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Commander Spotlight: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice


Commander 2016 Spoilers have begun. My favorite card from day one of spoilers week is this sweet legendary; so here's where we'll start with the spotlight:

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Atraxa, Praetors' Voice is loaded with value: a 4/4 with flying, vigilance, deathtouch, and lifelink is a great bargain for 4-cmc. Flying lets her easily swing in for damage, lifelink gains you a significant chunk of life, and vigilance plus deathtouch lets her still be ready to block (and kill) anything that dares swing at you. But her true power lies in her free proliferate trigger that happens at each of your end steps. That's the real meat of the card that gets people, including myself, very excited to build around her.

Proliferate is a fun, hyper-synergistic ability—easily one of the most synergistic abilities in all of Magic. There are all sorts of counters used throughout Magic's history in pretty much every single set printed, and they all benefit from adding an extra counter to them for free, so there's no shortage of pairings you can do with Atraxa. Here are just a few of the good counters that you can proliferate:

  • +1/+1. Certainly the most popular form of counters in all of Magic are +1/+1 counters. Many mechanics revolve around adding +1/+1 counters to creatures, from evolve (Renegade Krasis) to outlast (Herald of Anafenza) and so much more. +1/+1 Counter decks in Commander are drowning in sweet options.
  • Poison. Although life totals in Commander are bumped up to 40 instead of the usual 20 in 1v1 formats, poison counters remain the same: 10 poison counters on a player is lethal. This makes Infect decks "doubly" effective in Commander, with the only thing holding back the archetype from being oppressive is the low card pool of quality infect cards. Adding another way to proliferate poison counters is a huge boost to the archetype's viability, however.
  • Loyalty. Planeswalkers (e.g. Jace Beleren) all use loyalty counters as a resource for their activated abilities. Adding extra loyalty counters makes them do silly things, such as using their ultimate abilities immediately. Decks built around abusing planeswalkers, called Superfriends, love proliferate for this reason.
  • Energy. Hot off the Kaladesh set are energy counters, a new resource that the player acquires and can then spend through cards that use energy. When energy counters were designed, proliferate was specifically brought up as a mechanic that synergizes well with energy, and now we get to see that synergy in action.
  • Other. There's a ton of other random types of counters out there, such as charge (Vivid Marsh), experience (Ezuri, Claw of Progress), age (Glacial Chasm), level (Lighthouse Chronologist), and so much more.

With so many card benefiting from proliferate, you have no shortage of options to play with Atraxa, Praetors' Voice. That's what makes her so interesting. She supports many different archetypes and does her job well without being broken.

Since most people seem to be excited to try out Atraxa leading a Superfriends list, that's where I'll start discussing her as well. If you're interested in seeing my take on Atraxa Infect, Energy, or anything else, let me know and I'll whip up more lists!

Superfriends

Superfriends is a popular archetype in Commander, so it's no surprise that the most buzz about Atraxa is how she is a strong candidate to command a Superfriends deck. Superfriends comes in many forms and colors, but my favorite has always been 5-Color Superfriends led by either Child of Alara or Sliver Queen. Of these, Atraxa, Praetors' Voice has more directly relevant abilities for Superfriends. Proliferate is a powerful support to planeswalkers as already mentioned, but also being a flying deathtouch 4/4 means she's a powerful defender of your walkers. The downside is that Atraxa doesn't have access to Red, so you lose out on some powerful walkers such as Dack Fayden, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded, Ral Zarek, and Chandra, Flamecaller. I think Atraxa is worth the tradeoff, since having a proliferate engine in your command zone really is that good.

Superfriends is all about planeswalkers: protecting them, supporting them, and abusing them. We can accomplish this a number of ways:

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Atraxa, Praetors' Voice adds to this strategy by proliferating your walkers' loyalty counters and serving as a powerful defender. This is my initial build of Atraxa Superfriends, based off my heavily played 5-Color Superfriends. Unfortunately, it's not very Budget because "Budget" and "Planeswalkers" are mutually exclusive, but I did try to keep the price down regardless:

If you're looking to upgrade the deck with more money, here's some very good options that I omitted from my "budget" build:

 

What Do You Want To See Next?

Comannder 2016 is bringing us a ton of awesome new commanders. Let me know which one you want to see me do a deck tech on next. If you want to see different versions of Atraxa, Praetors' Council, such as Atraxa Infect, Atraxa +1/+1, Atraxa Energy, Atraxa Stax (lots of fun synergies with cards like Tangle Wire and Smokestack), or Atraxa Goodstuff, let me know as well. I'd be happy to revisit her with different brews! You can reach me in the comments section below or tweet me @BudgetCommander .


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