Scott takes a look at the Exit From Exile Commander Precon deck, and has some suggestions for how to give it a bit of an upgrade!
Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate is here, and players are ready to gather their party and embark on new Commander adventures! There are a slew of new staples, as well as potent commanders and backgrounds, and players are taking the Initiative to explore the Undercity. Commander won’t be the same after this set, especially considering the four fantastic new preconstructed decks. Today, I’ll be looking at one of them: Exit From Exile, which wants to generate value by casting spells from exile and amassing a large army of wolves and assorted nasties!
New Commander Cards
If you include the face commander, there are 10 new-to-Commander cards in Exit From Exile. This is less than all of the recent preconstructed offerings, but it seems they wanted to try and focus on more valuable reprints instead. These new cards are quite varied, but with a common theme of playing themselves or other cards from exile. Here’s a breakdown of the most important new cards in this deck:
Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald is the face commander for this precon, and the green/red equivalent to Prosper, Tome-Bound. Wolf tokens may not be as innately powerful as treasures, but the ability to go wide while playing cards from exile is not to be underestimated. Her second ability is an excellent way to help filter your draws; turning a dead card into a new one is a phenomenal mid to late game value engine, especially as those exiled cards will give you more tokens!
Durnan of the Yawning Portal is the backup commander for the deck, when paired with Passionate Archaeologist. He generates card advantage through combat, as well as reducing the costs of the creatures he finds by giving them undaunted. Since he can be paired with any of the other backgrounds in Battle for Baldur’s Gate, he can be taken in countless directions, making him extremely adaptable and versatile.
Passionate Archaeologist is a powerful and efficient background that gives exile strategies a bit of extra reach. Prosper, Tome-Bound and Laelia, the Blade Reforged are two commanders that will benefit immensely from this effect, and will likely show up in a lot of their decks.
Foretell makes a comeback in this deck, as a way to make more cards that can be played from exile. Delayed Blast Fireball is one of the better ones in the deck. It gives you a cheap, small damage sweeper in the early game, or you can foretell it to be a more impactful sweeper later on. Its flexibility will probably help it to see play in a number of different decks.
Green Slime is one card that has caused quite a stir in the Commander community recently. It’s very rare to see counterspells in green; Verdant Command in Modern Horizons 2 was the most recent, and before that was Ouphe Vandals back in Fifth Dawn! This can prevent a powerful ability or enter the battlefield effect from happening, while also destroying the permanent it came from. This is very likely to see a lot of play across several decks and power levels.
Adventures have also returned in Battle for Baldur’s Gate, both as a flavor win and as a way to play cards from exile. Tlincalli Hunter is one such adventure card, and it’s a bit more of a high impact creature than the likes of Bonecrusher Giant. The ability to recast a creature from your graveyard is decent, and the cost reduction ability on the creature half of the card can be massively impactful. Imagine casting a Dream Pillager for free!
Suspend is another returning mechanic, thanks to casting spells from exile. Venture Forth is the latest suspend card, which gives you repeatable land ramp. If you cast this off suspend, it’s cast from exile, and the land it finds is played from exile too, which means it technically plays two cards from exile! This is great news for the likes of Faldorn, who will grant you two wolves for your efforts.
Exit in Exile Deck Review
Exit in Exile feels predominantly like a midrange deck that looks to play spells from exile, which incidentally provides extra value from the face commander. It has quite a high average curve; the average mana value is 4.16, which is the highest we’ve seen in a preconstructed deck in quite some time. To help mitigate this, the deck is chock full of mana: including the lands, there are more than 50 cards whose primary function is to generate mana.
As I mentioned above, reprints seem to have been a focus in this deck. The most frequent reprints are present, like Sol Ring and Arcane Signet, as well as some less common ones, like Return of the Wildspeaker and Primeval Bounty. The most impressive reprints, however, come in the form of Jeska’s Will and Stolen Strategy. These are very popular cards, particularly in higher power levels, and they were in need of reprinting. It’s great to see these kinds of cards showing up in precons now, as it makes them much more accessible to players.
At the time of writing, the deck is valued at around $150 as singles, which is great value given the $45 price tag for the deck. The higher value reprints and new cards make up a decent chunk of the deck’s value, but the rest of the deck is also full of cards valued between $1 and $3, so it’s a good place to start if you want to pick up some solid Commander cards.
The deck performs pretty well out of the box. It may have a high curve, but as long as you’re consistently casting your mana ramp early in the game, it will feel smooth. When it comes to power level, I would put this roughly on par with a lot of the recent Commander offerings. There may be some slight discrepancies in power, but I would have very few issues playing this in a pod with any of the more recent preconstructed decks.
Upgrading Exit in Exile
Exit in Exile is a fairly well thought out deck. There are a couple of aspects that I didn’t find particularly enticing, however. First, the mana curve is a bit too clunky for it to feel consistently comfortable. Second, there are a few cards that were low impact, and some that have a +1/+1 counters subtheme; these will be removed for cards that are more impactful.
The main focal points for this upgrade will be:
- Increasing cascade-like effects
- Adding more value
- Increasing card quality
Since Faldorn wants you to play cards from exile, cascade spells fit the deck perfectly. These will not only create wolves when she’s on board, but they’ll give you some much-needed card advantage by giving you free spells!
Violent Outburst is a fantastic card here, as every aspect of it synergizes well with the core strategy. The cascade trigger will give you extra value, and the spell’s effect works beautifully with the small wolf army that Faldorn will amass. It’s an instant too, so you can use this as a combat trick if the situation calls for it!
Throes of Chaos is essentially an alternative to Faldorn’s activated ability, giving you the ability to turn excess lands into more action. You can even discard this to her ability for value, as you can always play it from the graveyard later.
Hazoret’s Undying Fury is a card that doesn’t see a lot of play, probably due to players being dissuaded by its land clause. Being unable to untap your lands is necessary to keep up with other players, but this can be a great late game card to give you a boost of value.
Faldorn’s discard ability might be powerful, but it’s not card advantage. After a while, you risk running low on things to do. These cards are here to ensure you don’t fall behind in the mid to late game, especially as slower decks start to get their big value engines online!
Wheel of Fate is the perfect way to fill your hand with gas while also triggering Faldorn’s ability. It’s also a great card for more casual games: it creates a mini game where players try to empty their hand before it is cast from suspend! This can create some tension, as well as encouraging players to make more rash decisions about what they cast beforehand.
Share the Spoils is a symmetrical effect in that it gives your opponents access to the value, but it is excellent if you’re looking for different answers, or threats to keep the game moving forward. It can cause the game to revolve around it to some degree, but it’s largely a very enjoyable experience. Every card played from this will work with Faldorn too, giving you a steady stream of wolf tokens.
Urabrask, Heretic Praetor is a great creature that I think is being slept on right now, but he’s at his best here. Not only does he give you an additional Outpost Siege effect, but it can cause problems for opponents too. When the first card they draw each turn is exiled instead of drawn, it forces them to either play it or lose it. This can constrain players, making them take suboptimal lines just to maintain parity with the table. In addition to this, they also exile your first drawn card, giving you even more spells in exile!
To round out the upgrade, there are a number of cards that will help increase the deck’s card quality. These fit well with the exile theme, and ensure that you will have the tools necessary to execute your game plan with ease.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance is the red Swiss Army Knife: almost any deck with red in it would be happy to make use of her abilities, but her impulse draw ability is yet another way to generate even more value. The options to remove creatures or add mana for a more explosive turn are also very welcome additions, and if you ever get to use her ultimate, your opponents are as good as dead.
Birgi, God of Storytelling may be well-known as a mana generator and combo enabler, but you’ll see a different side to her in this deck (literally). Much like Faldorn’s activated ability, Harnfell, Horn of Bounty turns dead draws into different cards, but the difference is that this is also card advantage! One discarded card turns into two exiled cards, giving you twice as many things to do with your resources.
Tibalt’s Trickery is fast becoming an auto-include for me in red decks thanks to its flexibility. It’s best to look at this as the stack interaction equivalent of Chaos Warp, allowing you to prevent any problem from resolving. You can even counter your own spell in a pinch, effectively giving you another trigger for casting from exile!
The Full Upgrade
The total cost of this upgrade is roughly $50. This is the sweet spot in Commander to me: the power-to-dollar ratio is at its highest around this price point, and can be easily tweaked to increase or decrease in power as you see fit. If you like this deck, you can buy all the upgrade singles at the same time as the preconstructed deck, saving you time as well as money!
Arasta of the Endless Web
Wheel of Fate
Share the Spoils
You Find Some Prisoners
Birgi, God of Storytelling
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Throes of Chaos
Urabrask, Heretic Praetor
Hazoret’s Undying Fury
Whether you buy the full upgrade, just the preconstructed deck, or some unique upgrades of your own, be sure to show off your awesome new cards to us on Twitter!
Scott is an Irish content creator and the Head of Budget Magic for the Izzet League. He focuses on affordable decks in Pioneer, Modern, and Pauper, particularly ones that stray from the mainstream. When he’s not writing about his favorite decks, he can be found talking incessantly about them on Twitter and on The Budget Magic Cast.