Here we have Marchesa, the Black Rose, a mythic rare Legendary Creature – Human Wizard in Grixis colors – red, blue, and black. She costs 1UWR to cast and has a very interesting new mechanic called Dethrone. This ability activates whenever a creature attacks the player with the most life or tied for the most life. In this case, the attacking creature gets a +1/+1 counter put onto it. Marchesa gives all creatures you control this ability, as well.

In a multiplayer draft format like Conspiracy, or in Commander, this is a pretty useful ability. Surely this wouldn’t see play in Legacy or Vintage, but it wasn’t designed to be super good in those formats, anyhow. In any case, it’s the second half of Marchesa’s ability that makes the Dethrone mechanic particularly good in this case.

Marchesa reads: Whenever a creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it dies, return that card to the battlefield under your control at the beginning of the next end step. Note that the +1/+1 counter could have come from anywhere. It needs not have been put there by the Dethrone ability. (Hello, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed!) So there are some definite shenanigans that could be had with Marchesa, even putting her Dethrone ability aside, which is indeed a useful way to gain said counters.


Speaking of Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, this opens up a really interesting interaction with Marchesa. Mikaeus gives all non-Human creatures that you control undying, so sadly Marchesa won’t be included on the fun. However, there are going to be plenty of creatures that will be given undying. The way undying works, when a creature with Undying you control dies, it comes back with a +1/+1 counter if it had no counters on it to begin with. However, because of Marchesa’s ability, those creatures will still come back. This means that you essentially have infinite sacrifice outlets for many different cards. Just when you thought Grixis couldn’t get any more combos – it just got another big one.

Being a mythic rare, she won’t be opened incredibly often, but I see her being a chase Commander in this set. She’s going to be a very strong card in the Conspiracy format, as well. Marchesa has a great design with a lot of flavor that will be very appealing to both casual players and serious Commander and Conspiracy players alike.

~ Elspeth for the Win