Last updated on March 31, 2023
Marneus Calgar | Illustration by Slawomir Maniak
One of these decks is in Esper () colors and led by Inquisitor Greyfax. It features another legendary creature, Marneus Calgar, one of the humans’ fiercest leaders in this universe. Marneus is a very interesting and powerful commander, and you can build around it in myriad of ways (pun intended; the myriad mechanic is actually good in this deck).
Here’s one of the many possible Marneus Calgar EDH deck builds. What makes it tick? How else can you build a Marneus deck? Let's jump in and find out!
Reliquary Tower | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing
Ultramarines Honour Guard
Keeper of the Accord
Commissar Severina Raine
Battle Angels of Tyr
Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim
Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia
Toxrill, the Corrosive
Deny the Witch
Swords to Plowshares
Protect the Negotiators
Disorder in the Court
Secure the Wastes
Sea of Clouds
Vault of the Archangel
Memorial to Glory
Field of the Dead
Marneus Calgar is an Esper commander printed in the Warhammer 40K Commander set. It’s a 3/5 double strike astartes warrior with a powerful passive ability: whenever one or more tokens enter the battlefield under your control, you draw a card.
Any token, including creature tokens, Treasures, Clues, and Food, triggers this ability. Marneus also has the “chapter master” ability, which lets you make two 2/2 Warrior tokens with vigilance (proccing that card draw, too).
Some comparisons can be made with other popular commanders like Chulane, Teller of Tales because they draw cards easily. Some players critique Marneus because it’s too easy to build a deck.
Some important things to consider about Marneus Calgar:
- Every creature that enters the battlefield and makes a token, Treasure, or Clue is effectively a cantrip.
- It doesn’t matter if the effect makes one or more tokens because you only draw one card per trigger.
- Cards with the ability to make a token every turn are more powerful than normal in this deck.
- You can affect the board and your hand for six mana at instant speed.
Marneus Calgar is powerful, works with almost every token maker in Esper colors, and can even trigger itself. The card is solid, the synergies are everywhere, and it's even a mana sink. All you really need are lands and mana rocks.
Almost every card in this deck is related to producing tokens, either on ETB or sustainably, because it cantrips with the commander on the battlefield.
Nadir Kraken and Chasm Skulker have synergies with drawing a card, something that you expect to do a lot with your commander. The Kraken is perfect because you draw a card, make a token, and pay to make another token and repeat the process. You can turn every single mana you have available into cards and tokens.
Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia and Ophiomancer can make a creature every turn, effectively drawing cards. You can make more out of your tokens if you have a sacrifice outlet like Ashnod's Altar or Viscera Seer.
Battle Angels of Tyr has the myriad mechanic and makes tokens of itself when it attacks.
Ultramarines Honour Guard is, besides a mana sink, an anthem effect for your token army.
Junk Winder has synergies with tokens, and you’ll eventually freeze some permanents.
Hidden Stockpile makes a 1/1 token every now and then.
Legion's Landing makes a token and turns into a “token creator land.”
Black Market Connections has three modes that can each get you a card if activated. The two token generator modes are separate events, so separate triggers.
Shorikai, Genesis Engine allows you to draw, discard, and create a 1/1 token.
Anointed Procession doubles any token you produce.
Esper colors offer several ways to interact, with access to counterspells as well as both spot and mass removal.
Swords to Plowshares, Void Rend, and Utter End are flexible spot removal spells. Generous Gift is another catch-all removal spell that can also destroy something you don’t need, make a 3/3, and draw a card.
Since you draw a bunch of cards you also need to pay attention to your hand size.
Psychosis Crawler gets bigger with the number of cards.
The Mana Base
Vault of the Archangel is good with lots of tokens on offense and defense.
This deck is a midrange deck that aims to establish an engine of token producing along with your commander and drawing cards. You use your midrange tactics and cards to survive, fill the board with tokens, and get rid of problematic threats or commanders via removal spells.
In the long game you have the benefit of spending extra mana on your commander to generate tokens and draw cards because of your commander’s fixed mana sink.
Combos and Interactions
Rings of Brighthearth is there to copy activated abilities, which this deck has in spades between your commander many of your other permanents. Suddenly you’re playing eight mana, making four tokens, and drawing two cards. You can generate a lot of mana with Basalt Monolith and some shenanigans.
Cards with the squad mechanic play double duty in this deck because the mechanic is a mana sink, and you’ll make tokens that are copies of the squad creatures.
Sometimes all you need is to hold counterspells and pass the turn with mana open, allowing you to use your commander’s activated ability if nothing happens. That’s excellent in a draw-go style deck.
Ashnod's Altar, Rings of Brighthearth, and Basalt Monolith can generate infinite mana, which can give you infinite draw and tokens with your commander. You’re not playing tutors though, so this combo is still breakable and slow if it does turn up.
Overall I’d say that this deck isn’t a Rule 0 violator.
This build is aimed to be an adaptation of the original list (the Commander precon). Lots of cards from the original build are still there, and the power level of the build is a 5 to 6 out of 10.
Keep in mind that these Warhammer 40k Commander precons already have strong cards in them and that Marneus is a strong commander, so I may be underestimating the overall power of the deck. I see lots of players online trying to underpower Marneus and aim the deck more toward the fair side than the competitive side.
One thought I had while creating this build is to use cheap EDH staples and lots of cards from the Commander precon, which also gives you the commander. None of the expensive cards are irreplaceable and they’re hard to get, but some (like Anointed Procession) are highly desirable.
Feel free to replace expensive duals with tap lands you may have in your collection, and swap out cards like Toxrill, the Corrosive and Liliana, Dreadhorde General because they can cost a pretty penny ($20+).
Marneus Calgar’s size lets it beat down with a 3/5 double strike body. If you equip it and give it enough evasion you’ll have a Rafiq of the Many-like commander, then spend the extra mana to refuel with Marneus’ ability.
Another possible and powerful build is Dimir-based and more focused on Treasure generation, which are tokens for Marneus Calgar. You may play affinity cards or combos based on card draw, tutors, and more.
Command Tower | Illustration by Games Workshop
I hope you like my take on Marneus Calgar as a commander and get to try this build or improve on it. One cool thing about this build is that it already uses much of the Inquisitor Greyfax Commander deck and can be played with some simple swaps. The average card in the Warhammer 40k Commander decks is very strong, and this deck puts many of them to good use.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you around!
Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: