Working build with Brudder and Sigi

HE-MAN = Humility Effective Midrange Ad Naus

The MAN Model (also referred to as Hybrid Hate) is the art of going against the grain.  Traditional deckbuilding principles dictate that one should pick a general pick the ways you want to win, then build around the wincondition (using the strengths of the command zone and color scheme).  For instance, if you are building a Jeleva/Kess deck the best win conditions at your disposal are Laboratory Maniac and storm ( Aetherflux Reservoir ) and the best way to set those wins up is Ad Nauseam .  Therefore, you build around ad naus and use an efficient labman package that does not detract from manual storm lines.

The MAN model does the opposite.  We build around hate pieces and all decisions are made based off what would work with these pieces in play.  At first glance the results are absurd.

  • A Tymna deck with 5 creatures in the 98.

  • A Thrasios scepter deck with Cursed Totem and Humility .

  • An Ad Naus deck with almost twice the interaction slots of many UBx decks.

  • A midrange deck that cannot turn sideways to pressure the table's life totals.

Kind of sounds like hot stinky garbage eh?

However, HE-MAN and its children are much more than the sum of thier apparent flaws.  HE-MAN defies convention and kicks the meta right where it hurts.  It exploits the weaknesses of established and fringe decks alike and can grind plans A-C to dust.  It is an equal opportunity player hater. It thrives in a slower game and is much faster than it looks.  Moreover, both generals often provide signifcant value despite our best efforts to build against what they do best.

In addition to our select hate pieces, HE-MAN utilizes several value engines, and an extensive instant speed interaction package.  Our engines and interaction help ensure that hate pieces stay in play and opponents cannot free themselves easily.

With regard to playstyle, HE-MAN is somewhat akin to a turbo xerox (lots o cantrips) paradox engine deck that has only a few select hate pieces and many instant speed answers.  We usually aim to drop an early hate piece and draw engine. From there we sculpt a winning hand with cantrips and tutors while leaving up a small amount of mana for instant speed interaction.  This deck is quite adept at grinding value and being in a good position to strike when the table is at its most vulnerable.

Why build a deck around stax pieces? 

Stax pieces are among the most powerful effects in cEDH.  Nearly all combos rely upon similar lines to victory (activated abilities, creatures, rocks, multiple spells per turn, color fixing, and the graveyard) and the right stax piece at the right moment can shut down all 3 opponents for a single card at 1-4  mana.  While this is a dream scenario, simply hindering two opponents and mildly inconveniencing the other is often doable and is usually better value than a counterspell that may stop one person and leave the other two opponents free to do what they wish. 

Another benefit of stax effects is they are additive in nature and sometimes their combined powers are greater than the sum of thier parts.  In other words, stax effects become more oppressive when they are in play alongside thier breatheren.  This can exhibit itself in two ways:

Notion Thief + Aven Mindcensor represents a complimentary effect. Losing card draw or tutors is bad, but losing both is flat out terrible. 

Cursed Totem + Rhystic Study represents an enhancement effect.  You will likely pay 1 to keep the study player from drawing a card but its far less likely you do this if all your dorks just got shut off.

Mixing or stacking effects feeds our best form of card advantage (our opponents inability to sit around and do nothing because their greedy deck design forces them forward or they get rekt).  Unless played early, an effect like Rhystic Study can usually be played around. However, if we actively attack the efficiency and effectiveness of our opponents actions, they may not be able to advance their gameplan AND keep us from drawing off that action.  Similarly, most decks can wait out an active Mystic Remora , but if you reset the remora after two or three turns and/or pair it with an effect or effects that ruin opponents ability to grind value through the tax (for instance, wiping the board clean with Toxic Deluge or stealing a draw engine with Gilded Drake ) they may have to abandon the sit and wait approach and play into our hands.

Stax effects draw out the game and force bad decisions (ones where either option hurts them more than it helps). The longer the game goes, the worse many decks get and the more opportunities opponents have to make a critical error. Since we are taking a reactive approach and our cards stay relatively good, we have less opportunities for that critical error. Once we get ahead, we want to position ourselves to strike when the table has tapped out or expended their interaction.

While many slower decks want to play one sided hate pieces (i.e Aven Mindcensor ), most decks cannot play global stax effects like Rest in Peace .  Building around hate pieces allows us to play ridiculously powerful cards without the terrible downsides that usually come with such cards.  Our cards stay pretty good, but our opponents cards get worse for each effect we manage to keep in play.

Isn't it easier to win than stop 3 decks?

If we were playing draw go control then sure, but we are not really commited to anything but grinding advantage over the table at all junctions.  Being able to stop some deck with a single card, gives us the ability to pick our spots and be less actively involved in the direction the game takes as most paths benefit us.  Moreover, the game is rarely just four decks racing eachother or one deck trying to hold back three.  Other, decks often stop eachother and all in fast combo decks are getting shit on lately. The reality of hulk, raza, and dramatic scepter has led to many slower more interactive decks with resilient combos. As such there will likely be one or more of the following at the table with us: A staxy bear deck with complementary pieces to our own, storm decks that pack a full suite of countermagic and maybe even a control deck. These types of decks are often our allies and after the uninteractive fast combo decks are REKT, we can use our superior engines and combos to blow by the slower decks.

Since going fast (first) is not usually the best strategy for us, we aim to get a relevant hate piece down early alongside interaction and a value engine.  From there we sit back and adapt as needed.

Our first version of this deck was powerful, but it could be a nightmare to pilot.  In some pods our stax peices would grind the game to a halt, but because of antisynergy between our stax and enablers we could not find the right cards to end the game and we eventually died to beats.  This antisynergy also made finding a keepable opening hand difficult

The next mission was to reduce antisynergy at any cost. This damaged some of our card quality as it forced us to play cards like Phyrexian Arena and san's red really doesn't have the tools in this shell to drag the game out too long. Bio's E-MAN was having a lot of success with Paradox engine and building around engine was an opportunity to speed the deck. Since we still had Humility and Cursed totem, we had to adopt more cantrips to help us get to a payout with that hate in play. Below is an overview of our stax suite and what cards are negatively affected by them. 

Humility only has 5 creatures in the 98 to blank.  Fortunately, we have cheap creatures in the command zone to hold back the angry swarm of 1/1's that want our blood.

Grafdigger's Cage does not hurt us at all.

Cursed Totem only has Thrasios and our two dorks to hate.

Rest in Peace only has 2 recursion spells ( Noxious Revival and Regrowth ) that it makes useless.

The rest of the hate we run is one sided. At the end of the day I think the deck is probably stronger with no humility and possibly no totem. However, this is meta dependent and we certaintly have the slots to add a number of other hate pieces to suite the nedds of your meta. The maybeboard includes a list of possible options.

This deck feasts on all in fast combo and can often shut down 2-3 opponents with a single stax peice. 

Humility blanks most decks, but can hurt us as well so it needs to be played strategically.  After that Cursed Totem hits the largest number of decks, followed closely by Rest in Peace .  Depending on the pod we will want to land one of these early.  If we are playing against storm Mystic Remora and Blind Obedience can do some work and Rhystic study is good against storm and Food Chain Tazri. If the decks are about cheating creatures into play Grafdigger's Cage is a great early game play.  These things work to our favor as that hesitancy and frustration often results in reckless plays later in the game when we are in position to profit off their desperation.

If the pod is 3 fast combo decks we simply try to survive turns 2-4. Mystic Remora with ramp, which allows us to hold up open mana can buy us the time to get a hoser in play.  An endstep bounce spell or Noxious Revival helps us reset remora so it stays in play much longer than most decks and we want to milk remora as long as possible as it draws us into more hate and advances our gameplan.  We can also keep the table in check by landing an early piece or two and holding up interaction.  The longer the game goes the better our chances against this matchup as we can grind much better than the rest of pod and assemble our fast combo lock.

This lock involves punishing fast combo decks for casting spells.  A smart opponent will always pay for a Rhystic Study , but not everyone plays smartly into this card.  I have found that if we up the ante opponents usually play worse.  For instance, if Cursed Totem is in play people are less likely to pay 1 each time.  Each time they don't pay the noose gets tighter as I often follow up it up with remora. If everyone is beimg greedy in your meta you can strengrhen this lock further with Copy Enchantment which has proven to be quite effective in the limited test run it got.

Despite devoting around 26-27 slots to interaction, HE-MAN is capable of functioning like a fast combo deck a good proportion of the time.  The reason for this is that the combo package is comprised of high quality cards that interlock with one another in a L-A-Y-E-R-E-D fashion.  This gives us plenty of lines to victory without having a bunch of combo only peices in our openers and topdecks.

Our hate friendly win condition that gets around 100% of our own stax is Ad Nauseam + Angel's Grace . This will allow us to draw our deck. From there we can assemble Dramatic Reversal + Isochron Scepter and then kill the table with Blind Obedience

However, the most common way the deck actually wins is with Paradox Engine in combination with Isochron Scepter or just plain vanilla dramatic scepter using Thrasios, Triton Hero as the draw outlet. If we have our creature hate in play Cursed Totem / Humility we have a number of other "outlets" that will allow us to get there (ex. Sensei's Divining Top & double scepter). Also playing a Transmute Artifact on totem into scepter or engine can also seal the deal.

If we lose Blind Obedience we can use our infinite mana and Thrasios to utilize Timetwister loops with Regrowth / Noxious Revival to end the game with infinite swan tokens (via Swan Song ). While this will require us to pass turn we can flood the board with every hate peice in the deck and have infinite mana and infinite counterspells at our disposal.

If we do not have Swan Song as a path to victory we can draw about 80 cards cast  Brainstorm to put Regrowth / Noxious Revival into our library, Silence the table, then cast Angel's Grace and Windfall with 80 cards in hand.  This will deck us, but Angel's Grace keeps us from dying. From there we can then Regrowth / Noxious Revival Windfall back to hand/topdeck and with all 3 opponents having rougly 80 cards in hand, they will all lose once we Windfall a second time.

This same line can be assembled without dramatic scepter by using ad nauseum+ Angel's Grace to draw our deck then use fast mana and Chain of Vapor / Dramatic Reversal shenanigans to get there.

A lot of the time an endstep ad nauseum on its own can set us up to win (particularly if we have a combo piece in hand already) the next turn despite our high concentration of interaction because our avg cmc is fairly low. While its technically possible to main phase Ad Nauseam , it is not recommended unless you have one of the necessary pieces and plenty of extra mana to spare.

Notion Thief + Timetwister / Windfall does not technically win the game for us, but it does put us in a position where victory is all but assured. While it does not "win" through Humility it can win through everything else.

All things considered, this is a reasonably resilent combo package that is made up of cEDH staples. 

Shout out to GitGudFrog for inspiring the original shell.


Updates Add


Top Ranked
  • Achieved #22 position overall 3 years ago
Date added 3 years
Last updated 3 months

This deck is not Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

11 - 0 Mythic Rares

53 - 0 Rares

16 - 0 Uncommons

16 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.71
Tokens 2/2 Bird
Folders Competitive edh, 3a) Potential cEDH Decks, CEDH, Saved Decks, Good Stuff, Uncategorized, To test, 4c Control, cEDH, Thrasios, See all 26
Ignored suggestions
Shared with
Based on

Revision 26 See all

3 months ago)