Commander Top 10: Siona, Captain Of The Pyleas

Siona, Captain of the Pyleas is Theros Beyond Death’s most popular commander. Bennie Smith takes his turn building around the potent three-drop!

Siona, Captain of the Pyleas, illustrated by Chris Rallis

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A couple of weeks back I built a Five-Color enchantment-heavy deck focused on Sagas, and it became clear that there are tons of great cards for enchantment synergies, so much so that it’s difficult to find room for all the ones you really want to run, which leads to some hard cuts and a twinge of regret.  Even at just three colors, it’s tough to find room in Estrid for all the new enchantments and enchantment-matters cards from Theros Beyond Death.

Which is why it’s a bit refreshing to cut the card pool down to just two colors with the commander I’m focusing on this week:  Siona, Captain of the Pyleas!

Siona, Captain of the Pyleas

Not only does Siona cut down the colors to Selesnya, but she cuts the focus down from enchantments to specifically Auras!  They say that restrictions breed creativity, so perhaps that explains why Siona is the most popular legendary creature to build Commander decks around for Theros Beyond Death in the EDHREC database.

Let’s look at her abilities:

When Siona, Captain of the Pyleas enters the battlefield, look at the top seven cards of your library. You may reveal an Aura card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

This is a singular enters-the-battlefield trigger that provides you a mini-Tutor for an Aura in the top seven cards of your library.  You’ll want at least fifteen Auras in the deck in order to have a good chance of hitting one with Siona’s trigger, and the higher density of Auras you play, the more choices you may have.  So, each time you cast Siona and it resolves, you’ll usually get value right away—awesome!  But let’s not stop there—if we can have other ways to have Siona enter the battlefield multiple times, we’ll get a nice little engine going.

Okay, let’s look at the other ability:

Whenever an Aura you control becomes attached to a creature you control, create a 1/1 white Human Soldier creature token.

Each time you successfully enchant a creature you control with an Aura, you get an extra 1/1 creature token.  There are plenty of great “token creatures matter” cards in Selesnya that you could certainly push heavily down this path, but most of those cards aren’t Auras, so diminishing your Aura slots for other things means that the token-generation efficacy of Siona is lessened. I’ll focus on jamming lots of Auras and creatures that play nicely with Auras and just enjoy the 1/1s I get along the way as a nice bonus.

Let’s get cooking!

1. Kor Spiritdancer

Kor Spiritdancer

Green and white have a gaggle of good “Enchantress” cards we can make use of since Auras are enchantments, but because we are an Aura-focused deck we also get to add Kor Spiritdancer to the mix!  Not only does Kor Spiritdancer draw you a card each time you cast an Aura spell – whether or not it resolves – but it also gets a significant boost for each Aura attached to it.  This used to be a pricy card, but thanks to a few reprints it’s very reasonably priced and is going to be a superstar in this deck.

I’m also going to make room for all the usual “Enchantress” suspects that any good enchantment-heavy deck will run:

Sram, Senior Edificer Argothian Enchantress Femeref Enchantress Enchantress's Presence Mesa Enchantress Satyr Enchanter Setessan Champion Verduran Enchantress Eidolon of Blossoms

Setessan Champion is the new Theros Beyond Death hotness for enchantment decks, and I really like how it can generate value and grow as a threat even if you’re not attaching Auras to it.  Even if your opponents destroy all enchantments, it can still be a significant presence on the battlefield.

2. Skybind


Skybind is a cool enchantment that has never made it into any of my other enchantment-themed decks… until now.  When you’re playing enough enchantments to be on-theme, the fact that Skybind’s constellation trigger cannot target your own enchantments makes it awkward.  Sure, it can provide some temporary control over your opponent’s permanents, but what I’ve always wanted from Skybind is a way to blink my own permanents for value.  Siona, Captain of the Pyleas to the rescue!  Siona enters the battlefield and finds you an Aura from the top of your library.  Cast the Aura and blink Siona with Skybind’s trigger. When Siona comes back at the beginning of the next end step, you get Siona’s trigger again.  Now that is some serious value!

I’ve made room for a few more ways to get Siona’s trigger without having to recast her when she dies:

Flickerform Gift of Immortality Conjurer's Closet

Flickerform costs a whopping four mana to use, but it’s an Aura that can be found with Siona, and if you attach it to Siona it’s an expensive way to protect Siona from removal spells.  In a pinch you can even use it on your opponent’s biggest threat to encourage it to attack someone other than you.

Attach Gift of Immortality to Siona and you get a 1/1 token.  Then, if Siona dies, you can bring her back to the battlefield, get her trigger, and get another 1/1 token when Gift comes back at the beginning of the next end step.  That slow value grind feels so good!

3. Retether


Mass enchantment removal isn’t played all that much, but since we’re an Aura-centric deck mass creature removal will usually end up putting a bunch of Auras in the graveyard too.  The “Enchantress” cards drawing more cards mitigates the pain of that loss to some degree, but we’ll want other ways too.  Retether is a fantastic way to reload and can often lead to having a huge turn with lots of triggers cascading into a huge advantage.  With Siona on the battlefield, you could attach a bunch of Auras to her and suddenly be threatening commander damage while generating an army of 1/1 creature tokens. 

I’m including other cards that generate more value out of us playing a bunch of enchantments:

Hall of Heliod's Generosity Sigarda's Aid Season of Growth Umbra Mystic Archon of Sun's Grace Starfield of Nyx Auratouched Mage Boonweaver Giant Nylea's Colossus

Season of Growth nearly unseated Retether for this #3 slot; even though it’s not an Aura, it draws cards like a Kor Spiritwalker, and gives you scry triggers whenever Siona creates 1/1 creature tokens.

Archon of Sun’s Grace from Theros Beyond Death generates tokens too, but they’re 2/2 flying token creatures, which is a significant upgrade to 1/1 ground-pounders.  Plus, since they’re Pegasus tokens, if Archon is on the battlefield, they have lifelink. 

Nylea’s Colossus is a bit expensive, but I’ve seen it do some scary work in an Estrid deck, especially when multiple enchantments are hitting the battlefield in the same turn.  It’s one way you can pump Siona in a hurry and kill someone out of nowhere with commander damage. 

4. Sigarda, Host of Herons

Sigarda, Host of Herons

We know we want a bunch of Auras, but we also need creatures to put them on, and one of the best of the bunch is Sigarda, Host of Herons.  She already starts out as a 5/5 with evasion, but since she has hexproof she’s a particularly great target for Auras.  But wait, there’s more!  The rest of her text box pretty much shuts down any way your opponents have of forcing you to sacrifice permanents, so even if they’ve got a nasty engine involving Grave Pact, Sigarda has your back. 

I’m including more creatures with hexproof, along with some other creatures that play well with Auras:

Gladecover Scout Bronzehide Lion Hero of Iroas Paradise Druid Silhana Ledgewalker Danitha Capashen, Paragon Shalai, Voice of Plenty Heavenly Blademaster Carnage Tyrant

I love Heavenly Blademaster in Equipment-heavy decks, but it also does great work with Auras too.  I particularly like that its ability pumps the rest of your team of creatures, especially given the number of 1/1 token creatures Siona will be churning out.  Depending on how many small creatures and Auras you have on the battlefield, the turn you cast Heavenly Blademaster, you might have an army that suddenly gets huge enough to take down an opponent out of nowhere.

I’ve been trying to find a spot to play my beloved Carnage Tyrants after they rotated out of Standard, and this deck seems like a fantastic place for one!

5. Angelic Destiny

Angelic Destiny

For four mana I get an Aura that gives enchanted creature +4/+4, flying and first strike?  I’m listening.  It comes back to my hand if enchanted creature dies?  I’m sold! 

This card is very similar to a handful of other cards like Rancor but is worded is such a way to be slightly more vulnerable—for instance, if an opponent targets Angelic Destiny with a Reclamation Sage, Angelic Destiny will not return to its owner’s hand.  But on the plus side, Angelic Destiny never hits the graveyard when enchanted creature dies, so it’s not going to be vulnerable to instant-speed graveyard hate.

Speaking of cards like Rancor:

Rancor Spirit Loop

We want to make room for these cards since they don’t cost much mana and both pack a punch, especially in a deck built to take advantage of Auras.

6. Bear Umbra

Bear Umbra

The “Umbra” cards with the totem armor ability are going to be great in an Aura deck, and the best of the bunch is Bear Umbra.  Not only does it protect the enchanted creature from being destroyed once, but each time you attack with enchanted creature you untap all your lands.  Double my mana during my turn?  Yes, please!

Hyena Umbra Felidar Umbra

I had more “Umbra” cards on my original list, but as I made cuts, I ended up with just these three.  I do really like these two, Hyena Umbra because it’s cheap and Felidar Umbra because you can move it around.  Moving Felidar Umbra around is particularly nice with Siona’s triggered ability, letting you churn out 1/1 tokens whenever you have extra mana lying around.

7. Song of the Dryads

Song of the Dryads

There are also Auras that function as creature control, so it makes sense to find some of those to put in our Aura deck.  One of the best of the bunch is Song of the Dryads, which turns enchanted permanent into a colorless Forest land.  This is a particularly good way to deal with a creature that comes back from the graveyard or even a commander card since it’s a way to neutralize it without sending it to the command zone.

I’m including a few more Auras as creature control:

Darksteel Mutation Prison Term

8. Shielded by Faith

Shielded by Faith

I also want to include a variety of Auras that provide big, impactful effects and Shielded by Faith is one of the best.  Indestructible is a great ability to give to a crucial “Enchantress” card to protect your draw engine, and later if there’s something you’re casting that’s a better target you get to move the enchantment and attach it there.

If you have Siona, Captain of the Pyleas on the battlefield, then things can get crazy with Shielded by Faith.  Enchant a creature with Shielded by Faith, Siona triggers and creates a 1/1 creature token.  Shielded by Faith triggers since a creature entered the battlefield, so you can move it to the 1/1 creature token.  Since an Aura you control attached to a creature you control, you get to make another 1/1 creature token, which then triggers Shielded by Faith… you get the idea—an arbitrarily large number of 1/1 white Human Soldier creature tokens.  Huzzah!

Pattern of Rebirth Eldrazi Conscription

Pattern or Rebirth gives a vital creature virtual protection since your opponent may be hesitant to kill it and trigger the Pattern.  You could search out Sigarda, Host of Herons… or maybe Boonweaver Giant, which could then search up Eldrazi Conscription and attach it to itself. 

9. Winds of Rath

Winds of Rath

Even though we’re an Aura deck we’re still going to want to run some other forms of interaction, and that includes a battlefield sweeper.  Luckily for us, we have a Wrath of God variant called Winds of Rath that destroys all creatures… except ones that are enchanted.  Boom!

Scavenger Grounds Dust Bowl Field of Ruin Swords to Plowshares Path to Exile Scavenging Ooze Remorseful Cleric Heroic Intervention Return to Dust Angel of Finality Sylvan Reclamation

Every good Commander deck should have some ways to deal with graveyards, so I’m including Scavenger Grounds, Scavenging Ooze, Remorseful Cleric, and Angel of Finality.  I’m also including ways to deal with problem lands, some pinpoint creature removal, and ways to deal with artifacts and enchantments.

10. Wolfwillow Haven

Wolfwillow Haven

Every good Commander deck should also run some amount of mana acceleration and while I’ve included a few of the usual suspects, green also has quite a few ramp options that just happen to be Auras.  Wolfwillow Haven from Theros Beyond Death is awesome, it gives you a two-mana ramp spell that you can later cash in for a creature token when the extra mana isn’t really needed.

Krosan Verge Blighted Woodland Myriad Landscape Wild Growth Utopia Sprawl Sol Ring Fertile Ground Overgrowth

With these Auras I’ve upped the number of enchantments in the deck to a whopping 25, with almost all of them Auras so that Siona is almost always going to hit at least one Aura each time she enters the battlefield.

Okay, so here’s how the deck ended up:

Siona, Captain of the Pyleas
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 02-10-2020
Magic Card Back

Here’s how the deck looks in a couple of nice and tidy graphs from Archidekt:

What do you think?  Are there any cards I’ve overlooked?  If you see any new cards from Theros Beyond Death that should find a home here, let me know!

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