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This deck is a political control deck with heavy pillow fort elements that seeks to win by turning opponent's forces against them. The deck emphasizes interesting interaction, decision making, and variable gameplay.
Play this deck if you:
- Want a deck that can adjust to the power level of your meta
- Like having to change up your gameplan mid-game
- Enjoy politicing and making deals
- Like being able to pull a win out of nowhere
Do not play this deck if you:
- Prefer to have a set strategy going into the game
- Enjoy the consistency of green ramp
- Prefer strategies that require your commander to be out
- Hate politics in EDH
> Early Game - Establish
Early game is all about establishing a board sate. Drop some ramp pieces, and get out Queen Marchesa as early as possible. Hopefully by turn 3-5 you'll have her out.
Try to make a deal with somebody at the table so that you can pass The Monarch back and forth, getting both an extra draw and an Assassin every turn. Getting Queen Marchesa out early is key, since we'll likely need the draw to hit our land drops and propel ourselves into mid game.
Drop a rattlesnake / pillow fort piece or 2 to avoid becoming an easy target early.
Either use tutors for ramp / card draw, or hold them until mid game to grab combo pieces / finishers.
> Mid Game - Politic and Set Up
The midgame for this deck is incredibly varied. In general, you want to have just enough pillow fort / rattlesnake pieces to avoid being attacked, while also not establishing yourself as a threat. Basically, stay alive while you assemble a way to swoop in and win during late game.
Hold combo pieces in your hand until you're ready to win, otherwise you'll be targeted down.
Try to make deals to curry favor with your opponents - use cards like Humble Defector, Scheming Symmetry, Wishclaw Talisman, Duelist's Heritage, and of course The Monarch to make allies. Remember that Maze of Ith, Kor Haven, and Duelist's Heritage can hit any creature. Make some deals.
Use your target removal on the player who is "the threat" to stay useful and friendly.
Sunforger is incredibly useful in this stage of the game, because it gives us answers to opponents, scares people away from attacking us, and protects itself.
Only drop a board clear if it looks like an opponent is about to run away with the game (in general, it is better for our opponents to have huge boards but hurting each other, than no boards at all).
> Late Game - Steal the Show
The late game is where we swoop in for a win. At this point in the game, if you've politiced correctly, your enemies are running low on life, and you're still not a perceivable threat. You've scared and discouraged people from attacking you, and helped removed common threats. Maybe a player has already been knocked out of the game. Hopefully you've got either a big finisher in hand or most of a combo. In general, you want to win with one of these, based on board state. Protect your wincon with Sunforger, or individual answer cards.
- A combo (Wheel, Breach, Smothering Tithe)
- A damage doubler (Gisela, Blade of Goldnight / Wound Reflection) + direct damage (Acidic Soil, Price of Progress, Rakdos Charm, Repercussion)
- A direct aikido effect (Deflecting Palm, Delirium)
- Somebody else's bombs (Necromancy, Mirage Mirror)
- Ruinous Ultimatum + Beaters
If you've done your job correctly, you should be able to steal the show. Since with win by turning our opponents' forces against them, they're usually in the position to win in the next round by the time we finish them off. This is fun, since everybody gets to feel like they almost could have won, play their deck, and interact with the board state. You should be able to take the game out of nowhere, making for a memorable ending and a satisfying victory!
> Tutor targets
> Priority 1: Finishers, based on board state
If you have the mana, these cards can end the game. They let us hit hard out of nowhere to steal a win.
- Insurrection (Make sure you have a way to protect this, it will probably get countered. (Nice to have a Lapse of Certainty or Pyroblast in hand and some mana up)
- Gisela, Blade of Goldnight / Wound Reflection (Great if there's something like a Nekusar, the Mindrazer effect on the board)
- Acidic Soil / Rakdos Charm (Good if people are low, or you already have a doubler. Nice way to finish off the table)
> Priority 2: Combo pieces
If you have one of these cards, get the others to complete the combo
- Repercussion + Arcbond / Blasphemous Act (Deal significant damage to all enemies)
- Wheel of Fortune + Smothering Tithe + Underworld Breach (Mill opponents, protect yourself with Angel's Grace)
- Arcbond + Deathtouch / Lifelink (Gifted Aetherborn, Vampire Nighthawk, Mangara, The Diplomat) to clear the board and gain a lot of life
- Scroll Rack + Land Tax (Gives you an Ancestral Recall every turn)
> Priority 3: Sunforger
This cards gets you access to an answer for just about every situation. Can also hit Enlightened Tutor for more tutor.
> Priority 4: Card Advantage
These cards help you draw into an answer and give you crazy advantage
> Priority 4: Mana Advantage / Fixing
If you're behind on mana, these cards can get you back on track
- Smothering Tithe (Our best option, gives advantage and fixing)
- Dockside Extortionist (Potentially a huge number of treasures, good if we can recurse it with Underworld Breach)
- Chromatic Lantern (Fixes all of our lands)
- Sol Ring (Always an affordable way to get some extra mana)
- Weathered Wayfarer (Repeatable tutor for land drops)
> Priority 6: Emergency Removal
Only grab these if you need an answer right away or Sunforger is too slow, since they don't swing the game in our advantage long-term. Grab either a piece of target removal to deal with it or a board clear
- Generous Gift / Utter End / Chaos Warp / Anguished Unmaking / Utter End / Pyroblast (Can hit most things, useful for dealing with troubling flyers or enchantments)
- Ruinous Ultimatum / Arcbond / Blasphemous Act (If opponents get too far ahead, timing these right can make these pretty one-sided)
> Other Options
Here is a budget list I made for those on a budget. It uses largely the same strategy and playstyle!
There are tons of different packages you can put in Queen Marchesa! Here's a sideboard-deck I made with all of my favorites, organized by purpose!
Heavy inspiration taken from this wonderful primer!
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