Queen Marchesa

Published March 20th, 2020

From Marchesa, the Black Rose to Queen Marchesa this powerful character in Magic lore was born and raised in Paliano on the plane of Fiora. Her ascension to the Throne of the High City was done after she had Kaya, Ghost Assassin put a permanent end to Brago, King Eternal. While she was the most successful character of Conspiracy: Take the Crown that’s enough of her story we’re here for some Commander.

Queen Marchesa is a fast assassin and claims her monarchy upon entering the battlefield. As long as she is around there will be other assassins attempting to take the crown back should it fall under an opponent’s control. This deck variation touches on a questionable theme choice in many playgroups and uses many pieces including the position of monarch to recover from what you do to the board. I’m talking about land destruction, and I mean a lot of it.

Synergies

Crucible of Worlds: A staple for recovering after a mass land destruction spell. A key part to the theme is to be ready for what’s coming and Crucible does that by letting you play the lands that you may have lost.

Academy Rector: While seen to pull out some huge value in other decks such as Omniscience in this deck it brings in a different array of enchantments. Tutoring a land destruction enchantment such as Fall of Thran or Impending Disaster or a disruption enchantment like Blood Moon or Contamination can be absolutely crippling to opponents in many scenarios.

Bolas’s Citadel: There is no need to say what this card can do on it’s own, combos, values, and kills if need be. Life is a resource and you should use it. On top of being able to play cards off the top of your library such as lands, being able to pay life to play spells in case you may have been the victim of your own land destruction is a huge bonus.

Card Name: Crucible of Worlds. Mana Cost: {3}. Card Oracle Text: You may play land cards from your graveyard.
Card Name: Academy Rector. Mana Cost: {3}{W}. Card Oracle Text: When Academy Rector dies, you may exile it. If you do, search your library for an enchantment card, put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.. Power/Toughness: 1/2
Card Name: Bolas's Citadel. Mana Cost: {3}{B}{B}{B}. Card Oracle Text: You may look at the top card of your library any time.You may play the top card of your library. If you cast a spell this way, pay life equal to its converted mana cost rather than pay its mana cost.{T}, Sacrifice ten nonland permanents: Each opponent loses 10 life.

Combos

Contamination + Ophiomancer / Bitterblossom: To keep a Contamination lock going you need something to sacrifice each upkeep. Luckily enough both these token generating effects should keep that going for quite awhile.

Armageddon / Ravages of War + Boros Charm / Teferi’s Protection: Whether you cast it before, during, or after the mass land destruction spell with Boros Charm making your permanents indestructible or Teferi’s Protection phasing your permanents out your spell becomes one sided and much more devastating for the opponents.

Leyline of the Void + Helm of Obedience: A finisher in case things go too long. Leyline works well in a several ways, being a free spell on Turn 0, graveyard hate, and preventing recursion after mass land destruction. With Helm you can take out your opponents one by one by milling their deck into exile.

Card Name: Contamination. Mana Cost: {2}{B}. Card Oracle Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Contamination unless you sacrifice a creature.If a land is tapped for mana, it produces {B} instead of any other type and amount.
Card Name: Teferi's Protection. Mana Cost: {2}{W}. Card Oracle Text: Until your next turn, your life total can't change and you gain protection from everything. All permanents you control phase out. (While they're phased out, they're treated as though they don't exist. They phase in before you untap during your untap step.)Exile Teferi's Protection.
Card Name: Helm of Obedience. Mana Cost: {4}. Card Oracle Text: {X}, {T}: Target opponent puts cards from the top of their library into their graveyard until a creature card or X cards are put into that graveyard this way, whichever comes first. If a creature card is put into that graveyard this way, sacrifice Helm of Obedience and put that card onto the battlefield under your control. X can't be 0.

Disturb, Destroy, and Disrupt

There are two categories for dealing with lands, things that hinders an opponent’s ability to use land normally and things that destroy land and possibly more. To go over each spell we’ll look at the advantages of each and other disruptive choices in the deck. These choices were made for the highest impact and utility so let’s take a look.

Disturbance

In the Mardu colour combination there are a few well known ways to cause an opponent’s land or mana to become difficult to use of even completely dead on board. Those cards are Blood Moon / Magus of the Moon and Contamination. While there are ways out of these lockdown pieces they can hinder an unprepared player right out of the game.

Card Name: Blood Moon. Mana Cost: {2}{R}. Card Oracle Text: Nonbasic lands are Mountains.

Destruction

Armageddon: Classic low cost land destruction.
Boom // Bust: Single target or mass land destruction. Boom works well if you target your own fetchland and sacrifice it before resolution.
Cataclysm: Great for removing planeswalkers and large boards. Your opponents may get to keep somethings but then they will have to sacrifice everything else.
Catastrophe: Creature removal and land destruction all in one.
Decree of Annihilation: Instant speed cycling for land destruction while needs to be Stifled rather than countered. It’s quite brutal if you actually cast it as well.
Devastation: Another options for destroying all creatures and all land.
Dust Bowl: Repeated nonbasic land destruction. Great for cutting opponents from a colour or destroying utility lands.
Dwarven Blastminer / Dwarven Miner: Another pair of repeated nonbasic land destruction. They’re low cost, effective, and one of them is even a morph.
Fall of the Thran: Actually the reason I built the deck. The Saga enchantment can recover lands and balance things for everyone, unless you Bojuka Bog your opponents of course.
Impending Disaster: The lowest cost mass land destruction available creating a looming threat for your opponents to deal with by your upkeep.
Jokulhaups: Lands, creatures, and artifacts too.
Keldon Firebombers: A lovely creature that brings everyone down to 3 lands.
Obliterate: Though costly it’s an uncounterable mass destruction spell.
Ravages of War: The Armageddon of the three kingdoms. Redundancy of the best land destruction spell.
Ruination: Limited to nonbasic lands and very dependant on the board state. Against certain match ups if could be
Strip Mine: If you’ve ever been locked out of a game from a Crucible of Worlds / Strip Mine lock I envy you.
Wildfire: A bit of damage to all creatures and some tough decisions for everyone on which lands to sacrifice.

Disruption

Ajani Vengeant: Fits into multiple categories but mainly disruption by preventing uptaps, usually of land. If he reaches his ultimate it would be more in the land destruction category.
Aven Mindcensor: Limits search capabilities for opposing tutors and fetch land.
Blind Obedience: Brings mana rocks and creatures into play tapped for opponents. Can act as an alternative win condition and life gain.
Price of Glory: Punishing players for tapping mana when it’s not their turn, effective as the deck is less reactionary and if an opponent loses land for trying to counter one of your land destruction spells it still works towards the strategy.
Smothering Tithe: If they have no mana, or even limited mana they probably won’t pay the 2. In a multiplayer game this card becomes immensely valuable giving you more mana than you’ll be able to use.
Stranglehold: Completely prevents opponents from tutoring or using fetchland as well as an added bonus of stopping any extra turn strategies.
Thalia, Heretic Cathar: Brings your opponents nonbasic lands and creatures into play tap. Fetchland aren’t as good if it takes you 2-3 turns to get mana from it.

Card Name: Stranglehold. Mana Cost: {3}{R}. Card Oracle Text: Your opponents can't search libraries.If an opponent would begin an extra turn, that player skips that turn instead.
Card Name: Ajani Vengeant. Mana Cost: {2}{R}{W}. Card Oracle Text: +1: Target permanent doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.−2: Ajani Vengeant deals 3 damage to any target and you gain 3 life.−7: Destroy all lands target player controls.
Card Name: Price of Glory. Mana Cost: {2}{R}. Card Oracle Text: Whenever a player taps a land for mana, if it's not that player's turn, destroy that land.

Summary

Land destruction is not a popular strategy among many groups. Making it so that your opponents are pretty much unable to play the game can be against the spirit of fun. This deck crammed in as many ways to disrupt opponents as possible and having built and played it in the past there is a reason the list deserves a title like Queen Misery.

It’s effective though, you’re prepared for what’s coming and there are several scenarios and match ups where it’s not very favorable that so many of your spells only destroy things. It’s something that I wanted to touch on though as my belief in deck building is to be able to recover from a scenario such as this. These cards are all around and barring any house rules they are all legal to play. My question with this would be “Is your deck built to be able to withstand land destruction, or would you just fold to this strategy?”. Let me know what you think. Comments, questions, and suggestions always appreciated.

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Article by Cascade.Cascade

The editor-in-chief and creator of Command Beacon. They started playing Magic during the Scars of Mirrodin block and hasn’t been able to stop since.

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