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10 Upgrades For Silverquill Statement Precon | $20 | Breena | Politics | Counters | Commander 2021


Commander 2021 preconstructed decks have been revealed and with it comes another round of my precon upgrades. We've finally arrived at the final precon of the series: Silverquill Statement, which is certainly the most unique and divisive precon of the set. We're going to do a thorough analysis of the deck, highlighting its goals and how well it accomplishes them, check out its deckbuilding fundamentals, identify its strongest and weakest cards, then use all that information to recommend 10 card upgrades that you can purchase for under $25. 

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Unlike most precons, which build upon well-developed popular archetypes like Spellslinger, Lifegain, or Artifacts while giving them a new twist, Silverquill Statement's primary theme is built around an oddball archetype: Politics. The goal of a political deck is to have your opponents spend their resources killing each other, essentially doing the dirty work of winning the game for you. The precon accomplishes this various ways. The first way is by bribing select opponents to do your bidding by offering free resources, letting them draw cards with Secret Rendezvous, reanimating creatures with Incarnation Technique, or giving them treasure tokens with Tempting Contract. The second way is encouraging them to attack each other while leaving you alone, such as giving them free creatures with Combat Calligrapher, pumping creatures with Nils, Discipline Enforcer, or offering to give creatures not attacking you double strike with Duelist's Heritage

The end result is a deck that encourages you to capitalize on the social aspect of Commander, making deals at the table and assisting your opponents to kill mutual threats before eventually swooping in to secure victory. It's similar to Group Hug in that it gives your opponents free resources to assist them, but it differs in that you select who gets those resources and wants you to use them as leverage in deal making. It's a subtle archetype that isn't as obvious in its power as the more popular iconic archetypes, so this deck will be either overlooked or poorly evaluated by the majority of players. However, for the diehard Politics fans out there like myself -- and there are DOZENS of us -- Silverquill Statement's archetype alone makes this precon my favorite of the bunch!

Our Commander

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The face commander of the deck, Breena, the Demagogue, does a great job representing what this precon is all about: this lil' birdie encourages both you and your opponents to be attacking your opponents whenever possible. The attacker gets to draw a card, while you get to put two +1/+1 counters on a creature you control. So Breena helps the entire table, but it always helps you the most as you're the only one getting counters and your opponents have to attack someone that isn't you to get that sweet card draw.

Breena has quickly been dismissed by a lot of the online Commander community by calling her a weaker version of similar cards Edric, Spymaster of Trest and Tymna the Weaver. And while I agree she's a weaker commander, that's also what excites me about her: I want to play a toned down version of Edric, because Edric is a ridiculous commander that is too powerful for most of my playgroups, and I say this as someone who owns an Edric deck that basically just collects dust on my shelf. So yeah, I'm actually very excited to play a toned down Orzhov version of Edric that is less likely to cause me to become the archenemy at my average tables.

Plus people are completely overlooking the fact that Breena is a ridiculous engine for +1/+1 counters. Assuming each player triggering Breena on their turn in a 4-Player FFA game, that's six +1/+1 counters going on to your creatures each turn cycle, which is absolutely ridiculous. The precon doesn't have a lot of counter support -- only a handful of cards like Fain, the Broker, Felisa, Fang of Silverquill, and Elite Scaleguard -- but even so, giving your creatures an extra combined 6 power and toughness each turn cycle is a ton for a three mana commander!

Breena is the perfect leader for this Political precon, so we're keeping her in the command zone when we do our upgrades.

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The Precon List

Alright, now let's check out the decklist and see how well it accomplishes its goals:

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Right out of the box, Silverquill Statement has 31 cards that I'd consider fitting the main theme of Politics: there are 21 cards that give an opponent resources and 10 more cards that deter opponents from attacking you. There's also a +1/+1 Counter subtheme, with 10 cards that add counters and a few of those supporting counters, with some overlap with the main Political theme. The deck's mana curve is a bit high but it's actually pretty good compared to the other precons in the set.

Now that we've glanced at the list as a whole, let's take a look at the deck's ratios.

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Analyzing the Precon

As I often explain in my Budget Commander articles, every time I build a rough draft of a deck, I make sure I have a certain ratio of mana, interaction, card advantage, etc. This gives me a reference point to compare to the deck and see which areas may need improvement. My general ratio is:

  • 50 mana; lands and ramp, usually a 37–13 split
  • 10 card draw; cards that net you 2+ cards in hand
  • 8 targeted removal; split between creature / artifact / enchantment removal and countermagic
  • 3 board wipes; creature-light decks might want one more, creature-heavy decks might want one less
  • 2 graveyard recursion
  • 2 flexible tutors; higher budgets I recommend more tutors
  • 1 graveyard hate; since you need to keep Graveyard decks honest 
  • 1 finisher; something that can win games the turn you cast it without too much setup

That's always my starting point, which is then tweaked to suit the individual deck's strategy and further tweaked with playtesting. I always find it immensely useful to figure out some quick ways to improve the deck in question.

Let's see what the rough ratios are for Silverquill Statement and how it compares. I count:

The ratios look decent at a glance, though a closer look at the actual cards filling each role makes it obvious there's some holes in the strategy. Regardless, we definitely want to bump up the amount of card draw this deck runs in the upgrades section.

Now that we have the ratios in mind, let's take a look at the individual cards, highlighting the strongest and weakest in each category.

40 Lands. The lands are a mix of good and bad. I like seeing Bojuka Bog here and wish all Black precons had a copy. We've got some nice Orzhov staples like Tainted Field. The only two stinkers are Temple of the False God and Study Hall.

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13 Ramp. There's some solid inclusions here, such as Knight of the White Orchid and thematic choices like Victory Chimes. I'm not sold on Tempting Contract like some others are -- it's entirely dependent on your opponents, so I guess hope for bad opponents? However, I don't like the over-reliance on land deficit ramp cards: Knight of the White Orchid, Boreas Charger, Scholarship Sponsor, all these cards can end up doing nothing for you by themselves, but cast one and each subsequent one you cast gets that much worse.

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6 Card Draw. Six cards simply isn't enough to keep up with a table. Having one of the better draw options always available in the command zone helps, but even what we've got isn't that great. Honestly after Breena I think Secret Rendezvous is the next best here, and I don't even rate that card super high. They're thematic, sure, but they're weak. This area needs the most work.

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6 Targeted Removal. Calling it 6 is generous when cards like Stalking Leonin can't be used on-demand. This deck is less interested in dealing with threats on the board and more interested in manipulating them to attack opponents, like Parasitic Impetus, so having a few less removal is fine I think. However, what targeted removal that is here can be better.

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4 Board Wipes. Most of the wipes fit the Politics theme, but some are better than others. I like Tragic Arrogance here, even Promise of Loyalty despite not letting you choose who survives. Deathbringer Regent seems just overpriced here to me.

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5 Graveyard Recursion. Again, very thematic stuff here, but a mixed bag. I think Incarnation Technique is very solid, as is Infernal Offering. Magister of Worth? Not so much.

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0 Flexible Tutors. Tutors are super helpful for any Commander deck to help you find the right card for any situation, but I'm fine with them not showing up in precons. These are decks that are meant to pick up and play without being intimately aware of the deck's contents so tutors would only serve to confuse new pilots.

2 Graveyard Hate. The best aspect of the deck has to be its graveyard hate: not one, but TWO pieces of hate, and both are good! Though this being the best part of the precon is ... worrisome.

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1 Finishers. The point of the precon is to have your opponents kill themselves for you, either through bribery or more direct manipulation like goad (Bloodthirsty Blade). So it makes sense that this deck doesn't focus on big scary finishers itself. However, one trick up its sleeve that I really like is Inkshield, which is an expensive fog that can potentially create a game-ending army of flying tokens to win the game on the backswing. I really like this card!

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The Verdict. While I adore the Politics theme of the deck and it sticks to that theme very well, I find the individual card inclusions to be underwhelming overall. The deck wants more card draw and there's a lot of simple upgrades that I wish the deck went for so that it was more appealing right out of the box.

Upgrade Goals

I have some specific goals when upgrading the deck:

  • Lower the deck's mana curve
  • Add more card draw
  • Upgrade the targeted removal
  • Add more powerful Politics cards

Honestly this precon could benefit the most from tons of swaps, but we're not here to rebuild the entire deck, just upgrade it.

10 Upgrades

Disclaimer: Card prices are volatile and may be different at the time you read this article.

Here's how I'd swap in $20 worth of upgrades. If you want to upgrade on a smaller budget then just makes less swaps:

In Out Reason
Shadrix Silverquill Zetalpa, Primal Dawn More flexible top-end threat.
Cathars' Crusade Gideon, Champion of Justice

Amazing +1/+1 counter threat.

Shaile, Dean of Radiance Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts

Fits our counter theme, one side a threat the other card draw.

Bloodtracker Guardian Archon

Huge card draw in our deck.

Promise of Power Stinging Study

Pay 5 draw 5 is way better than pay 5 draw 3.

Austere Command Deathbringer Regent

Way better wipe.

Council's Judgment Vow of Duty Powerful thematic removal.
Talisman of Hierarchy Scholarship Sponsor

Better ramp.

Despark

Temple of the False God

Staple flexible removal.

Malakir Rebirth

Study Hall

Flexible protection.

Here's how the cuts look in lists.

Additions:

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Cuts:

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And here's the deck with the upgrades installed:

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That's All, Folks!

We've gone through every single precon. Next I'll be brewing some of the new commanders from scratch!



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