This is the third and final article in this series about how to change your favorite 60-card archetypes into Commander decks. This week is going to be structured differently than the others because it's about a deck that I already own. I'll walk you through how I came up with the deck and what the different elements do.
The deck is mono-white, but many elements can be applied elsewhere, though especially life-gain and pillow-fort decks.
Choosing a Commander
The deck started with my desire for a Kitsune (Japanese Fox) tribal deck. I was looking at the options, which are
Opal-Eye, Konda's Yojimbo,
Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant, and
Sensei Golden-Tail. 8.5 tails looked like the most useful and interesting since I wasn't doing Samurai tribal.
I started building the deck, but realized there weren't enough foxes for it to be viable. I had been watching and playing with a lot of Modern Soul Sisters decks at the time because it's my favorite Modern archetype, so I decided to try to build a Soul Sisters deck. I tried it out and quickly realized that 8.5 tails cost too much mana to be effective. With the unbanning of
Painter's Servant, I'm sure it's much better, but also requires some heavy artifact tutoring to get it into play.
I looked at the other mono-white options for a soul sisters commander, and
Darien, King of Kjeldor or
Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant seemed like the best options back then.
Heliod, Sun-Crowned seems like another good option now, but is more about comboing with
Walking Ballista. I owned a Rune-Tail but not Darien, so I went with the former. Happily, I would later realize Rune-Tail was the better, but less popular option.
The deck is very synergistic and can be a bit complicated to explain why some cards have a spot in over others, so I'll explain how it usually plays out optimally first.
Turn 1 or 2, you play a Soul Sister. A one or two drop that gains you life when creatures enter the battlefield.
Turn 3, you play
Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant, it flips, and you stop taking damage for a while and gain incremental life.
Beyond turn 4, you play a multi-blocker and hold out until you can cast a win-con, and win the game.
This play pattern essentially necessitates several categories, soul sisters, multi-blockers, and very specific win-cons.
Starting Deck: Modern Soul Sisters
Modern Soul Sisters fell out of favor in the Modern metagame a few years back, but it remains one of the most budget-friendly ways to buy into the format. Most soul sisters decks have switched to being
Martyr of Sands decks, but for a few years, they were true soul sisters decks, relying on cards like
Soul Warden and
Soul's Attendant. When I was starting in Commander, I watched a lot of Kevin Crimin's content at The Rogue Deckbuilder. He played a lot of Soul Sisters back then. Here's a deck Kevin ran back in 2015:
4 Flagstones of Trokair 2 Ghost Quarter 4 Windbrisk Heights 11 Plains 4 Serra Ascendant 4 Soul Warden 4 Soul's Attendant 4 Ajani's Pridemate 4 Auriok Champion 4 Ranger of Eos 4 Path to Exile 4 Honor of the Pure 4 Spectral Procession 3 Secure the Wastes 1 Mark of Asylum 3 Stony Silence 1 Suppression Field 4 Celestial Flare 1 Wrath of God 1 Archange l of Thune 2 Return to the Ranks 2 Sundering Growth
What we take from this is we need Soul Sisters, protection, disruption, and creatures that grow really big.
Many of the cards in this 60-card deck don't work in a Commander deck because it was tuned for 1v1 games. That's a significant weakness for white in Commander, but we will take the general categories and find things that work within the Commander format.
First we need Soul Sisters. These are
Auriok Champion, and
Suture Priest. There are also honorary Soul Sisters like
Authority of the Consuls and
Shattered Angel. This might sound weird, but
Shattered Angel is the best card in this entire deck. The amount of life it gains is ludicrous and it's a 3/3 flyer. Anytime you have to choose between cards for some reason, almost always choose to take
Next, we need protection. This is primarily in the form of multi-blockers, those which are able to block any number of creatures or redirect damage like
Guardian of the Gateless or
Protector of the Crown. We can also count
Pariah, which turns any creature into a multi-blocker. These play into the Commander's strength's very well, since
Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant prevents all damage dealt to them. They essentially negate all combat damage coming at you, althoughtrample can still be a problem. A cool trick with Pariah is to enchant a creature with
Darksteel Mutation and put
Pariah on it. It's nice redundancy in case anyone repeatedly destroys your commander with something like
Aura Shards, my most hated Commander card.
Another necessary category is disruption. It's something every commander deck needs, but here is a bit different from more typical packages. The commander and a multiblocker deal with most creatures, so what you need are ways to deal with enchantments and artifacts. My favorite card for this category is
Righteous Confluence. That card is versatile and I've exiled many Gods with it. Once time, I exiled 3 Gods at once with it against a God tribal deck. With 7 new God cards in Theros Beyond Death, you should think about including it in more decks.
The deck is also heavy on board wipes because we're buying time to win. My favorites are
Wave of Reckoning. With Rune-Tail out,
Wave of Reckoning becomes a 1-sided board wipe, and I've killed several
Blightsteel Colossus with it.
Hallowed Burial is also great for getting rid of Blightsteel or Gods.
For the usual Ramp and Draw that every deck needs, Mono-White is of course lacking, but there are options. My favorite is Monarch. There are some great cards with the mechanic, and it's easy to hold onto Monarch here. The deck does have issues with ramp, but I generally got around it by tightening the mana curve. I've tested and tuned it for several months. You just need to be able to cast a Soul Sister and your commander and you have almost all the time in the world after that to draw what is needed to win.
How We Win
There are two types of win-cons in this deck, big creatures and "you win the game" cards. The big creatures are why I sometimes call this a "pillow fight" deck.
Felidar Sovereign and
Aetherflux Reservoir are examples of the "you win the game" cards. The best way that I've found to play with Reservoir necessitates a long multi-game political strategy. Threaten to nuke the first person to do anything against you with the Reservoir even if it kills you. It's mutually assured destruction and nobody wants to go out that way. At first they will think you are bluffing, so you need to follow through and blow them and yourself up. After a few games, they'll realize you're not bluffing and they'll believe you every time after that and you never have to do it again. Then you sit back, gain incremental life until you're at 151+ life, then kill everyone at once.
Some big creatures that you can use to win are
Sunscorch Regent and
Serra Avatar. There's a cool combo with
Serra Avatar and
Wall of Reverence or
Wall of Reverence,
Sunbond, and any other creature. It will essentially double your life and the size of your creature every turn.
Another less obvious way to win is with
Solitary Confinement. If you get it and a way to draw an extra card a turn with Monarch,
Temple Bell, or
Otherworld Atlas, you can sit back and wait as many turns as you want to find your win-con. Speaking of
Otherworld Atlas, it combos great with
Approach of the Second Sun. I have twice so far cast Approach in two consecutive turns to win the game because of Atlas' card draw.
The Final Deck
This is the final deck for Rune-Tail Soul Sisters:
1 Land Tax 1 Smothering Tithe 1 Arcane Signet 1 Sol Ring 1 Serra Ascendant 1 Eerie Interlude 1 Righteous Cause 1 Pariah 1 Terashi's Grasp 1 Faith's Reward 1 Aetherflux Reservoir 1 Palisade Giant 1 Sunscorch Regent 1 Shattered Angel 1 Wave of Reckoning 1 Sunscour 1 Solitary Confinement 1 Chastise 1 Righteous Confluence 1 Sunbond 1 Protector of the Crown 1 Emeria Shepherd 1 Dawn of Hope 1 Wall of Glare 1 Hallowed Burial 1 Ashes of the Abhorrent 1 Authority of the Consuls 1 Guardian of the Gateless 1 Wall of Reverence 1 Auriok Champion 1 Soul Warden 1 Enlightened Tutor 1 Soul's Attendant 1 Fumigate 1 Ajani's Pridemate 1 Darksteel Mutation 1 Test of Endurance 1 Serene Offering 1 Storm Herd 1 Felidar Sovereign 1 Approach of the Second Sun 1 Planar Collapse 1 Crested Sunmare 1 Serra Avatar 1 Rhox Faithmender 1 Ghostway 1 Selfless Spirit 1 Second Sunrise 1 Suture Priest 1 Divine Offering 1 Patron of the Kitsune 1 Eight-and-a-Half-Tails 1 Pious Kitsune 1 Exile 1 Druidic Satchel 1 Pristine Talisman 1 Pearl Medallion 1 Endless Atlas 1 Temple Bell 1 Well of Lost Dreams 1 Otherworld Atlas 31 Plains 1 Kabira Crossroads 1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx 1 Windbrisk Heights 1 Throne of the High City 1 Sheltered Valley 1 Rogue's Passage 1 Radiant Fountain 1 Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant
Ranger of Eos is a card that I've long debated including in the deck. The reason I haven't is because it fetches Soul Sisters, but you want them out on turn 1 or 2, not turn 5+. But it's an option if you are interested in it and so is the new version from Modern Horizons,
Ranger-Captain of Eos.
There are many options for each necessary category of card in this deck that weren't used or mentioned. You should tweak things as demanded by your local meta. Maybe you need more artifact destruction and less enchantment destruction or more taxing and less life-gain.
Thanks for reading my articles. I hope you enjoyed them and got some useful ideas from them. If you have any questions, you can find me on the Cardsphere Discord as Gabby-Grant, Kitsune Ascendant.
Yes, Rune-Tail is obviously my favorite Commander.