An Introduction To Sisay, Weatherlight Captain in cEDH

Veiss Versa • April 22, 2024

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain by Anna Steinbauer

Greetings, I'm Malcolm, also known as Veiss to the online community! I'm one of the earlier adopters of Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, and the head moderator of the Sisay Discord. I play Sisay as my main tournament deck, but I also have some experience with a few other decks in the scene.

Why Play Sisay, Weatherlight Captain in cEDH?

Sisay represents a very cool and fun niche in the format, able to be built in a huge variety of ways and be tremendously flexible as a commander. Depending on your style, you might find the assembly of a puzzle fun, or her ability to place permanents to be useful to you, or her specific mana cost and WUBRG color identity to be greatly useful in your version of the deck. Sisay grants you the very powerful ability to simply put permanents into play at instant speed that are typically only played at sorcery speed, and to access the entire deck at any time for five mana.

How Do We Get Sisay Online?

I typically play what is colloquially called Traditional Sisay; this means I am usually on a legendary permanent dense build that wants to leverage a variety of colored permanents to power up my Sisay, then use her activated ability to tutor out a range or sequence of objects that allow me to win the game. 

In order to make available my route to victory, I need two things: legendary permanents (Colloquially called Pips after the common name for colored mana) and mana. This in turn sort of dictates the kinds of permanents I want to play. I usually want things that make or accelerate mana production, or to some extent, hinder my opponents. That is because this plan is a little bit slower than the majority of CEDH decks, but can set up for lethality surprisingly quickly. 

Here's an example of something I would consider to be a fairly ideal opening hand. It offers a lot of mana, a multipurpose tutor, and a mana versatility/grave hate card. Cards like Bloom Tender and Selvala are potent mana engines that will allow you to cast your commander quickly and often, and then tutor, potentially untapping them with those tutors in order to tutor multiple times into a win.

Mana-fixing is tremendously important for Sisay, as your cards are fairly widely spread amongst the spectrum of five colors and in a very wide combination of those colors. Make sure that when you're using fetchlands that you ensure you can make a wide variety of color combinations with your lands, rocks and dorks.

In short, you're looking to make mana, play your commander, and tutor until you get there. But that raises the question:

How Does Sisay Win the Game?

Or really, what do we tutor for?

That question has a myriad of answers that can depend on the board state, what your opponents are doing, what Sisay's current power is, and where certain cards are in your deck or graveyard.

Let's start with the easiest:

Aminatou, the Fateshifter + Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God + Oath of Teferi


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Colloquially called "Oath of Bolas", this combination of planeswalkers and and enchantment are the backbone of a Traditional Sisay list. They are extremely difficult to interact with, and once the combo starts off, it feeds into itself.

Once you have an item on the board that can generate WUBRG mana (Say, a Bloom Tender, a Faeburrow Elder, or a Dockside Extortionist) You can begin to tutor with Sisay, allowing you get go directly into this line of permanents (In the case of Dockside you can go directly to Aminatou and begin flickering Dockside) or you can divert and pick up something that will untap your mana source, such as Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, or Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler, which will then allow you to go through the rest of the permanents necessary, using Aminatou's flickering -1 to reset your untapping option.

Once all three are on the battlefield, you may now use Aminatou to flicker Nicol Bolas, which can then activate twice, using its +1 to draw a card and force your opponents to exile a card from their hand or your battlefield. Then you can use its additional activation to flicker Aminatou, resetting its loyalty and allowing it to activate twice again. You can repeat this loop until your opponents have no cards in their hands or on their boards.

In order to finish you have a wide variety of options; this loop can generate infinite mana by targeting lands with your secondary activations, using one activation of each planeswalker to continue to reset the other. Once you have enough mana, you can use Sisay to tutor and retrieve a number of options to kill off your opponents, prominent common-run options include Mount Doom, or Saheeli Rai.

Emiel the Blessed + Dockside Extortionist


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If your Dockside Extortionist triggers for at least four Treasure, you may use Emiel's ability to flicker it and make infinite mana, which allows you to tutor as many times as you would like.

You can modify this combination in a number of ways based on the contents of your deck or battlefield; using mana dorks that produce WUBRG with anything that offers haste or Derevi and a Gaea's Cradle with at least four creatures on board, or something similar. As long as you can make infinite mana, you can filter it through Sisay in order to win as long as you still have most of your deck.

Sisay Beats

If you've lost every part of every other combo in the deck to exile or irretrievably to the graveyard... you can make Sisay as strong as a 11/11 or higher and just... start swinging. If you're reduced to this, however, you are probably in the very dregs of your ability to win the game. 

How Do We Keep the Game Going?

We have very wide plethora of options in 5 colors to keep our opponents at bay; typically I employ a number of legendary stumbling blocks for my opponents, including Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, and Ertai Resurrected, as well as some nonlegendary objects like, Blind Obedience and Drannith Magistrate. We also carry a selection of removal spells and counterspells in order to aid us in getting back to our turns. 

Lavinia's role is as an early game disrupter. Many CEDH deck strategies hinge on playing noncreature spells in rapid succession either for free or using rituals; Lavinia's job is to be the police and keep everyone moving at the speed limit of the game. This has the secondary benefit of punishing a lot of the greedier decks in the format that run few lands in order to facilitate playing the game at high speed, which can cause them to essentially be unable to play the game normally for several turns.

This card is here for many of the same reasons as Lavinia. Artifacts coming into play tapped severely hinders decks that rely on them, as well as on Dockside Extortionist

Many decks perform best with their commander on the board and this guy just says no to that prospect until they find removal for him; secondarily, Drannith prevents Underworld Breach and Mnemonic Betrayal from being used profitably as well.

A strange inclusion, but Ertai is a creature counter that is very strong both offensively and defensively, destroying difficult enemy creatures and also countering spells, while also having a stifle mode that can stop virtually any win condition in the game at least once. When combined with Emiel the Blessed you gain access to a powerful three-mana Kill/Counter/Stifle effect that can be used as much as you would like.

Unusual Sisay Inclusions

Several cards in the deck deserve callouts for being unusually good despite popular opinion.

Oath of Nissa really helps with mana versatility and allows you to use colorless mana to your advantage to, for instance, cast some of the planeswalkers in the deck with relative ease despite their complex mana costs. With proper construction, Oath often acts as a cantrip when cast, and powers up Sisay while being unlikely to be removed.

Olivia, Mobilized for War offers relatively difficult-to-come-by Rakdos coloration, as well as granting several important creatures haste on demand, but she also has tremendous synergy with Agatha's Soul Cauldron, another strong and often-run card.

Relic of Legends allows you to leverage your legendary creatures (including Sisay) to generate rainbow mana, even if you've just played them this turn. When all your deck needs is mana and its commander, making your commander, as well as the permanents you need to play to enable the commander to work efficiently, make that mana, is just self-evidently good.

What Do I Do If I'm Stuck?

The deck is extremely versatile and flexible, but is hard locked by a few roadblocks, namely Opposition Agent, Cursed Totem, and Weathered Runestone.

If you're locked behind one of these problem permanents, or you think that your opponents are intending to lock you out in this way, you'll want to default to drawing cards in any way you can, seeking removal for the problem. Most builds, including my own, include a significant amount of removal and card draw to combat these things as much as possible. Once dealt with, it should be fairly easy to assemble a win. The deck has the most problems with multiple layers of stax pieces, as you'll need multiple pieces of removal and to fight the resistance of the remaining players in order to remove them all.

Some sample good hands follow:

This hand is nearly ideal, offering a strong setup of mana and a powerful mana dork, as well as a tutor that can set you up with defenses or burst after laying down that Arcane Signet; Kiora also gives a powerful ability to reuse Selvala in a variety of ways

This hand sets you up quite well for the early to mid game with a tutor that can get you Dockside or one of the major dorks; I might strongly suggest getting Bloom Tender here, as the Saheeli Rai can potentially offer you a complete win with a second mana source on turn 3 with this particular hand, assuming you draw any other mana source that makes red or blue. If Saheeli Rai doesn't do the trick, Geyadrone Dihada can most certainly help you finish the job.

This hand is nice and progressive, offering you three mana on turn two in order to play Sisay and continuing mana as long as Ragavan can continue to hit an opponent. Lavinia on turn 2 can also help stymie your opponents and slow them down while you build up resources and then lay down a Teferi to attempt to win on a later turn.

What Not To Do

Don't keep hands that are far too slow. This is a mistake. Sisay has midrange power but should not overly depend on the midgame. The first three turns are crucial and need to be accelerated into, so that you can set yourself up with reasonable speed and get beyond the dangerous region where turbo decks reign. Their ability to crush you before you can gain enough ground should not be underestimated. The following hands are poor choices in general for a variety of reasons which I'll explain below.

Five lands looks far better than it is, and only removal is just not going to get you where you want to be. While Loran can draw you some cards... it can't begin doing so until turn four, where you'll probably have already lost for not doing anything meaningful besides play land and pass.

This hand simply does not have enough mana. It's very misleading because the Enlightened Tutor can get you a mana crypt for your second turn in order to play your Relic of Legends... but the hand does little else. Having Teferi and Nicol Bolas in hand is not ideal by far.

Put simply, there is no movement here before turn 3; moreover, the movement ON turn 3 is minimal and doesn't lead to even a reasonable amount of progression prior to turn 6. You're far too likely to be shut down or to lose the game due to being unable to interact before you're able to do anything meaningful.

Going Forward With Sisay in cEDH

Now considered one of the top decks in the cEDH meta, there has been a lot of effort put in to build the deck's reputation and refine the cards included in most lists. Sisay's adaptability and wide range continue to keep her fresh and interesting in every game a player sits down to when playing with and against a Sisay deck.

Furthermore, with every new set, new legends are printed that can help tune the power of any Sisay deck, so looking at the contents of every set could yield the newest bomb we might be able to include in the deck, yielding speculation and fresh possibility with every spoiled card. As we continue to refine and build the deck in new and different directions, there will always be something on the horizon.

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain cEDH Deck List

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain in cEDH by Veiss Versa

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Commander (1)
Instants (17)
Artifacts (10)
Planeswalkers (9)
Lands (28)
Creatures (25)
Enchantments (7)
Sorceries (3)

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Veiss has been playing and loving Commander since 2017. Currently the head moderator and owner of the Sisay Discord, you can usually find him somewhere around the country at a weekend tournament. He dreams of one day being a proper content creator.