Sunday, August 18, 2019

Magic: The Gathering - Commander Night Playback - Marchesa the Black Rose Theft Deck ($300 Budget)

Usually, in my Cockatrice Commander/EDH playgroup, we have a series of matches in which we run any number of different decks and play test out the new decks we've built over the week.

Last night though, we only had a single match that lasted about 2 hours. There were multiple reasons for this, which largely come down to the decks that were being run. In particular, I wanted to talk about my own deck, which was based on Marchesa, the Black Rose.

3 lines of text that go great together
Marchesa's ability suite allows her to be played in many different ways, and I've built several decks with her at the helm. This particular formulation is based around the idea of taking the board's best beaters and gaining permanent control of them.

The way I accomplish this is as follows:
  1. With Marchesa already on the board, use an effect like Act of Aggression or Kari Zev's Expertise to gain control of a creature on someone else's side.
  2. Use it to attack the life leader, which will trigger Dethrone and give the creature a +1/+1 counter.
  3. If the creature wasn't killed in the attack, use on the deck's many sacrifice outlets like Viscera Seer or Phyrexian Tower to sacrifice it.
  4. Marchesa will witness the sacrifice and place a trigger on the stack, since a creature died under our control with a +1/+1 counter on it. At the end of the turn, the creature will return to life under our control, and we're no longer bound by the end of turn restriction we originally had on the first effect.

Take the opponent's best toys.
And toss them aside so that we can revive them.
Along with the standard card draw, mana ramp, and removal packages, the deck also has cards like Thief of Sanity and Gonti, Lord of Luxury to lean into the theme of theft. With Marchesa out, they are relative protected, and in Gonti's case it is possible for us to have it trigger several times in a single game.

Just 1 or 2 activations of this effect can be utterly backbreaking against the right opponents.
As for the match itself, although I didn't win, I was proud of the way the deck performed. The beginning of the game was rough, since one of the other players was running Marisi, Breaker of the Coil. With Mirri in tow, they were able to reliably trigger Goad and force me both to open myself up and force the rest of the table to attack (usually me).

At first I tried to fix that problem by taking Mirri, but then I manage to use my Nicol Bolas to take control of Marisi permanently. Nicol Bolas died before my turn came back up, but at that point he had already served his purpose: Marisi became my best friend. Until another player (running Meren of Clan Nel Toth) used their Liliana, Dreadhorde General to force me to make some sacrifices, I was able to safely swing and have my opponents help me kill them.

*blows kiss* I want to love you, but our colors don't work out.
When the player running Sai, Master Thopterist used the final verse of The Antiquities War to swing at me, with my board nearly wiped and my defenses at their worst, they would have killed me if I hadn't managed to steal control of one of them. Still, they left me at 5 life, which I remained at until I eventually died.

Still, that didn't come for another 5 to 6 rounds afterwards. Although I could barely get a force to stick, I managed to stay safe through smart use of Marchesa's Dethrone, combined with board clears and spot removal. I eventually died, but I died fighting, so I can't really complain.

That said, given how much ire I clearly caused at the table, it is unlikely I'll pilot it again anytime soon. Maybe once the heat has died down, but not now. After a while, everyone was begging to be put out of their misery, and that's not a feeling I want to engender in my playgroup. And if you have any suggestions for the deck, feel free to comment and I might consider it.

No comments: