[Editor’s Note: This article was written the week of March 9th, but we had to take a break from publishing due to COVID-19. Reasons Past urges all of its readers to stay inside and stay safe, and hopefully enjoy even more Magic content!]

You heard me right. Today we are joining the hordes of players jamming the boogeyman of the Commander format. But our boogeyman has been away from its native Phyrexian archetype of Infect for far too long, and has never watched the 1973-1984 classic “Superfriends.” No, our boogeyman went on a 10-month drug-fueled bender in the forests of Verduran and has come out the other end a little more magical and a lot more crazy. Our boogeyman is an enchantress.

Atraxa BIG.jpg

Enchantress decks in EDH tend to be either Selesnya or Bant, and about two years ago, my deck was no different. But after a couple months playing the deck with Phelddagrif, the happy purple hippo (if you haven’t watched Friday Nights circa 2012, do yourself a favor and BINGE) at the helm, I found the deck to be too linear I was doing the same thing every game, and I was getting bored. Adding black to the mix would allow me to fragment the strategy, giving more variety and replayability to my favorite deck. Plus I would get to play sick legendary creatures like Zur the Enchanter (calm down I’m not playing Necropotence) and the edgiest champion of Meletis, Daxos the Returned. And since I didn’t want to delve into the partner commanders or break the rules of EDH to play a questionable 1/1 in the form of Witch-Maw Nephilim, Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice was the clear choice.

The Praetor’s Voice and I had a great time, with months of play solidifying the deck as one of, if not my singular favorite pile of cards. Due to my unfortunate tendency to spend too much money on cardboard, though, the deck drifted to the bottom of my bag, seeing less and less play as time and sets passed. And there it remained — until the release of Theros Beyond Death. With the release of a set centered around enchantments and, at least for me, nostalgia, dusting off my old pet deck seemed like a no brainer.

Unlike most of my EDH decks, my choice of everyone’s favorite horrific angelic vocalist as my Commander was informed mostly by color identity. This choice has implications for both deck construction and piloting. The 99 is an enchantress deck first and an Atraxa deck, like, third or fourth. This means in turn that you can play games and I have  where you only get around to casting the honorary Phyrexian once or not at all and still win. It doesn’t mean, though, that we should be ignoring Atraxa’s very potent rules text. In constructing our pile, we should pay special attention to enchantments that interact with counters. More on that later. 

The backbone of every enchantress deck, EDH or otherwise, are enchantresses. Duh. Way back in Alpha, Wizards printed a green 0/1 with way too many words on it. After the rules department figured out grammar, it read “Whenever you cast an enchantment spell, draw a card” and they have been functionally reprinting it ever since.  These innocuous creatures are what make enchantment-centric strategies possible they turn cards from arguably the worst card type in Magic into flexible tools that always replace themselves. So naturally, we want all of them, especially ones that are either hard to interact with, like Argothian Enchantress or Enchantress’s Presence, or trigger upon entering the battlefield, like Eidolon of Blossoms. They power up all of our enchantments, particularly the ones we can cast multiple times throughout the course of the game, like Flickering Ward and Mana Bloom.

The other slightly more expensive backbone of enchantress decks is a single card: the perhaps broken, definitely gross legendary land Serra’s Sanctum. With a critical mass of enchantments, the sanctum produces a disgusting amount of mana, allowing us to play a revolting amount of enchantments, which in turn causes us with the help of Verduran Enchantress and her copycat friends — to draw a deplorable amount of cards. I hope you get the point, because I am running out of synonyms for yucky. To best facilitate our biohazard, we have a suite of tutors, like Weathered Wayfarer and Tolaria West, to go out looking for it and a plethora of untap effects, like Garruk Wildspeaker and Deserted Temple, to just win more™. These untap effects also pair well with effects like Utopia Sprawl or Fertile Ground that increase the amount of mana that a single land produces.

Since we can’t be bothered with playing too many creatures with power greater than two, we have to find some way of dealing with the combat step. But since their unifying factor is years of living alone in the woods, enchantresses, boogeymen or otherwise, are a nonconfrontational folk. To force the TCG equivalent of emotional repression on the rest of the table, we play a suite of effects like Propaganda, Collective Restraint, and most therapy inciting of them all Solitary Confinement.

The unfortunate truth of playing cards that do their best work on the battlefield is that they can almost always be taken off of it such are the rules of Magic. Thankfully, we have some effects we can use to… bend those rules. Lightning Greaves and Sterling Grove both protect our permanents from targeted interaction. When protection fails, we have recursion effects like Hanna, Ship’s Navigator, Sun Titan, Starfield of Nyx, and Replenish. And if you have nothing better to do, Sterling Grove + Sun Titan will give you something better to do might I suggest Seal of Doom or Aura of Silence to pick off your opponents best permanents? Every turn?

Because there clearly isn’t enough going on in this pile of cardboard, we also have a light enter the battlefield subtheme to play around with. Grim Guardian and Eidolon of Blossoms both trigger upon enchantments entering the battlefield, which can happen either naturally or via a kingly haunting from Brago, King Eternal or interplanar visit from Venser, the Sojourner. Particularly… enchanting… destinations for either of our kingly tourists are effects like Detention Sphere to either nuke tokens or retarget removal and the powerful Treachery to untap our angelic quagmire, Serra’s Sanctum.

This deck is very good at durdling, which is really all that I could ever want from a game of EDH. But if after all that your opponents haven’t scooped and you really want to close the game out, Atraxa has a couple of ways to make that happen. Sigil of the Empty Throne, Daxos the Returned, and Starfield of Nyx all go wide and tall with our enchantments. There is also a combo kill in the form of Mirari’s Wake + Cloudstone Curio + Treachery for infinite mana, then Grim Guardian for infinite damage.

So that’s the deck! Except, something’s missing namely, the reason I wrote this article. The return of Theros! Here are the cuts and additions I made for the set, and why.


  • Avacyn, Angel of Hope: Beyond stealing the thunder from our leading angel, the more hopeful winged lady often feels like a win-more card. At her best, she nudges the door shut on games we probably would have won regardless, and at worst she is an eight-drop that we don’t see in any play zone besides our sweaty palms.
  • Sylvan Scrying: Though it fetches one of our aforementioned backbones, that is really all this card does. With Serra’s Sanctum already on the battlefield where it lives most games due to our other tutors, cantrips, and enchantress this card does little more than offer subpar lumbar support in the form of fixing.
  • Font of Fortunes and Ior Ruin Expedition: These cards are both great they smooth out our draws and trigger our enchantresses while doing it. Theros Beyond Death offers a pair of very similar effects, though, and we are trying to switch things up.
  • Luminarch Ascension: This card, for me, tends to just be boring.  Because I’m moving the deck towards being more centered around enter-the-battlefield abilities, I’m cutting cards that don’t really excite me.
  • Quarantine Field: This card always costs too much and does too little. Atraxa adding counters post ETB doesn’t even do anything, which just feels bad.
  • Exploration: This card can be great (think turn one with four lands in hand), but it can also be very bad (think turn 10 with zero cards in hand). I think we only really want one of these effects in our deck, and TBD offers an interesting alternative.
  • Deadly Designs: This card is a fun little political gem, and really shines in archnemesis situations when it’s you and a couple of your opponents versus one player who has gotten way too far ahead. It also has obvious synergies with Atraxa. It’s not so great when you yourself are the archnemesis, and your opponents can decide exactly when to blow up your enchantment to minimize its effect.


  • Calix, Destiny’s Hand: As most of the Atraxa players in our community (and most of our community, for that matter) can bear witness too, the Angel Horror and planeswalkers are a very potent combination. When that planeswalker finds, recurs, and removes threats using enchantments, its an auto-include for our deck.
  • Dryad of the Ilysian Grove: This is our replacement for Exploration, with the added benefit of perfectly fixing our mana. Out of all our additions, this is the one I am the most unsure of — the effect seems questionable on a three drop. We’ll see how the dryad performs in the coming months.
  • Elspeth Conquers Death: This. Card. Is. Sick. All three modes are great, it pairs well with out ETB subtheme, and it even benefits from Atraxa’s proliferation.
  • Archon of Sun’s Grace: Flying horses? On a constellation trigger? They aren’t particularly happy, purple, or hippo-like, but I will definitely take what I can get.

Without further ado, here is the fully updated Atraxa Enchantress deck!

Creature  (17)
1 Archon of Sun’s Grace
1 Nessian Wanderer
1 Setessan Champion
1 Argothian Enchantress
1 Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice
1 Brago, King Eternal
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Daxos the Returned
1 Eternal Witness
1 Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
1 Herald of the Pantheon
1 Mesa Enchantress
1 Satyr Enchanter
1 Sun Titan
1 Verduran Enchantress
1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Zur the Enchanter

Enchantment Creature  (4)
1 Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
1 Nyxbloom Ancient
1 Eidolon of Blossoms
1 Grim Guardian

Instant (2)
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Worldly Tutor

Sorcery (3)
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Open the Vaults
1 Replenish

Artifact (2)
1 Cloudstone Curio
1 Lightning Greaves

Enchantment (33)
1 Archmage Ascension
1 Aura of Silence
1 Collective Restraint
1 Detention Sphere
1 Enchantress’s Presence
1 Estrid’s Invocation
1 Fertile Ground
1 Flickering Ward
1 Font of Fertility
1 Ghostly Prison
1 Grasp of Fate
1 Khalni Heart Expedition
1 Leyline of Anticipation
1 Mana Bloom
1 Mirari’s Wake
1 Omen of the Hunt
1 Omen of the Sea
1 Parallax Wave
1 Propaganda
1 Seal of Doom
1 Sigil of the Empty Throne
1 Smothering Tithe
1 Solitary Confinement
1 Starfield of Nyx
1 Sterling Grove
1 Sylvan Library
1 Treachery
1 Underworld Connections
1 Utopia Sprawl
1 Wild Growth
1 Worship
1 Elspeth Conquers Death
1 Medomai’s Prophecy

Planeswalker (3)
1 Aminatou, the Fateshifter
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Venser, the Sojourner
1 Calix, Destiny’s Hand

Land (35)
1 Aether Hub
1 Breeding Pool
1 Command Tower
1 Deserted Temple
1 Flooded Strand
3 Forest
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Overgrown Tomb
3 Plains
1 Polluted Delta
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Savannah
1 Scrubland
1 Serra’s Sanctum
1 Swamp
1 Temple Garden
1 Tolaria West
1 Tropical Island
1 Tundra
1 Underground Sea
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Vivid Meadow
1 Watery Grave
1 Windswept Heath

Thanks for listening to me rant about one of my favorite decks. I hope you enjoy Atraxa as much as I do!

Want to play a ridiculous combo that is incidentally also angel-based, but in Standard? Jonah Gaynor has you covered with a deck that features Demons, Dragons, and Angels alike.

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