As you might already be aware, the full Commander 2018 deck lists have been released. However, when it comes to most newer or indecisive players, it may be hard to know which deck is a good fit for you. This is where I come in, as I will be going over each deck and evaluating play-ability out of the box and any potential upgrades for the deck.
Let’s start things off with Exquisite Invention, the artifact themed deck lead by Saheeli, the Gifted.
First let’s start with the out of the box power level. When compared to the other options given, I’d say it ranks third. There’s just not really anything going on that sets the deck apart from the others apart from the artifact theme, however I feel that Saheeli herself is quite good. Her first plus ability gives her a form of protection against opposing threats while fueling cards like Thopter Spy Network and Retrofitter Foundry. Her second plus ability is also very powerful, allowing you to cheat out huge things likeThopter Assembly or Inkwell Leviathan, and with fuel from her first plus ability it becomes even easier. Lastly, with her ultimate ability she can allow cards like Darksteel Juggernaut (plus a number of servos and other artifacts) to get out of control really quick. As for the alternative commanders, they feel as though they don’t belong in the strategy Saheeli wants. Brudiclad is such a unique card that it should just be in it’s own token deck, and Tawnos, while while OK with Saheeli, should definitely be rocking it with Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient making absurd amounts of artifact ability copies.
The deck itself is honestly a bit underwhelming in terms of power level, with cards worth mentioning (save for new printings) being Unwinding Clock,Blasphemous Act, Duplicant, and Soul of New Phyrexia. Obviously these aren’t the most exciting of reprints, but these are quite powerful and would all be in the final version of the deck, so it about evens out.
Speaking of the final version, it’s about time to talk about upgrades that can be made to the deck. To start off, we’re going to be assuming the deck is running Saheeli as the commander for the sake of ease. With that out of the way, let’s separate the new cards being added into three categories: tokens, support, and finishers.
Starting off with tokens, we’d want to include Pia and Kiran Nalaar, Pia Nalaar, Sai, Master Thopterist, Efficient Construction, and (if it’s within your budget) Tezzeret, Artifice Master and Karn, Scion of Urza to help with both Improvise cards and to provide an army of robots to really abuse Saheeli’s ultimate.
In terms of support, we’d want Foundry Inspector, Chief Engineer, and Storm the Vault for additional mana production , The Antiquities War, Mechanized Production, and Master of Etherium for making our tokens a bit more volatile, and Whir of Invention, to tutor out any artifacts we’d want. To wrap up the support section, there’s going to have to be more ways to interact with the opponent(s), so I’d be a good idea to add in cards such as Counterflux, Counterspell, Ghirapur Aether Grid, and Cyclonic Rift to both deal with opposing threats and protect our own.
Finally, we’d want to have some better finishers in the deck, so cards like Hellkite Tyrant, Hangarback Walker, and Tezzeret the Seeker to provide more support to the artifact tokens and act as stand alone finishers. So, when it’s all said and done, the deck should look a bit more like this:
Of course you can customize your deck to your own liking, but this is the most budget friendly upgraded version I could conceive. Overall, the deck can use a bit of a makeover, but once you do improve it, you’ve got yourself quite a powerful deck.
Of all of the commander decks from this set, I’d say that Adaptive Enchantment has to be the most adaptable (no pun intended) and high reward decks that you could get. Not only this, but this deck is, in my opinion, the second most powerful of the commander 2018 decks out of the box, and it doesn’t take much to push it over the edge. So, without further ado, presenting the enchantment themed deck, Adaptive Enchantment, lead by Estrid, the Masked.
Not only this, but Estrid herself is really good on her own. Her plus ability can give your enchanted creatures a sort of vigilance for , but it can also act as mana acceleration with any auras that are attached to your lands, as for her minus ability, it’s seems resourceful interesting as it is a way to protect your creatures from removal and to enable the untap ability of her plus one. Lastly, her ultimate is quite reminiscent of cards like Replenish, allowing you to get some really big value from recurring enchantments and potentially swinging a game in your favor.
In terms of secondary commanders, Adaptive Enchantment probably has the most solid line up of creatures to offer. Tusava the Sunlit, for example, acts as a sort of combination between Yavimaya Enchantress and Mesa Enchantress, both being a formidable threat and a source of card advantage. As for Kestia, the Cultivator, all of the same applies, in addition to the fact that she can be an aura herself, adding even more value! However, despite all the good that the deck does hold, it’s severely under powered when compared to what it could potentially be with just a couple upgrades. So, like with the previous deck, Exquisite Invention, we’re going to separate the upgrades into three different sections: creatures, auras, and support.
Starting off with creatures, we’re most certainly going to want to include enchantresses like Mesa Enchantress, Verduran Enchantress, Argothian Enchantress, Satyr Enchanter, Sram, Senior Edificer, and Femeref Enchantress to help provide tons of card advantage. In addition to these, we’ll also want creatures that get bonuses when we enchant them, so cards like Kor Spiritdancer, Druid of Horns, Krond the Dawn-Clad, Hero of Iroas, and Silhana Ledgewalker are going to want to be put in most certainly.
With all of these great creatures now, we’re going to want to get just as great enchantments to put on them, starting off with Ancestral Mask, Auramancer’s Guise, Ethereal Armor, and Eidolon of Countless Battles count our other auras and pump our creatures respective to that amount. Infiltrator’s Magemark and Beastmaster’s Magemark, while underwhelming on their own, really gain in value with the more creatures we have enchanted, which we plan on having a lot. As for generally good enchantments, we’re going to want Angelic Destiny, Armadillo Cloak, Cage of Hands, Prison Term, Faith’s Fetters, Sterling Grove, and Copy Enchantment as good ways of buffing our creatures, dealing with other creatures, protecting our enchantments and copy any of these cards, respectively.
Lastly, we have support cards for our deck. Lets start off with some ways to tutor up specific enchantments, starting with Open the Armory, Three Dreams and Plea for Guidance, and Heliod’s Pilgrim which will help to find cards to deal with opposing threats or buff our own creatures. Next, Nomad Mythmaker and Umbra Mystic give additional support to our auras by making them both resilient to opposing threats and making our own creatures resilient. In addition to these, Monk Idealist and Auramancer can provide support by retrieving enchantments that may have been destroyed, or we could avoid the situation of losing auras all together and get a flipped Kitsune Mystic out to simply toss our auras among creatures to avoid any sorts of removal. Lastly, Fumble can be a super cool way to both deal with a creature on our opponent’s side of the battlefield and also get some new auras to work with on our side.
Finally when it’s all said and done, the deck in it’s final form should look something similar to this:
All in all, Adaptive Enchantment, though not fantastic out of the box, can be the most powerful and synergistic deck that this set can provide given the right upgrades and care.
Join me next time as I look over the last two decks in Commander 2018: Nature’s Vengeance and Subjective Reality!