8, Aug, 23

MTG's Newest Enchantress Deck Is Worse than the Rest

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Article at a Glance

The final deck Enduring Enchantments is a bit tough to talk about. On one hand, it functions well in a limited environment. Because of the low enchant hate most pre-cons have and the high recursion ability of the deck, it’s very strong. The problem is most players had bigger expectations for the financial value of these decks, and that’s only fair because of the vastly increased price of the product.

Does this deck justify the high monetary cost? No, absolutely not. But, as prices have settled a little lower, at least it’s a more reasonable value proposition even if the land base leaves much to be desired. There are far more powerful ways to build an Abzan Enchantments deck for the same amount of money, though, so is this deck fun enough to warrant purchasing? Let’s take a look.

A Solid Commander

Just like all of the other decks Anikthea, Hand of Erebos perfectly enables Enduring Enchantments. Getting double value from practically every card in the deck is helpful and having an endless stream of 3/3 Menace attackers with additional abilities gives the deck significant staying power. However, that’s really it.

Sometimes you can recur enchantments that are big impact like Battle at the Helvault but other times a 3/3 Love Song of Night and Day gives you a non-optional draw two effect…for an opponent. The quality of options is highly variable and so is the deck’s power level. In any environment where there is significant enchant destruction or graveyard hate, Anikthea is hard pressed to do its thing, but in a limited environment without that it can seem extremely effective. Your mileage will vary, considerably.

The nice thing, though, is that the alternate commander in Narci, Fable Singer is all sorts of good. You can use her in your Tom Bombadil decks, you can move the deck into a more Saga heavy theme, or get value for a completely different Abzan enchants archetype entirely. I would be willing to bet that Narci will see significant amounts of Commander play long after Anikthea is relegated to the pages of “commanders that attack” history.

Still, for five mana, the Hand of Erebos offers a solid value package that can give you a nice advantage if it stays in play and attacks every turn. How often will that happen with virtually zero protection effects and no haste? It’s not that likely.

Read More: These 8 Secret Commander Gems are Criminally Underplayed!

This Costs Two Mana?

Much like all of the other Commander Masters pre-cons, the two drop slot is very well done as practically everything here makes a ton of sense and is high impact. However, Composer of Spring is a great draw at virtually any stage of the game. Turning your commander triggers into additional creatures, enchantments and land drops amps up Anikthea’s value considerably. The same can be said of both Nessian Wanderer and The Binding of the Titans.

Having two drops that work both early and late is something this deck does a little bit better than the others. Most of the other two drops accelerate you or give you value. It’s important to have at least one excellent two drop in your opener so be mindful of taking a needed mulligan.

Unique Cards

Look at how generous you are, giving your opponent a +1/+1 and deathtouch buff on their creature! Now they can use it to deal with the threat at the table that isn’t you. Ghoulish Impetus as an aura cannot be recurred by Anikthea but that’s alright because it comes with recursion built in. This is a very cool and fun card that is also quite decent. Sometimes it’s better not to kill something but to keep it in play neutralized until later and this version of the Impetus and Vow cycle of cards is well done.

Cacophony Unleashed is a very unique card being a one-sided board wipe when you cast it that then turns into a 6/6 with menace and deathtouch until end of turn. While you cannot recur it as a wipe, you do get a 3/3 that easily turns into a 6/6 with menace and deathtouch whenever another enchantment hits the field. Having a board wipe is good. Having a one-sided wipe is better. But having a one sided wipe that turns into a huge monster is very unique. Does that save this deck? Unfortunately not really.

Read More: Preconstructed Commander Masters Deck Has an Archenemy Problem

Mixed Metaphors

One other aspect of Enduring Enchantments that sticks out is the lack of a consistent game plan. Sure, you’re going to play a lot of enchantments and get value from them but the deck can go both tall and wide. Demon of Fate’s Design can slap for a lot in the air and gives you a sacrifice outlet to let Anikthea reanimate for extra value. Archon of Sun’s Grace and Felidar Retreat can spit out an army of tokens as can Arasta of the Endless Web if your opponents enable it. The only problem is, there is no road to always get there for this deck. It seeks to gain incremental advantage every turn in a relatively linear way, so playing it is simple and not very deep.

Whereas the other pre-con decks have interesting game states that you have to navigate, Enduring Enchantments sort of forces you to pick the strategy that aligns with the first few cards you encounter and then hope for the best. Many board states end up with Anikthea and two or three 3/3 enchantment zombies while the rest of the table has something crazy going on. It’s hard to win from that kind of position.

Full Graveyard Deck or Something Else?

There’s already a mill sub-theme that works well in the deck, so one option is to take that to the extreme and play some massive cards that will take your entire enchantment based graveyard and put it directly into play. With multi-faceted options like One Ring to Rule Them All and The War in Heaven you can have your cake and eat it too. You get value from Sagas, baseline. You fill your graveyard with mill triggers. This allows you to be choosy about what you reanimate with Anikthea, for example, the mana ramping enchantments, while leaving the bigger game enders stored in your graveyard.

Finally, even if you don’t have the budget for an expensive card like Replenish there are much more budget friendly cards like Brilliant Restoration, Resurgent Belief or Triumphant Reckoning. For a few dollars more Eerie Ultimatum just works. In this version of the deck you go from zero to a dozen or more enchantments all in play at once with a gazillion triggers on the stack. If that doesn’t win, well, you can recreate your board with Anikthea.

Alternatively, you can put in some combos with protection. As mentioned previously, Angelic Renewal is excellent for the deck and allows you to save creatures, multiple times, thanks to Anikthea. Furthermore, cards like Sun Titan are great for a graveyard interactive deck. These cards offer strong synergy no matter which build direction you take.

There are plenty of enchantment friendly tutors but it depends on how much of a combo deck you’re trying to build versus what your local meta tolerates. Certainly Enlightened Tutor is always excellent but Stirling Grove is very inexpensive, adds a protection angle and can be used twice so it’s worth considering for sure. Alongside tutors, adding in combo kills like Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood is going to be entirely up to the power level expectations of your group. Some groups find these types of effects too fast to allow a game to develop, others are playing at a much more competitive level and say bring it on. Certainly many players who pick up this deck will try these cards.

Read More: MTG Eldrazi Unbound Upgrades, Tips, and Gameplay Review

Ultimately, Is it Worth it?

More so than the other pre-cons, Enduring Enchantments could work well or it could be pretty bad. If the table lets you keep your commander in play, accruing value every turn, it’s a somewhat solid deck. If your commander gets removed a couple of times early, you’re out of luck.

The fact that the deck has no real protection means that you are counting on the table running out of steam and then, eventually, your value engine will pull ahead. The problem is if the other decks are better than pre-con level, you’re going to struggle. Most of your big spells are six or more mana and if anyone is playing blue you might just run into a counter at the worst time. Destiny Spinner alone is not enough insurance against the threat of open mana and the deck plays poorly at instant speed with only a few effects and cards. Exile is always a problem, but here it really hurts your value and you don’t really have anything to answer it unlike the other decks which have limited interaction but none-the-less something.

While the general market consensus is that Planeswalker Party is a worse buy, I think Enduring Enchantments gets my pick as the least “good” deck. Does that means it’s bad? No, it’s a fine deck and it works on a pre-con level. It’s not one of the better pre-cons from this set or the last few. It seemed like Wizards was promising these decks were going to operate at a higher power level but unfortunately that just is not the case here.

Furthermore, the way the deck is setup is very formulaic. Attacking and making 3/3s is just not that fun or strong as is. When the deck was first spoiled it reminded me of Myrkul, Lord of Bones from Baldur’s Gate, and, Anikthea is sort of a reversed version. While this deck has a more linear path forward, it looks like the optimal path is to ignore that and do something completely different, particularly combo based. In that case, I always wonder why bother playing this particular commander?

In any case Narci, Fable Singer looks like the more interesting commander especially with a stronger Saga sub-theme and mass graveyard reanimation win con so that is where I am taking my copy and I do think it will be pretty fun once built.

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