Commander Exercise 25 – Glissa, the Traitor

Welcome back to Commander Exercise, the series where I build EDH decks for fun and to improve my deck building skills.

This time I got asked to build a deck with Glissa, the Traitor as Commander.
Glissa transforms one of the things that black can do best, i.e. killing creatures, in a way to get back artifacts from the graveyard.
I think this is awesome to create a combo-control deck that has combos based on artifacts; they try to remove the pieces? We can get them back!  

In the deck we end up running some combos which pieces can work together to give us some huge advantage but that can also work pretty alone.
Bolas’s Citadel and Sensei’s Divining Top can work together and let us continuously pay 1 life to draw a card… if we add Aetherflux Reservoir we can use the continuous cast of the Top to charge our life and blast all the other players.
Another way we have to infinitely draw is to have the Top on the field with Mystic Forge and a way to discount the cost of our artifacts, like for example Foundry Inspector.
Our game winning combo will be Wurmcoil Engine, with Nim Deathmantle and Ashnod’s Altar (or Krark-Clan Ironworks); this will let us create infinite wurm tokens to finish the game with a huge swing the next turn. It can also result in a win on the spot if we have Disciple of the Vault or Marionette Master on the field.

The rest of the deck is card advantage and tutors to find the cards for our combo, and removals to activate Glissa’s abilty.

The deck was built with a 250$ budget in mind and you can find the full list by clicking here.

Between the classic ramp spells, mana rocks and combo pieces, we have Burnished Hart and Wayfarer’s Bauble that we can sacrifice to get lands and then get them back with Glissa’s ability.
Foundry Inspector, Jhoira’s Familiar and Umori, the Collector are all cards that can discount the costs of our artifacts.

Here we have three of our combo pieces plus one other alternative win condition: Mindslaver. Thanks to Glissa’s ability we can really easily set up a Mindslaver’s loop.
Cranial Plating can be equipped to Glissa to swing in for some good Commander damage against careless opponents… or to huge damage from Marionette Master.
Hope of Girapur is a nice hate piece; really useful to hinder the spellslinger decks but we can also attack with it before trying to combo off to stop the player who loves counterspells.

Card Advantage
The majority of our card advantage slots are small artifacts that act as cantrips or that we can sacrifice to draw. The latter for me are the best as we can easily get them back with Glissa to draw again.
Other than those and the combo piece we also run other cards that let us get back artifacts from the graveyard. Scrap Trawler falls in this category and it’s also a continuous effect that will get us something back from our Graveyard multiple times.  

Various tutors to get back our combo pieces and we don’t mind running things like Final Parting as we can easily retrieve what we dropped into the graveyard.
Kuldotha Forgemaster will also drop the tutored artifact on the field and is not too hard to activate as we have a lot of cheap artifacts that we can easily sacrifice.
Netherborn Phalanx is a nice hate piece against go-wide decks but we will mostly use it for its Transmute as it lets us tutor for important cards like Bolas’s Citadel, Wurmcoil Engine or Mindslaver.  

The more creatures we kill, the more artifacts we can get back, so we are going to run a nice amount of them.
Liliana’s Triumph-like effects are really nice as they let us remove various creatures from the battlefield and so recover more artifacts from the graveyard with Glissa, but also artifact that we can sac to remove a creature like Executioner’s Capsule are really strong as we can always get them back.
Armix is a nice new addition from Commander Legends as we can basically activate its ability “for free” if Glissa is on the field: we simply have to discard an artifact and then get it back when we kill a creature with Armix’s effect.
Dictate of Erebos can become a one-sided wrath effect if we have Ashnod’s Altar, Glissa and an artifact creature that costs two mana or less: sac the creature to the altar and get two colorless mana; Dictate triggers and make every opponent sacrifice a creature; when an opponent’s creature die we can get back the one we just sacrificed and replay it with the mana we got from the Altar; repeat until you clean the board.  

The two Vraska are here basically as repeatable removals but with the right set up we can also arrive to cast their emblems as alternative win conditions.

These two cards help us slowly grind our opponents while we look for our combo pieces. The Marionette Master can also act as a win condition on its own with the right set up.

Budget Golgari manabase where we also run some artifact lands as they can help us on some occasions and we can get them back from the graveyard with Glissa.
Buried Ruin is another card that lets us get back an artifact from the Graveyard, while Inventors’ Fair is another tutor for our artifacts.
Phyrexia’s Core is here to help us sacrifice those artifacts that need to be destroyed to give us some other effects, but they can’t do it on its own, like Filigree Familiar or Ichor Wellspring.  

I hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know how you would have built it differently, what you will have added and what not…
Also don’t forget to tell me what I should try to build next.


  1. The underrated stars of my Glissa deckbuilding experiment were Vial of Poison and Shard of Glass. Nobody ever runs them, but they made me feel smart. Nobody wants to attack you when you have Glissa’s death touch, then just use Vial to help opponents kill eachother’s creatures, cheaper than Executioner’s Capsule, which is generally considered her signature card.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Executioner’s Capsule is totally one of the best cards to play in her as you can abuse it a lot.

      Didn’t know about the Shard and the Vial so thank you for your comment!


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