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Budget Commander: $20 "Call the Spirits" Upgrade


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Daxos of Meletis was once your average Joe Protagonist: a good guy living a good life with his girlfriend, Elspeth, Sun's Champion. That all changed when Xenagos, the Reveler Threaten'd Elspeth into accidentally killing her lover. But Daxos wouldn't sit idly in the underworld. Now he's back as Daxos the Returned, zombie soldier on a mission! He's sporting the "I pooped my pants" mask of shame and is ready to kick butt with his army of spooky ghosts! Woo!

As usual, let's analyze the Call the Spirits preconstructed deck as it appears without alteration:

Of all the preconstructed Commander 2015 decks I've analyzed, Call the Spirits seems like the one to benefit the most from a couple of card swaps. The deck isn't bad or anything, but a handful of cards are way below the curve, an issue you don't find in the other preconstructed decks as much. Some playtesters mentioned it's a solid deck but needs a few instant speed removal cards. We'll come back to these comments when I talk about what cards to remove.

 

Unorthodox Enchantress

Traditionally, the "Enchantress" archetype has been solidly Green / White. This color combination offers everything a deck needs in enchantment form: ramp (Utopia Sprawl), card draw (Argothian Enchantress), protection (Sterling Grove), removal (Oblivion Ring), and win conditions (Sigil of the Empty Throne). Call the Spirits breaks the mold by swapping out Green for Black. That means it loses access to some of the staple Enchantress cards, but in return the deck takes on the archetype in fresh ways. I love that.

Black may not have the same level of Enchantress support that Green has, but it does have some potent contributions. Call the Spirits already comes with many of the best choices, such as Black Market, Phyrexian Arena, and Doomwake Giant. We also recently got our first taste of Black / White Enchantress being a supported archetype in Magic Origins with Blood-Cursed Knight leading the way in Limited. With Magic Origins supporting Black / White Enchantress and now Call the Spirits in Commander 2015, it's possible we'll see more support for this archetype in the future.

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Exorcising the Bad Cards

While I'm happy that Wizards of the Coast is exploring new design space in supporting Black / White Enchantress, this also means the designers of Call the Spirits had a smaller pool of cards to work with. Since they're in new territory with the archetype, they had to scrape together whatever thematic cards were available and shove them together.

While most of the good Black / White Enchantress cards made it into the deck, like Phyrexian Arena, they came with a few stinkers, like Dreadbringer Lampads, likely because they were running low on enchantments to choose from. The result is an inconsistent preconstructed deck with some really good cards and some really bad ones.

What Call the Spirits needed more than the other Commander 2015 decks were brand new cards designed to help support the fledgling archetype. We got a great one in Grasp of Fate, and that's about it. Daxos's Torment is a solid "meh" card and a missed opportunity. That's a shame.

That's not to say Call the Spirits is a bad deck out of the box or anything. It's a solid deck that contends well with the others from this set. It's just that the cards you'll want to swap out are worse than the cards you'd swap out of the other decks. Speaking of swaps, here are the first cards I would recommend removing as you upgrade your deck:

$20 Upgrades

We're focusing our upgrades to the Enchantress theme. Special focus goes to adding a couple of instant speed removal options, which were notably lacking in the original deck list.

Starfield of Nyx is a strange one. At first it looks like an obvious include, but I have my doubts it's actually any good. I'm not a fan of turning enchantments into creatures, as you leave them open to be destroyed by creature removal or Wrath of God effects. Secondly, the ability doesn't mesh well with tokens, such as those produced by Daxos the Returned or Sigil of the Empty Throne — they'll die immediately. Nonetheless, it's an interesting enough card to deserve a mention.

Put it all together and here's a sample list:

 

Here's what the whole deck looks like with the $20 sample swapped in:

 

Budget-less Upgrades

There are some pricey Enchantress staples out there if you want to fork over the dough:

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Four Down, One to Go!

That's it for Call the Spirits! We're finishing up the series with Wade Into Battle, and then it's back to our regular Budget Commander articles.


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