Like a true necromancer, I decided to revive my original commander deck after 7 long years. This time, I dropped the zombie subtheme and went full Dethrone-based aggro. I've always enjoyed Marchesa's unique, vaguely-necromantic abilities, and the idea of building an aggressive, unkillable Grixis deck seemed exciting to me.

This deck is perfectly fine taking a few large hits, while we build up our insurgent army. As long as we never have the most life, we can attack strategically (yet fairly risk-free) to keep our opponents' life totals dwindling down.

Card and Combo Rundown

The main goal of this deck is to utilize Marchesa's ability to the fullest. This involves playing with +1/+1 counters, relying on Undying, and getting the most out of Persist to continually reanimate our horde of creatures. Creatures that have powerful ETB/LTB effects are particularly useful, as we can trigger them multiple times over the course of the game.

Flayer of the Hatebound
Geralf's Messenger
Glen Elendra Archmage
Puppeteer Clique
Other ETB/LTB Effects:
Baleful Strix
Chasm Skulker
Grave Titan
Reef Worm

Other Noteworthy Cards:
Herald of Secret Streams is exactly the type of late-game enabler that can help us finish off our opponents quickly.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed grants undying to the majority of our creatures, and alongside Marchesa, helps keep our graveyard empty.

One synergy that was far too tempting not to include: Sage of Fables. Both of this creature's abilities provide an opportunity to go at least semi-infinite.

Each other Wizard creature you control comes into play with an additional +1/+1 counter on it.
Not only does this ensure that our commander always has a counter handy, but this also negates the drawback of Persist for Wizards (meaning infinite sacrifices, ETBs, and LTBs, for one) and opens up two combos with Wizard cards from the same block:
Glen Elendra Archmage: Always have a Negate at the ready, as long as you have
Puppeteer Clique: If you have a repeatable sacrifice outlet, you can cycle this wizard until your opponent's graveyards are empty, you control all creatures in them, and they're waiting to be exiled when your turn is over.
Ashnod's Altar and Altar of Dementia are handy sacrifice outlets for this purpose, resulting in a possible cycle of infinite colorless mana and milling our opponents, respectively.

, Remove a +1/+1 counter from a creature you control: Draw a card.
It's convenient that is the exact amount of mana that Ashnod's Altar provides with a sacrifice. If you sacrifice a creature with Undying, you can use the net two mana to use Sage and remove the Undying counter and draw as many cards as you'd like. If your creature of choice was Flayer of the Hatebound or Geralf's Messenger, you'll also deal a LOT of damage, a la Phil Swift. Mikaeus, the Unhallowed increases your options.

Havengul Lich's main purpose is that of a late-game safety-net, but it's rather easy to create a cycle with our small Extortionist friend, dependent on our opponents' board states.

Dockside Extortionist already elicits groans from Commander players everywhere, but we aim to push that to the next level. With a little bit of mana to start and a sacrifice outlet such as our handy Altar of Dementia or Ashnod's Altar, we can sacrifice and re-cast our goblin an infinite amount of times. This, of course, results in an infinite amount of ETB and LTB triggers, as well as potentially infinite treasure tokens.

With such a combat-centered deck, we need some way to control our attacks and push through as much damage as possible.

Ideally, we would also like some effects that provide a benefit for our waves of dying creatures, such as Blood Artist, Flayer of the Hatebound, Impact Tremors, and Terror of the Peaks.

Notion Thief and Opposition Agent mainly act as control, preventing our opponents from gaining too much card advantage.

We can further our own card advantage with spells like Bident of Thassa, Coastal Piracy, Phyrexian Arena, and the classic Rhystic Study.

Marchesa, the Black Rose herself has the ability to steal creatures with little setup, and it would be easy to build the whole deck around this strategy. Her text reads: "...Whenever a creature you control with a +1/+1 counter dies, return that card to the battlefield under your control..." The key piece is that the creature is returned under your control, even if you only controlled it temporarily. While this is a fringe scenario, it is possible with Puppeteer Clique.

Winning the Game

Attack recklessly, use removal when needed, be mindful of counters, and rely on our direct damage effects. Likewise, if we're able to successfully piece together an infinite-death combo outlined above, we can drain our opponents' life over the course of one turn.

To be honest, this deck is very on-and-off and you'll either end the game with a quick victory or a suffer a nasty loss. In either case, this deck can be very fun and annoying for your opponents if they're not prepared to deal with it.

Cards to try:
Ayara's Oathsworn: Dethrone can help accelerate those counters, but the fact that you need exactly three counters on a hit (giving you exactly four) seems weird and easy to miss.
Thundering Raiju
Ancient Tomb: Can help tick down our life total.
Phyrexian Altar
Goblin Bombardment

Generic good cards I'm aware of:
Fierce Guardianship / Deflecting Swat
Sensei's Divining Top

Ever since I started playing Magic, I knew that black would always be one of my colors. I love the recurring themes and the general vibe that a lot of the artwork gives off. Early into my EDH experience, I found Marchesa, the Black Rose in the display case of my LGS, and was instantly taken by her. Not only is she a great concept for a character, but her ability is very unique and feels very black-aligned, and Dethrone seemed like a mechanic that could add support in any type of aggressive deck.

My initial direction set her at the head of a Zombie tribal deck, because her vaguely necromantic ability, but that deck was short-lived and reworked into an entirely different one. Recently, I tried her at the helm of my Pirate deck, but that deck quickly outgrew her, and she often sat in the command zone, unused and unneeded.

So, because she was my first serious commander, I decided to build her a serious deck to fully take advantage of Dethrone, and hopefully scoop up some satisfying, if a bit cruel, victories.

You might notice that most of these cards are older (2010-2014), and that's by design. I don't want to use too many newer cards, as I want to keep this deck as close to my original deck as I can, for nostalgia purposes. If a new card fits perfectly, I'll give it a go, but for the most part this deck won't be changing too much.

Thanks for reading!

Updates Add

Comments View Archive

57% Casual

43% Competitive

Date added 2 years
Last updated 1 month

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

10 - 0 Mythic Rares

48 - 0 Rares

22 - 0 Uncommons

11 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.17
Tokens Fish 3/3 U, Kraken 9/9 U, Morph 2/2 C, Squid 1/1 U, Treasure, Whale 6/6 U, Zombie 2/2 B
Folders Tinnuki's EDH Decks, Grixis, Decklists, commander, Grixis UBR, Decks to Build, Commander/EDH, DEcks, EDH
Ignored suggestions
Shared with