Chris takes a look at the Cabaretti Cacophony Commander Precon deck, and has some suggestions for how to give it a bit of an upgrade!
Streets of New Capenna is here, and with it comes the Cabaretti Cacophony Commander Precon! Let’s look at the deck as it comes out of the box and see where maybe we can give it a bit of a boost. Without any further ado, let’s get to it!
The New Cards
Cabaretti Cacophony is a Green-White-Red token deck; the goal is to just start making creature tokens and then either go wide enough with them to overwhelm opposing armies or grow them big enough to run over anything that gets in their way. Or, even more ideally, both at once!
Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva is the Commander, and…is an odd fit at the head of the deck. She does make a token when she enters the fray, and her second ability of goading a creature works well with all the tokens the deck makes, as you shouldn’t be short of two small creatures to tap. But to me, she feels more like a better part of the army rather than the leader at the front of it.
For that role I much prefer Phabine, Boss’s Confidant. Her blanket ability of your creature tokens getting haste is already great, and her parlay ability builds up your army, buffs them up, and draws everyone cards. That everyone there is important, as that might entice other players to let her stick around for a bit. It’s not much but a little political power in a deck that it otherwise lacks isn’t nothing. She is more expensive to cast than Kitt, but the haste-granting alone can make her impact once she lands huge.
Bess makes for a fantastic lieutenant – this deck can pump out a lot of 1/1 tokens of various sorts, meaning she’ll get scary quite fast, which in turn makes all those 1/1s scary. Exactly what you want in a go-wide token deck, and good enough to build her own Commander deck around!
Rose Room Treasurer is an absolute house here. Triggering off any creature, including all your tokens, this amazing ogre can ramp you two treasure tokens turn after turn, and if you can make three or more creatures enter the battlefield in a turn – not too tall an order for this deck – can let you Fireball anything.
Vivien’s Stampede ably fills the Overrun role here, with the added benefit of keeping everyone up on defense as well as likely drawing you at least one card after combat…if you didn’t just end the game by killing everyone.
Before we get into how to add to the deck, how does Cabaretti Cacophony look right out of the box?
First, the numbers: As of this writing, the singles in the deck come out to $133.57, which makes the deck certainly not a bad value on its own. There’s no one standout money card in the deck, and the reprints fall in the range of Call the Coppercoats, Beastmaster Ascension, and Rugged Prairie – cards that are certainly nice to see reprinted, but nothing too earth-shattering.
The average mana cost in the deck (not counting lands, of course), is 3.47 – not the speediest deck ever, but certainly not too clunky – the distribution makes for a nice bell curve slightly weighted to the lower end, with plenty of haymakers higher up.
The deck is well constructed, leaning fully into the token army theme without diluting itself trying to build out a subtheme too much. Cards like Idol of Oblivion make me very happy to see – perfectly on theme while shoring up a weakness of the three colors in the deck with repeatable card draw. Prosperous Partnership is a nice design – while this deck has Green to shore up its mana, I can see Partnership becoming a staple of Boros decks looking to add ramp in colors that usually aren’t great at it. While it is capable of some flashy plays, this feels like a solid casual deck that will often play out in a similar fashion from game to game – certainly a fine option to bring to a casual table, but not a forever-deck. That said…what can we improve?
I’m going to be keeping things a little more on the casual side of things, but I’ll note when there’s an option that falls a little outside of the constraints I’m going with here.
For instance, right now. This is, as mentioned many times, a token deck. There are a lot of ways to take this deck over the top; Doubling Season, Anointed Precession, and Parallel Lives and more all exist. Adding even one of those to this deck will immediately add a ton of explosiveness and threat to the deck – if you have the budget for it and you are playing at a somewhat higher-powered table, by all means go for it.
With that out of the way, let’s start with a problem that all go-wide army decks of any sort have to deal with: Wraths.
Being a creature token based deck, one of our big vulnerabilities is being susceptible to board wipes. A problem that usually also precludes us from running board wipes of our own. Handily, this deck already comes with some answers to these problems.
Martial Coup lets us wrath and rebuild right away, although we do still lose whatever creatures we previously had. Grand Crescendo approaches the problem from the other side, protecting us from wraths while growing our army at the same time.
False Floor is a novel card that requires a bit of set up to take full advantage of, requiring either attacking or otherwise tapping our own creatures to dodge the floor falling out from beneath us. It’s a neat way for us to both slow down our opponents and let us run a board-clearing effect that we are well suited for.
Now for the additions. Cards like Heroic Intervention and Teferi’s Protection are the obvious answers to opposing wraths, although they are a little spendy. Hour of Reckoning is a card we are uniquely able to take full advantage of – while we do have non-token creatures, of course, we can set ourselves up to be way ahead after the dust clears when we cast Hour. Convoke also works quite well with cards like False Floor and Crash the Party.
Finally, sometimes we’re just going to be facing too many board wipes to effectively work around. In times like that, I like having a different kind of insurance. Cards like Goblin Bombardment and Impact Tremors let our creatures have…well, an impact no matter what. I particularly like Bombardment, as it can also deal with opposing planeswalkers and creatures that may dodge partial board wipes like Austere Command and the like. Tremors does hit all opponent’s at once, which is fantastic…but also doesn’t allow for much politics at all.
So, as a go-wide token deck, what are we good at? We are set when it comes to offense and defense in combat. We have a couple of ways in the deck of giving our team trample, which will let us push damage through – if we wanted to go harder in this direction, we could add another Overrun effect – Jetmir himself would do nicely, or, if you really want to make enemies at your table, you could go full villain and play Triumph of the Hordes. For now, I’m fine with what we have, with Vivien’s Stampede, Cabaretti Charm, and Thunderfoot Baloth being some of our main tools to use here.
Goblin Bombardment is going to give us a bit of reach, letting us deal damage wherever we want outside of combat. We’ve added enough ways to survive or rebuild after board wipes and keep the board clear ourselves, so we’re shored up there. We’ve got a decent amount of ramp already, and our tokens and creatures should let us survive long enough to start deploying our higher-mana-value spells.
The one area a deck like ours can really use some help is with card advantage – traditionally a tricky spot for our colors. That said, we’re not in a bad spot with the stock list already, with Harmonize, Shamanic Revelation, Camaraderie, Outpost Siege, and Idol of Oblivion. But Idol and the new card Rumor Gatherer are the only real actual repeatable card draw sources we have. Idol draws us at most one card per turn cycle, and while Gatherer can probably scry pretty consistently, getting to the actual draw effect with the elf wizard is much harder on our opponent’s turns. We can do better.
And for that boost, we oddly enough will turn to White. Welcoming Vampire is a pretty good bet to let us draw more than one card a turn, as we have ways of generating tokens on our opponents turn. In the same vein, the newly printed Bennie Bracks, Zoologist lets us double up this effect, also working with some of the larger tokens we’re able to make. Adding these two into the list should let us keep up with other decks on cards, letting us keep up the pressure or quickly rebuild when we need to.
(Mana)Base of Operations
Lastly, let’s look at the land base we’re working with. One immediate upgrade I can see is adding Jetmir’s Garden, the “triome” from Streets of New Capenna. It’s in our colors, we can search for it if we add in an effect that has us search up non-basic lands, and it cycles! It’s great! I’d also throw in Skyshroud Claim just for that purpose, and maybe a Farseek as well.
While we already have Castle Ardenvale to make tokens from our lands, adding in a Khalni Garden or (if have the budget room) Kjeldoran Outpost gives us even more outlets for our excess mana and slowly grow our armies in a way that’s tricky to interact with. Legion’s Landing can also fill this spot, but we won’t be able to attack freely into every board state.
Lastly, Gavony Township seems like a gimme here – it’s a land that gets better and better the more creatures you have – in our deck, it can be absolutely astounding.
Here’s the list if we’re keeping our upgrades to right around $50. I’ve listed a lot of other options to add if you want to spend a little more money, but what we have here should boost the effectiveness of the deck without becoming too overpowering at a relatively casual table.
Whether you choose to go with the list out of the box, take some or all of my suggestions, or go in a completely different direction with Cabaretti Cacophony, this deck looks like a blast to play. Happy stampeding!
Chris is the Associate Media Producer at Card Kingdom. He would like to apologize to his son for not holding onto more cards from when he first started playing, as that likely would have paid for college. He enjoys pretty much all formats of Magic, but usually ends up playing decks that make other people dislike playing those formats with him.