Throne of Eldraine First Looks For Commander

The four Legendary Creatures introduced as Brawl cards in Throne of Eldraine, make amazing commanders too! Sheldon Menery has the insight you need to starting building your next Commander deck around them!

The first week of Throne of Eldraine previews has already been a
breathtaking thrill ride. With exciting new mechanics such as Adventure,
and Brawl decks that feature Commander-playable cards, you’re already going
to be figuring out how to find room in your existing decks for some saucy
new toys. As of the moment, we’ve seen four new multicolored creatures that
can be your commanders, and they come out of the Brawl suite. We’ll talk
today about how they might impact the format and what you might build
around them.

Alela, Artful Provocateur

The first thing that came to mind here is that Alela offers extra oomph to
the Fruity Pebbles deck, which features Enduring Renewal, a zero-cost
creature, and a zero-mana sacrifice outlet to go infinite. The creature is
usually an artifact, like Ornithopter or Shield Sphere. If your sacrifice
outlet isn’t Goblin Bombardment, you need an additional path to victory –
and you can’t play Goblin Bombardment in an Esper deck. If your sacrifice
outlet were Altar of Dementia, you’d be in business, since you could mill
people out with all those 2/1 Faeries. You might add Ajani’s Welcome or
Angelic Chorus as enchantments that gain life to rocket your life total
into the stratosphere. Throne of Eldraine’s Mace of the Valiant
will make one of those creatures quite deadly. One of my (so far) favorite
cards from the set, Syr Konrad, the Grim will speed up the killing process
as well. That my brain went right to an infinite combo doesn’t sit quite
right, but hey, we must expand our horizons.

Alela wants you to play Eldrazi Monument, since you’re going to generate
the creatures to sacrifice to the Monument with nearly every spell you
cast. Moreover, it gives all your creatures flying, taking advantage of
Alela’s ability. Speaking of which, Archetype of Imagination is an
enchantment in addition to being a creature, and it does the same. With all
the Archetypes and all the Gods in relevant colors, you’ll be making
Faeries all over the place.

There are already enough Faeries in Esper colors to play a tribal deck,
with Throne of Eldraine promising more, like Faerie Formation, in
which you get to both make Faeries and draw cards. From Bitterblossom to
Glen Elendra Archmage to Scion of Oona to making Oona herself 1 of your 99,
there are plenty of choices. Add your favorite tribal cards like Door of
Destinies (which you created a Faerie with when you cast), and you’ll be
getting lethal in no time.

There are clearly artifact strategies that start with your various
Tezzerets, like Tezzeret, Master of Metal and Tezzeret, Master of the
Bridge. There’s a side avenue that leads to creating bunches of Treasure
tokens and you have the right color to try Revel in Riches as an alternate
win condition. Whether you want to create Thopters or Servos, you have
plenty of paths to wander down, especially if you’re sacrificing those
tokens for mana, you can just turn them into (more) Servos with Hidden

As far as the road not taken with Alela, Opposition jumps right out at me;
it’s an enchantment that then creates its own fuel. That suggests the
creatures with inspired, such as the underutilized Siren of the Silent
Song, Pain Seer, Servant of Tymaret, and of course, Arbiter of the Ideal.
You’re in great control colors, and the creatures Alela makes allow you
even more control. Tap down things, perhaps keep them that way with
Crackdown or Meekstone, and then punish them for being tapped with Siren’s
Call, Steam Catapult, or Royal Assassin.

Alela doesn’t send you down an obvious build path, making her an extremely
attractive option to try out as a commander.

Chulane, Teller of Tells

Everyone’s first question about Chulane is if it’s broken. It’s not, but
it’s extremely good. It does the things that you’re already doing and makes
them better. Casting creatures is something nearly every Commander deck
does. Adding a card and potentially a land is kind of insane. The ability
to bounce a creature back to your hand (although at a slightly expensive
price) in order to cast it again is just kind of crazy. I might give
Chulane a chance to lead my Phelddagrif deck, just to see what happens. I
always find it a thought-provoking experiment to put a strong commander at
the head of a deck that wasn’t built for it, just to see what will happen.
In the past, I’ve let Prossh, Skyraider of Kher lead random Jund decks, and
you can definitely see how good the card is.

The initial challenge to overcome with Chulane is to not just build
goodstuff.dec. Being in Bant, you have creatures like Tatyova, Benthic
Druid and Coiling Oracle to ramp you into tomorrow. Note that the land you
put onto the battlefield from Chulane’s triggered ability isn’t limited to
basic lands. From there, it’s just your flavor of choice. With all the ramp
available, you can probably get yourself into Avacyn, Angel of Hope
relatively quickly and protect all your goodies. I wouldn’t be surprised if
a Chulane deck could hard cast Craterhoof Behemoth with some regularity.

The question is how we search for creativity in a Chulane deck. We can
certainly build some basic support into it, like creatures that ramp, such
as Wood Elves or Farhaven Elf, but we’re still left wanting a win
condition. “Lands matter” is a somewhat obvious answer, as Throne of Eldraine’s Beanstalk Giant attests. Other cards that go
this direction are Allosaurus Rider, Malimo, Maro-Sorcerer, and Ulvenwald
Hydra. You have room to make Baru, Fist of Krosa pump up your team and
something like Overwhelming Stampede as a finisher. There’s also any number
of landfall sub-themes you could run, with Avenger of Zendikar, Emeria
Angel, Emeria Shepherd, and so forth, but that feels like a path that’s
been run down a number of times.

Chulane is a Human Druid, giving us opportunity to explore tribal
possibilities. Humans has been pretty popular in multiple formats recently,
so Druids might be our path not walked. There are 172 of them, offering up
plenty of choices, but many of them are the staples which we’ve already
mentioned, such as Tatyova, Farhaven Elf, Baru, and more, like Rashmi,
Eternties Crafter. It’s already feeling pretty much inside the box, given
that a host of your enchantress deck creatures are Druids as well. This is
a tougher exercise than I thought.

What all this tells me is that Chulane is kind of liberating. The number of
obvious paths tells me that you can just play whatever the hell you want
with it. It goes well with so many cards that you can probably have it lead
the most esoteric deck you can dream up and things will be just fine. All I
know is that I like Chulane so much that no matter which way I go with it,
Brooding Saurian is probably part of the deal so that no one can steal it
(for long).

Korvald, Fae-Cursed King

I can’t even tell you how excited I am for Korvald. Longtime readers know I
have a weakness for sacrifice outlets, so Korvald really gets my engines
revved. The enters-the-battlefield or attacks trigger is just good. The
card-drawing part makes it put big muscles on it. I mean, how many
commanders are so good that you want to consider making Prossh, Skyraider
of Kher 1 of their 99?

My first exercise might be to take my Thraximundar deck and replace all the
blue and blue-adjacent cards with green and green-adjacent ones, leaving
the rest the same. Here’s a very quick take:

Korvald, Fae-Cursed King
Sheldon Menery
Test deck on 09-12-2019

That’s just adapting another deck. Think of the things you’ll be able to do
when you start from the ground up, with Treasure tokens, Eldrazi Spawn,
Clues, and/or Food. I’d lean heavily on Korvald’s black and green and head
down the Golgari line, starting with Savra, Queen of the Golgari, The
Gitrog Monster, and Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord. Korvald is definitely the Throne of Eldraine place that I’m starting.

Syr Gywn, Hero of Ashvale

Speaking of adapting things, I already have a Mardu Knights deck led by
Queen Marchesa. It has seven Equipment in it, and it would hate more. If
equipping Skullclamp for {1} is good, think about how good it is for {0}.
What’s great about Syr Gwyn is that she solves a Mardu problem – drawing
cards. Sure, there’s a little life loss involved, but while you’re drawing
cards, you’re still doing the thing you want to do – attack. It doesn’t
even change the nature of the deck, since you want to keep being the
monarch, but it begs the question who should lead and who should be in the
deck. Clearly, we need errata to give them partners with each other.

If I’m not using Syr Gwyn as the head of a tribal deck, I’m going full
Voltron. Put any of the swords (Sword of Fire and Ice, Sword of Light and
Shadow) on her and she’ll already be a 7/7. Add Godo, Bandit Warlord or
Stoneforge Mystic to get your favorite equipment (Sword of the Animist
helps with another of those problems that Mardu tends to have, namely
keeping up land-wise) and go to town. I might still have a few Knights,
like Knight Exemplar to help keep her alive and Arvad the Cursed to make
her larger. Add Rootborn Defenses to protect all your stuff and Faith’s
Reward and Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero in case you can’t, and you’re off to
the races. Put in Feather, the Redeemed and some of the tools that that
deck uses to buff up creatures (Psychotic Fury is a favorite), and Syr Gwyn
will be deadly in very short order.

There’s not really an off-the-wall deck that makes any kind of sense with
Syr Gwyn. She has some pretty specific abilities and her tribe is tied up
in those abilities. If you want to go really far afield, there might be
something to do with Cats, since they like to do stuff with equipment, then
use Conspiracy to turn your Cats into Knights, but we’re really stretching
at this point.

The four Brawl deck commanders will all see quite a bit of Commander play.
I get the feeling that they’re not just the new, shiny things. In various
degrees, they look like they’ll be around even when the shine rubs off.

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