The Kitchen Table: The Next 100 With Glissa

See what happens when Abe builds a “good stuff” Commander deck around Glissa, the Traitor and then builds a second deck excluding all the cards from the first.

Are you getting tired of seeing the same cards in your Commander matches? Has your local metagame devolved into too many “good stuff” decks and not enough difference? Is one deck blending into another?

Or perhaps your metagame is healthy, but you don’t have the deck stock to build your next deck. What do you do when you have run out of Sol Rings and Duplicants, Eternal Witnesses and Acidic Slimes, or Swords to Plowshares and Paths to Exile?

That’s where this series comes in. I take a popular Commander and build your typical “good stuff” deck around it. We put in everything that is gross, and I don’t pull any financial punches. If the deck wants Mana Drain, Underground Sea, or Moat, then it gets it. This is the cream of the crop stuff. Then I set aside this “First 100” deck and get my hands dirty building a second deck. The “Next 100” uses all new cards and is a brand-new deck built around the same legendary creature.

After twenty years of making Magic, there are more than enough cards out there to build different decks around the same legendary creature.

I’ve already done Next 100 projects around Sygg, River Cutthroat; Rhys the Redeemed; and Prime Speaker Zegana. Today I am choosing another fun legendary: Glissa, the Traitor. Like the others, I have never built a Glissa deck before, so this should be something fun!

This deck does precisely what you expect a Glissa deck to do. It kills stuff and reanimates artifacts for card advantage every time an opposing creature bites it. It has the tricks you’ve come to expect, such as Thornbite Staff and recurring mass removal (Disk/Stone). I added a lot of common cards from Glissa decks, but I also added cards that I felt were important too. I checked a few decklists to be sure, but none ran the powerful Birthing Pod. I’m not sure why, but in my opinion it’s strong enough to make the First 100 in Glissa, so I threw it in.  Ditto The Abyss. I also like Sylvan Caryatid enough to give it a prime spot.

We’ve all seen Glissa decks online or in real life, and we’ve come to expect some things from them. We expect Kuldotha Forgemaster tricks, we expect cheap sacrifice artifacts that can be easily replayed (such as the Baubles and Spellbombs), and we suspect there are some abusive artifacts in that list. From Mind’s Eye to Metalworker and everything in between, this is a sick artifact list. I included heavy hitters as per expectations, but I skipped Sundering Titan, which has always felt not Commander-friendly to me. (For similar reasons, I always just run the pain-fetch lands in the colors in my deck because it doesn’t feel like Commander to run Bloodstained Mire in this sort of deck.)

Now that we have the obvious Glissa deck out of the way, what sort of deck can I build with the Next 100 cards?

All of the Next 100 projects have much weaker mana bases (when devoid of cards like Sol Ring and dual lands). But they usually have little drop-off in the next section of cards, and this deck project is no different. We have a lot of high-quality choices still left, and this deck is pretty kicking.

I began building this deck around powerful artifact engines. We also have some great sacrifice engines to recur again and again with Glissa. Snake Basket is a powerful mana sink later in the game, and it can make an instant army. Jester’s Cap will sacrifice to exile three cards from opposing libraries, enabling you to pull out combos, removal that hurts you, or major threats. Whatever the situation demands, the Cap can follow. We also have Memory Jar to sacrifice and draw seven new cards. When you use it on your turn, people can also play instants and cards with flash, but you can drop anything you draw. Then Glissa can recur it for another use.   

Of course, that’s not all. We have Brass Secretary, Golgari Cluestone, Mind Stone, and Dreamstone Hedron that can sacrifice for cards. Then you can pull them back for another go all nice and easy. There are a lot of crazy lands running around EDH, and Ark of Blight is a way to handle them over and over again as Glissa dominates the table by gaining you artifacts.

We also have the mana-fetch artifacts (the first deck may have had Horizon Spellbomb, Armillary Sphere, but we still have space for Burnished Hart and Wayfarer’s Bauble). This helps fill mana needs. I also added the odd Moonglove Extract to recur burn. Other self-sacrifice artifacts include the Moriok and Neurok Replicas. So the deck definitely has enough self-sacrificing artifacts to roll.

Then I added a few cards to push that theme even more. I thought about Krark-Clan Ironworks and similar cards but felt they were a little one note. On the other hand, Trading Post is brilliant as a way to sacrifice artifacts when needed to draw cards. The old Glissa trick of sacrificing an artifact as a creature is about to die to bring it back works rather well here. Plus the Post can be used for other things as well (including some artifact recursion).

Speaking of which, check out Scarecrone. She’s sort of self-sacrificing for a card, and she can spend four mana and tap to recur an artifact creature right to the battlefield. She’s another solid entry into the deck and increases its synergy just a bit more.

I then moved to creatures. At first I looked at good creatures that could kill stuff. This way we could trigger Glissa. While it takes a lot of mana for the monstrosity activation, I really like both of the Theros cards in this deck: Hythonia the Cruel and the Keepsake Gorgon. You can activate them at instant speed to recur on your terms (as opposed to things with enters-the-battlefield triggers like Shriekmaw and Nekrataal). I loved these guys so much that in went Avatar of Woe and Visara the Dreadful to add to the deck’s needs.

I moved to spells next. In went Plague Wind of Decree of Pain. The first won’t kill any of my guys, and the second will pay me back in cards (which seems like a fair deal to me). Dropping a Plague Wind with Glissa in play and a stocked graveyard is just downright unfair. Also added to the deck were Beast Within, Hero’s Downfall, Maelstrom Pulse, and Slaughter. With buyback of some life, the Slaughter is a nifty trick because you can kill something annoying, recur an artifact, and keep the Slaughter for another go. There was also space for Plague Boiler.

Even with powerful artifacts in the first deck, there was not space for cards such as Nim Deathmantle and Vedalken Orrery. I tossed them into this deck instead. (Note that if you personally like a card like Deathmantle more than artifacts that did make the cut such as Mimic Vat, then you can move Mimic Vat down to the Next 100 and still have a really powerful Commander artifact here. The point stands—there are too many top-flight artifacts for just one decklist.)

With such a small amount of enchantments (just the Bow of Nylea), Tranquil Grove looked like a winner, especially in today’s post-Theros world.

I wanted some more tricks, so I investigated other cards. In addition to normal cards (like Diabolic Tutor), I found Eye of Ugin. That gave me the motivation to look harder at colorless creatures. From two Eldrazi to Colossus of Akros, I added cards to give the deck a little punch. In particular cards like Triskelion, Wurmcoil Engine, and Darksteel Sentinel came in and gave the deck some needed power. (I even found space for Kokusho).

With these more powerful bodies giving the deck some needed heft, I was comfortable adding to the utility creatures count. Hex Parasite is a cheap one0drop that can kill planeswalkers or hit other cards. And if it dies, you have a Glissa around. Mana accelerants came in like Palladium Myr and Scuttlemutt to help out, and even Pilgrim’s Eye gave another mana-fetching card to the mix.  

With dying creatures, Harvester of Souls looked like a great engine to draw cards. Since Glissa decks want to kill off stuff, it seems like a match made in heaven. Also, to help Glissa reanimate the good stuff, I added a Genesis. It was the last creature that made the cut because it can help fight against countermagic, mass removal, and other nasty things at the table. Recurring a creature every turn for three mana is usually worth the price.

Cards were then added to flesh out the deck. In went my last mana fixing: Real and Sow, Explosive Vegetation, and Seek the Horizon. Profane Command can give me a bit of reanimation, creature kill, or life loss as needed. I felt the deck needed a bit more artifact/enchantment removal, so Krosan Grip joined the party. I even had space for Sorin Markov to blast life totals (or kill stuff / Mindslaver someone).  

With my lands I found a handful of cards to give the deck some spice. Yavimaya Hollow, cycling lands, and Thespian’s Stage joined the deck and added a bit of fun. The Next 100 With Glissa deck was complete!

Some of the last cards pulled were Whip of Erebos, Vraska the Unseen, Sylvan Library, Dread, Living Death, and Defense of the Heart.

Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed this little project. What cards would you have added to the Next 100 deck that a lot of Glissa players ignore? What are some commanders you might suggest for a future article?

Until later,
Abe Sargent