Andrew Jackson Highlander - Taigam, Sidisi's Hand

The Hand Rises

Welcome to Andrew Jackson Highlander! AJH is a series where I build and share $20 deck techs. This week, I get to share a decklist that will probably actually go down in price soon because it focuses heavily on cycling (thanks rotation!) with Taigam, Sidisi's Hand at the helm.

We are not just cycling for value on our cycling payoffs like Drake Haven or Faith of the Devoted, we have a reason we want to fill the graveyard up. And that reason is Rise From the Tides! While we can win just with cycling payoffs, I built this deck to fill the yard, find Rise, and cast it multiple times (if need be).

Please note that it was extremely hard for me to not name this deck "I want to ride my Taicycle."

Play Style

This deck is all about getting instants and sorceries into the graveyard by any means possible and then winning with a huge Rise from the Tides or by sticking Runechanter's Pike on one of our creatures. Taigam helps this strategy on multiple fronts, by helping to dig for Rise or a tutor and filling our yard in the process. As an added bonus, Taigam can use that filled graveyard as removal if necessary.

While we are fairly all in on this strategy, we can also potentially win off of a cycling payoff like Drake Haven or Faith of the Devoted, especially with New Perspectives online.

Notable Cards

Transmute- One of my favorite mechanics in all of Magic. In this deck, we get additional value off of the discard. Ethereal Usher and Netherborn Phalanx help us find Rise and Drift of Phantasms can find Drake Haven or Faith of the Devoted.

Archfiend of Ifnir- Great for controlling the board. I really feel like a land could be cut to add in Brainspoil as another way to grab it.

Rebuild- This is a criminally underplayed card. It has a bit of extra utility in our deck thanks to cycling but this is a great way to hinder artifact strategies, especially if you are in colors that have trouble dealing with artifacts.

Monastery Siege- Another card that I feel deserves more play, Monastery Siege is good in our deck because we really WANT to dump that card into our graveyard. It should be noted that the Khans ability is anti-synergy with Taigam. I still think it is a good way to fill the yard when Taigam is not in play and if he is, the Dragons mode can help protect him.

Possible Upgrades

Fluctuator- This deck wants this card so bad. If you do add it, add Muddle the Mixture and consider Shred Memory.

Fetid Pools- While lands are always a great upgrade for a budget deck, I recommend this one in particular thanks to the cycling.

Dimir Machinations- If you want another 3 CMC transmute card

Cyclonic Rift- This deck can be very weak to aggro strategies, so while this is an obvious upgrade for any blue budget deck, I really feel like this deck wants to prioritize it (especially since this can set up a Zombie alpha strike). Aetherize and Aetherspouts are fantastic budget replacements.

Propaganda- Fog Bank and friends are great budget defensive options, but this deck really wants some more help with aggro strategies.

Countermagic- I went a lot more all in for Rise in this build, but this deck could play more draw-go with good counterspells to interact. Definitely go this route if your meta has a lot of graveyard hate because this deck can't really interact with the most common hate pieces once they are on the board.


Graveyard hate- Knocking out our graveyard takes out a lot of our ways to win and puts us all in on the cycling payoffs.

Aggressive strategies- We tend to win in the midgame, so if we get focused early, we have trouble.

Sorcery speed- This is where I put the Rise from the Tides disclaimer. I LOVE the card, it can definitely end games, and it is extremely in the spirit of EDH. However, it is a 6 mana sorcery that gives us a tapped army. There are so many ways we can get punished when we cast this and before the turn gets back to us.


This is a fun deck where you are always doing something thanks to cycling. Plus, the build is pretty open ended on how you upgrade. You can go all in on the Rise plan, focus on more cycling payoffs, move to a more draw-go style, or even take the reanimator route. This is definitely a deck where you need to tune your interaction and gameplan to your meta and there may be some metas where this kind of deck just doesn't work, but I really recommend giving this deck (or any cycling deck for that matter) a try.

Remember, as a wise man once said, "The hand that reaches from the grave to grip your throat is the strong hand you want on the wheel."

Brody is a desk jockey for an auto insurance company raising three children with his wife and he thought he couldn't afford to feed his deck brewing habit. That all changed when he realized you don't need a ton of money to compete and he began brewing $20 Commander decks to share with fellow low budget Magic players. You can check all of those decks out here: Get in touch with Brody on Twitter and Instagram. Feel free to contribute to my Patreon:

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