Sweet Promo Emmara! Now What?

Bennie’s taken a shine to the Store Championship promo version of Emmara, Soul of the Accord! See how he’d build around her for Commander…and Brawl!

When I played in the Store Championship the other weekend, I’d somehow not heard about the cool promotional card they were giving out from Guilds of RavnicaEmmara, Soul of the Accord. Check out the cool artwork!

A foily alternative art card always makes a great Commander, so for my first foray into building a deck around a legendary creature from the new set (if you don’t count helping The Professor from Tolarian Community College build a sweet Lazav, the Multifarious deck), let’s build around Emmara!

Emmara is an Elf Cleric, which are two tribes that have been pushed, but her triggered ability created Soldier tokens, so she’s really not supporting a tribal theme per se. In fact, Emmara is a rather low power card on her own, but that’s okay—the fact that she doesn’t immediately set off alarm bells around the table when you cast her can actually be a strength. There are also a lot of support cards for building a token strategy in Selesnya, and since Emmara makes tokens, she makes a perfectly serviceable commander for that.

Let’s get brewing!

Tap Emmara

The first order of business is to figure out ways to trigger Emmara’s ability. A single 1/1 white Soldier token with lifelink isn’t going to win the game, but if we can make a token as incremental value to other things we want to be doing, then it will eventually add up.

Emmara was obviously built to be a payoff card for the returning guild mechanic convoke, so we can make use of old and new convoke cards like Chord of Calling, Ephemeral Shields, and Venerated Loxodon to get that payoff. There are a couple of cards from the first Ravnica set that play nice with Emmara too, Selesnya Evangel and Glare of Subdual.

Vehicles are another great way to tap for profit, so Smuggler’s Copter and Untethered Express go right in, and if we get Seedborn Muse on the battlefield, we can crew each player’s turn and get even more 1/1s. Springleaf Drum lets us tap Emmara for mana, so I’ve also included the two lands that do the same thing, Holdout Encampment and Survivors’ Settlement.


Okay, let’s get into token making and token payoffs! I’ve included a lot of the usual suspects when it comes to token making in Selesnya, though plenty didn’t make my initial pass. Did I miss or cut something that I shouldn’t have?

The token payoffs range from the very helpful Anointer Priest and Intangible Virtue to the amazing Doubling Season and Guilds all-star Divine Visitation—wow, imagine getting two 4/4 flying Angel tokens with vigilance each time you tap Emmara!

Camaraderie is a cool new card that I’m not 100% sold on. The payoff is awesome if you’ve got a decent number of creatures on the battlefield, but if you’ve been decimated by a sweeper, drawing Camaraderie is going to feel really bad. I guess we need a lot of ways to protect our creatures from removal?

Protection from Removal

Eldrazi Monument is the powerhouse card here, especially since it’s trivially easy to feed the upkeep with tokens from Emmara. Selesnya gives us a good amount of one-shot protection from mass removal with Selfless Spirit, Dauntless Escort, and Lena, Selfless Champion. Conclave Cavalier keeps four power and toughness on the battlefield even if it dies, and it could turn into an even stronger presence with any token payoff cards.

Mother of Runes is just an amazing card to protect against pinpoint removal. Not that people are likely to target Emmara when it comes to burning off a removal spell, but you never know.


Speaking of removal, Selesnya gives us a ton of options. The brand-new Bounty Agent is exciting, standing ever vigilant to take down a problematic legendary artifact, creature, or enchantment. Considering that every single Commander deck has a target for Bounty Agent, I think it’ll get a ton of use. Outside of the usual suspects here (Swords to Plowshares, Wrath of God, and Sylvan Reclamation), it’s nice to use Aura Mutation for utility and token synergies, and making tokens turbo-charges Aura Shards and Nullmage Shepherd.

Mana Ramp

Selesnya has a lot of ramp options, including some freebies we can put in our land slots like Krosan Verge and Blighted Woodland. Cryptolith Rite is going to net a whole lot of mana when we’re pumping out lots of tokens.

Selesnya Good Stuff

I’ll round things out with some “good stuff” cards. Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist helps control our opponents’ attacking and blocking options when she’s tapped, and we certainly have plenty of ways to do that in this deck! Sublime Archangel giving all your token creatures exalted could make for a really huge attacker if a swarm attack doesn’t work out. Sun Titan does all kinds of great work, but in particular it’s awesome to keep bringing back Selfless Spirit and Dauntless Escort so you can keep indestructible on tap.

Sweet deck! But wait… there are too many cards! Let’s figure out where to make our cuts.

Let’s start by looking at our mana curve:

CMC Cards
1 11
2 16 + commander
3 12
4 11
5 11
6 5
7+ and X-Spells 9

76 total cards plus 38 lands equal fourteen cards too many. Mana curve is actually kind of tricky here due to convoke, but I think the safe thing is to plan on casting convoke cards at retail – which means running plenty of mana – but when you get to save mana with convoke, that’s just going to be cake.

Fourteen is quite a few cards, so let’s get slashing, starting at the top of the curve.

These cards aren’t bad, but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think their effects are worth the mana cost and I already have cards in the list that do similar things.

Some more hard cuts further down the curve. Lena, Selfless Champion is certainly helpful in a token deck, but I’ve got a few other cards that do something similar and are cheaper.

The last cuts are cards that, again, I feel are redundant with other cards in the deck, so I think we’re safe giving them the boot.

Here’s how the deck ended up:

Emmara, Soul of the Accord
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 09-24-2018
Magic Card Back

So, what do you think? What sort of cuts do you disagree with? Any cards that I overlooked?

Wait a minute—here’s a bonus deck…for Brawl!

I’m a little worried about how Emmara will work out in Brawl, since there are a lot fewer ways to tap her without attacking. I’m stoked about Icy Manipulator, since it can help keep back a problem attacker or tap down a blocker, and if there’s nothing else to do, you can make a soldier. What do you think?

And do me a solid and subscribe to my YouTube channel too! Right now, I’ll be posting Top 5 cards from each of my StarCityGames.com columns as a preview for each article, but I plan on adding other content too. Also, I’ve gotten some cool video editing software that I’m slowly learning, so the video quality will improve as I learn better techniques. Here’s the video preview from last week:

Deck Database

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 the 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 StarCityGames.com article archives have my articles all the way back to January 2000!

Guilds of Ravnica

Niv Mizzet, Parun

Commander 2018

Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Xantcha, Sleeper Agent, Lord Windgrace

Core Set 2019

Sai, Master Thopterist, Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma, Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire, Chromium, the Mutable


Grothama, All-Devouring


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

Masters 25

Hannah, Ship’s Navigator

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

Commander 2017

Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith, Inalla, Archmage Ritualist, Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist, O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami, Mairsil, the Pretender, Taigam, Ojutai Master

Hour of Devastation

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

Kaladesh Block

Yahenni, Undying Partisan, Nicol Bolas, Child of Alara (5 Color Energy), Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Sram, Senior Edificer

Commander 2016

Breya, Etherium Shaper, Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, Tymna the Weaver // Ravos, Soultender

Other Commander Decks

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary (no green creatures), Kytheon, Hero of Akros (Tribal Gideon)

Commander Strategy

Let’s Talk About Lands

Who Should I Attack?

Targeted Removal in Commander