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Preston Garvey, Minuteman in Commander

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Today I'll be sharing a rebuild of one of the alternate commanders from the Scrappy Survivors Fallout Commander deck. Preston Garvey isn't just a Human Soldier: he is a Minuteman. You won't see that on his type line, but it's an important enough part of who Preston Garvey is to be in the card name.

For those not in the know, the "Minutemen" were members of colonial America's organized militia companies, and were among the first to fight against the British colonists in New England. The name is in reference to their being able to be ready at a minute's notice. If you look at the wiki page for "Minutemen" you'll see a lengthy description along with a picture of the Lexington Minuteman, a 1900 statue built to pay tribute to those who fought in Lexington, where the "shot heard round the world" was fired on the Lexington Green.

I grew up in Lexington in the 1970's and 80's and I went to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Both my high school and university had team nicknames of "Minutemen" so I felt drawn to Preston Garvey in ways that go beyond just liking his text box or the cut of his jib.

Today I'm going to explore what kind of deck I came up with when I took the Dogmeat precon deck, put Preston in the command zone and rebuilt it as a dedicated enchantress deck.

Before we dive into my deckbuilding choices, let's take a look at the man who found my childhood hometown of Lexington filled with feral ghouls, and so dangerous that only eight of his company made it out alive.

Preston Garvey, Minuteman

Preston is a human soldier with a 4/4 body and some pretty neat tricks. At the beginning of combat on my turn I'll create a green Aura enchantment token named Settlement attached to one of my lands which will let that land tap for any color of mana. Color fixing is nice for a three-colored deck, but it gets better. Whenever he attacks I'll untap each enchanted permanent I control.

While untapping my enchanted permanents isn't incredibly powerful, it will get better the more I'm able to plop down auras on my battlefield. Creatures that are enchanted will gain pseudo vigilance. Lands will be available for my second main phase. Making more mana could be a great way to win games if I'm able to find a way to turn that mana advantage into a greater presence on the battlefield.

You might assume my thoughts first went to the enchantment Aggravated Assault. With enough enchanted lands I could get another combat step every time Preston attacks. It's a powerful card and a powerful strategy, but today's deck is aiming for lower powered play and isn't going to run any combos. I often build at a lower power level and if the deck has enough trouble being relevant in games, I add cards and even combos to make it more powerful. If the Dogmeat precon was the starting point Wizards of the Coast gave me, this is my own starting point for a Preston Garvey enchanter deck.

Rampchantments

My first plan is to go all in on aura-based ramp. I am running Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, Farseek and Rampant Growth, but a huge focus of this deck is going to be using enchantments to help me ramp. The precon already came with Abundant Growth, Fertile Ground and Wild Growth, but I went overboard in loading up on land enchantments from my collection.

Utopia Sprawl
Wolfwillow Haven
Nature's Embrace

At one Green mana, Utopia Sprawl is hard not to run in this list. This aura can only go on a Forest and it will have me choose a color when it enters the battlefield. When enchanted Forest is tapped for mana, I'll add an additional mana of that color. For one mana more, Wolfwillow Haven can go on any land, and will give me an additional green mana when enchanted land is tapped for mana. It can be sacrificed on my turn for four and a green to create a 2/2 green Wolf creature token.

Normally I wouldn't be excited about running 3 mana land enchantments, but I'm going all in on this strategy. Gift of Paradise, Sheltered Aerie, Verdant Haven, and Weirding Wood are all in the list and can each help me generate more mana. Some have extra benefits, such as gaining life or creating a clue token. Nature's Embrace is an aura whose extra benefit is its versatility. It can enchant a creature to give it +2/+2, or a land, allowing it to tap to add two mana of any color. I'm tempted to run Dryad Arbor in this list just so I can use this versatile aura to its fullest potential.

Playing an aura-based ramp strategy comes with some risks. My opponents will be eager to use what land destruction they have to set me back. It also has plenty of advantages, especially when I can count on getting an token aura every turn from my commander.

Ajani's Chosen
Tanglespan Lookout
Rimefur Reindeer

Ajani's Chosen will give me a 2/2 white Cat creature token whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under my control. Both Tanglespan Lookout and Eidolon of Blossoms will give me card draw, though the former will only trigger when auras come into play. The latter will trigger for any enchantment. Rimefur Reindeer will let me tap target creature an opponent controls whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under my control.

With over two dozen enchantments in today's list and a few enchantment creatures, I should be able to reliably trigger these guys if I'm able to keep them in play.

Auramancy

A few weeks ago I shared my take on Three Dog, Galaxy News DJ, and this list shares a bit in common with that brew. Both are running auras like All That Glitters and Ethereal Armor, which care about the number of enchantments I control. Both lists run the aforementioned Ajani's Chosen, along with card draw staples Kor Spiritdancer and Mesa Enchantress. The fact that Preston Garvey puts me in green opens up a bunch of new options for an aura-based deck that I couldn't even consider for Three Dog.

Season of Growth
Ancestral Mask
Indomitable Might

Season of Growth will have me scry whenever a creature enters play under my control and I'll draw a card whenever I cast an aura that targets a creature I control. Auras target, so while it won't draw me cards for my land ramp, I've got plenty of auras to play on my creatures. One of the best might be Ancestral Mask, which gives +2/+2 for each other enchantment on the battlefield - even if they aren't mine. Indomitable Might has flash and gives enchantment creature +3/+3, but its biggest benefit is letting enchanted creature assign combat damage as if it weren't blocked.

I've got a few creatures that care about enchantments above and beyond the usual suspects like Auramancer, Destiny Spinner, and the aura-cost-reducing griffin, Transcendent Envoy.

Druid of Horns
Aura Gnarlid
Champion of the Flame

I've long enjoyed finding excuses to play Druid of Horns. This Human Druid will give me a 3/3 green Beast creature token whenever I cast an Aura that targets it. I'm running a nontoken Beast in Aura Gnarlid, which gets +1/+1 for each Aura on the battlefield. Creatures with power less than its power can't block it, so if it gets big enough Aura Gnarlid could help me close out games. Champion of the Flame is a Human Warrior with trample who gets +2/+2 for each aura and equipment attached to it.

As a first draft, I'm still feeling around for what is going to work best. Between a running a ton of auras and running ways to turn those auras into a greater combat threat, I feel like I'm on the right track.

Preston Garvey, Minuteman

When I converted the Dogmeat precon over to build this deck, I kept a bunch of cards, but I also put a few of the precon cards into my Three Dog list. My choices were largely based around what seemed to synergize the most with what Three Dog does, versus what Preston Garvey does. Some cards got dropped out of both decks and a few could have gone in either.

Both decks cared a lot about attacking with my commander, so both needed ways to help them survive combat. Loyal Unicorn, a creature that gives my creatures vigilance and prevents all combat damage that would be dealt to them, wasn't in the precon, but got added into both lists.

Preston Garvey | Commander | Stephen Johnson

Card Display

I ended up keeping the precon deck's manabase mostly intact, though I can see the argument for scrapping the lands and rebuilding that part from scratch. My favorite land in the list is one I added: Maze of Ith. With a settlement aura on it, I'll be able to use the land for mana and have it untap when Preston attacks and be able to protect myself if an opponent attacks me.

Tuning this list up would involve improving the mana base and adding in cards like Aggravated Assault. Since you're aiming to attack with Preston Garvey a lot, you'd likely focus your damage output on him. I might throw in Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth to make all lands into Forests (in addition to their other types) and run Dryad's Favor to give forestwalk and Blanchwood Armor to give +1/+1 for each Forest I control.

Preston Garvey may have cEDH potential if the deck were rebuilt around stax effects and hatebears, using Preston's ability to untap your lands as a way to gain advantage. My own cEDH experience was been with Najeela, the Blade Blossom and Codie, Vociferous Codex, so I have trouble seeing a five mana Naya commander as being anything beyond a high-powered deck. I'm far from an expert in cEDH, so maybe it could be a viable fringe deck. It would be a very different list than the one I'm sharing today, with fast mana and lots of cards that deny your opponents' the ability to play their decks.

Final Thoughts

I was able to get a few games in with this list. My experience with enchanting Maze of Ith was mixed. At times I regretted having to keep it up to protect myself from threats like a 12/12 Ghalta, Primal Hunger, but I also got to see it put in work with Preston untapping it after usign it for mana in my first main phase. Without a combo to dig for, I was either unlucky (not getting a card draw engine online) or out-valued in the games I played and had trouble being relevant.

Playing only a few games makes it hard to truly evaluate a deck, but I'm happy to have this as a fun and interesting lower powered option to play at lower powered tables. If I get frustrated with the deck I can always load in more powerful cards and drop out anything that doesn't seem to be working. I always view EDH decks as things meant to change and evolve to match your playgroup or the level of play at the game store you frequent.

That's all I've got for today. Thanks for reading and I'll see you next week!


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