The New Enchantments Of Commander Masters

Sheldon Menery reviews the new enchantments of the Commander Masters preconstructed decks and how they fit into 100-card brews.

Battle at the Helvault
Battle at the Helvault (detail), illustrated by Alix Branwyn

I have a confession. I don’t have an Enchantress deck.  

In the whole pile of now 78 decks, there’s not a single one that leverages the enchantment theme, despite enchantments being very strong in Commander. Why? Mostly because everyone else was doing it. When it comes to building decks, I like to be a bit of a contrarian. If all my friends are building something, I’ll pass and do a different thing. Eventually I’ll have to go back and build something Enchantress-themed. We’ll see.  

Enchantress in Commander

Enchantress is a relatively straightforward archetype to play. Drawing cards until you get what you want doesn’t really take going into the tank all that often. I’m sure there are lines of play that sometimes need study, but for the most part, it’s something that you can put into the hands of a less experienced player and have them do well.  

There are many notably strong enchantments in Commander. One of the reasons to play them is that opponents can’t or won’t pack enough removal for all of them. Another is that players rarely play mass removal for enchantments, like Tranquility, Nova Cleric, or Tempest of Light, since their own enchantments get hit as well. Root Greevil is seriously slept on. With Hush, at least you can cycle it if the situation doesn’t warrant using its primary function. Still, there aren’t lots of great options for nuking all enchantments. We have to wait to pick off the best of the best with targeted removal, meaning some get left behind, on the battlefield, and doing their business—which is bad for us.  

Aura Shards

My favorite enchantment control card is the often-reprinted Aura Shards. I love creature strategies, so Aura Shards has plenty of fuel to feed into that triggered ability. We’re in white, which means blink strategies are on the table (another of my faves). Blink is cool for more reasons than just extending the life of other cards. It’s one of those game actions that I find compelling to play with; it’s part of what keeps me coming back.  

Me not having an Enchantress deck isn’t a sign that I dislike enchantments. At least two of my favorite cards of all time, Lurking Predators and Bene Supremo, aka Greater Good, are enchantments.

The New Commander Masters Enchantments

There are only nine new enchantments in Commander Masters. One of them, Anikthea, Hand of Erebos, we covered last time, since it’s also a Legendary Creature — Demigod. That leaves us with eight new enchantments to talk about.  

Battle at the Helvault

Battle at the Helvault

A Saga telling the tale of the end chapter in the Innistrad story, Battle at the Helvault provides strong value for the six-mana investment. In Chapters I and II, we exile a permanent for each player until Battle for the Helvault leaves the battlefield. Since we’re in control of what gets targeted, we set things up to our own benefit. This likely means sending away something of ours that has a nice enters-the-battlefield trigger on coming back.

What we get rid of from our opponents depends on the battlefield situation. It might be that we can just get the last blocker out of the way for the win or significantly impact someone’s life total. We can get rid of big, bad tokens forever. The final chapter is when the cavalry really appears, an 8/8 Avacyn with flying, vigilance, and most importantly indestructible. The enchantment is a little pricey to recur and keep casting, so bringing it back via Emeria Shepherd or Emeria, the Sky Ruin is likely a better path. 

Using proliferate with Battle for the Helvault will get you going back through the first two chapters. Avacyn is legendary, so unless we’re rocking a Greater Good or some other way of using the first token to great benefit, we don’t do much by creating another one. We can’t even do the “Look, it’s untapped now!” trick, since Avacyn has vigilance. We’ll have to stick to Braids, Arisen Nightmare or Feed the Pack (assuming we don’t have Bene Supremo) in order to take advantage of running through the Saga.

Boon of the Spirit Realm 

Boon of the Spirit Realm

I’m a fan of tricky ways to provide Anthem effects, like Beastmaster Ascension or Door of Destinies. Boon of the Spirit Realm is one of them, although it might be a little pricey in comparison to others. I’d likely want to play Enchanted Evening alongside it in order to really amp up the value. Then we play a go-wide strategy with the kinds of tokens that white can create, and we’re going somewhere. I’d personally do Spirits for theme purposes, but I guess that since the creatures are getting the blessing, anyone can have it.  

Boon of the Spirit Realm gets a counter immediately, which cuts into the otherwise slightly steep mana cost. We can cast the card and have the benefit nearly right away, especially if we’re running a go-wide strategy. Boon of the Spirit Realm will show its power in the longer game as opposed to the shorter.

Cacophony Unleashed

Cacophony Unleashed

Like with Crux of Fate, seven mana seems to be the place we’ve settled on for the alt-Wrath crowd. What makes it right here is that Cacophony Unleashed is an enchantment, meaning that it stays around to do other stuff for us. In my case, it’s turning the card into a beater. Menace and deathtouch are nothing to sneeze at on a 6/6. To the point that, as an enchantment, it’s more vulnerable, it’s always more vulnerable. There’s no sense crying over it; let’s just get moving into the Red Zone. Cacophony Unleashed doesn’t have the “if you cast it” clause or one of its variants, so blinking it is something we can lean into.

Demon of Fate’s Design

Demon of Fate's Design

Okay, a 6/6 flying trampler for six isn’t breaking the bank. If the abilities are any good, we might be on to something. The first ability is to cast an enchantment by paying life equal to the card’s mana cost. This ability doesn’t grant us the possibility of casting it at a time when we otherwise normally couldn’t, and importantly, we only get to do it once on each of our own turns—so no shenanigans there. We’re in black, which by itself provides some lifelink and lifelink-adjacent abilities, so we’re good there. Black also runs alongside white and green to do some of the same. We’ll get that life back relatively easily.  

The second ability gets even saucier, as we sacrifice an enchantment to give our Demon +X/+0 until end of turn (at a cost of 2B). As we get into some of our larger enchantments, this make the Demon quite large. Combined with the aforementioned lifelink, we can spin up our life total relatively quickly. Bilbo, Birthday Celebrant, runs black—so the door towards 111 is open there.  

Descendants’ Fury

Descendants' Fury

As first sentences of abilities go, “Whenever one or more creatures you control deal combat damage to a player…” is among my favorites. In the case of my put-out progeny, this one means that we’ll reveal that many cards until we reveal one that share a creature type with the sacrificed creature. That one enters the battlefield, and we put the rest on the bottom of the library in a random order.

We like having big, powerful creatures to Polymorph into, so having some Eldrazi in the deck makes sense. We can also run single-card strategies like Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, which wipes out small creatures, or Elesh Norn, which costs folks for damaging us or our creatures while providing itself the ability to do busted stuff by becoming an enchantment named The Argent Etchings.  

Staying in mono-red gets us into the wildest incarnation of Urabrask. Casting three instants and/or sorcerers gets us to Urabrask’s transformative ability. Just one mana after casting the three gives us a Saga called the Great Work. Chapter I deals three damage to an opponent and each creature they control. What’s great ability this ability is that the sole target—the opponent—isn’t likely to go away, thereby countering the spell for having no legal targets. Each member of their team is taking three.

Chapter II is a little quiet, creating three Treasure tokens. During Chapter III, we get to cast instant and sorcery spells from any graveyard, exiling them when they resolve. We do still have to pay the mana value. We’ve set this up via some other spells and Treasure tokens, so it’s pretty likely we’re getting into some kind of saucy storm count here. All from grandchildren getting an attitude. 

Ghoulish Impetus

Ghoulish Impetus

Before I ever read the details of the card, the name and the art suggested to me something I definitely want to play. When I got to it, though, I saw that it’s an Aura. Ugh. But wait, there’s something to look at. The creature has +1/+1, deathtouch, and is goaded. Those are abilities I like on opponents’ creatures! What’s even better is that when the creature enchanted with Ghoulish Impetus dies, we bring Ghoulish Impetus back to the battlefield on the next end step. We’ll get to enchant whatever creature is still on the battlefield. If someone wants to pass (or in the case of a battlefield sweeper), they’ve put themselves behind. It’s a smallish affect that can have pretty big consequences, especially with few creatures on the battlefield.  

It’s quite easy to slip Ghoulish Impetus into our decks that like to goad stuff. I’ll be tucking mine into Karazikar Goad is GOAT to go with either Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant or his buddy Kardur, Doomscourge. Oh, wait—that deck has both! 

Nyxborn Behemoth

Nyxborn Behemoth

Okay, it’s a 10/10 with trample. It will be connecting with people’s faces. It’ll come out earlier than normal, since we’re playing other enchantments, like classic favorite Fires of Yavimaya and Xenagos, God of Revels. In the Xenagos scenario, life totals will plunge. The question is whether we wait until we have the extra 1G to save Nyxborn Behemoth by sacrificing another enchantment to give it indestructible. There isn’t much that’s tricky with Nyxborn Behemoth. It’s still going to have its say once it hits the battlefield.

Ugin’s Mastery 

Ugin's Mastery

Ugin’s Mastery is just bopping along with its two triggered abilities. The first one is straightforward: when we cast a colorless creature spell, we manifest the top card of our library. This seems okay for colorless/zero-color artifact decks, like my Karn Evil No. 9. The second one is also pretty cut-and-dried: whenever we attack with creatures with total power six or greater, we can turn a face-down creature we control face up. Seems like something I want to jam right into Kadena Morph (which was once The Mimeoplasm Next 99). While we might occasionally get caught pants down with no access to our commander or cards that can flip things over again, the play patterns seem fun enough to fool around with. I’m a fan and will give it a look—maybe I’ll collaborate with good friend Brian David-Marshall on taking Ixidron to the next level.  

The Bird’s-Eye View

The enchantments in Commander Masters might suggest some play patterns, but I see the doors open enough to explore strategy and territories heretofore left in the wilderness. Commander is open and available to the wildest of strategies. Our friendly collection of eight cards provides us every opportunity to do so.  

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