Rebels are back, but this time they are different. They are Boros tokens, mostly, now, associated with equipment, which is more or less an iteration on the living weapons which had a similar mechanic of creating a token creature and equipping the weapon to it.
As a fan of Mercadian Masques Rebels and ol’ Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero I am a bit sad there doesn’t seem to be a lot of interplay between the various rebel factions, though it also sort of makes sense that various rebel factions don’t work together, since, that’s how it always goes.
I like this Commander, I think Neyali, Suns’ Vanguard is neat, just really solid all around Boros type Commander, with both the ability to create pressure and the ability to generate value off of that pressure. It’s essentially a tempo type of deck, just off of the Commander. But wait – there’s more! Since it’s tokens that are doubled, this really lets you lean into cards that generate disposable creatures so even if your feisty little ones die, you just get more of them off your generators. All in all that’s a really solid efficient package.
Otharri, Suns’ Glory is a Phoenix that uses experience counters to generate even more Rebel 2/2 counters and has it’s own unique return mechanism. The deck also includes Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer but not Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden which is sort of strange. But there’s a lot of options to hotswap with.
Okay hear me out – Wizards needs to print a red/white rebel Commander that has partner with a black mercenary Commander. Anyway…
Coming out of the box this isn’t a bad precon, but it has a lot of the usual problems that a lot of precons have. 6 lands that enter the battlefield tapped. 3 lands that may enter tapped. 5 lands that tap for colorless mana. A lot of mana fixing for a 2 color deck – yet only 15 cards with double pips to account for. So all you really need is to get at least 1 of red mana and 1 of white and then more mana then that. If you can get 2 of each you’re basically golden. So why the wonky mana base? To encourage you to buy singles I guess.
Mana rocks are also probably insufficient here, given the need to get active and then be consistent in putting out threats. It seems like the vision for precons is waiting patiently to kill each other for about 3 turns, start casting things, then 3 turns later start actually playing your 4 and 5 cost core cards. Which is okay, if you like that sort of thing.
Playing vanilla you’ll want to really look for some early ramp – mulligan down to 6 or even 5 makes perfect sense if it means you can get out Neyali quickly and then start exiling cards, you’ll recover that early card disadvantage early through the trigger. Your tokens will create a ton of pressure fairly quickly, so one risk is that your opponents will just blow up Neyali out of fear or a desire to not be completely overrun by your double strikers.
You’ll want to save your interaction for actual critical moments – your tokens should be able to outnumber opponents creatures enough, and they are essentially disposable, so save your few pieces for ways to try to protect Neyali. The board resets the deck offers will often hurt you as much as help you, unless you’re trying to slow play it and bring out Neyali after a first clear. If you start the game with a Martial Coup, Chain Reaction, or Hour of Reckoning you may want to try getting out some tokens, then board clear, then Neyali and start slamming away.
Today there’s three Neyali helmed decks to share, rebuilds from the precon. Version 1 is equipment focused, running all the equipment with the “For Mirrodin” ETB which create a 2/2 Rebel and then equip the artifact in question, as well as fairly standard equipment support. Ultimately none were included, but the living weapons have the same functionality, on ETB they create a token (in this case a 0/0) then equip a weapon, so including some cards like Batterskull could work if you have them laying around. This version also includes a fair amount of triggered card draw, Welcoming Vampire or Tocasia’s Welcome will net you a card when you create a token but only one time per turn, and there’s various ways to create tokens on your opponents turns; Staff of the Storyteller and Idol of Oblivion have token dependent draw. Halo Fountain provides instant speed token creation, card draw, and an alternate win condition.
Here’s the list of cards needed to add to the precon to make this deck:
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Sword of the Animist
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Legion’s Landing // Adanto, the First Fort
1 Bloodforged Battle-Axe
1 Sram, Senior Edificer
1 Koll, the Forgemaster
1 Bruenor Battlehammer
1 Sword of Hearth and Home
1 Esper Sentinel
1 Fighter Class
1 Puresteel Paladin
1 Welcoming Vampire
1 Lion Sash
1 Prosperous Partnership
1 Halo Fountain
1 Battle Angels of Tyr
1 Blackblade Reforged
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Tocasia’s Welcome
1 Bladehold War-Whip
1 Hexgold Halberd
1 Hexgold Hoverwings
The second version is a pure token version – focused on creating tokens every turn to throw at your opponents. There’s a good number of cards that will do this for you, but you have to be careful to parse out if they generate a token that gets to attack or a token that is already attacking. The latter won’t trigger Neyali for you, but will still have double strike.
- Loyal Apprentice – requires Commander, makes a 1/1 flier with haste, trigger
- Skyknight Vanguard – Makes a tapped and attacking token, no trigger
- Goblin Rabblemaster – Makes a token at the start of combat, trigger
- Legion Warboss – Makes a token at start of combat, trigger
- Squee, Dubious Monarch – Makes a tapped and attacking token, no trigger
- Myrel, Shield of Argive – Her tokens are generated when she attacks but dont themselves attack. If they get haste and there is additional combat they could attack the second combat.
- Skrelv’s Hive – These tokens don’t inherently have haste
- Daring Piracy – Makes a token at start of combat, trigger, exile at end of turn
- Goblin Assault – Makes a token at start of combat, trigger
With 9 triggered generators you should have plenty of tokens, and there are several other sources of tokens in the deck.
Myriad is a special instance, which generates tapped and attacking tokens, so they won’t trigger the exile ability but will have double trike. But the Battle Angels of Tyr will quite slap in this deck, as you’ll generate 3 4/4 double strikers with flying and possibly net you cards, treasures, or life.
- 702.116a Myriad is a triggered ability that may also create a delayed triggered ability. “Myriad” means “Whenever this creature attacks, for each opponent other than defending player, you may create a token that’s a copy of this creature that’s tapped and attacking that player or a planeswalker they control. If one or more tokens are created this way, exile the tokens at end of combat.”
- 702.116b If a creature has multiple instances of myriad, each triggers separately.
The final deck is for the alternate Conquest format, Conquest is the 30 life, 12 Commander damage format specifically curated for more competitive play, with most of the very swingy overpowered cards cut. Aggressive life pressure decks tend to more successful in that format, as the 30 life base, lower Commander damage, removal of most strong tutors, and easy combo wins means a deck like this that generates card advantage while aggressively pressuring opponents has more opportunity to shine.
Here is that deck:
Stay tuned for us revisiting Phyrexia: All Will be One with a Memory Jar article to remind you of which important cards you want you’ll want to consider for future deckbuilding.
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