State of the cEDH Metagame: Post-Mardu Summer

Drake Sasser • August 31, 2023

Welcome back, readers! Following an unprecedented growth in cEDH tournaments across the world, and with the Mox Masters Invitational rapidly approaching, I thought it best to provide an update on the now-rapidly-changing cEDH metagame. Most importantly, the frame of reference of assessing the state of the metagame is how things have shifted as more events have occurred and brews have been tuned. As such, we're going to kick off the breakdown by going through the biggest winners, biggest losers, and newcomers since the first metagame breakdown.

Biggest Winners

The recurring theme among the biggest winners over the last 5 months of cEDH tournaments are that each of the decks are commander-centric combo pieces and value engines that win the game via activated abilities rather than a flurry of spells. As removal continues to be absent from cEDH pods, and, even when present, still sometimes too slow, having a combo in the command zone that wins through nearly any stax piece that isn't specifically Cursed Totem is proving to be quite the boon!

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain: A toolbox deck that wins via planeswalker abilities alongside Dockside Extortionist. Sisay gets a ton of extra potency from its combo starting with uncounterably tutoring Teferi, Time Raveler into play using Sisay's ability gives this deck inevitability over almost any pod it shows up in.

Tayam, Luminous Enigma: Tayam went on a tear over the summer through the height of uninteractive, fast combo deck representation by being able to leverage some of the strongest stax pieces available in the format, then winning by simply activating its commander every single turn. The ability to win through its own stax pieces and some brewers' advantage as to what the combo board state even looks like has given this deck a huge increase in stock over the last few months.

Tivit. Seller of Secrets: Another deck that often leverages Teferi, Time Raveler as part of its combo to both stop interaction and serve as a combo piece alongside Displacer Kitten. Ultimately winning most often by simply activating Time Sieve every turn with the artifacts generated by Tivit, this deck is able to play a long game by having the biggest creature on most battlefields already in the command zone and can still win quick using traditional Ad Nauseam and Thassa's Oracle packages seen in other UBx cEDH decks.

Biggest Losers

In stark contrast to the biggest winners of the summer in the cEDH metagame, the biggest losers are decks that are commander-centric but that look to win either in combat or are largely just worse versions of the decks seen in the biggest winners category above.

Winota, Joiner of Forces: This deck has all but disappeared having proven to be similar enough to the strategy of Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy to be considered largely just a worse version of Kinnan. Winning through combat is harder and less powerful than winning via generating large amounts of mana, and with the commander coming in at half the cost and getting to play blue, it seems almost all of the Winota players have moved away from the deck for greener (and bluer) pastures.

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator + Tymna the Weaver/Vial Smasher the Fierce/Tana, the Bloodsower: Akin to Winota, the Malcolm partner pairings have all largely disappeared in favor of other commander-centric combos. Any and all brewers' advantage that came with the Malcolm decks is gone, and given the combo that they present is more telegraphed and easier to stop than other, similarly costed and colorful commander creature combos available in the format, the stock in Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator has decreased dramatically.

Thrasios, Triton Hero + Tymna the Weaver: A deck that has been on its way out the door for some time due to the meteoric rise in power of red cards, the door has more or less finally been shut on this ghost of cEDH past. Not really able to present wins faster than other partner pairings and performing a stax gameplan worse than existing options has left the composition of Thrasios + Tymna incohesive and underpowered for sometime, and the tournament performances reflect it.


The new and noteworthy decks of cEDH are largely due to some new card printings and a little bit of iteration on the mold from there. While these decks have each shown to be competitive in high stakes events, it will remain to be seen as the format continues to develop where they fall in comparison to the rest of the established decks.

Atraxa, Grand Unifier: The return of Food Chain at last! Atraxa is a extremely powerful value engine if you can ever resolve it, making it far less of a dead card than we have seen from some Food Chain decks in the past and also gets to leverage the Teferi, Time Raveler + Displacer Kitten combo we have seen from many of the highly successful decks over the course of the summer. A powerful contender I expect we will be seeing plenty more of in the coming months,

Dihada, Binder of Wills: The deck which caused the coining of the summer of 2023 as "Mardu Summer". I was first made aware of this deck as something that was successful in many Japanese tournaments. The deck made its way into the states and began to dominate events here as well. Dihada's -3 ability does a great job enabling quick Underworld Breach kills and even makes mana to help with that exact endeavor along the way. While capable of fast kills, no blue cards makes it a shave more susceptible to interaction as there are less Silence effects than counterspells available and it remains to be seen if Dihada is more powerful than its Grixis contenders.

The Updated Tierlist

Tier 1 (Great choice!)

Tier 2 (Fine choice if you've done the work.)

Tier 3 (Outdated, underpowered, or poorly positioned)

Tier 4 (Do not play this)

  • Every other known or established deck.

And there you have it! Quite a few shifts in what is showing up to events and succeeding but still plenty of tried, true, and familiar decks showing up and crushing as always. If there is any deck you feel is not represented or misevaluated hit me up here in the comments of on Twitter! Thank you all for reading!

Drake Sasser is a member of cEDH group Playing With Power, a commentator for Nerd Rage Gaming, and used to grind Magic tournaments on the SCG Tour.