"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
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 really cool 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. This was further accented when dedicated enchantment commanders were finally brought to the shard in C18. However, I'm here today to show you a path less travelled and point out the merits of an Orzhov underdog.
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.
"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.
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.
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. There's a solid primer on her on the forums, so go check it out if you think she might be more up your street.
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.
Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter - A high-end option that can convert disposable bodies into a surprise burst of ridiculous commander damage or removal. Or, better yet, the latter after the former. Combine with some sturdy recursion to make the threshold on "disposable" far more lenient.
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.
Kestia, the Cultivator - A somewhat unusual direction for an enchantress deck, encouraging some sort of go-wide enchantment creature/aura build. When you do bust out auras in EDH, you're typically getting your voltron on and not spreading them around a field of stuff. In return, you get an asymmetric faux-Edric with a bunch of hoops to jump through to make it happen. If that's not EDH, what is?
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.
Gaddock Teeg - A brutal, hateful little thing that warps the rules of the game. Suddenly Austere Command doesn't look as scary. Amass a dense field of low-cost value enchantments as enchantresses refuel your grip and a variably sized hatebear splash further trips up your foes.
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.
Dragonlord Dromoka - Having an uncounterable Grand Abolisher in the command zone is quite tasty, and lends itself well to milking all those delicious enchantress synergies without unexpected turbulence. The fact she's a massive, evasive body doesn't hurt either when it comes to closing out games.
Uril, the Miststalker - However, in the raw closing-games-out department, nobody on this list dishes out as much damage as Uril. 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...
Sigarda, Host of Herons - Trades off Uril's explosiveness for not being soft to Fleshbag Marauders (and other effects of that ilk). Doesn't naturally gravitate to enchantments as heavily as her predecessor, but her staying power lets you slap down some auras on her with confidence. There's a very nice primer on the use of Sigarda as an enchantress commander with a splash of aura voltron.
Angus Mackenzie - Mister Fog-on-a-stick lends himself incredibly well to all sorts of extremely defensive pillow fort mayhem, usually with a good helping of enchantments. Given the fact he's in what may well be the best colour combination for this type of deck, there's nothing stopping you branching out of the pillow shell and using Angus himself as an emergency survival panic button.
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!
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.
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 at about 15 bucks a pop. 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.
Some expensive utility options are Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Land Tax, Toxic Deluge, Replenish and Teferi's Protection. 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. 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 level (Wrath of God) or alpha potential (Winds of Abandon? Plague Winds?!). Replenish'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. Thankfully, most everything else is cheap! No Mercy is less essential and you could sub it out for some other utility/defensive enchantment of your choice. 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.
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
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.
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 - The perfect derpy turn three "look at me guys I'm a silly deck I'm not a threat" play, and later on has the potential to become a massive value house with Skullclamp and some sort of recursion engine. The fact it's land ramp is lovely as well. However, it does take six mana to get two lands out of it, and if you split it across turns then you run the risk of somebody being a dingus and offing the Hart before it's payoff o'clock.
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. However, the fact it's ultimately a typical three-drop rock makes its position in the rock waiting list hierarchy not that good, especially as there are a few two-drop options (e.g. Talisman of Hierarchy) that are kicking around on the bench.
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.
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.
Fellwar Stone - A solid two-drop mana rock, but Orzhov Signet is less reliant on what your opponents brought to the table and there's only so much space a late game mana flood deck can devote to two-drop mana rocks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Star Compass - Probably the best of the CIPT two-drop rocks as it's just about always both colours.
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.
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. The first include you should be making if you decide to add more cheap rocks.
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.
Wayfarer's Bauble - A tiny, unassuming land ramp spell that colour fixes like a champ. Worth a slot in most decks not running green.
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.
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.
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.
Beseech the Queen - Seeing how we're two-colour, BBB is not a given. That makes this a fiddlier Diabolic Tutor that forces us to reveal what we get. One for the mono-blacks, I'm afraid.
Dark Petition - You're not super likely to hit spell mastery, as the instants and sorceries are quite scarce. Better stick to low-cost options that work reliably.
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.
Enlightened Tutor - The white part of the Mirage tutors gets to dig up an artifact or enchantment. How handy for us!
Grim Tutor - If you're lucky enough to own one, slot it in. Digging up anything for one more mana than Demonic Tutor and some life loss is still horribly powerful.
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.
Liliana Vess - Repeated Vampiric Tutoring sounds tempting, but being a decent planeswalker gets you squished in EDH land. As such, five mana for a single Vampiric Tutor? Not worth it, as we can't guarantee she'll be protected (especially in the sky).
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.
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 " , 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. Don't forget your Skullclamp for extra rub-ins if you have it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Economy
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. But yeah, don't shake a stick at actually drawing some cards yourself either, or manipulating your topdeck for maximum gain.
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 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.
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.
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.
Creeping Dread - Another discard outlet, but it needs to live all the way around the board to get any value and costs four mana on top of that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kaya, Ghost Assassin - A swiss army knife of a card, with the main use being a wonderful swing in card resources (draw vs. everybody else ditching one). Fits right into the trickle of discard tactic that the deck has going while slightly refuelling the grip as well. The other options are nothing to shake a stick at, with the 0 being a nice way to keep the -2 going.
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.
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?
Mind Slash - Paying four mana to repeatedly eat creatures instant speed (Attrition) is perfectly 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Vilis, Broker of Blood - Each time you lose life, you get that much cardboard. That's awesome! People punching you get you a fat grip! Your life sinks get you a fat grip! Once the rose-tinted glasses come off, the dude appears to bear a lot of conceptual similarity to No Mercy, which stops non-alpha strikes into you. Have we ever entertained the thought of running Dread, a six mana body version of this? No, we have not. So would we add two more to the cost to get the occasional nonsense draw stream when this synchronises with a life sink outlet? Probably not. I'm sure he'll find plenty of other homes.
Words of Waste - I just deprived myself of a card, so all you guys should too. Fair and balanced. Works well in conjunction with the draw amplifiers if more cards need stripping.
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.
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.
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. Don't forget to slip Skullclamp onto your bullet, if you have it, for maximum cheddar.
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.
Cage of Hands - A Pacifism which you can freely recycle to get more value and help build "Daxos storm" if needed. Looks great on paper, but the mana investment is just too high for what it is.
Cast Out - Is worded as tame as the above variant, 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...
Crush Contraband - Slurp two targets for the price of one card! Not too shabby. I prefer my removal to be more hit-all, just in case, but this is perfectly runnable.
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 cost and exile are desirable, the CMC stipulation a bit less so. Sometimes you need to slurp a low cost synergy piece, and then this does nothing. Still, at least it has the decency of taking out stereotypical haymakers on the cheap.
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.
Hero's Downfall - Pops a creature or a planeswalker, but we are WB so we have access to stronger options.
Journey to Nowhere - One mana less than Oblivion Ring and featuring a more limited range. However, the two separate triggers are there for your potential shenanigans.
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. It's still lurking on the outskirts.
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.
Stasis Snare - The more expensive, non-abusively worded Journey to Nowhere has one major thing going for it, and that is flash. Such a small change, but results in a surprising degree of flexibility, especially when coupled with Cloudstone Curio. It's not the strongest card around, but I missed it sometimes before they printed Cast Out.
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.
Temporal Isolation - Another charming flash option, this one neutering damage on a dime. Slap this on a voltron commander or something like Nekusar for much chagrin, or even just a fat beater if needed.
Utter End - Two blocks before there was Anguished Unmaking, there was this. And this is still pretty darn feisty and slots into the 99 automatically.
6. 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?
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!
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.
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.
Gideon's Intervention - A piece of proactive shutdown coupled with an on-board damage preventer for a versatile answer. If you need your Nevermores ASAP, you're better off running the original, but in more benign applications when you don't feel like dumpstering someone's game you'll be able to get some sort of reactive use out of this when you draw it.
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.
Karmic Justice - Theoretically an attempt to deter removal, in practice it usually turns out to be a Vindicate that they trigger with a removal spell. Does nothing against exile though, and the fact they get to be the ones in control of when the Vindicate goes off makes this rather subpar in the end.
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 Sanctity - If there's a lot of targeted stuff flying around in your meta, this is a really good shield to put up to make it go away. In all honesty though, what sort of targeted stuff would even need this sort of shield?
Lightning Greaves - Snap them on and Daxos can't be hit by spot removal. Offers occasional bursts of value, such as allowing an extra surprise attacker to put pressure on someone.
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.
Null Chamber - Add one more mana and get twice the value if you can spin it right politically. It usually blows up in my face though, as in spite of valiant attempts I have the political grace of roadkill.
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.
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.
Swiftfoot Boots - The equip cost makes them cooperate a little less smoothly with a quickly played Daxos, and you can likely devote only so many slots to this sort of stuff anyway.
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.
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?
Akroma's Memorial - I'd actually consider this a little if it were an enchantment. However, as an expensive artifact that doesn't nearly automatically win the game on resolution, it's more of a winmore/clincher than a valid boon to the deck.
Anointed Procession - Twice the spirit friends, twice the fun! Surprisingly more than a mere token doubler, as it grants a surprising 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.
Archangel of Tithes - Acts as a mini Ghostly Prison on defence, and can opportunistically help your guys get through. However, the WWW cost is ugly on a four drop, and she's a creature. There's enough enchantment-based stuff that does similar things.
Archetype of Courage - Mass first strike makes swinging into you a pain, but the fact it's on a body is a double-edged sword. In turn, Knighthood doesn't feel like it does enough early on because the lack of a body. An uneasy sort of effect in the end.
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.
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 nevertheless for a two-drop. 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.
Crawlspace - Throttles the total number of things that can come your way, but isn't an enchantment. The experience counters need to come from somewhere, and this doesn't offer something absolutely necessary to merit its inclusion.
Dictate of Heliod - The flash makes this a +3/+3 to your spirit army out of completely nowhere. Can potentially turn a game on its head from thin air, but just plain power/toughness boosting like that is best left to decks that don't anthem up their main source of damage by playing more varied effects.
Eldrazi Monument - The flying, anthem and wrath nope'ing are tasty, but the sacrifice and non-enchantment'ness are not. On top of that, the sacrifice is not a choice, so a well-placed piece of disruption courtesy of your opponent may see you trying to race this thing in an attempt to keep your board alive. Far from ideal.
Ethereal Armor - Something becomes huge and first strike'y... and then what? Trample is not really a thing, you're likely to get chumped. You kill people by going wide with decent-size bodies, not tall. Doesn't feel like it merits a slot in spite of its good level of enchantment-matters synergy.
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.
Helm of the Gods - An Ethereal Armor variant that lacks the first strike, but greatly makes up for it with its equipment nature. Swing with it, then put it on a blocker.
Hissing Miasma - An interesting class of black pillow fort, should keep token swarms at bay. However, the Ghostly Prison-style cards in the list already keep token swarms at bay just fine, and Doomwake Giant keeps token swarms down altogether, so it gets heavily outgunned in the main thing it has to offer. Let's not kid ourselves, nobody's going to hesitate to take a point of life off themselves if they want to smack you with a Worldspine Wurm.
Intangible Virtue - Whilst the extra pump is nice, the card pales in comparison to Reconnaissance with its vigilance spreading to non-token creatures, and a magical combat death prevention bubble firmly in place to help you get the most out of your creatures.
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 - A Hissing Miasma variant that introduces monarchy to the game. Cantrips never hurt anybody, and the crown subsequently bouncing around the table may keep some attention away from you. However, I found that to not be the case for some crazy reason - once people slap me to get the crown and realise I'm punchable, they keep at it. Might just be a local quirk, there have been reports of it working differently in other settings.
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.
No Mercy - The main leg up that this has over Aurification is that the creatures die on impact. True, it does nothing against indestructibility, 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.
Noble Purpose - The white counterpart of Larceny is a pseudo-lifelink granter that stacks with actual lifelink. More reliable at gaining you life than Angelic Chorus, but at one mana more we get True Conviction, which just eats this for breakfast. Probably not worth the five mana investment, even if it stacks with the Conviction.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Damnation - No need to splurge on this thing as we also have access to white options. Thankfully, the original commends a tiny fraction of this card's price tag, and it's still not part of the 99 as there are more synergistic wrath options available.
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) due to the more stringent criteria, but largely outclassed by Slaughter the Strong.
Elspeth, Sun's Champion - Once all the fat is trimmed from the board with a resounding clang, you momentarily flood it with a fresh batch of spirits. The plus is handy as well, as three 1/1s a turn can be put to some use. Skullclamp/Razaketh, the Foulblooded fodder, chump blockers, Grave Pact buffer... and the ult has won me an awkwardly gummed up game or two as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pick up the fallen pieces and keep going like nothing happened.
Balance Level - Urza Block
Angelic Renewal - A one-off death shield for two mana. Not as shabby as one would expect, as it can protect Daxos from a mishap.
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).
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 holding 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.
Kaya's Ghostform - An Angelic Renewal variant that works against exile and is cheaper. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Cascading Cataracts - It's a potent mana fixer late game, once you have a torrent of mana off Serra's Sanctum or something of the sort, but its clunkiness in the early/mid game make it difficult to run.
Caves of Koilos - Why yes, occasionally paying a life to get a colour of mana I need right then and there is perfectly fine, good sir, I'll take it.
City of Brass - However, having to always front that life is not ideal and I'd rather not be forced to do it. Save it for the 3+ colour constructs.
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.
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 the basic count isn't too endangered.
Exotic Orchard - Shines when there are more colours in the deck, as similar to Fellwar Stone we're at the mercy of the deck choices of the rest of the table. Better to pack your own lunch.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kor Haven - A good balance of reasonably costed Maze of Ith-style function with actually giving mana. Unfortunately, the mana is colourless whilst the deck is coloured-hungry, so for now I'm not running it.
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.
Meteor Crater - An absolutely adorable land that can tap for both colours quite easily, but can occasionally trip you up as you have nothing on board and your play (which would turn this on) wants this land to actually produce mana.
Mirrodin's Core - Kooky budget fixing, but we don't need to commit that hard to the multi-colour cause. Another one of those lands that's better in builds with more colours in their identity, with a budget list spanning the full rainbow spectrum being where I'd place this.
New Benalia - The original scryland! The value these things bring to the table is well worth the CIPTness, especially as it also gives off a bad deck construction vibe that gets people to inherently focus you less. Feel free to skip it if it doesn't speak to you, but I've gotten great value out of it and it only got axed when I needed room for the fetches.
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 where I draw the line in terms of what I run. 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.
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.
Ruptured Spire - Another budget land for decks of many colours, but we're fine and don't have to ask for its help.
Scoured Barrens - Just about strictly the best two-colour tapland cycle as it gains you a life. Shying away from taplands though, as having a mana base that just about always comes in untapped does wonders to the pacing of plays of an already slow deck.
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.
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 we're not quite that colour-fiddly while simultaneously aiming for longer games.
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.
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 - More scryland utility. This one's even better, as it makes both colours of mana on demand. The temples have easily asserted a spot in EDH land, and seeing how this is a two colour deck (of an enemy pairing, too!), it's a solid include.
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.
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.
Only go for a game-warping power play when you have the 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.
One game-ending power play that doesn't need much support is Bolas Rock. A legion of spirits that you can lifelink up to mitigate the cost helps, as do various topdeck editors. You're likely to encounter both as you go along.
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.
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. Orzhov savours the moment, apparently. 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, as are Nevermore variants if you've got 'em), 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.
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? Balance all of the above out as best you can as you chain your plays. Typically, if you're in the possession of a 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.
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. A good wrath isn't bad either. 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.
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.
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 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, and get True Conviction quite often. 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.
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.
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 Crucible of Worlds/Phyrexian Reclamation can be yet another avenue for accruing advantage.
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.
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. 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!
I took the initial, revamped deck to Cockatrice to get a game or two in for the sake of it. The list got absolutely destroyed by a relatively janky Kaseto, Orochi Archmage infect build, which in turn got completely creamed when I got fed up of daxosdec's disappointing performance and walked Sheoldred, Whispering One for a round. The list still has a long way to go.
Since it has a long way to go, I took it to a different LGS with a stronger card pool in stock. Once the browsing of the binders began, I walked away with a Demonic Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Skybind... well, why list it all when I can just throw a changelong entry.
The main direction of the changes can be described as further de-jankifying the list, streamlining the removal suite and cutting a lot of the high-cost recursion while bringing in some tutoring, extra ramp and stronger removal. At some point, I'd like to secure Vampiric Tutor and Idyllic Tutor to help smooth out the game plan, plus more pillow fort. You get a splash of it now with Ophiomancer and Archangel of Tithes, but I get the feeling I'll have another eye-opening moment the first time I cast Sphere of Safety akin to what happened today when Skybind hit the field. Oh lord, that thing is so gross.
Yeah, there are still some rather obnoxious gaping holes. I'm not sure whether I'll be going for a Sun Titan toolbox here actually, time will tell whether I feel I miss the recursion. Sun Titan or no Sun Titan, I obviously need some proper pillow fort stuff in here, as well as a few better mana rocks (I haven't managed to find a Star Compass locally). In the long term, I intend to get fetches and a Scrubland and everything, but for now I have more pressing matters, such as ensuring that the deck actually runs smoothly. Initial testing implies that this is one mana-happy list, as Daxos is quick to turn any increments of three mana into a body. A protection suite, including the return of Lightning Greaves, is pretty much inevitable, but for now I have more pressing matters and haven't had much disruption thrown against me.
I'm going to say out of experience playing against enchantment decks that Skybind is one of the most annoying things to deal with in that deck. Basically, what you noticed is stuff I deal with on a semi-regular basis.
I also had to deal with a Solitary Confinement + Sun Titan soft-lock once. Did not draw removal for sun titan. Managed to shuffle confinement into the library twice, , but he drew into it once and tutored it the second time. If you have necro or enough card draw it is worth considering.
Thanks for the feedback! As noted, this is based on cards I can actually physically access for now, and there are a lot of gaping holes in here, some of which you guys pointed out. c_n, notice how Fallen Ideal is its own sac outlet
A lot of the stuff I cut helps spiral out of control in the end game, but in fairness it only aids the spiral if Daxos is left alone. Daxos by himself is quite sufficient to produce mind-boggling spirit swarms if left alone, so may as well try to up quality to get there faster. Mystic Barrier was hilarious the one time I drew it, and Stasis Snare is enough value for me to get Temporal Isolation to accompany it. I look forward to getting more flash enchantments, such as Cho-Manno's Blessing, in the future.
Yes, I still don't have proper pillow fort stuff like Ghostly Prison. I could hit up my trusty vendor and acquire it momentarily, but I'm trying to locally source the deck to absorb the full scrub experience
Okay, enough scrub experience. I took my slightly neglected Tromokratis list out for a walk, and it played fine in spite of a fraction of the budget of this deck here. I realised it's time to stop horsing around and actually make this bugger playable. The trusty vendor has been hit up, and some more sensible cards have been acquired.
Prior to this redesign, I needed to figure out where this deck was going. The original precon list pulled the plays into seventeen hundred different directions, and whilst I've rooted most of those out, the list could still use some streamlining. So, what's the goal? The goal is to play Daxos and set down value/forty enchantments, and then barf bodies. As such, is heavy draw needed? No. The deck doesn't tend to natively barf its hand, as it's also quite content to eat up any available mana for body production. And then those bodies can be used to make people's lives miserable. However, for that to happen, Daxos needs to sit around and not die. Which is quite hard, as he's natively a 2/2 bloke with his buttocks widely exposed for kicking by whatever my opponents have around. So, truncate high-end stuff with less impact, draw, go for efficient ramp, more value enchantments, and heavy Daxos protection.
Some of the cuts are brow-raising at first. But only at first. Sword of the Animist is amazing value and I'm sure it will go live somewhere else, but it's glacial and given my creature density it just gives people another excuse to mess Daxos up, as he's likely the one riding the Sword of Rampant Growth to battle. Less efficient, non-enchantment pillow fort cards (Archangel of Tithes, Ophiomancer) replaced with more efficient enchantment pillow fort stuff (Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety, at last). Thoughtrender Lamia and Plea for Guidance axed for slowness alone, both were really nice, but I feel the deck needs streamlining to pull off whatever it's actually trying to do. Other assorted de-jankification and de-draw-powering, and nice, cheap, efficient mana/value options come in, along with a LOT of protection. So why am I taking out Shielded by Faith? Just look at it. I got to do that hilariously janktastic play where in response to someone exiling Daxos I moved it to a mook and then put it back on the Daxos on recast, but all that did was make me needlessly tentative to cut it later. Mother of Runes et al should do a better job.
I feel like this might be the tipping point for the deck, and it might become somewhat sensible now. It's quite sad how little of the precon is left in there by now, but what you gonna do.
Guess what? The last overhaul finally did the trick. The deck actually appears relatively playable now, with the pillow fort stuff making it less fruitful for my opponents to whale into me, the protection making it so Daxos (and other stuff too, sometimes) doesn't get screwed with, and the assortment of value/answer enchantments make me able to deal with stuff in a surprisingly broad manner. The deck got its metaphorical wings after a game where turn three saw everybody else's creatures come in tapped and nobody being allowed to cast more than one spell a turn. Glorious.
As such, the time has arrived to do a final "major" stretch of updates, by stripping away all sorts of pet cards and reasonably efficient crack stuffers and putting in more efficient/useful options. For once, there will be something to write about in the change log, not just "dejankifying list lel".
Land Tax and Weathered Wayfarer offer long-term mana gains, which are greatly appreciated in a long haul list like this one. Thought Vessel and Burnished Hart were two of the less successful mana options already present, with the former being relatively meaningless given the deck's lack of propensity to generate an insane grip and the latter not only costing three mana, clashing with Daxos, but then demanding three more mana to get the ramp going.
Unmake was snagged out of a common shame box early on in the deck's life, and has performed well. However, if I can hit just about anything I desire for one mana more, there's no real reason not to do it, especially given the absolutely nonexistent curve. Utter End in.
At some point you've just got to stop running the crappy duals. What is said point? Given the fact that Orzhov is an enemy-coloured pair, that's a fair few decent duals missed out on, so the tolerance threshold is quite a bit more lenient. Temple of Silence is good value, and the last dual that makes it in unscathed. Orzhov Basilica becomes the shaky cutoff point, and anything below it is deemed too crappy to run (especially given the deck's Tainted Field and Star Compass, which enjoy some level of basics present). Scoured Barrens and Orzhov Guildgate get kicked, and promptly replaced with Godless Shrine and Isolated Chapel. Arcane Lighthouse doesn't really do enough, as hexproof/shroud isn't massively rampant in my meta, and has been replaced with Strip Mine as another toolbox element. A Plains becomes an Eiganjo Castle, as sometimes shaving off a little damage can save Daxos (from, for example, a Keranos bolt). Another Plains and a Swamp turn into a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Mirrodin's Core.
The remaining changes see a number of my pet cards go. Prison Term has had my heart ever since it got printed, but at three mana it doesn't really do enough - Darksteel Mutation can turn things off in a similar fashion and lives through wraths, and all the other removal options are cheaper (or, in the case of Stasis Snare, always instant). Soul Snare is a rattlesnake, but an extremely conditional one at that. Archetype of Courage is great defensive value, but super flimsy. Righteous War may turn my field into mini-Animars, but there's three more colours in the colour pie and it doesn't even stop wraths from messing my stuff up. Fanatical Devotion is quite narrow (what about exile or non-regenerating destruction?), and I don't really need two Auramancer variants (for a moment I took out Monk Idealist for Argivian Find, but the fact that it's a body doing the recurring makes for some nice shenanigans). No Mercy and Koskun Falls are two potent black pillow fort elements, and you can just tap Daxos to keep the latter alive. Idyllic Tutor is less taxing than Plea for Guidance, and has gotten stuff done. Necropotence is back again, although I'm still a bit weary about it - the BBB does not play well with the rest of the deck, which tends to skew towards white. Crackdown is a lovely asymmetric Meekstone that plays stupid good with Blind Obedience, and Cloudstone Curio is shenanigans incarnate, kind of Skybind II (just for your own stuff) which can also target enchantments. Save stuff from removal! Inflate "Daxos storm"! Do absolutely foul stuff with Oblivion Ring! Bounce Disciple of Bolas/Monk Idealist for dumb amounts of value! Save Daxos from removal by resetting Cho-Manno's Blessing! What doesn't this thing do? Well, it doesn't bump "Daxos storm" by itself as it's an artifact. A pity.
The updated version of the list got taken out for a walk, and fares quite well. It rebuilds from hate quite easily, creature wraths in particular are very little hassle. If somebody wraths, then I'm still left with all the value enchantments I used to level up Daxos. The only way to properly wrench the deck is to go after Daxos hard and fast, but would you really want to do this when there's other, far more threatening commanders around? Thought so. This deck is the king of the kitchen table, it won't do much in a proper competitive meta but it's definitely become my go-to "just play some cards out and play" build, the sort of thing I've dreamt of having since people started getting miffed at my all-or-nothing constructions. Yesterday I had some of the worst beats in my life with it, I tutored Skybind to get a raging 70+ power hydra deck under control, and in response got the hydra flung at my face. Instant lethal, screwed out of the game way before my time, and everybody played on for over two hours and then there wasn't time for another. Felt really bad, but then I realised that the deck had more ways of potentially interacting with that surprise line of play than any of my other lists (apart from Tromokratis, but that doesn't really count as he's blue), and on top of that has lots of potential with regards to all sort of scenarios without being comprised of silver bullets that are dead most of the time. The deck is officially a proper deck now, and further changes will likely take on the form of minuscule swaps.
I smelled blood, the deck doing things feels really good after all the prior mishaps. As such, I followed up the punch and put a bit more oomph into the list, and now I can walk it on Cockatrice and sometimes even get to do things.
The forced streamlining of the curve a few updates ago makes the deck run very smoothly, but also makes it a smidgen more difficult to close out games than it was when I'd incidentally set down one of the slightly inefficient faux-finishers included in the original 99. Plus, the list is quite mana hungry by default. So, the theme of this set of updates is bumping mana production and offering some end game.
Land wise, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx has been an absolute smasher. It turned out my vendor had a very reasonably priced Serra's Sanctum in stock, and given the rampant price hikes on all things reserved because of no less rampant "speculation", it pretty much became a case of now or never. Now it is. I've always had a soft spot for the filters, so I'm getting my paws on a Fetid Heath as well. Also, lifelink wins games (more on this in a moment), so why not include a land that can make me have it? Vault of the Archangel in. In terms of cuts, I don't want to tamper with the basic count for reasons previously discussed, so the two worst duals (Mirrodin's Core and Orzhov Basilica) get the axe, as does Strip Mine. The deck is quite coloured-hungry, and I'd rather devote a colourless land to giving a token swarm deathtouch and lifelink.
The list ran a high number of two drop rocks. This stemmed from the fact I'd typically set down a two drop rock turn two and then turn three get Daxos onto the field and have one mana left over to cast a one drop enchantment or potentially path something. Those scenarios don't tend to happen, and there's better rocks I should be running instead. Charcoal Diamond, Marble Diamond, Coldsteel Heart and Prismatic Lens out. As mentioned, the list is quite mana hungry, but it's also very picky and wants its mana to be coloured. As such, this is not a Worn Powerstone/Thran Dynamo sort of situation, but a Gilded Lotus one instead. Expedition Map may not be a mana rock per se, but being a wayfarer-on-a-stick never hurt anyone, and can fetch up a mana explosion (Serra's Sanctum), game-swinging utility (Vault of the Archangel) or just quality fixing (Command Tower). Everflowing Chalice may be a two drop rock more often than not, and a colourless one at that, but the fact that it potentially scales makes it quite useful when trying to rebuild. Chromatic Lantern has the awkward CMC of 3, making it theoretically clash with Daxos, but it immediately solves all your coloured woes forever, making it worth it.
Given the mana production improvements, a few more high-end cards can sneak into the 99. Extinguish All Hope usually wins the game on the spot, so that sort of efficiency is used as the benchmark. True Conviction does a similarly insane job of stealing the show. The first time I drew it I was sitting on six life against a guy with over 100. A few short turns later I was the one with over 100 and he was dead. Never, ever underestimate lifegain, especially useful lifegain stapled onto double strike and an anthem (because Daxos life). Absolutely insane card. Also, seeing how mana generation is up, Thoughtrender Lamia makes a triumphant return. Hand stripping should be quite easy to pull off now, and if I have 9+ mana then I can keep the standard four-man pod off non-instant answers in Empty Hand Topdeck Mill - The Game. Needed to make room, so took out Seal of Doom and Necropotence. I can see Necropotence making a comeback, again, as my mana stability is up and I tend to get through cards a bit faster these days. Maybe in place of Crackdown? We'll see.
Also, just a special service announcement, if you run Daxos, you NEED Cloudstone Curio. That thing is absolutely bonkers and has led to absolutely insane feats of value and interaction in the games I drew it, absolutely taking over the game plan in a really good way. How does saving True Conviction from an Aura Thief sound? Instant speed resetting of a Stasis Snare to halt a Deadeye Navigator on his soulbond trigger to stop an infinite? Using Act of Authority to exile a guy's artifact, trigger the trigger in my upkeep, eating a second one of his artifacts, then in response to the exchange control thing bouncing it back to my hand, then casting it to eat a third artifact of his? Yeah, thought so. Oh right, I'm running Act of Authority now over Seal of Cleansing. The sorcery speed limitation is worth it for the exile, and the potential Curio'd shenanigans.
The deck went from being some sort of weird DIY heap to being one of my favourite lists, as I can indulge my pillow fort lust without any of the instagib combo stigma or complete durdle do nothing that typically come associated with it. The enchantments answer a number of different things without feeling like blank silver bullets most of the time, and the added upgrades help the deck close out games easier. In terms of upgrades that need to happen at some point, there's Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth (hoping for a price drop after the eldrazi menace banning), Toxic Deluge as a third sweeper and Vampiric Tutor because good tutor. But no real rush. The deck is doing alright. Fetches + Scrubland don't need to rush to get here. In fact, they may even not happen at all. And that will be fine too.
Prior build assessment - the deck is now actually capable of reliably doing things, and sometimes even disgustingly spiralling out of control. Serra's Sanctum + Skybind is disgusting, and becomes even more so if Gilded Lotus and Fetid Heath become involved. Add Cloudstone Curio and things just... yeah. It's beautiful to see the deck be able to actually ascend the echelons of doing disgusting value stuff, draw permitting. The increased stability of the mana base allows for further list refinement.
Well, I predicted Necropotence making a comeback. So here it is I realised how silly the cut was when I recalled I still ran Sign in Blood, and the swap became obvious. I go through my hand quite easily now, and the drastic improvement of the mana base makes a breeze. I actually tutor for it sometimes, especially if I have some lifelink online. Third time's the charm, and good ole Necro is here to stay now. Seeing how it made me realise how low-impact my draw options were, I also hacked Night's Whisper, downgrading the draw suite to a mere four positions. I've kept Read the Bones as it potentially goes four deep for a very respectable three mana, allowing for some "here and now" problem solving.
I've also gone and acquired all of the cards I said weren't immediate priorities, as I realised they actually make the deck considerably more potent. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is a direct upgrade over a swamp, and is almost as good at making colour woes going away as Chromatic Lantern. Toxic Deluge has proven to be wonderfully aggressively costed and is amazing at just about any stage of the game. Vampiric Tutor is a potent near-catch-all, as any answer you may have is at your fingertips. The recursion suite also got a kick on the tuckus, with Sun Titan taking over from Monk Idealist. The range is different, there are no experience counters but also no chance for the enchantment in question getting countered. Plus, extra value off non-enchantment stuff. Replenish is, in all honesty, too good not to run. "But Rumpy," old me thinks, "this doesn't give experience counters!" So what, old me, when it gives you back all the crap from the graveyard? Skybind ate some removal, I tactically baited a counter with True Conviction, and then casually replenished my enchantment supply, getting both of them back on top of some other crud that was sitting in the yard because reasons. What's not to love? Ashen Rider is massively expensive, but he eats something on entry, cooperates with Skybind/Cloudstone Curio (albeit not amazingly well with the latter) and does something the Titan does which the list didn't really have before - makes a respectable body independent of Daxos things. And he flies. And he's not something your opponents want to kill, making him a potent rattlesnake. TL;DR he's cool. Thran Dynamo is also cool - in the end, the list likes to eat its mana, so even if it's that the rock generates, with no colour affiliation, it'll still find a place. Plus, it passes the Skybind test.
So, that's it in terms of new entries. Needed to make room. The draw suite cuts were discussed already, and the mana rock department took a similar two-for-one hit with Star Compass and Everflowing Chalice getting axed. The latter may offer the two-drop flexibility Thran Dynamo lacks, but in 99% of scenarios the Dynamo is preferable, whilst the former's probably the worst card that was lurking around in the 99. The list had an outlandish amount of ramp, back from when I rammed just about every 2 drop mana rock I could get my hands on into the list, and going back to "only" 9 rocks (with Weathered Wayfarer, Expedition Map and Land Tax not counting towards this tally, mind you) should still be ok. Imp's Mischief got initially axed for Faith's Shield, trading incidental opportunism for more reliable protection, but then that became one of the options in the new adds, don't remember which one. Cho-Manno's Blessing is a great card, but I needed room, and at the time it was the worst thing in the 99. If I start feeling that I lack Daxos protection I'll probably fit it in. For now, I'm more concerned with fitting in that new Vindicate - the list is starting to feel hella cramped, there's no obvious cuts anymore. The closest to a cut would be the newly introduced Ashen Rider, but he does bring some game to the table that the deck can appreciate.
I am glad to report that mini-tweak season is officially open. This means the list finally hit an equilibrium where I don't feel I need to significantly reshape it, but rather tune some of its finer minutiae.
The list has always been mana hungry in concept, and now with a slight bump to the curve this is more true than ever. Two rocks get upgraded to some of the more efficient multi-mana options available. Well, more like, Mind Stone and Commander's Sphere lose their cycling nature and get rolled up into Worn Powerstone while Sword of the Animist gets reintroduced. I'll be honest, I did miss the good old Sword of Rampant Growth, it makes for some fun, derpy moments and slow, incremental advantage, fitting perfectly with the deck's mission statement. Its previous time in the sun was when the deck was so bad Necropotence sucked, so it should be okay now. Get in two swings and that's as much mana gained as off your average sized rock, whilst not being soft to artifact removal.
Also, a little more draw wouldn't hurt. I singled out Mystic Barrier as the likeliest cut for Anguished Unmaking - when it works, by golly it works, but quite often it has little impact on the board for something that costs 5 mana. Often it just makes the game into a stalled out durdle turtle that does nothing, or it fetches active hate from the rest of the board. I like what it does, but it's one of the weaker links left in the list by now. Seeing how it's going to go, may as well give Graveborn Muse a spin before I get my hands on the SOI goodness. Hey, it might be a crummy 4-drop creature, but with the commander out it's twice the fun of a Phyrexian Arena, with a hard cap at three if Agent of Erebos joins the party. It's probably for the best the tokens are just spirits.
The second likeliest cut for Anguished Unmaking would probably be Ashen Rider - he hasn't managed to get a truly smashing game in, he does what he's supposed to but isn't particularly stunning doing it. What has been stunning would be Sun Titan and Replenish, with both of those cards heavily skewing the game state in my favour whenever they'd show up (my favourite so far being a phenomenally timed Replenish against a rather unpleasant colorless stax soft lock, which untapped my entire mana base and gave me the power to make him suffer his own stax alone and never play a non-instant card again, all at once), so it only makes sense to give Emeria Shepherd another go. Similar story to Sword of Rampant Growth - the experience may be skewed by the list being crap when I ran her. If the new additions turn out to not pull their weight, that's obvious targets for Anguished Unmaking later
Anguished Unmaking is disgustingly beautiful, and whilst it may drain three life and fail to hit lands it gets stuff done. Lots of stuff. Room was needed, so I hacked out Stasis Snare as it's objectively worse in every way apart from levelling up Daxos. Unlike Oblivion Ring, it has no abusable wording to milk Cloudstone Curio. Also, Temporal Isolation got upgraded into the slower but more flexible and asymmetric Runed Halo. With Stasis Snare and Temporal Isolation gone, a certain era for the deck ends - these, along with Mystic Barrier, were close to crack stuffers when first picked up, but then proved their worth. Unfortunately, there still are stronger options available, and the deck needs to continue to develop.
I said in the previous update that the new additions would likely be the ones from which a cut for Anguished Unmaking would be made, but they all proved their worth. Graveborn Muse is absolutely wonderful, drawing three cards a turn is quite a bit more hilarious than one. Sword of the Animist is battlecruiser EDH goodstuff at its finest, and the advantage it allows you to grind out is incredible. Emeria Shepherd is, well, Emeria Shepherd, and got cut from the list in a similar fashion to Necropotence in the first place. Of these, the Sword of Rampant Growth is probably the least good, and it was already reaching its potential quite well in the initial stages of the list when it got cut, but the lower curve makes its ground-out advantage better felt now. The heavier recursion suite, courtesy of the Sun Titan and Emeria Shepherd, has me reconsidering my enchantment choices. The seals, which I cut not too long ago, work great with them. Seal of Doom in particular is on my mind for reintroduction. For now, I'm just reintroducing one of the cycling rocks - Commander's Sphere takes over from Fellwar Stone. It may cost more to set down than Mind Stone (or the card that it's replacing), but it provides coloured mana and offers a net gain of 2 mana when being used for its cycling mode over its colourless counterpart.
Also, in the interest of notes for the future, I tried Vedalken Orrery. It seemed like a great idea, as granting flash to all sorts of enchantment nonsense is a slam dunk. I drew it in a few games, and one game it was indeed a slam dunk, but in the others it didn't really do all that much. It has a smaller average impact than something like Cloudstone Curio. True, it was nice to slap in Sphere of Safety against an overcommitted, over-equipped voltron (making me immune for the turn), or eat what would have been a threatening army in a few turns with No Mercy, or have Rule of Law/Oblivion Ring etc at instant speed, but this only does proper work every now and then. It wouldn't be too good for consistency, so at least at this point I'm not going to run it.
Hey just a couple of comments on your list (should we combine threads? Seems awkward to keep bumping the same thing. Whatever).
No Academy Rector? Not only is it a tutor, but it is also a rattlesnake card prompting people to not attack you. You will probably need another sac outlet though.
I know you aren't running a lot of token generators, but maybe consider replacing True Conviction or adding another buffer? My biggest issue with Daxos' tokens is that they have no form of evasion. I have had several games now where True Conviction was in play and if it had been an evasion granting buffer, I would have won.
How is your card draw thus far? I have more than you and I still feel like I need more pieces of it.
Unsure how to go about it, but it's great that there's more interest in this commander. I'm considering making a primer happen (I already have a ghost town one for Patron of the Orochi). If so, as there's often a few optional lists per primer, possibly combine your list into the primer as you have a nice, sane approach with alt win cons?
Academy Rector is absent as I've been slowly building up the list, and just haven't gotten around to it. Since chatting with you, I expanded my tentative changelog to feature Academy Rector in place of Gossamer Chains, and Debtors' Knell in place of Koskun Falls. I'm de-forting and adding some more utility and a reasonable alt win con that doubles as recursion for my stuff. Thanks for making me see the light there.
True Conviction wins games, even with no evasion. Your foes suddenly have to deal with a (just about always) lethal wall of attackers coming at them, so if they choose to block they lose quite a bit of presence while you retain your presence and gain some life on top of it. The life gain is seriously not to be underestimated. When you say "another buffer", do you mean something like Dictate of Heliod? I mean, all the enchantments in the list act as anthems, that's gotta count for something
I don't tend to feel card starved. However, I do go quite heavy on Daxos use, so if I'm stuck with a negligible grip I'll just shrug it off and make more bodies. The aforementioned not-quite-published-as-nobody-cares-anyway-so-may-as-well-wait-to-see-if-I-have-other-ideas update sees me take out Read the Bones for Skullclamp. It worked well in the test game I drew it, and I didn't even get a sac outlet until the very end.
Bojuka Bog does feel sensible, especially as I run New Benalia and get away with it. I'll probably it in. Good to have a second piece of grave hate in the 99, and I can do a dumb and flicker it with Skybind or Cloudstone Curio if needed. Thanks!
In my current build, I'm down to 30 enchantments (I think I used to run like 33/34 at one point). Not sure I want to run more non-enchantment stuff for now. I guess they could fit, but then at what point do you draw the line before you end up with barely any enchantments left over? However, I can see the appeal of those buffer things.
You do have less enchantments yes, but you also run Flickering Ward, Gossamer Chains, and Cloudstone Curio meaning you don't really need more than two enchantments at any given time to raise experience counters. The only other card that worries about enchantments is Serra's Sanctum and Daxos' tokens take care of that just fine. Additionally, if you decide to add more card draw, you will see more of your deck, making it even less of an issue.
I guess in order to avoid confusion (also because it's not fully a ghost town anymore, woohoo!), I should just merge the recent updates into the list. A number of these are inspired by Damnosus, it feels great to have someone to converse with who actually plays the commander and seems to think in similar ways (Cloudstone Curio appreciation ho!).
So, the theme is make the recursion stronger and go for solid, long-term advantage engines. Debtors' Knell wins games. It took me until now to realise that. First time I drew it, had I not played it I'd have lost miserably. As was, I managed to cobble together an opportunistic win off other people's graveyards and my Attrition, in the face of people drawing for days and there being a Blood Moon and a Winter Orb at the same time. Just about every other one of my decks would have cried bloody tears and perished. So, that's another recursion engine. Burnished Hart needs to crawl back in, so it crawls back in. It does potentially disgusting things with Emeria Shepherd and works well enough with everything else. Turn three Hart, turn four lands, turn five Daxos is the perfect way to completely slip under the radar, and even if the Hart dies to something before it accomplishes its mission, that's one less thing for Daxos to die to.
Skullclamp is a nice long-term advantage engine. I have a handful of sac outlets, but even without one I can just put it on something and get value when it dies. Like a Daxos, for example. Long term impact is good, that's the sort of stuff that ends up winning games and making decks less fragile. Goodstuff is goodstuff for a reason. Also, in an attempt to milk Sun Titan/Emeria Shepherd's potential more, Seal of Doom sneaks back into the 99. The fact I can potentially nick the things with Debtors' Knell doesn't hurt either, but it's mainly about the marginal recursion potential I remember that the Seals were perfectly fine always, they just fell out of favour as I needed the room for other things. Seal of Cleansing won't be coming back immediately, though, as Act of Authority's been working superbly in its place.
Also fixed the rather glaring oversight of Academy Rector (no clue how I brain farted that one away, I have a hypothesis it was a combination of cost and not getting an experience counter), and the slightly less glaring oversight of Bojuka Bog.
Needed room. Worn Powerstone is outed for Hart - it's a very solid rock, but room was needed, simple as that. A Swamp becomes a Bog. Read the Bones turns into the Skullclamp - going four deep was nice, but long term resource advantage is even nicer. The other changes are not quite as obvious, and a number of the worse fort effects get taken out - Aurification, Gossamer Chains and Koskun Falls. Aurification occasionally did work, but quite often it just felt like a less potent No Mercy. Gossamer Chains is a really old member of the list, and the fact it helps build "Daxos storm" is lovely, but it's also quite limited in timing and range. Righteus Aura and Martyr's Cause do it better, if for more resource investment. Koskun Falls is beautiful and I love it to shreds, but Damnosus pointed out it falls off to wraths. Which it does, yes. I've had it happen a few times and shrugged it off as a quirk of the card. However, why have a card with a quirk when you can have something more solid without a quirk?
Hooray I am making a difference! Now I just gotta work on you in regards to Humility
A couple other thoughts:
At least one other token generator might be nice in order to better take advantage of Skullclamp (preferably one that makes tokens with 1 toughness). It always feels a little wrong to sacrifice a 5+/5+ for a smallish effect.
Karmic Justice might be decent especially as a protection against Aura Shards. Torpor Orb is another possibility which I am on the fence about due to its clash with other synergies.
Finally, and this would need more token generators to work, but maybe Humility? Talk about a card that hoses so many strategies. Its biggest issue is getting it to work. Luckily, B/W enchantress is one of the few decks that it works in. Admittedly, I have only gotten a chance to use it once in the deck, but it allowed me to beat a semi-competitive Derevi list (didn't show up until it was just the two of us).
Torpor Orb is a lovely value town hate card that also happens to hose all the beautiful constellation things going on in the list. The fact it costs us dearly makes it more situational than a lot of the things in the 99. If they print an enchantment version (Hushwing Gryff seems to suggest they may put this on other card types in the future) I'll have to consider it.
I have a few Aura Shards answers in the list already, in the form of instant speed hit anything exile, plus Aura of Silence/Act of Authority/O-Ring variants. Karmic Justice was a card which I was hoping to love, but which turned out to be a bit too narrow - it only works on destruction, so nothing happens on exile or sacrifice, and it's just non-creatures. Typically, if something dies with that thing out, then it was super important for it to die and you quaffing up a single permanent in return is likely going to be an uneven trade-off.
I'm still not feeling the other token generators. The closest to one which I could get behind would be Heliod, but if there's some sort of hate piece on the board that locks out Daxos then it probably also locks out Heliod. Gotta let this iteration breathe for some more play time. Humility does have potential, yes, but it still feels like it belongs more in an equipment-heavy deck that will abuse it more (Open the Armory can go live there too maybe I'll slot it in here in the future, but at the moment there's barely any equipment or auras, so I'd either be getting a removal spell, a Daxos storm builder, Daxos protection or Skullclamp, more less... a decent toolbox, true, but not truly game-warping). Cover of Darkness looks hilarious, but I don't think I can find room.
I've found Daxos to be very mana hungry. You already have Serra's Sanctum to make big white mana. What about Cabal Coffers or Crypt Ghast for big time black mana? If you have a wall of defenders out, Liliana of the Dark Realms is great for securing land drops and the ultimate is feasible for super ramp. I've never complained on having too much mana in Daxos. I haven't added Nirkana Revenant yet but that is another big mana play.
Yes, Daxos is mana hungry. I just don't understand how people run Cabal Coffers outside of mono black though. I have 9 non-Urborg swamps in the list. As such, to realistically get good value from the Coffers, I'd need to locate both the Coffers and the Urborg. Sure, doable with Weathered Wayfarer, but rather patchy otherwise. Similar reasons for Crypt Ghast etc being gone, I run them in my Sheoldred but not here.
So I would just like to point out that there are really only 3 viable constellation cards. When people use it in argumentation, it always sounds like we are running 5+ cards with constellation when we really aren't. In many games, barring specific tutoring, you will not see any constellation cards. Even so, I was really on the fence about Torpor Orb to begin with. While it is nice to have an out to say Bane of Progress, it does mess with too many things to be useful.
That being said, I still think Humility is a super powerful effect that should definitely be considered. Yes it shuts down Daxos (honestly there are only a handful of generals that it doesn't completely neuter so that is somewhat of a moot point), however if you build with it in mind, you don't just lock down the board, but you instead take over the game. Humility messes with so many decks because the majority of people want bodies with their abilities. I have read a few primers for tier 1-1.5 decks that spell out the fact that if Humility comes down and another player can't take care of it, then you lose. Admittedly, Humility requires a bit of finesse-you can't just randomly slap it down. There are a couple of routes that we can take to use Humility: first is enchantment based token generators (not Heliod sadly) in order to take over the game with a swarm. Add in a single buffer card (True Conviction, Akroma's Memorial, Eldrazi Monument, etc.) and you will always win combat. The second route is to just hide behind the pillowfort and win with a big Exsanguinate effect. If we had an easy way to get back sorceries, I would recommend this method, but we aren't running blue. Humility and equipment is only really good if you want to voltron through it, which we really shouldn't try.
Regardless, I think Elspeth, Sun's Champion should be considered: creates a bunch of tokens that are clampable, can immediately board wipe and leave Daxos around, creates a buffing effect. Great card.
@Karmic Justice: I feel the same way about it, I honestly just wanted to hear your argumentation against it.
@Cabal Coffers: back in the days of Prime Time, I used to run it in 3 color with maybe 2 basic swamps. Yea, we need to be more careful about it, but I would say that it can still work so long as you play expedition map and weathered wayfarer, and that you don't consider it a land (if you want to run 37 lands, play it as the 38th land).