Back in 2008, Faeries was a world-class Magic deck. While it has always had a significant amount of card support, the Faerie type in Magic is grossly underrepresented in terms of Commander decklists, according to EDHrec. Can the new Wilds of Eldraine Commander pre-con Fae Dominion change that?
Disclaimer: As a note, before we get into things, Wizards has sent a care package of Wilds of Eldraine packs and products to MTG Rocks. This package included the Fae Dominion Commander deck. Importantly, however, this package was not received by Joe, who purchased the deck themselves. Additionally, this review was written before the product was received by MTG Rocks.
Your Best Commander Option
First, let’s talk about Tegwyll, Duke of Splendor, the primary potential commander. At first, it seems like a good choice. At only three mana and packing Deathtouch, Tegwyll is a very affordable anthem effect that adds punch to your horde of 1/1 and 2/2 Faeries. When they die, you also get to draw cards. Tegwyll certainly gives the deck a solution against board wipes, and typically that is a great addition to any typal-based deck.
While Tegwyll is a good choice, especially if you take the deck into a more token-heavy strategy, Alela, Cunning Conqueror is superior for the deck at a stock level for several reasons. There are multiple other cards that have perfect synergy with Alela, like Blightwing Bandit, that reward passive, control play. Hence, during my later games with the deck, I leaned into that archetype, and the deck performed much better.
In a move that any Faerie player from long ago should appreciate, Fae Dominion is a hybrid creature control deck. Within this, Alela can accrue incredible momentum as soon as she hits the table. If you have two or three Faeries waiting, it is time for combat shenanigans. Slapping other players for one point of damage and goading their best creature is board control, and it’s better than getting a few extra damage per turn from Tegwyll.
As it is relatively easy to generate bodies with Alela, you can always throw a few tokens away against opposing flyers to ensure you stop getting attacked for the rest of the game. With so many Flash creatures and 17 instants, Alela generates a board on her own. If there is a wipe, she also rebuilds your board instead of simply drawing cards.
Finally, you might initially think that Tegwyll is the more aggressive deck, but using goad triggers to kill other players tends to be way faster than using slightly boosted-up Faeries. In my opinion, the control version is the aggro version.
Tegwyll is simply a bit less effective in a multiplayer scenario compared to Alela and that is likely the vast majority of your Commander games. We’ll talk more about Tegwyll later.
The deck features multiple powerful wipes. Tegwyll’s Scouring allows you the option to cast it with flash, and generates three new Faeries afterwards. If you do this on another player’s turn, then slam down Alela, you can quite easily goad anything good for the rest of the game. Board control.
While interesting wipes are nothing new for most pre-cons, Fae Dominion has multiple one-sided wipes. Kindred Dominance certainly fits the bill but Perplexing Test and Nightmare Unmaking are oftentimes just as good and cost less mana. Since the deck has a ton of card draw and multiple board clears, you will always hit some kind of mass removal every game.
The best part? You also have an excellent protection spell in Thrilling Encore. If the game goes late enough for 11 mana or more, you can clear the board yourself and get everything back. This deck loves to go late!
All the Answers
There is also excellent spot removal in the form of Snap and Reality Shift, among others. Meanwhile, Halo Forager can recur your best spells, and you can even bounce it back to your hand with Run Away Together for even more value.
The best part about a lot of the answers in this deck is that they are also Faeries. Hypnotic Sprite and Spellscorn Coven are ultra synergistic with Alela and the deck as a whole. You have counters, you have bounce, you have exile, you have theft in Sower of Temptation, sacrifice in Rankle, Master of Pranks, and graveyard hate with both Puppeteer Clique and Bojuka Bog.
There is no situation you cannot solve, and Hullbreaker Horror gives you a massive trump card to get yourself out of even the stickiest of situations.
Upgrading Fae Dominion
Wait a moment, didn’t we already talk about Tegwyll? Yes, but no. You see, many people will look at the deck box and say, “This is the commander, I’m ready to turn my Faeries sideways and attack to win!” Unfortunately, the vast majority of the cards in the deck are not synergistic with that plan. Sure, you can get some interesting hands with Reflections of Littjara and Archmage of Echoes to get triple Faeries. With triple the bodies all getting +1/+1, you could make quick work of a table.
Most of the cards don’t work that way, even less so with Alela as commander. The deck is crafted to reward sitting there and waiting to make plays at instant speed on an opponent’s turn. Some of the cards like Misleading Signpost and Illusionist’s Gambit are your primary win-cons, alongside Alela herself. Whereas it was frustrating to sit around and wait for my powerful cards with Virtue and Valor, Fae Dominion has many instant speed cards allowing you to draw, filter, and dig or make plays. When a control deck is doing nothing, well, it’s all going according to plan.
If you want to play a creature-based control deck, you’re in luck because that is where Fae Dominion excels. This matters because of how you are going to upgrade the deck. A lot of players will likely try to stuff in commonly played typal cards like Kindred Discovery, or anthem effects like Favorable Winds, but these are cards that have very little synergy in a control shell.
That’s why adding in a card like Bitterblossom probably does not make a huge amount of sense unless you are running Tegwyll and mass token effects. As is, Fae Dominion is mostly a control shell and not a token swarm deck. While you could make it a Faerie token deck with a few control spells, it seems like it would be less effective and less interactive than what you have right out of the box.
Pick a Faerie, Any Faerie
You cannot go wrong with adding any Faerie with Flash. All of them work with Alela, and, when maximizing her, you get a free guy every spell, which is huge value. Pretty much everyone is going to play Spellstutter Sprite, Faerie Mastermind, and Faerie Harbinger, and it would be hard to say no to any of those cards as they are on theme and strong. Multiple cards let you bounce both Spellstutter and Harbinger for additional value.
There are a few counterspells already in the deck, but adding more is fine, and the deck gets tons of value out of modal spells like Sublime Epiphany. How would we make room for these cards?
One common card that is suggested for removal is Hullbreaker Horror, but it’s downright busted on its own and has significant deck synergy, so no way no how it’s staying. I also see a lot of lists wanting to remove Keep Watch, but the whole point of that card is to have goad synergy on top of attacking with your own creatures. It’s the easiest consistent draw three for three cards out there, but it can also scale well.
Still, we have to make cuts. Here’s where I propose that we abandon the idea of being an aggressive token deck and cut Tegwyll, Reflections of Littjara, and Archmage of Echoes. Sounds crazy, right? But that goes back to our initial premise that this is not a creature-based, token, aggro deck, so the cards that do that are unnecessary. Sorry, Tegwyll!
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At Least it has Tokens
Fae Dominion was a fun deck to play once I adjusted my concept of how the deck wanted to function and began using Alela over Tegwyll. Plus, unlike Virtue and Valor, at least it does have usable tokens that can represent your Faeries without hampering the board state.
For newer players, it may be tempting to look at that juicy +1/+1 from Tegwyll and dream about creating armies of Faeries to smash the other players. But once you use a Misleading Signpost or just a 1/1 Faerie token with an Alela goad trigger to kill another player, you will understand the true power of the Fae and never go back.
Certainly, this deck was far stronger and far more fun to play than Virtue and Valor, but make sure you think of it as primarily a control deck, not a creature deck, unless you make significant and completely different choices when you upgrade!
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