Tuesday Night Takeover

Firja, Judge of Valor Reanimator Pauper EDH

“Let’s see who will be next.”

Art:Firja, Judge of Valor by Livia Prima

Firja is a very cool Orzhov commander who I have wanted to feature on the site for a long time but completely forgot about until well now! In my opinion, Firja is a perfect Orzhov commander. She gives us strong card selection, helps fill the graveyard, and provides some additional life for our payoffs. Since we have a decently low cost overall, we are able to trigger Firja an absolute ton and keep filling that graveyard. Firja is an absolute blast, and I have been having a ton of fun with this deck. I am very excited to showcase this list today. Without further adieu, let’s get it!

The Deck:

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Firja, Judge of Valor Lifegain Reanimator!

Commander (1)
Firja, Judge of Valor

Creatures (31)
Clay Revenant
Haunt of the Dead Marshes
Lunarch Veteran
Sanitarium Skeleton
Soul Warden
Soul’s Attendant
Viscera Seer
Ambush Paratrooper
Cathar Commando
Pit Keeper
Spirited Companion
Suture Priest
Cadaver Imp
Courier Bat
Inspiring Overseer
Liliana’s Elite
Marauding Blight-Priest
Priest of Ancient Lore
Stinkweed Imp
Grave Scrabbler
Moodmark Painter
Epicure of Blood
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Troll of Khazad-dum
Gloom Sower
Guardian Naga
Lotleth Giant
Writhing Necromass
Eldrazi Devastator
Ulamog’s Crusher

Instants (10)
Cast Down
Crib Swap
Crypt Incursion
Doom Blade
Generous Gift
Go for the Throat
Overwhelming Remorse
Riot Control
Songs of the Damned
Victim of Night

Sorceries (13)
Dread Return
False Defeat
Feed the Swarm
Late to Dinner
Night’s Whisper
Read the Bones
Sign in Blood
Summon Undead
Survival Cache
Wander in Death

Artifacts (7)
Blood Fountain
Arcane Signet
Charcoal Diamond
Marble Diamond
Orzhov Signet
Jalum Tome
Orzhov Locket

Enchantments (3)
Tortured Existence
Scion of Halaster
Lands (35)
Bojuka Bog
Command Tower
Desert of the Glorified
Desert of the True
Escape Tunnel
Evolving Wilds
Mortuary Mire
16 Swamp
Terramorphic Expanse
The Dross Pits
The Fair Basilica
Witch’s Cottage

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Why Firja, Judge of Valor?

Firja is a huge part of our deck, providing strong card selection, filling up our graveyard, and triggering our life-gain payoffs. We tend to cast Firja as soon as we can as she is a great blocker, we rarely attack with her because she is not very aggressive but since she is naturally evasive we can in a pinch. Firja tends to draw a lot of removal from opponents because she is strong and one of the few cards we typically don’t want to hit the graveyard.

Deck Overview:

This section contains information about cards in the deck and how they function within the deck! I also highlighted some of my favorite cards in the deck!


The base of our creature base is our lifegain creatures like Soul Warden, Soul's Attendant, Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom, and Suture Priest which come down ideally on the first turn and gain us a ton of life, putting us out of reach of aggressive or creature based strategies and triggering payoffs like Marauding Blight-Priest. One of my personal favorites in the deck is Gray Merchant of Asphodel, which can do a ton of damage to our opponents and gain us a ton of life. Since we are primarily a reanimator deck, we have a ton of payoffs for cards in the graveyard like Moodmark Painter, which makes a creature more aggressive and gives them menace! Writhing Necromass is another great attacker/blocker that is always much cheaper than its normal CMC. Lotleth Giant can be a huge shot of damage for our opponents and, depending on how late we are into the game, it can often be a kill shot. Now, let’s talk about some of our best reanimation targets, which mostly amount to cards we love to discard. The big two are Ulamog's Crusher and Eldrazi Devastator, which are great attackers and put a ton of pressure on opponents, especially if they come down early. We also have Guardian Naga // Banishing Coils and Gloom Sower, which provide additional benefits and can also be huge threats if they come down early.


Our instant package is where all of our removal lies with strong spells like Victim of Night, Doom Blade, and Go for the Throat, which are great and cheap ways to take down opponents threats and commanders. Songs of the Damned is a crazy card and allows us to cast our huge threats quite a few turns early. Overwhelming Remorse is a nice removal spell that we don’t typically pay more than one black to cast, and since it exiles, it can really hurt a combo-based strategy. Riot Control is a strong fog-like effect for the deck that can gain us an absolute ton of life. Whether an opponent is also on reanimator or just has a ton of creatures in their graveyard Crypt Incursion not only exiles their graveyard but is a huge life swing for the deck.


To start off, let’s discuss our reanimation spells; many of them are a little expensive at four mana but are still very strong; we have Dread Return, which can easily be flashbacked for an additional reanimation of a strong creature. We also have Late to Dinner, which gives us a food token that helps us get more life-gain. Exhume is very cheap but does have the downside of allowing our opponents to reanimate as well, so we need to be careful when we cast this one. We also have some graveyard recursion at sorcery speed like Wander in Death, which can also be cycled for a card if needed. Our sorcery package is where almost all of our supplemental card draw lives with strong cards like Night's Whisper, Read the Bones, and Sign in Blood, which are all cheap and strong ways to refill our hand.


Most of our artifacts are mana rocks, and one of my favorite mana rocks is Orzhov Locket, which is a little expensive but can offer some strong card draw in the mid-late game. There is not a ton to say about the other mana rocks in the deck besides that they help us round out the landbase and cast things a little bit earlier than normal. We also have Jalum Tome, a great draw and discard outlet for our reanimation targets. Blood Fountain gives us a little bit of draw/discard, but the main reason it is included is that we can recur key creatures at an instant speed if needed.


I love Scion of Halaster in the deck because it gives us more card selection and helps to fill the graveyard. This combo gets quite spicy with Firja’s trigger as well. Tortured Existence is a great and cheap way to discard cards and allows us to use our reanimation spells to reanimate huge creatures. Oubliette is nothing more than a very strong way to take out an opponent’s threat.

Land Base:

The newest addition I have been putting into land bases is Escape Tunnel, which is a stronger version of Evolving Wilds with upside and can make our commander and a decent amount of creatures in the deck unblockable which can be quite strong. We also have some strong recursion in our land base from cards like Mortuary Mire and Witch's Cottage, which can be strong ways to recur creatures if needed. Supplemental card draw is also a strong focus of our land base since we have The Dross Pits, The Fair Basilica, and both on-color deserts, which help us draw extra cards in a pinch. There’s not too much to say about the rest of our land base. We are quite low on white throughout the deck, so we are running much more swamps, but with mana rocks and other supplemental mana, we typically don’t have any issues with our landbase. I find this landbase to be both strong and efficient.

Strengths of the Deck:

  • Our commander is perfect for our gameplan, giving us more cards in the graveyard and being able to trigger our life-gain payoffs.
  • We are quite strong against aggressive strategies since we can typically outpace their damage.
  • We are packing quite a bit of removal and can take out most threats our opponents have.

Weaknesses of the Deck:

  • Weak to graveyard hate, especially cards like Bojuka Bog
  • Our commander provides decent card selection, but we don’t have a ton of sources of additional card draw, so sometimes we can stagnate on cards in the mid-late game.
  • We don’t have a ton of ways to protect our creatures from removal; while we do have the advantage of wanting a lot of cards to go to the graveyard, we still fall victim to certain removal, especially when it targets our commander.

Deck Stats:

Sample hands:

Main Win Conditions:

There are no infinite combos or loops within the deck. We are a reanimator deck with a ton of strong payoffs for having creatures in the graveyard like Lotleth Giant and Moodmark Painter combine that with strong damage from gaining life like Marauding Blight-Priest, and we have a ton of ways to damage opponents both in combat and non-combat damage.


Firja, Judge of Valor, is a very cool commander who has been on my list for a very long time, and I am quite excited to showcase them. Orzhov is a very fun color combination. If you love some graveyard shenanigans and some fun interactions and payoffs for gaining life, I hope you enjoyed this one. Firja feels like an extremely Orzhov commander who is very strong for both the reanimator strategy and our secondary life-gain strategy. I hope you all enjoyed this one, and thanks for reading to the end and for all of your support!