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Commander Top 10 For Alela, Artful Provocateur

Bennie Smith continues exploring Throne of Eldraine with Alela, Artful Provocateur! If you’re a fan of artifacts and enchantments, you’ve come to the right place!

From the new Brawl precon decks, Alela, Artful Provocateur seems to have caught fire with the Commander community! According to EDHREC, there have been more decks made than any of the other ones by a fair margin, with only Korvold, Fae-Cursed king anywhere close to striking distance. It looks like you can pick up a copy if you hunt for it, but soon the next printing of Brawl decks will be hitting the stores and there should be plenty of copies available. So if you haven’t yet built your Alela Commander deck but want to, I’ve got some great ideas for you!

Alela backwards is Alela.

One thing that’s unique to Alela when looking at all four of the face legends from the Brawl decks: she doesn’t have “draw a card” anywhere in the text box, while all three of the other ones do.

Drawing cards is a powerful mechanic in any Commander deck, and having it attached to the actual commander makes it something you can bank on to keep the gas flowing throughout the game. I’m very curious if Alela originally had some way to draw a card built-in but it proved to be way too powerful compared to the others and the designed was tweaked?

Alela as printed is quite aggressive. It’s just four mana, and it starts churning out 2/1s each time you cast an artifact or enchantment. Since green is one of the format’s best colors, flying tends to be a very potent evasion ability and there are ways we can boost flyers even more. Alela is small, but she has three very useful keyword abilities. Deathtouch means she can take down just about any creature in combat, and the lifelink helps with racing, especially if we can boost her power.

What’s interesting about Alela’s ability to boost her Faerie tokens is that the boost covers any flyers, not just Faeries. So we should lean heavily on “flying tribal” to maximize that part of the text box.

What’s really powerful is Alela’s token-making engine, so we’ll want to lean hard into playing lots of artifacts and enchantments that do powerful things. Equipment is especially good because each time you cast one Alela will make a Faerie token that can potentially equip it. So are artifact creatures and enchantment creatures, especially any that fly!

So let’s get into it—the Top 10 cards for an Alela, Artful Provocateur Commander deck!

#1: Divine Visitation

Divine Visitation is already bonkers in any token-making deck, but Alela kicks it up a notch because her Angel tokens hit for five instead of four. Divine Visitation even comes down on curve the turn after you cast Alela! Sadly, Alela makes tokens on the cast trigger, so Divine Visitation on the stack will create one more Faerie token, but all Alela triggers after that will crank out 5/4 Angels with flying and vigilance. Now that’s aggressive!

I’m including other cards that either make tokens or do fun things with tokens:

While Westvale Abbey’s tokens don’t have flying, the land does appreciate extra free token creatures that can eventually fuel the sacrifice ability to transform into Ormendahl, Profane Prince… which does have flying! A 10/7 Demon with flying, lifelink, indestructible, and haste looks much better than a 9/7 Demon with flying, lifelink, indestructible, and haste, right?

#2: Sephara, Sky’s Blade

Before Core Set 2020 came along, Eldrazi Monument would have gotten this spot, but Sephara edges it out by not requiring a steady sacrificial diet and providing a big flying body with lifelink that certainly appreciates the extra point of power from Alela.

I’m also including other cards that do nice things with flyers or help make creatures fly:

#3: Kindred Discovery

Okay, so if Wizards took away Alela’s card-drawing ability, let’s put it back in! Kindred Discovery packs a huge wallop here, even though we’re not playing a tribal deck. Name Faerie, and each time you cast an artifact or enchantment with Alela on the battlefield, you’ll make a Faerie and draw a card. And then each time you attack with a Faerie or Alela, you’ll get to draw a card.

I do realize this is a bit of a non-bo with Divine Visitation, but if you’re churning out 5/4 Angels you probably don’t need the extra cards.

I’m including plenty of other ways to draw extra cards:

Skullclamp is especially nice if your Faeries still have one toughness, letting you easily convert one mana to equip into two new cards. I also like Shimmer Dragon since we’re playing quite a few artifacts, the odds are quite good it’ll have hexproof, and since it flies it gets Alela’s power boost.

#4: Stoneforge Masterwork

Even though we’re not a tribal deck, the fact that Alela is a Faerie that makes more Faeries means that we can make use of some specific tribal cards to boost our plan especially ones that are artifacts and enchantments. Kindred Discovery was one of those cards, and Stoneforge Masterwork is another high-octane choice. Odds are pretty good that Alela will slowly crank out a small army of Faerie tokens – including one you get when casting Stoneforge Masterwork – which means this small Equipment card can make Alela into a formidable battlefield presence.

I’m including a few others:

I really like Etchings since it can boost Alela and you can sacrifice one of your Faerie tokens to make Alela indestructible until the end of the turn.

#5: Gravitational Shift

When it comes to utility enchantments and artifacts in a flying deck, Gravitational Shift does a ton of heavy lifting! Not only does it make your small flying creatures big and scary, it blunts all the creatures on the ground. Someone going nuts with Saprolings or Wolf tokens? No worries!

I found other quality utility spells that bring along a Faerie token if Alela is on the battlefield:

Quite a few of these provide first strike or double strike, which combine quite nicely with Alela’s deathtouch ability. Power Matrix also gives trample, which can come in handy if I’m able to boost Alela’s power significantly.

#6: Steel Hellkite

All good Commander decks need ways to interact with opponents, and I leaned heavily on ones that are artifacts or enchantments. One of the best of the bunch is Steel Hellkite since it’s an artifact creature that creates a Faerie from Alela, and since it flies it gets the power boost.

Here are some other good ways to check your opponents’ strategies:

I really like Dispeller’s Capsule and Seal of Cleansing since they can be cast proactively to generate a Faerie and then kept around to take down a threatening artifact or enchantment, or even prevent one from being cast until a solution is drawn. Aura of Silence does the same thing but makes it more difficult for your opponents to cast them.

#7: Crystal Chimes

Esper has a bunch of ways to bring back artifacts and enchantments from the graveyard, but many of the best ones bring them directly onto the battlefield, which doesn’t trigger Alela. Instead, I really like Crystal Chimes since it brings enchantments from the graveyard to my hand so I can recast them with Alela on the battlefield. There are good ways to bring artifacts back from the graveyard to my hand, so Crystal Chimes bridges the gap by being an artifact that can bring back enchantments.

I’m including some of those ways to bring back artifacts too:

Even though the deck is light on actual creature cards, I like Phyrexian Reclamation as a way to bring them back when they do die.

#8: Ashnod’s Altar

Nearly all good Commander decks need some amount of ramp spells, and the ones available to Esper tend to be artifacts—which happens to work nicely with Alela! One that stands out to me is Ashnod’s Altar, which can allow you to cast more spells than you’d otherwise be able to by cashing in extra Faerie tokens for two colorless mana. If you’ve drawn a bunch of cards by attacking with Faerie tokens while Kindred Discovery is on the battlefield, why not cash them in for mana so you can cast some of those spells? Many of them will easily replace your expended army with untapped Faeries ready to defend.

I’m including many of the usual suspects for nongreen mana ramp:

I didn’t really see too many planeswalkers I wanted to include, so The Immortal Sun seemed an exciting card to boost our small creature army, draw cards, and shave a mana off each spell cast.

#9: Sudden Spoiling

No Commander deck worth its salt skimps on creature control, and I looked hard for ones that are artifacts or enchantments. But sometimes the tool you need for the job is an instant or sorcery, so I’m including some of those in the decklist, and the best of the bunch is Sudden Spoiling. This spell has split second, an ability that can break up some creature-based combos that are otherwise nearly impossible to break up, and since the creatures lose all abilities, any flyers that might have otherwise been holding back your air force are suddenly grounded. Coast is clear, my Faeries!

I’ve got some other cards that can keep creatures in check:

#10: Cranial Plating

Alela is small and squishy so I’m looking for ways to protect her and boost her power, and there are some great Equipment cards that can handle the job while triggering Alela for another Faerie token. The one I find most exciting is Cranial Plating with so many evasive creatures, especially since it’s got an ability you can activate at instant speed to equip Cranial Plating to whatever flyer isn’t blocked and smash your opponent’s life total!

I’m also including these other Equipment cards:

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

Alela, Artful Provocateur
Bennie Smith
0th Place at Test deck on 10-28-2019
Commander


And here are two handy charts courtesy of Archidekt, including that sweet, sweet mana curve broken out by color.

Alela Graph

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

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter! I run polls and get conversations started about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!

Also, come play Commander with me! Coming up November 8th is MagicFest Richmond right here in my hometown, and I’m planning on hitting the Command Zone there at least one of the days. The following weekend, November 14-17, is the always spectacular SCG CON! Their Commander Celebration has set the standard for incredible Commander experiences and I’ll be returning as a special guest so I’ll be in the Command Zone all weekend playing Commander!

But that’s not all—Star City Games will be putting on #CommandFestDC December 13-15th and I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be one of the special guests there. Stay tuned for more details as they become available!

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I’ve been writing about the Commander format and Magic: The Gathering in general for nearly two decades. Visit the Star City Games article archives for tons of content dating back to January 2000!

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