Hello dear reader, and welcome to Mystical Teachings.
It’s Dan back again with another deck tech. Some decks are built to win, some are built for fun but can still win. This deck is built purely for fun and if it wins it would be glorious. Winning is unlikely however because this is a voltron deck helmed by a 5/5 commander with no evasion, protection, or damage buffs built in. Also, one of our opponents gains control of her when she enters the battlefield*. As soon as I saw her, my first thought was “Challenge Accepted”. This deck is all in on the Voltron strategy. I wanted to make a deck that has another player take someone out of the game using my commander. This deck always creates all kinds of nonsense politics, and that’s where all of its strengths lie. Let’s take a look at our commander:
We’ve got a three drop 5/5 who enters the battlefield under an opponent’s control. She also allows anyone to draw a card and dings her controller for 2 life. All we care about is that sweet sweet turn three 5/5 body.
Our Winning Strategy
This deck has four main phases: Play Xantcha on turn three, keep her alive with protection cards, punish our opponents and cause pain to Xantcha’s controller, and have our opponents take each other out with that sweet sweet commander damage. We have several components in the deck to achieve our goals. The main categories unique to this deck are Deterrents, Protection, Punishment and Pain.
The most important part of our strategy is choosing the opponent that we will bless with Xantcha. It’s always a bad idea to give her to an opponent that uses a lot of sacrifice effects. Our deck pretty much folds to sacrifice effects like Grave Pact and Dictate of Erebos as Xantcha will be the first creature sacrificed. On the flip side, lifegain and pillow fort players are perfect targets because it’s hard to get past their defenses and remove Xantcha.
We want to stay in the game until the end so we need to keep our opponents from attacking us. Red and Black don’t have much in the way of powerful deterrents. White has Ghostly Prison, Norn’s Annex, Sphere of Safety and so on. Blue has propaganda. Green even has elephant grass.
I’ve got a myriad of simple psychological deterrents**. My favorite of these deterrents is farsight mask. This card keeps token strategies and chip damage back.
Our next suite of deterrents are cards that our opponents don’t want to attack in to. We run Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs of course.
We’ve also got a few nonsense defenders: Fog of Gnats, Will-o’-the-Wisp, and Wall of Souls.
We’ve got a few deathtouch creatures: Thorn of the Black Rose, Vampire Nighthawk and Ophiomancer
We’ve got targeted removal cards like Seal of Doom and Executioner’s Capsule.
If all else fails we’ve got one of my favorite cards to incentivize attacks: the monarchy. I always hand the token off quickly and let everyone else attack each other to get that card draw.
Our next priority is to keep Xantcha alive. For that we have several options. We’ve got a total of 14 cards to keep Xantcha on the field and swinging away. The thing to keep in mind with these cards is to make sure they don’t have “target creature gains” because that will be an ability that our opponents control. The last thing to keep in mind is that we cannot use equipment because she enters the battlefield under an opponent’s control.
Most of our protection cards are one drops so we only need to leave one mana up. A couple of the overperformers are Demonic Vigor and No Rest for the Wicked. Both of these cards are on the field so we don’t need to keep mana open for them. Both of these also dodge all removal except exile allowing us to pass Xantcha back to our unwilling ally for three mana.
There are a couple other protection cards worth highlighting Supernatural Stamina and Voyager Staff. Both of these are small mana investments and protect Xantcha from any targeted removal. Voyager staff saves her from absolutely everything, even nonsense like Jokulhaups and Obliterate.
We need to make sure Xantcha hits every time she swings. We run an evasion suite to make sure she connects. There are several all-stars for this purpose but the best two are Shiv’s Embrace and Dauthi Embrace. Shiv’s Embrace acts as a buff as well as evasion. It brings Xantcha up to the magic number, seven commander damage and the firebreathing can be used to buff her further to add the last bits of damage we need to get to 21 commander damage. Dauthi Embrace is a black mana voltron all-star. There are only a handful of creatures with shadow and an even smaller amount that are playable so Xantcha can swing consequence free.
We’ve only got a few cards in this category but they all move us forward. Sire of Insanity and Syphon Mind encourage our opponents to use Xantcha’s draw ability and Captive Audience, Havoc Festival and Harsh Mentor speed the game up.
This is my favorite set of cards in the deck. These are where this deck really shines. We’ve got a handful of cards that hurt Xantcha’s controller. Xantcha has to attack each turn and Treacherous Link, Ragged Veins and Visions of Brutality all punish her controller when she takes or deals damage.
The silliest card in the deck is Dead Man’s Chest. This card deters Xantcha’s Controller from removing her and letting us draw 5 cards off the top of their deck. She does have to go to the graveyard however so we need to be sure we have one of our graveyard recursion cards on hand.
So that’s the deck in a nutshell. It has performed admirably everytime I’ve piloted it. It has precisely one win, and that was due entirely to masterful politicking. Every game has been enjoyable and memorable however. If you like playing a silly deck give this one a try, it consistently creates a fun board state.
This card is in the same realm as fire stone, charcoal diamond, coldsteel heart and cards of that nature. It generally taps for either color we need within a couple turns while the other cards mentioned only tap for one color.
A counterspell in black is rare and hilarious. No one expects the black player to counter eldrazi or any similar expensive and tough to remove creatures.
This card does work in every deck I play it in. It’s not no mercy but people will think twice before giving us that card draw.
This is a one mana removal spell that can kill emrakul. Play it and profit.
This card draws you at least 3 and has each of your opponents discard a card. I’m not saying it’s better than the new Nicol Bolas but it definitely is.
This card both protects Xantcha and sends pain to her controller each time she is blocked.
Dead Man’s Chest
This is the main nonsense card of the deck. It’s a pet card of mine and synergizes with this deck perfectly.
This card makes Xantcha’s controller choose between sacrificing a creature or taking 5 damage each upkeep.
This card pulls triple duty. We can use this to shrink a creature blocking Xantcha or a creature attacking us. In a pinch she can stop someone’s combo cold.
Sire of Insanity
This card forces our opponents to draw with Xantcha. Empty hands and untapped lands are a beautiful thing to see.
Keep an eye out for spies,
Link to the deck:
*I know Xantcha is genderless, she is referred to as female in the lore and I’m going to use female pronouns to keep her pronouns simple.
Dread and No Mercy are both powerful deterrents but they come in at 4.50$ and 20$ respectively. These cards were omitted mainly to keep the deck around 100$. We’ve dropped Torment of Hailfire, Exsanguinate, and Cut // Ribbons because we want this deck to use Xantcha as a main Wincon.