Leading into the preview season for Guilds of Ravnica, I was pretty excited about what might be injected into Magic with our third trip to the plane of Ravnica. While the set saw the printing of a dozen or so potential staples for every format format from Standard to Legacy, my main focus on the legendary creatures left me a little underwhelmed. This isn’t to say that generals like Niv-Mizzet, Parun, Izoni, Thousand-Eyed, or Etrata, the Silencer won’t have a place or spark new decks—they just didn’t spark anything for me. Besides, not every legendary creature is created solely for the Commander community.

This lukewarm filling was a bit of let down, as I was excited to brew something really great in the weeks following Guilds of Ravnica’s release. But like so many other ideas I have had over the years, sometimes the best ideas come when you’re just not focusing on them. After the full set was previewed, MTG Goldfish released their staple series of Top 10 cards for each given format for Guilds of Ravnica. The Commander episode highlighted Divine Visitation, and I realized how many great interactions it has.

This week I want to extrapolate on that idea from MTG Goldfish, with a deck that nests all the fun interactions I can think of within it. The best candidate I could think of to helm this deck is the oft-overlooked member of the Commander 2014 marquee generals: Daxos the Returned. I’ve always seen Daxos as a powerful general that I never discovered something original to do with. In this deck many of the token generators will be enchantments, so he will do good work even without Divine Visitation.

Daxos the Returned

Daxos of Meletis is a human from the plane of Theros who was linked to Heliod, God of the Sun. He was also companion—mentor and lover—to Elspeth, Sun’s Champion during her quest to slay monsters and deal with the newly ascended Xenagos, God of Revels during Theros block. At some point Xenagos tricks Elspeth into killing Daxos. In the underworld, Daxos makes a deal with Erebos, God of the Dead, becoming Daxos the Returned as a way to get out of the underworld and find Elspeth. Unbeknownst to him, Elspeth had defeated Xenagos before dying herself, now in Daxos’ place. It’s all like one big Greek tragedy.

As a card Daxos the Returned is bittersweet for me. I love how much connection he retains to his home plane by keeping ties to enchantments, but I have also not been shy about expressing that I believe the experience counters mechanic was a little too resilient in a world without Suncleanser or Solemnity. That power level shouldn’t be ignored, however. In the case of today’s deck, once our strategy is moving at full speed, we will be generating 4/4 Angels at the cost of 1WB.

Experience via Enchantments

Enchantments have proven themselves to be a profound Achilles’ Heel for most Commander decks. Because two colors almost can’t interact with them at all, and the general sense is that enchantments aren’t that big of a concern, many decks don’t have the ability to interact with them profitably. This deck is looking to play on that weakness. While there will be other token creators within the deck, enchantments like Bitterblossom and Luminarch Ascension do double duty in this deck by not only creating tokens but upping the experience counters on our general.

All of these enchantments will naturally give us advantages in a typical game of Commander, pumping out tokens either with excess mana or without any input from us. Some of the highest picks for this deck are going to be the cards that yield tokens with the least cost or setup. Spirit Mirror or Retreat to Emeria will likely get us a token every turn, but only require we play Magic. Equally, Curse of Disturbance changes from being fair or advantageous for us to disproportionately great once Divine Visitation takes over.

Finally we have the enchantments that I would still consider but wouldn’t prioritize. They create creature tokens while asking for more investment: Pegasus Refuge, Dawn of Hope, and Mobilization. All three rank a little lower than Daxos for me, due to cost or the extra investment of discarding what will hopefully be dead cards from our hand.

Tutoring for What’s Important

This deck probably will draw comparisons to my four-color Gitrog Monster deck or the five-color Nekusar deck Josh Lee Kwai championed on both The Command Zone and an episode of Game Knights, since I am burying the true purpose of the deck somewhere other than the command zone. But unlike both of those decks, I don’t believe we can just simply hope to draw into our key card. We will have to rely on tutoring to best set up our games. I have a love-hate relationship with tutors, because I think they create too much repetitive gameplay. But since we don’t start with Divine Visitation as a unofficial eighth card like a general, I’m willing to overcome my personal bias and include Demonic Tutor or Sidisi, Undead Vizier if it means our deck gets to do what it was designed to do.

Our core strategy requires a specific enchantment at the ready in most games, so it’s going to be important to do some setup to insure that we are seeing it on a regular basis. Luckily for us, white has an expertise for grabbing enchantments from our library in the form of cards like Academy Rector, Enlightened Tutor, Idyllic Tutor, and Plea for Guidance. These spells will provide consistency for us in the form of not only grabbing the most important card for our deck, but also grabbing any of the aforementioned enchantments.

Generating Value

While much of this deck skeleton has been focused on enchantments, they are not the only method of token generation we can employ. Planeswalkers like Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion are high picks that not only create tokens, but will be helpful in improving their place on the board. Captain’s Call and Call to the Feast become powerhouses as they should be creating twelve power for four mana. And Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Captain’s Claws do spot on impressions of Geist of Saint Traft.

Fabricate was a mechanic we saw in Kaladesh that gave us the option of improving the creature that had it or generating tokens. The best of those for our deck is Angel of Invention, with Marionette Master having use but not the same power level it normally has. The Angel is noteworthy because it represent one of the last things we’ll want to keep in mind as we emass our army: anthem effects.

But nothing quite tops Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder in this context. All the credit goes to MTG Goldfish for pointing out this interaction. The ability to work around Endrek’s fatal flaw by simply changing what kind of tokens he’s creating, and making every spell into a massive dump of 4/4 angels for no extra cost beyond having Endrek on the table, means that this card becomes utterly busted. This is the best interaction in the deck without question and was so enticing that I had to share the idea instantly upon connecting the dots.

Scanning through all of the Guilds of Ravnica spoilers, Divine Visitation was bound to be one of the cards I was going to find a use for, but I didn’t imagine it might be the focal point of an entire deck. It’s a very unique effect only seen before in the form of cards such as Essence of the Wild and Followed Footsteps, and neither of those are necessarily doing what this is. In the same vein, I never felt like Daxos the Returned got the same attention as Meren of Clan Nel Toth or Mizzix of the Izmagnus received.

We’ve seen that before in Magic, the fourth or fifth best part of a cycle of cards being completely forgettable even when it a high power level in a vacuum. So look closely at more cycles and find me on Twitter, tell me what you might do with an overlooked part of cycle. And join me on my Twitch stream at HipsterSainio every Tuesday night at 8 CST.  As always, thanks for reading.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH, the EDH community, and streams on Twitch in his down time. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks. Join him for a stream at twitch.tv/hipstersainio on Tuesday nights.

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