The Great War Of The Spark Commander Update

Sheldon Menery is adding War of the Spark cards to his deck by the dozen! He breaks down what he’s adding where and why this may end up being one of the strongest Commander sets of all time.

How do you find room in your suite of decks for a slew of exciting new cards?

When they’re as blood-pounding as some of them from War of the Spark, you just do, even if it means saying goodbye to some cherished friends.

Even just choosing the best of the best from the set, there were at least twenty must-make moves, agonizing choices or not. You’ll see there were well more than that. I won’t necessarily mention how I selected the card to come out unless there’s something in the process other than the fact that a card needed to go to make room; at this point, there aren’t too many suboptimal cards in decks, just flavorful choices.


The deck that generates both tokens and big mana gets the card that can pound the battlefield with Angels. Unless the situation is quite dire, I can’t ever imagine casting Finale of Glory unless I’m paying at least ten for the X.

Gideon’s Sacrifice costs one and does way more than Turn the Tables ever would have dreamed of. Talk about your upgrades. Thanks, Gideon.

I’m not 100% sure that Parhelion II is going to always be worth the huge mana investment, but it’s going to be close enough that I want to give it a whirl.

There aren’t too many multicolored permanents in the deck, which means I’m not going to have to make too many tough choices. I’ll want to be careful with Obzedat itself, but otherwise, the sailing should be smooth.

Pushing Obzedat more and more into control, Single Combat is built for a deck with just a few battle-worthy creatures like this one.

Some folks have called a few of the new planeswalkers less-desirable enchantments because they’re more vulnerable due to being attacked, but I figure mine should be safe enough. Who’s willing to attack into this deck just to knock out a semi-valuable planeswalker?


I windmilled Fblthp into the Animar deck because I thought I had Elvish Visionary in there already. Turns out I didn’t, but that’s no reason to change course. The deck has ways of playing Fblthp off the top as well, so it was a great fit.

The Intet deck can generate quite some mana, so X being less than ten is pretty unlikely. Too bad Pyromancer’s Goggles only copies red spells.

While there are a few spells in the deck that aren’t worth copying (like counterspells), God-Eternal Keftnet will do plenty of heavy lifting when it gives me extra versions of cards like Chaos Warp, Beast Within, Skyshroud Claim, or Reins of Power.

As I mentioned in my set review, this card is on the RC’s radar already for its similarity to what Leovold does. It’s probably not quite as bad because it can be attacked away, but we’ll see.

I’m already dreaming of the blowouts with Narset’s Reversal, like on someone’s ramp spell early or a big X-spell later. It specifically goes into Lazav because the deck has an Isochron Scepter package.


Life is short in Rakdos land, and Bolas’s Citadel makes it even shorter, not to mention more violent. One of my considerations was playing Repay in Kind alongside it, but that almost seemed too cheaty. At least you can’t use it to get around the tax and cast your commander without some ability that gets it to the top of your library. You could just let it go to the graveyard and then put it back on top with Haunted Crossroads or Volrath’s Stronghold.

Why, yes, I would like to sacrifice creatures and put them into my graveyard while drawing cards, thank you very much.

There was some argument to put this Liliana into my Gisa and Geralf deck because that’s the one with Tombstone Stairwell in it. This deck’s card draw isn’t quite as good as that one, so it seemed like a better choice here.

For some reason, I wanted to put Massacre Girl into Kresh, but that’s an obvious nonbo. I feel like it’s such a signature card of the set that I should put it into a signature deck, but it there’s definitely not room for it in my primary Karador. Then I realized Muldrotha could almost make use of it in the same fashion, and there we were. I also can’t get Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” out of my head, so that’s going to be a thing that I irk myself with for a while. As much fun as I have with Perplexing Chimera, it’s a card that can go into nearly any deck, so that’s why it was expendable.

Nearly every deck can use some card draw. Card draw that does Zombie stuff in a Zombie deck is even better.


Saskia is already pretty savage, so making her even more so is the way to go. Ilharg dumping Ashen Rider or Angel of Despair onto the battlefield (and then back again) is pretty sweet. The deck is chock-full of creatures with exciting enters-the-battlefield triggers: Karmic Guide, Puppeteer Clique, Reveillark (also a leaves play trigger), Sepulchral Primordial, and Sun Titan all pay huge dividends when used multiple times.

Just providing a few extra mana a turn is fine for a deck that can struggle a little generating enough to do what it wants (like many Grixis decks do). Fueling that Living Death is just fine with me.

The Karrthus deck is one that prides itself on its offensive capabilities. Adding a little defense is kind of cool. The fact that Sarkhan protects himself in a Dragon deck will make him quite a bit tougher to deal with—I just have to make sure he doesn’t get hit with Mortify when he uses the +1 ability.


Landfall that proliferates in a deck where everything has counters is more winning that I know what to do with. Guess I’ll need a bigger dice bag (or a bag of bigger dice).

The choice to put Finale of Devastation in the Dinosaur deck was more of a flavor choice than strategic. I’m okay with not making the obvious choice to go with Craterhoof Behemoth.

The Rith Do-Over deck has a strong blink theme, so I’ll get to double up power on creatures several times over, perhaps even on the same turn, like with Eldrazi Displacer.

Just the mana doubling for Forests is worth it. Getting the -8 off and emptying the deck of them is probably also worthwhile, especially if Avenger of Zendikar is ready to rumble.


This one is just a strict upgrade. I considered even leaving Decimate in the deck, but I decided I’d rather keep Violent Ultimatum.

As I said earlier, savage Saskia gets even more so. You’ll have the devil’s choice of dying to the creatures or dying because you killed the creatures.

There honestly aren’t too many choices of decks that I have to put the new Nicol Bolas into, and it definitely deserves to be played.

Our own Stephen Green played my You Did This to Yourself deck on a recent episode of Commander VS, playing decks from each of the Commander guests at SCG CON Summer. He told me that he thought Solar Blaze was a perfect fit for the deck, and he’s right.

Saskia. Savage. You get the picture.

One of the things I’m always on guard for with Karador decks is not getting blown out by some of the very good graveyard removal that’s running around these days. Putting a card or two back into my hand just in case is reasonable self-preservation.

So long as I’m not hard-locking out anyone, I feel okay playing this—but I give it a 50/50 chance that I eventually give up on it like I did with Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. There were a few times that it just accidentally shut out everyone else, and I’d rather win a game in which they had a chance to play. Your mileage may vary.

Even with all the Dragons in this deck, I’ll venture that Merieke Ri Berit herself is the one I save most often with Time Wipe.

The Merieke deck draws cards well enough, but it could use some graveyard help. The additional ability to keep people from searching is a fine, fine bonus.

Even with the Dragons, this deck has my largest number of artifacts (save for the colorless Karn Evil No. 9 deck), so getting a discount on creatures excites me a great deal. I highly doubt I actually ever use the -8, even if I’m in the position to do so.

Colorless, Artifact, and Land

Speaking of discounts, every card will cost two less with Ugin, the Ineffable. This will no doubt help when someone casts Hurkyl’s Recall—which I won’t put past anyone in my group.


You can expect to see quite a few of these cards on my side of the table in the command zone at SCG CON Summer this June, when I join Brian David-Marshall, Gavin Verhey, Bennie Smith, and who knows how many other Commander luminaries at the event of the summer (fellow Commander Rules Committee member Scott Larabee is rumored to also be headed to Roanoke).

If you count the cards I put into the initial build of Roalesk’s deck, that totals up to 37 cards from War of the Spark going into decks, a sort of absurd amount. There are more than that which are deck-worthy, too; they’re just cards that don’t have spots in the decks that I have. Plus, there are new commanders like Feather, the Redeemed to build around. We’ll see what the lasting impact of the set is on the format. I predict it will be strong.

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