$50 Iraxxa Deck Tech For EDH and PDH

Iraxxa, Empress of Mars | Illustrated by Borja Pindado

Hello everyone, and welcome to a special installment of BathroomBrews! In the spirit of giving, I wanted to gift you lovely nerds not one, but two deck techs for the commander I most wanted to build in 2023: Iraxxa, Empress of Mars. So instead of one $50 deck tech like I usually do, I'll also be providing you with a PDH (Pauper Commander) deck tech for her.

If you're curious about PDH and want to learn more, check out 10 underrated PDH commanders, Alejandro Fuentes' articles, and PDH Home Base for all the rules and ban list.

As always, you can find each deck at the bottom of the article. So without further ado, let's get into it!

Look Ma, No Hands!

The gameplan for this deck is straightforward: we want to cast as many cards as possible from anywhere but our hand. We don't care if it's from exile, the graveyard, or our library. I counted a total of nine mechanics that allow us to cast spells from not our hand:

  • Adventures
  • Cascade
  • Discover
  • Escape
  • Flashback
  • Foretell
  • Impulse (Okay, this technically isn't a named mechanic, but most of us know what impulse draw is.)
  • Rebound
  • Suspend

Cascading Into a Discovery

Of these nine, cascade and discover are the best. Cascade lets us cheat on the mana cost of cards by casting them for free. Discover does the same thing as cascade, except if we don't cast the card we can put it into our hand. Unsurprisingly, there aren't a ton of cheap cascade and discover commons for the PDH deck, with only five cards in total. And of those five, only two of them see play in the EDH version of the deck: Boarding Party and Hidden Volcano.

The EDH version has a total of ten cascade and discover cards. However, of the ten, three stand above the rest with the value they provide. Throes of Chaos not only cascades, but also lets us discard lands to cast it from the graveyard, giving us another trigger for Iraxxa. For four mana we can make two 2/2 Alien Warriors.

Call Forth the Tempest might cost eight mana, but we get to cascade twice, and it gives us a potential board wipe. And finally, Into the Time Vortex has cascade and rebound, so it casts itself from exile for free on the next turn.

Telling the Future

Foretell was first introduced in Kaldheim and reminds me a bit of morphs. You can pay two mana to foretell a card by putting it in exile, then paying less mana for it later. This is great because we're casting the spell from exile and opponents can't interact with facedown cards in that zone.

In the PDH deck I included all of the common red and colorless foretell cards. There's Demon Bolt, which is cheap removal, Dwarven Reinforcements, and Scorn Effigy, which we can cast for free.

For the EDH deck, we cut Dwarven Reinforcements for Dual Strike and Impending Flux. Dual Strike is a cheap way to copy spells and Impending Flux is more creature and player removal.

Quick rules note, if you copy a cascade spell with Dual Strike, such as Throes of Chaos, you won't get an additional cascade trigger. This is because cascade is a cast trigger and copying a spell is not the same as casting it.

Flashing it Back

Unsurprisingly, flashback has one of the deepest card pools since the mechanic is now 22 years old. Unlike the other mechanics on this list, the flashback cost of a card is generally more expensive than its normal casting cost. The most notable example of this would be Faithless Looting. But despite this increase in cost, it's still powerful in both 60-card formats and EDH/PDH.

Some flashback cards care if they're cast from the graveyard, such as Ignite the Future, giving you additional effects. Since most of those additional effects tend to be on rares, there isn't a ton of overlap between the decks. The most notable overlaps are Faithless Looting and Lava Dart. Lava Dart might seem odd, but the cheap flashback cost makes it an easy include.

Don't Be Impulsive

The last mechanic is impulse draw. This isn't a named mechanic like the others mentioned before, but a nickname that comes from the card Act on Impulse. This is one of the mechanics that has the most overlap between the two decks, thanks to the general rarity of impulse draw being pretty low. The first cards that came to mind were Reckless Impulse and Wrenn's Resolve, which are the same cards with different names. Tavern Brawler provides us with impulse draw at our upkeep if we have our commander in play. And there's Dark-Dweller Oracle, which was downshifted from rare to common in Double Masters 2022.

The biggest difference between the EDH and PDH impulse draw packages is the repeatability. This isn't a bad thing, just something to keep in mind.


Because of PDH's smaller card pool, there are some mechanics I included in that version that I didn't need to in the EDH version of the deck: rebound and suspend. Okay, I do have one rebound card, but it also has cascade, so it doesn't count. The rebound cards are Faithless Salvaging and Staggershock. I wouldn't touch these cards with a ten-foot pole for EDH, but in PDH they do their jobs well. The best red suspend cards are Wheel of Fate and Rousing Refrain, and those are too expensive for a $50 budget. But in PDH, Gargadon can be a huge threat, and Plunder is fine removal.

Alien Invasion

There are two primary win conditions with this deck: combat and burn. I'm not going to go into details on how to win with combat: just turn those creatures sideways and smash in. The easier way to win, or to get chip damage in, is by using Impact Tremors and Witty Roastmaster. Every time we create an Alien, we get to deal one or two damage to each opponent.

If you want to make the deck stronger, you could add more storm cards, such as Grapeshot or Empty the Warrens. I only included one storm card in the PDH deck and none in the EDH deck, because I hate tracking it.

Upgrades (EDH Deck Only)

If you want to spend a bit more on the deck, there are some easy upgrades I'd suggest. First would be Underworld Breach, which gives all the cards in your graveyard escape. Breach allows for some insane combos, even if you don't have a Lion's Eye Diamond on hand. You can check out Commander Spellbook for a list of all the mono-red Underworld Breach combos.

The next upgrade is Jeska's Will. It acts as both a ritual and impulse draw, which this deck loves. And finally, Purphoros, God of the Forge is another burn effect for your tokens.

Here are the decks:

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
View this decklist on Archidekt

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
View this decklist on Archidekt

So, what do you think of mono-red Aliens? Do you think Iraxxa is too slow as a commander or simply overlooked? Are you going to give PDH a try? I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below or over on Twitter at BathroomMTG.

Ben has been playing Magic since 2012 and started creating Magic the Gathering content in October of 2022 on YouTube under the name BathroomBrewsMTG (YouTube.com/@BRBMTG). Primarily focusing on budget EDH content. When he isn't thinking or talking about MTG, he is usually playing video games, spending time with his wife or playing with his two cats. You can find him on Twitter @BathroomMTG.