Hey, guys! Welcome to the Command Valley. I’m your host, Landon, thanks for stopping by! Today’s episode will be upgrading the Pre-con, Timeless Wisdom, from the 2020 Ikoria Commander decks. I’ll be taking 12 cards out, and putting 12 cards in, in an effort of making the deck a little bit more tuned/optimized.
The preconstructed decks for the Commander Format are among the best products that Wizards of the Coast produces. Who is this product meant for? If you’re interested in playing Commander but can’t even begin to think about building a massive 100-card deck built and optimized around a single strategy with the restrictions of playing only one of each card in your deck and they can only be cards of only your commander’s colors, then the preconstructed decks are meant for you. They are meant to be played out of the box, at a table with the other preconstructed decks from the cycle.
So, let’s say you’ve purchased the deck Timeless Wisdom, played it a couple of times with your friends, and now you want to know which cards to take out, and what to replace them with: I’m here to help you figure that out!
Let’s do a little overview of the deck, to get an idea on which direction to take our upgrades. The commander of the deck, Gavi, Nest Warden, lets us cycle away a card for free once per turn, and she makes us a 2/2 dinosaur cat token every time we draw our second card each turn. If you’re unfamiliar with the mechanic “Cycling”, it’s an ability on a card that you can activate from your hand and it reads “pay 2 mana, discard this card and draw a card”. As the name of the mechanic suggests, you’re essentially cycling away the card to draw a better/more useful card. It’s a really cool mechanic, and we’ve never had a commander that cares about cycling, so I’m really excited to try this deck out!
So, which cards are we taking out? I narrowed it down to 12. There are 12 cards in this deck that either: don’t relate to cycling in a relevant way, or are really slow, or simply have better options. I won’t dwell too much on these cards, as we will be going over the 12 cards being put in. I suggest taking out the following:
And now, the cards that I suggest adding in.
Gavi rewards us for cycling and drawing by making tokens, so I’ve put in a couple more cards that function in a similar way. Nadir Kraken asks us to pay one generic mana when we draw, but it gets a +1/+1 counter and we get a 1/1 squid when we do. Chasm Skulker is probably our best token maker. It becomes a huge threat, getting bigger the more we draw, and we get a bunch of tokens when our opponents kill it. It’s really all upside. Mad Ratter & Improbable Alliance are similar to Gavi–both of these cards want us to draw two cards in a turn. Mad Ratter will give us two 1/1 rats, as opposed to one 2/2, and Improbable Alliance gives us a 1/1 flyer, with the added benefit of being able to fuel its own cost late game for six mana. Those are our token makers, we want to use these tokens as blockers to stay alive, and maybe get in some chip damage throughout the game.
The deck is loaded with card draw from all the cycling, but sometimes we need to dig a little deeper or find something specific. Drawn from Dreams and Dig Through Time will help us do exactly that. Being able to dig seven cards deep into our library and letting us pick two of them is awesome. Our other piece of card advantage comes in the form of a really cool artifact, Bag of Holding. This is somewhat of a pet card of mine, but I think it belongs in any deck that discards. Bag of holding reduces the downside of cycling that is: we cycle away the card now because it didn’t seem useful, but we actually need it later on. Being able to tuck those cards away inside the Bag of Holding, and getting them all back later is so useful, and really cool. Sacred Excavation serves a very similar purpose as Bag of Holding. Being able to bring back Dismantling Wave and/or Akroma’s Vengeance or any other important cycling card is huge.
This deck is loaded already with solid interaction and plays like a control deck. The only added interaction I would include is Countervailing Winds. Being able to counter any spell unless the controller of said spell pays mana equal the number of cards in our graveyard is really good in a cycling strategy. It can also cycle itself away if we don’t need it.
These cards don’t really fit into any other category that I could think of, so this is a catch-all category. Unpredictable Cyclone is probably my favorite card we’re adding in. We really never know quite what we’re going to get out of it, but we could cycle away a smaller creature and come out with Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind or Herald of the Forgotten. Zirda, the Dawnwaker is also super cool in the deck, giving us a much-needed cost reduction to all of our cycling abilities.
ALTERNATE WIN CON.
This is the last card we’re putting in, and it’s kind of the best for last: Approach of the Second Sun. Basically, we cast this spell twice, and we win the game. With the many card draw and cycling abilities that we have, we could very easily cast Approach of the Second Sun, put it 7th from the top, and cycle enough cards before our next turn and cast it again to win. This is just our Plan B–though, we really don’t have any ways of tutoring for it–but it’s nice to have a backup.
These are all the cards we’re adding in! Thank you so much, everyone, for reading this article and tuning into this episode. I hope you have a fun time playing this deck and that you’re able to cycle your way to victory! Don’t forget to check out the video above where I break the deck down and, if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss our future deck techs every Monday, or our monthly gameplay videos! Thank you again, and until next week!