Get a FREE MTGNerdGirl token with each Ikoria booster box preorder!
   Sign In
Create Account

Long Live the Fiend


“I like the idea of making a Mathas, Fiend Seeker deck but using a Queen Marchesa deck as the base; keep Marchesa in the 99, leave all of the Monarch stuff intact. That plus the bounty counters and other ways to put counters on their stuff to combo with Kulrath Knight would be amazing. That would be a lot of counters. I could call the deck “Counterpunch” because of all of the counters. Wait, wasn’t that the name of the wbgCommander precon back in the day? That name didn’t make much sense since you didn’t really counter anything they did; you just sort of built up big creatures with lots of . . .  oh. Counterpunch. I just got that. I’m an idiot” – My actual thought process, less than an hour ago.

I never claimed to be a smart man, though. I’m just a guy who fell bass-ackward into a writing gig at Gathering Magic years ago and never left. Along the way, I accidentally invented a way to build decks in a non-anti-social manner and not everyone hates it. I know what I like and what I like is using my opponents’ permanents against them, cards like Insurrection, and two card combos in a deck with no tutors. I like not winning the exact same way every time and I apparently like the movie Forrest Gump, although the thing that stuck with me the most is the concept of eating all of the caramel ones before I give it to her when I buy my wife a Whitman’s Sampler.

My disappointment that I can’t call my deck “Counterpunch” and disappointment in myself that I didn’t understand the stupid pun they made years ago aside, I think the idea is pretty good. Marchesa decks are set up pretty similar to how we want to build Mathas and modifying a deck that we liked into something new shouldn’t be that difficult. We want to benefit from being able to kill things with Bounty counters on them and also be able to put Bounty counters on them. We could, in theory, move Marchesa to the 99, take out another card to make room for Tempest bulk rare Bounty Hunter and call it a day. Frankly, as off as I must be mentally this week, that might not be the worst idea. I half considered it until I realized there are a lot of new cards in the Vampire deck that I want to include and if we’re going to put Mathas in, we should really update the list with everything that’s been printed since Conspiracy 2: Conspire Harder came out. If we’re going to put Bounty counters on everything and that leads us to consider Kulrath Knight and THAT leads us to consider The Scorpion God, we’re going to spiral into “full rebuild” mode and that’s perfectly fine. Let’s take the things we want from a Marchesa deck and build up from there with new cards that fit our new theme of being the best counterpuncher since Floyd Mayweather. However, since this is a 75% deck, we want our Mayweather deck to be appropriate for the ring whether our opponent is Oscar De La Hoya or the Commander 2017 Dragon precon he fought on Saturday night.

Anointed Procession
Marchesa is staying in the deck, and cards that play well with her abilities should, too. I’m not going to be very easily convinced not to play Anointed Procession (can you believe I was excited about this Marchesa deck even before Procession was printed? How much more fun is it now?) and Assemble the Legion, for example, so if we’re able to make some other token creatures, we’ll do that. We don’t have Doubling Season, but just because Procession doesn’t put extra Bounty counters on creatures (not that we even benefit there) doesn’t mean it’s not good in the deck. There are plenty of reasons to play stuff that’s good with the deck as it already exists. We probably mostly leave the mana base alone and we probably keep a lot of the mana rocks the same. Where we’re going to begin making changes is to add stuff that pairs well with Mathas, our new commander, and that’s where this deck gets fun.

Since we’re going to be inclined to add cards from the new Vampires precon but not necessarily any Vampires (as much as I love the card New Blood in a 75% context) I think there are cards we do want to add and those are the curses. In fact, I don’t think we stop there. I think we can add a Bitterheart Witch package and add the best curses from Magic history to the deck. We’ll play the good new ones like Curse of Opulence (a card I love and hope I’m not overrating) but also brutal ones like Cruel Reality and Curse of Misfortunes. A decent-sized Curse package will more than make up for not jamming any fun new Vampire cards - we can save those for another deck. We don’t want to try too much here, a deck trying to run Monarch cards, Curses and Vampires likely has no legs.

What do we end up with when we attempt to reconcile two decks that seem very different before we jam them together? (I was tempted to make a “Jam Sandwich” joke here but that’s a Bachelor Party reference, not Forrest Gump). We end up with a deck that looks pretty good, and very 75%.

Marchasin? All These Fiends - Commander |Jason Alt

  • Commander (0)

Overwhelming Splendor
This deck seems pretty saucy. The Curse pile you can assemble is pretty disgusting and if you pick one player to target, you’re going to make pretty short work of them. I decided to cut back a smidge on the cards that made you the Monarch since you’re going to get attacked a little more easily without a complete devotion to being tough to attack like you had with a straight Marchesa deck. However, this hybrid affords you some additional flexibility in the increased amount of removal. If you want to steer more toward that strategy, an idea I had involved running Avatar of Woe, Intrepid Hero and Paradox Engine. That coupled with Bounty Hunter and Royal Assassin could make quite the firing squad. Goblin Sharpshooter also usually wipes the board of any player who’s hit by Overwhelming Splendor, which just adds more injury to injury, which is fine by me. Once you Splendor someone, they’re gunning for you regardless, so why not make their life a little tougher? Delving deeper into the removal side could be a lot of fun.

You can’t really add more Monarch cards without being more of a Marchesa deck and while that’s fine, it’s also already a deck. Being the Monarch is great and introducing the Monarch mechanic means that there’s a Phyrexian Arena to fight over which makes the game more interesting. Any element that can sow discord amongst your opponents and make them fight each other is solid. Curses that force them to attack, cards like Brutal Hordechief that decide how they block, even the Wrath of Goad (Disrupt Decorum) will cause a lot of confusion and make combat chaotic, which is good for the Monarch. Get them forming grudges and they won’t notice you amassing a pile of lifegain triggers until your war machine is too big to stop. You could put Marchesa at the helm of this deck and relegate Mathas to the 99 if you want to switch things up, but this is built to benefit from being able to put counters on their creatures and therefore make it tougher for them to attack you, keeping you the Monarch in perpetuity.

If you’re not interested in being the Monarch, swing the deck more into Mathas territory and add a few cards like Hunter of Eyeblights that help you put counters on things and to kill things with counters. However, the degree of overlap between these two decks is quite high and this hybrid is a great place to start. As you find a concept you prefer, add cards that build on that concept and take out some others. No matter what you do, this will feel like a Marchesa deck, even with another creature in the command zone. Curse them, drain them, kill them, become the Monarch and sow the seeds of discord amongst the enemy so they forget to attack you until it’s too late. While you’re at it, seek some fiends and bring them to justice. Everything you do will ensure that Marchesa has a big ol’ reign.

Ixalan is now available for Preorder! Pick up sealed product and singles as they're posted!

Limited time 35% buy trade in bonus buylist