The Glissa Do Over

Sheldon Menery’s “Do Over” Commander series continues with Glissa, the Traitor! Without the ability to copy over the seemingly crucial cards from his “Glissa, Glissa” deck, how will he make this new build work?

When I initiated the Do Over Project, I reported that I was going to do the next 99 for each of the commanders from my effort to build a deck from each of the 27 possible color combinations (now 32, since four-color commanders have become a thing in the interim). It didn’t occur to me that there would be one of them which was so narrowly focused that I’d find it nearly impossible to not just duplicate the original deck with 99 different cards. Enter Glissa, the Traitor.

Approaching it now, I thought that maybe, just maybe, if I had envisioned the Do Over Project while I was doing the original build, I might have been able to plan all 198 cards from scratch. I supposed that, because Glissa is a Zombie Elf, I could do some version of either or both tribes, but even someone as fond as I am of themes knows that you can’t stretch them too far without ruining them. I felt like I was at a dead end. Then it occurred to me that taking a defeatist attitude just isn’t my cup of tea (for those of you who care, a nice, smoky and flinty Lapsang Souchong is my tea of choice). [Copy editor’s note: My late father’s, too.]

I’m doing over Glissa, just as I promised. The challenge, of course, is that most of the great artifacts we’d want to recur are in the primary build.

This whole exercise will involve thinking a little differently. The real crux of the biscuit is figuring out what artifacts I would like to see lots of (and aren’t on the other list). The best creatures, like Burnished Hart and Solemn Simulacrum, aren’t available. Likewise with the battlefield wipes Nevinyrral’s Disk and Oblivion Stone. I had hoped for some relief with Mycosynth Lattice, but that only makes the cards in your graveyard colorless, not artifacts (although the card leads to some other awkwardness that we’d rather avoid, like Bane of Progress nuking everyone’s lands).

The final answer I came to is that Glissa isn’t really the deck’s engine, but the backup plan—I’ll build an artifact-heavy deck of some kind and then use Glissa in case they get destroyed. Glissa likes an environment which is hostile to opponents’ creatures, so that’s a given, but we have to be careful that our own creatures aren’t subject to that same hostility. This means that they need to be either indestructible or not creatures most of the time.

I think you can see where this is going.

The deck has three basic elements: Vehicles, the creatures to crew them, and creature destruction. It also has requisite bits of utility and support that help a deck run.


I’m a fan of the idea that when Wrath of God effects happen, my creatures aren’t around to get wiped out. I didn’t just jam in all the Vehicles; I selected the ones with high power-to-crew-cost ratios. There are a few which stand out.

Bomat Bazaar Barge: This has to be a consideration for nearly any Glissa deck, simply for the card draw. Glissa can crew it all by herself.

Cultivator’s Caravan: Some moderately-costed mana ramp that can start beating face once you have enough mana. With some of the permanents in the deck which untap others, such as Paradox Engine and Seedborn Muse, you can get a great deal of value out of it.

Daredevil Dragster: Another one which Glissa will enjoy, since she can bring it back again and again.

Mobile Garrison: When one card untaps another, I’m sure that there’s a combo not far behind. For me, at least here, it might be getting an extra mana or an extra ping out of Staff of Nin.

Smuggler’s Copter: I understand that there was a kerfuffle about this card in Standard. I can understand why. In a Glissa deck, there’s little to no downside to discarding an artifact, since you’ll just get it back later.

The Creatures That Crew Them

The basic idea is to use utility creatures which don’t normally tend to attack. Many of them have good enters-the-battlefield abilities. You don’t want to risk sending your Oracle of Mul Daya or Elvish Visionary into combat, but you want them to do something other than just sit there after they’ve done their work. Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper provides a good portion of any crew and gives you lots of lifegain once you’re battling. It also gains you a few extra life when it’s revealed by Sapling of Colfenor.

You’ll see I’ve chosen quite a few creatures which draw cards. I tried to go with a few unusual selections, such as Grim Haruspex and Sage of Ancient Lore. Despite our best efforts, some of our creatures will die; filling up the hand with replacements makes good sense. The reason I chose Sage of Ancient Lore over Multani, Maro-Sorcerer is that the latter doesn’t have any kind of evasion. It won’t be as huge as often, but when it is, it can’t be chump blocked.

I’m not quite sure in which category to put Karn, Silver Golem, so with the rest of the crew seems like a good spot. Karn can serve on a crew and animate other artifacts to help out as well. Since we’re doing some creature destruction, we might be able to take out any inconvenient artifacts belonging to other people by animating them in response to a battlefield wipe.

I will remind you that if you use Karn to animate a Vehicle, the Vehicle will have the power and toughness equal to its converted mana cost, not its printed values. In general, that’s a suboptimal play, since the printed power and toughness are usually higher than the converted mana cost, but you might be able to catch someone if you don’t have the crew to animate a Vehicle but you have the mana for Karn.

Creature Destruction

Simple battlefield wipes like Damnation are fine, but I’m a bigger fan of those which do something extra, like Decree of Pain and Deadly Tempest.

Someday, I’ll live the dream of casting Deadly Tempest after someone else has cast Storm Herd.

In addition to the sorceries, there’s Noxious Gearhulk, which you can bring back with Glissa. Slots are precious, and I started to go down a whole rabbit hole with sacrifice outlets, but figured that’s something that the original Glissa deck does, so this one doesn’t have to. I used a few land slots to provide sacrifice outlets: Diamond Valley, Grim Backwoods, High Market, Phyrexian Tower, and Miren, the Moaning Well. Since a fair number of creatures will go to the graveyard, Reaper from the Abyss looked like a nice addition. The only potential downside there is that if it triggers, it has to destroy something, even if it’s one of yours.

The Abyss is a special case, and I threw it into the deck because I happened to see one (an Italian version) in the pile while I was going through a stack of cards. Obviously, it’s an expensive card, and there are plenty of viable replacements (like Magus of the Abyss). The same idea goes for Diamond Valley and Guardian Beast. I was arranging my card binders and flipped through the Arabian Nights set; I realized I didn’t have either in a deck, which had to change. And if you were thinking of treating yourself to any one of those cards, you should go for it. You’re totally worth it and it’s already been a rough year.


Some land ramp and some card draw round out the deck. You’ll see I went with an investigate sub-theme. I didn’t find Ulvenwald Mysteries or Tamiyo’s Journal in another deck, so this seemed like the right opportunity to explore the idea. Disciple of the Vault comes downstream from that idea. I also included Scrapheap, a nice little find from Urza’s Legacy, and Fangren Marauder for some additional lifegain. I want to thank whichever Armada Games regular showed us the power of Fangren Marauder, but it was long enough ago that I’ve forgotten who it was.

Endbringer got me on to Paradox Engine and Seeborn Muse. Sure, they’re just strong cards, but I hadn’t considered either of them until I realized that Endbringer can crew most Vehicles by itself and then gets to untap and be useful on others’ turns. I’d like all my stuff to untap and be useful! We (being the Commander Rules Committee) are definitely aware that Paradox Engine is causing some heartburn in the community, and Amonkhet’s officially revealed Oracle’s Vault (which seems like a great value card) might tick up the indigestion factor. Speaking of officially revealed cards, how about those cycling duals? The Gitrog Monster just keeps getting saucier! Anyway, I promise that we’ll talk about Paradox Engine at our next meeting.

It seems like nearly every deck that doesn’t do a fair amount of land ramping will want Commander’s Sphere. Even those which are capable of it might like it. Glissa, of course, loves it. If it’s your turn and you know a creature is about to die, you can even tap Commander’s Sphere for one of the mana to recast it after it goes back to your hand. Now all we need is for it to get printed in foil. I wonder whom I talk to about that.

If there’s anything missing from the utility end, it’s artifact and enchantment destruction. Conclave Naturalists or Indrik Stomphowler might make a fine replacement for one of the card drawers, since they provide a little targeted removal and can do a fair job of crewing a Vehicle.

I considered Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, and Urza’s Tower, but felt like I’d end up with too many colorless-producing lands. Cloudpost and Glimmerpost also came to mind, but once again, they weren’t worth missing out on colored mana. Had I gone with a different sacrifice outlet plan, the Urzatron might replace those creature-sacrificing lands, but that would also involve some land tutoring beyond Expedition Map. Tempt with Discovery might be a great start. Pro tip: never take the tempting offer!

The Glissa Do Over is a fine midrange, kind of janky deck. It takes advantage of Vehicles, which Standard players might have seen enough of but Commander players are just coming around to. Let’s see what happens when we start our engines!

This Week’s Idiotic Combo

I’m pleased to announce a new recurring feature, called This Week’s Idiotic Combo.

The feature will uncover some of the truly insane things which can happen in Commander games. Today, I offer you one I discovered in researching this deck: Endless Whispers and Tainted Aether.

Either can trigger the other, starting a landslide of nonsense. The thing that keeps it from getting completely out of hand is that the creature doesn’t come back to the battlefield until the beginning of the next end step. If you’re going to tinker around with this, you might consider giving yourself hexproof, like with Witchbane Orb, so that you don’t get caught up in the mayhem. If you want to take the whole idea to the next level, consider adding Phage the Untouchable.

Again, there’s a little bit of good news. Rule 800.4c will prevent the Phage trick from being repeatable. Because of the trigger, Phage will go from your graveyard to an opponent’s control. That opponent (without benefit of something like Trickbind or Voidslime) will then lose. Because there was no previous control effect on Phage, it will then get exiled.

This week’s Deck Without Comment is the primary build, Glissa, Glissa.

Check out our comprehensive Deck List Database for lists of all my decks:


Purple Hippos and Maro Sorcerers; Kresh Into the Red Zone; Halloween with Karador; Dreaming of Intet; You Did This to Yourself;



Heliod, God of Enchantments; Thassa, God of Merfolk; Erebos and the Halls Of The Dead; Forge of Purphoros; Nylea of the Woodland Realm; Karn Evil No. 9


Lavinia Blinks; Obzedat, Ghost Killer; Aurelia Goes to War; Trostani and Her Angels; Lazav, Shapeshifting Mastermind; Zegana and a Dice Bag; Rakdos Reimagined; Glissa, Glissa; Ruric Thar and His Beastly Fight Club; Gisa and Geralf Together Forever;

Shards and Wedges

Adun’s Toolbox; Animar’s Swarm; Karrthus, Who Rains Fire From The Sky; Demons of Kaalia; Merieke’s Esper Dragons; Nath of the Value Leaf; Rith’s Tokens; The Mill-Meoplasm; The Altar of Thraximundar; The Threat of Yasova; You Take the Crown, I’ll Take Leovold; Zombies of Tresserhorn

Four Color

Yidris: Money for Nothing, Cards for Free; Saskia Unyielding;


Children of a Greater God


Animar Do-Over; Karador Do-Over; Karador Version 3; Karrthus Do-Over; Steam-Powered Merieke Do-Over; Mimeoplasm Do-Over; Phelddagrif Do-Over; Rith Do-Over; Ruhan Do-Over

If you’d like to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987) which is just beginning the saga The Lost Cities of Nevinor, ask for an invitation to the Facebook group “Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers.”