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The Blackest Rose: Marchesa, the Black Rose Commander

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So, I confess, I have a new lover. Even though she's from a rough corner of the shards being Grixis and all, she has a great 3/3 body, abilities that keep me interested, and at just 4 mana she doesn't break my mana pool. Yes yes yes, it true, Marchesa, a rose by any other color wouldn't be nearly as sweet.

It all started late one evening when I was looking for new special someone to take charge of a good 99 for me. Then it happened. Daily MTG updated promptly at midnight and that's where I saw her for the first time. She was perfect, my muse. I instantly ran down stairs and started preparing a proper proposal for when she'd arrive.

Here's the list for my new queen:

[Deck title=Marchesa, the Black Rose]
[Commander]Marchesa, the Black Rose[/commander]
[Lands]6 Island 6 Swamp 5 Mountain Opal Palace Polluted Delta Bloodstained Mire Scalding Tarn Mana Confluence Temple of the False God City of Brass Grixis Panorama Command Tower Sulfur Falls Drowned Catacomb Dragonskull Summit Temple of Epiphany Temple of Deceit Temple of Malice Tainted Isle Tainted Peak Underground River Shivan Reef Sulfurous Springs Blood Crypt Steam Vents Watery Grave[/lands][Creatures]Vigean Graftmage Viscera Seer Cryptborn Horror Lyzolda, the Blood Witch Taurean Mauler Mirri the Cursed Shadowmage Infiltrator Chaos Imps Olivia Voldaren Dack's Duplicate Treasonous Ogre Flayer of the Hatebound Thraximundar Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch Deathcult Rogue Body Double Sapphire Drake Mikaeus, the Unhallowed Grimgrin, Corpse-Born Oona's Blackguard Murderous Redcap Nightscape Familiar Hellhole Flailer Marchesa's Smuggler Scourge of the Throne Pyreheart Wolf Hound of Griselbrand Geralf's Messenger Mer-Ek Nightblade Ob Nixilis, the Fallen Sphinx of Magosi Flame-Wreathed Phoenix Keiga, the Tide Star Carrion Feeder[/Creatures][Spells]Sol Ring Swiftfoot Boots Vampiric Tutor Barter in Blood Diabolic Tutor Dragon Blood Ring of Xathrid Ring of Evos Isle Ring of Valkas Power Conduit Unspeakable Symbol Obelisk of Grixis Tezzeret's Gambit Harrowing Journey Dreadbore Bituminous Blast Feast on the Fallen Grave Betrayal Demonic Tutor Lightning Greaves Terminate Goblin Bombardment Fact or Fiction Char Crosis's Charm[/spells][/deck]

I can't ever rant and rave enough about the synergistic interactions between Marchesa and this deck. Your army is relentless and with a sac outlet you're almost unstoppable. I don’t think I really need to break down each of the non-land choices so I’ll just go on about some highlights.

The lady of the hour, my Grixis gal, Marchesa, the Black Rose is a one-woman power house. She’s cost effective, has an interesting ability (dethrone) that she shares with her team and, the best yet, makes your boys resilient. Before she was spoiled I was planning on remaking my Grixis EDH that starred Thraximundar. Marchesa "dethroned" Thrax but kept him as one of her loyal subjects in this list.

The main mechanics I tried to embrace in this deck were dethrone, undying and tribute. Basically anything that gives a +1/+1 counter to work with our general. I thought about more evolve guys but there weren't very good options in mono-blue, the same as with graft. The outlast options in mono-black were very limited as well. Although having Mer-Ek Nightblade does make for some awkward combat trades for your opponents.

The first card I want to talk about is Cryptborn Horror. He wasn't in my first draft of the deck but I tried him out in my MTGO list. I was very pleased with it. I swung, hit for 5, and jammed it in as a 5/5, swung a turn later, hit for 10, sac'd it to Goblin Bombardment for an extra 1, and then Marchesa brought it back as an 11/11. Value town!!!

I've read other lists for this commander and almost everyone had Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. Yes, it's sick, yes, it's combo-tastic with 90% of the other creatures in the deck. I guess there isn't too much more to say about it.

Grave Betrayal is the nuts. Oh, your guy died, it's mine now, with a +1/+1 counter, which means, it comes back under my control with my girl in play.

Another interesting direction a friend of mine took with his Marchesa Commander deck was that of an infect plan. You don’t actually deal them damage so there’s no issue of kicking them off the throne and trying to bring yourself down to their life total or below. I did consider including a few infect creatures in my list but I decided I didn't want to mess with infect in my Commander games since everyone tends to have different house rule when it comes do poison damage.

As for cost, the deck is not very expensive. The mana base is by far the most expensive portion of the deck. Since this is a casual format and, in my opinion at least, not meant to be competitive, there are a lot of land choice that can be swapped out for less expensive counterparts.

So without rambling on for a few dozen more paragraphs I’ll just end on this. The deck is tons of fun. Try it out and please feel free to make any suggestions or comments. I'm a EDH/Commander fanatic and love to hear about new decks and ideas.

Thanks for checking out my article!

x Julian Biondillo x

Julian, AKA hardcoreniceguy on Twitter

biondillodesign@gmail.com

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