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Commanding Gisa, Take Three


Hello happy people! I hope that you are having an amazing day today! Today I want to build my first Commander deck around the latest iteration of Gisa Cecani, from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. This massive necromancer is the twin sister of Geralf, and they have a nasty rivalry, and have been printed as individuals in a Commander set as well as together in the "Against the Eldrazi" version of the plane in Eldritch Moon.

Let's look at the card that inspired my first Commander deck from the latest set!

Gisa, Glorious Resurrector

This is Gisa, Glorious Resurrector. As you can see, she is a 4 mana 4/4 which is pretty good for the curve, and when any creatures your foes' control would die, instead you'll exile them and then at the beginning of your upkeep you'll get them all! Mu ah ha! Of course, they'll be decayed, but beggars can't be choosers! Decayed means that once they attack, they die at the end of combat with a sacrifice that gets around indestructible. They also cannot block. But the best thing about Gisa's recursion is that you'll get a lot of triggers. A lot of them.

So, how do I expect to use Gisa?

Great question!

  • Destruction - The first place I want to lean into is destroying your foe's creatures with cards like Murder and similar effects. I also want to run a bunch of mass removal as well. Love it a lot!
  • Sacrificing - How can we answer big threats that have indestructible that would avoid our destruction? Sacrificing and effects like Diabolic Edict will force your foe to sacrifice their goods.
  • -X/-X - What happens when your foes' best stuff has indestructible and hides behind some smaller creatures or tokens to sacrifice to Edicts? You can kill them with a targeted (or mass) -X/-X effect that kills them off and sends them to the graveyard from play!
  • Protection of Gisa - We need to keep Gisa around for multiple turns to best keep the triggers all the way in our next turn's upkeep going. That means we'll need to both hexproof and indestructible our lady in black.
  • Reanimation of Foes' Stuff - Since their stuff is dying a lot, we might as well run reanimation to get it back for another trigger and a more permanent creature.
  • Pillow Fort - Since most of our stuff cannot block, and we're dense in spells that kill, sacrifice, -X/-X and reanimate, we'll need ways to block and keep ourselves alive, like Maze of Ith. Maybe something like Darkness as well.
  • Support - Card flow and non-creature removal is needed as well. Mono-Black controlling's mana is here as well. Maybe a spattering of life gain to keep ourselves alive without the need to block or for folks that slip past our pillow fort.

Note that as of the writing of this article Gisa has not been added to EDHREC.com so there are no decks there for me to look at, this is all Abe!

And here we go!

Demon's Disciple
Chainer's Edict

Let's start with the forcing of a sacrifice. There are a ton of creatures out there that force each player to sacrifice a dork on arrival, like the Disciple here, on arrival to the battlefield. They are all in my deck! And then we have Chainer's flashbacking sorcery that can kill two times in the game, both have great value here in killing stuff for Gisa's ability.

Massacre Wurm

When the Wurm arrives to the battlefield you sweep your foe's creatures -2/-2, so that works quite well at sweeping the smaller fry off the board entirely. And it leaves you alone! It's here for that trigger since your foes should be losing a lot of death so they'll each lose a couple of life per creature killed! That's a lot of death triggers! And then the Vampire Shaman is here as well to gain three life as your foes' stuff bites the big one. You can gain life as they discard, but that's not planned for in this brew. This is here for that regular life gaining trigger to keep up with the lack of blocking.

Black Sun's Zenith
Profane Command
Toxic Deluge

I have a few other -X/-X effects other than Massacre Wurm. The Zenith is here to place a ton of -1/-1 counters on everything in your build. It's pretty nifty in this brew as you can sculpt it to keep your stuff alive if you have some big butts, like the creature below. The Command can kill with -X/-X a single target and it'll kill a foe with low life, add your reanimation, and can fear-ize your stolen team. It's great here! Check out the Deluge, a Commander classic. You pay life on this 3-drop and then sweep the board with -X/-X effect, and this is a great reason to add in life gain!

Thieving Amalgam

This card is amazing with Gisa! This 7-drop 6/7 dork can manifest their top card at the beginning of their upkeep, so one turn cycle in a 4-player game will make three 2/2 upside down cards that you can flip up with their mana cost if they are Black or colorless creatures. That's a lot of potential power and toughness. And then it's here for that trigger. When your stuff dies that you stole from a foe, like the manifest creatures or your Gisa decayed team or your reanimated stuff you drain two life from that creature's owner! How nasty, and game winning a set of triggers that is. Good Ape Snake! Also did you note the life gain in the trigger?

Disciple of Bolas
Vampiric Rites

Let's add some card draw to the deck that gains you life rather than loses it. Sure, cards like War Room and Phyrexian Arena are here, but this pair counters that. The Disciple can a sacrifice a creature on arrival to the battlefield and draw cards and gain life equal to the sacrificed creature's power. Might I suggest a creature you stole temporarily with Gisa? Check out the Rites! You can spend two mana to sacrifice a dork to gain a life and draw a card. Gisa's stolen stuff suggests itself again! Sacrifice it after you swing and the trigger to sacrifice is already is on the stack.

Liliana, Dreadhorde General

This Liliana is my only planeswalker in this brew, and she's here for a lot of synergy. You can gain cards as your stuff dies, and you get mass death from your stolen stuff with Gisa's trigger. You can +1 her to make a 2/2 Zombie that can block attackers or sacrifice to above effects. You can -4 her to Barter in Blood for a lot of triggers. She also acts as a damage sponge as long as folks are attacking her, they won't be coming your way!

Rise of the Dark Realms

This is an ultimate on Liliana Vess and here you get it for a 9-mana sorcery, and with your mana ramp like Cabal Coffers and Caged Sun that's very doable. As it resolves, you get to get back every creature from a graveyard to the battlefield under your control! Your foes' graveyard and your graveyard count. It's nasty here, right? You'll permanently get all of the killed stuff back after they died once you killed them. Welcome home!

Mire in Misery
Gate to Phyrexia

I mentioned above that I wanted to run removal that hit things outside of creatures. I tossed in Wasteland and Strip Mine for lands, Scour from Existence for anything, and this pair. The Mire can hit foes for creature sacrifices for Gisa's trigger or enchantments, which you prefer, but if they don't have any, you'll still net something. Check out the old school Gate from the second expansion set ever. During your upkeep you can sacrifice a creature to destroy an artifact. It's a reusable engine of destruction that can really work to end major threats at the Commander table like Mind's Eye, Staff of Nin, or Skullclamp. It's pretty good as generic removal. (I am running one of those here, by the by).

Chainer, Dementia Master
Geth, Lord of the Vault

I love this Mono-Black legendary duo here with Gisa, since they both can pull stuff from graveyards. Chainer is a five-mana 3/3 that pumps up Nightmares. You can spend 3 life and triple Black to recur a creature card from any graveyard to your battlefield and it becomes pumped since it's now a Nightmare. When Chainer leaves the battlefield by being exiled, destroyed, bounced, or tucked, those Nightmares all get exiled, which prevents your foe from using them. Bring back your foe's good stuff permanently! Geth is really good here as well, as you can spend X and return and artifact or a creature from a foe's 'yard to your battlefield as a way to recur something permanently after they died from their decayed attack. Geth's stuff does arrive tapped, so you cannot pull them out to block like you can with Chainer. Both can be used instantly at the end of someone's turn and then you can untap and swing with your newly forged creatures. Good stuff!

Black Market

I love Black Market here! We have a number of expensive cards like Plague Wind, In Garruk's Wake, Rise from the Dark Realms, X spells like Profane Command, and activated abilities like Chainer and Geth. As stuff dies, you load up the Market with a charge counter, and then you'll net Black mana at the beginning of your precombat main phase. You get charge counters when stuff dies to destruction effects like Damnation, -X/-X effects like Mutilate, and sacrifice effects like Liliana, Dreadhorde General or Slum Reaper. And then you'll also net all of the charge counters for your reanimated horde dying after they swing with Gisa. It's a great card here! I also tossed in a few more death triggers like Zulaport Cutthroat; Syr Konrad, the Grim; and Grim Haruspex.

All right let's look at 4 more cards and then we'll call it!

Kokusho, the Evening Star

Check out Kokusho. As you can see, when this 6-mana 5/5 flyer dies, we drain 5 life from each foe. In a deck with a lot of sacrifice triggers like Slum Reaper as well as cards like Vampiric Rites we have a lot of ways of sending this Dragon Spirit to the bin! At a four-player game your opponents will lose 5 life each and you'll gain 15. You have enough recursion to do that again, and this provides a nice way to really impact the board outside of Gisa in case your Commander has been answered with something like Imprisoned in the Moon. I also have Exsanguinate in here to drain down foes and gain a ton of life at the same time as well. Attack me now baby!

Kaldra Compleat

I added in some equipment to keep Gisa safe like Darksteel Plate for indestructible and Swiftfoot Boots for hexproof. I also tossed in this recently printed equipment from Modern Masters 2. As you can see, this is a 7-mana drop and it has living weapon, so it'll arrive equipped to a 0/0 Pest token, and that's a 5/5, haste, first strike, trample and indestructible force of nature, which is good for the cause. If you are about to equip Gisa while you still control the Pest, sacrifice it for a nice benefit. And then the idea is to equip and lend Gisa indestructible, a ton of other abilities and a now 9/9 game ending Commander who can kill in three hits. It provides another method of player kill in this brew, and we have Whispersilk Cloak to swing through any defense to use. The main issue with Kaldra Compleat is that it costs seven to drop and seven to equip, but in this deck? That should be easy breezy!

Two more cards left!

Cold Storage

Why is this old school artifact in this build? Great question! You can spend three mana to exile a creature you control under this artifact. Then you can sacrifice the Storage and bring them all back. If you exile a decayed creature you stole with Gisa, and then sacrifice this, you get the creature permanently. If you animated three creatures with an enters the battlefield and sacrifice effect like Merciless Executioner, then you can spend nine mana (again, doable in this deck) and tuck them under here and then sacrifice this and bring them back permanently. Might I suggest swinging with your creatures first, and then putting them here when the death trigger is on the stack? Great snake! I also tossed in Safe Haven and Endless Sands that play into the same space.

Let's add in another new card with Tainted Adversary. Three reason the first is available. If you have nine counters on your Black Market and 6 mana from your lands then you can spent 14 mana to make a 2/3 deathtouch and 4 2/2 Zombies with decayed. Good stuff, right? And then another reason it's here is to provide bodies for the sacrificing fun times, like fodder for Vampiric Rites or to sacrifice to an activated Liliana, Dreadhorde General. Good stuff! And then a third reason is it's a cheap deathtoucher that will love to trade up, and could help to play keep away and plays into our pillow fort desires. Also note that its ability is "enters the battlefield" not cast, so if you recur it with your reanimation or exile and then return it with Safe Haven you can make another big army. Awesome possum!

All right, enough looking at individual cards; let's turn to my decklist!

And there we go, 100 cards later! So, what did you think of my Gisa build? Anything in here that I missed or that excites you? Just let me know!

Commander HQ: Decklists and Strategy for Innistrad Midnight  Hunt's Legendary Creatures!

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