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Commander Spotlight: Queen Marchesa

Spoiler season has begun for Conspiracy: Take the Crown. This draft set is made for multiplayer, which means there's a ton of overlap with Magic's most popular multiplayer format, Commander. Lots of overlap means lots of new sweet cards for us Commander players! Be sure to follow MTGGoldfish's spoiler page to keep track of all the cards as they're revealed.

There's a bunch of awesome new cards that I can't wait to try out, like Kaya, Ghost Assassin and Recruiter of the Guard. I'll discuss all of those cards in my set review articles, but right now I want to talk about the first legendary creature revealed, Queen Marchesa:

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The initial response to Queen Marchesa on the internet has been lukewarm. Many have called her weaker than the original Marchesa, the Black Rose, even though they are entirely different cards with different strategies. While her power isn't as in-your-face as the original, I think the new crowned version has subtle power that is worth building around.

I've seen people suggest building a Tokens deck around her, as worst case Marchesa is giving you a token if you're not drawing a card, but making one token per turn isn't great and you don't have access to Green which has much of the best support cards for Tokens, such as Doubling Season, Parallel Lives, and Primal Vigor. So going Tokens doesn't appeal to me.


Marchesa, Queen of Politics

Queen Marchesa's true strength lies in her ability to make you The Monarch. Drawing a free card each turn is a huge deal, making her one of the best Mardu options to build a Control deck. The card draw isn't even reliant on Queen Marchesa being on the battlefield either, so she could die and you'd still be drawing cards as long as you're The Monarch. In fact, dying might actually be beneficial because you can re-cast her if you need to recover your crown. I love drawing cards, so this ability is good enough for me to get excited and start brewing!

If we build around Marchesa's card draw, we need to make sure we keep that crown. As soon as you declare yourself the monarch, your opponents will be gunning for you to become The Monarch themselves! Thankfully, we have plenty of cards available to us that will make sure we remain The Monarch, such as:

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This is what I'd call the "nice" way of holding on to the crown: make it hard for your opponents to mess with you and have back-up plans to reclaim your crown in case you lose it. That's the basis for a sweet Mardu Control deck that keeps everyone in check while slowly gaining more and more card advantage as the game drags on. It's political, it has answers, and is hopefully fun for everyone.

This article won't be discussing that deck. I'll come back to it in a future article.

What I have in mind for right now is much meaner.


Marchesa, Queen of Mean

For this article, I'm straying from my usual Budget Commander approach to deckbuilding and instead will be exploring the meanest, most competitive brew I can think of for Queen Marchesa. We're going for hardcore resource-denial strategies, or "Stax." This deck is not to be played in a casual environment; you need to make sure that your playgroup is more competitive and is okay with resource-denial strategies before you consider playing something like this.

As mentioned earlier, Queen Marchesa's greatest strength is her free, repeating source of card draw that sticks around even if she leaves the battlefield. The longer the game goes, the more cards you'll draw off this ability, and the more you'll pull ahead of the rest of the table. You want longer games to grind out your friends sworn enemies. You could hold on to your crown by making it harder for your opponents to attack you with cards like Ghostly Prison, however these cards are 1-dimensional. Prison deters your opponent from swinging at you, but does nothing against an opponent looking to combo win with Sanguine Bond + Exquisite Blood, wipe your board with Cyclonic Rift, or simply generate enough mana that paying 2 for Prison isn't an issue.

Instead of running Ghostly Prison, the most competitive option would be to stop your opponents from doing anything, which is the true strength of the Mardu colors. We have a ton of options to grind the game to a halt, while we slowly pull ahead uncontested as The Monarch. Welcome to Resource Denial, the winner of games and destroyer of friendships! Here are some of the best options in White, Red, and Black:

You're a big ol' Hater. What you hate on, and how much, depends on your personal meta. Yisan, the Wanderer Bard enjoying the game? Stop that with Linvala, Keeper of Silence and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Meren of Clan Nel Toth smiling as she fills her graveyard with creatures? Turn that smile upside-down with Rest in Peace. We have a way to ruin anyone's day!

Creatures that hate on your foes, while also having evasion are the absolute best for Queen Marchesa. Should you ever lose your crown, creatures like Linvala, Keeper of Silence can always grab it back.

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Sometimes you'll have locked down the board, turning it into a No Fun Zone and are drawing an extra card each turn due to being The Monarch, but your opponents haven't scooped yet. We'll need a way to definitively win the game for such occasions. Here are two options:

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Kormus Bell + Linvala, Keeper of Silence or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite: Urborg turns all lands into swamps, and the Bell turns all swamps into 1/1 creatures. Linvala stops your opponent's lands from ever tapping for mana. Elesh Norn gives them -2/-2, destroying them. Either way, your opponents don't get to have lands anymore. Vandalblast their mana rocks so they have no mana available to cast anything, then slowly beat them to death with a rusty spoon.

Sun Titan + Blood Artist + Nim Deathmantle + Ashnod's Altar. Cast the Titan, bringing back Artist, then sacrifice both to the Altar to make four mana, draining two with the Artist. Use that mana to pay for the Deathmantle, bring back the Titan, which brings back the Artist. Repeat the loop until your opponents are dead. There are many variations of this combo.

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The List

Disclaimer: this is merely a deck concept. I haven't playtested it, so the ideas here are not tuned. The list is more to start a discussion on Queen Marchesa Stax. Let me know what you think about it and what changes or different strategies you'd try!


More Conspiracy Brews Incoming!

No doubt we'll see more legendary creatures spoiled in Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Expect more of these quick brews as they get revealed!

Let me know what you think of this competitive deckbuilding approach. Do you like these high-powered budget-less brews? Or would you prefer I stick to more friendly lists and cheaper builds? You can always reach me in the comments section below or on Twitter @BudgetCommander . Thanks for reading!

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