The Deck Ranking
Based on a defunct Avacyn primer
Quick Game Likeness - quick? I'd never, good sir! Newbie Feasibility - might be uncomfortable with the symmetric non-mana resource denial at first, but it should click pretty fast Commander Dependency - Daxos and his token hordes are the most reliable way to close out games "Scare" Rating - "Daxos is so bad" - DarkSword moments before getting shrekt and ignore-listing me on Cockatrice, 2016 Multiplayer Mode - needs a period of under the radar resource development not offered by 1v1, but can put up a fight if the draw is right Expensiveness - don't let the DeckStats pricegun deceive you as my build is fully decked out, while a lot of your power lifters are cheap
Game Play Attributes
Acceleration - big rather than fast; some mana rocks to smooth out the early game, and fat mana options for later on Library Searching - three unconditional tutors, plus a few more for enchantments and lands Board Control - a solid helping of removal, comes in instant, enchantment and wrath flavours Spell Control - surprisingly high for an Orzhov shell, proactive disruption via discard and Rule of Law Card Advantage - everybody discards and Rule of Laws while you churn out bodies, also sports some solid draw engines Linearity - the dying moments of a game likely include three digits of power in spirit tokens, but the journey differs every time Combo Potential - no infinites whatsoever, occasionally does silly finite stuff with Skybind + big mana or a Bolas Rock
The Deck's Strengths
A derpy commander in the wrong colours, making unthreatening speed bump plays that eventually add up to a surprising amount of advantage.Voltron? Storm? Reanimator? Pesky creatures, be they tall or wide? There likely is an answer somewhere in the 99, and a tutor to get it.Skybind allows for all sorts of crazy stuff to happen, from the generation of an army out of nowhere to incidental stax resistance.Your Bane of Progress just melted my board? Well, at least I can still make five 7/7s to compensate.Incremental spell/hand disruption makes it increasingly awkward to answer your shenanigans.You haven't lived until you resolve a 10+ enchantment Replenish, especially if constellation becomes involved.You can put on a slow-motion Leovold + Puzzle Box impersonation with Thoughtrender Lamia.Held up interaction mana but nothing worthy came? Just sink it into spirit production without missing a beat.Gaining 72 life per swing while everybody else has to pay 14 per attacker only to have it die on impact? Sure, why not.I have "gotten there" on the back of Daxos with Sword of Rampant Growth.
The Deck's Weaknesses
There are both better enchantress commanders and better Orzhov commanders, even if Daxos offers a unique spin on the idea.Doesn't have green. Just imagine Elemental Bond or Primal Rage with Daxos, not to mention the standard Gx enchantress stuff...Rather slow, and fragile in the early game - if your meta clocks in around turn 4-5, you're gonna have a bad time.Daxos himself is a bear, and easy to keep down if desired. You have to rely on his apparent badness and other people making splashier plays.Related to the above, Keranos, God of Storms and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite are your natural predators. Thankfully, you have removal.You have almost as bad a time against Aura Shards and Austere Command as the rest of your enchantress brethren.Whilst the path varies, the typical end result is three digits of spirit token power. Nowhere near the most varied game ender on the block.Some of the hate options may feed other decks at the table, such as the discard fuelling reanimator strategies.Occasionally becomes rather light-hearted with its life total, whilst lifegain is quite sparse in the 99....some games, you just don't get to play Skybind
Other Commander Options
Karlov of the Ghost Council - Daxos's accompanying commander product legend friend is an objectively stronger option, and comes with a surprising amount of explosiveness. A tuned voltron shell with some multi-trigger lifegain (think Soul Warden et al. for the low end, and Righteous Cause as the curve topper) is sure to result in a quick clock.Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim - Another aggressively costed option with built in Diamond Valley and Vindicate galore. Find a sweet spot of ramp, lifegain and token production and you should be in control of most happenings soon enough. There's a cool value town/combo primer you can check out.Athreos, God of Passage - Whilst people are quite liberal with their life totals, they get leery pretty quickly when something like Athreos repeatedly makes advances onto it. This makes the Orzhov God a sturdy recursion engine, making good use of all sorts of cheap utility dudes. He's seen some renewed popularity lately thanks to a Shadowborn Apostles Game Knights build.Teysa, Orzhov Scion - Lends herself very well to all sorts of enter/leave the battlefield shenanigans and probably offers the greatest build flexibility of the viable Orzhov commanders. 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!Heliod, God of the Sun - A mono white Daxos-like oddity who can generate 2/1s for four mana. Making bodies on demand is good as it helps close out games, and enables instant speed constellation value at times that make Skybind delightfully wonky. If only the bodies and colour range could be better... oh wait, they can be, and we're here to talk about it
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.
Deck Strategy in Shellnut
The majority of the deck's games end on the back of spirit tokens generated by Daxos.The spirits become permanently "anthemed" whenever you cast an enchantment, allowing you to focus your actions on all sorts of proactive and reactive lines of play. At the same time, your game-ending inevitability softly clicks up in the background.You're in it for the long haul, and you know it. Take it slow, slide under the radar. Don't pull a turn three Skybind unless you can feel the aura of the Gods of Magic shining down upon you. And even then, check three times.However, even though your game plan involves the turns likely going into double digits, you're not entirely useless in the early game. Hurl removal judiciously, earning some brownie points from the rest of the table.If you get your paws on a draw, non-Thoughtrender Lamia discard or Rule of Law variant enchantment, aim to get them out ASAP. Not quite "before Daxos" quick usually, but quick enough to hopefully catch everybody with their pants down and make adjusting a bit more difficult. They also tend to bait removal, making follow-up plays more secure.Daxos is just a bear, it's easy to kill him. If you smell a game where he's gonna die time and time again, try to get some protection for him out of the 99. If that's not gonna work, sculpt your mana base, play Daxos and immediately cast an enchantment without passing priority. That'll set up a counter to milk for value once everybody whittles down their options a bit.If there's something permanently messing up Daxos's day (think Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Linvala, Keeper of Silence or something), you're WB, you have removal, use it. There are quite a few answers to stuff in this deck.Only go for a game-warping power play when you have the 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.
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!