Commander Deep Dive: Kellan, The Fae-Blooded

Join Bennie Smith on his latest Commander Adventure as he takes a deep dive into building around Wilds of Eldraine preview Kellan, the Fae-Blooded.

Kellan, the Fae-Blooded
Kellan, the Fae-Blooded, illustrated by Anna Steinbauer

The first week of Wilds of Eldraine previews is in the books, and there are a ton of sweet cards for Commander fans to get excited about.  I gave an initial look at some of the first batch of previews in terms of Commander Friday, so check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.  I’ll wait!

Mondays are often for deep dives on a new legendary creature we can use as a Commander, and today I’ve got a spicy one!  It’s the central hero from the new story tied to our return to Eldraine — Kellan, the Fae-Blooded!

Kellan, the Fae-Blooded

Kellan is one of the new legendary Adventure creatures you can have in your command zone, which means you can cast the Adventure from the command zone and have Kellan go to exile, awaiting you to cast it from there.  Birthright Boon is a sweet adventure too, functionally identical to Open the Armory.

Open the Armory

Now, I don’t think anyone would say Open the Armory is an overpowered Commander card, but having it attached to your commander as a spell in the command zone takes it up a notch. I expect the play pattern for Kellan Commander decks is that you’ll nearly always cast Birthright Boon from the command zone (and potential commander tax), and you’ll nearly always just cast Kellan from exile for its three mana.

The Hero’s Path

If you’re playing Kellan, you have a key question to ask yourself. Will your deck focus on Auras, focus on Equipment, or split its focus?  When it comes to Equipment, there is no shortage of commanders that already do a fantastic job there. Indeed, Equipment decks are the fifth-most-popular archetype, according to EDHREC, with the vast majority of those as Boros. In terms of sheer Equipment power in Boros, I would likely rank Akiri, Fearless Voyager; Astor, Bearer of Blades; and even Bruenor Battlehammer as better Boros Equipment commanders, and would just put Kellan in the 99 of those decks and be a happy camper.

So, what about an Aura deck?  Aura-themed decks rank twelfth on EDHREC, with Boros being far down the list, way behind Mono-White, Selesnya, and Naya Aura decks. While it might be fun to go that route, I think it might be the most fun to straddle the line and put powerful Auras and Equipment cards in your deck, especially since there are so many support cards that mention both Aura and Equipment cards in the text box.  Let’s dig in!

Aura or Equipment Matters

Sram, Senior Edificer Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist Sigarda's Aid Mantle of the Ancients Armored Skyhunter Halvar, God of Battle Thran Power Suit Wyleth, Soul of Steel Danitha, Benalia's Hope Tiana, Ship's Caretaker Valduk, Keeper of the Flame Danitha Capashen, Paragon Champion of the Flame Ironclad Slayer Heavenly Blademaster

Plenty of support cards care about both Auras and Equipment, so it should be relatively easy to fill out your decklist with these cards that, alongside Kellan, will tie the synergies together. I really love Mantle of the Ancients here as a great target for Birthright Boon after a battlefield sweeper has dumped a bunch of your Auras and Equipment into the graveyard. Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker is a great way to proactively protect your Aura and Equipment cards.

If your opponents keep killing Kellan, Heavenly Blademaster makes a pretty good substitute. It even has double strike, just like your commander.

Equipment Matters

Hammer of Nazahn Puresteel Paladin Stoneforge Mystic Fighter Class Godo, Bandit Warlord Akiri, Fearless Voyager Brass Squire Stonehewer Giant Bruenor Battlehammer Balan, Wandering Knight Astor, Bearer of Blades Forge Anew Nahiri, Forged in Fury Bladegraft Aspirant Armory Automaton Kazuul's Toll Collector

If you wanted to lean more towards an Equipment-heavy deck, I went ahead and pulled these excellent support cards for that strategy. Even if I were splitting the difference between Auras and Equipment, I’d probably still include Stoneforge Mystic for more Equipment tutoring and cheating them onto the battlefield, and Akiri, Fearless Voyager for card draw and protection for Kellan. I’d likely try to find a slot for Bladegraft Aspirant too.

Auras Matter

Kor Spiritdancer Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice Hero of Iroas Three Dreams Nomad Mythmaker Xenk, Paladin Unbroken Boonweaver Giant Auratouched Mage Sage's Reverie Daybreak Coronet Umbra Mystic Retether Transcendent Envoy Ajani's Chosen Heliod's Pilgrim Storm Herald

If you’d rather lean more towards an Aura-heavy deck, I’ve pulled together these excellent support cards for that strategy. If I were splitting the difference between Auras and Equipment, I’d likely include Kor Spiritdancer for card draw, along with Light-Paws to get that two-for-one Aura trigger. Umbra Mystic should find a slot too, since it will help protect Kellan and any other enchanted creature by giving Auras totem armor.

Notable Equipment

Holy Avenger Helm of the Gods Blackblade Reforged Basilisk Collar Sword of Hearth and Home Sword of Feast and Famine Bloodforged Battle-Axe Sword of Fire and Ice The Reaver Cleaver Umezawa's Jitte

There are a ton of impressive Equipment cards available these days, so feel free to round out your list with a bunch of your favorites. I’d suggest giving consideration to some of these if you have them, like Holy Avenger—even though Kellan already has double strike, it does make it so that you can cheat Auras onto Kellan or your other equipped creatures each time it deals combat damage—and that includes creatures, not just opponents. Helm of the Gods is another Equipment that cares about your enchantments. Basilisk Collar providing deathtouch is a sweet combo with Kellan’s double strike, making it very tough for blocking or attacking into it.

Umezawa’s Jitte gets really juiced up when equipped to a creature with double strike, getting four charge counters each combat?  Sign me up!  And if you get through unblocked, you can deal first strike damage with Kellan, get two charge counters, and then remove them to give Kellan +4/+4 for the normal damage dealt and then get two charge counters again.  Boom!

The various “Swords of” like Sword of Feast and Famine also love to be wielded by double strike creatures, assuming you can land damage on an opponent.

Notable Auras

Rune of Sustenance Rune of Speed Flickerform Spectral Steel All that Glitters Gift of Immortality Eldrazi Conscription Sticky Fingers Angelic Destiny Felidar Umbra Gryff's Boon

There are a ton of cool enchantments available these days, so feel free to include your favorites; here are some of mine!  I love the Runes and would run both of them, since they cantrip and you can either enchant a creature like Kellan or enchant an Equipment to give it that ability. Flickerform can protect Kellan from pinpoint removal and save your Auras, though any Equipment cards will fall off and wait around to be re-equipped.

If you’re playing ways to cheat Auras onto the battlefield, like Holy Avenger, I’d definitely run the biggest, baddest Aura of all—Eldrazi Conscription! If enchanting Kellan, that’s a minimum of thirteen power hitting with trample and double strike, and very likely killing an opponent with commander damage.

Phase Out

Teferi's Protection Clever Concealment Robe of Stars Guardian of Faith

Phasing is a great way to protect one or more creatures and all permanents attached to those creatures, so we’d likely want to run a few of those.  Teferi’s Protection is now a classic way to do this, protecting you and all your permanents, but Clever Concealment is the new hotness, and its convoke ability means it can cost a lot less than four mana. I’d also suggest Robe of Stars, since it’s an equipment you can search up to give you that on-battlefield capability, which might warn away targeted removal that would otherwise aim at Kellan or another equipped creature.

Double Strike

Professional Face-Breaker Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar

Many of the Equipment and Aura cards benefit from Kellan’s double strike ability, but you might want to look at other ways to leverage that. Professional Face-Breaker can generate extra Treasures, which you can then use to its ability to virtually draw a fresh card. You could even play Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar to push Kellan’s double strike damage to smash into all of your opponents’ life totals.

Humans Matter

Champion of the Parish Thalia's Lieutenant Rick, Steadfast Leader Fight as One Cavalry Pegasus Riders of Gavony Eomer, King of Rohan Lossarnach Captain Repel the Abominable Beregond of the Guard Oath of Eorl

Since Kellan is a Human, you might want to make your Kellan deck into a Humans-matter theme. Rick, Steadfast Leader is a powerful lord for Humans, and since Kellan already has double strike, I’d pick vigilance and lifelink, which are two awesome abilities for this deck.  Rick, Steadfast Leader is very expensive these days, but help is coming soon. The Universes Within version, called Greymond, Avacyn’s Stalwart, will appear in future Set Boosters and should be considerably cheaper.

If you’re not heavy on the Human theme, then Fight as One would make an excellent combat trick that can help save Kellan and potentially another non-Human creature from a battlefield sweeper.  I’d also likely run Oath of Eorl whether I’m running a bunch of other Humans or not, since ideally I’d want to put that indestructible counter on Kellan.

Faeries Matter?

Ancient Gold Dragon

Unfortunately, there aren’t currently any other (non-changeling) Faerie creatures in Boros, but if you wanted Kellan to have some company from his father’s side of the family, Ancient Gold Dragon can spit out one to twenty Faerie Dragons!

What cards that will be awesome with Kellan did I overlook?  Which way would you build your own Kellan deck?

Talk to Me

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter!  I run polls and start conversations about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!  You can also find my LinkTree on my profile page there with links to all my content.

I’d also love it if you followed my Twitch channel TheCompleteCommander, where I do Commander, Brawl, and sometimes other Magic-related streams when I can.  If you can’t join me live, the videos are available on demand for a few weeks on Twitch, but I also upload them to my YouTube channel.  You can also find the lists for my paper decks over on Archidekt if you want to dig into how I put together my own decks and brews. 

And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

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