Last updated on May 8, 2022

Captain Sisay (Secret Lair) - Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Captain Sisay (Secret Lair) | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Legendary creatures are my favorite part of any new release. I love combing through the spoilers and brewing an EDH deck for each exciting new legend I see. In my most recent stint I realized, if I love legends so much, why not build a legendary tribal deck? Enter Captain Sisay.

I hope you like shuffling, because this deck runs a lot of tutors. Let’s hop right in!

The Deck

Instrument of the Bards - Illustration by Randy Gallegos

Instrument of the Bards | Illustration by Randy Gallegos

Nearly every nonland permanent in this deck is legendary to maximize Captain Sisay’s potential. This deck adopts a toolbox archetype with Sisay searching up whichever legendary card you need at any given moment, letting you respond and control the board before setting up your killing blow.

The Commander

Captain Sisay

While there are a few different directions you can go with a legendary tribal deck, Captain Sisay sticks out for a few reasons. It isn’t 5-color like its Modern Horizons counterpart Sisay, Weatherlight Captain. Restricting Sisay to just green and white creates an interesting deck building challenge and steers you away from an all-around “good stuff” deck.

This Sisay also tutors any legendary card to your hand while MH1’s Sisay puts a legendary permanent directly onto the battlefield. There are a few instances where this is beneficial, specifically the legendary sorceries and the lands with the channel ability.

Legends with Bodies

Your legendary creatures fall into three broad categories: protection to keep your other legends safe, interaction to even the playing field, and beaters to end the game.

Protection

Saryth, the Viper's Fang

Keeping Captain Sisay safe isn’t necessarily paramount, but the rest of those legends can use the safety. Saryth, the Viper’s Fang keeps that spot removal off your board and can untap Sisay for another tutor while it’s at it.

The new Universes Within card Othelm, Sigardian Outcast and the classic Yomiji, Who Bars the Way are great recursion pieces you can tutor up when you need.

Yeva, Nature's Herald

Yeva, Nature’s Herald helps you sneak out those creatures after your opponents have tapped out.

The Tools

Any good toolbox deck needs some tools. Mangara of Corondor takes the place of your regular targeted removal, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben can slow down those spellslinger decks.

Yasharn, Implacable Earth

Yasharn, Implacable Earth tutors up some basics with the added benefit of shutting down those pesky Fire Covenants and Toxic Deluges.

Arashi, the Sky Asunder

Arashi, the Sky Asunder is more useful here than in a Sisay, Weatherlight Captain list since its channel ability has to be activated from your hand and not the field.

Keyword Soup

No legendary deck would be complete without some keyword soup creatures to knock some heads. A lot of these cards can be exchanged for your favorite big legendary creatures.

Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Old Gnawbone, The Tarrasque… you get the picture. Embrace your inner Timmy and have some fun in the combat phase.

Legends Without Bodies

Captain Sisay’s main advantage over Sisay, Weatherlight Captain is its ability to search up noncreature legends, and you’d be remiss not to make use of that. Dominaria’s legendary sorceries Kamahl’s Druidic Vow and Urza’s Ruinous Blast both make an appearance.

And since your Sisay tutors to your hand rather than the field you can also channel Boseiju, Who Endures and Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire, most likely for a reduced cost.

You also have a host of legendary anthem effects to buff your field of legendary creatures. Day of Destiny, Spear of Heliod, Bow of Nylea, and either Akroma’s Memorial or Avacyn’s Memorial make even a few creatures a threatening presence.

Heroes’ Podium is your legendary Coat of Arms. It and Weatherlight both refill your hand.

That Which Was Taken

You’re also running That Which Was Taken, a slow and mana-heavy way to grant indestructibility to key permanents.

There’s an army’s worth of legendary swords in Magic, and you’re going all the way back to Stronghold for Sword of the Chosen, but Blackblade Reforged, Kaldra Compleat, and Konda’s Banner put in more work on average.

Both Rhonas’s Monument and Oketra’s Monument help offset the steep cost on the legendary spells you’re forced to cast from your hand.

Casting Creatures

The next broad category is focused on capitalizing on Captain Sisay’s tutor ability. You still have to cast all those creatures you’re tutoring up so Reki, the History of Kamigawa and Karametra, God of Harvests help mitigate that disadvantage.

Vivien, Champion of the Wilds and Nylea, Keen-Eyed also facilitate creature casting.

Kodama of the East Tree and God-Eternal Oketra both hook you up with two creatures for the price of one.

Untappers

You often need to resolve Captain Sisay’s ability more than once per turn. To achieve this you have the green cards Vitalize (which doubles as nasty combat trick) and Quirion Ranger.

Thousand-Year Elixir and Magewright’s Stone help you squeeze a few more activations out of Sisay each turn, keeping your hand full and ready to cast some big spells.

Reloads

Speaking of keeping that hand full, this deck needs a contingency plan for when it inevitably begins to top-deck or “goes hellbent” for the patricians in the audience. Or maybe you’re rebuilding your board after a Wrath of God.

Whatever the reason you need to start casting spells again, so you make use of Board the Weatherlight, Eladamri’s Call, and Shared Summons when Captain Sisay is unavailable.

Instrument of the Bards

Instrument of the Bards is practically built for this deck, too.

Thalia's Lancers

You also have Thalia’s Lancers, a 4/4 first strike body that’s great value alongside a tutor.

Instant Protection

Savage Summoning

You’re running two funky little instants in this deck. Savage Summoning prepares you for the Counterspell you know is coming.

Bathe in Light

Bathe in Light has a few different uses, from sneaking your creatures past a field of blockers to saving your board from a Blasphemous Act.

The Mana Base

It’s pretty easy to build an effective mana base in two colors, even easier when one of those colors is green. You’re running 38 lands and a resounding two mana dorks. Two of those lands don’t actually produce mana.

Adventurers’ Guildhouse and Cathedral of Serra give your legendary creatures “banding.” Banding might seem like an odd choice but it’s useful in decks that look to win via combat damage. The sheer number of times your opponents just skip declaring blockers out of confusion is worth it alone.

Selvala, Explorer Returned and Selvala, Heart of the Wilds are legendary pseudo-dorks with a bit of extra advantage thrown in for good measure.

You also have the standard ramp package for any self-respecting green deck with Cultivate and Kodama’s Reach.

Sol Ring and Selesnya Signet are popular cards for a reason and usually deserve a spot each.

Mirari's Wake MH2

While Mirari didn’t really fit the theme for this deck, Mirari’s Wake seems close enough.

The Strategy

Old Gnawbone - Illustration by Filip Burburan

Old Gnawbone | Illustration by Filip Burburan

The general plan with this Captain Sisay deck is similar to any other tribal deck without the familiar tribal staples.

Your early game ideally revolves around ramping your mana and preparing your board for a ceaseless stream of legends. Playing Oketra’s Monument or Rhonas’s Monument on curve can really stretch your mana, letting you play multiple legends per turn to capitalize on Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful and Reki, the History of Kamigawa.

I also recommend having either Thousand-Year Elixir, Magewright’s Stone, or Quirion Ranger on the field before dropping Captain Sisay. And don’t be afraid to drop Instrument of the Bards on turn 1. The extra tutors and Treasure tokens are extremely useful once you hit four available mana to boot.

The midgame is often where this deck starts running out of steam. If your hand feels a little light, cast Captain Sisay and use that board of untappers to refill your hand with more powerful creatures. Wait until the last moment to tap Captain Sisay each turn, searching up just the card you need to remove a threat (like Boseiju, Who Endures) or double down on protection (like Avacyn’s Memorial with Saryth, the Viper’s Fang).

You win games with combat damage in this Sisay deck, and big creatures with a ton of keywords are how you do it. Akroma, Angel of Wrath, Zetalpa, Primal Dawn, Ghalta, Primal Hunger, and a devoted Karametra, God of Harvests can each wail on your foes like there’s no tomorrow. You also have an Overrun-like effect with God-Eternal Rhonas to surprise your opponents with a big swing when they aren’t expecting it, just like a lot of green decks.

Combos and Interactions

This deck isn’t running any infinite combos, but it does have a few interesting synergies I’d like to call out.

Make sure to use your Thousand-Year Elixir and Magewright’s Stone effects on your other legends. Mangara of Corondor takes a second permanent with it for an extra mana, Othelm, Sigardian Outcast returns two threats, and Selvala, Explorer Returned and Selvala, Heart of the Wilds can generate a huge amount of mana.

Rule 0 Violations Check

This deck doesn’t carry too much salt with it, but I’d say it’s fair to make sure your opponents know how banding works before playing with Adventurers’ Guildhouse and Cathedral of Serra.

Budget Options

Saryth, the Viper's Fang - Illustration by Igor Kieryluk

Saryth, the Viper’s Fang | Illustration by Igor Kieryluk

The singles for this deck costs at a healthy $350, maybe on the more expensive side for some of us. Let’s take a look at some of the budget options for this deck.

Make it Cheaper

The easiest way to lower the price for this deck is to swap some of those expensive mythic rares for some less efficient ones. Toss out Old Gnawbone for Kogla, the Titan Ape, and ditch God-Eternal Rhonas for Myojin of Towering Might.

You can also swap Eladamri’s Call for Time of Need, a slower 2-mana tutor that can still search up most creatures in your deck. Traxos, Scourge of Kroog makes a great switch for any of expensive legendaries, and a standard anthem like Glorious Anthem or Collective Blessing could replace Konda’s Banner.

And swap some more basics or tap lands in by dropping Boseiju, Who Endures. It’s a great card, but it’s great in every format and has the price tag to show for it. And I guess you can drop the “bands with other legends” Adventurers’ Guildhouse and Cathedral of Serra. They’re needlessly complex and are mostly there for a goof.

Make it More Expensive

Ah, but maybe you’re a player of exquisite taste? You want to see just how deep the legends-tribal deck can go?

Grab yourself The Great Henge and watch your deck roar to life and build value at a ridiculous rate. Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, and Heliod, Sun-Crowned are great ways to punch up your creature base.

There’s obviously the Eldrazi to consider as well. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre will be difficult to remove, especially since Captain Sisay can fetch them right back from your library.

And you can always tune up that mana base. Temple Garden and Windswept Heath are well and good but they’re not legendary lands. Hall of the Bandit Lord can really accelerate this deck. I won’t recommend Gaea’s Cradle in good conscience, but consider a Growing Rites of Itlimoc as an alternative.

Other Builds

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds - Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds | Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

Captain Sisay lends itself well to a few other themes.

A lot of players build Sisay as a “historic-matters” deck to widen your choice of cards and include artifacts and saga enchantments if you want to broaden your legendary tribal theme. Sisay could also be built as a Selesnya () “superfriends” deck in a sort of anti-Carth the Lion.

Both of these alternate builds would benefit from the same bones of a deck. Jhoira’s Familiar, Thran Temporal Gateway, and Daring Archaeologist to name just a few.

Commanding Conclusion

Akroma, Angel of Wrath - Illustration by Terese Nielsen

Akroma, Angel of Wrath | Illustration by Terese Nielsen

Commander has always been a format about legendary creatures. A creature so powerful you could originally only include a single copy in your entire deck, equipped with powerful abilities and a beefy statline. They’re the best part of Magic as a whole. It’s only fitting that a deck should be built in homage to the legendary supertype, and I’m happy to say the classic Captain Sisay does the job beautifully.

What do you think? Is this Sisay better than Sisay, Weatherlight Captain? And isn’t it weird that Captain Sisay can’t crew the Weatherlight alone? Let me know in the comments or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.

Thanks for reading, and stay legendary!

Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates:

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *