I can take at that! Give me a couple of days (I am on Thanksgiving break soon) and I can think through it. Feel free to remind me if I forget. Thanks so much!
November 21, 2022 11 a.m.
Guerric I love the way you built Inalla - so I'd love your feedback and suggestions on my Xanathar build. Two things to keep in mind - I'm not trying to make it overwhelmingly gross to play against, but also would like to bank a few wins out of it. Its kind of a Dimir chaos deck in a sense to where it really depends on what the rest of the table is playing for me to cast beneficial spells off their decks.
I know you're busy but I appreciate any assistance you can offer!
November 21, 2022 3:50 a.m.
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Thanks for all the playtesting and updates! I probably will try out Pyre of Heroes after I play the deck in its current draft a bit. I had been thinking about just some of the interactions you mentioned, namely sacc'ing three drops for Paragon. Not sure if I'd cut Eye or something else for it, but the upside of a tribal tutor engine is pretty good. It is worth mentioning that even in a four player game it's not a given that they remove the Pyre, since the Pyre itself will start producing things they'll want to remove more. The Pyre does have costs associated with it as well, so its not like we are getting free stuff, we're just able to use our library as a toolbox which is useful for us, bit not necessarily threatening to any given opponent. If and when I do add Pyre I will probably also find a place for Breathkeeper Seraph because sac'ing the Seraph for Sephara, Sky's Blade is something that needs to happen. Inspiring Overseer is also a nice little card that I have but haven't been able to figure out how to replace yet. That's also a great interaction with Together Forever. It's easy to forget that while you can't regenerate or stop a sac'ced creature from dying that you can certainly get it back with effects just like Together Forever provides! I think Luminarch Ascension might be worse in multi-player where there are more people to target it. I'd expect it to be better in 1v1 where you could be against an opponent in colors that are bad at removing enchantments. In my case I know my group will insta-kill it, so if I am going for a mana sink Starnheim Unleashed is more likely to get the job done if I play it when it is likely to resolve. And personally I'm just really not into The Ozolith, though I could always be wrong and am open to hearing about how it performs. Thanks again for everything! Those are some great interactions and that is super helpful!
December 4, 2022 12:03 a.m.
Birgi, God of Storytelling Flip is a great card which is a powerhouse in my Feather, the Redeemed deck. She certainly isn't bad here because, as you say, she basically makes Inalla's ability free. My main objection to her that I can't really think of something I'd cut to put her in. She isn't a wizard and doesn't really further any of our other gameplans aside from mana discount, and I wouldn't really want to tinker with the deck's other engines, which work well, just to try to slot her in.
The only real card at the moment that I definitely would like to put in is Patron Wizard, which you suggested some time ago. I think it would be better than Voidmage Prodigy and a real pita for our opponents, I just have never gotten around to ordering him because I am busy and always forget when ordering. It might be for the best because there is that new secret lair foil that looks quite cool, and with that printing the price is the lowest ever. There's probably also some tinkering with the mana base that I could do as well, but in general I'm mostly happy with the deck given those exceptions.
December 3, 2022 8:15 p.m.
This one is a bit of a no-brainer as the new card is strictly better than the old one. Channeler is an awesome addition to this deck. It's nothing flashy and doesn't introduce new combos, but we hardly need more of that. Instead her provides ton of flexibility. He can draw the card just like merchant could, but he is also a second copy of AEther Adept, and can do anything that she can, thus adding more repeatable removal/disruption/recursion to our package. Of course he's a bit better than adept in that he can bounce a non-land permanent. He can also make a bird, though we'd rarely use him for that here. This is just a nice little addition that gives us more synergy and more options.
December 3, 2022 8:06 p.m.
Harsh Mercy seemed like it would be amazing, but I find I don't often need to wipe the board in this deck, and usually when I considered using Mercy it was to deal with one or two problematic creatures. Unfortunately, they get to pick what they keep and can always keep something, so this turns out to be not as good as we'd think, particularly as we don't really need it to clear blockers since we fly. More targeted removal seems to be what the doctor ordered, and Darksteel Mutation can sideline problematic combo commanders. I may switch this to Fateful Absence eventually, but for now we'll go for the more durable if less flexible answer.
It should be fairly clear why this card belongs in, as it is amazing and adds on the recursion in the deck for the low cost of 4 mana. We can get her going as early as turn three! Baneslayer is iconic and fun to play, but it is higher on our curve and has never been too synergistic, so it gets the axe.
I was always nervous about the cmc on the latter, but others have assured me it works great, and this update is lowering my curve across the board so I can afford to raise it two for a far superior version of Guide. Emeria Angel lets us get back whatever we want turn after turn, and is a must answer value piece that can do work in the late game.
This change is more experimental, but the latter costs three when we cast it here, which lowers our curve by two. Its ability is really relevant and synergistic, and allows us to have lifelink the turn we cast this. I do like what I can cutting though as anthems are good here, so there is a chance I go back or re-add it down the road, but for now we are cutting the curve.
Smuggler's Share will no doubt be good in this deck and we need to cut a draw piece for it. I agonized on what to cut as Splendor is better in the early game and less likely to be removed, but is bad late game when it won't give us value. Vanquisher's Banner is amazing in the late game but is a bit more of a high risk, high reward sort of card here. I opted to keep banner because I feel like we need more of the latter category than the former. We'll see how it goes, though others have assured me that banner works well in the late game, and it has indeed done that where I've used it in other decks.
While I like having the extra answer to lands, we can't afford too many colorless lands in this deck and I think this is the least needed as we also have Generous Gift. Mutavault is great obviously for the combo with The Book of Exalted Deeds, but it is also a great way to upper our counters with spare mana. If we activate it on our turn before casting any angels we'll get extra counters on said angels when they ETB. This utility can definitely make a difference over the course of the game even without making it into a Platinum Angel land, and the latter is amazing.
Interlude was always bad because you lose all of your counters on the blink since Giada would re-enter at the same time as them. Guardian is awesome because by phasing out they never leave the battlefield and thus keep all of their counters. Of course if you have Teferi's Protection do feel free to play that in place of either this or Cosmic Intervention
December 2, 2022 4:16 p.m.
Hi everyone! I've updated several sections of the primer today, on December 1, 2022. Feel free to check out my thoughts. I'll also be posting full justifications for the recent updates I've made to the list here soon, so stay tuned in!
December 1, 2022 12:49 p.m.
You are right! We can only use it during our turn. I got a little too excited there for a moment and got ahead of myself. Thanks for clearing that up!
November 30, 2022 6:29 p.m.
Pyre of Heroes is a card I love that I've definitely considered putting in here, and which I may put in here still. It is at its best in toolbox tribal decks, and is arguably one of the all-stars of my Inalla, Archmage Ritualist deck, and should probably go into my elfball deck as well. It's main advantage here is that it allows us to tutor out whatever angel we want, though we do so at the cost of some mana and an angel which costs less. There are instances where this can be great, such as to get Linvala, Keeper of Silence out when we want her, or to help to form Brisela. It could also help us replace angels targeted with single target removal- if we have mana open we can just sac the targeted angel and bring something else out in its place for short mana. It would also give us tutoring that we don't have a lot of in white. It wouldn't be broken in this deck the way it is in tribal decks with more toolbox effects, but it might not draw as much hate either. If I do put it in, Together Forever is the sort of card I might put it in in place of. While it isn't as good in a board wipe, it is arguably better in many situations with targeted removal as we can just replace the lost piece with a costlier spell.
I think Pyre of Heroes could be good regardless of whether we have the combo, but Breathkeeper Seraph is a card I am a bit more dicey on. While on its own it definitely protects itself and one other creature from destruction (but not exile, bouncing, etc) it costs 6 mana, and I am pretty picky with cards in that range. In the combo it's amazing and works as a draw piece, but outside of the combo I'm not too jazzed about it, though I am open to it and certainly don't think it's useless. Unexpected synergies like these can make the deck stronger if they don't weaken our primary gameplan too much.
The Ozolith is a card that's been suggested and considered from the beginning along with a host of other counter-moving shenanigans cards. While I think it's the most worthy inclusion of such cards, I've still never been personally too jazzed about it. We aren't really focused on counters shenanigans in this deck as we leave those to Ghave, Guru of Spores and Heliod/Ballista decks, and devoting more than one card to this subtheme would water down our gold-fishing. This card on its own could protect our counters as you say, but I'm just not sure it would work so well as to be worth it. This might just me my playgroup, but artifact hate of all kinds (destruction, bouncing, etc) is plentiful and this is exactly the sword of card they would blow up as a matter of principle, especially if they just board wiped and wanted to make sure I couldn't just put those counters on the first creature that I play afterwards. If I thought it would work out I would be more open to it, but I see it doing nothing more often than not in my group. Nonetheless, I wouldn't see any harm in trying it out. Every play group is different and sometimes things could be possible like knocking someone out with commander damage by putting them on Giada. I don't see this being likely in my groups, but I could be wrong!
November 30, 2022 2:44 p.m.
The things about land count in commander is that there is orthodoxy and then you modify that based upon the deck's gameplan. Orthodoxy is always 37 lands. If we were doing a lands matter deck, however, we would want 40+ so that we could reliably get landfall triggers. In my Ezuri, Renegade Leader elfball deck, conversely, I run twenty-nine. Dorks are better than lands in that deck, and I have 20+ forms of ramp, including several pieces that fetch my lands for me and a mana curve of 3.17. With all of that, I really shouldn't be running more than twenty-nine (and perhaps should run less). In this case we have several things that point us to a below Orthodox land count. We have a very low mana curve dominated by one to three drops, an adequate ramp package with land fetching properties, a strong draw engine, and, above all, a 2cmc commander who serves as a mana rock for a large portion of our spells. Two lands is really perfect for our opening, because by turn three when we've drawn our tenth card odds are that we've drawn into our third drop, and even if for some reason we might miss it we can still cast a lot of our spells including three drop angels. If I were running the Crucible of Worlds package like kirbysan is I would also drop it more as he as, but for both personal philosophical and practical reasons I am not running it, even though that is the most aggressive way to run the deck. Regardless, you will be totally fine with 35 so long as you don't raise the curve too much where you deviate from the list. I would also agree with kirbysan on the dungeons to run. Phandelver does provide quick payoff and I've actually completed that one, but the Dungeon of the Mad Mage has some sick payoffs, like casting spells for free.
November 30, 2022 2:16 p.m.
Thanks for the input! I think I'll probably cut Sigarda's Splendor after all. I haven't seen Vanquisher's Banner be bad yet, so I'll keep monitoring things but it's probably better to go for the high ceiling low floor type cards when we get above 3 cmc. As for Darksteel Mutation, the key is simply having a removal place to take the spot of Harsh Mercy. I've found that several times when I had it in hand I didn't need a board wipe but did want a targeted removal. That card wasn't good for that since each player gets to pick a creature type to keep, so it went. Mutation is nice since it can sideline a commander at least temporarily, though there are ways around it. Another good option is Fateful Absence, which simply destroys a creature or planeswalker, but which can be done at instant speed. Either way, it doesn't have to be integral, we just want to up the efficient removal with this slot.
As for other cards, my thoughts are as follows. Linvala, Keeper of Silence is the easiest because this card has saved my bacon more times than I can recount, and has been a true all star for me. I expected her to be fine but she's been a real star. Angel of Jubilation is also solid. We're always happy to have the anthem and when her second ability comes into play we'll be very glad we have her as she shuts down some of the more degenerate shenanigans in the format. Search for Glory is another easy one, and is a very underrated card. We have a lot of amazing legends here, and she can tutor all of them. One which I have used multiple times is tutoring Sephara, Sky's Blade and then immediately playing her for .
Together Forever is a board protection piece and the theory on it is good. I haven't seen it as often as other cards, but when I have I've played it, used it, and been glad to have it. It doesn't stop our pieces from being destroyed per se, but it does preserve the cards themselves for the cheap cost of per card. The biggest danger in this deck is getting blown out with an empty hand, and this ensures that we can at least have a hand if we play carefully. It is also good in less dramatic situations though. When I've enjoyed it most is when I've used it to save Sephara, Sky's Blade only to immediately replay her for the next turn, something that vexed my opponents greatly. Now if I were putting Avacyn in I could consider cutting this card since it is in the same category (sort of), but I've found it to be good and plan on keeping it for the time being. Starnheim Unleashed in this deck is the sort of token splashy card that allows for a big play that can put us over the top. It's not critical to the function of the deck, but where it is good it is generally pretty great. The ceiling is to play it with Crashing Drawbridge on the board or to flash it out on the end step right before our turn with Emergence Zone, where the element of surprise can take over the game. That being said, if you wanted to slot Luminarch Ascension in, something I have thought about doing, it could go in place of this as it has a similar function in terms of being able to pump out a massive amount of angel tokens. Luminarch Ascension has added value as a permanent since it can generate angels repeatedly for small mana. It'd downside is that there is no element of surprise. Our opponents will instantly know the threat it poses and will likely work to remove it as quickly as they can, possibly before we get to activate it at all. I think both cards are good and can justify a place in the deck, though I wouldn't say either is essential.
Angel of Condemnation is a card that I have pondered cutting and haven't really used too much in my playtesting so far, though it's certainly not bad and the theory on it is good. It's one of those cards with a lot of utility. On the one hand it is a removal piece, and a think we can use extra mana on at instant speed to repeatedly disrupt our opponents. Often we shouldn't need to exert him. Just blinking our opponents degenerate piece on their upkeep will generally keep them from exploiting it during their turn. Of course if we do exert him we can sideline a piece until an opponent removes him, and usually only the opponent who owns the degenerate piece will be willing to do so. This card can also be useful on our own stuff. We'll be happy to blink Sanctuary Warden for an extra card sometimes, or maybe blink any of our creatures to gain life off of Bishop of Wings and make an angel token off of Resplendent Angel or put some counters on stuff with Archangel of Thune. I've played enough blink decks to know that we tend to find all sorts of synergies like this if we have a card like this one in the deck and are looking for them.
Needless to say I am pretty happy with the list in general, and most of the cards I haven't liked I've cut. This doesn't mean we can't cut these or any other cards, but the threshold of a new card needs to be high for me to consider it.
November 29, 2022 10:22 p.m.
I am hoping for some community feedback on something. My plan has been to cut Harsh Mercy for Darksteel Mutation, as I found the former didn't help much, and in situations where I wanted it more single target removal was what I wanted. Mutation can also sideline annoying combo commanders, and so I intend to add it. I also intended to add Smuggler's Share in place of another card draw piece, but have had trouble deciding which one. Currently Smuggler's Share is in in place of Harsh Mercy since those situations are set, but I need to go back and cut the draw piece so I can put Darksteel Mutation in. Here are the options as I see them-
Critics of my earliest list didn't seem to care for this card, but I've found it to perform well. It is 3 cmc, which makes it a perfect turn three play, and it allows us to net clue tokens for free every turn since we are pretty much always attacking. Additionally, replacing this with Smuggler's Share wouldn't do anything to lower our curve, whereas cutting a pricier card would. While we do, of course, have to pay each time we want to sac one for a card, I've found that we can often do this and are often happy to do so. With our low curve we often may want to hold mana open for removal, Lapse of Certainty, board protection pieces like Cosmic Intervention, and even creatures with flash. If we don't need to do any I have often been glad to make use of it by drawing cards on my opponent's end step right before my turn. I've also found this card incredible in a blowout. When everything has been destroyed, it is great to be able to spend a bunch of mana and re-draw our hand to keep in the game. It has saved my game at least once. As such I think I am least inclined to cut this one, but I am putting it out there as it is still nowhere near the most superior tier of card draw, which in this deck would be Mask of Memory.
When playing with Mangara I have found him to be a powerful draw engine. His first ability rarely comes into play since I usually have big vigilant blockers that deter attacks. Still, it is there. His second ability has been amazing though. In my playgroup at least, most players are casting at least two spells per turn by the mid game, and I have got a lot of cards off of him. I've found his lifelink ability situationally good as well, since his toughness allows him to attack more often than one might think. The weaknesses of Mangara are that he costs four mana, which is more than we like to pay for an engine piece, and that as a creature he is arguably the most fragile permanent type. I haven't found in my experience that he gets hit with targeted removal too much since I usually have more threatening pieces on the board which draw that. He does die to board wipes though, which is not really true of most of our other draw pieces. That being said, when he dies to board wipes, I have usually already drawn several cards off of him, justifying the four cmc I put him on the board with. As with Thorough Investigation I am not inclined to cut him, but he is four cmc and thus deserves to be considered.
Some might consider it a heresy of sorts that I even suggest cutting this card as it is a staple draw engine in most tribal decks. In my mono-green elf deck it is incredible and makes for one heck of a draw engine. It essentially turns every angel we cast into a cantrip- we draw a card to replace it. We'll usually draw at least one card during our turn off of it, and sometimes we'll draw two. There is also the anthem, which we always appreciate in an aggro deck even if we don't need it. That being said, it's nowhere near as good here as in my elf deck. There I have gratuitous amounts of mana, more creatures than lands, and very cheap creatures, allowing the card to take over the game if not answered. Here our resources are more limited, the 5cmc is felt more, and our ceiling isn't so high. We therefore have to more carefully consider the downsides. The most obvious is that at 5cmc this is our most expensive draw piece. Paired with that, it is a pretty fragile permanent type, as players tend to pack lots of artifact hate. Moreover, this is precisely the type of permanent players tend to remove, as it keeps our tank full of gas in the long run just by doing what our deck does. The floor for this card is that our opponents blow it up before we draw a single card off of it, putting us back a turn at a point we can't afford that. It would be worth it if we could play it and draw two cards off of it the first turn, but at 5 that this is highly unlikely, meaning it has to survive a turn or two before we can get a return on our investment. Also, this is just a personal consideration, but if I cut it I can put it in my Trynn and Silvar deck where I think it will do great work and draw less hate. This card as such is much higher on the cut list than the prior two.
At the outset it is worth mentioning that this card has a bit of a symbiosis with the last card on the list. When I initially made this deck one focus was on using lifegain for card draw, but since then two of these life-draw pieces, Dawn of Hope and Cosmos Elixir have been cut. As such, cutting either of these last two cards would pretty much eliminate this theme. With that noted, onto the card. This card has almost always been on the chopping block as I revise the deck, but so far it has always made it through, and not for nothing. To begin with, as an enchantment it is a more resilient permanent type. People tend to pack less enchantment removal, and when they have it in hand they are wise to use it on truly game-winning enchantments. I always chuckle inwardly while playing my Teysa deck when someone blows a Disenchant effect on one of my mana rocks just before I play Necropotence or Bolas's Citadel. Needless to say, if they have it they probably aren't wasting it on this card, which will probably last the whole game. This card is essentially an Angel's Feather stapled to a Phyrexian Arena, albeit without the life loss and with a limitation on the draw instead. As such its ceiling is simply drawing a card every turn and gaining some life. It's floor, on the other hand, is just having an over-costed Angel's Feather on the field, which is still just fine. This card as such furthers two of our gameplans- life gain and card draw, and as we cast lots of white spells it will gain us quite a bit of life, especially if Angel of Vitality is on the field. I've found it almost always draws me the card as well. This card will almost never wow us, but Phyrexian Arena continues to be a staple card not because it wows us but because drawing an extra card per turn turns out to be pretty great. Another argument in favor of this card, and this has only to do with flavor, is that it belongs in an angels deck. We have both Bruna and Gisela in the deck, so if we can't have Sigarda herself we might as well have one of her spells. You can also pick up a beautiful, full art foil of this card for about a buck, making it a cosmetic delight. As such I am pretty reluctant to cut this, though I have always considered it.
I have wanted to play this card forever, and this deck was the first commander deck where I had enough life gain to make it worthwhile. I think in considering this card, we need to do a ceiling-floor-middle analysis. The ceiling for this card is incredibly high. We swing in with a crazy amount of lifelink damage, and then dump our mana into drawing a ton of cards. The floor is like with Vanquisher's Banner- we play it turn four and it immediately gets blown up before we draw a single card. Even then, we spent four mana on it and not five. The middle though is really good though, as at per card we will draw lots of cards even with small lifelinkers, and this could arguably be called the most powerful draw piece in the deck for that reason. As an artifact, it is a pretty fragile permanent type and will likely be targeted for removal. That being said, the mid to late game comparison to Vanquisher's Banner is useful. Let's say I have eight mana available and a single big lifelinker in the air. I can play this for four, swing, and then immediately draw four cards off of it when I gain the life. This will usually have made the turn worth it even if the card gets blown up afterwards, and of course, of it does not get blown up, we'll probably win that game. Banner on the other hand would draw us one card if we could cast an angel after it, but wouldn't do much more than that. As such, given this card performs well at most levels, I think it's more likely than not that I keep it in, but it is on the list.
November 29, 2022 1:52 p.m.
I just haven't decided which one to pull for it. It will probably be Sigarda's Splendor, I am just pondering it a bit, and I knew I wanted Harsh Mercy out and Smuggler's Share in so it was just a temporary measure. I am also going to put Emeria Shepherd in for Karmic Guide, I just haven't physically moved the cards yet. I try not to change anything here until I do it in the physical deck otherwise I lose track of things. I'll probably post a full update once changes are finalized.
November 29, 2022 8:04 a.m.
Thanks so much for this! It is incredibly helpful. I am glad to hear the deck is performing better, and seven out of ten is a good rate and consistent with what I've seen. It's also super cool that you got off the combo with The Book of Exalted Deeds and Mutavault. While not the sort of thing that likely happens often it is super powerful when it does! I especially appreciate the insight on Emeria Shepherd since I have it and have pondered putting it in, and it certainly is better than Karmic Guide for only two more. My recent update (which I need to post) cut two five drops for a three and a four drop, so raising it 2 on one card definitely seems worth it. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is also one that belongs in the deck- my only copy is in my elf deck and I don't like proxying, but there is no reason not to put that in. Crucible of Worlds with fetches is also a solid choice in any non-green deck. Teferi's Protection is also great and I only don't have it because as with Nykthos, my copy is in a different deck, but that can easily replace Guardian of Faith or Cosmic Intervention.
I do like that this deck plays pretty differently than my other decks and is a true, "fair" aggro deck. Among my other decks three of the more aggressive decks, Scion of the Ur-Dragon, Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow, and Ezuri, Renegade Leader are much more tool-boxy and tutors are huge. Really only this deck and my Trynn, Champion of Freedom/Silvar, Devourer of the Free deck play a classic aggro game. It's fun to play aggro, be powerful, and be resilient.
Thanks again for all of your playtesting and feedback, it is super appreciated!
November 28, 2022 10:38 a.m.
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|Playing since||Betrayers of Kamigawa|
|Avg. deck rating||33.00|
|Favorite formats||Commander / EDH, Modern|
|Cards suggested / good suggestions||282 / 149|
|Last activity||3 hours|