Rafiq, Let's get ready to rrruummbbbllleeee!!

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Commander


Rafiq of the Many


Equipment/Pumps


Sword of Light and Shadow
Sword of War and Peace
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Feast and Famine
Darksteel Plate
Swiftfoot Boots
Grafted Exoskeleton
Inquisitor's Flail
Shield of the Oversoul
Angelic Destiny
Eldrazi Conscription
Finest Hour
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
 


Mana Ramp/Mana Fixers 


Noble Hierarch
Skyshroud Claim
Primeval Titan
Mirari's Wake
Sol Ring


Draw/Search/Filter


Puresteel Paladin
Stoneforge Mystic
Academy Rector
Stonehewer Giant
Consecrated Sphinx
Enlightened Tutor
Steelshaper's Gift
Worldly Tutor
Land Tax
Weathered Wayfarer
Eladamri's Call
Mystical Tutor
Supply // Demand
Idyllic Tutor
Wargate
Scroll Rack
Sovereigns of Lost Alara
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Tooth and Nail


Sneak Throughs


Spirit en-Dal


Permanent Protectors


Sterling Grove
Privileged Position
Sigarda, Host of Herons
Avacyn, Angel of Hope


Mass Removal


Wrath of God
Rout
Divine Reckoning
Hallowed Burial


Spot Removal


Bant Charm
Swords to Plowshares 


Artifact/Enchantment removal


Aura Shards
Return to Dust


Counter


Pact of Negation
Mana Drain
Voidslime
Hindering Light 


Recursion


Eternal Witness
Genesis
Elixir of Immortality


KEEP ME ALIVE PLEASE!!!


Grand Abolisher
Leyline of Sanctity
Silent Arbiter
Blazing Archon
Dueling Grounds
Forcefield(Would go great with Guardian Seraph in a 60 card deck, too bad)



Fetches


Krosan Verge
Verdant Catacombs
Scalding Tarn
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Windswept Heath


Dual Colored Lands


Tundra
Hallowed Fountain
Azorius Chancery
Tropical Island
Breeding Pool
Simic Growth Chamber
Savannah
Temple Garden
Selesnya Sanctuary
Horizon Canopy


Tri-Colored


Command Tower
Seaside Citadel 


Utility Lands


Reliquary Tower
Cavern of Souls
Mistveil Plains
Minamo, School at Water's Edge
Maze of Ith
Kor Haven
Inkmoth Nexus
Academy Ruins
Prahv, Spires of Order 


Island x3
Plains x3
Forest x3


I've tried the ultra fast build and I've tried the overly defensive build but I think a midgame attack might be best since the fast build lacked survivablity and the defensive lacked focus.


The protection the Swords offer is usually the easiest way to get past defenses but the back ups are great as well. I had considered Douse to go along with Lifeforce but burn is less of a problem than massive Exsanguinate and one-two combos of Sorin Marov and Sorin's Vengeance. I'm also considering Sovereigns of Lost Alara, Eldrazi Conscription, and Shield of the Oversoul since they would work well in this build but what to eliminate is a difficult question to answer. I could:


-Argentum Armor
-Helm of Kaldra
-Sword of Kaldra
-Shield of Kaldra


+Sovereigns of Lost Alara
+Eldrazi Conscription
+Shield of the Oversoul
+Darksteel Plate


Argentum Armor is not only a big pump but also gets rid of pesky permanents but can be slow unless Stonehewer Giant is doing his thing. I could get rid of the Kaldra equipment since I'll have another way of making Rafiq indestructible and the exile is less important since I want him hitting directly rather than through creatures. Creating Kaldra isn't really a goal either but can be nice if I need a defender(and is good for laughs with Worldslayer Warning: No-one else will think it's funny, trust me I know). Opponents also have something else to worry about with the enchantment package stretching their resources thin. Tough call really.

sword + Inquisitor's Flail + doublstrike with Rafiq = that was fun, we should do this again sometime.
And, if you have the right sword equipped, you won't have to worry about him taking damage.
Hmm that does look like a nice addition, and it makes it easier to eliminate someone with one attack. I'll add it to my next order
With Rafiq, you really don't need many equipment. In my deck, I run only four: Batterskull, Umezawa's Jitte, Lightning Greaves and Sword of Feast and Famine. I would also run a Sword of Fire and Ice if I had access to one. Argentum Armor, while effective, is really overkill. If you can connect with Rafiq, all you need is one equipment or enchantment.

Also, you probably want higher quality removal and mass removal. I would run Wrath of God, Hallowed Burial and maybe Terminus. For targeted, you definitely need more than one creature who is easily removed - Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile and Bant Charm are good places to start.  

Finally, I wouldn't bother with cards like Empyrial Archangel - they aren't terrible, but they are weak - most any attack in EDH should kill her. Other cards in that category could include Avacyn, who gets exiled, bounced or countered all day.

Hope this helps!

Decks
Standard: Mage-Blade EDH: Rafiq of the Many

I do think Argentum Armor is coming out; if I need to destroy a permanent so badly that I need to pay 12 it's likely easier to simply remove the player! TyGuy42's suggestion of Inquisitor's Flail will take it's place.I'm changed the post above to reflect the changes.


The mass removal choices are left overs from a time the deck was lacking focus and chosen because they would create a token to equip but Wrath of God will take the Place of Martial Coup and I did actually open a Terminus at the release this weekend so that will go in place of Phyrexian Rebirth. I removed Intrepid Hero and added Condemn. Bant Charm is already there and running possible double duty as a counter. Swords to Plowshares will find it's way in there somewhere.


True, Empyrial Archangel is at worst a one shot save but my opponent's have allowed me to use Stonehewer Giant's ability an embarrasing number of times with her to equip Shield of Kaldra so for the moment I think she's stay for the next couple games to see how the newer build plays out. Avacyn is another that I want to try since if she sticks it's trouble for everyone else, I'm the only person in our group that doesn't have a pathological fear of blue so counter isn't an issue(in this group), exile or bounce I'll risk for now. I had considered Twilight Shepherd to help recover from mass removals that opponents play but am on the fence for the moment.

I also made the changes mentioned above in regards to the Kaldra equipment. 

I would suggest you run planeswalkers.
Baby jace is nice, and so is mind sculptor. Elspeth knight errant is pretty good with your general garruk primal hunter is nice for drawing cards, or possibley wildspeaker.
I did originally have Elspeth, Knight-Errant but took her out in favor of Avacyn, Angel of Hope for the more immediate indestructibility she offers. I'm still considering her however since the new changes could be better at keeping her alive until her ultimate is reached. The pump up and evasion is rather nice as well so there is that to consider. I'd even considered Gideon Jura for his spot removal and "Come Get Me" ability. Planeswalkers are good and even offer something other than me to try to destroy; finding the spots for them though is always difficult.
I recounted and I actually had 101 cards but that's not a problem since I've made a few more changes. Sovereigns of Lost Alara, Eldrazi Conscription, and Shield of the Oversoul are coming out mainly because I'm considering a Bruna, Light of Alabaster EDH deck and I try not to have too many cards that cross over(and I don't want to buy more).So, I put Elspeth, Knight-Errant back in as well as Sword of Feast and Famine since removing cards from opponents and untapping could come in handy since I'm likely to have a fair number of cards in hand. Changes have been made to the first post to reflect this.

I've been wondering about adding Noble Hierarch in place of Cold-Eyed Selkie since an early game Noble can start things with a bang. Selkie is an amazing draw engine though that can easily refill my hand and late game I could attack with both him and Rafiq and possibly still take someone out without the double strike. If I stay with wanting extra cards I could even go away from those two and choose Future Sight or Mind Unbound instead. Mind Unbound is great but without an Elixir of Immortality in there I'd be nervous since every other deck it's in has ended up with 5 or more counters on it before people were able to or finally decided to destroy it. I'm between Noble Hierarch and Future Sight. What do you guys think?
Lifeforce is kinda narrow, but other than that i like your take on Rafiq list.
My EDH decks: Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Thanks :D I think you're right about Lifeforce; if I'm that concerned about a mega Exsanguinate or the Sorin Combo I should probably just take that player out before they can amass the mana necessary for it. Now to decide what to put in it's place...Swords to Plowshares I think. I also took out Weathered Wayfarer and Skyshroud Claim for a Selesnya Signet and Azorius Signet. As much as I love the thought of fetching all the utility lands increasing the chances of getting a third turn Rafiq and a fourth turn attack with a Sword shouldn't be ignored. There are a couple aggressive Infect decks floating around so I'm keeping Melira, Sylvok Outcast in the back of my mind as additional insurance in case the meta shifts too much.
Sadly, I removed Hydra Omnivore(fun with Grafted Exoskeleton) for Wayfarer's Bauble and I removed Land Tax for a Mana Vault. I wanted to increase the chances of a third turn Rafiq and with first turn Noble Hierarch/Sol Ring/Mana Vault I could get Swiftfoot Boots on turn two, Rafiq turn three and attack.

Terminus came out for Rout since I'll likely have to cast a mass tuck spell  at the worst possible time(when Rafiq is out). An istant Wrath of God is nothing to scoff at when the chips are down and people are eager to wipe you out.

Mirari's Wake is out as well since my first impulse when tutoring for a creature is almost always Primeval Titan. I put Lightning Greaves in in it's place. 

I've thought about Survival of the Fittest in place of Tooth and Nail for the more immediate and repeatable use and since Genesis is already in the deck it's down side hurts far less. 

Tithe doesn't actually accelerate me, it merely fixes my colors but with the mana rocks in there now I went with Mystical Tutor in it's place.

With Land Tax gone now Scroll Rack loses a bit of luster since only Consecrated Sphinx is able to fill my hand and late game my hand is likely to be close to empty. Even Mirri's Guile would at least be useful full game. With that in mind I'm going to try Leyline of Sanctity to add another layer of protection. Might even be able to get it in free which sounds nice. 

Treva's Charm and Leonin Shikari both look nice as additional spot removal and responses to other people's attempts to remove Rafiq in mid-equip but I already have Privileged Position so maybe I'll just look at the charm.

Lightmine Field was suggested by a friend seeing as how people are often frightened that they'll be next and will want to send all their creatures at me.  A good point but I almost like it more with Stoic Angel; a one shot deal might kill a couple creatures while forcing most of the others to stayed tapped. Stoic Angel alone is pretty nice though. As always however the question of what comes out for it rears it's ugly head and I don't want to stuff so many cards of that nature in that I lose others that actually make the deck work.
I put Cavern of Souls in in place of a Plains Since it can help several of my other creatures, keeps Rafiq coming back for more, and color fixes.

I know Goldfishing is more useful for dueling decks than multiplayer but thought I'd try it out for 20 games on the play and the kills came in at:
Turn 5: 5 Games
Turn 6: 9 Games
Turn 7: 4 Games
Turn 9: 1 Game
Turn 11: 1 Game

Surprisingly I rarely got equipment when I needed it which drew many games out.(Inquisitor's Flail was very very good) The acceleration when it hit was good but I might add Grim Monolith and maybe one other since I rarely had color problems and playing an equipment and equiping it the same turn helped immensely. I might add Chord of Calling but the triple green scares me a bit. Novablast Wurm might come out but I want to play some actual multiplayer games first. Shield of the Oversoul is also possibly coming in(keep flip-flopping on it). Angus Mackenzie...is a one time free save against an all out attack when all the other players are gunning for my head enough? This is a possible build change:

Rafiq of the Many

Equipment/Pumps


Sword of Light and Shadow
Sword of War and Peace
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Feast and Famine
Darksteel Plate
Shield of the Oversoul
Lightning Greaves
Swiftfoot Boots
Grafted Exoskeleton
Batterskull/Umezawa's Jitte(+8/+8 on the next attack is 24 damage all by itself, wow)
Inquisitor's Flail
Finest Hour
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
 


Mana Ramp/Mana Fixers 


Noble Hierarch
Wayfarer's Bauble
Grim Monolith
Primeval Titan
Mana Vault
Sol Ring


Draw/Search/Filter


Puresteel Paladin
Mirri's Guile
Stoneforge Mystic
Academy Rector
Supply // Demand
Stonehewer Giant
Consecrated Sphinx
Enlightened Tutor
Steelshaper's Gift
Worldly Tutor
Eladamri's Call
Mystical Tutor
Idyllic Tutor
Wargate
Tezzeret the Seeker
Defense of the Heart
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Tooth and Nail


Sneak Throughs


Spirit en-Dal
Venser, the Sojourner


Permanent Protectors


Sterling Grove
Privileged Position
Sigarda, Host of Herons
Avacyn, Angel of Hope


Mass Removal


Wrath of God
Rout
Divine Reckoning
Hallowed Burial


Spot Removal


Condemn
Swords to Plowshares 
Bant Charm


Artifact/Enchantment removal


Aura Shards
Return to Dust


Counter


Pact of Negation
Mana Drain
Voidslime


Recursion


Eternal Witness
Genesis
Sun Titan


KEEP ME ALIVE PLEASE!!!


Angus Mackenzie/Skyshroud Claim(accelerates me while leaving equip/counter mana)
Silent Arbiter
Blazing Archon
Dueling Grounds
Forcefield



Fetches


Bant Panorama
Krosan Verge
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Flooded Strand
Misty Rainforest
Windswept Heath


Dual Colored Lands


Tundra
Hallowed Fountain
Azorius Chancery
Tropical Island
Breeding Pool
Simic Growth Chamber
Savannah
Temple Garden
Selesnya Sanctuary
Horizon Canopy


Tri-Colored


Command Tower
Seaside Citadel


Utility Lands


Reliquary Tower
Cavern of Souls
Mistveil Plains
Minamo, School at Water's Edge
Maze of Ith
Kor Haven
Inkmoth Nexus
Academy Ruins


Island x3
Plains x3
Forest x3

I tok out:

Batterskull
Lightning Greaves
Selesnya Signet
Azorious Signet
Wayfarer's Bauble
Mana Vault
Venser, the Sojourner
Novablast Wurm
Sun Titan
Angus Mackenzie
Empyrial Archangel

Some because they were too expensive and others because they were lackluster draws later in the game. I might trade Tithe for Land Tax and Tooth and Nail for Scroll Rack since I won the games played last week with Rafiq even though one of the games had an opening hand with Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Tooth and Nail, and Blazing Archon. I have enough artifacts and enchantments that Defense of the Heart might be safe to get my big creatures out. The next games I play will try that change.

After last night's games I decided to try Land Tax in place of Tithe and Scroll Rack in place of Defense of the Heart after all.He's aggro and even though people will likely try to drop creatures quickly to block(if they're able) there's no guarantee it'll go off when I need it to if people resort to mass removal to get rid of Rafiq. I also removed Condemn for Sylvan Scrying since Condemn can only be used on an attacking creature and I'll eaither be ignoring early attacks or targeting other aggro players if they're my main threat. The only general played at my table that makes me question it is Kaalia of the Vast but I'll go without it for the moment and see where it goes. I added Prahv, Spires of Order in favor of another colorless land I had and removed Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds for Scalding Tarn and Verdant Catacombs since I have some turn one and two drops that are important. I updated the list on the first page.

Two new cards that I'm not sure about in M13 are Cathedral of War(the Exalted Land) and Sublime Archangel(gives each creature Exalted). Cathedral actually made me think about Sylvan Scrying since it can add a couple points of damage but it's a colorless and comes into play tapped. The loss of tempo might be enough to remove it as a contender and I'd have to remove another colorless land since I can't risk adding any more. Sublime Angel adds 4 more points(a creature can have multiple instances of Exalted) of damage if it's just her and Rafiq which is promising and only gets better with other utility creatures out.  I'll have to sleep on it and playtest a bit more.
I need some advice on a possible change. I'm considering Gaddock Teeg. There's a new deck in our group with him as the commander and I knew his abilities were good but up until actually playing against him I didn't realize just how good. He's a monster. Being able to shut down massive parts of decks that take advantage of EDH's slower speed to make crazy plays has led to 5+ turns going by with practically nothing happening until someone would finally be able to get removal for him. Being that my deck has a low average CMC I'm tempted to add him because I think I might be able to play around his abilities enough to gain a significant advantage. With Stonehewer Giant and Sovereigns of Lost Alara I could still get the pumps to make Rafiq nasty.

I've also run into a few problems with Angelic Destiny and Shield of the Oversoul since I almost always go for Sword of Light and Shadow. Knight Exemplar is a somewhat acceptable alternative possibly. More easily removed but still protects Rafiq while providing a pump, indestructibility, and another creature for Sublime Archangel. Perhaps Fabricate in place of the Destiny to find an equipment I don't draw into? And if I do that is Sovereigns of Lost Alara and Eldrazi Conscription out as well since Sov can only fetch one aura? Bear Umbra and Favor of the Overbeing are really the only other auras that *might* have a chance of staying on him.

I could put Tithe back in instead of Skyshroud Claim. I'm not sure just how much I should alter the deck for a single card that's no doubt good but might not see in a game. Or I could go with Sylvan Tutor to help get the utility creatures to get Stonehewer Giant for equipment or Primeval Titan for the two lands.

I spoke to my play group and we've agreed to allow proxies of cards not yet released so I need to decide what to remove for Teeg and Sublime and whether or not Sov and the auras should go.

To clarify, this is what I'm thinking:
-Shield of the Oversoul +Knight Exemplar
-Angelic Destiny +Sublime Archangel
-Sovereigns of Lost Alara +Fabricate
-Eldrazi Conscription +Gaddock Teeg
-Skyshroud Claim +Tithe/Sylvan Tutor/Congregation at Dawn

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