Sibling rivalries

gisa banner

Last weekend, my younger brother visited home for the first time since moving abroad a couple of years ago. One of the things he wanted to do was visit the old LGC which was the stomping ground for the both of us during our formative years. Since he wasn’t sure he still had his old deck, I decided to put together a couple of new EDH decks for this night specifically. It also served me well for playing with several play groups causes some issues, meaning having more decks with some varying power levels is beneficial for everyone. I set out to build a pair of decks that could serve not only on the night in particular, but in future play with my other play group, and as such, I had a few “rules” set for myself:

#1 – Less powerful than Tasigur, or any other of my regular generals for that matter. This was easiest achieved through less use of tutoring, thereby increasing variance in the decks themselves. There are fewer individual bombs a la Villainous Wealth etc. in the decks as well.

#2 – No clashes with these decks and Tasigur. This was almost easier done than said, as the decks I built did contain colours from Tasigur, they were both very different in game plans, meaning neither were clashing much with banana boy.

#3 – As usual, no infinite combos, no infinite turns, no masturbatory loops.

Seeing as I built the decks for my brother and myself, it seemed fitting to base the generals on two siblings as well, namely:











I opted to play these two for several reasons, other than the fact that the characters are siblings in the lore. For one thing, I’ve always wanted to try Gisa but never got around to test her in my mono black shell. Secondly, since tucking is no longer a thing, building around the commander is less dangerous these days. Lastly, blue has always been my favourite colour in Magic, and black is my brother’s favourite colour, so these two generals were the perfect fit in this situation.

Both decks were designed with a basic plan and set-up in mind:

Geralf is supposed to be a bad general, and I found it difficult to build around him. He will require a lot more work to be considered general-centric. I built a mono-blue goodstuff deck with lots of interaction, and Geralf himself as a free creature generator. Since we rarely play with fewer than four players, he will easily make 10/10’s once activated. Some of the control cards in the deck do synergise with the commander, like Whisk Away, Body Double, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I added an artifact sub-theme to power out both Geralf and other big creatures in the deck, leading to the decklist found here: Geralf on

Gisa was by far the more interesting deck to build, and it is a lot more centered around the commander. Having a sacrifice outlet in charge of your deck can be a really good thing, especially one that will double up the power of whatever you sacrifice. I wanted plenty of creatures that would synergise with the general indirectly, i.e. creatures with enters the battlefield-effects, death triggers, and similar. I also wanted a few more creatures than in Geralf. The deck is similar to older mono-black builds of mine, it has Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and it has some of the staple black cards, but it also has some fun cards as well. I added quite a bit of graveyard recursion to make use of the sacrificed creatures, resulting in this deck list: Gisa on

skullbriar,thewalkinggrave.hqSo, how did we do? Well, my brother did find his old deck, a Skullbriar deck which I will cover in a future post, and we had to play a few games with our real decks to begin with. We played a 4-man free-for-all with Tasigur, Skullbriar, Sharuum, and Marath (piloted by another old friend who happened to be home for the first time in about a year). After quite an intense game, and me revenge killing Sharuum after last week’s game, Marath was swinging for lethal against Skullbriar, and I decided to defend my brother by activating Pernicious Deed for X = your mother (who is a nice lady, by the way). Skullbriar went on to win the game, and after some more people showed up, we decided to play a six-man.

Playing six people in EDH is difficult, and usually when we’re six, we play “Chase”, which I wrote about here. It’s very simple, you attack to your left, and block to your right, otherwise it’s all as usual, there’s no “range” for spells or anything. The table, from my seat, in the order of attacking:

Tasigur (goodstuff control)
Sharuum (goodstuff artifacts/control)
Marath (aggro)
Skullbriar (zombie tribal)
Surrak (aggro)
Ezuri (elves tribal)

malignus.hqThe game was very long, and I won’t be able to recount most details. I was quite afraid at first, having two aggro decks chasing me, and attacking a control deck. Skullbriar was the first to be eliminated in this game, after Sharuum cast Filigree Angel, Marath cast Malignus who had power > most player’s life totals, and of course, he had Anger in the graveyard. The next one to go was Ezuri, after I had wrathed away his board a few times, Surrak eventually caved to the pressure from Marath and as Surrak scrambled to actually have an impact on the game, we started to develop a sort of mutual understanding. I was going to help him survive, if he helped me with my Tasigur activations.

The plan worked out well. I eventually killed Sharuum with commander damage, Sword of Feast and Famine is disgusting in the deck. I Villainous Wealthed Marath and hit him to single-digits, and after Surrak finished off Ezuri, Tasigur sacrificed both of the remaining opponents, the ally included, on the altar of Exsanguinate.

We played two games of pentagram, and my brother and I both swapped to Gisa and Geralf. We randomized the seats and we ended up next to each other – my other ally was Marath, and my opponents were Ezuri and Surrak. I split the in in the first game with Geralf, after stealing Dragonlord Atarka and Molten Primordial over two turns with Bribery + Snapcaster Mage, Molten Primordial gave me a 32/32 Kalonian Hydra from Marath who had just killed Gisa. I killed both Surrak and Ezuri in the same combat phase, meaning I eliminated both of my opponents but also Marath’s remaining opponent (Ezuri), and we decided to call the game a draw. Gisa won the other one with like sixteen Zombie tokens on the battlefield, and the deck did what it was supposed to do.

And that was all we had time for, unfortunately. I was very happy that I got to spend the evening with some really old great friends, and we had some pretty epic games. The fact that I happened to walk away with a couple of wins is the cherry on top, though winning is very secondary in EDH, at least for me. I was almost more thrilled about my brother walking away with two wins, despite having been away from the game for a couple of years.

What do you think of the decks in question? I will probably keep them around for some time, and I’m looking forward to playing especially the Gisa deck some more.

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  1. Monday Night Ghoulcalling | Goyf Wars
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