War of the Spark has been fully previewed and this week we’ll be cracking packs at the Prerelease. What a wild ride this set’s reveal has been, and what an amazing bumper crop of cool legends we’ve been given! I’ve touched on a few already, and this week I dive deep into another amazingly cool Boros legend—Feather, the Redeemed!
A longstanding complaint against the Boros color combination in Commander has been the lack of card advantage the two colors present in comparison to the other options in the format. One way to remedy that is to play into the many synergies Boros colors give for an Equipment-heavy deck, and that strategy has certainly been pushed and is a lot of fun to play. But often that gameplay feels quite similar no matter which commander you choose to helm the deck with. Feather, the Redeemed is an awesome design that takes things in an entirely different and exciting direction!
Anax and Cymede already gave us a Boros commander that cared about spells targeting your own creatures, but the problem with pushing heavily on the heroic mechanic is ensuring you had the right mix of spells and creatures those spells could target that matter. The beauty of Feather is that you will generally always have a steady stream of instants and sorceries that can target your creatures – any of your creatures, so long as you control Feather. Now that is a powerful strategy that jells quite nicely.
Okay, let’s get brewing! The first order of business: a bunch of instants and sorceries that do great things when you can target at least one of your own creatures.
Instants/Sorceries – Boost
First up are spells that boost a creature you control is some way. I kept a particular eye out for cantrips, cards that would replace themselves when you cast them. Even though the gameplan is to cast these spells when Feather is on the battlefield and get the spells back, it’s nice to have a few card-drawing engines to draw into more lands and creatures. Think cards like Crimson Wisps and Defiant Strike. The fact that they’re just one mana is awesome, since you can just toss one out there to draw a card even if the boost it gives isn’t relevant.
Magnetic Theft is an interesting card here, since so many people put a lot of Equipment cards in their deck. The stealing is temporary, but being able to equip a powerful artifact at instant speed could be clutch, and getting the card back with Feather can turn it into a political tool. Don’t attack me with that creature equipped with Sword of Light and Shadow, and I won’t steal it and hit you back with it.
Instants/Sorceries – Protection
Next up are a bunch of ways to protect your creatures in various ways – protection from a chosen color, or indestructibility. Shelter is a cantrip, so that’s extra nice. Ephemeral Shields can sometimes be cast for free with its convoke ability. Then there’s Eerie Interlude, which can protect your whole team from mass removal or exile. Think of it as a miniature version of Teferi’s Protection, but one you can cast over and over with Feather!
Instants/Sorceries – Removal
Then of course we have removal spells and other ways to interact with opponents’ creatures. The tricky part is finding ones that also target your own creatures so Feather can give them back to you.
The all-star choice that everyone is talking about is Aurelia’s Fury, which you can use to shut down opponents from casting noncreature spells during their turns so long as you also target one of your own creatures. Impact Resonance and Rolling Thunder can work in a similar way, dealing out damage to other creatures, and all you have to do is divert one point of damage to one of your own. Fell the Mighty is a techy choice, giving you choices in what gets destroyed depending on the different creatures you have available to target.
Descent of the Dragons lets you trade in any small and puny creatures and turn them into 4/4 Dragon tokens with flying, along with any huge threats your opponents have that are scarier than that. Divergent Transformations can target your worst creature along with your opponent’s best creature. Cast and hope for the best.
Instants/Sorceries/Noncreature Spells Matter
Since we hope to cast a lot of instants, sorceries, and noncreature spells, we can take advantage of cards that care about that. Primal Amulet, Sentinel Tower, and Pyromancer’s Goggles are some pretty sweet artifacts to have in a spell-heavy deck. Dreadhorde Arcanist and Goblin Dark-Dwellers are nifty ways to get instants and sorceries back from your graveyard, and if you control Feather, then they won’t get exiled forever. The awesome Sunforger lets you go find the perfect instant card for the occasion, so long as it costs four or less. If you’ve got enough mana, you can search up Magnetic Theft to equip Sunforger at instant speed and then go search up another instant.
Even though we’re missing out on all the cool blue heroic creatures, the Boros combination still has a fair number of them and I’d like to include them here. I’m also going to include Zada, Hedron Grinder and Mirrorwing Dragon as honorary heroic creatures because they do cool things when beneficial spells target them.
Prowess likes a lot of instants and sorceries getting cast, so I want to find room for some of those too. In particular Monastery Mentor is a slam dunk here, a card very much worthy of protecting with your spells as you build up an army. And if ever there was a deck to play Dragon-Style Twins, it’s got to be this one!
We will of course want a fair amount of mana ramp where we can get it. Chromatic Lantern does some good work here since our deck is quite-color intensive, starting with our commander. Thought Vessel plays a vital role, given how stocked our hand is likely to be if things go according to plan.
While a fair number of our spells that target our own stuff count as removal spells, we should have some other interaction as well in case we don’t have any creatures on the battlefield. Many of these of course interact nicely with our cards that care about instants and sorceries.
Lastly, I’m including some good creatures that don’t really fit in the other buckets. I want to make sure we have enough creatures to target with our spells. Thraben Inspector gives us a Clue to cash in later and a body we can target once Feather in on the battlefield. Mother of Runes helps us protect Feather from unfortunate removal spells. Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin benefits from any power boost spells we have and cranks out some extra token creatures. And Sun Titan gets back any of our small creatures with heroic or prowess that have hit the graveyard along the way.
Sweet deck! But wait, there are too many cards. I’ll start by looking at our mana curve:
Coverted Mana Cost
Number of Cards
13 + commander
7+ / X
74 total cards plus 38 lands equals twelve cards too many, so we need to make some cuts! Let’s see what we can trim, starting with the top of our curve.
I’m not entirely sure how much mana we’re going to have during the course of our games to sink into massive X-spells, so I think it’s okay to cut those two spells. If we have plenty of mana, we’ll just cast multiple spells in a turn. Galvanoth is a tempting card to play in a spell-heavy deck, but without too many ways to manipulate the top of the deck, I’m not sure it’s worth it as a 3/3 for five mana.
I really wanted to keep Onward for the multiplier potential of dishing out obscene amounts of damage from nowhere, but most of the creatures are relatively small and I’d hate to draw it too early and have it clogging up my hand when smaller, more surgical spells would work better. Spiritualize is nice and all, but it’s a bit expensive for its effect compared to other spells in the deck.
Most of these are fine but redundant with other cards already in the deck I like more. Twinflame seemed fun in theory but I don’t think I have too many big creatures worth copying. I would like to find a way to keep it, though. Any other suggestions?
These are also fine cards, but I’m not willing to cut any of the other one-mana spells to keep any of these.
Okay, so here’s how the deck ended up:
- 1 Mother of Runes
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Sun Titan
- 1 Steel Hellkite
- 1 Charmbreaker Devils
- 1 Guttersnipe
- 1 Young Pyromancer
- 1 Anax and Cymede
- 1 Phalanx Leader
- 1 Arena Athlete
- 1 Vanguard of Brimaz
- 1 Akroan Conscriptor
- 1 Tethmos High Priest
- 1 Dragon-Style Twins
- 1 Seeker of the Way
- 1 Monastery Mentor
- 1 Ojutai Exemplars
- 1 Zada, Hedron Grinder
- 1 Goblin Dark-Dwellers
- 1 Thraben Inspector
- 1 Cathar's Companion
- 1 Mirrorwing Dragon
- 1 Weaver of Lightning
- 1 Dreadhorde Arcanist
- 1 Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin
- 1 Wrath of God
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Magnetic Theft
- 1 Shattering Pulse
- 1 Allay
- 1 Shelter
- 1 Boros Signet
- 1 Sunforger
- 1 Crimson Wisps
- 1 Soul's Fire
- 1 Path to Exile
- 1 Chromatic Lantern
- 1 Swift Justice
- 1 Boros Charm
- 1 Aurelia's Fury
- 1 Titan's Strength
- 1 Mortal's Ardor
- 1 Crowd's Favor
- 1 Ephemeral Shields
- 1 Defiant Strike
- 1 Fell the Mighty
- 1 Impact Resonance
- 1 Descent of the Dragons
- 1 Tail Slash
- 1 Pyromancer's Goggles
- 1 Thought Vessel
- 1 Eerie Interlude
- 1 Blessed Alliance
- 1 Otherworldly Outburst
- 1 Divergent Transformations
- 1 Primal Amulet
- 1 Sheltering Light
- 1 Reckless Rage
- 1 Sentinel Tower
- 1 Crush Contraband
- 1 Smothering Tithe
What do you think? Are there any other slam-dunk inclusions I’ve overlooked? And if you see any new cards from War of the Spark that should find a home here, let me know!
Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter! I run polls and get conversations started about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!
Below I’ve got links to decks I’ve written about going back to January 2017. If you want to read the associated article, just put “Bennie Smith” and the commander name into Google and it should pop right up. I’ve written a lot about Commander — and Magic in general — so if you want to explore further, the Star City Games article archives have my articles all the way back to January 2000!
Commander Compare & Contrast
Zedruu, the Greathearted with Emma Handy
Nahiri, the Lithomancer with Anthony Alongi
Feldon of the Third Path with The Professor
Why You Should Commander Like Me
War of the Spark
Massacre Girl, Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion
The Haunt of Hightower, Teysa Karlov, Prime Speaker Vannifar, Rakdos, the Showstopper, Nikya of the Old Ways, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, Judith, the Scourge Diva
SCG CON Winter 2018
Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, Grothama, All-Devouring; Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis; Feldon of the Third Path; Ramos, Dragon Engine; Inalla, Archmage Ritualist; Prossh, Skyraider of Kher; Brago, King Eternal
Guilds of Ravnica
Niv Mizzet, Parun, Emmara, Soul of the Accord, Lazav, the Multifarious (decklist in the comments), Tajic, Legion’s Edge, Etrata, the Silencer, Izoni, Thousand-Eyed
Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Xantcha, Sleeper Agent, Lord Windgrace, Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer
Core Set 2019
Sai, Master Thopterist, Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma, Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire, Chromium, the Mutable
Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle, Grand Warlord Radha, Arvad the Cursed, Muldrotha, the Grave Tide, Slimefoot, the Stowaway, Yargle, Glutton of Urborg, Squee, the Immortal, Firesong and Sunspeaker, Jodah, Archmage Eternal, Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker
Rivals of Ixalan
Azor, the Lawbringer, Etali, Primal Storm, Nezahal, Primal Tide, Zacama, Primal Calamity, Tetzimoc, Primal Death, Zetalpa, Primal Dawn, Ghalta, Primal Hunger
Grusilda, Monster Masher, Dr. Julius Jumblemorph
Vona, Butcher of Magan, Tishana, Voice of Thunder, Admiral Beckett Brass, Gishath, Sun’s Avatar
Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith, Inalla, Archmage Ritualist, Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist, O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami, Mairsil, the Pretender, Taigam, Ojutai Master
Razaketh, the Foulblooded, Zur, the Enchanter (Mummy’s Curse), Djeru, With Eyes Open, The Locust God, Karona, False God (All the Deserts), Nicol Bolas, Neheb, the Eternal
Oketra the True, Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun, Atogatog (Cartouches & Trials), Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, Samut, Voice of Dissent, Rhonas the Indomitable, Hazoret the Fervent
Yahenni, Undying Partisan, Nicol Bolas, Child of Alara (Five-Color Energy), Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Sram, Senior Edificer
Breya, Etherium Shaper, Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, Tymna the Weaver // Ravos, Soultender
Other Commander Decks
Thada Adel, Acquisitor, The Ultimate Golgari Deck, Anafenza, the Foremost (shutting down shenanigans), Momir Vig, Simic Visionary (no green creatures), Kytheon, Hero of Akros (Tribal Gideon), Tasigur, the Golden Fang