The flavor text of Kaalia of the Vast says it all! “I’ll have my revenge if I have to call on every force from above and below.” I don’t know what happened to this lady, but she sounds seriously upset. Her vengeance turns into our reward with a very, very sweet new Commander option. After looking over the lists, there were tons of decks styles that I have historically loved, but Kaalia represents a new type of deck. I am sure that she is powerful and also sure that she will be a popular choice for this burgeoning new deck type.
Throughout the history of Commander, we have seen Dragon-themed decks. There are decks that leverage Dragon commanders like Scion of the Ur-Dragon to consume the talents and specs of the various winged beasts to combo opposing players. I have played a few games against Angel tribal decks, and a single game against a Demon tribal deck. However, Kaalia of the Vast is poised to combine these iconic tribes in an effort to exact her revenge on opposing players.
The preconstructed Commander deck Heavenly Inferno offers players a new twist on some of the best creatures to ever populate commander decks. Who doesn’t love Dragons? Angels are super-popular and very collectible, and there are a few very strong Demon cards that can join the ranks in this archetype. Today’s article will take the best cards from the preconstructed deck, and will add some upgrades and variants, in an attempt to amp up the playability and power level of your Heavenly Inferno deck.
Rebuilding Kaalia of the Vast
This deck is pretty fun right out of the box. However, the sealed product lends itself to some immediate upgrades that will allow us to remain thematic but chase some additional power. We will take each type of card in the deck and give it a potential makeover. Let’s start with lands:
Total: 35 lands
The mana base can go a variety of directions. If you want to pimp it out a bit and make it as efficient as possible, then you can run this thirty-five. I cut about three lands from the overall land count. The designers of the Commander preconstructed decks tended to like about thirty-eight to forty lands, but I am a pretty big fan of including a little more ramp and a couple fewer lands. When I build decks from scratch, I typically run thirty-four to thirty-five lands unless I am running Green. In that case, I cheat the land count down to thirty-two or thirty-three and use a few more ramp spells.
The Creature Lineup
This deck is all about cheating fatties into play. Kaalia of the Vast has a sicko ability. If and when she gets to attack, you simply sling a giant Angel, Dragon, or Demon into play tapped and attacking. Therefore, we want to be cheating in the most awesome lineup of creatures that can be imagined. Here are some of the keepers:
Commander: Kaalia of the Vast
- Akroma, Angel of Fury
- Angel of Despair
- Archangel of Strife
- Basandra, Battle Seraph
- Tariel, Reckoner of Souls
Included Utility Creatures
New Utility Creatures
- Academy Rector
- Karmic Guide
- Puppeteer Clique
- Solemn Simulacrum
- Urabrask the Hidden
Total: 32 creatures (including our Commander)
The creature lineup stays with the theme of the deck and is built around the Commander. You land a few of my favorite utility creatures that can alter the playability of the deck in a positive direction. I like the bit of recursion of the great Angels, Dragons, and Demons that you get out of Karmic Guide with Reveillark. Duplicant gives you a bit of spot removal, and Solemn Simulacrum adds to the mana-ramp and card-draw. There is a subtheme of Haste in the deck. You want to be throwing your fatties around on the turn they come into play. Therefore, we gave the nod to Anger, the Guildmage and Urabrask. Something tells me that it is very satisfying to have Anger in the graveyard, cast your Commander and sling a fat Dragon into play attacking in the same turn. Sound fun? The explosiveness of this deck’s attacks will be epic!
The Rest of the Deck
I like to sort my deck lists into thematic groups for comprehension. We will make some groupings and populate the themes with some cool cards. The preconstructed deck offered a start, but we can power up and become tricky with some modification.
- Sol Ring
- Armillary Sphere
- Boros Signet
- Darksteel Ingot
- Lightning Greaves
- Orzhov Signet
- Rakdos Signet
Total: 9 noncreature artifacts
We kept the original artificial ramp for the deck and added the Gilded Lotus. Your early turns with this deck will consist of playing out artifact ramp, some utility creatures, and maybe some spot removal. The heat and fatties come during the midgame and later game. It makes sense to stabilize the mana base and ramp into that late game. Lightning Greaves and Akroma's Memorial will send your creatures into the red zone with style and grace!
I cut some of the Inferno from the Heavenly Inferno. The burn element of the deck is a tad underpowered, and you are playing with some of the very best removal colors in and . These are the additions that folks might like to try out:
Total: 11 removal options (non-creature-based)
For the remainder of the deck, we will hold onto a few of the preconstructed cards that provide some interesting tricks. The Vows are politically interesting and make for some fun, and we will supplement the original lineup with additional awesome enchantments that might be searched out by the timely demise of Academy Rector or simply dropped into play at a later point in the game.
Total: 7 “big tricks”
To wrap up the list, we will drop in a few additional cards for tutoring and card-draw to smooth out the deck’s playability. These cards can be adjusted to suite your playability and love of chaos versus consistency.
Total: 3 tutors
Total: 4 card-draw/manipulation spells
Lines of Play
This deck has a couple of goals. I want to pull off some fantastic attacks and need to throw some sicko creatures into play for free via Kaalia’s ability. I don’t know why she is so angry, but hitting opponents with hasty Dragons, Demons, and Angels might make her feel better. In the early turns of the game, this deck is laying low. You are not trying to represent a huge threat, but need to quietly assemble your artifact ramp spells. If Anger happens to slip into the graveyard or the Guildmage creeps into position, fine.
Once you have a Lightning Greaves or other Haste-maker on board, you can give Kaalia a shot at her revenge. This will be most profitable if you can slip one of her legions into play for free and attacking. I have selected Angels and Dragons that will do all sorts of incredible, unexpected things. There are a few cards that you might like to cast, cheat into play with Sneak Attack, or simply hurl into battle with the Commander’s ability. If you leave a bit of Red mana open, there are some astonishing benefits up and down the Dragon lineup, including additional rounds of combat (and more free goodies from Kaalia) via Hellkite Charger, or amazing removal using a couple of the other Dragons. You can do anything from secure immortality with Deathless Angel to locking out an opponent from playing a key color with Iona.
This deck has a ton of options. Its weakness is the reliance of Kaalia. The same thing that makes it fun is also a risk factor. Therefore, we have built in some resilience and alternate win conditions using enchantments and some graveyard renewal.
If you need to make some tweaks to the list, consider adding a bit more card-draw, additional mass removal, or graveyard disruption to fit your local playgroup. I suggest giving this modified version of Heavenly Inferno a trial run. Modify it. Make it your own, and enjoy slinging free spells into play with one of the sweetest new Commanders. Thanks for reading. Check out our other GatheringMagic.com articles on Commander and join us Monday for new content.