan with Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker instead of let’s say an Atraxa, Praetors' Voice , Kresh the Bloodbraided , Ghave, Guru of Spores or any other partner?

  • Reyhan or Ishai are almost always a guaranteed turn 3 drop. And while four colours can be difficult to access, these two partners each only require two of the four.
  • Is your magic group limited to no infinite's? Can't you play your Ghave to your fullest because of said rule? Ever made 90 counters with just your general and one other card? Well make way Ghave, because Reyhan can!
  • The cost penalty upon commander-zoning a general is not shared between partners.
  • And while commander-damage is not shared between partners, we will most likely be able to shift any power from one general to another by sacrificing.
  • Reyhan is quite good one vs. one while Ishai is very good in multiplayer making this pair good to play in any edh game.
  • "Partner" EDH decks start a game with "nine" instead of eight cards. We also care less about having a hand without creatures, I mean we already start with 2!
  • A Reyhan or Ishai on the field does not look as scary as casting a Atraxa, so they won't be removed as quickly. That until it's too late of course.
  • And by all means I think Ravos, Soultender and Tana, the Bloodsower hold great synergies with Reyhan on different views. Thrasios, Triton Hero has proved himself as tier 1 general and if I could choose I kind of wished I had red over white in this deck's color identity (but except for the sub-par card draw even a potato has more synergy with Reyhan than Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist or Kraum, Ludevic's Opus ). Now what makes Ishai so great is the fact that she's a flyer that holds true to that +1 counter synergy. And personally I think Reyhan really needs that blue for cards like Rite of Replication , Prime Speaker Zegana and Hadana's Climb  .

This deck of course does not come without cons.:

Following the command zone's guideline for power levels on edh decks, I would grade this deck an 8/10.

This deck lacks the reliable turn 4 win options to be fully competitive and reyhan or ishai can't obtain infinite resources with just one other card.

However! Reyhan, and this deck alike will constantly apply pressure to the board. A boardstate is quickly made and can be very difficult to remove. It has allot of toolbox options, different winning conditions and can even hold its self without commander. Friends are rightfully afraid whenever i whip out Reyhan and her trusty partner Ishai!

Power levels explained Show

The Strategy

Most people will build Reyhan solely on her counter aspect, but as said before, it is the Aristocrat path I walked down.

As new sets are being released, commander games become faster. So when holding a hand in this deck 2 things are important.

  • Can I play cards with my available land? I can have all the green dorks in the world, but without a green mana source this gets me no-where.
  • Can i be relevant on the table at turn 3? Turn 3 is the tipping point when people slowly move from ramping to building their strategies, if you cannot you're gonna get behind.

Even if you start with a Sol Ring , Blade of Selves and 1 Swamp as your only land in your opening hand, consider to mulligan, because your not going to have a fun game if you cannot find that last green source for an explosive turn 3 play! (See Delete players as soon as turn three)

So how do we stay relevant?

Turn one:

Turn two:

Turn three:

From turn four onward we want to expand and if nothing holds us back, we can sometimes wrap things up around turn 5-6. How we will find in the next panels.

Some bottom acceleration notes however:

  • Crystalline Crawler is a special case of mid to late-game ramp. Try to reserve a for it, and basically play this for free. I often even remove the counters on the same turn to cast additional spells. This guy gets especially good with the likes of Branching Evolution and sometimes people even forget that you have mana hidden away in the form of +1 counters.
  • Tempt with Discovery again does not help us to that turn 3, but it often ramps you for 4 lands in the mid- to lategame. I recommend to fish a bit by starting easy on your opponents. Fetch a Mosswort Bridge and see if others take the bait, then fetch up a Field of the Dead / Vesuva and make 8 potential zombies as the spell resolves! Tempt with discovery is risky however, an opponent can also fetch a Gaea's Cradle , Bojuka Bog , Kessig Wolf Run or Maze of Ith and turn the table to your disadvantage. So i suggest to also reserve a Strip Mine in your deck if you want to try this.
  • The Great Henge is great and it does everything! Just not early-game.

Actually I can fork this section into 3 new categories as there are Counter Suppliers (e.g. Verdurous Gearhulk ), Counter Heralds (e.g. Herald of Secret Streams ) and Counter Modifiers (e.g. Corpsejack Menace ). Each should be considered carefully when building a counter deck as Heralds and Modifiers are strong, but usually don't help the board on getting a +1 counter.

Counter suppliers are very self-explanatory. They bring counters to the table. Reyhan and Ishai do this both. Good-Fortune Unicorn and Master Biomancer do this, but also the likes of Managorger Hydra , Kalonian Hydra or Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest belongs to this list.

Counter Heralds brings benefits to your board state whenever a creature has a counter. There are a ton of these cards in the form of evolve Fathom Mage , in the form of outlast and adapt Abzan Battle Priest / Zegana, Utopian Speaker . And to some extent even ferocious See the Unwritten , raw power Prime Speaker Zegana or upon death The Ozolith / Reyhan, Last of the Abzan .

But now to the interesting category!

Counter modifiers not add but double counters. Corpsejack Menace , Doubling Season and Solidarity of Heroes are strong contestants. But also Mirror Mockery , Rite of Replication , Phantasmal Image , Double Major or Blade of Selves in combination with Reyhan count. Whenever a second Reyhan enters the battlefield, one will be sacrificed and this causes both of the Reyhan to trigger their abilities simultaneously.

Now the Aristocrats strategy works so well with this deck because Counter modifiers exist in Magic. While midst in our attack we can shift power from blocked to unblocked creatures and sacrificing creatures usually comes with benefits to our aristocrats.

Our aristocrats:

Yahenni, Undying Partisan is our mvp Aristocrat. Not only can he infinitely sacrifice to our hearts desire, but he also shares that greedy undertone in the sacrifice ability. This is great as with boardwipes he even protects our counters!

Carrion Feeder can't block, but can however be played as early as turn one. It can enable some early game shenanigans with Basri's Lieutenant + Good-Fortune Unicorn , Dreadhorde Invasion or Animation Module .

Ashnod's Altar , Greater Good and Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim each fulfill different roles while doing the same thing.

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord , if there is power on your board then you've won. This card is usually a 7 to 10 mana win and that can make Jarad very boring in the long run. Boring but incredibly stong.

But if we would only sacrifice, there would eventually be no creature left on the board right? Well good observation Timmy! But that is why we also recur. Tayam, Luminous Enigma , Nethroi, Apex of Death , Phyrexian Reclamation and Journey to Eternity   play the part here. And funnily they can in turn also recur Eternal Witness so any other card can be brought back!

It's a never ending cycle!

There is actually allot of interesting options here. Allot of protective cards still bring our creatures in a short "dead" state (e.g. Gift of Immortality or Luminous Broodmoth ). This in turn triggers Reyhan's ability! So killing our boardstate can actually punish opponents.

Living Death (, Necromantic Selection or Phyrexian Rebirth ) are boardwipes that protects our counters also. In case you need an educative reminder:

The Stack: Show

Also Bestow like Nighthowler are good ideas for protecting counters. Would there be a boardwipe with Nighthowler enchanting something, Reyhan can legally target Nighthowler to copy your board states counters onto.

Achieving Victory

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Let's talk Shenanigans, what's wins us games?

I love 3 v 1 "archenemy" games. Be that Nicol Bolas player where at some point three opponents have to team up and stop me! A turn 3 player annihilation does not fit this picture, but this deck has a turn 5 win possible and apart from the correct land we only need a Sol Ring + Blade of Selves in our opening hand to set it in play! Easy huh?

Turn one:

Turn two:

Turn three:

  • Equip Reyhan with blade of selves, attack and place 6 x 3 counters on Reyhan. When the two Reyhan copies enters the battlefield, two will be sacrificed and this causes all three of the Reyhan to trigger their abilities simultaneously.

From here we can shift power to ishai or win someway else hopefully.

This deck can become a mathematical mess and whenever you make more Reyhan tokens, the more difficult the equation about placing counters becomes. But even if you're bad in math and don't know the way the stack works, then don't worry! I made a small cheat sheet.

How weird this might be Mirror Mockery , Blade of Selves and Rite of Replication are this decks base mass +1/+1 counter spells as tokens play the important aspect. The fist rule on placing counters with these cards are "Amount of Reyhan's (R) x Amount of Reyhan Token's (T) x amount of counters each dying creature has (C)". Let's start off easy:

Reyhan + Mirror mockery combo:

  • Enchanted on Reyhan and attacking, Reyhan creates one copy of herself that dies instantly and both the copy as the original Reyhan their ability trigger. The amount of counters we can place are (2 x 1) x 3 = 6 +1/+1 counters.

Reyhan + Blade of Selves combo:

  • Equiped on Reyhan and attacking Reyhan creates two copies (4man game) of herself that die instantly and both copies plus the original Reyhan their ability trigger over both copies. The amount of counters we can place are (3 x 2) x 3 = 18 +1/+1 counters.

Reyhan + Rite of Replication combo:

  • Targeting Reyhan, she gets up to five copies of herself that die instantly and all the copies plus the original Reyhan their ability trigger over each copy! The amount of counters we can place are (6 x 5) x 3 = 90 +1/+1 counters.

Note that with Rite of Replication we place 18 x 3 counters! And not necessarily we need to place all 90 counters on one specific target creature. Now let's go over three piece combo's:

Bramblewood Paragon : This triggers on any copy it's enter the battlefield. Our fist rule will now be R x T x (C+1).

  • Reyhan + Mirror mockery combo: 2 x 4 (8) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Blade of Selves combo: 6 x 4 (24) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Rite of Replication combo: 30 x 4 (120) +1/+1 counters

Hardened Scales : This triggers on any copy it's enter the battlefield and every time a ability places counters. Our fist rule will now be R x T x (C+2).

  • Reyhan + Mirror mockery combo: 2 x 5 (10) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Blade of Selves combo: 6 x 5 (30) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Rite of Replication combo: 30 x 5 (150) +1/+1 counters

Master Biomancer : Our fist rule will now be R x T x (C + MB's power), C will be 3 + the power of Master Biomancer.

  • Reyhan + Mirror mockery combo: 2 x C (10+) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Blade of Selves combo: 6 x C (30+) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Rite of Replication combo: 30 x C (150+) +1/+1 counters

Cathars' Crusade : Our fist rule will now be R x T x (C + T), don't forget to place a counter on all other non-Reyhan Token's for each copy also!

  • Reyhan + Mirror mockery combo: 2 x 4 (8) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Blade of Selves combo: 6 x 5 (30) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Rite of Replication combo: 30 x 8 (240) +1/+1 counters

Corpsejack Menace : Double counters on any copy it's enter the battlefield and every time a ability places counters. Our fist rule will now be R x T x ((C x 2) x 2).

  • Reyhan + Mirror mockery combo: 2 x 12 (24) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Blade of Selves combo: 6 x 12 (72) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Rite of Replication combo: 30 x 12 (360) +1/+1 counters

Doubling Season : Like corpsejack menace but also on tokens! Our fist rule will now be R x (T x 2) x ((C x 2) x 2).

  • Reyhan + Mirror mockery combo: 6 x 12 (72) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Blade of Selves combo: 20 x 12 (240) +1/+1 counters
  • Reyhan + Rite of Replication combo: 110 x 12 (1320) +1/+1 counters

Footnote and special thanks:

Thank you for your interest in my take on Reyhan and Ishai! I hope it inspired you in your own commander brews. Lastly I'd like to include a special thanks for the following people who helped building the deck:


Updates Add

In this update more love is given for Basri's Lieutenant and recurring strategies. With a lower CMC average and more carddraw the deck will play more consistent.



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