Today I’m here to present you my second personal deck, “Being the 盟主”: a Queen Marchesa Aikido EDH deck.
盟主 is a Japanese word (romanized as Meishu) that literally means “leader” or “leading power” and is a reference to the Monarch mechanic that Queen Marchesa brings to the field.
But what does it mean to play an Aikido deck? and what is Aikido in Magic?
The best way to explain you this is by directly quoting the original primer for this deck:
Queen Marchesa: Politics, Aikido, and Control is a political control deck designed for multiplayer casual play, especially in metas with a relatively large and rotating pool of players. It plays with a style in the theme of reality TV shows like Survivor in that making it to the end is as much a function of not making yourself a target as it is about moment to moment personal strength, and then once you have made it to the end, you steal victory out of the jaws of defeat.from precociousapprentice’s “Queen Marchesa: Politics, Aikido, and Control”‘s primer
This deck is designed to play politics a little differently than most. Many people understand politics as manipulation, trickery, and obfuscation, making alliances and breaking them, hoping to gain advantage against an inferior or unprepared intellect. That is not the extent of politics, and this deck is not meant for that. There is a philosophy in chess theory that it is rarely to your advantage to attempt to trick an opponent, for if their skill is equal or superior to yours, it won’t work, and you are likely the one getting tricked. Instead, you should create board states that force your opponents to make moves or take positions that are their most rational choice. Your overarching strategy is to encourage the truly good players to not align their resources against you, but to spend resources accomplishing your goals. Your entire goal is to place no obstacle, whether material or psychological, in the way of them helping you to win. You accomplish this by making them, their deck, and their plays into your resources for winning the game, and for them to aid you willingly in this goal, not through manipulation, but because that is their best possible play.
Basically our main objective is to survive while building our board state, making us the less desirable target and then using our opponents’ strength against them.
Queen Marchesa (long may she reign) is an awesome Commander for this playstyle as she brings to the table lots of the things we are looking for.
She is a draw engine in the Command Zone thanks to her ability of bringing the Monarch to the table. The Monarch is a really important piece of our strategy as it can be used as a political tool to make some friends or help out a player by making him draw… or it can be left to our opponents to let them fight each other for it.
If we don’t have the Monarch she will create an Assassin each turn; this token is optimal to get back the Monarch after a friendly exchange thanks to Haste and make us an undesirable target by having them on defense with Deathtouch.
Mardu colors are also really good for this deck as lots of the Aikido cards are in red ad white… and black can support the deck with the tutors and the removals.
Let’s start talking about the other cards of the deck!
You can find the decklist here:
Being the 盟主 (Queen Marchesa EDH)
The ramp cards are pretty standard for the colors we are playing; the only one I want to talk about a bit is Curse of Opulence. The curse is a really nice card to encourage our opponents to attack each other by giving both them and us some kind of reward for doing it. I usually give it to the players that is the one that would be attacked more easily or to the one which deck is based on going off in a single turn with a combo; that kind of decks are the more hard to deal with for this deck and having the other players taking care of them for some treasure it’s a good things to do.
One of the easiest ways to make us the least desirable target is by using those kinds of cards that make our opponents pay something to attack us or makes their attacks less efficient against us; the most iconic example of these cards is Ghostly Prison.
One of my pet cards here is for sure Sphere of Safety; in most of the games it will totally be a hit or miss: it could be a pricey bad Ghostly Prison if it is the only enchantment we have… or make our opponents pay 5 or 6 for each creature attacking us.
In this section we also have Gisela, Blade of Goldnight that double-ups as one of our wincon.
Speaking about wincon with Gisela, here is the section for them.
Deflecting Palm and Delirium are the best cards when one of our opponents decided to go high instead of wide. If they decide to play a really big creature or pump it up one we can make them pay for it.
Insurrection is a really cool way to end a game by taking all our opponents creatures and swinging at them… double the points if you have Gisela out.
Master of Cruelties is an awesome card to play after a board wipe. It generates a lot of attention for us but it is also an awesome blocker with his two abilities.
Serra Ascendant is border-line here: not a really wincon but it can be really game changing and take us to a really good position.
Some staples removal here plus some other specific for Aikido.
Arcbond can transform the damage from blocking into a board wide… It can also be game ending if we shoot a huge Fire Covenant on one of our lifelinker andwe use it to hit everybody and everything.
Rakdos Charm is a really versatile card that can destroy an artifact, mess with the graveyard player or eliminate the players that like to go wide.
Some general cards to control the board to ensure that things are going well for us.
Hushbringer, Kambal and Linvala are our answers to combo, storm and spellslinger decks; they are all creature cards so it is a bit harder for us to control this type of deck… but we will get there in a minute.
Solemnity is a good card that can stop Infect decks but also it combos with Delaying Shield and Phyrexian Unlife to make us impossible to lose due to damage.
Some general tutors to get our answer for the table.
Weathered Wayfarer is really good for the look for utility lands like Maze of Ith.
Sunforger is one of the best cards of our deck as most of our answers are tutorable with it. The exemption for this are our anti-combo cards as they are all creatures.
Land Tax is a really good way to thin out our deck and ensure us our land drops; if we aren’t the first one playing and the other doesn’t miss their land drop we can easily draw all our basics.
Mangara, the Diplomat is awesome because it can give card draw, letting us dig for answers in response to our opponents playing “too much” or attacking us.
These are the main ways to prevent an opponent from knocking us out if he decides to explode.
Boros Charm is also useful to deal the last damage to an opponent attacked by Master of Cruelties.
Duelist’s Heritage is a really cool card to bring some politics to the table, by encouraging our opponents to attack each other by giving their creatures double strike.
These are basically Pillowfort pieces in the form of deathtoucher. Probably they are going to change soon, at least one of them, due to the most recent Zendikar Rising’s spoilers.
Really good the fact that they are both lifelinker as they can give us a win with Arcbond.
Acidic Soil is an Aikido card to punish those decks that like to play to many lands. If your meta runs a lot of non-basics a safe bet is to swap it out with Price of Progress.
Animate Dead is another card to get advantage of what goes in our opponents’ graveyard or to get back some of our creatures that got removed.
Bruse Tarl is a good way to give lifelink to a creature for an Arcbond’s finish and the Double Strike is really scary when put on a Gisela.
Let the chaos begin with Disrupt Decorum! Even more chaotic if you have Repercussion on the field.
Mirrage Mirror is a really good card to get some neat tricks on; it can copy a Delaying Shield to prevent all the damage, a Kaalia to get our Gisela or Master of Cruelties on the field for free; a Grim or a Basalt Monolith to ramp us.
Wound Refelection is a way to punish our opponents for paying life or speed up the game with combats… with this and Gisela on the field the game will switch to hyper-speed.
Ignoring the lands that only produce mana, we will check out the utility lands.
Flamekin Village is really good to give haste to a Master of Cruelty and swing freely; Rogue’s Passage does basically the same but also gives us the possibility to get the Monarch back from somebody that wants to keep it.
Hall of Heliod’s Generosity is a good way to recur our enchantments after they got destroyed.
Shinka is a way to get first strike to Queen Marchesa (long may she reign) so we can have her being a really dangerous blocker… or to make blocking her and harder decisions for our opponents.
Thespian’s Stage is really good to copy Maze of Ith or other powerful lands that maybe our opponents are playing.
I hope you enjoyed the post and that this could be useful to someone looking for an unusual control deck to play in a pod with various different decks and power levels.