With the arrival of Theros Beyond Death, Commander players are adding new enchantments, Gods, and creatures to their own decks. Given all of the possibilities, who better to ask for deck-building advice than the expert members of the Commander Advisory Group!
I reached out to Olivia Gobert-Hicks, Shivam Bhatt, and Josh Lee Kwai to not only obtain their opinions about the set, but also gain insight into their Commander philosophies and personality quirks.
Hi, everyone! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Shivam: Hi! I’m Shivam Bhatt, host of the Casual Magic podcast and member of the Commander Advisory Group. I used to co-host the Commanderin’ Podcast, and I spend most of my time in Magic playing singleton formats.
Olivia: Hi, I’m Olivia Gobert-Hicks! I’m a member of the Commander Advisory Group, an MTG cosplayer and Commander enthusiast.
Josh: Hi! I’m Josh Lee Kwai, co-host of The Command Zone podcast, creator of Game Knights and member of the Commander Advisory Group.
How long have you been playing Commander?
Shivam: I’ve been playing Commander since 2011-2012 ish.
Olivia: I’ve been playing EDH since the summer of 2014, but I didn’t get to play super regularly until 2017.
Josh: I’ve been playing Commander for almost six years.
Did you win your last game? If so, how? If not, how did you lose?
Shivam: I won my last game of Commander in maybe the most over-the-top way ever. I was playing my beloved Hapatra deck (“Chatty Patty”!) and I had Doubling Season, Blowfly Infestation, Flourishing Defenses, Gaea’s Cradle, a Liliana, Death Wielder with 24 loyalty, and 54 creatures on the table. And we were playing Planechase, on the Eon Fog plane, so I had the ability to untap roughly infinite times. Things got real nutty after that!
Olivia: I did not win my last game – I lost to Emrakul swinging in with no flying blockers. 🙁
Josh: I unfortunately lost my last game. I was milled out…
Speaking of death, Theros Beyond Death is here! Which cards excite you the most, and in which decks are you going to put them?
Shivam: I’m most excited for Siona for my Tuvasa auras deck, though if we’re honest, this set is going to force me to reevaluate that deck from top to bottom with all of the potential additions. Also, Hero of Nyxborn was made for my soldiers deck.
Josh: I’m excited to build a deck around Kroxa. I’m hoping to pull off some shenanigans with Erratic Portal and/or Altar of Dementia. I’m also really high on Underworld Breach. It will probably go in my five-color Nekusar-style deck in order to loop Wheel of Fortune/Windfall/Winds of Change until I find Molten Psyche and then loop that and win.
What cards would you take out for them, and how do these new cards support your overall deck strategy?
Shivam: Goodness, it is way too early for me to figure out how my decks will be impacted by these cards. I want to play them in the prerelease and a few drafts first and get a feel for how they might work in my specific contexts. Decks are like intricate puzzle boxes where each card is a piece that holds the whole shape together. Figuring out how to swap a piece for another is a challenge I like to spend time on, because I want the end result to be as lovely as the puzzle I started with.
Olivia: I’m looking at revamping my enchantress deck with cards like Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Destiny Spinner, and Setessan Champion. Inspire Awe also seems like it could have a home there; I’m really looking forward to freshening some decks up. Athreos will fit well in many of my decks as well.
Josh: Cuts are always hard. I’m probably going to be looking to take out Yawgmoth’s Will or maybe Regrowth, since Underworld Breach does a similar thing but better. I guess I cheated when I said Kroxa because that’s an entire deck, so I don’t need to cut anything.
If you ascended into Godhood on Theros, what would you have dominion over?
Shivam: If I was a Therosian God, I’d want to have dominion over front doors to homes, so that when folks came home from a hard day’s work, they’d say “Thank Shivam I’m home!” as they collapse into the arms of their spouse and children. I like the thought of being the guardian of happy reunions like that.
Olivia: Arts and Crafts!!!!!
Josh: Oh, I would definitely be The God of Value.
A consummate lover of books, tea, food and instant-speed kill spells, Michelle is a person of many passions. Her hobbies include cuddling cats, throwing pottery, and analyzing Magic lore from a literary perspective. She is also a co-host of the Vorthos comedy podcast, “The Loregoyfs,” and she comprises a full 25% of The Felidar Guardian (specifically the right hand, left ear and both scapulas). Her CMC is 2BWU, and her ETB trigger creates two 1/1 cats with lifelink and trample.