The release of Wild of Eldraine saw some new Commander decks printed, and with that in mind I’m trying something new. Instead of creating a deck based on an old legendary creature, today we’re upgrading one of those brand new decks. What’s the catch? None of the upgrades will cost more than $10. Welcome back to the Commander Corner, and today’s focus, at the helm of the Virtue and Valor precon, is…

Before we get into the specific cards that we’ll be upgrading, here’s a peek at the precon decklist. There’s a lot of sweet cards here, and many of them are worth keeping around, but some of them are obviously not going to make the cut.

Creatures: 30

Enchantments: 21

Artifacts: 2

Instants: 2

Sorceries: 5

Lands: 39

Something Stinks

… and it’s the mana in this deck. Nearly 30 basics and only 5 duals makes this a deck that could easily struggle to get double-white or green. Naturally, this is where we’re going to step in and make some replacements.

Sunpetal Grove is an inexpensive auto-include, and easily replaces a basic Forest. Similarly, Brushland, Branchloft Pathway, and Razorverge Thicket can also be swapped for a basic without much concern. Of course, you can also play excellent lands like Path of Ancestry or Evolving Wilds which are strangely missing from the original list as well. Really, almost anything is an improvement, even tapped duals like Selesnya Guildgate.

Less-Than-Ideal Creatures

Most of the creatures here are pretty nice. There’s a suite of cost-reduction creatures for your auras that are mostly priced to move at two-mana, including Transcendent Envoy, Jukai Naturalist, and Starfield Mystic. That’s a lot of redundancy, so maybe consider replacing one of those with Helm of Awakening. Not only does it make all of your cards cheaper, but you’ll hopefully be drawing a lot more cards with your commander out anyway! Just as well, I’d trade in Danitha Capashen, Paragon for Danitha, New Benalia’s Light.

Paradise Druid is lackluster, so replace it with the surprisingly cheap Birds of Paradise. Or, if that’s still too pricey, Ornithopter of Paradise. Just as well, the meager Sylvan Ranger can be easily replaced by Avacyn’s Pilgrim, Springbloom Druid, or even Wood Elves. In short, there’s plenty of better ways to make your mana than either of those cards.

Aura Gnarlid is an odd inclusion, since the precon actually contains far more creatures than auras. With that in mind, switch it out for Champion of Lambholt, which still rewards you for being suited up with auras by also making your whole team harder to block instead of just itself! Celestial Archon costs far too much mana to bestow, so cut down your curve by replacing it with Sixth Sense, or if you must play a super-expensive aura, go for the gold and put in Colossification!

Syr Armont, the Redeemer and Ajani’s Chosen can be replaced with Sythis, Harvest’s Hand and Sram, Senior Edificer to facilitate more card draw more often, with the added bonus of lowering your curve. While Ox Drover is one of the cooler new cards in the list, it doesn’t fit this deck as well as an engine like Satyr Enchanter or versatile cards like Heliod’s Pilgrim or Sterling Grove.

I’m not impressed with Realm-Cloaked Giant, as the deck features one giant (Sun Titan) and the other half of the card is quite boring. If you want a ton of beef, play the newly printed Gruff Triplets or the army-in-a-can Tendershoot Dryad. If you want a boardwipe, play the brand-new Expel the Interlopers, Tragic Arrogance, or Vanquish the Horde.

Replaceable Spells

Be honest, how often are you really hitting lands with Generous Gift? Just play Stroke of Midnight and thank me later. Honestly, it’s kind of funny that this arguable upgrade wasn’t featured in the deck despite being printed in this very set. Either way, most of the other spells actually get a pass here for having a lot of sweet utility and not being very easy to replace.

The Two Artifacts

Yeah, not much to say here, as I wouldn’t replace Arcane Signet or Sol Ring. However, I would try my best to replace something, anything, with Swiftfoot Boots or Lightning Greaves. I can also recommend Skullclamp in a deck like this.

The Enchantments Are Mostly Good

Utopia Sprawl and Fertile Ground are both decent at ramping, but have some downsides: Sprawl must enchant a forest, Fertile costs two mana, and neither make it easier to draw extra cards with your creatures. Instead, play mana dorks like Elvish Mystic so that you can ramp out powerful auras and keep the card draw flowing.

Spectral Steel competes with a lot of other cards that are looking to get auras back from your graveyard, and can be replaced by the more valuable Hyena Umbra or Shield of the Oversoul. Just as well, Careful Cultivation and Indomitable Might should probably get cut in favor of Rancor and Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice.

Final Thoughts

In total, I’ve recommended around twenty upgrades that still keep the theme of this deck alive while also just generally making the deck function much better. If I didn’t already have a fun Selesnya deck in my rotation I’d certainly build this one, but alas. This is the first time I’ve done a precon upgrade guide in the Commander Corner, but I certainly don’t think it’ll be the last. I’ve been Luka “Robot” Sharaska, and thank you so much for tuning into 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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