This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Strategy

By Bryan Frer

I’m super excited about Fate Reforged as I’m sure you are, too.  This time, I thought I would dive into the world of Warriors (although this will be more of a commander feature, I do plan on decking it out with a lot of warriors), featuring the new Khan Alesha, Who Smiles at Death.

Alesha herself is a warrior that allows recursion of creatures with power 2 or less from the graveyard to the battlefield, tapped and attacking.  This means we are going to need to breakdown how are we going to get this done, without getting destroyed in the process.  I’ve divided my approach to this ability into several categories that we’ll explore a little deeper as we make Alesha do her sweet thing (as a side note she was my foil pre-release card – bonus!).


1) Attacking – Multiple Attack phases
2) Evasion
3) Warriors/Power <2/Enter the Battlefield – Power Bonus
4) Enter the Battlefield Triggers – Removal and Wraths
6) Self-discard to fill up our Graveyard


Attacking is the fundamental ability of our commander, and as such, we want to attack as often as possible.  Aggravated Assault is a perfect way to allow for multiple attack phases, with Caged Sun or Gauntlet of Power you can allow yourself a couple attack phases each turn, this is commander after all, and big mana is a good possibility.  We can’t forget about Aurelia, The Warleader, because baby,we are going to war!!

Evasion is an important part as we need to keep our creatures alive and attacking.  My fall back for evasion in black with a tribal theme is Cover of Darkness.  Love it!!  It does limit somewhat as it gives Fear, but odds are not everyone at the table is playing black or artifact creatures.  Dauthi Embrace is an old enchantment from Tempest that you can pay BB to give a creature Shadow – essentially unblockable, although this does become rather mana intensive if you also have to activate multiple attack phases, but this can be a game ender and fits so well with what we are trying to do.

Of course, if we are going to be blocked, why not make it so we can’t take damage, too? Iroas, God of Victory is going to be an all-star in this deck.  The new mythic Mardu creature, Brutal Hordechief, also really lends itself to blowouts!


Swing away!! I got your back.


Warriors in Mardu do not necessarily have the “all warriors get +1/+1” feature, and I didn’t want to go the Coat of Arms or Door of Destinies approach.  Instead, I’m going to go with the “As creature enters the battlefield it gets +2/0 until end of turn” approach.  Ogre Battledriver is an excellent idea of what we are trying to do.  This gives a pump to all creatures that enter the battlefield, so you can cast one creature, use Alesha to return another, and attack with three creatures, two of which have +2/0 to bash through.  RTR block had some great Boros creatures that got bonuses for entering the battlefield or attacking, such as Viashino Firstblade and Tajic, Blade of the Legion.

Quite a few of the other warriors are from Khans of Tarkir, notably Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale.  While we can’t recur the Chief of the Edge, it gives its bonus to warriors, which is one of the few “lords” we are allowed.  While I tried to make this deck as much of a warrior-driven deck as possible, I did have to put in some big stompy win conditions, hence Massacre Wurm, Sun Titan (which is nice to recur a lot of our troops/tools), and of course Zurgo Helmsmasher because he’s got style.


Don’t Pass Go and collect $200, but enter the battlefield, get a bonus, and smash face.


















Recursion is the name of the game, so why not have creatures who enter the battlefield and double as removal? Devout Lightcaster is a wonderful non-warrior utility creature that lets me exile any troublesome black permanents.  In this same vein, you can also try Bone Shredder or Nekrataal.

As far as other removal spells, the standard suite would apply: Hero’s Downfall, Doom Blade, and even some burn like Stoke the Flames.  Wrath of God is always a favorite, as far as wraths goes, and In Garruk’s Wake, while expensive, kills pesky Planeswalkers as well – particularly Jace, Architect of Thought, who’s +1 ability is a nuisance for what we are trying to do.

While recursion is the name of the game, we can’t solely rely on creatures dying to fill up our graveyard, so we need to have some tools to dump our hand, or mill, to give our graveyard some variety.  Faithless Looting, Wheel of Fate, and Reforge the Soul are spells we can use as card draw, and to stack our graveyard.   In the event we dump a creature too big for Alesha to recur, no problem, Golgari Thug is a warrior that lets me dredge and put that creature on top of my library.

I ended up going with 63% warriors. Not too shabby, I think. In general, it should be a very aggressive deck and should be a blast to play.




Alesha, Who Smiles at Death




Ankle Shanker
Archetype of Aggression
Archetype of Finality
Ash Zealot
Aurelia, the Warleader
Battle Brawler
Bloodsoaked Champion
Butcher of Malakir
Butcher of the Horde
Chief of the Edge
Chief of the Scale
Devout Lightcaster
Dragonscale General
Flamerush Rider
Golgari Thug
Karmic Guide
King Macar, the Gold-Cursed
Krenko’s Enforcer
Mardu Heart-Piercer
Mardu Hordechief
Mardu Roughrider
Mardu Skullhunter
Mardu Strike Leader
Massacre Wurm
Merciless Executioner
Mogis’s Marauder
Murderous Redcap
Ogre Battledriver
Ponyback Brigade
Sun Titan
Tajic, Blade of the Legion
Tymaret, the Murder King
Viashino Firstblade
War-Name Aspirant
Zurgo Helmsmasher





Concerted Effort
Cover of Darkness
Dauthi Embrace
Gleam of Battle
Mardu Ascendancy
Raiders’ Spoils
Whip of Erebos


Enchantment Creatures:


Iroas, God of Victory




Boros Charm
Crackling Doom
Faithless Looting
In Garruk’s Wake
Hero’s Downfall
Mardu Charm
Murderous Cut
Swords to Plowshares
Reforge the Soul
Wheel of Fate
Wrath of GodImmortal Servitude




Bloodstained Mire
Command Tower
Shizo, Death’s Storehouse
Temple of Malice
Temple of Silence
Temple of Triumph
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