Wilds of Eldraine's Commander decks give a different spin to tribal and enchantment decks

The latest Magic: The Gathering set has two commander decks, Fae Dominion and Virture And Valor. How do these work and how easy are they for beginners?

The two Commander preconstructed decks for Wilds of Eldraine. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)
The two Commander preconstructed decks for Wilds of Eldraine. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)

After the heavy finale of the Phyrexian invasion, Magic: The Gathering is keeping things a little lighter with Wilds of Eldraine (WoE).

This is a fairy-tale inspired set that has all manner of fantasy creatures, ranging from mischievous faeries to a bunnicorn - a portmanteau of bunny and unicorn, and it looks exactly as you would expect.

The set includes many notable reprints of staples, like Smothering Tithe and Rhystic Study, so it might be a good idea for both new and old players to pick up some packs.

However, where the set shines is arguably in the Commander preconstructed decks which brought a twist to existing mechanics.

There are two decks - a Dimir Faerie tribal deck and a Selesnya enchantment deck. But before you start calling Wizards for being ‘basic’, there are different ways to play these decks aside from just ‘beating face’.

But first, let’s take a look at some of the notable reprints in these decks that either give you bang for your buck, or are generally good at supporting what your deck wants to do.

Fae Dominion

  • Kindred Dominance

Though it was reprinted in Commander Masters, thus losing quite a bit of its value, it’s still a powerful board wipe for this deck. As a dedicated Faerie tribal deck, this card creates a one-sided board wipe where you emerge from the carnage unscathed and ensures your board state remains way ahead of your opponents’.

  • Brazen Borrower

The fact that the reprint hasn’t hurt its value that much proves just how good this card is. Aside from being a bounce spell that sets your opponent back, especially if they spent their previous turn to cast that permanent, it’s a creature with an evasion ability.

Besides, the ability to cast its Adventure side and the creature side at instant speed greatly synergises with the secondary commander Alela, Cunning Conqueror.

  • Glen Elendra Archmage

A flying body on the field with a counter ability is something blue/control players will gladly welcome. Yes, you could opt for the cheaper alternative of Negate, but we would rather have a potential attacker/blocker on the field as opposed to holding on to a ‘dead’ card in hand.

  • Scion of Oona

In addition to being a great anthem card, Scion of Oona also provides protection for your Faeries and can potentially double up as a combat trick should your opponent decide to let your attacks through.

  • Arcane Denial

Just a generally awesome counterspell-type card that is still pricey for a common card despite numerous reprints. It allows you to counter a target spell (instead of noncreature) and lets you draw a card too. The only downside is your opponent gets to draw up to two cards, but that’s the Faustian deal for potentially breaking their game plan.

One might even say it’s an offer you can’t refuse.

  • Hullbreaker Horror

This will be a bit of a headscratcher for many as it is kind of known as the big blue finisher filler for recent Commander preconstructed decks.

But why it occupies a spot on our list is because it’s a combo piece that flies under the radar until you really need one and realise that it’s sold out at your local game stores. It’s just nice to know you’ll have one of these lying around now because you definitely will be removing it from this deck.

Ease of use

Though most, if not all, Commander preconstructed decks rely on combat to win, Fae Dominion works in a tricky way that might not be the most intuitive for new players.

Firstly, the face commander, Tegwyll, Duke of Splendor, is a great card on paper. It boosts your other Faerie creatures, something this tribal deck wants, and it lets you draw a card when another Faerie dies.

Tegwyll, Duke of Splendor. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)
Tegwyll, Duke of Splendor. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)

Yet, the deck doesn’t have any sacrifice outlets to maximise the card draw and letting your creatures die via combat is a slow and inefficient way to get that benefit. To make Tegwyll a card draw engine, you will probably have to add cards like Viscera Seer or Phyrexian Altar, and this deck should run a little more smoothly.

If you’re looking at using the secondary commander (Alela, Cunning Conqueror) instead - which is also the suggested commander - it requires a ‘control’ play style where you use instant-speed counters or removals to destabilise your opponents’ boards while building up your Faerie army to swing in for the win.

Alela, Cunning Conqueror. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)
Alela, Cunning Conqueror. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)

Also, you’re generally not going to be playing cards on your turn so you’ll be holding up mana and you need to be sure not to waste them before your next turn comes around, which means knowing what to play and when.

While it’s still fun to play, it’s not the most beginner-friendly as it requires a better understanding of cards for a more precise threat assessment and more game experience in general.

And, for this strategy, the deck requires some modifications as you’ll want to include more instant-speed interactions and spells.

Virtue And Valor

  • Hall of Heliod’s Generosity

This recursion piece is a must-have for enchantment decks as it’s extremely difficult to counter or remove (as a land) and was previously only printed in Modern Horizons in 2019.

  • Bear Umbra

To be fair, this card has seen some reprints (most of it in previous Commander decks) but still retains decent value precisely because it’s incredibly useful. Not only does it allow you to untap your lands upon an attack trigger, which means giving you mana for combat tricks or responses, the spell itself also has an in-built protection for the creature it’s attached to.

  • Setessan Champion

A creature that powers itself up while giving you card draw? Yes. We all know card draw wins games - hence the recurring joke about Rhystic Study. However, with enchantments being known for their low mana cost, this mighty female warrior can get pretty swole real fast.

It was first seen in the Theros Beyond Death, with its first reprint in Commander Masters.

  • Umbra Mystic

This is a nice protection piece for the deck as it protects creatures with Auras attached to them from one instance of destruction. It was previously only printed in the Rise of the Eldrazi set, which probably accounts for its decent value.

However, hot take - firstly, as a creature, Umbra Mystic is susceptible to many forms of removal. Secondly, as an enchantment deck, it’s not enough to just keep your creatures if you don’t have Auras to buff them.

If you have the spare cash, Teferi’s Protection is a much better option.

  • Mantle of the Ancients

First printed in Adventures of the Forgotten Realms, and the only print so far prior to WoE, this could be a nice finisher for a Voltron deck and a recursion piece. However, Virtue and Valor’s new enchantment/Aura mechanic is the Role token which ceases to exist (as it’s a token) when it hits the graveyard.

So, whether you can maximise the payoff from this depends on the direction you want to take this deck in. At the very least, the deck comes with a handful of Auras on its own.

  • Retether

Similar to Mantle of the Ancients, Rether allows you to recur your Auras in the graveyard. It’s a little less of a finisher as it doesn’t give that extra boost like Mantle, though. Like other cards mentioned, its value probably comes from the fact that it was only printed once in Planar Chaos.

That’s not to say it’s not a useful card but its mileage will vary, again, based on the deck you’re making.

Ease of use

As a Selesnya enchantment deck, this is probably the easiest it gets if you’re someone trying to get in the game with the least hassle.

Not only do those colours support the strategy really well, the concept is very straightforward - make your creatures grow (like the space witch Rita Repulsa loved to do) and beat your opponents into submission.

Ellivere of the Wild Court. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)
Ellivere of the Wild Court. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)

However, where Virtue and Valour differ is in how one plays an Aura deck. Traditionally, one plays it in the Voltron style, where you attach your Auras to one creature (most likely your commander) to make it huge and swing out.

Yet, the commanders for this deck seem to encourage the strategy of ‘going wide’ in addition to ‘going tall’.

Ellivere of the Wild Court, the face commander, creates a Virtuous Role token attached to another creature you control when she enters the battlefield or attacks. This means you need to have quite a bit of creatures to really benefit from her ability, a stark difference rom the Voltron deck which goes light on creatures.

The secondary commander - Glywain, Casting Director - creates one of three Role tokens whenever himself or another nontoken creature enters the battlefield and attaches it to said creature.

Again, his ability favours a creature-heavy deck that is not generally seen for Voltron decks.

Gylwain, Casting Director. (Image: Wizards)
Gylwain, Casting Director. (Image: Wizards)

And, as explained previously, the Role Auras are tokens which means they will cease to exist after hitting the graveyard.

Thus, your recursion pieces might not be that useful since you can’t pull your them from the graveyard. This will affect your overall strategy if you’re going the Voltron route.

Hence, the deck supports two potential strategies from what we can tell.

The first is leaning more into the traditional Voltron style deck, but you might want to consider swapping out the commander then.

The second is a creature-heavy deck, where you can include some of the heavy hitters from the green-coloured pie, and laugh while they get a boost from the Role tokens and trample (pun intended) their way to victory.

Wilds of Eldraine products, including the Commander decks, are now available at local game stores or Shopee.

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