Cage (103)

CantripsLooting (22)

Blink (13)

InteractionProtection (11)

Control (7)

Out (6)

Draw (4)

NowThereAreTwoOfThem (4)

Ramp (3)

WinCons (1)

My take on Mairsil, the Pretender. This is an interactive, controlling build which does not include many typical Mairsil combos, such as Mirror-Mad Phantasm and Sage of Hours. Tutors have been minimised to provide diverse and enjoyable games for me and my play group.

Mairsil only grows stronger with each creature or artifact caged, becoming an ever-evolving commander. Mairsil's ever-growing power and inevitability make this my favourite EDH deck to pilot. As Mairsil is very complicated to pilot, victories are immensely rewarding when they come together.

The maybeboard represents cards I have tested or may test in the future.

This is a slow, grindy, control deck. Most wins arise due to:

Tree of Perdition


Hateflayer, Spikeshot Goblin and Kamahl, Pit Fighter do the damage. Gilded Lotus, Coveted Jewel and Prismatic Geoscope all tap for mana, while Eater of the Dead, Intruder Alarm and Cinderhaze Wretch provide effective repeatable untaps, enabling upwards of 16 damage per turn cycle.


Empress Galina, Memnarch and Chainer, Dementia Master provide a lot of diverse gameplay experiences that scale with the strength of your opponents' decks.

Mairsil, the Pretender wants three things: haste, blink effects, and powerful cage targets.


Equipment sources of haste are somewhat awkward with Mairsil, as Mairsil will often be blinking in and out with effects such as AEtherling's activated ability. For this reason, enchantments such as Fervor are preferable. Ashling's Prerogative is a favourite of mine, as it also slows down opponents and our gameplan is highly focused upon Mairsil.


Far and away, AEtherling is the best creature to cage in most circumstances. It enables Mairsil to dodge everything but multiple pieces of instant-speed removal with ease, and grow stronger in the process. Don't be afraid to cast Mairsil without AEtherling however, as there are many other ways to cage new abilities.

Powerful cage targets

My favourite cage targets include Arcanis the Omnipotent, Pendant of Prosperity and Mirage Mirror. The latter leads to a lot of fun and provides boardwipe protection (copy a land!).

The manabase contains a relatively high quantity of mountain-type lands to ensure that Anger is always enabled. Mairsil is both highly colour intensive and needs untapped sources around several critical turns (3-5), so do not be afraid to experiment with filter lands such as Graven Cairns.

Utility lands such as Riptide Laboratory and Minamo, School at Water's Edge provide additional protection/ETBs and untaps for Mairsil respectively.

Talismans (i.e. Talisman of Dominance) are included over signets as these are more effective when caged if Mairsil is desparate for a mana-generating activating ability.

Fellwar Stone is a must for Mairsil's quote in the flavour text! This goes all the way back to the Dark.

Our general should be performing most of the interaction beyond the early turns, so only a few cheap, efficient interactive instants are included. Cyclonic Rift and Last One Standing are both fantastic at containing difficult board states.

Note that much of this interaction can be flashed back with Dralnu, Lich Lord when caged.

Low-CMC card draw spells such as Mystic Remora ensure Mairsil finds a good cage target, blink effect or haste as necessary by the time it is cast on curve.

Fact or Fiction is incredible to resolve, as any juicy cage targets that are placed in the graveyard can often be caged at next summon. Looters such as Teferi, Master of Time are also very powerful as Mairsil can use creatures and artifcats in the graveyard.

Blink effects such as Essence Flux and Conjurer's Closet allow Mairsil to grow stronger in addition to reusing tap abilities.

Non-legendary clones such as Spark Double, Sakashima the Impostor and Sakashima of a Thousand Faces are even better, as each nonlegendary copy of Mairsil has all of its activated abilities.

Mirror-Mad Phantasm deck yourself: an A/B combo that plays out identically each time, which I do not enjoy.

The Sage of Hours/Anthroplasm infinite turns combo is similarly unfun for me and my opponents. Both of these cards are quite weak when caged individually so I have dropped them in this tutorless build.

I find Quicksilver Elemental to be more of a win-more option outside of combo-oriented builds of Mairsil. I've therefore cut it from this value-oriented, grindy build.

Mairsil is the best way for us to interact with our opponents' troublesome permanents. As a result, I am not running many grixis staples such as Chaos Warp and Terminate.

Mairsil and most of its activated abilities are very colour-intensive. As a result, I have cut Reliquary Tower to improve the consistency of having access to all 3 colours in the early game. This deck also feels OK about discarding a large amount of cards in the event of > 7 cards regardless as cage targets can be placed directly in the graveyard.

Hall of the Bandit Lord represents another potential source of haste, though its inability to tap for coloured mana is concerning. Critically, the haste from this land lasts longer than 1 turn in comparison to Flamekin Village.

The manabase could be upgraded further with the likes of Cavern of Souls, Scalding Tarn and true duals.

Sakashima the Impostor functions as a non-legendary clone of Mairsil. It allows another cage-on-ETB and itself can use all of Mairsil's abilities as advised by Bennie Smith in .

Good ruling on Shifty Doppelganger:

Hateflayer, Spikeshot Goblin and Kamahl, Pit Fighter can target players and planeswalkers as per: and

Feedback and suggestions are welcome, and if you liked the deck please consider an upvote :)


Updates Add

Land count has been increased to 39 (including MDFCs).

The number of looting/wheel card advantage spells has been increased to 12. These are simply very powerful with Mairsil given that every fourth or fifth card is a cage target that actively wants to be discarded. The focus is on 'sculpting' the correct hand with Mairsil, so I am not considering Burning Inquiryfoil, Goblin Lore and the like just yet.

Shadowspear has been added together with Demonic Tutor. One tutorable source of lifegain and trample was perceived as useful: the inclusion of Phyrexian Devourer makes voltron kills a real possibility. The ability to remove hexproof and indestructible is also situational but potentially game-winning.

The overall gameplan is quite simple: Turn 2 resolve a ramp spell or haste source, T3 loot/wheel, followed by T4/5 Mairsil. After resolving my commander, protection, nonlegendary clones and/or blinks (for more caged abilities) aim to seal the game from there.


Date added 5 years
Last updated 1 week

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

9 - 0 Mythic Rares

65 - 0 Rares

17 - 0 Uncommons

6 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.56
Tokens Construct 0/0 C, Copy Clone, Eldrazi 10/10 C, Emblem Dack Fayden, Orc Army, Treasure
Folders EDH, EDH/Commander
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