Unstable Mutation: Enduring Enchantments (Commander Masters Commander Upgrade)

I don’t know why but enchantress decks fascinate me. I think it’s the idea of playing permanents that are sort of orthogonal to standard creature based utility and winning builds. Especially if you are able to leverage enchantments’ ability to not be creatures, you could generate asymmetric board clears via Wrath of God and Damn but the problem is most of the enchantresses are creatures. Enchantment based ramp is okay, but there’s not enough of it that’s truly great, Wild Growth, Utopia Sprawl, Fertile Ground and Wolfwillow Haven are really solid cards. Ramping, generating card draw for your enchantresses, and green also has the ability play more lands (though they are quite pricy in terms of real $$$). You can turn this into an engine that draws cards and keeps spamming out lands and more enchantments, which is great, but it has to do something. The other problem is, it’s slow.

Say you get a really perfect draw, turn 1 land, you might be able to drop a Wild Growth, turn 2 land ramp via Into the North (or one of it’s 4 near analogs), turn 3 you play another land, now you’ve got 4 mana available, you play an enchantress, and if you have a 1 cost land aura you’re in really good shape, play it, draw a card. On Turn 4 you’ll have 7 mana and can hopefully keep dropping 1-2 enchantments per turn, generating mad value. Oh, but, there are only two 1-cost land auras, so the odds of you getting this hand are pretty low. Otherwise you’re a turn or two behind, as you wait to ramp, and wait to drop enchantresses. And most of them aren’t enchantments, and many of them are cast not enters play triggers.

Sadly they’re all just too idiosyncratic to be really “good”, and there are some awesome cards like Extinguish All Hope which in theory is a really powerful one way board clear, but there’s not quite enough, enchantment creatures, board clear that ignores enchantment creatures, or things like that. Similarly not quit enough enchantment creature monks or enchantresses.

Playing this deck out of the box, it doesn’t have enough ramp or consistent early turn plays for the ramp, so you’ll probably durdle along for a few turns, then cast some of the ineffectual lower CMV cards like Love Song of Night and Day which isn’t absolutely completely terrible if you have a way to benefit from your opponents drawing, like Smothering Tithe or Smuggler’s Share, those kind of cards. But you don’t, so you’ll end up with a mixed bag of non-synergistic effects getting you some tokens or some counters. If one of your opponents tries to do anything, you have 1 instant in the whole deck, and some creatures and enchantments that serve as extremely slow interaction. So you won’t be able to stop them. Even things that would be great for the deck, like “Seal of Doom” which effectively become instant speed interaction and you could reanimate with Anikthea once you’ve used it, are, you know, lacking. But don’t worry you have Omen of the Sun. Once you hit midgame someone will probably board clear, or you will because you’re so far behind, but if you can survive that (and probably do not rush out Anikthea) then on your turn you can cast commander, and start building some kind of board state. Then you’ll just need to keep attacking and reanimating, since your reanimated zombies aren’t big you’ll need quite a pile and probably some ways to buff them, but not really enough, so it’ll turn into a real grindfest.

In any case, turning this deck into a recursion engine is a pretty solid way to get some value out of the hand of Eerebos. Sadly Black, White, and Green specifically miss the one way to really leverage attack triggers – by getting extra combats, or by getting extra turns (with combats). There’s another option here, which is to keep reanimating and sacrificing Anikthea. Since the reanimation is an exile trigger, you can’t build out some kind of loop here, though the obvious contenders would be auras like Animate Dead and those are strictly forbidden. Given all that, given it’s a 5 cost commander, given the colors, given the lack of loopability, don’t expect Anikthea to be a super competitive commander. You could also do “cares about zombies” in various guises, using Anikthea to reanimate into a zombie horde, but again, there’s really better ways to do it. The one thing that Anikthea can do that nobody else can really do is just reanimate absolutely huge enchantments. And that’s fun, anyways.

There is another way, besides the build I put together, that I hesitate to bring up, but it’s basically Doubling Season. Doubling effects will effect the token creation, you can double Doubling Season and then Anointed Procession and end up with a real zombie enchantment horde. Which is fairly neat, but it’s also dangerous, and slow, and Doubling Season is way overpriced (mana and money).

Here is the cut list out of the base box:

6 Plains
8 Forest
5 Swamp
1 Calix, Destiny’s Hand
1 Archon of Sun’s Grace
1 Temple of Plenty
1 Arcane Signet
1 Mirari’s Wake
1 Sigil of the Empty Throne
1 Cast Out
1 Grasp of Fate
1 Khalni Heart Expedition
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Satyr Enchanter
1 Sol Ring
1 Temple of Malady
1 Temple of Silence
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
1 Verduran Enchantress
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Sungrass Prairie
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Tainted Field
1 Tainted Wood
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Mesa Enchantress
1 Fortified Village
1 Abundance
1 Dreadhorde Invasion
1 Nyx Weaver
1 Sandwurm Convergence
1 Mindwrack Harpy
1 Nessian Wanderer
1 Omen of the Hunt
1 Omen of the Sun
1 Felidar Retreat
1 Binding the Old Gods
1 Battle for Bretagard
1 Shineshadow Snarl
1 Necroblossom Snarl
1 Culling Ritual
1 Cunning Rhetoric
1 Spirited Companion
1 Greater Tanuki
1 Love Song of Night and Day
1 Nyxborn Behemoth
1 Ghoulish Impetus
1 Boon of the Spirit Realm
1 Battle at the Helvault

But to cheat out huge things you need ways to get things into your yard, so Entomb, mill effects, and enchantments that themselves have ways to cycle or otherwise dump to your yard for value are great choices. Since this deck is essentially enchantment aristocrats, you want to get some value out of that, so cards like Femeref Enchantress and Wicked Visitor, let you get your opponents coming and going. If you overdraw your hand and have to dump to your yard, that’s great, because you can just reanimate them.

You’ll want to ramp out Anikthea and start reanimating, so there’s a fairly standard “ramp suite” of go get a land sorceries. Again, these aren’t quite as strong as mana rocks, but they will let you mana fix and thin your deck a bit as well as ramping. If you want to make the deck more competitive (piss your opponents off) by running anti-artifact hate: Collector Ouphe, Null Rod and Stony Silence will absolutely shut down mana rocks (and other artifacts).

Once you’ve got Anikthea out you hopefully have buried or entombed or cycled some big fat enchantments like The War in Heaven or something like that, and can start getting enchantment aristocrats pay offs in play so as you are sacrificing and recurring you’re getting triggers and chipping aggressively at opponents life totals. The land situation has been very clarified, and will lead to a lot more ramping/thinning (very and myriad alongside the 2-cost sorcery searches). If you have fetch lands play them since the deck has some ways to get lands back. Many of your enchantments have built in sacrifice abilities, to ramp, or draw, and then come back, as well as sagas to ensure you always have something solid to reanimate.

Here is an add list slightly overblown due to the switch in Snow lands (24 cards) so really only about 40 swapped:

1 Elspeth Conquers Death
1 Gravebreaker Lamia
1 Animate Dead
1 Aura of Silence
1 Fertile Ground
1 Nature’s Lore
1 Seal of Cleansing
1 Seal of Doom
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Wild Growth
1 Heroic Intervention
8 Snow-Covered Forest
5 Snow-Covered Swamp
6 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Sylvan Library
1 Myriad Landscape
1 City of Brass
1 Entomb
1 Godless Shrine
1 Act of Authority
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Assassin’s Trophy
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Temple Garden
1 Mana Confluence
1 Into the North
1 Utopia Sprawl
1 Femeref Enchantress
1 Necromancy
1 Grim Guardian
1 Thoughtrender Lamia
1 Three Visits
1 Opalescence
1 Dance of the Dead
1 Lampad of Death’s Vigil
1 Bastion of Remembrance
1 Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary
1 Malakir Rebirth // Malakir Mire
1 Unmarked Grave
1 Damn
1 Spirit-Sister’s Call
1 Agent of the Iron Throne
1 Braids, Arisen Nightmare
1 The Cruelty of Gix
1 The War in Heaven
1 Ashiok’s Reaper
1 Hopeless Nightmare
1 Wicked Visitor