Commander 2018 Deck Review: Part 1

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.

EXQUISITE INVENTION

Let’s start things off with Exquisite Invention, the artifact themed deck lead by Saheeli, the Gifted.

Exquisite Invention
Designer: Wizards
(Out of the Box)
Commander (1)
Saheeli, the Gifted

Lands (38)
15 Island
12 Mountain
Buried Ruin
Command Tower
Foundry of the Consuls
Highland Lake
Izzet Boilerworks
Izzet Guildgate
Swiftwater Cliffs
Darksteel Citadel
Great Furnace
Seat of the Synod
Forge of Heroes
Creatures (27)
Maverick Thopterist
Soul of New Phyrexia
Inkwell Leviathan
Sharding Sphinx
Hellkite Igniter
Bosh, Iron Golem
Darksteel Juggernaut
Duplicant
Myr Battlesphere
Psychosis Crawler
Scuttling Doom Engine
Steel Hellkite
Thopter Assembly
Etherium Sculptor
Whirler Rogue
Chief of the Foundry
Pilgrim’s Eye
Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer
Tawnos, Urza’s Apprentice
Treasure Nabber
Varchild, Betrayer of Kjeldor
Ancient Stone Idol
Loyal Drake
Loyal Apprentice
Geode Golem
Thopter Engineer
Vedalken Humiliator

Instants and Sorceries (11)
Saheeli’s Artistry
Blasphemous Act
Reverse Engineer
Tiding
Chaos Warp
Magmaquake
Into the Roil
Thirst for Knowledge
Aether Gale
Saheeli’s Directive
Echo Storm

Other Spells (23)
Blinkmoth Urn
Mimic Vat
Mirrorworks
Prototype Portal
Unwinding Clock
Commander’s Sphere
Dreamstone Hedron
Hedron Archive
Izzet Signet
Magnifying Glass
Mind Stone
Prismatic Lens
Scrabbling Claws
Sol Ring
Swiftfoot Boots
Unstable Obelisk
Vessel of Endless Rest
Worn Powerstone
Thopter Spy Network
Coveted Jewel
Endless Atlas
Retrofitter Foundry
Enchanter’s Bane

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 ThopteristEfficient 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:

Exquisite Invention
Designer: Wizards + Christian
(Upgraded)
Commander (1)
Saheeli, the Gifted

Lands (38)
11 Island
10 Mountain
Buried Ruin
Command Tower
Foundry of the Consuls
Highland Lake
Izzet Boilerworks
Izzet Guildgate
Swiftwater Cliffs
Darksteel Citadel
Great Furnace
Seat of the Synod
Forge of Heroes
Shivan Reef
Sulfur Falls
Temple of Epiphany
Wandering Fumarole
Phyrexia’s Core
Inventor’s Fair
Creatures (27)
Maverick Thopterist
Soul of New Phyrexia
Inkwell Leviathan
Sharding Sphinx
Hellkite Igniter
Bosh, Iron Golem
Darksteel Juggernaut
Duplicant
Myr Battlesphere
Steel Hellkite
Thopter Assembly
Etherium Sculptor
Whirler Rogue
Chief of the Foundry
Treasure Nabber
Ancient Stone Idol
Loyal Apprentice
Thopter Engineer
Vedalken Humiliator
Hellkite Tyrant
Master of Etherium
Cheif Engineer
Foundry Inspector
Hangarback Walker
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Pia Nalaar
Sai, Master Thopterist

Instants and Sorceries (11)
Blasphemous Act
Reverse Engineer
Chaos Warp
Into the Roil
Thirst for Knowledge
Saheeli's Directive
Echo Storm
Cyclonic Rift
Counterflux
Counterspell
Whir of Invention

Other Spells (23)
Blinkmoth Urn
Mimic Vat
Mirrorworks
Prototype Portal
Unwinding Clock
Commander's Sphere
Dreamstone Hedron
Hedron Archive
Izzet Signet
Mind Stone
Prismatic Lens
Scrabbling Claws
Sol Ring
Swiftfoot Boots
Unstable Obelisk
Worn Powerstone
Thopter Spy Network
Endless Atlas
Retrofitter Foundry
The Antiquities War
Mechanized Production
Storm the Vault
Efficient Construction

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.

ADAPTIVE ENCHANTMENT

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.

Adaptive Enchantment
Designer: Wizards
(Out of the Box)
Commander (1)
Estrid, the Masked

Lands (39)
Forge of Heroes
Plains
Island
Forest
Azorius Chancery
Blossoming Sands
Command Tower
Evolving Wilds
Krosan Verge
Meandering River
Mosswort Bridge
Seaside Citadel
Selesnya Sanctuary
Simic Growth Chamber
Terramorphic Expanse
Thornwood Falls
Tranquil Cove
Tranquil Expanse
Woodland Stream
Creatures (25)
Bruna, Light of Alabaster
Eidolon of Blossoms
Hydra Omnivore
Ajani’s Chosen
Celestial Archon
Silent Sentinel
Boon Satyr
Herald of the Pantheon
Cold-Eyed Selkie
Daxos of Meletis
Elderwood Scion
Archetype of Imagination
Whitewater Naiads
Aura Gnarlid
Reclamation Sage
Yavimaya Enchantress
Kestia, the Cultivator
Tuvasa the Sunlit
Nylea’s Colossus
Ravenous Slime
Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle
Loyal Unicorn
Loyal Drake
Loyal Guardian
Heavenly Blademaster

Instants and Sorceries (9)
Martial Coup
Phyrexian Rebirth
Winds of Rath
Creeping Renaissance
Kruphix’s Insight
Dismantling Blow
Bant Charm
Empyrial Storm
Genesis Storm

Other Spells (26)
Sol Ring
Sigil of the Empty Throne
Dictate of Kruphix
Bear Umbra
Enchantress’s Presence
Epic Proportions
Ground Seal
Spawning Grounds
Finest Hour
Righteous Authority
Sage’s Reverie
Soul Snare
Unquestioned Authority
Eel Umbra
Vow of Flight
Dawn’s Reflection
Fertile Ground
Overgrowth
Snake Umbra
Vow of Wildness
Wild Growth
Unflinching Courage
Estrid’s Invocation
Ever-Watching Threshold
Octopus Umbra
Myth Unbound

The deck does have decent power to be had in there with cards like Bear Umbra, Enchantress’s Presence, Bruna, Light of Alabaster,and Winds of Rath showing up as big hitters.

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 EnchanterSram, 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-CladHero 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 FettersSterling 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:

Adaptive Enchantment
Designer: Wizards + Christian
(Upgraded)
Commander (1)
Estrid, the Masked

Lands (38)
Seaside Citadel
Yavimaya Coast
Canopy Vista
Prairie Stream
Bant Panorama
Rogue’s Passage
Hinterland Harbor
Glacial Fortress
Sunpetal Grove
Evolving Wilds
Blossoming Sands
Thornwood Falls
Command Tower
Selesnya Sanctuary
Simic Growth Chamber
Azorius Chancery
Plains
Island
Forest
Creatures (30)
Tuvasa the Sunlit
Bruna, Light of Alabaster
Aura Gnarlid
Whitewater Naiads
Yavimaya Enchantress
Mesa Enchantress
Verduran Enchantress
Argothian Enchantress
Satyr Enchanter
Hero of Iroas
Herald of the Pantheon
Ajani’s Chosen
Boon Satyr
Nylea’s Colossus
Eidolon of Blossoms
Kestia, the Cultivator
Kor Spiritdancer
Silhanna Ledgewalker
Umbra Mystic
Heliod’s Pilgrim
Nomad Mythmaker
Druid of Horns
Krond, the Dawn-Clad
Eidolon of Countless Battles
Cold-Eyed Selkie
Hydra Omnivore
Monk Idealist
Auramancer
Sram, Senior Edificer
Kitsune Mystic

Instants and Sorceries (7)
Winds of Rath
Kruphix’s Insight
Bant Charm
Open the Armory
Three Dreams
Plea for Guidance
Fumble

Other Spells (25)
Sage’s Reverie
Eel Umbra
Bear Umbra
Snake Umbra
Estrid’s Invocation
Octopus Umbra
Copy Enchantment
Enchantress’s Presence
Beastmaster’s Magemark
Infiltrator’s Magemark
Angelic Destiny
Auramancer’s Guise
Cage of Hands
Ethereal Armor
Ancestral Mask
Unflinching Courage
Wild Growth
Overgrowth
Fertile Ground
Dawn’s Reflection
Unquestioned Authority
Soul Snare
Sigil of the Empty Throne
Armadillo Cloak
Faith’s Fetters

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!