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8-Mana Commanders: Sisters of Stone Death


Building to a budget is a funny thing. Today's deck has a maximum $300 budget, but sometimes that sets an expectation: the deck will be close to $300. That is not the case today. In fact, running all the cards desired, including top end lands, the deck came out way under-budget at $188.72.

We could make it pricier. Run Swords of X and Y or full-art lands. But rather than look at this as a problem, let's consider it this way: for the price of today's budget, you can fully purchase this deck and the first deck from this mini-series. Not a bad deal.

Eight-mana commanders tend to be superpowered. I mean, you're paying eight mana for a creature, so it better be good, right? Today's commander is no exception.

Sisters of Stone Death

Here we have some Gorgons who means business. They hit hard, they force removal, and then they steal what they get rid of, and using all their abilities still costs less than their CMC. Rather than overthink it, Sisters seem like a place to simply lean in, hard, on what they do. Let's get her out, let's do some attacking, and let's steal some creatures. We'll win the game with our opponents' stuff.

Our mana base is pretty straightforward. We have our 40 lands. The vast majority of them help us to make our colors, though we do have a few lands with relevant abilities. Grim Backwoods and High Market are both sacrifice effects, which can be useful if someone tried to take their stuff back. Hissing Quagmire can be useful in the event we need a Deathtouch creature. And Rogue's Passage is great in most Commander decks, but with a 7-power Commander sometimes we'll just go in on Commander damage, and Rogue's Passage can help us get there.

Our ramp is mostly in the form of Green spells which get us more than one land onto the battlefield. If it only gets one land, it's because there's some other ability going on, like Deathsprout. We have a fair number of these; land is never bad for us, and plenty of ramp will be key to making the deck work.

For drawing cards, we turn to Black. With a deck like this one, stuff is likely to die, so Harvester of Souls is an excellent addition, and we're going to force creatures to block, so Infiltration Lens is a no-brainer, but mostly we have cards-for-life spells like Ambition's Cost and Sign in Blood. The nice thing about a deck like this is so much is available on the Commander we don't have to jam-pack our deck with card draw. If we don't have anything to do, we can just steal more stuff, or at least exile more stuff.

Mostly we plan on winning with whatever our opponents play out, but we do have a couple of additional ways to potentially win. Of course, Sisters themselves are not small; they win in three hits all by themselves. Fireshrieker makes it two hits, and Fireshrieker plus a randomly Miracled Revenge of the Hunted makes for a single hit kill. Hythonia the Cruel gets similarly big; though not our Commander, she can do some pretty serious damage. Visara the Dreadful is a reasonably large flier, so a similar thing is possible there. Mostly, though, we plan on winning by taking away their boards and hitting them with their own creatures.

There is one other trick. We have a few ways to force everything to block a single creature. Think Nemesis Mask or the aforementioned Revenge of the Hunted. It's worth it when those kinds of abilities exist to consider ways to abuse it, and to me the way to do that is with Phage the Untouchable. We're not going to be overly tricky here. We cast her from our hand, then we can attack with something with a Nemesis Mask on. Everything will swarm to the Masked creature and Phage will get through unmolested, killing the attacked player.

Vraska the Unseen
As long as we're doing that, we may as well run a couple of Vraska planeswalkers, too. All three of our Vraskas (Vraska the Unseen, Vraska, Golgari Queen, and Vraska, Scheming Gorgon) have ultimate abilities which let some amount of our creatures kill an opponent if they do damage. Because most of our creatures can sit back on defense, and we are running a fair amount of removal, we may well be able to keep them alive long enough to ultimate. Considering they all also serve as removal, it seems worth it to run the combo.

Speaking of removal, we've got some. Maelstrom Pulse and Gaze of Granite join Hero's Downfall and Murder. Hythonia wipes most of the board, and In Garruk's Wake is a great spell to pair with Vraska, Scheming Gorgon's ultimate. Vraska's Contempt seems too on-theme not to run.

We've also got a few more tricks up our sleeve. Heroic Intervention is a great card; it's basically a Fog, but a really solid one. If possible, it's almost always worth it to run one of these in your decks, because the first time you use it and save your whole team, everyone who plays against that deck for the rest of your days will always play around the Fog, even if you don't have it. That said, it is a way to keep the Sisters out of too much trouble. Revenge of the Hunted is great, but if someone's blocking with a ton of stuff and we can't exile enough to keep her alive, this will do it. Gaze of the Gorgon is similar, but probably better, since it'll kill everything we don't exile. The Destined half of Destined // Lead keeps her alive as well.

Sudden Spoiling is probably underplayed. This will really ruin the day of a player who thinks they have everything well in hand with their blocks; when their flight of Angels suddenly is toothless, they'll be very, very sad. It is similar in our deck to the Fogs and Regenerators, but different enough to highlight. And finally, Thrilling Encore is wonderful fun for us. We've got an awful lot of mana. Imagine casting that after In Garruk's Wake. Seems like a thrilling play.

If someone objects to our theft of their creatures with Homeward Path, we have Strip Mine and Tectonic Edge.

Oh, and just in case something we want to steal is hiding behind Hexproof or Shroud, we have Glaring Spotlight and Arcane Lighthouse to light them up. Don't forget we can use Glaring Spotlight to save our stuff from removal or other targeting abilities in a pinch.

Sisters of Stone Death | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

This deck will lumber out of the gates but has a lot of staying power. Lots of mana, lots of stuff to do with the mana, plenty of ways to deal with problems, and a board state dependent on what our opponents are up to. Make sure to use that ramp as soon as possible, and don't be afraid to attack with the Sisters. Losing them isn't a terribly big deal, because we have so much mana we can recast and we want to keep our opponents worried we have some trick.

What would you add to this deck? Remember we have lots of money left, so is there some expensive card I left out? Let us know! The one card I might consider would be Glissa, the Traitor, who is fabulous on defense and might buy back an artifact we've lost.

I'll be back next week with one more 8-mana Commander. In the meantime, make sure you check out our new Commander HQ! The other Commander writers and editors of the site have been working really hard to make strategy articles for every viable Commander in every recent set; there's tons of great stuff in there for inspiration, suggestion, or simply entertainment!

Thanks for reading.

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