Magic: the Gathering

Deck Guide

Commander Deck Tech: Carmen, Cruel Skymarcher

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Find out more about Carmen, Cruel Skymarcher, a powerful Vampire that dominates everyone and is ready to get ahead while your opponents sacrifice permanents.

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traducido por Joey Sticks

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revisado por Tabata Marques

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The release of the Lost Caverns of Ixalanlink outside website set presented us a new generation of Orzhov Magic Symbol bMagic Symbol w Vampires from Ixalan. Among the several options I found, one stood out to me: the sub-commander of the precon deck, Blood Riteslink outside website, Carmen, Cruel Skymarcher.

As her name already states, Carmen is cruel and is ready to get ahead while you force your opponents to sacrifice the precious resources they have on their board.


In this article, we'll present you a Carmen list that brings Orzhov's classic Aristocrat side and takes advantage of this commander's effect with removals that can be Reanimated from the graveyard for you to use them as many times as you'd like.

Let's go!

Getting to Know the Commander

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What made me really excited about this commander when I analyzed her was her ability to return to the battlefield any permanent from your graveyard with a mana value equal or less than Carmen's power.

This means your artifacts, creatures, enchantments and even lands (like Evolving Wilds) can return to the board untapped when Carmen attacks your opponents.

With that in mind, the list we built for this commander has many permanent cards with effects that will help you remove resources from your opponents and will give you a lot of advantage in the game.


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With an average mana curve of 2, this list has three main pillars: sacrificing your permanents, forcing your opponents to sacrifice their permanents, and reusing cards from your graveyard.

The two first pillars will help you increase Carmen's power, helping you both make this commander more lethal and increase the number of cards she will be able to bring back from the graveyard to your board.

Let's understand how this strategy works a bit better?

Lands and Mana Accelerators

Unfortunately, Carmen isn't a low-cost commander. With that in mind, we added mana rocks and a few land options which, as we mentioned before, can return from the graveyard and help you look for more lands in your deck.

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Another interesting land in this list is Demolition Field, which can be used to rid you of a non-basic problematic land your opponent might have, such as Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth in a deck with Forestwalk, or to destroy that Maze's End that will soon win the game for your opponent.

Smothering Tithe and Revel in Riches are already welcome in a regular Orzhov deck, but in this one they get even stronger. My tip is: save the Treasures you get with these two until your commander is on the board because sacrificing these tokens will help you increase Carmen's power. Revel in Riches is also a possible win condition in this list.

A companion in this precon that seems to be made to go with our commander is Master of Dark Rites, which, besides working as the iconic spell Dark Ritual, is also an interesting sacrifice source that creates a lot of value.

There are Sacrifices that Are Worth It

Among other things, decks with black Magic Symbol b mana are known for using health and creatures as a resource to achieve multiple things, whereas decks with white Magic Symbol w mana are known for how easy it is for them to gain health and for having incredible protection spells.


Analyzing this deck's black side, these are some of the cards that we'll use to sacrifice creatures in exchange for several effects. They'll help us grow our commander and play out her strategy.

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Keep in mind that enchantments such as Aura of Silence can return to the board through Carmen's effect.

To show you your sacrifice wasn't in vain, this list also counts with Grave Pact and Dictate of Erebos, which force your opponents to sacrifice a creature every time one of your creatures dies.

If Blood Artist or Elas, il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim are on your board, you'll be able to get some very welcome health points through these sacrifices.

Vito, Fanatic of Aclazotz also helps you gain health, drains your opponent's health a little bit, and can create a 4/3 Vampire Demon token with Flying that can be a blocker or just more fodder for your sacrifices.

After an explosive turn forcing your opponents to sacrifice something, you'll gain a lot of health with Feast of the Victorious Dead, and will definitely increase your commander's power a lot.

Creating Tokens

To guarantee the sacrifice strategy more consistency, we have listed a few token generators that enhance the mechanic used in this deck.

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Even though this isn't a deck focused on Faeries or Phyrexians, the tokens created by Bitterblossom and Skrelv's Hive are resources we can't ignore. With the great number of permanents present in this deck, it isn't impossible to get 7 Devotion so that March of the Canonized creates tokens during the beginning of your upkeep.

Enchanting the Commander

This list can work without Carmen on the board, but we know Commander's big thing is having your general helping your deck's strategy like you imagined it when you created it, and that's why we don't ever want to lose this creature.

We have listed a few classic protection spells in Commander, such as Swiftfoot Boots and Lightning Greaves, but, besides them, we also have enchantments that help you both protect your commander and offer her evasion and buffs.

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In case you need help finding any of these cards, this list has two tutors: Enlightened Tutor, for artifacts and enchantments, and Entomb to look for any card.



Accidentally, I ended up including a combo in this list, but it is possible to play and win without using it, considering these cards are good individually, and have synergy with this deck.

However, just so you're not caught off guard, let's explain this combo's interaction in this part of the article.

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With all these cards on the board, sacrifice Reassembling Skeleton to the Altar, like so creating Magic Symbol cMagic Symbol c. This creature's death will trigger Pitiless Plunderer's ability, creating a Treasure. By using one Magic Symbol c from the Altar + the Treasure to create Magic Symbol b, you'll be able to return Reassembling Skeleton.

With this loop, you can have infinite Magic Symbol c mana, but with Blood Artist or Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim on board, you'll have infinite life points and infinitely drain your opponent's life points too. If none of your opponents have any answer, the chances of you finishing the game with this interaction are high.

Alternative List: Vampire Tribal

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Traditionally, Vampires interact really well with abilities that are triggered by creatures dying, be it with counters or draining health. For this list focused on Vampire-type creatures, we listed a few of these creatures and also good doses of cards with Lifelink, which is a traditional mechanic for Orzhov Vampires.

Final Words

This was probably one of the most fun articles I've written in the last month.

I say that because this commander completely changed this article's first draft and theory, which was to build a Vampire Aristocrat deck, and presented us the possibility of building a consistent list that mixes what's most classic about Aristocrat and low-cost enchantments that can both control your board and protect it.

Even in colors that aren't known for Aggro strategies, Carmen, Cruel Skymarcher can please players who enjoy this type of game style more because her effect is directly connected to attacking.

Finally, this commander has proven she is flexible and is definitely a viable option for those who are looking for decks with Reanimate strategies, and, of course, those who like Vampires.

That's all for today, folks. I'll see you in the next article!