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Take the land, that must be taken! Mardu Prison

Commander / EDH Artifact Control Enchantment Prison RBW (Mardu) Stax



Hi everyone! This is a deck concept I've been thinking for some time. It based arround a Mardu Prison list of Canadian Highlander by Serge Yager. It is a Mardu Prison list that tries to lock out the game as soon as possible with "symetrical" effects, and take advantage of breaking those symetrical effects. This deck is definitelly a not pleasant deck to play against, it either lock the game and takes some time to win, or it stumbles and dies! It' the nasties deck idea I've come across, and I absolutely love it!

When it comes to the General choice for this deck, I thought of different combinations before landing on Queen Marchesa . The first option was Mathas, Fiend Seeker who is sweet! You get both cards and life whenever a creature with a counter dies, which I figured it would be often. The problem I see with that creature is that the card draw ratio is too slow. Also, and this is the worse drag, he also gives cards and life to your opponents. So, it basically gives more outs to your locks to your opponents! Not good!

Another option was Tymna the Weaver and Vial Smasher the Fierce . Tymna draws cards, Vial smasher eventually can win the game with enough time. The deck with this combination has more hostile to the board, and more hard locks that prevented attacks, thus Vial Smasher made sense. But Tymna didn't, she needs to attack to draw cards! I think it's a good combination of Generals, but slightly suboptimal.

Finally, Queen Marchesa which is the default Mardu General, but she's so good! The card itself is amazing! If you changed the Monarch mechanic by a cantrip effect she would still be great. But the Monarch mechanic is super powerful, you're likely to draw cards having the game on lock, but in case you don't you get really good tokens to get it back! Even the art itself is better that the art in all the other Generals!

The main way of this deck to lock the opponents out of the game is with a huge mana and land attrition. This is accomplished mostly through cheap artifacts like Trinisphere or Winter Orb which make it way more difficult to cast multiple spells (or even one) in the early game.

After that, there's effects that tax in part your opponents spells (or yours) like Smothering Tithe , Aura of Silence or Defense Grid , which either give you certain benefit or effects that are detrimental to your opponents. Stuff like Defense Grid are really detrimental to control players, however to this deck it barely has an effect, in that, almost every spell is meant to be cast on our own turn. And there's also Sphere of Resistance , just outright make everything more expensive!

Finally... there are four spells that blow up all lands! Or almost all lands! If something prevents our opponents from casting spells is not having any lands. In this deck there's Armageddon , Boom / Bust , Ruination and Decree of Annihilation . There's also a combination of two spells that blow up all lands... along everything else! That is Magus of the Balance plus Teferi's Protection ! You activate the Magus, hold priority, cast Protection and all your permanents cease to exist until your next turn. Thus, the least amount of lands and creatures is 0.

Mana and land attrition, the main part of this deck strategy is to protect yourself. Two enchantments that make combat difficult are Sphere of Safety and Ghostly Prison . They don't stop combat by any means, but they certainly make it costly. Most of the times this two enchantments discourage people to attack you all together. Plus, having all the mana attrition this two enchantments do work.

After protecting yourself what follows is massacre and annihilation! This deck is running eight targeted removal spells (mostly among Planeswalkers) and eight wrath or wrath-like effects. There's spot removal in Anguished Unmaking , Ugin, the Ineffable or Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast . There's also wrath effects like Toxic Deluge , Austere Command , Chandra, Awakened Inferno or Decree of Annihilation

Other locks and combos

Beyond the main locks and land destruction spells, there are other lock pieces and cards that hose other strategies. One of my favorite combos of this deck is the combination of Maralen of the Mornsong and Stranglehold . Another one of those good combos is Humility and Ethereal Absolution . Finally, another specially sweet one is Magus of the Balance and Teferi's Protection , everyone has to sacrifice all creatures and lands except you!

Speed Bumps

Cards like Thalia, Heretic Cathar , Authority of the Consuls or Blind Obedience are really annoying, they limit the utility of the creatures and lands/artifacts and gives you time to find some hard lock or a boardwipe. Plus, Authority gains you life and stems aggressive decks and fetching.

Then, there are creatures that limit your opponent's options and in general make life more difficult for them, such as Aven Mindcensor , Hushbringer , Mogis, God of Slaughter and Spirit of the Labyrinth . All this cards really hose certain specific decks, Spirit of the Labyrinth is a nightmare for almost all blue-based control decks. Hushbringer is like Torpor Orb on a stick, with bonus hosing of Aristocrats. Aven Mindcensor is in general a good card, and really annoying for certain strategies. And Mogis just makes life a bit more painful (non-symmetrically, mind you) which is great!

Finally, there are the permanents that limit the amount of spells to be played, for example stuff like Rule of Law , Eidolon of Rhetoric or card: Ehtersworn Cannonist.

This deck has a lot of symmetrical effects that either destroy lands, prevents them from untapping, or make them more expensive to cast. Against the land destruction spells, this deck is playing Crucible of Worlds which lets us play lands from the bin. This card is also good even without land destruction, in that, we can play fetchlands from the bin. A very spicy include with mass land destruction is Flagstones of Trokair which fetches a Plains when destroyed.

This deck is also playing a bunch of mana rocks. There are 10 rock that cost 2 or less mana like Mana Crypt , Orzhov Signet and Talisman of Conviction , and other 4 mana rocks that cost 3 or 4 mana like Chromatic Lantern or Hedron Archive . Most of this mana rocks also give coloured mana, which lets us play more basics for stuff like Ruination . Other good cards, although not mana rocks per se are Expedition Map and Cabal Coffers .

Card draw or card advantage in this deck is also pretty important in any deck. The fact that the Commander of this deck has card draw built in, really helps. The fact that Queen Marchesa has built-in card draw is pretty effective, and should your opponents get the Monarch, Queen Marchesa creates assassins which are really useful getting the Monarch back. Or this deck has several ways to make a bunch of tokens in Elspeth, Sun's Champion .

There are also two Planeswalkers that draw cards in Kaya, Ghost Assassin and Liliana, Dreadhorde General . Then there's Nahiri, the Harbinger which first makes you discard and then draw.

It is of note that this deck has Spirit of the Labyrinth , which prevents players from drawing with the Monarch, thus this deck has several ways to "draw cards" which are not card draw per se. The most evident is Theater of Horrors , but there is also Ugin, the Ineffable , Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Sorin, Grim Nemesis .

Finally, there are several tutors in Enlightened Tutor , Vampiric Tutor , Demonic Tutor which can get some silver bullet or some lock piece, but there's also Ignite the Beacon which is an instant speed tutor for two Planeswalkers, which is exciting.

This deck is not very concerned on how to win, but it has to win eventually somehow. Given the fact that there's twelve Planeswakers in the deck Sarkhan the Masterless is a pretty cool win condition. Through Planeswakers you can also win with some of the ultimate abilities such as the ultimate from Sorin, Grim Nemesis or Chandra, Torch of Defiance . Actually, the +1 ability in Sorin can also win the game, with enough time. Also Elspeth, Sun's Champion can eventually win the game, specially if you get the emblem.

Once the board is on lock, the enchantment Assemble the Legion gets out of hand super quickly! Plus, if you have that in play and then you play Decree of Annihilation you've basically won, in that, the Decree does not remove Planeswakers. In this case, either Assemble the Legion or Elspeth can win more or less easily with Ethereal Absolution which makes the tokens that you already have bigger and creates more and more tokens.

And this is the list, and the breakdown of its different aspects. I would like to note that I'm not a monster in real life. I think I'm a pretty nice human in general. But it's very true that when comes to Magic, I'm ruthless! Cruel and evil! However I will always, ALWAYS ask for permission to play this deck to the playgroup before starting any given game, in that, I don't want to loose any friend for a game of Magic. Well, I hope you liked it. Any feedback is more than welcome, any comment, objection, love, hate... whatever you want to comment about this deck I'll be glad to read it!

P.S: The title of the deck is a reference to the song Awaken by Metalocalypse, great song! :D


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Date added 1 month
Last updated 1 month

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.51
Rarity (main - side)

19 - 0 Mythic Rares

51 - 0 Rares

17 - 0 Uncommons

5 - 0 Commons

Tokens 1/1 Spirit, 1/1 Assassin, 2/2 Zombie, Monarch, 1/1 Soldier, 6/6 Dragon, 1/1 Human Cleric, Elspeth, 1/1 Construct, 1/1 Vampire Knight, None Treasure, Chandra
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