Last time in the Commander Corner we covered mono-black underdog Vraan, Executioner Thane. While I do plan on visiting Magic: the Gathering’s Phyrexia: All Will Be One again, this week we are looking at something years older. I am fond of commanders who do something few other cards do, and with that in mind, I am featuring a commander I’ve played and tinkered with for over a year. There are few commanders who support and enable an archetype as well as this card does. Welcome to the Commander Corner, and today we’re talking about…

This planeswalker is a rarity in many ways. First, this is one of the few planeswalkers who can be used as your commander. Second, her tick-up ability creates creatures, a trait shared with only five other planeswalkers that can be your commander. Third, this is one of only two planeswalker commanders that can reduce the cost of your spells. All of those traits make Saheeli a unique card, and one of my favorite designs in the history of preconstructed commander decks.

Many cards within the top 100 commanders are quite variable in their play patterns and deck construction, with the ubiquitous Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice being the most famous example of a do-it-all commander. Although Saheeli doesn’t manage to crack the top 100 (resting as low as #344 in popularity according to EDHREC), she does have a surprising level of versatility and power, as you’re about to see.

Before we take a look at how to start building this deck, let’s take a moment to consider the other prominent blue/red decks with similar themes. Mizzix of the Izmagnus allows you a similar level of cost reduction, but with a much bigger setup cost, and more deck-building restrictions. You need to do the legwork if you want to cast Mizzix ahead of schedule. Galazeth Prismari allows all your artifacts to help cast specific card types, but doesn’t let your mana rocks double up on value like Saheeli does. Vadrik, Astral Archmage is also restricted by what card types your payoffs can be, and requires a very specific set of circumstances to really profit from. Krark, the Thumbless and Sakashima of a Thousand faces have comparable power levels to Saheeli, but with lower lows and higher highs, and they are much more likely to draw aggression at a table.

Crouched At The Starting Line

Saheeli asks very little of you, but there are certain guidelines you should follow if you want to maximize her potential. Sure, it’s pretty cool to make tokens, but her best ability is her cost reduction. Believe me when I say that casting huge spells ahead of schedule is something you’ll really enjoy. With that in mind, adding cards you would already play that are incidentally artifacts is a great plan. The best examples are the playable artifact lands like Seat of the Synod, Great Furnace, Darksteel Citadel, and Silverbluff Bridge, among others. Saheeli’s cost reduction makes each of these lands pull twice the amount of weight they usually would.

Next, if you want to make sure Saheeli makes impactful appearances in every game, you’ll need a critical mass of mana rocks. Not just any mana rocks, mind you, but mana rocks that cost two or less mana. Why? So you can cast the rock on turn 2, then follow up with Saheeli on turn 3. After all, acceleration only works if you’re actually accelerating, and planeswalkers can be quite hard to keep on board if your opponents have too much time to set up. There are many mana rocks that are worth considering, from the iconic Izzet Signet to the obscure Jeweled Amulet, and I recommend playing at least 10 of these cards to increase the odds that you’ll cast Saheeli ahead of schedule.

Even though you’re only playing two colors, good mana is pretty important. Since you’ll have a critical mass of mana rocks, you can afford to usually lead with a tapland on turn 1. The ability to produce double and triple of either color of mana is pretty important for certain payoffs, but we will get to payoffs later. With the foundation complete, we need to fortify the walls.

The Danger Zone

In any game of commander, you need cards that keep aggression and problematic cards from ruining your day. Unless you’d like to build an all-out control deck, which Saheeli is very much not suited for, you’re better off honing your threat assessment skills and playing versatile answers to multiple situations. Cards like Mystic Confluence and Fiery Confluence are incredible at making sure you don’t fall behind, get swept up in aggressive starts, or can keep a player that’s ahead from running away with the game.

Counterspells like… Counterspell and Arcane Denial are good, but look for versatility like Nimble Obstructionist. The bird wizard does everything from counter an Aetherflux Reservoir activation to flash in on an opponent’s end step to attack their planeswalker next turn! Fall from Favor locks down a large creature while also drawing you cards, and as a bonus, the monarchy draws heat away from Saheeli since it relies on combat damage to players.


Now comes the section on payoffs. Saheeli, the Gifted is one of the most versatile commanders in the entire format when it comes to payoffs. Have you ever opened one of those awful red or blue mythics which don’t do anything because they’re way too expensive to cast? Well, they actually fit right into this deck. What once was jank, with the power of Saheeli, the Gifted, can become wildly powerful. Ever look at a Nezahal, Primal Tide and wish it only cost 5 mana? Ever wanted to cast an Apex of Power? Both are quite doable. Of course, for each borderline unplayable 10 mana card in your deck, you’ll need to back it up with card draw and interaction.

The biggest reward is that Saheeli gets to play cards few other decks ever will, in addition to all the great cards that you can play in other decks. Want to play a Consecrated Sphinx on turn 4 and still hold up counters? Saheeli can do it. The important thing to note is that you’re not limited by card type as much as you are by colored mana. Cards that are very mana-intensive like Archmage’s Charm get significantly harder to hold up if you want to cast spells that cost blue mana with Saheeli’s cost reduction. This doesn’t mean you need to play only colorless payoffs (although there are some extremely potent ones), but it does mean you need to be careful in your play patterns and wait for the appropriate time to let your biggest spells fly. If you want to know my favorite payoffs, the decklist is next up.

Saheeli’s Grand Design

The following list is my personal decklist for Saheeli, the Gifted. From top to bottom, the list has been carefully sculpted over hundreds of games. While I can’t explain every card and the reason for its inclusion, there will be a section after the decklist which explains certain synergies.


Creatures – 15

Loyal Apprentice, Ornithopter of Paradise, Thieving Skydiver, Aboleth Spawn, Dualcaster Mage, Nimble Obstructionist, Professional Face-Breaker, Azure Fleet Admiral, Treasonous Ogre, Bladegriff Prototype, Wandering Archaic, Consecrated Sphinx, The Locust God, Tomb of Horrors Adventurer, Nezahal, Primal Tide

Planeswalkers – 3

Narset, Parter of Veils, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Saheeli, Sublime Artificer

Artifacts – 15

Sol Ring, Planar Atlas, Arcane Signet, Coldsteel Heart, Fellwar Stone, Fire Diamond, Izzet Signet, Liquimetal Torque, Mind Stone, Sky Diamond, Talisman of Creativity, Thought Vessel, Aetherflux Reservoir, Wondrous CruciblePortal to Phyrexia

Enchantment – 8

Curse of Opulence, Mystic Remora, Standstill, Underworld Breach, Fall From Favor, Rhystic Study, Court of Ire, One with the Multiverse

Instant – 10

Dispel, Mystical Tutor, Arcane Denial, Counterspell, Mystic Confluence, Disdainful Stroke, Cyclonic Rift, Narset’s Reversal, Chaos Warp, Dig Through Time

Sorcery – 15

Mnemonic Deluge, Aminatou’s Augury, Spelltwine, Mizzix’s Mastery, Jeska’s Will, Windfall, Faithless Looting, Expropriate, Recurring Insight, Overmaster, Fiery Confluence, Rite of Replication, Saheeli’s Artistry, Stolen Identity, Knowledge Exploitation

Land – 33

6 Island, 6 Mountain, Silverbluff Bridge, Seat of the Synod, Great Furnace, Darksteel Citadel, Command Tower, Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse, Exotic Orchard, Fiery Islet, Frostboil Snarl, Path of Ancestry, Reflecting Pool, Riverglide Pathway, Shivan Reef, Izzet Guildgate, Spirebluff Canal, Sulfur Falls, Temple of Epiphany, Training Center, Vivid Crag, Wandering Fumarole

Major Synergies

Dualcaster Mage can combo with several cards to create infinite copies of Dualcaster Mage, including Stolen Identity, Saheeli’s Artistry, and Rite of Replication. The varied card types make Aminatou’s Augury strong, but getting another after the first hits cards like Mizzix’s Mastery, Spelltwine, or Mnemonic Deluge is beyond broken.

Turn a random token into another Aetherflux Reservoir using Saheeli, Sublime Artificer. Use Liquimetal Torque to make an opponent’s best card into an artifact for cards like Saheeli’s Artistry and Fiery Confluence to copy or destroy. Windfall with a Narset, Parter of Veils in play can be backbreaking for other players. That only scratches the surface on powerful interactions within this list. The best part is that this list is modular, and the payoffs are interchangeable. If you want to stuff this deck with eldrazi like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, you could totally do so! If you want this deck to be a budget brew, that’s also possible!

Piloting Tips

The build above features nearly 50 mana sources between lands, mana rocks, and creatures that produce mana. As you might expect, it is extremely important to make sure you play Saheeli on turn 3 as often as possible, which requires a mana rock and 3 lands most of the time. Your goal should be to assert your game plan as quickly as possible, which means throwing all your best spells at the wall ASAP to see what sticks while deem you a threat. When in doubt, draw more cards, as more options are always better than fewer.

Next Time In The Commander Corner
If you’ve read this far, you’re a real trooper. Saheeli started as one of my worst decks, and slowly but surely morphed into the juggernaut she is now. I certainly hope I have given you some insights on a cool new deck idea featuring this truly underrated commander. Are you ready for more Commander Corner? Next week, we trek back into Phyrexia: All Will Be One for another Highlight of one of the many cool and new legendary creatures the set has to offer for the command zone. I’m Luka “Robot” Sharaska, and this has been the Commander Corner.

[ Luka V. Sharaska (they/them) earned the nickname “Robot” by having a monotone voice, a talent for calculating odds, and a perfect poker face. Robot has been playing Magic for more than a decade, starting during the days of New Phyrexia in 2011. ]

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