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New Player Commander Decks - Deploy the Troops


Hello! I hope your day is going well.

Last month I worked with CoolStuffInc and put together five Mono-Colored Commander decks that are designed for new players to the Commander format specifically, or to the game of Magic generally. The goal of these decks is to use a lot of fun cards with a deep theme and commitment to a single color's philosophy. They were launched on the store today, and you can review them and buy them.

What I want to do with this week's series is to review the various five decks and look at their decklist, talk about some of the fun cards in them, and then give you a set of suggested cards to consider upgrading your deck.

Let's begin with White, and then we'll move around the color wheel until we end at Green on Friday.

Lena, Selfless Champion

Our first build is around Lena, Selfless Champion. She has two dials that I enjoyed. The first was the token making. She is strongly able to make tokens and lots of other White cards will do so as well. Secondly, she can be sacrificed to save the team, but only if they are smaller than her in power. That gave me two vectors to approach.

I decided to play into her token-making and sacrifice ability to save your team.

Here's her decklist:

And there we are!

This deck features a number of token makers, cheap dorks and then some Auras and Equipment for them to toss on and smash with. Note that I don't have any preference for creature type. As long as it's a dork, it's here.

Irregular Cohort
Haazda Marshal
Raise the Alarm

Many sorts of token makers are here, from attack triggers to enters-the-battlefield ones to spells that make them en-masse.

What cards are in there that speak to me?

Citywide Bust

Citywide Bust is awesome! My preference with this deck was to go wide, not up. Cards like Citywide Bust can punish bigger dorks, and Lena can sacrifice to save your full team. Citywide Bust will only work if I don't have too many Anthem effects pumping the team up into dangerous territory...

Benalish Marshal
Inspiring Captain

...and as you can see, I didn't. I only had this one with Benalish Marshal. After that, I sought to limit it. A 1/1 that becomes a 2/2 is still under Citywide Bust and also Lena-able (although she should be pumped too with the Marshal and be fine). Get too big though and the Citywide Bust's power is more limited as it will hurt you on the back swing. I also have a few temporary effects too like Inspiring Captain that can be used for the moment, and then ended when you need to.

Dorks for the Win!

Now where would I go to update this deck?

Great question!

Let suppose you had a small budget of $100 to use on the deck. Where would I suggest looking for updates?

Elspeth, Sun's Champion
Elspeth, Knight-Errant

The first place I'd look are the two Elspeth cards that fit this theme. Each of these two Elspeth's will make soldier tokens turn after turn which the rest of your deck can use. The Sun's Champion is great as you can destroy a bunch of bigger dorks with her -3 ability and then you can +1 her while also dropping three dorks at a time. She plays into the same space as Citywide Bust. Both are great places to dig into to round out your deck!

Now these two are going to use up around 25% of the budget alone. But they are great ways to flesh out your deck!

Where next?

Angel of Invention

Cloudgoat Ranger

Evangel of Heliod

Decree of Justice

Angel of Invention
Cloudgoat Ranger
Evangel of Heliod
Decree of Justice

The next place I would look at mass token makers like Evangel of Heliod or Cloudgoat Ranger. These can make a big, fat number of 1/1s that you can dip into. I have Angel of Invention here, but it's really the only other major anthem I'd suggest, as I still want to play into my strengths. Decree of Justice is now a bulk rare and remains one of the best token makers ever printed because as long as you as cycling it, it cannot be countered via traditional counters, only ones that counter abilities.

Divine Visitation

I would also add in some cards that work well in our shell. Divine Visitation will turn all of those juicy 1/1s into game-winning 4/4 flyers. If you dropped Evangel of Heliod out while you had just five devotion, you now have five 4/4 Angels ready to fly, punch, and remain ready for blocking.

Harmonious Archon

Another card that will work well in this shell is Harmonious Archon. All of your stuff, save for it, is now a 3/3 while it's on the battlefield. That includes most of your foe's creatures too. Lena's deck trades the value of having many, many creatures with creatures of size. Harmonious Archon rewards that trade by making them all the same size, and now your 1/1 tokens can trade with 5/5 Shivan Dragons or 4/6 Consecrated Sphinxes and other big stuff. Plus, it brings two 1/1s that are now 3/3s to the table as well. It's perfect here!

Castle Ardenvale
Legion's Landing

There are a couple of land-ish options too. Castle Ardenvale from Throne of Eldraineis great at the making of dorks over time, and can help build up your team. It's another winner from the latest set. Lands help after sweeping removal sadly removes stuff and cleans out your board. Meanwhile, Legion's Landing is a great 1-drop and can flip over into Adanto, the First Fort very quickly. And that taps the sap of your Castle Ardenvale. Lands are harder to interact with. This one is better as it's fewer mana to activate for a dork that's better with its lifelink.

Retribution of the Meek
Fell the Mighty
Entrapment Maneuver

There are a few cool ways to build up your ability to take stuff out and down. Retribution of the Meek and Fell the Mighty are amazing here as sweepers that can keep the entire team and kill many of the annoying dorks your foes have out there. Once you've cleaned house, you can swing into the open spaces. Entrapment Maneuver is fine as removal for a dork that dares to attack your group, and can get you big, fat number of dorks.

Rootborn Defenses
Mentor of the Meek

I also wanted to give you some cool ways of fleshing out the various needs of the deck, like card drawing and more protection. Rootborn Defenses and it's populate will obviously play into the latter perfectly, as it does both. Meanwhile with the mass number of token makers, Mentor of the Meek is in a great situation to amp up the team's card drawing. It also loves the Lena theme of leaving small dorks small and just creating more of them. One Anthem effect out will still let your 1/1 tokens draw you all of the cards with a Mentor out.

Sigiled Sword of Valeron
Viridian Longbow
Ancestral Blade

Finally, I wanted to round out my suggestions with some additional pieces of equipment for your consideration. The Sigiled Sword is great as it not only pumps your dork in question, and gives it vigilance (and Knight-ness, in case you care) but will also churn out a 2/2 that's swinging in the same attack. It's great here!

Skullclamp? We need card drawing, and since White doesn't often have much, Skullclamp can draw you so many cards that you'll never notice. It works best in a go-wide strategy such as Lena's. Take one example with the aforementioned Raise the Alarm. Without pumping them up, you can use two mana from Skullclamp to equip each in turn, kill it, and draw two cards. Net result? Four cards drawn from a single Raise the Alarm. Of all of the cards suggested for later addition and consideration, Skullclamp is my favorite.

Ancestral Blade brings a dork to the battlefield and is attached to it. You can move it when you lose it.

I really like the Longbow in a go-wide deck. What makes it work is the fact that you can equip a token, tap it for damage somewhere, and then reequip, tap it for damage, and repeat. The flexibility it affords is great. It's also a useful mana sink later in the game. Our stuff is cheap. Having a few repeatable effects for extra mana is great here!

Oketra the True

Which leads to my final suggestion. Oketra the True is very good here as a way to create a number of dorks over time as you have mana available. Her indestructible will keep her alive through various removal options, and she will often be able to swing given what the deck is doing. Unlike Heliod, God of the Sun, she'll always be on the battlefield, which will give Lena another 1/1 token on arrival. Welcome to the party!

And that's it. Let's look at where my suggested additions wound up.


Suggested Budget Total - $77.54

Note that all prices represent the cheapest near mint option here at Coolstuffinc.com and are in stock as of the writing of this piece. Note that prices fluctuate between me writing this piece and you reading it.

And there you are! I hope you enjoy playing with Lena's "Deploy the Troops!" Tomorrow, we'll take a look at my Mono-Blue build around a certain God.... I hope that you'll join us!

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