Cavalry Charge - Precon Primer

Cavalry Charge
(Sidar Jabari of Zhalfir | Art by Simon Dominic)

Hello friends, and welcome back to EDHREC for another Precon Primer from your friends in the Scrap Trawlers. March of the Machine is bringing the Phyrexian storyline to its climax, and with it comes five Commander decks covering many different strategies and playstyles, while also giving us plenty of new tasty nuggets to chew on. And what’s more, the decks are bringing back Planechase! Let’s prepare for battle with today’s deck, Cavalry Charge, the white/blue/black deck led by Sidar Jabari of Zhalfir.

Bringing Eminence Back

If overwhelming your opponents with charging battalions of Knights that just won’t stay dead sounds like a good time, then this is definitely the deck for you. Cavalry Charge is led by Sidar Jabari, a 4/3 Human Knight with flying and first strike for four mana. And when he deals combat damage to a player, you can return a Knight from your graveyard to the battlefield.

Oh, you want more? How about freaking Eminence? That’s right, this commander is bringing the divisive mechanic back, with style. The Eminence ability lets you loot (draw then discard) a card whenever you attack with one or more Knights, whether your commander is on the field or in the zone. So you’re getting some incredible card advantage, and potentially filling your grave with Knights for Sidar to bring back.

The backup commander for this deck is the teamup of Elenda and Azor, a six mana 6/6 Vampire Knight Sphinx with flying and ward 2. Whenever they attack, you can pay XWUB to draw X cards. And then at your end step you can pay four life to create a number of 1/1 Vampire Knight tokens equal to the number of cards you drew that turn.

Here’s the full list for Cavalry Charge:

Cavalry Charge Precon

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Commander (1)
Creatures (32)
Artifacts (13)
Enchantments (2)
Instants (6)
Sorceries (7)
Lands (39)

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So what does this deck do? It punches and kicks, and never lets up. The average mana value of the deck sits at a nice 3.34, and you really feel the energy in the early game. Not to mention, the Eminence is in effect as soon as you can start attacking. So if you can get a turn one Foulmire Knight, or even a turn two Wintermoor Commander, you’re off to a fantastic start with a significant card advantage engine from Sidar’s Eminence.

Now usually an all-out aggro deck in Commander falls apart very easily with a board wipe or two. But Sidar comes in clutch there as well with his damage trigger, not to mention other recursion cards like Haakon, Stromgald Scourge and Knights’ Charge.

Despite having 32 creatures in the deck, and some powerful recursion tools, the deck still wants to supply you with ample ammunition in the form of tokens. Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, Xerex Strobe-Knight, Aryel, Knight of Windgrace, Hero of Bladehold, and more are all here to give you a burgeoning, unstoppable army.

Before you go thinking aggro is all this deck does, let me tell you about the other ways we’re hurting our opponents. How about Syr Konrad, the Grim, one of the best uncommon legends ever printed? Old Konnie hits your opponents whenever a creature card goes to your graveyard, which is exactly what’s gonna happen with Sidar’s looting ability. Corpse Knight hits them whenever a creature enters our battlefield, while Knights’ Charge brings the hurt whenever we attack. 

Knights’ Dawn

Time for the best part of precons: new cards! And we’re starting off by looking at the coolest throwback in the history of throwbacks (throwbacks, as everyone knows, were invented in 1997). It’s Herald of Hoofbeats, which gives your Knights none other than Horsemanship. We haven’t seen this keyword, outside of reprints and Un-sets, since Portal Three Kingdoms almost 25 years ago. And what a welcome return it is. This card is fantastic not only for Knight decks, but also for those decks running around that like anthem effects for all creature types.

Vodalian Wave-Knight might be popular in those very same decks. It’ll certainly be an auto-include in white/blue Merfolk decks (with apologies to all you Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca players). 

We’ve got a couple of new black Knights in this list as well, with Locthwain Lancer and Exsanguinator Cavalry. Both are getting through for beats with that menace, and providing, albeit in a roundabout way, some card advantage.

A couple of duds in the deck, with Path of the Enigma and Ichor Elixir. Both are really only playable if you’re running Planechase.

Conjurer’s Mantle is a new all-star for creature-type decks, especially in white, which, after a long drought, is finally seeing powerful card advantage effects regularly. Speaking of which, Chivalric Alliance is going to be every go-wide white deck’s best friend for the foreseeable future. Card is very good.


But those aren’t the only new cards! Each of the precons from March of the Machine features 10 Planechase cards, five of which are brand new planes. So let’s take a gander at those.

Inys Haen, from the Cridhe plane (??) works really well with our reanimator theme, while Littjara nestles in nicely with all the tokens we’re making.

Paliano loves that our commander is looking to connect with opponents’ faces. And Unyaro makes Knights tokens when chaos ensues.

And last is The Caldaia, which gives our creatures Blitz, allowing them to get sacrificed at the end step. And that’s just fine with Sidar.

Dang, it’s almost like these planes were designed specifically for this deck.

Knights’ Charge

So how does the deck play?

Fast and smooth. I tested the deck multiple times and each time I had an engine going by turn three, four at the latest. The low average mana value really works in the deck’s favor, as you can just chip away at life totals immediately. And Sidar is a phenomenal commander in this deck. The card advantage, while also filling the grave with Knights you can recur later, is flawless.

Because of how efficient the deck is, you barely feel the typical slowness caused by the precon manabase. In fact, the lands package might be my only complaint about this deck. 12 out of the 39 lands won’t give you mana on the turn they come in. But like I said, this is typical of a precon, and I’m just nitpicking at this point.

Honestly, the deck is strong enough that it makes a case for why they abandoned Eminence for so long. Not having to have your commander on the field to get its abilities at times feels like playing on easy mode. So, if you’re looking to slow the deck down a tad to play with more casual friends, swap the commander for Elenda and Azor. While this commander is no slouch, it’s going to be a much slower time due to its higher cost and more finicky abilities. Granted, free tokens at every end step is great, but I think you’d have to build more of a card-draw deck to really get a lot of benefit.


I’m so on board with this deck.

Verdict: Buy it

This is an emphatic “Yes” for me. And not just because of how well the deck functions. The reprint value is phenomenal as well. Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, Knight Exemplar, Hero of Bladehold, Herald’s Horn, and Vanquisher’s Banner are all serious money reprints. And they make the deck an easy Buy.

That’s it for the primer! So what am I gonna do to improve this already strong deck? I’d honestly start with the lands, but that would make for a very boring upgrade article. I’m sure we’ll find a few tasty things to add for just a few dollars. So stay tuned for that!

Until next time, remember to budget…before you buy it.

Scrap Trawlers is a Magic: The Gathering budget EDH streaming and video group, with gameplay, deck techs, chats, and more. Catch our videos at Andy, Lenny, and Bert.

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