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Precon Upgrades for "Rebellion Rising" | Tokens & Exile Matters | $30


Phyrexia: All Will Be One Commander 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 make an optimized $30 upgrade path!

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Rebellion Rising is an attack-focused Go Wide Tokens deck, the bread and butter of the Boros guild: the deck churns out small token creatures slow and steady with cards like Assemble the Legion or immediately floods the board lategame with cards like Finale of Glory. Token support cards then elevate your strategy with cards like Staff of the Storyteller to draw cards, Roar of Resistance providing haste, or Adriana, Captain of the Guard to enable lethal attacks.

If you want a Boros Go Wide Tokens deck that taps into a powerful archetype with tons of upgrade potential, Rebellion Rising is the deck 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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Rebellion Rising is all about Tokens: I count 31 token makers in the deck and about 23 cards that are good specifically in Go Wide Token strategies (I count anthems like Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer for this even though they don't care specifically about Tokens). You could say there's a token effort at an Equipment subtheme (7 equipment and 1 support card Goldwardens' Gambit) but it's a stretch. The deck is all about Go Wide Tokens and the card selection is focused almost entirely on that, which is good!

Choosing Our Commander

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There's only two potential precon commanders found in this deck: Neyali, Suns' Vanguard and Otharri, Suns' Glory, both fine choices to lead the precons but want to take the deck in slightly different directions:

  • Neyali, Suns' Vanguard is the face commander and is undoubtedly the better commander to lead the precon. She provides a major payoff to sticking to the Tokens theme, giving your tokens a huge damage boost (and extra combat triggers!) with double strike and best of all some amazing card draw. Note that once you exile a card with Neyali, you can play it even on turns that she isn't on the battlefield! Damage and tons of card draw potential is a wicked combination for a 4-drop commander!
  • Otharri, Suns' Glory makes a fine lieutenant to the deck but definitely should stay in the 99: it makes tokens at a solid rate which is good for a Token deck, and it's resilient to removal since you can get it back from the graveyard, but it simply doesn't provide as much value to the stock list as Neyali does. It's a bit awkward to get itself back from a board wipe since outside of Otharri there aren't a lot of Rebel producers in the deck and the mechanics that would make Otharri more powerful like sac outlets and proliferate aren't found in the precon. It would require a lot more swaps to make the precon more suitable for Otharri than it currently is for Neyali.

So for this precon guide, the choice is obvious: Neyali, Suns' Vanguard will lead our deck.

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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 
  • 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 Rebellion Rising and how it compares. I count:

The ratios here are ... odd. I'm okay with less card draw when our commander is so good at it and always accessible, but the total lack of graveyard recursion is an obvious miss. I would've liked to see a bit more ramp and targeted removal here too even though the options provided are very good overall.

While I don't provide specific card analysis anymore, I will say that the biggest flaw with the deck is there's too many low-impact token producers and anthems that are hogging up card slots: Phantom Generals look especially useless alongside actual good anthems in the precon like Adriana, Captain of the Guard. The precon works so much better once you cut the weaker token producers and anthems for more cards the deck wants, like ramp and draw.

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Upgrade Goals

I have some specific goals when upgrading Rebellion Rising:

  • Cut the bad token producers and anthems
  • Add more ramp, card draw, and removal
  • Add some recursion
  • Expand the Attack and Exile themes a little

We're going to swap out the weakest anthems like Phantom General for way better ones like Divine Visitation, and overcosted token producers like Myr Battlesphere for more tantalizing options like Rabble Rousing.

But the real spice that excites me are these two haymakers:

  1. Commander Liara Portyr is a souped up second version of Neyali, also capable of drawing up to 3 cards per turn AND providing a mana discount to casting exiled spells -- included cards exiled by Neyali!
  2. Breath of Fury is an incredibly efficient extra combat engine in attack-focused combat decks, turning your extra creatures into extra combats for just 4 mana. It can easily be infinite with Loyal Apprentice since you can keep attaching Breath to another evasive hasty token each combat, but even if not going infinite it's an absurd amount of cards drawn with Neyali!

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$30 Upgrades

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

Here's how I'd swap in $30 worth of upgrades. If you want to upgrade on a smaller budget then just make less swaps:

Additions:

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Cuts:

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The deck comes out the gate faster thanks to a streamlined ramp package. Our token producers are faster and more efficient, and we can close out games easier thanks to extra combat spells.

Further Upgrades

The best Go Wide anthem is still Cathars' Crusade. The only downside to running this card is that it's a slog to manage on paper, constantly having to fiddle with counters on each creature.

Battle Angels of Tyr is the best myriad creature. It doesn't trigger the impulse draw of Neyali, Suns' Vanguard, but the double strike on the tokens means double combat triggers.

While most of the tokens have flying, for the non-flyers evasion can be important, which is why I love Iroas, God of Victory.

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Next Up: Corrupting Influence!

As much as I love Boros, attacking, and impulse draw, the next precon, Corrupting Influence, is way more unique and interesting to me! It's an Abzan deck focused on poison counters, how sick is that? Come back tomorrow for my upgrade guide on it!

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