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Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / "Planeswalker Party" Precon Upgrade Guide | Commander Masters

"Planeswalker Party" Precon Upgrade Guide | Commander Masters


Commander Masters preconstructed decklists have been revealed and with it comes another round of my precon upgrades. We're going to do a thorough analysis of each 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 create an optimized $50 upgrade path!

Check out all the Commander Masters precon upgrades here:

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Planeswalker Party is a Superfriends deck focused entirely on planeswalkers: casting them, protecting them, enhancing them, and winning with them! The deck runs plenty of planeswalkers that work well with each other (Vronos, Masked Inquisitor) and all the non-planeswalker cards are also there to support your planeswalkers (Onakke Oathkeeper)!

So if you're looking for a dedicated Superfriends deck, then Planeswalker Party is the precon for you!

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The Precon List

Before we talk upgrades, let's take a look at the stock list to see what we're working with:

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Planeswalker Party lives up to its name with a complete focus on Planeswalkers: while the actual planeswalker count is on the lower end in my opinion with 19 planeswalkers, literally every card here is chosen to support them, with 16 cards directly referencing planeswalkers / loyalty abilities and more still supporting them via proliferate (Flux Channeler), being good blockers (Fog Bank), and so on. The deck is very much a Superfriends deck with no secondary themes to worry about.

Choosing Our Commander

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Planeswalker Party comes with two potential commanders to lead the precon: Commodore Guff and Leori, Sparktouched Hunter.

While both are powerful commanders, Guff is far superior to lead this precon, providing extra loyalty counters and a combination of mana advantage (and chump blockers), card advantage, and occasionally a finisher. Meanwhile Leori is indeed helpful for the deck but actually promotes the stacking of a specific planeswalker to maximize its value. So if you're building a Chandra Tribal or Jace Tribal or whatever, Leori is going to be an absolute house for that deck!

So the choice is obvious for this precon: we're sticking with The Guffster!

Analyzing the Precon & Identifying Weaknesses

Now that we've glanced at the stock list and settled on our commander, let's take a closer look at the deck itself to identify what parts benefit the most from upgrades.

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 

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 Planeswalker Party and how it compares. For planeswalker cards, I only count them in a role if they can perform that role the turn they are cast, so not counting ultimates. I count:

The ratios here are very impressive: the deck runs a TON of 2mv ramp cards, which is exactly what a Superfriends deck wants because you need to get your planeswalkers out on the battlefield asap to start generating value and hopefully get ahead of potential attackers. The deck can go turn 2 ramp turn 3 Guff pretty consistently which is very sweet!

The great strength of this deck is that planeswalkers inherently provide multiple utility on the same card, like Narset of the Ancient Way being either ramp or removal on any given turn. So a Superfriends deck will be consistently doing what you need to be doing on any given turn -- ramp, draw, interact, etc. -- although it's always at sorcery speed and the impact is more gradual.

My biggest complaint with the deck isn't highlighted in the ratios though: it's the lands. I expect a 3C deck to run as many mana-fixing lands that enter untapped as possible for maximum speed (can be used the turn its played) and consistency (allows us to cast the spells in our hands). Cards like Command Tower and Exotic Orchard are great at this. Cards like the Frostboil Snarl lands or Temple of Triumph lands featured here are not. I was expecting all 3 checklands and painlands, maybe a bondland here like the LOTR precons got, but WOTC really cheaped out here and that's disappointing. The precon still plays out fine, especially with all the early mana-fixing ramp we've got, but it's more clunky than it needs to be.

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How Mean Do You Want To Be?

Superfriends can be a very mean archetype, so the question you have to ask yourself when upgrading the deck is: how mean do you want to be?

Let me explain: the thing about Superfriends is that your planeswalkers are grindy value engines that dodge most popular forms of removal, so the best way for your opponents to deal with you is to prioritize attacking your planeswalkers so kill them via combat. Therefore it's crucial for you, the Superfriends player, to prevent your opponents from attacking your walkers. You can do this a few different ways:

  1. Play disincentives against attacking your walkers (Onakke Oathkeeper makes them pay extra mana, Mangara, the Diplomat draws you cards etc.)
  2. Remove your opponents creatures so they have nothing to attack you with (Nevinyrral's Disk, Blasphemous Act, etc.)
  3. Remove all of your opponents' permanents so they can't attack you now and forever (Jokulhaups, Obliterate)

As you can see, Option 1 is the softest / friendliest way to prevent attacks where we don't interfere with our opponents' ability to play the game, we just make it a bit harder for them to mess with us. Option 2 is a bit stronger / meaner as we don't allow our opponents to hold onto their creatures, ruining their game plan while also stopping them from interfering with us -- more powerful but meaner. And then finally Option 3 removes our opponents'' ability to play Magic entirely, a miserable experience for them but unquestionably the most effective way for us to win.

Option 3 will win you the most games since all you need is some game-winning planeswalker on the battlefield before resolving a Jokulhaups or similar card and that's gg. If your playgroup is cool with that then go for it. But a lot of tables would view that as too cutthroat, and either you'll be auto-hated out of games or you'll no longer be able to play the deck until you make changes to it.

Option 2 isn't as mean but can still be too oppressive for a lot of tables. For example, my Mono Red Chandra Tribal deck was eventually retired because the best way to protect my walkers was to wrath the board each turn so nobody could attack them. This led to feelbad games that I didn't enjoy personally so I stopped playing the deck.

Option 1 is the least effective way to win games but it's also the least oppressive, which might make it the most suitable for certain tables. Sometimes the weaker option is the better one in casual Commander.

So which option you focus on really depends on your playgroup. I just wanted to give you those options and how they play out. The upgrades will provide a mix of these options and it's on you to tweak the list to suit your playgroup.

The other very effective "mean" thing is Extra Turns. Extra turns means extra round of planeswalker activations and can mean the difference between closing out the game with some backbreaking walker ultimates or having all your walkers die to a coordinated attack from your opponents. However extra turns goes against the casual philosophy of "time equity" in a multiplayer game -- it's bad manners to take up all the game time hogging all the turns while you slowly tick up and down your walkers. So use these with caution!

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$50 Upgrade

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

Planeswalker Party offers a fantastic base for an optimized Superfriends list: barring the disappointing lands, the deck has a lot of what you'd expect for Jeskai Superfriends, so it's a great launching point. Therefore my upgrade goals are simple:

  • Upgrade the manabase
  • Upgrade the planeswalkers
  • Add a mass recursion spell
  • Add more ways to support and protect planeswalkers

Additions:

We're adding a bunch of great planeswalkers, the single best one being Teferi, Temporal Archmage, which goes infinite with The Chain Veil and the mana rocks in our deck. I've also added powerful support cards like Ichormoon Gauntlet and lategame recursion Triumphant Reckoning to bounce back into a winning position. Lots of land upgrades too!

I've also tossed in Jokulhaups as a mean but effective "I Win" button: if you have just a single planeswalker on the battlefield with a winning ultimate like Jace, Architect of Thought, destroying all non-planeswalker / non-enchantment permanents is essentially the same as winning the game. I also added two extra turn spells, Savor the Moment which is absurdly good with planeswalkers and Karn's Temporal Sundering.

If you don't want to run MLD cards and/or extra turn spells then replace them for any of these cards: Ever-Watching Threshold, Mila, Crafty Companion, Urza Assembles the Titans, Elspeth's Talent, and keep in Fog Bank

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Cuts:

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With the higher amount of board wipes now in the deck I'm cutting down on creatures since they get weaker. I'm also cutting thematic but weak cards like Ajani Steadfast which simply plays worse than he looks, and Deploy the Gatewatch which you'd think is good but instant-speed walkers isn't that useful plus even with the higher walker count (I added 5 more) of 23 walkers that's only a 48% chance to hit two planeswalkers with this spell which is trash for a 6 mana card. The stock list only has a 34% chance to hit two walkers, gross! Even with scrying this card is always a trap.

Here's how the deck looks with the upgrades added:

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Further Upgrades

Weirdly I didn't notice any other planeswalkers I really wanted to add to the deck: Karns and Ugins are expensive but not particularly great here.

But for the rest:

There's also the talent cycle Elspeth's Talent, Teferi's Talent, and Rowan's Talent, which are interesting cards but honestly not sure how good they actually are. They seem to be on the strong side but suck real hard if an opponent takes out the enchanted planeswalker. Definitely worth testing though!

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2 Down, 2 To Go!

Check back soon for the next precon upgrade!



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