Daxos the Returned - Enchantment Speed Bumps Galore

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Daxos the Returned

Enchantment Speed Bumps Galore


"The problem is that it's not just one thing. There are a lot of cards that are annoying, and none of them are terrible on their own, it's just the fact that there's always something" - an irate friend, 2018

Enchantments Through the Ages

Banned in Legacy, ladies and germs
Once upon a time, Jimmy Cardboard was looking through his card collection. "Gee," he thought, "I sure enjoy those enchantment cards I have. I like putting The Brute on my Gray Ogre, and then he gets even bigger when I swing because of Orcish Oriflamme. I should put them all in a deck!" And as he thought, he did. Granted, his deck wasn't particularly amazing, to say the least, but this anonymous (and, quite frankly, fictitious) trailblazer set the stage for what was to come.

The power of the enchantment is not to be underestimated. After all, Orcish Oriflamme was immediately restricted along with the Power Nine... but on a more serious note, cards such as Necropotence and Fires of Yavimaya definitely left their mark on Magic's history. Decks built around enchantments hover around somewhere on the outskirts of 60 card constructed, with legacy leylines and enchantress probably being the most established. There's also a cute mono-white niche brew floading around modern, stalling for time with Suppression Fields, Runed Halos and Oblivion Rings until it lands a Sigil of the Empty Throne.

The archetype also translates well to EDH. Enchantress decks, named after a long line of potent draw engines, are typically GWx. The green brings most of the enchantresses whilst white brings the bulk of the meat-and-potatoes enchantment power lifters. When the two cross, ungodly beautiful abominations like Sterling Grove, Aura Shards and Mirari's Wake are born. Blue can also contribute nice things (Rest in Peace + Energy Field says hello), making Bant arguably the best colour combination for raw enchantment strength in a deck. However, I'm here today to show you a path less travelled and point out the merits of an Orzhov underdog.

Soft Enchantress Stax with Endgame
Why Play Daxos and How to Build Him

Hyper selectively breaking backs since 2014
Daxos the Returned looks outclassed in just about every manner imaginable. Other Orzhov legends, such as Karlov of the Ghost Council, offer punchier decks with faster clocks. At the same time, setting out to do an enchantress deck with the fourth best colour accompanying white appears to be suicide. However, upon closer inspection, Daxos turns out to be more viable than most give him credit. Hear me out here, I'm not saying he's strictly better than GWx and the new go-to enchantress commander, just that he doesn't suck.

First and foremost, Daxos's ability results in a good degree of potent late game inevitability. A number of enchantress decks struggle with closing out the game, especially in a way that would be considered "fair", but churning out 10/10s for three mana each after setting up a number of enchantment pieces definitely falls under properly threatening. Also, black isn't even that bad for an enchantment deck, especially one that packs its own mana sink lunch. You get access to tutors (Demonic Tutor, Razaketh, the Foulblooded), insane mana (Urborg + Coffers), draw (Bolas Rock, Necropotence) and some ridiculous constellation effects which Daxos can abuse at instant speed whenever desired (Agent of Erebos, Doomwake Giant, Thoughtrender Lamia).

Combine Daxos's ability with what white and black have to offer and a deck builds itself - soft faux-stax, a list full of "speed bumps" such as Oppression and Rule of Law that perfectly symmetrically claw away at non-mana resources. This slows everybody down... except your commander can use all the unoccupied resources to generate a board state. Buffer the 99 with (preferably enchantment-based) draw, removal, tempo hits, recursion, pillow fort and a splash of late game and you get the perfect "fly under the radar" list.

Daxos and Me
The Precon Improvement Quest that Could, and Did

"And I will love you forever..." - Dick Valentine, 2009
Me and white, we just don't fully get along. I started my EDH adventure with a Purphoros, God of the Forge deck that ended up setting the precedent of my decks being mono-colour. The green got occupied by Patron of the Orochi, blue became a Tromokratis whilst black was Sheoldred, Whispering One. While doing all this, I just couldn't come to terms with white. I loved the colour's removal options, but the fact it was extremely soft to disruption and had just about no draw power made me unwilling to pull the trigger. I made like five distinct attempts with the fellow on the left. I steered clear of Avacyn, Angel of Hope as she felt like a cheap way out whilst bringing lots of land destruction stigma. The closest I got to a functional deck was Darien, King of Kjeldor, but he was still quite easy to disrupt.

Then the 2015 Commander precons came out, and my friends were getting some, so I hopped on the bandwagon. Daxos caught my eye immediately - you have to combine creature and enchantment disruption to truly knock him out of the game, as otherwise the value enchantments or fat spirit tokens will be there to offer some semblance of presence. Plus, he was part white, letting me cheat the system a bit. As I was coming off my Sheoldred, Whispering One high at the time, I was more than happy to use black as the support colour it is in this deck. I picked up the precon and did something I never did before - started noodling around with card composition using bulk and binders found at the nearby LGSes, seeing what would happen. Eventually I caved in and got solid stuff from my trusty vendor. Years down the line, the deck is fully spruced up, down to a Scrubland and fetches mana base. Nevertheless, it was quite a fun journey and can be viewed in the changelog. I ended up achieving something I've wanted to do for a while - I built a list I can just pull out and play, and do things while not drawing the ire of the rest of the table.

Deck Overview

The Deck Ranking
General Attributes
  • Quick Game Likeness - quick? I'd never, good sir!
  • Newbie Feasibility - might be uncomfortable with the symmetric non-mana resource denial at first, but it should click pretty fast
  • Commander Dependency - Daxos and his token hordes are the most reliable way to close out games
  • "Scare" Rating - "Daxos is so bad" - DarkSword moments before getting shrekt and ignore-listing me on Cockatrice, 2016
  • Multiplayer Mode - needs a period of under the radar resource development not offered by 1v1, but can put up a fight if the draw is right
  • Expensiveness - functions best when supported with big mana lands, including Urborg + Coffers

Game Play Attributes
  • Acceleration - big rather than fast; some mana rocks to smooth out the early game, and fat mana options for later on
  • Library Searching - three unconditional tutors, plus a few more for enchantments and lands
  • Board Control - a solid helping of removal, comes in instant, enchantment and wrath flavours
  • Spell Control - surprisingly high for an Orzhov shell, proactive disruption via discard and Rule of Law
  • Card Advantage - everybody discards and Rule of Laws while you churn out bodies, also sports some solid draw engines
  • Linearity - the dying moments of a game likely include three digits of power in spirit tokens, but the journey differs every time
  • Combo Potential - no infinites whatsoever, occasionally does silly finite stuff with Skybind + big mana, or a Bolas Rock with lifegain and topdeck editors

Strengths and Weaknesses
The Deck's Strengths
  • A derpy commander in the wrong colours, making unthreatening speed bump plays that eventually add up to a surprising amount of advantage.
  • Voltron? Storm? Reanimator? Pesky creatures, be they tall or wide? There likely is an answer somewhere in the 99, and a tutor to get it.
  • Skybind allows for all sorts of crazy stuff to happen, from the generation of an army out of nowhere to incidental stax resistance.
  • Your Bane of Progress just melted my board? Well, at least I can still make five 7/7s to compensate.
  • Incremental spell/hand disruption makes it increasingly awkward to answer your shenanigans.
  • You haven't lived until you resolve a 10+ enchantment Replenish, especially if constellation becomes involved.
  • You can put on a slow-motion Leovold + Puzzle Box impersonation with Thoughtrender Lamia.
  • Held up interaction mana but nothing worthy came? Just sink it into spirit production without missing a beat.
  • Gaining 72 life per swing while everybody else has to pay 14 per attacker only to have it die on impact? Sure, why not.
  • I have "gotten there" on the back of Daxos with Sword of Rampant Growth.

The Deck's Weaknesses
  • There are both better enchantress commanders and better Orzhov commanders, even if Daxos offers a unique spin on the idea.
  • Doesn't have green. Just imagine Elemental Bond or Primal Rage with Daxos, not to mention the standard Gx enchantress stuff...
  • Rather slow, and fragile in the early game - if your meta clocks in around turn 4-5, you're gonna have a bad time.
  • Daxos himself is a bear, and easy to keep down if desired. You have to rely on his apparent badness and other people making splashier plays.
  • Related to the above, Keranos, God of Storms and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite are your natural predators. Thankfully, you have removal.
  • You have almost as bad a time against Aura Shards and Austere Command as the rest of your enchantress brethren.
  • Whilst the path varies, the typical end result is three digits of spirit token power. Nowhere near the most varied game ender on the block.
  • Some of the hate options may feed other decks at the table, such as the discard fuelling reanimator strategies.
  • Occasionally becomes rather light-hearted with its life total, whilst lifegain is quite sparse in the 99.
  • ...some games, you just don't get to play Skybind ;)

Other Commander Options
  • Karlov of the Ghost Council - Daxos's accompanying commander product legend friend is an objectively stronger option, and comes with a surprising amount of explosiveness. A tuned voltron shell with some multi-trigger lifegain (think Soul Warden et al. for the low end, and Righteous Cause as the curve topper) is sure to result in a quick clock.
  • Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim - Another aggressively costed option with built in Diamond Valley and Vindicate galore. Find a sweet spot of ramp, lifegain and token production and you should be in control of most happenings soon enough. There's a cool value town/combo primer you can check out.
  • Athreos, God of Passage - Whilst people are quite liberal with their life totals, they get leery pretty quickly when something like Athreos repeatedly makes advances onto it. This makes the Orzhov God a sturdy recursion engine, making good use of all sorts of cheap utility dudes. He's seen some renewed popularity lately thanks to a Shadowborn Apostles Game Knights build.
  • Teysa, Orzhov Scion - Lends herself very well to all sorts of enter/leave the battlefield shenanigans and probably offers the greatest build flexibility of the viable Orzhov commanders. Comes with a bit of combo stigma, as she's been known to do ugly things with Darkest Hour.
  • Teysa Karlov - Teysa's newer iteration is a design that most expansion legends should aim for. There's explicit support for the set's mechanic, but it's worded robustly enough to allow for various other shenanigans. Oh yeah, and it's also in the wrong colour combo for what it supports, given reanimator's tendencies to be GBx. The conceptual parallels with Daxos are striking, and I'd likely be building her if I didn't already have this deck going on.
  • Selenia, Dark Angel - The perfect commander for various life-swapping shenanigans. Turns out having a life sink outlet out of the command zone is pretty good for willingly melting your life total, offering it to someone else via Axis of Mortality or something of the sort, and then finishing them off with a couple of extort bursts. I have one of these in my meta, and the crazy degree of survivability tricks it pulls out its sleeve is in equal part awe-inspiring and deeply annoying.

  • Tuvasa the Sunlit - Hey look, a literal actual enchantress commander! The most Daxos-like thing to exist, as you get payoff from getting your enchantment action on with her around and she comes with a game-ending outlet based on overall enchantment ground charted. Had I not sold my soul to Daxos pretty firmly way before C18 hit the shelves, I'd have almost certainly built this bugger.
  • Estrid, the Masked - The face card of the C18 deck is interesting and versatile, yet actually not that enchantment'y. Coming with a Replenish-like ultimate is cute and all, but it's not going to come online too reliably outside of Chain Veil combos. The plus encourages land auras, while the minus suggests a miserable wrath slog that could even potentially encroach on the MLD taboo.
  • Karametra, God of the Harvest - What if I told you that you could literally have an indestructible enchantment as your commander in GW? Now now, hold your horses, the actual body that it comes with encourages a different style of deck altogether, but sometimes having a bonus enchantment to proc all the value town synergies is nice enough. The dissonance between what an enchantress deck wants to do versus what a Karametra deck wants to do is something I could never get over, but she does have a nontrivial enchantress following.
  • Uril, the Miststalker - The archetypical aura voltron commander. Enchantresses are happy to refill your grip as you serve up thick platters of cheap, potent auras (Rancor et al.), and soon enough you have a big mean hexproof one-shotting machine. Just watch out for them Fleshbag Marauders...
  • Zur the Enchanter - Whilst the colour combination is a bit subpar from a purely enchantment perspective as green got replaced by black, the fact Zur brings a constant stream of tutoring makes him one of the most feared commanders across the whole board. Quickly assemble all sorts of nastiness, be it Rest in Peace + Energy Field, Bitterblossom + Contamination, or just Necropotence to dig unreasonably deep into your 99 for whatever you may need. See, enchantments have the potential to be pretty freaking good in this format!
  • Heliod, God of the Sun - Before there was Daxos, there was this. You lose black and your bodies are smaller/more expensive, but to make up for it your commander's an indestructible enchantment. That's something, I guess? You can still milk Skybind, which is a very cool thing to be able to do. That's just an objective fact.

Deck List



1Daxos the Returned
Approximate Total Cost:

Card Options

The following subsections feature a sizeable list of options for each card group, including cards I currently run, cards I ran in the past and cards that will likely never grace my 99. My opinion isn't be-all, end-all, and whilst I can voice my thoughts on Humility and Contamination that doesn't mean you can't come up with some angle where they will work.

Saving Money
Seeing how I've been constantly toying with the list since Daxos got printed in 2015, I've managed to pick up a number of expensive utility pieces for it along the way. However, I paid quite a bit less for them than you'd have to do now as the secondary market has become even crazier than usual in 2018. The good news is that you can capture most of the deck's performance just fine without all the insane money pieces - Skybind, Doomwake Giant, Thoughtrender Lamia, True Conviction, Extinguish All Hope and Razaketh, the Foulblooded aren't going to break the bank. You'll just need to field a slightly different supporting cast. The most expensive thing that's key to the deck's functioning would be Cloudstone Curio. Its flexibility is ridiculous and nothing else even attempts to replicate it.

The easiest place to shave money are the various vanity cards, largely concentrated in the mana base - the primer 99 is fully decked out with fetches, a Scrubland, and a Crucible of Worlds to complement it with a Mana Crypt on the side. There's no denying that having this sort of setup is ideal, and occasionally Crucible can dig you out of some pretty patchy situations or get you surprising value off your progressive discard, but it's easily the most needless money sink in the list. For years, I made do with a perfectly competent mana base with more basics and a Temple of Silence, plus a different rock in place of the Crypt. However, attacking most of the other expensive multicolour lands (Reflecting Pool, Godless Shrine, Fetid Heath) can ultimately result in the deck becoming clunkier in operation as there's hardly a long list of alternative enter untapped options. If you take out the fetches, keep an eye on Brought Back - one of its operation modes is ramp, and it might become less desirable with that aspect of it turned off. The most superfluous pimp bit of all is Chains of Mephistopheles. Slot in Uba Mask immediately, or devote the space to something else entirely.

The deck likes its mana big, and the current iteration places a lot of faith in its lands to get it there. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx won't break the bank, and you should get it. Cabal Coffers + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth are pricier, but they also form the most resilient of the big mana generators and are commonly found in Bx builds. As such, you should still be able to get decent mileage out of them if you go your separate ways with Daxos. Serra's Sanctum is mind-numbingly expensive, and only shines in enchantment decks. It's one hell of a land and gave the list a ridiculous performance boost when it was introduced, and it comes with a mighty blessing from yours truly, but it's a heck of a commitment to spend this much on a cardboard with a fraction of the utility of Urborg + Coffers. If you scale back on the big mana lands, Deserted Temple and Weathered Wayfarer may peter out a bit, keep an eye on them in testing. However, it should be noted that Daxos is very mana hungry, and you will probably need to upgrade your mana rock count to compensate. This may adversely affect performance as you will become susceptible to getting said rocks shot out from under you, sending you back to the stone age.

There are a number of expensive utility options kicking around the 99:
  • The deck sports Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor and Enlightened Tutor. A benefit of forking out for the tutors is that they're ubiquitous and will always find a home anywhere you want to put them in the corresponding colours. Given the vastly inferior nature of budget options, a somewhat unconventional suggestion would be to replace them with Diabolic Revelation if forced to, trading earlier reactivity for a potent late-game blowout. A hefty X will set up an endgame to the standard of Razaketh.
  • Land Tax is similarly utilitarian, and can lend its value hand to everything from the most comatose goodstuff to broken glass jank heaps. Don't go for any of the balanced one-off knockoffs as a replacement, just put something else in.
  • Toxic Deluge is probably the best wipe in the format (only really contested by Blasphemous Act), offering ridiculous play flexibility, and will also slot in effortlessly into any deck that has black in it. Replacements have to decide between reset efficiency (Wrath of God) or alpha potential (Winds of Abandon? Plague Winds?!).
  • Replenish offers a mega burst of recursion, nullifying a game's worth of non-exile interaction in one beautiful moment. The card's less suave younger brother Open the Vaults can stand in if need be, but will be noticeably inferior.
  • Teferi's Protection is a super kooky one-off effect, and replacements like Faith's Reward are not even the Open to Protection's Replenish boggling gamut of possibility. As such, you may be better off using the slot for something else.
  • Sensei's Divining Top depends on a number of shuffle effects to truly shine, and most of this deck's shuffles have just been listed in the last few paragraphs as opportunities to save some money. Bolas Rock may also start bricking more often on similar grounds.
  • Greater Auramancy is artificial scarcity at its finest, and does not merit the price tag it has. Swap it out for something mana light of your choosing that accomplishes a thing.
  • No Mercy is the least essential of the bunch, and can be subbed out for some other utility/defensive enchantment of your choice.

1. Ramp/Land Drops
Daxos is mana hungry, got to keep them lands/rocks flowing. Land-based ramp is preferred as it's harder to interact with, but some choice mana rocks, preferably of the enter untapped variety, can be a solid boost too.
Separated from Skybind at birth
  • Arcaane Signet - Hey look, they printed the perfect two-drop rock. Hey look, we're not running it. Weirdly enough, I can come up with more scenarios where Orzhov Signet is beneficial to the list due to its general colour hunger, potentially converting colourless rock mana into a dual colour burst for a spirit or something, than cases where this outperforms the classic. The first rock you should add if you go for more two-drop rocks in your list, unless it costs a fortune in the timeline you're reading this in. Dammit Gavin.
  • Black Market - Creatures die all the time in EDH, so this thing piles on the counters hard and fast in most scenarios. However, it also costs five mana to set down, making it quite slow in providing you with its benefit. In addition to that, it forces you to expend more mana in your main phase than you'd typically want to. Still a solid option though.
  • :check: Bolas's Citadel - Oh, Bolas Rock. Sticking this thing is akin to flipping on turbo mode, just sit back and watch as the deck accrues an insane amount of advantage off the top. All the shuffle and topdeck manipulation effects (Sensei's Divining Top, Doom Whisperer) present in the 99 double up as handy ways to keep the gravy train going. You know you're a crazy card when Necropotence plays support for you, and Top offering up a sorcery speed Yawgmoth's Bargain is similarly bonus perk territory rather than main feature. Try to land some lifegain with this around to keep going unharmed. Wins games quickly if unanswered, puts you in an incredibly solid position even if blown up.
  • Burnished Hart - Let's be real for a moment. Sure, we want land ramp, but not when it comes with the need of two inflexible chunks of 3 down the drain with a window of opportunity to be dingused in the meantime. A bit of a sad, no man's land card. The decks that are the best at abusing it are not super dependent on it due to having green in their dentity.
  • Chromatic Lantern - While the fact it makes all your colour woes go away with the flick of a wand is wonderful, its mana cost of three is not. Sequences a bit awkwardly in the early game, and doesn't provide a tremendous payoff later on either. Still a hell of a rock, and the more colours you have the more you should be running this.
  • Commander's Sphere - The free cycling works well with repeatable recursion, which the list doesn't currently support. Add the fact it's ultimately a typical three-drop rock, and its position in the rock waiting list hierarchy becomes not that good. There are a few two-drop options (e.g. Arcane Signet/Talisman of Hierarchy) that are kicking around on the bench.
  • :check: Crucible of Worlds - Given the full seven fetches and bits of symmetric discard, Crucible offers a hefty helping of value. Pitch a land to Oppression and then play it to circumvent the disadvantage in yet another way, keep on recurring that fetch to make land drops you otherwise wouldn't have been able to, protect your big mana lands, just all around good times.
  • Endless Horizons - Whilst the filtering and extra land supply are nice, the card is asking for trouble and will often eat removal, leaving all the lands you dug up in exile. And, to top it all off, it just grabs plains. We're a two-colour shell, and whilst plains have the potential for some nice synergies (Emeria, the Sky Ruin, Emeria Shepherd) the limitation pushes this into "almost certainly not worth it" territory.
  • :check: Expedition Map - Digs up the big mana lands. Seeing how the list's idea of a good time features said big mana lands tapping for much mana, this is a pretty good fit in here.
  • :check: Gilded Lotus - Super sturdy rock, three coloured mana that takes us from 5 to 8 opens up a lot of possibilities (or just hastens spirit production). Best pals with Skybind, as it flops back onto the battlefield untapped. You'll rarely be unhappy to see this.
  • Hedron Archive - Two Mind Stones glued together is quite useable, probably more so than the original and definitely more so than the triple edition. Pity about it being out of Sun Titan reach.
    We're gonna be rich! Look at that 20 banked mana!
  • :check: Land Tax - A ridiculous value engine. Seeing how there's only so much land ramp here, there will almost certainly be someone at the table with more land than you (at least in the early-mid game), and this allows you to keep your hand buffered with basics at your disposal. Don't go for any of the balanced knock-offs like Gift of Estates though.
  • :check: Mana Crypt - Eternal Masters dipped the price enough for me to hop onto the wagon, and now I own this crazy EDH status symbol. Please be wise and don't follow in my footsteps, especially now that the required monetary investment has boomeranged back into the absurd.
  • Mana Vault - We're not really racing to any high-CMC play here, and those sort of decks are where this mana rock shines.
  • Mind Stone - Another classic cycling mana rock, but this time producing colourless mana and actually requiring a mana investment to crack. Still pretty solid, but the deck prefers its mana coloured.
  • :check: Orzhov Signet - Phenomenal colour fixing is what makes this slide in in spite of being a two-drop. Comes in untapped, provides both colours, absolutely stellar.
  • :check: Smothering Tithe - A very interesting card, as its payoff tends to scale with how well your opponents are doing. If everyone's drawing very little and diligently paying you off, you'll probably manage to eke out advantage off having a command zone mana sink without the treasures. If someone just ripped a Scapeshift and drew a bonkers grip with Tatyova, Benthic Druid, that's a wall of mana to jump-start responsive action from. In a regular EDH turn cycle, you're likely to get a few tokens off everyday things. It's pretty common to sit on the treasures and bank them up into a single game-stealing explosive turn.
  • :check: Sol Ring - Well, duh. We may be coloured-hungry, bur not to the point where we'd say no to a Sol Ring.
  • Solemn Simulacrum - The fact the guy's payoff is immediate, and there's a second value helping when he dies, makes him marginally preferable to Burnished Hart. Plus, sometimes you get to flicker him with Skybind a bit for extra lands.
  • Starfield Mystic - While the enchantment medallion is nice, the fact he doesn't assist body making in the slightest is suboptimal. Probably best to devote the slot to something that just flat-out makes mana instead.
  • :check: Sword of the Animist - Sword of Rampant Growth is a natural fit for a shell like this. Fun, unthreatening pokes with a 3/3 or 4/4 get completely neglected as you slowly amass a ridiculous land count, and soon enough you've got mana out the wazoo and everybody is scratching their head how you got there.
  • Talisman of Hierarchy - A two-drop rock that not only doesn't come in tapped, but offers you both colours for the meagre investment of a single life point. One of the first includes you should be making if you decide to add more cheap rocks.
  • :check: Thran Dynamo - Pay four mana to permanently gain three colourless. While this deck may prefer its mana coloured, the net total boost single-handedly carrying the list into a very comfortable spot of operation is quite desirable.
  • :check: Wayfarer's Bauble - A tiny, unassuming land ramp spell that colour fixes like a champ. Worth a slot in most decks not running green.
  • :check: Weathered Wayfarer - Like a repeatable Expedition Map, this thing is worth its weight in gold with a mana base filled with big mana producers and some utility options. Will win you the game if it sticks around for a few activations.
  • Worn Powerstone - the "balanced" Sol Ring's CIPT downside is something the deck isn't particularly keen on, but it did good work when I ran it.
2. Tutors
Somewhere within the 99, a card likely lurks that can answer whatever is going on right now.
Nab Mana Crypt turn one, nab a game-ender turn ten
  • Academy Rector - Allocating four mana for a crummy 1/2 seems like a bad deal... until she dies. Then you get whatever you need out of your deck at instant speed and with no counter window, allowing for some cheeky unforeseen responses that wrench enemy plays as they happen. Cards like this are evidence that Urza Block was initially meant to be enchantment-themed, and by golly is it sad that they got sidetracked from that vision. Pity about sacrifice effects being very scarce in the 99, making the timing of her ability sit more in the hands of your opponents than your own.
  • :check: Demonic Tutor - We're in black, there's literally no (non-monetary) reason not to run this. A stupidly awesome tutor that has your back at any stage of the game.
  • Diabolic Intent - This seems like a fantastic deal until you realise that it's sorcery speed and the creature you're most likely to be sacrificing to this cost you three mana to make. Suddenly Diabolic Tutor looks better, and that's not really something you'd consider running, would you?
  • Diabolic Revelation - The hyper mana intensive top-end tutor that always sits in the back of your mind when you brew a deck, but then you never end up running it. Ironically, its main purpose seems to be dismissing all sorts of other gimmicky high-end tutors as you realise this would do the job better. A perfectly valid consideration in more budget builds.
  • :check: Enlightened Tutor - The white part of the Mirage tutors gets to dig up an artifact or enchantment. How handy for us!
  • Idyllic Tutor - Only one mana more than Demonic Tutor, but that one mana ends up mattering a whole lot as Daxos costs three, and then mana becomes very important for play making. It lacks the flexibility of the unconditional tutors (which can be used early to help set up a good mana base) or the stupidity of Raz, often relegating it to grabbing Skybind or other situation-appropriate game-ending haymaker late in the game.
  • Open the Armory - The aura/equipment range seems limited at first, but you could run a nice toolbox for this to hit within the deck - Lightning Greaves for survival, Sword of Rampant Growth for ramp, Flickering Ward for "Daxos storm" building or protection, Darksteel Mutation for solid removal, Skullclamp for draw and Animate Dead for resurrection for the modern salaryman. Not bad for a two mana white spell.
  • Plea for Guidance - Sounds like a great idea until you recall Diabolic Revelation, and then recall you don't run that, and then you still don't run that. See, like I said when I discussed Diabolic Revelation, its main boon is dismissing other expensive tutor options that look like they're playable.
  • :check: Razaketh, the Foulblooded - Probably the most game-ending card in the deck, if you have the real estate to support him. Daxos makes this fellow read "1WB, pay 2 life: Demonic Tutor". That's pretty damn good, even if it comes with the steep overhead of being an eight drop. The possibilities are kind of silly, but that's pretty much the joy of repeated easy tutoring on a stick.
  • Scheming Symmetry - Ridiculously good in two-headed giant games, a very risky tool otherwise. Sure, you could try to politics your way around it, or give it to the guy who's behind, but a free Vampiric Tutor handed out to an opponent is not where you want to be. Don't forget the sorcery speed - a nontrivial amount of the strength of Enlightened Tutor/Vampiric Tutor stems from their instant nature.
  • Sidisi, Undead Vizier - A phenomenal tutor engine in decks that can guarantee her bouncing back and forth between the graveyard and the battlefield. This is not one of those decks.
  • :check: Vampiric Tutor - Black shows the Mirage tutors how it's done. One mana and two life are a pittance in EDH land, and your next topdeck is set to whatever you want. Lovely stuff.
3. Constellation Toolbox
Enchantments hit the battlefield, stuff happens. Daxos makes this work at instant speed.
World's Second Best Daxos Engine
  • :check: Agent of Erebos - Selective graveyard hate. We keep our things for recycling later if so desired, but the guy who just tried to pull a reanimation number gets nothing. Good day, sir!
  • Angelic Chorus - The first of what I'll call "honorary members of the constellation toolbox", in that they don't formally have constellation but they trigger in a similar fashion in this list. This one gets us life off bodies entering on our side of the fence, and whilst it's nifty there are stronger options to run in the 99, especially as it requires an upfront investment of five mana.
  • :check: Cloudstone Curio - Another honorary member of the constellation toolbox, it's the second dumbest engine piece in the deck after Skybind. The bodies Daxos makes are both creatures and enchantments, allowing you to protect most of your board against removal if needed. Also, if you get some cheap enchantments, you can bounce them off each other to build "Daxos storm" in a heartbeat. However, my favourite use has to be resetting ETB things or making symmetric hate asymmetric. Sponge up Oppression or Rule of Law back to your hand in the end step of the guy just before you, do your thing, replay them, pass. A mainstay of enchantress decks for a reason, and we get to add a whole new layer of dumb to the equation.
  • Court Street Denizen - One more honorary constellation card, works as a mini-Skybind by allowing instant speed creature tapdown. Very fragile though, as it's just a bear like our commander. And, unlike our commander, we can't guarantee this will keep coming back.
  • :check: Doomwake Giant - A repeatable board thinner and the absolute bane of all sorts of swarm/weenie/token/small-creature-tribal decks everywhere. True, it likely won't eat that fat Eldrazi sitting diagonally across from you, but it does make the board considerably more manageable.
  • Dreadbringer Lampads - Offers intimidate to one creature. Not particularly handy, especially given the investment cost, and yet another pang at not having green as that got the far superior Primal Rage for a fraction of the mana.
  • Grim Guardian - Cheap, but the one-life ping isn't likely to matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. Running things just because they are cheap isn't the best idea, and the constant life trickle may pull aggro.
  • Harvestguard Alseids - Damage is but one of many ways to mess up a creature in EDH. As such, more versatile protection options should take priority over this one.
  • :check: Skybind - This card could get its own section. What doesn't it do? Flick your own lands/rocks for more mana (multi-mana all-stars Serra's Sanctum, Cabal Coffers, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Gilded Lotus love this). Flick an opponent's lands to keep them off mana. Flick any problematic nonenchantment permanent you don't want them to have right now. Flick things in the end step before a turn to have the things be absent for a whole turn (good against planeswalkers in particular). Flick away a fat attacker coming at you. Flick away a blocker you don't want them to have. Flick the target of a kicked Rite of Replication. Flick things for ETB value. Flick Daxos away from removal or a wrath. Keep flicking that Nevinyrral's Disk so it doesn't go pop. Flick away Cloudstone Curio as you return this to your hand in response to a Bane of Progress. Flick your own lands to get Land Tax/Weathered Wayfarer online if needed. Flick the stax piece that's freezing the game shut and continue with your day unimpeded, possibly the only one to truly do so. Flick a loaded Everflowing Chalice and get kicked out from the table. It's like a wonderfully busted and far less goodstuff value Roon of the Hidden Realm that can target far more things and is only constrained by your mana pool. Whatever is going on, you're likely to have some degree of interaction with Skybind. The card will surprise you time and time again, I keep finding myself using it in new ways just as I thought I exhausted its potential.
  • :check: Thoughtrender Lamia - Costs a whopping six mana, but completely shatters the game if left unanswered. Soon enough, all of your foes' hands are gutted, and if you can muster three mana per player then you can strip whatever they draw just as they draw it as you get priority in their draw step. I am yet to lose a game that I've managed to reduce to that state, as everybody is stuck trying to topdeck an instant speed answer to the situation, and those don't always come. Just remember to beat down on the guys who are more likely to answer you first when you manage to land in this realm.
  • Underworld Coinsmith - Cheap, but also rather underwhelming. The subtle lifegain trickle is not going to make huge splashes, and paying two mana to slug everybody for one seems like a waste when compared to paying three mana for a growing spirit token.
4. Card/Spell Throttling
Daxos offers spirit making as a useful way to offload mana. Keep people off cards/spells to further amplify this fact, and make it more difficult to interact with you.
Worn Powerstone, turn? Make five spirits in your end step
  • Bottomless Pit - The fact it eats a random card makes for some pretty nasty disruption and can lead to fantastic random wrenching of opponents' game plans. Don't forget it also affects you, so if you have something particularly bombastic in your hand aim to get it out sooner rather than later.
  • :check: Chains of Mephistopheles - The cutting edge draw denial card, as with this on the field the only source of hand size increase becomes your draw for the turn. Gets sidestepped by Necropotence, like all the other draw control options brought up later. Uba Mask puts on a pretty close impression of this, and is even meaner in some ways because it also mauls the draw step. You should probably run that instead.
  • Deafening Silence - Oh wow! A Rule of Law for one! Hold your horses, fella, this only chokes noncreatures. We're made of noncreatures, so for us this is essentially a full version of the effect, while your stereotypical power appropriate opponent will still probably get in a couple spells a go. Not the best. Reach for this in a spellslinger-heavy meta, or if you're crazy and want to take Daxos to some higher power tables.
  • :check: Eidolon of Rhetoric - Rule of Law in creature form. Seeing how the effect is bonkers in this deck, there's no reason to not run him. The fact he's got four toughness is also pretty handy at dodging the occasional bolt.
  • Larceny - We're not going wide enough to make this as dumb as it has the potential to be. Parting with five mana for this doesn't help either, we're probably better off sticking with more reliable options.
  • Mind Slash - Paying four mana to repeatedly eat creatures instant speed (Attrition) is serviceable, but the same mana commitment for a single shot of targeted sorcery-speed discard is less enticing.
  • Mindslicer - A lovely hand gutter, but he's not an enchantment and there's not enough sacrifice outlet density to ensure he'd work. Having control over when his effect fires is critical, as he doesn't work well as a defence-duty rattlesnake blocker.
  • Myojin of Night's Reach - A one-shot no-questions-asked asymmetric hand gut, typically hobbles the opponents enough to let you get a solid leg up on the game before they stabilise. If you open him in the starting grip, the plan becomes to rush him out pronto, and there's no shame in tutoring for mana rocks to make it happen. A bit of a letdown if encountered later, especially if the rest of the deck got some discard going already.
  • Necrogen Mists - Whilst it may be lacking the wonderful random aspect of Bottomless Pit, it's still a card dribble that depletes resources over time. That's fewer cards for everybody to play, fewer ways to answer you, and more advantage gained through spirit tokens.
  • :check: Oppression - Don't forget to play this as the last spell of the turn you play it. People like playing spells, and this forces them to assess what to pitch with frightening regularity and may lead to some misplays in your favour. Or, if you dungoof, some misplays in someone else's favour. This card is only second to Thoughtrender Lamia for discard-based disruption, as even a draw-happy shell is constantly gutting itself to do things.
  • Painful Quandary - Take the prior effect, add two more mana to make it asymmetric as per current Magic design, and let the foes make a choice - lose five life unless you drop a card. People tend to be very light-hearted with their life totals, and may only realise quite a bit down the line that they shouldn't have just handed out all those life points to the Quandary triggers. On the other hand, if they choose to pitch cards, they stifle themselves like under Oppression. Wonderfully lose-lose.
  • :check: Rule of Law - Everybody only gets one spell a turn now. May not seem like a big deal at first, but it adds up over time, and even the hyperactive Ux player juggling instants in other players' turns like nobody's business will probably want to play more than one spell at some point as well. Just about every deck is wrenched by this to some degree... whilst you just keep pumping out fat spirits to run people over with.
  • :check: Spirit of the Labyrinth - A modern-day recreation of Chains of Mephistopheles on a hatebear. The hatebear is, regrettably, woefully soft to a ridiculous number of things (being a 3/1 gets you killed quite a bit easier than a 1/4). Still, the combo with widely understood casting impediments is real, keeping people's options at bay. Doesn't get along with Mesa Enchantress, but you can just hold whichever one you didn't play in your hand for a change of pace when the first one gets answered. Keep in mind Necropotence gets around this limitation.
  • Uba Mask - Hello there, fine individual, once the turn you drew the card in is over you shall permanently lose access to said card. Impedes hand size development like a boss, the discard pieces quickly slide way up the annoyance scale, and Skybind in the draw step can keep them off what they drew if you'd rather they didn't get it. Also doesn't hurt that Necropotence is completely unfazed by this as well, just like the other options of a similar nature mentioned earlier.
5. Card Draw/Filtering
Don't shake a stick at actually drawing some cards yourself, or manipulating your topdeck for maximum gain. The deck's quite good at this "shuffling" thing, so the Tops of the world do just fine here.
It gets the cardboards
  • Arguel's Blood Fast - A handy card dispenser that can be used to refuel whenever, including after a surprise wrath that left you with a lot of open mana that you held up for interaction or body creation. The fact it's the cheapest to play of the Greed variants leads to a marginally smoother early game experience (although this class of effect is largely a late-game ordeal), and the panic button Diamond Valley flip could help you stay afloat the one time it ever happens.
  • Azor's Gateway - The pre-flip form is an unassuming exile-loot engine. Smooth out any stage of the game, cashing in any silver bullets that may be unneeded, whenever a stray bit of mana hangs around. And if you get it to flip, the cries of geegmas will come pouring in. Not bad for something that comes down for two mana. It should be noted that the feelbad when this gets offed close to flip time is soul-crushing though.
  • Disciple of Bolas - The window of opportunity where he shines the brightest is very narrow, as you need to have a fat disposable token. If you have a fat disposable token, you're probably doing okay.
  • :check: Doom Whisperer - A surprisingly flexible bugger, can either function as a faux-Top in more established game/board states or offer pretty deep dig in dire times. Gets silly with lifegain, albeit possibly in a slightly winmore fashion. The bits of the deck that can reach the graveyard don't mind either.
  • Erebos, God of the Dead - The fact that this Greed variant comes on a cute anti-lifegain hatebear body makes surprisingly little difference, and the body part isn't super easy to get online.
  • Graveborn Muse - Daxos is a zombie, so this is essentially a double Phyrexian Arena. Splash in Agent of Erebos and it gets tripled, but there's no way to go higher than that without outside help.
  • Greed - The fact it's cheaper to activate than Erebos/Blood Fast makes this preferable in the late game scenarios where these cards really come online. However, as a trade-off, that's literally all this thing does.
  • :check: Mesa Enchantress - Granting cantrips to a third of the deck is pretty good in terms of keeping the grip topped up with options. Gets kind of silly with Cloudstone Curio or Flickering Ward. Plus hey, what's an enchantress deck without an enchantress?
  • :check: Necropotence - I mean, it's Necropotence. Keep yourself constantly topped up, whether you have a draw lock down or not, and if you dip too low life-wise you've hopefully drawn some way of getting some life gain online. The fact it's an enchantment is just gravy. Wonderful, fitting, experience-granting gravy.
  • :check: Phyrexian Arena - Draw an extra card at the cost of one life each turn. Simple and awesome. Just about every deck that runs black and isn't lightning-fast can be seen sporting a copy of this little ditty.
  • Read the Bones - A solid draw spell, but the list evolved towards continuous card economy value. If you were to insert a cheap one-shot, this would probably be the preferable one.
  • :check: Sensei's Divining Top - A virtual card advantage superbeast, especially given the amount of shuffling in the deck and the forecast length of the games. A cool way to sink excess mana trimmings (including during pre-Daxos early game awkwardness) in return for added planning depth. Works quite nicely with the discard elements of the list in a vacuum, unlike Scroll Rack.
  • Skullclamp - Good ole 'clamp provides more value in this shell than one would actually expect. When on one experience counter, dispenses as many 2WB Divinations as you need, when higher up just slam it on a blocker and let it ride. Nevertheless, it's not quite as efficient at netting the cardboard as it is in a more sacrifice-heavy deck, often leaving a lot of the payoff decisions to your foes.
  • Underworld Connections - This is not strictly crappier than Phyrexian Arena as sometimes you can untap the land with Deserted Temple! Okay, fine, that's grasping at straws. This mainly serves as a way to dismiss inferior draw options, kind of how Diabolic Revelation safeguards against various tutoring jank.
  • Yawgmoth, Thran Physician - Looks like a hell of an include at first glance. Then you remember Greed exists and you don't run that, and this effectively costs three mana per card. True, you can use it to slurp cards in response to a wipe, but it seems quite inefficient otherwise. The proliferate is not too shabby either, but it's ultimately a mixture of two okay modes on a four drop non-enchantment. Big Ole Raz this is not.
6. Spot Removal
Orzhov is incredible at removing things, and removing things is good. Comes in enchantment flavour too!
"Watoosh" - Nondescript Wahey Planeswalker, 2016
  • Act of Authority - Perma-exiles an artifact or enchantment on ETB, and sticks around to boost devotion/enchantment count. Can be passed on if something REALLY needs to go, or help dismantle a fort as you got for a lethal blow, or do disgusting things with Cloudstone Curio.
  • :check: Anguished Unmaking - The gold standard in non-cEDH removal, three mana, instant speed, hits anything that isn't a land, and it exiles. Well, the life loss of three isn't ideal, but it's something that can be survived. Ridiculous card, and sure to be a staple in anything WBx for years to come.
  • Attrition - Sacrificing dudes for repeated removal is a great deal when your commander is a dude dispenser. Makes for a fantastic on-board rattlesnake, stopping people from messing with your stuff by threatening to mow their board as a thank you.
  • :check: Aura of Silence - A multi-purpose bugger that can act as taxation or a one-off nuke. A surprisingly large number of decks will be somewhat perturbed by the former, as just about everyone has some artifacts/enchantments they want to get out.
  • Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim - Looks like a wonderful value engine at first glance, as she can gain you life and then turn bodies into Vindicates. Now, take a step back and assess the condition on the Vindicate. Sinking six mana (as you need the body) isn't that bad, but you have to be at 50. This is not trivial to do as the shell isn't particularly lifegain-centric. As such, you're probably going to have to expend a massive chunk of resources to crawl to 50 off her Diamond Valleys. Not ideal.
  • Cast Out - It may lack the abusive wording of the original Oblivion Ring, but the flash makes it reasonable. Combine with Cloudstone Curio to potentially reset the removal to a more needed target at instant speed.
  • Council's Judgment - A wonderfully dumb political spell that can end up generating tremendous value and sneak around hexproof. However, it is sorcery speed. Seeing how I'm enchantment tribal, if my removal is sorcery speed then it's an enchantment. The non-enchantment options have to be well-costed instants. Maybe it'll worm its way into the deck at some point...
  • Darksteel Mutation - Any problem creature becomes an irrelevant insect. Great tool to lock down commanders, and responds to Open the Armory as well if you've got that toolbox going on. Note the interaction with Doomwake Giant - whilst it may be desirable to eat a fat Eldrazi, you're not going to get as much value as hoped for if it goes on a commander (as the commander instantly dies, and the goal is to keep him out of reach of the player).
  • Despark - The low mana cost, the limited range is surprisingly bad. You'd think that the high CMC stuff would be what you'd want to blow removal on, but quite often it's some cheap utility/engine that this won't touch.
  • :check: Generous Gift - Beast Within is a shoe-in in anything running Gx. This is a white version of that, and similarly shoe-in.
  • :check: Grasp of Fate - Whilst the wording might be tame, the card is tremendous value. You hit a thing per player, so you're likely to amass a super fat amount of value under this enchantment, and then you can use the value belonging to other players to deter people from blowing the Grasp up. It usually works.
    Why mad, player with most land win game, I lose now
  • Oblivion Ring - The problem with O-Ring is that it doesn't handle the problem in a permanent manner, and if removed the threat comes right back. It's a single target, so you can't politics your way around it like Grasp of Fate. This hurts particularly bad if this happens through some sort of Austere Command. However, the screwy wording makes the thing stay exiled when you die, and allows for Cloudstone Curio shenanigans.
  • :check: Path to Exile - No, you may not have that creature, but you can have a Rampant Growth instead. Not much to say about this one-mana treasure that hasn't been said a thousand times before.
  • Prison Term - The possibility to flip this onto new creatures makes this one of the finer Arrest variants. However, commanders are better kept down with Darksteel Mutation, and everything else is better removed in a more permanent fashion.
  • Profane Procession - While it may cost a bit more to activate than Attrition, it fires in a chump-independent manner, exiles, doesn't care about the blackness or lack thereof of the target, and once it flips you get to make active use of what you got rid of. This makes it act as a bit of an insurance policy for things going south, making it good for the deck's overall well-being.
  • Quarantine Field - Would require a tremendous mana investment to get Grasp of Fate tier value, and even then it's likely to not be as symmetrical (as some people are naturally more threatening than others) and more likely to get removed. Do not want.
  • Seal of Cleansing - A really good value piece of artifact/enchantment removal, but I've currently got enough in the 99 (Aura of Silence plus all the hit-all stuff).
  • Seal of Doom - While the same old recursion shtick as always can make this be a wonderful value house, there's only so much creature removal a deck can hold. It was in the list for a long time and always performed fine.
  • Soul Snare - It's cheaper than the above, but it comes with the drawback of only hitting creatures attacking you. Potent rattlesnake? Yes. But sometimes things need to go boom and waiting for them to attack you isn't going to do you any favours. Also, you'll still eat lovely, lovely annihilator triggers and things of that nature.
  • :check: Swords to Plowshares - Giving a land too generous for you? Fine, here's an even more "fair" option where you just hand out some life instead. Same story as Path, ridiculously good, run anywhere Wx.
  • Teysa, Orzhov Scion - While the value looks real, take a step back once more. Our bodies cost three mana to make and it would take one hell of a resource expenditure to get things going with this lady, even including the 1/1 flyers on the rebound. Decks built around her make better use of her unquestionable goodness.
  • :check: Utter End - Two blocks before there was Anguished Unmaking, there was this. And this is still pretty good and lives in the 99.
  • Vindicate - Both Anguished Unmaking and Utter End are blatant heirs to this. And then Generous Gift happened.
7. Wraths
Sometimes stuff needs to go boom. Often this is followed by you rebuilding at a disproportionate pace.
And then the calls of geegmas came pouring in
  • Austere Command - The flexibility is delightful, and I'd imagine myself most often using it to eat big-CMC creatures and artifacts. However, Merciless Eviction is a similar sort of effect that exiles, and you can only run so many wipes.
  • Consulate Crackdown - Vandalblast is a no-brain include in the vast majority of decks with red in them. This is white's Oblivion Ring-flavoured take on the idea. Usually the wiping will be asymmetric, but at the same time it's quite probable that the deck that got hurt the most by this happening will have the hardest time removing it. You can usually politics a bit to keep it alive, similar to Grasp of Fate.
  • Dusk // Dawn - Daxos is a bear, so he gets to live through this mass destruction of everything hill giant and above. If your spirits were caught in the explosion, you can rebuild quickly. The aftermath thing may be value every now and then as well. Slightly preferable to the other effects of this kind (Retribution of the Meek, Citywide Bust, Elspeth, Sun's Champion) due to the more stringent criteria, but largely outclassed by Slaughter the Strong.
  • :check: Extinguish All Hope - A card that feels tailor made for this deck. True, the wrath lacks a no-regeneration clause as it's a new offering, but it still usually wins games on the spot when used as an alpha strike enabler. Obviously can also be used in less advantageous board states to avoid getting melted.
  • :check: Merciless Eviction - Mass exile is even more effective than a mass destroy, and the wide array of choices mean that you'll usually find a way to make this hurt the table quite a bit. The fact the list doesn't crutch on rocks quite as hard as it used to means that the artifact mode isn't quite as suicidal as it may seem.
  • :check: Rout - You get a Wrath of God for 5 which you can optionally flash in for 7. The flashing is a very valid line of play here as we often hold mana to interact with people that we can subsequently convert into spirits if interaction turned out to be unneeded. Incredible for punishing (or, better yet, following up expertly baited) horribly overextended plays out of nowhere.
  • Single Combat - If undisrupted, you scrape the board clean, stop it from rebuilding, and have dibs on poking people with spirits largely unimpeded if desired. If someone pops Daxos with this on the stack, that's you keeping a spirit token, missing a turn of experience buildup no matter what, and everyone else having priority in rebuilding. I don't live life dangerously enough to try this.
  • :check: Slaughter the Strong - Guess what natively comes with four or less power? Daxos. The most ruthless board unclogger from all the "big dudes must die" options. If encountered early, feel free to take a while to maximise mana expenditure on experience-granting enchantments and then blow up the world at minimal tempo loss to you.
  • :check: Toxic Deluge - Probably the best damn wrath in the format. The life loss is not ideal, but the variable degree of debuffing makes up for that. Eats all sorts of indestructible nonsense, and can potentially be used later on as a faux-Extinguish All Hope to leave your swarm standing. Plus hey, three mana.
  • Tragic Arrogance - The beauty of life is that you get to make all the choices, but the fact that it gobbles up your enchantment state is typically far from ideal.
  • Winds of Abandon - The ultimate alpha setup, as for six the foes are all ripe for the killing while your board is completely untouched. However, you'd best hope you're actually killing them this turn, as otherwise those extra lands you just handed out will probably help them get back into the game quickly.
  • Wrath of God - An oldie but a goodie. Good old unconditional wiping of the board clean for a very sensible cost of 4.
8. Non-Removal Answers
All sorts of proactive protection, tempo hits and hate cards that don't really fit into the other categories. Miscellaneous tech ho!
Daxos is not home right now, can I take a message?
  • :check: Authority of the Consuls - The value this pulls in over the course of a game is incredible. The CIPT clause makes it more difficult to put up defences, hoses hasty beats, and even incidentally turns off some infinite combos. The life gain is nothing to sneeze at either. And all this for a meager one mana!
  • :check: Blind Obedience - Costs one more mana than Authority of the Consuls to tweak the lifegain mechanic and add a CIPT clause on artifacts. The extort is nothing to sneeze at either, in particular if Bolas Rock comes out to play. Pretty solid low-cost utility.
  • Contamination - The commander is a token engine, so it must be great to run this massively fair and fun card, no? No. You'd essentially need to go heavy on the rocks to sustain token production under the lock without dwindling your board away, and that opens up a whole slew of problems. Plus, it shuts off your big mana lands. As such, you'd have to pursue an entirely different game plan.
  • :check: Flickering Ward - Protection from a colour is a woefully underrated thing, if placed correctly you turn off the most likely avenue of spot removal and/or enable Daxos to act as a fearless blocker. And if a wrath hits the table, you just soak it right back to your hand. Or, if you're bored, you cast it over and over again to build "Daxos storm", which can get silly if you also happen to have Skybind. But what doesn't get silly with Skybind, really. Or you can draw a bunch of cards with Mesa Enchantress. Good times are likely to be had.
  • :check: Greater Auramancy - A literal lightning rod of all targeted enchantment interaction until dealt with. True, it does nothing if you get wiped, but forcing your opponents to expend some of their limited supply of spot removal on this is not too shabby for two mana. Gets particularly funny with Karmic Justice or a bit of recursion.
  • Humility - Whop it down at an inopportune moment for you and you lose the game. Whop it down at an inopportune moment for the others and you likely just won said game. Turns off a ludicrous number of things, including Daxos, so if you want to run it you should probably build around it heavily by including more token generation in your 99. Might be worth your while, but I feel it belongs more in equipment-based decks or contraptions that go super wide.
  • :check: Karmic Justice - Effectively a similar removal lightning rod to Greater Auramancy, coming with the upside of punishing your foes for destruction effects. A lot of enchantment wipes and abusable nonsense like Aura Shards tends to destroy rather than exile. Oh no! ;)
  • Kismet - Authority of the Consuls/Blind Obedience continued, this time with lands as well! Every now and then I entertain the thought of running this in the 99, and I have a sixth edition copy (current rules wording) waiting for the time I follow through.
  • Leyline of the Void - I feel I'm set for grave hate with Agent of Erebos. If you feel you need more, slot this in.
  • Martyr's Cause - A sacrifice outlet that prevents damage. Pretty good at neutering fireballs or making Daxos not die to Keranos, but explicitly requires bodies to sacrifice to function. Righteous Aura handles the non creature-shield part of the deal just fine in a sacrifice-independent manner.
  • Mother of Runes - The fact the ability can shield any creature is nice, the fact it's once per turn cycle, does nothing against wraths and is prone to summoning sickness is not.
  • Nevermore - Proactively shut off any sort of nastiness. Typically it gets aimed at a particularly painful commander, but I've shut off all sorts of spells with it.
  • Rest in Peace - All graveyards go poof forever. Lovely until you realise this turns off your recursion options, which can turn the game around out of nowhere. Might still be worth your while if grave decks are super prevalent in your meta.
  • :check: Righteous Aura - For a white and two life, anything coming your way gets absorbed. Turn off voltrons, fireballs, even the occasional too-fat swinger. Just setting this down discourages a lot of stuff from coming your way, and on top of that it's more versatile than a typical pillow fort deterrent.
  • Solemnity - Aha, a way to stop all the counter shenanigans happening in commander. Including your own, while you're running an experience counter commander. Well then, nothing to see here, move along.
  • Stony Silence - Handily shut off all artifacts... including your mana rocks. Daxos is mana hungry, and the rocks that are in the list do heavy lifting. No touchy.
  • :check: Teferi's Protection - What the hell is this even and where does this fit? A one of a kind bizarro cardboard that leads to wonky interaction with everything from Cyclonic Rift to Exsanguinate. Holding up three mana for this will make you feel about as safe as you ever will playing this list, and then if it turns out to not be necessary and you're not paranoid about Rift you can just sink the mana into a body.
9. Combat-Related
General category for everything that makes it less pleasant to swing into you or makes you swing better into others.
You paying 21 per attacker?
  • :check: Anointed Procession - Twice the spirit friends, twice the fun! Surprisingly more than a mere token doubler, as it grants an unexpected amount of flexibility with play/body sequencing in the early game. Plus hey, doubling any future army generation also scales pretty well into the late game. Also works with Smothering Tithe, a fact I may have forgotten a few times.
  • Aurification - Disincentivises swinging into you as the creatures become walls... until this is removed. Which is not all that hard to do. Not the sharpest tool in the shed.
  • :check: Cathars' Crusade - While often associated with extreme go-wide strategies, the Crusade also offers quite a bit of utility in this shell. The ability to generate meaningful amounts of power regardless of experience counter state works great as both an offensive and defensive tool, helping you close out games early or get back on the horse after a shaky Daxos hate start. Stock up on the tokens though, the logistics are a bit on the wild side due to our incremental body generation.
  • Cover of Darkness - And for my next trick, my spirit army will get fear. Not ideal, as black and artifact (even black artifact!) creatures exist, but very solid for a two-drop nevertheless. Slot it in if you want help with connecting.
  • Crackdown - A wonderful lid to slam down onto a tapped board. Out of nowhere, all that glorious EDH fat is frozen shut as you retain access to your wall of 8/8s as they're part white. True, there may be some other part-white stuff at the table, but this is likely to heavily skew the board state in your favour when it resolves, and it works together wonderfully with Authority of the Consuls. Even if played on curve with nothing around, it acts as means to persuade the EDH fat to stay untapped, i.e. not attacking. That's still pretty good for you.
  • Ethereal Absolution - A mini Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite with some grave hate tacked on because yes. Brutal in Humility builds, but too costly for our operation here.
  • :check: Ghostly Prison - Pillow fort is another soft form of stax, as your foes have to actively expend resources to try to damage you. Two mana per swinger may not seem like much, but it does add up across most stages of the game and your opponents may find their game plan warped by this tax if they choose to go after you. The fact it's a three drop doesn't hurt either.
  • Gossamer Chains - The fact it keeps bouncing itself to your hand to be replayed is lovely, but the trade-off comes in the narrowed window of potency when compared to more "global" pillow fort effects or even something like Righteous Aura.
  • Koskun Falls - The original Ghostly Prison from Homelands. See, Homelands was useful! The tapping of a creature in the upkeep is an unfortunate cost to have, though, as this falls off and dies if somebody wraths the board.
  • Marchesa's Decree - Replaces itself, and then sends the table on a goose chase to get value. In theory, that is. In practice, whenever I got this out I'd get continually punched even sans crown. Probably a local quirk. One way or another, you need to do more at four mana to merit consideration.
  • Mystic Barrier - This can sometimes handily wrench game plans of opposing decks by forcing them out of where they want to attack (Marchesa comes to mind) and/or protecting you from things you don't want to get hit by. Other times, you have fat armies on your left and right. Its inconsistency makes it not merit the five mana price tag.
  • :check: No Mercy - The main leg up that this has over Aurification is that the creatures die on impact. True, it does nothing against indestructibility or a one-shot alpha, but on the whole it's a far more solid option to set down as just removing the enchantment doesn't fix the effects it's had. Likely to underperform in higher power settings where chip damage is less common.
  • :check: Reconnaissance - A lovely little combat-related mess, grants all your stuff vigilance as you can pull the guys who deal damage out of combat after damage but before combat is over. Also, you can remove disadvantageously blocked fellows from combat before they fall. And all of this wonderful offensive/defensive nonsense, useful at any stage of the game, for one mana!
  • :check: Sphere of Safety - Takes the idea Ghostly Prison had and knocks it out of the park. Don't forget that your spirits also count for the total. I routinely manage to slam down enough enchantment total that people physically cannot afford to swing into me. Or if I'm not quite so lucky (yet), the tax typically is so fat out of the gate that it heavily maims their entire turn to try to do something to me with even one creature.
  • :check: True Conviction - This card wins games almost as well as Thoughtrender Lamia. All of a sudden the spirit horde slams twice as hard and gains you ridiculous amounts of life. The first game I drew it after putting it in, I was on single digits against an opponent on three digits. I momentarily stabilised and two turns later he was dead while I was the one on triple digits. I don't run much life gain or plain pump, but this is the best of the best and can do things beyond belief even when played on a modest board of small spirits.
10. Recursion
Pick up the fallen pieces and keep going like nothing happened.
Balance Level - Urza Block
  • Animate Dead - The best of the reanimation enchantment variants that responds to Open the Armory. Mentioning it here as that's a good toolbox to maintain in a Daxos deck, and you may desire a reanimation aura.
  • Argivian Find - A one-shot recursion of any artifact or enchantment back to your hand for a measly investment of one mana. Reasonable if I say so myself.
  • Auramancer - Lose some range, gain some CMC, but also pick up a body. Compensate with added value with some outside help, as it works well with both recursion and the standard "engines" (Skybind, Cloudstone Curio).
  • :check: Brought Back - If encountered early, line up a Rampant Growth (or two!) by popping this after you fetch. If encountered later, just hold it as a shield for any key pieces propping up your contraption. What a flexible card.
  • Debtors' Knell - Repeatedly probe graveyards for choice creature cuts. Once upon a time, a guy had Winter Orb going with a ton of mana rocks and was drawing loads off a Jin Gitface. Another guy had a Mindslicer in his graveyard. I repeatedly gunned down the Jin with an Attrition, keeping him off cards, until he couldn't do it anymore. I then rode some other sweet graveyard value ponies to victory. Nothing else in this list, or most of my other lists, would have won that game. Whilst this may not be as game-ending as its CMC would like it to be, the steady Daxos-independent trickle of value is a decent thing to have access to in the 99.
  • Emeria Shepherd - A member of the general Sun Titan family, with its recursion being triggered by landfall. While not quite as reliable as the Titan on her own, a number of synergy pieces peppered in through the 99 make her take off and do all sorts of fun things, be it whipping out Rule of Law at an inopportune time during an opponent's turn, buffering your hand with discard fodder, or just being able to reach the high-CMC game-ending haymakers that the original Titan can't touch.
  • :check: Kaya's Ghostform - A lovely cheap shield against anything that may happen to your dude, exile included. You get the con of it being an aura, but most of the time you were going to put it on Daxos anyway. Not a bad way to get a super cheap experience counter.
  • Necromancy - If I ever add a one-off reanimation spell, it will probably be this due to potential instant-speed shenanigans.
  • :check: Phyrexian Reclamation - It comes down for one mana and makes sure Daxos never costs more than five. Simple as that. The fact it can recur other fallen creatures every now and then is just gravy.
  • Open the Vaults - A more balanced version of the card below, I'm not quite as keen on it even if it also returns my artifacts as others also get to have their stuff back.
  • :check: Replenish - Let's not beat around the bush, stuff will land in your graveyard. The enchantments can be countered, destroyed, discarded, milled, whatever. And then you land a single glorious Replenish and they all fly back onto the field. Only in Urza Block, ladies and germs. If it resolves, your chances of losing the game dramatically decrease, and if you have constellation stuff in the graveyard or on the field you may have just sealed the deal right then and there. Holding it for a fat graveyard is not always the play - I've used it to literally just get back a Darksteel Mutation, and that won me the game too.
  • Silent Sentinel - The fact it doesn't care about CMC is lovely, but the fact you have to wait for an attack isn't. Sun Titan and Emeria Shepherd are both preferable.
  • Starfield of Nyx - It's a trap! Due to layers, this nopes all your tokens. Even if it didn't, you don't want to animate all your important enchantments as it's far easier to sweep the board from creatures. Stay away! Unless you're consciously running it to do disgusting things with Grave Pact variants! But then how do you win! Exclamation point!
  • Sun Titan - Not much can be said about this guy that hasn't been said already. Works well with a lot of the discard/fetching/value present in the list, and even picks up Serra's Sanctum if somebody cracks a Strip Mine. His only con is that he can't do anything about a fallen Skybind, Thoughtrender Lamia, True Conviction or any other high cost game ender, whilst some of the inferior options can. He more than makes up for it by putting on a weird ramp face with fetches though. Served diligently for many years.
  • Treasury Thrull - Swinging with a non-vigilant 4/4 is considerably worse than swinging with a vigilant 6/6, let alone a flying 4/4. You're going to have trouble keeping this fellow alive to get maximum value out of him.
11. Lands
At the foundation of every reasonably playable deck sits a reasonably playable mana base. We're missing out on a lot of good lands as we're an enemy pairing, but you can still piece together something pretty sensible. My build runs a Scrubland and all the fetches as I've gradually pulled out all the stops for a pet deck that's been around since 2015, but for the longest time I made do with a setup that topped out on a Godless Shrine and Fetid Heath. Splurge on as many big mana pieces as you can.
"Wow so OP ban pls" - bad guy playing Gaea's Cradle, 2016
  • Bojuka Bog - It slides in, somebody's graveyard slides out. Don't forget you can re-use it with Skybind and Cloudstone Curio (although the latter is admittedly pretty shoddy).
  • :check: Cabal Coffers - The trick to running Coffers in a non-mono-black list is to not treat it as a land drop per se. That seems to work, somehow, and Coffers becomes this weird sort of acceleration or filtering play you make when needed or you run out of other lands. Getting three swamps, enough to make this effectively tap for one, isn't too hard with the duals, fetches and basic acquisition. And after that, if you land Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, things get funny.
  • Caves of Koilos - While being optional makes this better than City of Brass variants, I found myself using the colourless mode a lot and this became a better nonbasic once one rolled around. Easy include for mana bases without a fetch focus.
  • :check: Command Tower - 2+ colour commander deck? Check. Even more auto-include than Sol Ring.
  • Concealed Courtyard - Drops the ball the split second you have enough lands to cast Daxos. If anything, we're more likely to stomach a tap land in the very early turns, and this is going to actively get in the way at any later stage of the game. No thank you.
  • :check: Deserted Temple - A tried and true mono-black staple, where it untaps Cabal Coffers (and sometimes Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx) for stupid mana. Gee, what could it untap here? We have both of those, and to top it off we have Serra's Sanctum. So maybe we should run it? You're a freaking genius, you idiot!
  • Eiganjo Castle - Incidentally protects Daxos every now and then, comes in untapped, so worth a slot. There are only so many good utility lands, so worth considering if the basic count isn't too endangered.
  • :check: Fabled Passage - Given the deck's low levels of early game activity, pretty much the only truly bad time to play this is as a third land, impeding Daxos that turn. Yay, another fetch for various shuffling/Crucible action!
  • :check: Fetid Heath - An unsung hero in the land department, can convert a mana of one colour to two mana of the other colour. Works solidly with Skybind and Serra's Sanctum as it turns a Sanctum white into two black and you can flicker both the Sanctum and the Heath away from the spirit ETB triggers. Army in a can mode is go, even if no other big mana is present! Thankfully relatively affordable, as the enemy representatives of the cycle got reprinted.
  • Flagstones of Trokair - Cute minor land destruction protection, but we're not running any shenanigans that would enable it to be truly silly. No need to dig into the basic count for this.
  • :check: Godless Shrine - The flexibility is nice. You can slide it in tapped if the opportunity presents itself, or shock yourself if you need the mana right here, right now. But you know that already, shocks are everywhere.
  • :check: Hall of Heliod's Generosity - An Academy Ruins for enchantments, offering recursion of key pieces at the relatively low opportunity cost of a colourless land. Skybind will never die! Unless you exile it, I guess. But then does it even count as dying? Still, run this bad boy.
  • :check: Isolated Chapel - Another unsung hero in two-colour decks, what a wonderful land cycle. They lose some shine as more colours come into the equation, but at two they're perfect. The shadow lands with the inverse of this ability don't do nearly as much for me.
  • Karn's Bastion - Proliferate can hit experience counters, which is pretty cool. However, if things are working, you'll have other stuff to do. If things are not working, you can likely spend that mana on trying to get back on track.
  • :check: Marsh Flats - Run the fetches if you have them, especially if you have the fetchable duals and Crucible of Worlds to go along with them. The mana base can be perfectly functional without them though, they do improve the experience a bit but are more of a vanity item than anything.
    I'm swimming in mana! Whoaoaoah!
  • :check: Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx - We tend to develop a fat board state with heavy devotion, so Nykthos is a natural match. Complements Serra's Sanctum wonderfully, as you can use some of the Sanctum's white mana to activate this for black devotion.
  • Orzhov Basilica - Karoos are one of the better tap land cycles, but come with nonzero risk. True, you can spin it as card advantage, but they're asking for trouble. One Strip Mine, or even just an opportunistic bounce effect later, the tempo slug will be painfully apparent.
  • :check: Prismatic Vista - A Marsh Flats that can't get duals. Still pretty good, and works just as well with Crucible of Worlds.
  • :check: Reflecting Pool - Incredible in 2+ colour. This is 2+ colour. Hence stick it in here. True, it can't offer you a colour of mana you can't make, and this will occasionally rear its head, but most of the time you'll have at least one land granting white or black respectively.
  • :check: Scrubland - Let the urge to make a dad joke about Daxos being a scrub commander flow through you. I mean, like all the other fat money cards on the list, if you have it, by all means put it in. Nevertheless, this is about as vanity as it gets, with very little functional return for your monetary investment. I guess it makes Coffers come online a bit easier sans Urborg?
  • :check: Serra's Sanctum - The one most broken beyond belief land in the deck. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx has the decency to at least require an upfront investment of two mana to do something, Cabal Coffers is a story unto itself. This doesn't care. This just taps for bonkers amounts of mana and things get stupid. Things get even more stupid with Skybind, of course, but that's the norm. If you don't have one, and you're drawn to the enchantment side of the force, consider getting one. Unfortunately, the reserved list buyouts have driven this fellow's price tag way out there.
  • Silent Clearing - Daxos likes mana, you're not saccing this for cards any time soon. As such, this is pretty much just a City of Brass variant, and we're not running those as the game goes long and the life adds up.
  • Strip Mine - Pop goes the land weasel. While there's the potential for recursion with Crucible of Worlds, the lack of extra land drops per turn makes this reasonably safe from abuse. Nevertheless, the ability to neuter problematic lands is a good thing to have available somewhere within the 99.
  • :check: Tainted Field - The perks of being in black is that you get this neat unconventional dual cycle. Only comes online when there's a swamp around, but there are nine of those, seven fetches to get them, and an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. Netting one swamp is far easier than netting a load to make Cabal Coffers work, and we run that bad boy, so the overwhelming majority of the time you won't be stuck with this making colourless.
  • Temple of Silence - Turns out scrying is a pretty okay thing to do. However, the deck does not like its lands tapped. You should still considering slotting this in if you strip out all the vanity lands, as this is up there as far as tap lands go.
  • :check: Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - Everything is swamps now. If you've got a Weathered Wayfarer, Sword of Rampant Growth or something, it's fine to shift your focus to Plains now and rush out a party invite for Cabal Coffers.
  • :check: Vault of the Archangel - As True Conviction taught us, lifelink is a really good thing to have. Deathtouch is also a good thing to have. Let's put them both on a utility land then.

Piloting the Deck

Deck Strategy in Shellnut
  • The majority of the deck's games end on the back of spirit tokens generated by Daxos.
  • The spirits become permanently "anthemed" whenever you cast an enchantment, allowing you to focus your actions on all sorts of proactive and reactive lines of play. At the same time, your game-ending inevitability softly clicks up in the background.
  • Repeat after me - mana wins games. The more mana you have, the more inevitable your game plan becomes and the easier you bounce back from disruption. There's no shame in popping a Demonic Tutor for Serra's Sanctum or Cabal Coffers. It's gonna pay off.
  • You're in it for the long haul, and you know it. Take it slow, slide under the radar. Don't pull a turn three Skybind unless you can feel the aura of the Gods of Magic shining down upon you. And even then, check three times.
  • However, even though your game plan involves the turns likely going into double digits, you're not entirely useless in the early game. Hurl removal judiciously, earning some brownie points from the rest of the table.
  • If you get your paws on a draw, non-Thoughtrender Lamia discard or Rule of Law variant enchantment, aim to get them out ASAP. Not quite "before Daxos" quick usually, but quick enough to hopefully catch everybody with their pants down and make adjusting a bit more difficult. They also tend to bait removal, making follow-up plays more secure.
  • Daxos is just a bear, it's easy to kill him. If you smell a game where he's gonna die time and time again, try to get some protection for him out of the 99. If that's not gonna work, sculpt your mana base, play Daxos and immediately cast an enchantment without passing priority. That'll set up a counter to milk for value once everybody whittles down their options a bit.
  • If there's something permanently messing up Daxos's day (think Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Linvala, Keeper of Silence or something), you're WB, you have removal, use it. There are quite a few answers to stuff in this deck.
  • Only go for a game-warping power play when you have the mana real estate to support it. There's usually no point to chasing out Skybind or Thoughtrender Lamia when you just used everything on your board to make them happen. Someone will kill them and you will cry. And it will be all your fault.
  • Big Ole Raz and Bolas Rock are a slightly different class of end game play, as they work nicely with a built up spirit horde rather than a particularly swole mana base. The former will crunch on them and find a ridiculous setup, while the latter will hopefully find some lifelink while shredding through the 99 to fuel itself harder. A spirit horde is not exclusive with big mana, as Serra's Sanctum exists, but keep your body count in the back of your mind when you see these crop up in your hand.
  • It's easy to maximise damage output from your spirits - use all your mana to make them a turn ahead, and then play actual enchantments to anthem them up on your turn and swing with higher impact. Just a very basic thing to keep in mind if you don't explicitly need an enchantment down at a given moment.
  • Getting wrathed is not ideal, but the easily accessible spirit swarm lets you rebuild to some extent. True, losing all your value enchantments to Austere Command is going to hurt, but you still have the power to churn out bodies on tap. The thing that hurts the most is mana denial.
  • Given the slow, incremental nature of the spirit growth and the largely unthreatening enchantment plays, your wins often feel like luck to the rest of the table. Do not ruin their illusion. Repeatedly ride the scary decks' coattails to victory.

1. Early Game (Turns ~1-4)

Darn it, I'm starting to run out of big mana lands to fetch
Before you begin playing, you need a hand of some sort. The deck isn't sculpted for crutch reliance on anything in particular, so the main thing you have to pay attention to is mana. You should ideally have three lands in the starting grip, or two and a cheap rock. Three mana is where you become alive as that's how much Daxos costs, whilst around five to six is a good amount to have in the early mid game to start working on things. You also want some enchantments, obviously, of the low to medium CMC variety. As awesome as True Conviction is, if that's how you plan to get Daxos his first counter then you're gonna have a bad time most games. If you open a flexible hand with versatile tutor/removal/ramp pieces but no enchantments, you can probably get away with keeping it as well. There are plenty of enchantments in the 99, so you're likely to pull some up at some point. If you get a grip like that, don't chase Daxos out onto the field prematurely unless you need someone to pony Sword of Rampant Growth into battle.

Once the actual game commences, immediately slip under the radar. In the overwhelming majority of games this should be trivial to do, as you're WB. Other decks might explode out of the gate while you take a leisurely stroll and set up some basic stuff like the occasional mana rock. However, if other people are threatening a very quick kill, you have a fair share of instant speed removal with broad applications. Sometimes one of your enchantment speed bumps may prove absolutely lethal to a particular strategy (Rule of Law's a common culprit), if that is the case then feel free to invite them to the party. Try to trip your rapid foes up it a window of opportunity presents itself. If it doesn't, shrug it off and shuffle up for the next game. After all, you're only a fringe WB enchantress deck, there's only so much you can do.

If nobody explodes and doesn't get contained, continue your derpy early plays. You've got the impact of a kitten holding a carrot. Try to hold off casting enchantments until you have Daxos out to make the most of them, but feel free to set down all sorts of artifact/creature utility. Nothing says "I'm a silly deck, don't mind me" like a turn two Sword of Rampant Growth, which Daxos then carries to battle at someone turn four. Something else that also tends to throw people off you is following a turn three Daxos with a turn four non-enchantment, like three-drop artifacts (preferably off Thran Dynamo). I guess it's something to the effect of "wait, so you built a Daxos deck, and you don't even sling enchantments?" going into action. I'm not saying you should prioritise those over actually getting experience onto Daxos every single time, but it's a subtle ploy that sometimes lets you slide a bit further under the radar.

Your main early game goal is to ramp a bit, if possible, and crank Daxos out. This should be easy to do, as he costs three mana. If the coast is clear (stronger decks drawing attention, or nobody particularly removal-trigger-happy), feel free to churn him out turn three without backup. If you can sense that he's going to die, sculpt your board a little bit more and plop him onto a field with more mana, followed by holding priority and casting a cheap enchantment. This will get a single counter on him, making his spirit generation work at any point thereafter. This is of utmost importance in a game where Daxos will be difficult to keep around, as if a window of opportunity presents itself you need to be able to slide him in with little notice and go as wide as possible.

All in all, the early game is a time of little glamour for the deck, and you should consider it done when you have an experience counter on Daxos, with Daxos preferably on the field to make use of it. Hopefully your board also includes some mana acceleration or land fetching. Weathered Wayfarer is likely going to be doing work all game long, as you're unlikely to outramp green unless you keep getting that Sword of Rampant Growth value in addition to constantly hitting your regular land drops. You should appear a bit behind everybody else, and that's a good thing. Your time will come, and you need to lay low while you're at your weakest.

2. Mid Game (Turns ~5-9)

Who needs cards anyway, am I right?
Things are starting to look up. You have some mana to work with, you have a grip full of relatively low cost stuff (the deck's curve tapers off heavily after 3), and it's time to lay down some speed bumps and defensive measures. All of this should ideally be done with Daxos on the field, but if you can't get him to stick and he's becoming prohibitively expensive then it's okay to miss some experience counters to "help" others start shooting blanks. You can also help him stick with Flickering Ward from time to time.

When sequencing the enchantments in your hand, keep a few things in mind - how optimally are you using your mana? How badly do you need the enchantment down? Do you need to generate some presence with spirit tokens? Are there any power plays coming that your current options may disrupt? Balance all of the above out as best you can as you chain your plays. Typically, if you're in the possession of a card/spell disruption outlet that isn't Thoughtrender Lamia, you should set it down as quickly as possible. This way, you start actively digging into your opponents' options and lines of play, often leading them to prioritising developing their own boards over trying to answer you. After all, there's not all that much for them to answer - some random suboptimal commander, possibly a few spirits, a couple of enchantments of varying levels of annoying. Some people will snap and remove these speed bumps. You're okay with that - that's less removal for your game-enders further down the line. If the spell disruption outlet sticks, that's more and more incremental advantage for you with each go around the table as you potentially drum up the spirit attendance rate. Only consider delaying those if you've got a Bolas Rock or Razaketh in hand, as those tend to lead to intense play chains, which in turn respond poorly to some of the very brand of disruption you're packing. Try to plan ahead in that case, and see what feels best.

The second order of business is explicit card advantage stuff for you. Slapping down a Phyrexian Arena is good, as having more options is good. Just keep in mind that usually others having less options is even better when sequencing these. Card quality also fits here - Doom Whisperer is a good way to ensure you'll get what you need going forward, and tossing spare mana at Top is never a bad idea. After that come all sorts of defensive measures. There's not a lot of pillow fort here, but it's some of the best there is, and deterring swings into you until it's too late is a good thing to do. People won't want to pay your Ghostly Prison tax, lose a swinger to No Mercy or just have all their effort blanked by a Righteous Aura. That should buy you time to continue setting up all sorts of other speed bumps, which should be applied as needed. If there's a Xenagod, you'll likely want to plop down that Authority of the Consuls ASAP. If someone's doing graveyard shenanigans, eating the graveyard with Agent of Erebos becomes the name of the game. You have a wide variety of answers in the deck and a decent helping of tutors to help you find them.

Of course, don't forget about the stuff you started on in the early game. Diligently punch people with the Sword of Rampant Growth, amassing your lands. Play out more mana rocks, as some of the best ones are quite top-heavy. Sneak out some of the big-mana lands and flirt with recursion if needed. Cloudstone Curio makes for good removal protection, and can make the spell disruption wonderfully asymmetric if desired. Continue to apply removal where needed, as things that more or less incidentally hamper your game plan are likely to arise. Don't get completely lost in the enchantment moment as you have the capacity to interact with others around you, and you probably should. Hold back some panic button removal if you expect Aura Shards. A good wrath isn't bad either. Sitting on Slaughter the Strong incentivises you to avoid squandering mana on spirits, efficiently pouring it into enchantments and experience, and subsequently destroying multiple ripe boards at minimal cost to yourself.

The end goal of the mid game is a reasonably functional board with a sizeable mana pool, some good midrange enchantments and decently sized spirits. Ideally your opponents will have been stifled a bit by now through some spell availability disruption, but simultaneously their plays should have been splashier than yours, drawing attention away from your developing board. Time to put the developed potential to use and try to run away with the game.

3. Late Game (Turns ~10+)

Easiest katka of my life
The transition from mid to late game usually has more to do with your mana pool, spirit size and impact of the spirits hitting the board than with any particular single play. It's the result of small incremental advantages adding up, leading to a huge amount of potential for the plays referred to as game-ending to work with, making them more likely to succeed in their game-warping ways. Some games you sneak in a Skybind turn four. Some games you drown people in 12/12 spirits without extending beyond 4 CMC of the enchantments you play.

The only cards in the 99 that effectively usher in the late game all on their own are Razaketh, the Foulblooded and Bolas Rock. When the former is combined with Daxos, the pair spits out repeatable instant speed Grim Tutors whenever desired, and the beauty of Big Ole Raz is that he also works perfectly fine with whatever is around when he resolves. I imagine that he won't be your first play, and there will be some bodies kicking around for him to chew up if needed. Even if someone predictably wraths the moment he hits, you just sac your board to him, untap with a sculpted as hell grip and have the win in the bag. And if Big Ole Raz gets to stay around unimpeded, that's a constant stream of whatever you need for a very meagre cost, entirely defeating the randomness of a 99 card singleton format. You have your whole answer toolbox at your fingertips, Teferi's Protection, all of your big mana, the standard power lifters... I'm sure you'll figure out a functional path to victory.

Meanwhile, Bolas Rock is the deck's speed cheat code, allowing you to sidestep a lot of development states and barf a board out of nowhere. In theory, this thing bricks when you hit land when you can't play a land anymore. In practice, you run a ton of shuffles and topdeck editors, so you can often find a way to keep going. It's not uncommon to pour 20-30 life into this and accrue an absolutely insane, effectively game ending board state off this thing. It helps to have a little army of spirits when you get this thing online as well, as the life loss can add up. This way, you can secure some lifelink, heal back up, and keep going like nobody's business. The topdeck tutors are a pretty solid synergy here - you can get True Conviction to refuel, or hold for Teferi's Protection in response to the inevitable attempt to answer you. Sensei's Divining Top becomes a sorcery speed Yawgmoth's Bargain. And the funny thing is that it's mainly used to skim dead stuff off the top in this form! Necropotence can play a similar support role. Bolas Rock is truly bananas in the shell, strapping a turbo boost to the game and making you feel like you're running a "proper" deck for a moment.

There's a certain five-drop enchantment that will probably show up, likely sooner than later, when you start going ham with either of those two (it's typically my second Big Ole Raz tutor, right after Serra's Sanctum). Skybind is a world of its own, a card that makes the deck come online and do insane stuff it otherwise wouldn't have the power to do. From the moment Skybind hits the field, whenever something you care about happens, think about how you could apply the flicker to improve your situation. You can bounce your own mana rocks/lands for extra mana, you can bounce other people's mana rocks/lands to fence them off mana, you can flicker anything on the field that isn't an enchantment. It opens up a ridiculous number of possibilities that can't all be written up. The card will surprise you time and time again. One of its nicer uses is that if you're trying to recuperate from a rough start and Daxos getting hated out, it enables you to easily protect him once you get him back on the field. The single experience counter, which you made sure you put on Daxos, makes sure you can flicker him as soon as he hits. A good rule of thumb is to get Skybind on the field when you'll have at least three extra mana so it can double as Daxos protection, regardless of the roughness of the start. If you add Cloudstone Curio to the mix, your stuff becomes just about impervious to removal. You can Curio enchantments back to hand if needed, and Skybind the Curio away in a similar fashion.

How we doin'?
Other plays that could be classified as game-ending scale in power with the mana total you have available. If you have big mana rocks and/or multi-mana lands, then Skybind can break these in a ridiculous manner. Doomwake Giant will repeatedly unclog the board, making the battlefield miserable for your opponents' creatures. Thoughtrender Lamia can very quickly bring the game to a screeching halt, as your opponents are stuck topdecking... and then you get priority in their draw step, make a spirit and the constellation trigger implores them to discard what they just drew. They can respond and play the card if it's an instant, of course, but that still heavily dictates when they're allowed to make plays and what plays get through. I'm yet to lose a game where I managed to stick a Lamia for long enough to gut people's hands. It's as oppressive as the deck ever gets. True Conviction bases off critical mass alone and doesn't screw with your opponents' board/card states, but it's a similarly must-answer threat the moment it lands in the vast majority of cases. Extinguish All Hope also turns from a cute overcosted wrath to an avenue for a game-ending alpha strike. The list's ripe with various haymakers, most stuff you stick that cost you four or more mana will drag you towards victory in some manner.

Another thing that can usher in the resource discrepancy representative of the late game is a well-placed burst of recursion. There's something incredibly exhilarating about sneaking in a Replenish and dumping back 10+ enchantments that were answered through various means at all stages of the game. This gets understandably more insane if the constellation big hitters are also involved. Whilst less flashy, a constant stream of value off Hall of Heliod's Generosity/Phyrexian Reclamation can be yet another avenue for accruing advantage. The deck's not exactly swimming in perpetual recycling, but the handful of engines can keep bringing back various reachable haymakers. Crucible of Worlds can similarly shield the big hitter lands when not recycling fetches for the umpteenth time.

And that's about it. Ideally, you slid under the radar early, then set down some speed bumps to slow people down and answered some problems, only to end it all in a flurry of huge spirit tokens which may or may not have caused hilarious flickering, board wipes, graveyard exiling and hand gutting. Sometimes you get caught in the crossfire of "proper" decks, but that's okay. After all, this is a format about doing whatever you want, and the times you manage to cruise to victory on the back of a suboptimal commander in a suboptimal colour combination for the deck archetype (happens more often than you'd think) earns you a very healthy helping of swag points.

  • Ebline - Gradually hammering me into a rudimentary template of a sensible deck builder and pilot, his knowledge matched only by his patience.
  • Dominicus - More helpings of EDH zen, including the value of the discard suite and letting go of compulsive commander protection. All this in the face of finding Daxos boring. Thanks, man.
  • Greendawg - Enduring various configurations of the deck in testing, and magicking up this nifty new banner.
  • Jivanmukta - Insightful deck feedback in preparation for State of the Deck 2019.
  • Damnosus - The original MTGS Daxos partner in crime, helping me see cards in a new light. Well, everything except Humility. Sorry not sorry ;)
  • The thread regulars (in particular lyonhaert and Tev) - Offering a constant presence to bounce ideas off of, keeping me motivated to have the deck strive for its best possible version even when opportunities to sling cardboard are sparse. Feels nice to not be rambling into air. Shantu and Retsyn both turned me onto cards that have gone on to perform fantastically. WyvernSlayer slapped the "deal with it" glasses onto Daxos.
  • Everybody not mentioned who provided their opinions/feedback at any point of the time-space continuum, or even made it down here. You rock!


Where applicable, the deck change header is clickable to take you to the relevant discussion post in the thread.
19.03.2016 Changes
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14.04.2016 Changes
Thanks Wizards!
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10.07.2016 Changes
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25.08.2016 Changes
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25.09.2016 Change
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06.01.2017 Changes
AKH Changes
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11.06.2017 Change
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HOU Change
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State of the Deck
09.12.2017 Change
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RIX Changes
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15.04.2018 Change
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28.04.2018 Change
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13.08.2018 Changes
06.11.2018 Change
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31.12.2018 Change
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RNA Change
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29.03.2019 Change
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WAR Changes
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MH1 Changes
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The Final Pimp
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ELD Changes + State of the Deck 2019
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Post by Dragonlover » 3 months ago

I'm guessing Starfield Mystic doesn't really cut it in this deck? Scheming Symmetry might be worth it though, especially given the asymmetric disruption package.

Just gotta say as well, an entertaining and informative read! In the event of me ever actually converting my threads to Primers, I'll probably aim for something similar to yours.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Thanks for the kind words. My primers may not deal with popular commanders or be visually dazzling, but I try to make them comprehensive to the best of my ability.

Starfield Mystic is cool for the discounting, but does nothing for the body-churning aspect of the deck. I conceptually pitted him against Thran Dynamo and the Dynamo unglamorously came out on top, so it stayed. Scheming Symmetry is no-go, as handing out Vampiric Tutors to other folks at the table for free is not where you want to be. Even jank heaps can suddenly kick into turbo if given the power to get whatever they desire. All this could be mitigated to some degree with politics, but you need to be pronouncedly behind to not get mauled off this somehow. It's an interesting consideration, and I can imagine someone better at swaying people running it along with Null Chamber in a more shenanigans'y take on the commander.

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Post by erfunk » 3 months ago

I opened a Cavalier of Dawn in a draft this weekend, and started wondering about it in Daxos. It's pretty slow as a recursion source, but as 5 cmc versatile removal on a body, perhaps the whole package is worth it? It's not an enchantment and I'm hesitant to take out any instant speed answers for it, so there's not many spots it could fill. Thoughts?

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Huh, I somehow spaced out on that on-death Argivian Find. That's not all that shabby, but we're not well equipped to abuse on-death stuff - I don't run Academy Rector on the same grounds. Still, this is not a four mana do-nothing, but a five mana Beast Within on legs, so the default body actually accomplishes a thing. In turn, we're not particularly adept at flickering/reanimating it either. Personally, I'm not that tempted by him, but he has some redeemable features. As always, the best thing to do is to check and return with findings ;) My spitballing's been off in the past, with a notable underrated option being Anointed Procession.

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Post by Shantu » 2 months ago

C19 seems pretty bland so far but this boardwipe might be useful for us.
I'm not sure what I would take out from the list in the primer but I think I will try it in place of Dusk // Dawn in my list. Could it be better than Extinguish All Hope?

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 months ago

Hey Shantu, nice to see you 'round these parts :) I wouldn't call C19 bland, they do a bunch of interesting stuff in the designs. In fact, I view it as a return to form after the C17/C18 slump. However, all the cool things they do don't really work within the confines of any of my decks. Here's some Daxos-centric thoughts:
  • Idol of Oblivion - The closest to an include consideration. The main problem is that I can see it leading to awkward early game chokepoints where you're still quite mana light, and setting aside the 1WB for a dudebro would be a nontrivial burden on sequencing. That, and it'll do just about nothing if Daxos is having a rough time and can't stick on the field. Phyrexian Arena does all this better.
  • K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth - Another in a recent line of Bx life sinks, his ability to turn B into Bp seems like a slam dunk at first. And then you realise he costs seven. As such, you'll have to pop his ability, or use his cost pips for Phyrexian, a total of seven times before you break even. That's 14 life down the drain to even recoup the initial investment. We don't cast enough stuff to grow him too reliably, our lifegain's quite temperamental, we don't support his lifelinking buttocks in combat. Bolas Rock eats this for breakfast in this deck.
  • Empowered Autogenerator - A trap. The perspective that this can tap for Many Manas™ made me forget just how glacial this is for a moment, and how long it has to live unperturbed to get to that point. That, and it's a dismal topdeck later. Thran Dynamo unglamorously survives another set, and will likely act as the gatekeeper for many other crappy ramp traps to come.
Everything else can be dismissed more handily. Nightmare Unmaking costing five and depending on hand size is not where we want to be, if more wipe action was to be introduced to the deck it'd probably be Citywide Bust. Scaretiller would essentially be a strictly crappier Sun Titan, with the cost reduction not enough to cover up the glaring deficiencies. Song of the Worldsoul is not for us, Sigil of the Empty Throne is a good comparison as a high CMC do-nothing that makes extra friends on cast. Mire in Misery is interesting new design space, and I'm bringing it up here as such.

That said, the list's in a good place. I've done the whole twin Rampant Growth thing with Brought Back, and a friend fielding Daxos in a deck swaparoo cheekily undid two Terastodon shots on haymakers. The sheer flexibility/insurance of its highs is worth having it occasionally sitting unused in hand, Teferi's Protection style. The meta's started getting vocal about Rule of Law variants. I sanded off a ton of rough edges over the years, including killing a number of decks, so I guess this is the worst that's left. For context, 2014 me thought it was fine to Contamination people, and Daxos also had his uglies with Nevermore or Darksteel Mutation. I guess I'll humour them and do a fake-swap to Karmic Justice and Greater Auramancy every now and then. In fairness, I have been drawing the Rule of Law variants with freakish regularity, not seeing Bolas Rock once in that same frame.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 months ago

The local group got together to sling some cardboard today. In one of the games, I experienced the second best Daxos draw I ever had, with a triumphant rock cascade leading to a Bolas Rock turn four. A magnificent explosion of value was had, with a few topdeck resets courtesy of a Demonic Tutor in hand (which got Enlightened Tutor, which got something nice). I passed turn and got immediately Merciless Evictioned. Oof. However, as XP is forever, I still remained a force in the game, duking it out for victory until a surprise Insurrection steal brought it home. In retrospect, I should have just found a Vampiric Tutor and sat on it - I could have phased out in response to the inevitable catch-up wipe. Live and learn.

I took the opportunity to test Song of the Worldsoul for fun in a few games. There are a few synergy setups for it in the deck - bounce cheap stuff off Cloudstone Curio, keep yourself topped up via Mesa Enchantress/Necropotence, sink mana into Flickering Ward, even just get a minor bump off replaying Top each turn. In those scenarios, it was really good - the card incentivises the deck to focus on playing stuff (think Anointed Procession on steroids), with token production becoming a desirable side effect of you just going about your day. However, the thing is aggressively do-nothing if encountered without an action-rich hand. Nevertheless, I feel there's an alternate Daxos build that doesn't ram Rule of Law, instead running a more card advantage focused shell with this as the curve topper.

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Post by Shantu » 1 month ago

Rumpy5897 wrote:
2 months ago
Hey Shantu, nice to see you 'round these parts :) I wouldn't call C19 bland, they do a bunch of interesting stuff in the designs. In fact, I view it as a return to form after the C17/C18 slump. However, all the cool things they do don't really work within the confines of any of my decks. Here's some Daxos-centric thoughts:
Everything else can be dismissed more handily. Nightmare Unmaking costing five and depending on hand size is not where we want to be, if more wipe action was to be introduced to the deck it'd probably be Citywide Bust.
Thanks, I'm glad to see the primer still going strong. It's a treasure.

I am for some reason very optimistic about Nightmare Unmaking. I haven't had the chance to try it, it might turn out to be not so great. My meta is full of graveyard recursion so the exile is extremely attractive. Also, I play Mob Rule to great effect in my Grenzo, Havor Raiser deck and on average I would expect to cast the Unmaking with a hand of 3-4 cards left, similar to Mob Rule. I believe that to be the sweet spot for our deck.
I understand the risks and I might be focusing too much on the good cases. Either way I will test it as soon as I can get some Daxos games going.

For some reason my list is often starving for card advantage. Mesa Enchantress unfortunately isn't cutting it, she just sits in a really awkward spot on the mana curve and I don't run enough enchantments to reliably draw cards. My friend convinced me about Sevinne's Reclamation and I am going to try it, maybe just another small bit of recursion is what I need.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 month ago

Thanks for the kind words, means a lot :) Daxos has become my pet deck over the years, and it's great that some folks actually check out my musings and often contribute cool stuff as well. I still owe you big time for getting me to try Top - I view that swap as the point where the deck got out of a bit of an identity crisis and properly started implementing a value component at the cost of some prior nastiness.

Yeah, the deck is not tailored to pursue card advantage too aggressively, instead slamming the shutters down with Rule of Laws, draw limiters and discard. We're not going to keep toe to toe with true EDH value town, so the current build largely foregoes that outside of a few decent engines and instead slows things down, using the resulting free mana to grind out body advantage. That said, the games where a crazy Bolas Rock explosion or Mesa Enchantress cantrip chain lead to nonsensical card advantage tend to end pretty well. Something else that I'm running but you're not is Doom Whisperer, which has proven to be a magnificent include. Top day to day, crazy digging for outs in dire straits. He's been dipping steadily for months now, and is currently under five bucks. True, having a five mana non-enchantment may seem a bit sketchy, but he's worth it. Even the chunky flample body comes in handy quite often.

I've been pondering the possibility of trying to go deeper down the card advantage rabbit hole, but there's not that much stuff that we're not already jamming. Liliana's Contract nabs four cards for five mana, which is not a bad rate of return if you ignore what the deck tends to be capable of at that CMC. Idol of Oblivion sequences ahead of Daxos, which is nice, and while it may be a little cramped in the mid game it's sure to deliver repeatable value later on (bonus points for Skybind times, because everything has to combo with Skybind somehow). Graveborn Muse is a twin Phyrexian Arena, albeit softer to being blown up. Greed variants exist. And then what? Underworld Connections? The yardstick of mediocre draw? May well be. At that point we're probably stuck exploring various Night's Whisper/Read the Bones style one-shots.

My divagations led me to a swap list I've termed "Holiday Daxos" - taking out the various spell chokes and egregious board gutter Doomwake Giant for some of these card advantage options and other inoffensive junk. I've played with subsets of these swaps in paper for some games as my group's currently experiencing Rule of Law fatigue, and it's been okay in my mid-power meta. I wouldn't willingly strip myself of Rule of Law in Golos land. I'm not sure what to do with this, I might toss this in a box in the primer somewhere as a declawed take on the commander.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 weeks ago

ELD Changes + State of the Deck 2019

2019 has been a truly incredible MTG year in pretty much every way for me, only really being rivalled by the wonderment of discovering EDH in 2014. I managed to get together a consistent playgroup largely based on the old group that got me stuck on the format five years ago, and I feel energised and excited about the game. I finally found a reliable common deckbuilding ground with the guys, and was able to create two new lists that will survive going forward. To put things into context, the prior surviving list was this one here, which was started in 2015 :P Feather, the Redeemed was a fiery love that was primered out on the day I could submit it, Ghired, Conclave Exile was birthed out of necessity but hit the perfect balance of group acceptance and Rumpy enjoyment that no other deck did before. 2019's versions of Patron and Daxos in a way ;) I got more engaged in the community after hopping to Nexus, with active preview season coverage and being accepted onto the Primer Committee. In non-Rumpy matters, 2019 was also a phenomenal year for sets - WAR and MH1 are both absolutely unbelievable in their own ways. I'm pretty sure WAR is the first set post Alpha that has put cards into every single one of my current active decks, while MH1's Boros goodies and active Feather support led to it tying JOU's Daxos-defining staples with six includes in a single shell.

As you can see, I didn't list ELD there. The blatant top-down fairy tale tropes makes this feel like MTG Shrek land, but maybe my active dislike of it plays into MaRo's philosophy of going for extreme reactions in products. The cards themselves are decent, but not a ton to write home about. Arcane Signet and the clash of demand and supply is making me anxious, but thankfully Daxos is the rare non-green deck that doesn't want one. The only situation I can come up with where this is better than Orzhov Signet in the shell is if you're trying to cast a Necropotence off two black-tapping lands and a rock. Quite narrow, isn't it? By contrast, the classic signet can sometimes convert colourless rock mana into a dual colour burst for a spirit or something, which is something that I've actually had happen a few times. Deafening Silence is close to making it in, but ultimately gets kept out by our extreme levels of creature scarcity. This essentially full Rule of Laws us, while opponents will often still cast multiple spells a turn. As such, the bottlenecking is not as favourable for us. This will do good work in high power groups, but I'm not sure Daxos should ever set foot there :P

That said, ELD did bring a thing that cracks the 99. Seeing how it's the last opportunity for new cards in the year, I figured I'd also do a checkup of all the nuts and bolts of the deck in a full-blown State of the Deck. I've now got three, possibly soon to be four, primers under my wing. Not all decks get attention or cards, so they can fall a little dormant update-wise. I figure getting a comprehensive yearly examination will be good practice.

ELD Changes + State of the Deck 2019
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I'm ultimately happy with where Daxos is. It's interesting, watching the list lean into both spell denial and strong draw engines. I ultimately don't think I can afford to abandon the spell denial altogether, as the deck's value mode drops off pretty hard after the few best engines and there's no way it'd be able to keep toe to toe with competition. Big mana's still fantastic and wins games, board stalls broken by wipes which my board survives are still great. In terms of 2019 debuted cards, Bolas Rock is pure insanity while Brought Back/Hall of Heliod's Generosity do recursion in an interesting way. Winds of Abandon is hovering around as a potential include somewhere in the back of my mind, as is the "Holiday Daxos" stuff to some degree. I sometimes have thoughts about pursing the whole "life as a resource" angle that recent sets have been supporting, but then realise that it would add a lot of sliding piece modules to the deck. That's a whole different strategy, and would be best pursued with a dedicated commander that complements some of the necessary modularity instead.

Seeing how I feel the deck's in a pretty good place with the mild splash of value town it's got going on, I reached out to Jivanmukta for list assessment from a fresh perspective after I crossed paths with a disgustingly beautiful and totally meta inappropriate Estrid list. The possible includes kept flowing and flowing, featuring Bitterblossom from cards that never had a chance here and a number that either were ran and got cut (Darksteel Mutation, Sun Titan, Gossamer Chains, Black Market, Sigil of the Empty Throne) or playtested poorly and never got in (Mirage Mirror, Words of Waste). Sound arguments were presented for each, and some of these might get re-evaluated. The cuts were a bit less forthcoming, but a bunch of them agreed with a prior Ebline assessment (No Mercy, Cathars' Crusade, Attrition, Profane Procession). I don't get the Sword of Rampant Growth dislike though :P That said, while I can justify the continued existence of the first two, the repeated removal has largely lived as a rattlesnake recently. Paying three mana to just have a relatively inefficient finger wag that encourages leaving me alone is not the best. The best inclusion suggestions were Karmic Justice and Greater Auramancy, citing {w/b}'s difficulties with recurring enchantments. I was gravitating towards those on my own after including them in the "Holiday Daxos" idea of the previous post, having played a swapped version of the deck and getting an irate response to these lightning rod cards. Irateness tends to imply Daxos is doing well :P You learn something new from most decks you build, and Feather taught me that people's spot removal tends to be finite. As such, forcibly routing it to these options, one of which will likely take down something of my choosing on the way out, is actually a pretty good idea and the swaps happened.

Oh yeah, and there was a good card in ELD, as mentioned. Fabled Passage may be the least good of the new-school fetches, but the deck's early game inactivity means the only really bad time to plop this down is turn three on the dot. Needed a cut, came down to the painland or a Swamp. Ultimately went with the painland - the existence of the canopy made me realise how rarely this is actually used for coloured mana, and I did flag it as the worst nonbasic previously. Still an obvious include if not going ham on overpriced fancy lands. Thanks to Ebline for various forms of assistance with this swap, land real estate has gotten horribly tight in here over the years.

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