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Enbanted Evening


It's Commander 2018 Preview time and we're spoiled this time around. Not everything is fully revealed, but from what I have seen, this promises to be the best Commander precon set yet. All four commanders are revealed and, like a lot of people speculated (I hope you bought The Chain Veil already!), they're Planeswalkers. I'm sure I'll brew a deck with each and every one, but for the time being, I am stuck going "blind" with one of them. I didn't want to take this week off, so I figured if I had to write about one of these commanders without knowing any of the cards in the deck (I didn't see any of the cards spoiled yesterday when I wrote this, a sentence I'm writing in past tense even though it's in the future for me -- this is complicated), I figured I would pick the one I feel like I know the most about, and that would be Bant Enchantress. Enbantress? Bantchantress? Bantchant for short? Whatever you want to call it, it's the deck I have put the most effort into for the least reward and I don't see that stopping anytime soon.

We have covered Rubinia in this series but that was a bit of a gimmick piece and the deck that resulted doesn't really resemble my Rubinia Enchantress deck. I plan to keep the deck together if I can and since I haven't really gone over what's in the deck I currently run in this column, here's my current list.

I'm happyish with how the deck plays against fair, creature decks. In fact, I have so many ways to swipe their creatures that it's kind of miserable for a fair deck to play against me. However, I have serious mana issues (it's mana hungry as heck, even with Sanctum which I get often due to how many cards I tend to draw) and there are a few nonbo cards I need a replacement for. Since I won't yank something, even something like Spirit of the Labyrinth in what is essentially "card draw tribal" until I have a replacement for it, I was waiting for Commander 2018 to come out before I tuned the deck. Now, I don't know every card that's going to come out for the deck, but the Planeswalker was spoiled and I think it's pretty saucy.

This is a pretty saucy commander when you realize that my enchanted permanents, a lot of the time, are enchanted because I have stolen them from my opponent. I suddenly realize how much a placeholder Rubinia truly was because while she fit the "theme" of the deck (steal their stuff) it didn't exactly synergize with the deck. All of a sudden, I have a commander I can truly build around and the possibilities are very exciting. Each ability makes me think of new ways to build.

+2 -- Untap each enchanted permanent you control.

While it's nifty to be able to grant enchanted status to important things I want to keep around, I'm already enchanting important permanents in two major ways. First of all, I'm ramping my mana by using Wild Growth, Overgrowth, Utopia Sprawl, and Fertile Ground. They help me produce more mana but also give me enchantments to play to draw cards. Rather than play Rampant Growth, I play Wild Growth, save a mana, still "ramp" a mana but also trigger card draw from Enchantresses. Before that was pretty nifty but now my commander's +2 ability lets me untap all of those imbued lands. Tapping a Serra's Sanctum or (and I haven't tested this yet but it's intriguing) Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx with an Overgrowth on it and tapping it again can let me dump my entire hand on the field, then refill it because I have enchantress effects, then empty it again, then fill it again. Being mana-hungry seems way more manageable, now. I can cut the 3 Signets and maybe even the Sol Ring (HERESY!) and add a few more effects. Not all of them are great -- we're looking at cards like Verdant Haven (yuck) but digging deep did help me find Dawn's Reflection which is useful in a 3 color deck and feels as good as or better than casting Ranger's Path and if I like that effect enough, I can jam Market Festival as well. Casting that on 4 is rough but being able to use my commander's +2 to get 6 mana from a single basic land in one turn feels good enough. If I need mana rocks, I'll take theirs with Steal Artifact or Confiscate. If I do, Estrid's +2 will untap them and let me use them twice. Those are two things I was doing already and now my commander rewards me for it? I'm IN. Do I want to generate infinite mana with The Chain Veil? Maybe I do.

-1 -- Create a white Aura enchantment token named Mask attached to another target permanent. The token has enchant permanent and token armor.

This isn't anything I was doing before, but now I have a way to protect permanents, which kind of IS something I was doing before. Often, the table would work together to get around the soft lock presented by Privileged Position and Starfield of Nyx, which would keep them from being able to use spot removal on my board. If I can give Greater Auramancy Totem Armor, that's one more time they have to try and blow up a pesky enchantment before they can get through that, then take out the Starfield, then start chipping away at what is REALLY bothering them like Propaganda or Control Magic. Being able to protect my investment seems pertinent. Also, the token is an aura which means I can sac it to Auratog if I want to, Auratog being a card I'm toying with including because all of the mana in the world with Second Sunrise in hand can't save you from Merciless Eviction exiling your board. Being able to sac everything in response, draw a bundle with Femeref Enchantress and Replenish it all back out seems like it could be a play. Also, there's a non-zero number of scenarios where you can straight KO someone with an Auratog, especially if it's got an aura token on it and it's the only creature to survive a Wrath of God. These tokens are the eponymous "masks" that of Estrid's and "mask" is a cool mechanic considering the art kind of makes Estrid look like James McAvoy from Split (*spoilers*-- I hated that movie. of the way through you find out the last personality's initials are "K.C." and I thought "Aha! The POV character he kidnapped, the girl named "Casey" isn't actually someone he kidnapped! She's the mysterious last personality that the other personalities say can't come out! K.C., Casey, I get it! But, no. That's actually just a way better movie than one he made. Are you going to see Glass? I'm not!) and that was a character who wore a lot of "masks." I am really starting to like Estrid on a lot of levels.

-7 -- Put the top seven card of your library into your graveyard. Return all non-Aura enchantment cards from your graveyard to the battlefield, then do the same for Aura cards.

This is just value. I'm not sure I want to do two quick +2 activations to get here, rather I might want to fill my yard and stack those card draw triggers for when I can really get a full grip and get some shenanigans going. Having Replenish on a stick is silly, having a Sultai-esque pseudo draw 7 attached to it is bonkers and getting both the turn after you play your commander if you have The Chain Veil is criminal. CRIMINAL! There's not much to say about this other than it's absurd value and getting her ticked up high enough to be able to do this some main phase when you need it is amazing, and doing it after a board wipe is phenomenal. You can end up making enough angels to kill everyone with Sigil of the Empty Throne with this, for example. Do you jam Opalescence to make your creatures killable with your own Wrath to get this value? Maybe?! There are a lot of ways to take advantage of this much value and since I already like the first two abilities, this ability is gravy and there's enough gravy here to keep me in poutine for a year.

How do I retool my Rubinia deck to become a Estrid deck of my dreams? Bear in mind, this is a rough draft because I'm likely to find a few more cards in the Estrid precon that I'll want to include but haven't seen revealed yet. The other three articles will be easier to write but this one is so exciting just on the basis of the commander that any other relevant cards will be, you guessed it, even more gravy. Here's version 2.0 of Rubinia which is a confusing name for it, now, considering it's an Estrid deck and Rubinia doesn't really have a place in the 99, either.

A Good Mask Sequel (unlike The Mask 2) -- Commander | Jason Alt

The Chain Veil
I didn't really make all that many changes but the deck feels a lot more powerful and fun already. It was fun before but now I feel like I have ways to beat decks that don't give me a ton of creatures to swipe, which was an issue I encountered in the testing games with the deck. Here are things you can do to further customize this pile.

Want to be more combo-y? I have The Chain Veil and Estrid which can give you infinite mana if you put a mask on The Chain Veil and have a few lands with Wild Growth effects on them and you can use that mana to dump your hand, refill it, dump it and eventually find Helix Pinnacle unless you get super unlucky and draw a bunch of lands, which can happen. Having multiple enchantress effects mitigates this risk but that risk existing is what is fun about 75% decks. It's a bit of a cheesy combo but I'm including it. Want more? Enchanted Evening and Cleansing Meditation which wipes their board and gives you a million ETB triggers when your enchantments all come back. That's cheesy also, but if your meta is a little rougher or you want redundancy in your combo win conditions, you might want this. Estrid is pretty obviously going to be built as a Chain Veil deck a lot of the time so you're going to run into The Rafiq Problem a bit, so maybe go loaded for bear.

Want more creatures of your own? That's cool. You can go beatdown and use Enchantress effects to keep your hand full. Everything from Helm of the Gods to Eidolon of Countless Battles can make short work of opponents who aren't ready to be 1-shot killed by a Birds of Paradise wearing a ton of Totem Armor and auras. You can go full beatdown with a few tweaks. If you have enough Auras, Sram becomes worth it at that point. I might build that in a Sigarda shell rather than Estrid, but Blue draws you a ton of cards and you can run countermagic to keep them from wiping you out.

Want more interaction? Cut some redundancy or your least favorite enchantments and add some countermagic. I added Teferi's Protection to the original list to help with Merciless Eviction but just countering that stupid spell works, too. I cut a few spells like Return to Dust and Beast Within over the iterations and those are great spells and could stand to go back in. I may not have enough interaction but I like to do my thing.

I made one change to the mana base but it probably needs more. I have too many Islands for one and I didn't bother to grab the third Temple. I may increase the number of basics I run because while I don't often see Strip Mine, I do see Wasteland (the more expensive of the two. Go figure) and Field of Ruin and other ways to kill non-basic lands. Basic lands feel safer to me and if I'm going to make them a juicy target by loading them up with Overgrowth rather than spending that mana on Cultivate (which I cut) I want to make things at least a little bit challenging for my foes. Besides, I added Burgeoning and that demands a little richer a land mix than normal.

Tell me in the comments section which cards were previewed between Monday and Thursday that you want to jam in your own Estrid decks! I want to know how everyone is building this. I imagine Estrid will be my favorite of the four to play but they all look exciting and the Saheeli deck even has a legendary creature I think I'd rather build around. I may get more than four articles out of this set after all. Let's talk Enbantress, everyone. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your comments. Until next week!

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