Commanding Sigarda, Host of Herons

Bennie’s brewing up an enhancement-based Commander deck housing Sigarda, Host of Herons as its centerpiece. If you like equipment and soaring over blockers for the kill, you’ll love this angelic version of the classic Voltron strategy in Commander!

Okay, so two weeks ago I presented a Commander deck featuring Bruna, Light of Alabaster, and in Sean McKeown column last week he presented two Commander decks built around Avacyn, Angel of Hope and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. That leaves one Angel legend from Avacyn Restored with no Commander love, so I’m here this week to rectify that oversight and pay due respect to Sigarda, Host of Herons!

Of course, Commander fans know that still leaves one more new legend from Avacyn Restored not yet covered by the crack Commander team here at Star City: a vile, nasty, high-powered menace… Sean touched on Griselbrand briefly in his column linked above, and suggested that he fits perfectly as the Commander for Sean’s disgustingly broken Ad Nauseum deck, so if you want to be ultra-Spikey with Griselbrand that seems like a good way to go. I’ve been thinking over how to make a more “friendly” Griselbrand Commander deck, and am not sure that such a thing is feasible. Trying to convince your opponents that you’re being friendly when you reveal your Commander of choice is not the least of its problems, but I may surprise you with it in the not-too-distant future.

For today though, let’s host some herons!

I’m not sure if it was by design, but it appears that Sean left me with the two Voltron-style Angels to work with. While Bruna’s abilities pretty much demand that approach, Sigarda merely suggests it with her flying, hexproof, and sacrifice-proof abilities. With that gaggle of goodies, plus being heavy white, I think the natural approach is to lean heavily on equipment for boosting her to lethal levels. Let’s see what sort of cards might work well in a Sigarda deck.


Let’s take a moment and appreciate this awesome benefit Sigarda gives us. So many powerful and annoying cards in Commander get around things like indestructibility and regeneration by forcing us to sacrifice things. Here are some examples:

Sheoldred, Whispering One, Thraximundar, All Is Dust, Innocent Blood, Kataki, War’s Wage, Liliana of the Veil, Call to the Grave, Anowan, the Ruin Sage, Magus of the Abyss, Grave Pact, Living Death, Death Cloud, Fleshbag Marauder, Consuming Vapors, Cataclysm, Savra, Queen of the Golgari, Syphon Flesh, Eldrazi Conscription, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, It That Betrays.

That’s quite the rogue’s gallery of opponents’ cards you get to shrug off so long as Sigarda sticks around! Equip her with Shield of the Oversoul and you’ve got an extremely durable basket to put your heron eggs in, and she can come down fast enough to matter.


If you love equipment in Commander, you’ve got to love the option of playing white in your deck.

Search: Quest for the Holy Relic, Steelshaper’s Gift, Stoneforge Mystic, Captain Sisay, Stonehewer Giant

Stoneforge Mystic and Stonehewer Giant are mandatory in a deck like this—high-powered, high-impact cards. Steelshaper’s Gift is probably worth running as well. I’m a little worried about drawing Quest for the Holy Relic late game and it being a really bad draw, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Captain Sisay is an all-star if you have any number of good legends in your deck, and I can’t play a deck like this without rocking the legendary Kaldra equipment! Enlightened Tutor is obviously another option.

Friends with Benefits: Kor Outfitter, Puresteel Paladin, Auriok Steelshaper, Leonin Shikari

I’m pretty sure I’ve got enough equipment and artifacts to make Puresteel Paladin a gold mine of value in this deck, though if I don’t cantrip enough I can probably trim off some enchantments for more equipment. The metalcraft will save me a ton of mana, and will be especially nice in tandem with Leonin Shikari, letting me move around equipment at instant speed. I’m not sure if Kor Outfitter is worth a card slot, but I can see things like playing Sun Titan, bringing Kor Outfitter back into play, using the Outfitter to equip Swiftfoot Boots to the Titan and attack right away being a nice option to have.

One thing I noticed after reading Auriok Steelshaper is that I have a fair number of Soldiers and Knights in the deck. The random +1/+1 lord boost isn’t really all that but you never know when it might be handy for some of these little guys to be just a little bit bigger. You could certainly push the theme a little with some other Soldier/Knight cards—maybe Silverblade Paladin has a place?

Equipment: Basilisk Collar, Skullclamp, Umezawa’s Jitte, Nim Deathmantle, Trailblazer’s Boots, Swiftfoot Boots, Behemoth Sledge, Fireshrieker, Kusari-Gama, Sword of Light and Shadow, Helm of Kaldra, Darksteel Plate, Deathrender, Sword of Kaldra, Grafted Exoskeleton, Batterskull

It’s funny how many pieces of equipment I naturally throw into decks that aren’t necessarily mandatory with Sigarda due to her already being hexproof. I went ahead and kept Swiftfoot Boots in because of the haste.

The last time I did an equipment-heavy deck, someone reminded me of Kusari-Gama. This piece of equipment is perfect for a Voltron-style approach, since you want to connect with your juiced-up Commander to kill your opponents, and put them in a real bind if their plan is to chump block. If they do, Kusari-Gama will very likely wipe out the rest of their creatures! The slow-ish firebreathing is decent icing on the cake. A real rock and a hard place kinda card, and one that can really go with any Commander you want to attack and connect with.

Flying is decent evasion, but Trailblazer’s Boots is going to nearly always get you in on whatever opponent you want to put the smackdown to. Giving Sigarda double strike with Fireshrieker has got to be insane, especially when paired up with any other power boost.

It’s funny, when it comes to the Swords, the only one that I really like playing in Commander is Light and Shadow. Not for the life, but getting that creature back with each attack that connects seems like such better value than the other options. Sword of Feast and Famine is close to making the cut, though since I’m running green I’m running Seedborn Muse, which makes it just a wee bit redundant.

Nim Deathmantle. Play it. Live it. Love it. Same with Deathrender.

W/G Life Insurance

It’s always hard for me to build a deck with green and white since there are so many great cards I want to play in this color combination. There are especially some really great ways to keep your creatures alive and on the board, and backed up with Sigarda’s sac-proof ability they get even better.

Protection: Mother of Runes, Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant, Leonin Abunas, Yavimaya Hollow

Splashing in a little protection doesn’t hurt things. Having a Mother of Runes around can really help push Sigarda through defenses, or protect you from a counterstrike. If you’re playing white and creatures, there’s a strong case for playing Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant. Chances are pretty good that it’ll flip immediately when you play it, protecting all your creatures from pesky damage from combat or sweeper spells that deal mass damage. Man, Blasphemous Act—13 is a lot of damage!

I like having Leonin Abunas around in an equipment-heavy deck, especially when he sports Darksteel Plate!

Yavimaya Hollow? Holla! Having a land that regenerates a creature can be surprisingly handy sometimes.

Deathproof: Withstand Death, Saffi Eriksdotter, Shield of the Oversoul, Dauntless Escort, Indestructibility, Karmic Guide, Reveillark, Eldrazi Monument, Creeping Renaissance, Deadwood Treefolk, Sun Titan, Adarkar Valkyrie, Spearbreaker Behemoth, Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Ah, here’s where green and white really get annoying—I mean, awesome! Shield of the Oversoul and Indestructibility are must-haves in W/G Voltron, but then you’ve got all the other great stuff that keeps your guys from dying or brings them back if they do die. I love the Saffi Eriksdotter + Reveillark tag team almost as much as I love Saffi + Deadwood Treefolk.

And Adarkar Valkyrie! Can you believe that I only just recently—like, in the past twelve months or so—realized that you could use the Valkyrie to steal someone else’s creature when it dies? It was like some mental block, but seriously—this sort of effect nearly always has to target your own creature, so it’s easy to see how I missed this. I glanced over the text and my treacherous subconscious filled in the blanks but omitted some serious upside! I’m still mad at myself for all the years of shenanigans I’ve deprived myself of…

Creeping Renaissance is something I want to try out over Genesis. Survival of the Fittest for Genesis always freaks people out—I mean, understandably so, but sometimes the response is much larger than the threat. Renaissance can also fetch back a bunch of equipment if something rude like Akroma’s Vengeance comes to town.

He may not have the best manners, but it’s hard to see a better date to the Commander prom for Sigarda than the big monkey Spearbreaker Behemoth. Seriously, this guy in a tux, Sigarda in a low-cut dress, and one point of mana for the indestructible corsage. Queue the Dire Straits: You and me babe… how ‘bout it?

Don’t Forget the Utility!

Now, it’s pretty easy for a guy like me to get lost in the weeds of Cool Things and Synergies, so I always need to remind myself to take advantage of the awesome utility spells available in white and green.

Creature Control: Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Windborn Muse, Mageta the Lion, Novablast Wurm

I know a lot of Commander players don’t put pinpoint removal in their decks because it is much more card efficient to have mass removal when you’re playing multiplayer games. However, I’ve found that sometimes, in a pinch, you really need to get rid of a problem creature ASAP. For that, it’s hard to beat Swords and Path, especially since Exile is pretty much the safest place to put most creatures (Commanders excepted). I’ve been itching to play Novablast Wurm for a while, and I really like the idea of him here in this deck—not only would it be pretty sweet to have him alongside Sigarda (equipped with Darksteel Plate or Shield of Kaldra), but he’d be awesome as just a plan B—equip him up and start swinging!

Other Removal: Qasali Pridemage, Stonecloaker, Aura Shards

Just quality stuff here. I really like the synergy of Pridemage alongside Reveillark and Sun Titan.

Mana: Sol Ring, Wall of Roots, Fellwar Stone, Selesnya Signet, Darksteel Ingot

Along with lands, this ups the mana count to forty-four—those who think I skimp on mana, what say you?

Fun Stuff: Eternal Witness, Thrun, the Last Troll, Seedborn Muse, Spirit of the Hearth

I can’t play a green deck without Eternal Witness, and until Sheldon and the RC hear my pleas and ban Seedborn Muse, I’ll be playing it too. I kinda like the idea of having a Commander with hexproof and then having Spirit of the Hearth give me hexproof as well. Lastly, Thrun will play Mini-Me to Sigarda, able and willing to wield some extra equipment lying around.

So, without further ado, I present… Commander Sigarda!

Sigarda Commander
Benny Smith
Test deck on 05-13-2012
Magic Card Back

I’m digging it! I just need to cross my fingers and crack Sigarda in a pack and I’ll be ready to rock this baby.

How would you build it differently? Any suggestions on how to make it even better? I hope to see you in the comments below!

Take care,


starcitygeezer AT gmail DOT com

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New to Commander?
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