60 to 100 - Doubling Down with Emmara
Mara Jade, Meet Emmara Tandris
Welcome once again, party people! Thanks for coming back to our (usually) bi-weekly article series that crosses the streams of 60-card formats and our 100-card singleton format. This week is something near and dear to my heart. It's doubly special because... well, it's all about doubling things! Tokens, specifically. Do you folks know what makes my heart happier than a good old-fashioned token deck? If you guessed a pint of Ben & Jerry's Milk n' Cookies ice cream, you would be correct, so a point for you. However, if we're limiting the answer to Magic-related items, the correct answer is, of course, a green-white aggro deck!
The Standard format right now is absolutely awesome, folks. The first month or two of a freshly rotated format means that everyone is brewing and basically playing stacks and stacks of fun and powerful cards. There isn't a known "best deck" yet, because we don't know what's good. Boros has made an impressive recent debut, and there are also some black-green decks prowling around, but if you wanted to read the Golgari Glen Ross Files, I'll just pass you on to Joey "As a Necromancer Myself" Schultz or any of the other great writers we have. You knew what you were signing up for when you clicked on this link, it's ALLLLLL about the Selesnya today! It's the best color combination in Magic, and there's nothing it can't do except for 'be boring.'
Speaking of not boring, here is this week's source of inspiration, courtesy of a recent Grand Prix that had a pretty diverse and interesting Top 8 for itself. The Selesnya player may not have won, but getting into the elimination rounds is quite the feat itself. Feast your eyes on this saucy brew.
I miss the days when you could play 21 lands in a Standard aggro deck and be okay. Yet here we are, Selesnya being the best, as usual. (I'm not biased, you're biased.) The Convoke mechanic continues to be just nutty great in Standard just as it's been a powerful mechanic in Commander. I think the most fun part about the deck is the snowballing effect it creates when it gets moving.
Some of the best cards in the deck just so happen to be my favorites from Guilds of Ravnica as well. Emmara, Soul of the Accord you say? Sign me up! Conclave Tribunal even is making waves in this new Standard world! The question is not, "How are we going to make this work for Commander?" but rather, "How awesome is this going to be?" Obviously, the answer is "very."
Like I said, Convoke is a great and powerful mechanic, very fitting for great and powerful wizards. Not the Oz kind, but those Of The Coast. Turning every creature into mana dorks a la Cryptolith Rite translates into more powerful things than you normally should be able to do. You end up way ahead of the normal mana curve, and get to use more mana per turn than your opponents. Commander is all about resource accumulation, so making your creatures effectively count as double resources means you're getting some great value.
As soon as I first saw Emmara, Soul of the Accord I fell in love. Convoke already gives you plenty of value so her ability to make tokens just for going about your gameplan excites me. I believe I even said on a recent episode of the EDHRECast that Emmara's rec page is going to look how Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist's page SHOULD look. Lots of "tap a creature you control," effects, as many Convoke spells as you can fit, and ways to supplement a go-wide approach. Normally I go to the EDHREC page for a card we're going to build around, but this is extra fun since the build-around card is already eligible to be our commander.
How Wide Can You Go?
Another not-so-bold statement I made on an episode of the EDHRECast was that Emmara, Soul of the Accord would be a great budget substitute for another powerful Selesnya token-based commander, Rhys the Redeemed. Rhys is fantastic at what he does, making an army of tokens in rapid succession. The only problem is, at nearly $30 on most websites, it's hard to suggest him as a commander. Emmara, Soul of the Accord, on the other hand, is a cool dollar, if that. The way they make their army is very different, but there are still some principles we can take from a Rhys token deck.
Naturally, if you want to make an army of token types, you want to maximize whatever tokens you're putting out. If you happen to have a Doubling Season laying around, there are few places better places to run it than here. Same goes for the cheaper options in Parallel Lives and Anointed Procession, all of which make your X-token spells produce XX worth of creatures instead, which goes a long way toward keeping up with the broken decks that guy Chad always sits down with. Combine these token doublers with, say, March of the Multitudes, and you have an army worthy of making Chad go sit in the corner for a few games.
A Tap Dance
While it's great going Wang Chung on the token theme, there do need to be some ways to actually tap Emmara in order to get her ability going outside of our somewhat limited array of Convoke spells that are actually worth running. The influences from one of my favorite all-time decks Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist really shine here with cards like Glare of Subdual helping produce tokens and keep the aggressive decks at bay. Vehicles are a great way to tap Emmara for free as well with the banned-for-some Smuggler's Copter looting and scooting all over the place.
Some of my favorite cards showing up on Emmara's page that are just too good not to share are Nullmage Shepherd and Citanul Hierophants. These give us way more utility than other comparable cards like Rishkar, Peema Renegade might give us in that spot. Unconditional 'mana dorkness' for all creatures gives us an incredible amount of mana in decks that double their creature output, and Nullmage Shepherd covers our base of "get that unfair thing off the battlefield" that tends to be necessary.
They all make soldiers! A tribe that doesn't get a ton of love in Selesnya colors, but still has the ability to make a big impact. The biggest draw I found was giving them all some pumps with effects like Field Marshal and Daru Warchief to give them a little extra 'oomph' when crashing into the red zone. We can sprinkle in whatever other synergies you'd like, but I happen to think Darien, King of Kjeldor and a Soul Warden is hilarious, since it makes you very hard to kill. Even something like Catapult Master for a little extra removal and keeping pesky commanders away is something you can work in.
But now, the list!
Soul of the Accordion
There it is folks, a Commander Deck worthy of Craig Wescoe's stamp of approval. How else have you seen Emmara built so far? Is she purely a token deck, or is there more? Do you even think she's worth running compared to other Selesnya token commanders at all? Let me know in the comments! Thanks everyone!