The Long-Awaited Knights Commander Deck!

We finally have enough Knights to make it happen! Sheldon selected his list in full, and now he wants to share it with you! Which choices would you have made for this newly celebrated tribe?

With the streak of sets (Dominaria, Battlebond, Core Set 2019) coming out recently, it’s been easy to think about
brewing new decks, but with all the set reviews and general excitement, not
to mention Prereleases and release events, it’s hard to find time to
actually build them. I’ve been promising to build a Knight deck for a
while, so it’s time to keep that promise.

The problem that needs solving, of course, is who is going to lead it?
There are now 22 legendary Knights. Especially with the most excellent new
black/white Knights like Arvad the Cursed and Aryel, Knight of Windgrace
coming out in Dominaria, those two colors are a must. The only
three-color Knight option then becomes Edgar Markov, which is thematically
problematic because it’s also a Vampire. Rafiq of the Many and Adun
Oakenshield are the other three-color options, but the former doesn’t have
black and the latter doesn’t have white. Mardu seems like the right color
combination, adding all those Boros goodies to the team, since we’re
getting into the Red Zone as often as possible-so the question remains if I
can get around my anti-Vampire prejudice (at least as it applies to

To try to stay on theme, I thought of who would be a Knight’s
leader-royalty such as Dukes and Kings, or maybe even Generals. Brago, King
Eternal and Brimaz, King of Oreskos are royalty, but the colors are wrong.
So are Sol’Kanar the Swamp King; Tymaret, the Murder King; and Sedris,
Traitor King. Darien, King of Kjeldor applies and might end up as 1 of 99,
but can’t lead the pack. There’s Prince of Thralls, Princess Lucretia, and
Ormendahl, Profane Prince (which obviously can’t be played as a commander),
but they don’t work either. There are all kinds of lords-overlords,
warlords, lord of this and lord of that, but none of them worked either.

My answer, once it finally occurred to me, seemed simple.

Instead of a Lord, we need a Queen

. I had already designed a Queen Marchesa deck back after Conspiracy: Take the Crown came out, but never got around to
putting it together. Looking at the list, I could almost make a Do Over out
of it since there aren’t too many cards that I’d re-use-but there are a few
that the deck wants, so I won’t restrict myself that far. I won’t reuse too
many of them, but enough so that I can’t in all fairness call it one. It’ll
just be the Queen Marchesa deck that I actually physically assemble.

I also wanted to include some of the cool Knight cards from Core Set 2019. Lena, Selfless Champion and Valiant Knight are the
two obvious ones, but checking out the list, you’ll see a few more as well.
I wanted Dominaria to make an appearance as well, and it did.
First let’s take a look at the list, and then I’ll go over some of the
individual card choices.

Queen Marchesa's Knights
Sheldon Menery
Test deck on 07-12-2018
Magic Card Back

Legendary Creatures

Queen Marchesa: The commander of this glorious battle force brings us the
monarchy by the sheer power of her presence when she arrives. Then, if
others challenge it, she creates Assassins to help take back the crown-or
protect it once it’s ours again.

Adriana, Captain of the Guard: Knights need armies behind them, and Adriana
is a powerful Captain. She is interested in vanquishing all of our enemies,
and spreading around the attacks makes everyone die faster.

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace: We’ll be able to kill smaller creatures with
Aryel, but in general, we’re going to want to be attacking with them
instead of tapping them to gang up on someone. Of course, Aryel can make
the Knights to help with that.

Baird, Steward of Argive: Protecting the crown means not letting too many
attacks through. Baird makes swarming attacks less viable.

Danitha Capashen, Paragon: Simply a fine Knight on her own, with vigilance,
first strike, and lifelink, Danitha makes Skullclamp cost nothing to cast
and gives us a break on the other equipment.

Elenda, the Dusk Rose: Perhaps the most thematically sketchy card in the
deck since it creates Vampires, Elenda is paying for her crimes from a
prior life in order to help a more glorious cause in her afterlife.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight: Every Knight needs an Angel to look to for
inspiration, and there are few more inspiring than Gisela. She also makes
attacks less palatable for our foes.

Iroas, God of Victory: Speaking of inspiration, Iroas allows our glorious
armies to go into battle without fear. I had considered a Powerstone
Minefield and Lightmine Field suite to go here, but ran out of space in the

Kwende, Pride of Femeref: Comboing with Archetype of Courage plus the host
of creatures which natively have first strike, Kwende doubles the savagery
of our attacks.

Lena, Selfless Champion: Core Set 2019’s main contributor to this
deck, Lena not only brings along help (although it’s in the form of
Soldiers, not Knights) and then provides protection for others should
things turn sour.

Odric, Lunarch Marshal: Although he’s likely to get into the battle with
everyone else, this Odric doesn’t have to attack in order to be effective.
Giving protection would also be nice, but a good Knight isn’t greedy.

Odric, Master Tactician: The function of this version of Odric is twofold.
First, it simply provides for evasion should we want do alpha strike for a
victory. Second, it will get a potential blocker out of the way should we
just need to get back the crown and an all-out attack might be untenable.


Archetype of Courage: As mentioned, it’s here to combo with Adriana and
give everyone double strike.

Balefire Liege: In this deck, Balefire Liege is more about the +1/+1s than
it is the quasi-Lightning Helix. Bigger Knights win battles more quickly.

Crusading Knight: Simply an old favorite card that fits right into the
theme, it makes me want to also play Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth-but there’s a
pretty good chance someone else will anyway.

Dauntless Bodyguard: Its ability means it’s not worth dropping on Turn 1,
but it’s mostly there to provide full protection for Knight Exemplar, who
doesn’t give itself indestructible.

Deathbringer Liege: This one is more likely to have impact from its
triggered abilities than Balefire Liege is. Tapping creatures gets them out
of the way so that we can deal damage (and take back the crown, if
required), and they’re often tapped from attacking anyway. If it keeps
someone from attacking because they’re worried about getting killed, so
much the better.

Hero of Bladehold: More attackers means more likelihood of getting back the
crown. Plus, there’s always use for extra 1/1s when Skullclamp is around.

Knight of the White Orchid: If I’m going to choose a single card to have in
this deck’s opening hand, it might always be Knight of the White Orchid.

Knight of Meadowgrain: Thematic and adorable.

Knights of Thorn: Card you’ve never heard of alert! Banding is a powerful
if confusing way to get rid of large creatures. Protection from red keeps
many things off of our face (and thereby maintaining our stranglehold on
the crown).

Lightwielder Paladin: An acceptably-priced Knight on a mid-sized body,
Lightwielder Paladin’s strength comes from being able to exile a black or
red permanent. The other things in the deck, like the evasion tricks, make
sure it hits when we absolutely need it to.

Lone Rider: Okay, maybe this one is the most thematically sketchy.

Knight Exemplar: The non-commander wheel around which the deck is
conceived, Knight Exemplar allows our Knights to do battle as often as they
like. Knight Exemplar suggested both Iroas and Dauntless Bodyguard, among
other cards.

Knight-Captain of Eos: Having some Fogs available to us is why we didn’t
mind having Soldiers in the deck and creating Soldier tokens.

Knights of the Black Rose: Another way to get back the crown should we not
be able to attack for it, Knights of the Black Rose also discourages
attacking us for it (although most players in my group would gladly trade
the life for the card). I can’t wait for the situation when a player is at
two life and attacks me anyway.

Kulrath Knight: Another older card some folks might not have heard of. For
one, we don’t get that many flying Knights. For two, there are loads of
counters running around Commander tables, so much so that I didn’t think I
needed a Contagion Engine/proliferate package.

Mentor of the Meek: I’m happy this was reprinted in Commander 2014 and Commander 2016, because I thought that
it was an underappreciated card that folks needed exposure to. It’s a
little less useful when casting creatures than it is when tokens are
created by triggered abilities.

Mirror Entity: It’s a Knight and it can bring about a big, final attack. In
the destructive power of the card, folks sometimes forget the end of the
sentence, which makes everything into a Knight as well.

Mirran Crusader: Simple and effective.

Northern Paladin: One of my favorite cards back in the earliest days of
experiencing Magic, Northern Paladin is good at eliminating evil. There are
a few ways in the deck to give it vigilance, but I didn’t want to go
through too many gyrations to make it happen.

Paladin of Atonement: Sometimes despite our best efforts, we get attacked.
Paladin of Atonement at least makes up some of the ground. It triggers on
each upkeep, so it keeps everyone honest.

Pentarch Paladin: Not everything is always about attacking, but like
Northern Paladin, if we can have some vigilance, that’d be cool.

Phyrexian Crusader: Infect here is more about Kulrath Knight than it is
trying to kill someone with poison counters.

Solemn Simulacrum: It’s not a Knight, but Mardu decks can use the ramp

Southern Paladin: I could have also played Eastern Paladin and Western
Paladin, but that might have been too much.

Thalia’s Lancers: I’m generally opposed to tutors in the format, but when
they’re narrow in scope like Thalia’s Lancers, I’m less likely to have
heartburn about them.


Akroma’s Memorial: Flying and vigilance are the big operatives with
Akroma’s Memorial, but it also gives first strike, which as we’ve
mentioned, combos quite nicely with Kwende. It’s a card that also suggests
putting Powerstone Minefield in the deck.

Arcane Encyclopedia: Thought I’d give it a try, given that it’s new and

Bontu’s Monument: There are fewer black creatures in the deck than white,
but this one is all about that triggered ability.

Boros Cluestone: Simply some mana acceleration help that will do something
once we don’t need it anymore.

Commander’s Sphere: Ditto.

Crawlspace: A leftover idea from the previous Marchesa deck, Crawlspace
simply makes us more difficult to attack and steal the crown from.

Dowsing Dagger: With the low mana cost creatures in the deck, getting this
transformed early for that mana boost in the middle turns should be
relatively easy.

Oketra’s Monument: With the mana we save from casting the white creature
spell, we can pay for the trigger from Mentor of the Meek.

Orzhov Cluestone: Same as Boros Cluestone.

Rogue’s Gloves: One of the problems with decks like this is that they run
out of steam because they don’t draw cards, applying constant pressure to
opponents. Rogue’s Gloves is another method of keeping the hand (nearly)

Skullclamp: Of course, fewer cards are better at doing just that than
Skullclamp. With all the 1/1 Soldiers we’ll generate, we should have plenty
of fuel.

Sword of Feast and Famine: Knights need swords. Sword of Feast and Famine
leads to more Knights to carry those swords.

Sword of Light and Shadow: Unfortunately, sometimes Knights die. Sword of
Light and Shadow makes sure that’s not a permanent state.

Sword of the Animist: Maybe my favorite of the swords, Sword of the Animist
all leads to more Knights by getting out extra lands.


Aura of Silence: There are a few enchantments or artifacts that upset our
plans, so heading them off at the pass is good; being able to get rid of
them is better.

Blind Obedience: Nothing sneaks up on you and steals your crown better than
a creature with haste. In addition to providing a little lifegain from
extorting people (hey, not every Knight is all that honest), it keeps hasty
things from happening.

Cathars’ Crusade: Small creatures become large creatures. The bookkeeping
can be a bit of a nightmare, but hopefully it’s short because the creatures
become lethal.

Marshal’s Anthem: Again, some Knights won’t make it. We’d like them to join
us once again.

Phyrexian Reclamation: Same, and the life we gain from various sources will
help pay the cost.

Path of Mettle: With the creature suite in this deck, Path of Mettle will
rather easily transform into Metzali, Tower of Triumph. From there,
attacking us becomes a little more problematic.


Austere Command: Sometimes, you need to wipe out all the creatures.
Sometimes your creatures are better, and Austere Command gets rid of just
the stuff you need.

Cleansing Nova: Same, in a slightly less flexible package.

Decree of Pain: When you absolutely have to draw a zillion cards, accept no

Chronomantic Escape: Once this gets going, not being able to get attacked
every third turn (unless someone spends a Stifle or some such) means being
able to hang onto the crown a little longer.


Elspeth, Knight-Errant: The original Elspeth does the things the deck wants
to do: create Soldiers and become indestructible. The Knight part of the
name didn’t hurt.

Elspeth, Sun’s Champion: This Elspeth is a little more flexible. I consider
the -3 ability to be more of an emergency reset than anything. I’d prefer
to spend my time getting that emblem.

Queen Marchesa’s Knights should be fun to play and I’ll fill you in as soon
as it’s had its first games. It’s reasonably straightforward and involves
mostly battling, but also knowing just when to not attack in order to hang
onto that crown.

This week’s Deck Without Comment is the original

Queen Marchesa, Long May She Reign

, for comparison purposes.

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



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


Angry, Angry Dinos


Animar’s Swarm


Borrowing Stuff at Cutlass Point


Ikra and Kydele


Karrthus, Who Rains Fire From The Sky


Demons of Kaalia


Merieke’s Esper Dragons


Nath of the Value Leaf


Queen Marchesa, Long May She Reign


Rith’s Tokens


The Mill-Meoplasm


The Altar of


The Threat of Yasova


Zombies of Tresserhorn


Four Color

Yidris: Money for Nothing, Cards for Free


Saskia Unyielding


Breya Reshaped


Yidris Rotisserie Draft Deck



Children of a Greater God


Tana and Kydele


Kynaios and Tiro


Ikra and Kydele



Adun Oakenshield Do-Over


Animar Do-Over


Glissa Do-Over


Karador Do-Over


Karador Version 3


Karrthus Do-Over


Kresh Do-Over


Steam-Powered Merieke


Lord of Tresserhorn 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