Into the Vault: Maralen the Mornsong

         Hi everyone. It’s been a while since our last topic. The pandemic has had a difficult impact on everyone and we all are having challenges playing one of our favorite games. Thankfully, new platforms have risen (Spelltable, Untap, MTG Arena, etc.) allowing us to still play a few games with our friends while remaining safe from the pandemic.

         It's Spoiler season once again and Commander Legends is here with amazing drops. Vampiric Tutor as well as the remaining 5 Battlebond lands have been spoiled and has gotten me really hyped about this set. However, there is one card in particular that has caught my attention. And that's Opposition Agent

Opposition Agent

         What's so great about this card is his/her ability to take control of what an opponent can tutor. You will ultimately decide what card to look for and then cast the card that you found in their deck. Most decks in Commander are designed to tutor for something. It can be lands, creatures, artifacts, enchantments, etc. With this creature's 'FLASH' ability, you simply wait for an opponent to start casting a tutor spell and in response flash this in. Now you have the ability to play a card from an opponents deck and enjoy what others have to offer. So I wanted to build a commander deck around this one creature.

         First thing we have to consider is that this creature isn't legendary. He/she will have to be part of the 99. So we will need a Commander that can help us bring her to the front lines consistently. Enter: Maralen of the Mornsong.

The Commander

Maralen of the Mornsong   Grim Tutor

         Maralen of the Mornsong was one of my favorite commanders to play back when Tiny Leaders was still a thing. This commander stops opponents from drawing cards however, during a player's draw step, she replaces the draw and turns it into a grim tutor effect. You can use this as a political leverage since everyone can now choose whatever card they wish. We will use this effect to find our Opposition Agent. Once both Opposition Agent and Maralen is in play, you basically take control of their turn. You can tutor for a card in their behalf and exile the card. You can then cast those exiled cards whenever you feel like it. Casting restrictions still apply. Just make sure to thank your friends for their contribution.

         After a game or two, your opponents will understand how the deck works and will have a way to deal with the threat this deck can dish out. They will have a counterspell or worse a removal spell ready for you. So, what do you do?

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

         We need to make sure that the coast is clear for Maralen to enter and remain safe when she is in the battlefield.

Chain of Smog   Teferi's Puzzle Box   Lightning Greaves

         The best way to protect her is to eliminate our opponent's removal spell. Maralen can't 'Die to Removal' when there is no removal spell available. We can do this by using discard effects like Chain of Smog or shuffle effects like Teferi's Puzzle Box. Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots is our go to protection when Maralen is on the field. She can't be destroyed if she can't be targetted.

         I want to touch on the interaction between Teferi's Puzzle Box while Maralen is on the battlefield. Maralen stops players from drawing any cards, so they'll end up putting their hands at the bottom of their library and then be unable to draw anything to replace those cards.

         You can also stack the triggers so that the player tutors for Maralen before Puzzle Box tucks that player’s hand, denying them the tutored card unless they can cast it in the draw step. (And then stack the triggers opposite for yourself so you can keep the card, of course.) That's a very nasty thing to do. We won't be doing that to our opponents right?

Avengers, Assemble

         You will have games where giving your opponents time to tutor for an answer is detrimental. So we need to have spells that can help us get to the cards we need for that one sweet turn.

Dark Confidant   Bolas's Citadel   Vampiric Tutor

         Normally we want to add a decent amount of card draw when we build a commander deck. However, this will be hard for us to do since Maralen stops card draw effects. We can replace card draw with the following cards. Dark Confidant, also known as Bob, is a great way to add cards to our hand. The average converted mana cost of the deck is as low as 1.84 including lands and 3.19 without the lands. The damage you receive from Dark Confidant will be pretty minimal and can bypass Maralen's ability since you are not drawing the card. You simply place the card directly to your hand.

         Bolas Citadel is another card we can use to bypass Maralen's ability. If you can't draw the card, then just cast it from the top of your library. If for some reason, Maralen is in the command zone, we have a decent number of tutors like the newly spoiled Vampiric Tutor to help us get the cards that we need.

Closing the game

         No matter how hard we try, we will have games that we can't protect Opposition Agent. So we will need other ways to close out the game.

Bloodchief Ascension   Mindcrank   Ob Nixilis, Unshackled

         I included one combo in the deck for that special moment when all else fails. It's the Bloodchief Ascension and Mindcrank combo. When there are three or more counters on Bloodchief Ascension and a card is placed in an opponent's graveyard, the opponent will lose 2 life. This will trigger Mindcrank and will force the opponent to mill cards equal to the life they lost. This little loop will ensure that the opponent will not have a library left or will finish them off if their life total is low enough. Another way to bring the opponent's life total down is through Ob Nixilis, Unshackled. Searching or tutoring for a card really is a painful business.


         This deck can be a lot of fun and at the same time it can whittle your opponents life total to a more manageable level. Ursula from The Little Mermaid said it best - "If you want to cross the bridge, my sweet, you've got to pay the toll." What's 3 damage when you can search for any spell that you need. Right?

Deck List

Commander (1)
1 Maralen of the Mornsong

Planeswalkers (1)
1 Liliana of the Dark Realms

Creatures (10)
1 Archfiend of Depravity
1 Crypt Ghast
1 Dark Confidant
1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
1 K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth
1 Mindslicer
1 Ob Nixilis, Unshackled
1 Opposition Agent
1 Tree of Perdition
1 Twilight Prophet

Sorceries (17)
1 Awaken the Erstwhile
1 Bitter Ordeal
1 Bubbling Muck
1 Chain of Smog
1 Damnation
1 Dark Deal
1 Dead of Winter
1 Demonic Tutor

1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Grim Tutor
1 Head Games
1 Nightmare Incursion
1 Praetor's Grasp
1 Reanimate
1 Repay in Kind
1 Sadistic Sacrament
1 Toxic Deluge

Instants (6)
1 Cabal Ritual
1 Dark Ritual
1 Hero's Downfall
1 Imp's Mischief
1 Stunning Reversal
1 Vampiric Tutor

Artifacts (15)
1 Anvil of Bogardan
1 Bolas's Citadel
1 Chrome Mox
1 Expedition Map
1 Extraplanar Lens
1 Library of Leng
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Arcane Signet

1 Mindcrank
1 Sol Ring
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Sword of the Animist
1 Teferi's Puzzle Box
1 Thaumatic Compass
1 Thousand-Year Elixir

Enchantments (8)
1 Bloodchief Ascension
1 Gonti's Machinations
1 Leyline of the Void
1 Necropotence
1 No Mercy
1 Pestilence
1 Tainted Aether
1 Wound Reflection

Lands (42)
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cabal Coffers
1 Emergence Zone
1 High Market
34 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Winding Canyons


  1. this could be incorporated into my yuriko deck for added annoyance. the flash ability theoretically would work well with ninjutsu. hahahah

    1. Hi Ryan. You can definitely use Opposition Agent in Yuriko. It may be equal to or better than Notion thief depending on your playgroup.


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