Magda, Brazen Outlaw | Illustration by Slawomir Maniak
There are over 1,600 legal commanders to choose from in Magic. When one of those commanders is in the top 100 most popular on EDHREC, you know it must be pretty powerful. Magda, Brazen Outlaw is currently ranked #63, and it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular choice.
Magda can easily be a cEDH commander with the right resources, but it also works well as a budget commander because there are lots of cheap cards that synergize well with its abilities. The deck I built is somewhere in the middle, and it still hits pretty hard. I was able to take out two of my opponents with only three lands on the field while I was playtesting it.
Blightsteel Colossus | Illustration by Chris Rahn
Ancient Copper Dragon
Magus of the Wheel
Terror of Mount Velus
Terror of the Peaks
Drakuseth, Maw of Flames
Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge
Ganax, Astral Hunter
Inferno of the Star Mounts
Lathliss, Dragon Queen
Orthion, Hero of Lavabrink
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
This deck is all about cheating out big artifacts and dragons, so I put an emphasis on cards that generate Treasure tokens. Cards like Xorn and Goldspan Dragon seem like perfect fits for this deck because they help activate Magda, Brazen Outlaw’s ability. I also included dwarves that can tap themselves or others so you can reliably create Treasure without risking your creatures in an attack, like Axgard Cavalry.
Of course, all this Treasure is meaningless if you don’t have something to cheat out with it. I’ve also included lots of expensive dragons and artifacts that you can find with Magda. This is perfect for cards like Darksteel Forge that can be a big help in this deck but are hard to cast on their own.
This deck may seem like a one-trick pony, but I assure you it is a very good trick that can often win you the game.
Magda, Brazen Outlaw is one of those perfectly constructed commanders that clearly signposts how you’re meant to build a deck around it. There’s a clear goal of activating Magda’s ability by sacrificing Treasures, so you have lots of flexibility in how to do that and what you find. Magda is a great commander for players who are newer to building decks because there are a lot of right ways to build around it.
As important as Magda, Brazen Outlaw’s ability to find artifacts and dragons is its ability to fuel it itself by creating Treasure. Depending on your opening hand, you could be generating Treasure as early as turn 2 or 3 by attacking with it. The more dwarves you’re able to tap each turn, the faster you can start cheating out big threats.
While Magda’s anthem ability doesn’t play nearly as big a role as its other abilities, that doesn’t mean it isn’t also a nice bonus. You’re likely to swing with your dwarves to create Treasure, so having them be a bit stronger is never a bad thing.
Perhaps the best example of this is Dwarven Bloodboiler which can tap itself and any of your dwarves to buff up a target dwarf. More importantly, each one you tap creates Treasure with Magda’s ability, giving you an easy way to get to five Treasures.
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell is a staple in mono-red decks, so it’s just extra convenient that it happens to be a dwarf.
Dwarves can help you make Treasure tokens with Magda’s ability, but this deck also has some other ways.
Cards that can drop lots of Treasures at once like Dockside Extortionist and Brass's Bounty are also even more impactful in this deck. You’re likely to get permanents much larger than just five mana for your five Treasures, and the ability to activate Magda at instant speed makes it difficult for your opponents to stop you.
Perhaps the strongest method of making Treasure in this deck is also a little risky. Descent into Avernus consistently creates more Treasure for you each turn, but it also creates it for your opponents. It also deals damage to you and everyone else, adding a sort of ticking clock to the game. You’re likely to benefit more from the Treasure created, but you may end up giving opponents a bigger boost than your own if they’re running token doublers. You’ll also be pressured to finish the game more quickly as you’ll keep taking damage each turn.
Getting five Treasures to sacrifice to Magda doesn’t mean a whole lot if you don’t have some powerful cards to cheat out.
There are some dragons that can also help you with creating more Treasure tokens. Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge can lessen the blow of losing some of your attacking dwarves since it replaces them with Treasure tokens at the end of the turn.
Goldspan Dragon both create more Treasure for you and make them more effective. If you need to use Treasure to cast a spell instead of using them for Magda’s ability, they’ll be doubly effective with this card.
Steel Hellkite can be very effective at clearing opponents’ boards, which also makes it easier for you to attack with your dwarves. It also has a fire breathing ability which can be useful for doing some extra damage to your opponents.
Dragons aren’t the only type of card you can cheat out with Magda, and this deck also has some high-cost artifacts like Portal to Phyrexia to take advantage of this ability.
Darksteel Forge is a nice way to keep your Treasure tokens safe from removal, and it can protect any other artifact you cheat out with Magda. It pairs very nicely with Mycosynth Lattice to make all your permanents indestructible. Mycosynth Lattice also pairs well with an overloaded Vandalblast, which often gets the rest of the table to scoop.
Usually, I’d say that Meteor Golem is too expensive to be worth including, but it gets a lot better when you can cheat it out from your deck. Pair it with Orthion, Hero of Lavabrink’s cloning ability or bring it back from the graveyard with Daretti, Scrap Savant and it gets even better.
One of the big finishers in this deck is Blightsteel Colossus. This card is an absolutely devastating attacker which can be difficult to remove. Slap your Lightning Greaves on it and your opponents will have a very difficult time stopping it. It also isn’t legendary and can be copied with Orthion, Hero of Lavabrink.
One of the best aspects of a mono-colored deck like this one is that mana bases are straightforward and relatively inexpensive. The bulk of the lands in this deck are simply basic Mountains. Dwarven Mine seemed like a no-brainer since it has a good chance of producing some dwarves.
I also included Holdout Settlement and Survivors' Encampment as a safe method for tapping down your dwarves. This way you can tap them to produce Treasure without having to risk losing them in an attack. Of course, if you want to keep them untapped or are open to attack with them, these lands still allow you to produce colorless mana.
Treasure Vault is another great card in this deck because it synergizes nicely with Magda. I also included a Homeward Path for when you cheat out big creatures. If an opponent steals one from you, you can instantly get it back. This is especially good because you may cheat out a big card and then not have any way of dealing with it if it ends up on the other side of the battlefield.
I added a Myriad Landscape which I like as a source of ramp in decks that don’t include green. I get that it’s a little slow for some players, but I think it’s a fair trade if you’re struggling to draw lands.
I’ve also included a few mana rocks. Sol Ring can basically be a good addition to any deck, but Glittering Stockpile is here specifically for a few reasons. It can help you ramp even if you aren’t drawing into lands, but it’s also considered a Treasure. You can sacrifice it to Magda if you need a fifth Treasure quickly!
While there aren’t any mana dorks in this deck, Dwarven Bloodboiler essentially turns all your dwarves into them when Magda is out. You can tap them at will to create Treasures, and thanks to the wording you can tap it and any other dwarf for even if they have summoning sickness.
This deck works best if you’re playing quickly. Keep an opening hand with some early plays and ones that help you to generate Treasure more quickly. The quicker you get to five Treasures, the better. You also want to get Magda, Brazen Outlaw out as early as possible and start swinging while the board is still relatively empty. This is more about generating Treasure than dealing damage, so simply attack whichever player who can’t block and kill Magda.
Another good way to generate Treasures is through your dwarves with tap abilities. This keeps them safe from dying in combat while also getting you closer to activating Magda. Since activated abilities can often be done at instant speed, you can also keep your dwarves up as blockers then tap them right before your turn for the Treasure.
Once you hit your five Treasures, you have a few options. If you want to try and continue cheating out more big permanents, you can grab something like Goldspan Dragon or Battlemage's Bracers to help you generate more Treasure. Alternatively, you can just go big right away and grab your Blightsteel Colossus to try and eliminate other players early. While the latter route is always tempting, I’d recommend against it unless you have something like Lightning Greaves to help protect whatever big creature you get. Otherwise, it might be removed and you’ve wasted some of your momentum.
Aside from Blightsteel Colossus, good cards for closing out the game are Terror of Mount Velus and Blast-Furnace Hellkite which will increase your damage output by double. Depending how much mana you’re able to generate, Inferno of the Star Mounts can also deal a lot of damage on its own.
When building this deck, I intentionally left out the very easy infinite combos you can set up with Magda, Brazen Outlaw. I tend to build decks that aren’t quite cEDH and can be enjoyed by a wider range of playgroups. That said, if you want to include an infinite combo, here’s how to do it.
You’ll want a Clock of Omens as well as any artifact creatures with changeling like Universal Automaton or Bloodline Pretender. With Magda, Brazen Outlaw on the field, go ahead and tap the artifact creature with changeling and Clock of Omens to then untap the creature.
When the creature’s tapped, you’ll create a Treasure because it counts as a dwarf. Then tap the creature again along with the newly created Treasure to once again untap your artifact creature. You can do this an infinite number of times, allowing you to fetch any dragon or artifact card from your deck with Magda’s ability.
There are several creatures that fit the criteria, and Magda makes it easy to find Clock of Omens. If you’re looking for a competitive level deck this is an easy combo to include to take this deck to the next level.
Dockside is a bigger loss due to its potential to instantly create enough Treasures for Magda’s ability, but you can replace it if you’re looking to save money. If you want to include that infinite combo I mentioned, Clock of Omens and Universal Automaton can replace these two cards and only cost about $2 together.
Blightsteel Colossus is another pricey card you don’t necessarily need, but it just happens to be a pet card of mine. All you need is another big creature that you can cheat out and do some serious damage with. You can always go with a much cheaper Darksteel Colossus and include a Grafted Exoskeleton to try to Frankenstein your own Blightsteel.
Darksteel Forge is another card you can cut from this deck without a huge loss. While I like setting up the interaction with Vandalblast and Mycosynth Lattice, it’s not the most reliable play. You can save yourself a nice chunk of money by leaving it out.
One different direction to take this deck is to make a dwarf tribal deck. In this kind of build, you’d lean more heavily into including dwarves and changelings, and your Treasure tokens can serve a dual purpose.
You can still use them to cheat out powerful artifacts, so you can also just use it to cast more dwarf creatures or helpful spells like City on Fire to make them more powerful attackers. You still want certain dragons like Goldspan Dragon and maybe Chiss-Goria, Forge Tyrant to back up your dwarves.
Alternatively, you can do the inverse and lean more heavily into a dragon tribal build. You can still benefit from using changeling creatures since they count as both dwarves and dragons. Some good dragons to cheat out with Magda are Spawn of Thraxes or Dragon Mage. You can also use dragon tribal support like Dragonspeaker Shaman or Dragonmaster Outcast.
Goldspan Dragon | Illustration by Andrew Mar
I can’t recommend building a Magda, Brazen Outlaw deck enough. Whether you stick close to my build or tweak it to fit your personal tastes and budget, I really think it’s worth trying this commander out at some point. That goes double if you enjoy decks that can win the game quickly and allow you to play expensive cards you might not otherwise get to cast.
What big creature would you use as a bomb in a Magda deck? Would you want to go the infinite combo route, or do you prefer winning in other ways? Let me know in the comments below, or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!
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