Hello dear reader, and welcome to Mystical Teachings

I’m Dan and I’m here to share some of my favorite Commander decks and play styles. The best commander games are the ones where there is a lot of cross-talk and politicking, and everyone’s deck gets to do what they built it to do. At any given Commander event, the surest way to start a conversation is to ask what commanders someone has and how their decks work. You’ll find so many obscure and silly cards and weird combos having these conversations. This deck is designed to bring that feeling to every game. It is designed to allow everyone’s deck to do what they designed it to do*. When you play this deck your games will be more interesting and more interactive both on the board state and between the players. You’ll make deals, you’ll cast fogs, you’ll watch someone play an Avenger of Zendikar and Craterhoof Behemoth and you will smile. This deck is built to survive, make deals, and take out an opponent when they’ve overextended their resources.

The idea of this deck came from an old janky 60 card deck I had that used two of my favorite cards: Goblin Diplomats and Deflecting Palm. Forcing someone to attack and defeating them with their own strongest creature is a singularly amazing experience.

Goblin DiplomatsDeflecting Palm

The spirit of that deck lives on in EDH! There are three main stages of this deck:

  1. Keep your board in a state where attacking you is a waste of your opponents’ resources.
  2. Identify threats to your plans and the table’s plans, remove what you can’t deal with, and let the rest get stronger.
  3. Wait for the right moment and use a Reversal card to take someone out with their own strongest resource

Maintaining a Board Full of Deterrents

Marchesa comes with the Monarch stapled on. This is a natural defense for your board, as anyone with the Monarchy is a target. The best use of the Monarchy is to pass it around and make deals to trade it back and forth. It will draw you cards and build alliances.

An ideal boardstate will be a combination of pillowfort, rattlesnake, and politicking. You’ve got the standard tools at your disposal with cards like Ghostly Prison and Vampire Nighthawk. A board full of these will keep opponents focused away from you. However the fun threats will be in your hand. You can turn a full swing into a targeted board wipe with Comeuppance or hit the five-color player for 20+ from their greedy manabase with Price of Progress. My favorite thing to do is to threaten/bluff with the cards in my hand. The more people play against this deck, the more wary they’ll be of you with a full grip.
Ghostly PrisonVampire NighthawkComeuppancePrice of Progress

Identifying Threats

This deck has answers to most wincons and threats but there are situations where something simply needs to be removed. Orzhov has the most effective single target removal spells: Anguished Unmaking, Utter End, and Vindicate can remove key pieces at key moments. When there is a clear “archenemy” player you immediately have two allies in removing the problem. Sometimes you’ll have an answer and sometimes you won’t, but having other people use their resources to remove a common threat is exactly what this deck wants to do.

Some threats serve as tools however. Most players would remove a Sorin, Grim Nemesis before it ultimates. But you’re sitting back relaxed holding a Batwing Brume in your hands ready for them to swing out. This deck holds so many different ways to deal with challenges that you will likely always have a way to deal with threats. There is only one time to remove a huge threat: If you don’t have a reversal card to redirect the threat and  none of your opponents can deal with the threat and it severely hampers you or removes you from the game. This takes a combination of patience, politics, and threat assessment.

Utter EndAnguished UnmakingVindicateSorin, Grim NemesisBatwing Brume

The Coup De Grâce

This is the best part of the game. This is when you use the reversal card you’ve been holding since turn one, this is when you steal someone’s Ramos with 20 counters on it and dome them with commander damage, when you use a Rakdos Charm on the player who used Tooth and Nail to go grab an Avenger of Zendikar and a Craterhoof Behemoth or you play Disrupt Decorum on a board full of powerful creatures, or my personal favorite, using Deflecting Palm on a souped up Voltron creature and taking out its controller. The possibilities are endless and they scale with the power level of the decks you’re facing.

Disrupt Decorum Rakdos CharmDeflecting Palm

So those are the bones of the deck. There are a lot of cards that flesh it out and I’ve chosen a few Underplayed Gems and a few Powerhouses to highlight in the deck.

Underplayed Gems:

Mirage Mirror
Mirage Mirror
You will love this card. You can get a copy of the best thing on the board. It can become a Rhystic Study, an Ur Dragon or any commander really, and it even dodges most removal by turning into a land.

Soul Conduit
Soul Conduit
Having this and 6 mana up is the easiest way to keep people from attacking you. You will love this card the first time you nab all the life the Oloro player has been chipping up for the whole game.

Shattering Pulse/Allay
Shattering PulseAllay
These cards are powerful because of their flexibility. Vandalblast sends feel bads all through the table but taking an artifact or enchantment that is a problem for the whole table each turn builds alliances.

Glasses of Urza
Glasses of Urza
Any control player should use this card. You can see what direction people are headed in and where you need to intervene to keep them from winning.


This card hits 12 instants in the deck from removal to deterrents to reversal cards. A few cards this hits: Anguished Unmaking, Comeuppance, and Deflecting Palm.

Combat damage happens all at the same time. Hold your mana up and smile at the token player who must swing their legions somewhere else.

Righteous Aura
Righteous Aura
Absolutely turns off Voltron and any “go tall” strategies.

Shred Memory
Shred Memory
Another specific tutor that grabs any of 19 cards from the deck. A few cards this hits: Thaumatic Compass, Exsanguinate, and Righteous Aura. It can also remove a few threatening cards in a graveyard in a pinch.

Deflecting Palm
Deflecting Palm

Best card in the deck, stare down that Uril player with a smile.

This deck is interesting on paper but to get the full experience you have to try it out in your next multiplayer pod. This deck encourages politicking and making deals. Games are way more fun when everyone gets to play their decks.

Here’s the Decklist: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/marchesa-war-matriarch/

All hail the queen,

*cEDH decks and decks that win by turn 5 are in another category, this deck is good in the 75% arena

** This deck was inspired by the following two Deck Techs:


***All images belong to Wizards of the Coast