Kristen brings us an update on everyone’s favorite Dominarian hero, Captain Sisay, with a rundown of the exciting Commander upgrades Sisay, Weatherlight Captain has received from Dominaria United and other recent sets.
Sisay, Weatherlight Captain
Among the five color Commanders, Sisay is popular for a reason: she can helm a versatile deck full of your favorite cards, she can be a great Commander for shrines decks and she is capable of assembling multiple win conditions. There’s a lot you can do with her, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve built her many times.
With the release of Dominaria United, we’ve gotten a bunch of cards that breathe new life into the deck. For those who want to build her for the first time, and for those who are intrigued about upgrading an older list, let’s delve into some of the new treats.
First up, a great new land for the deck. Plaza of Heroes enters untapped and it can help fix our mana in an admittedly mana intensive deck. Once we get online with Sisay, it can pivot to help activate her WUBRG ability or protect her.
Relic of Legends is a huge upgrade to the deck, and if you just add one card from the set to your existing list, it should be this one. What makes it so powerful is it’ll help you make the jump to multiple Sisay activations a turn with ease.
If you have three or four legends in play, that’s three or four extra mana of any color. Once you’re in the range of six to nine lands in play, this is what helps you assemble a win condition if you don’t yet have Jegantha or Selvala in play.
While many players might opt for building a Jodah deck instead, you can’t argue with how great Jodah is in the 99 of a Sisay Commander deck. He brings with him not only a way to get Sisay up to seven power, but a way to go beyond that — proffering a Coat of Arms style buff for your legendary creatures.
This can boost Sisay to be able to grab anything in the deck, as seven power isn’t quite enough for your seven and eight drops. If that wasn’t enough, he provides free spells when you cast the stranded cards in your hand. He really does do it all.
Like Jodah before him, Shanid joins the ranks of Sisay as a legend perfectly capable of leading a powerful deck all by himself. Shanid helps us get in for damage in the mid game, gives us card draw for playing lands and spells and crucially gives Sisay +3/+3.
While we want mostly to be dragging cards out of the deck with Sisay’s ability, it’s cards like Shanid that grease the deck’s wheels, coming down early to give us a solid platform to build on.
The entire Legends’ Legacy precon is a solid foundation for building a Sisay, Weatherlight Captain deck. It has great reprints with stunning new art and more legendaries than you can shake a stick at.
Sisay hasn’t only been offered new tools in Dominaria United. Commander Legends brought with it some real role players. Dynaheir, Invoker Adept is another top-tier upgrade to Sisay.
First up, she lets you copy Sisay’s WUBRG activation, which is already music to the ears. Where she really excels, though, is in conjunction with Samut, Voice of Dissent. Samut can untap Dynaheir, allowing you to tap Dynaheir again, giving you triple the Sisay activations each turn. She also lends haste, like Samut, to our mana dorks, helping us chain Sisay activations all the way to a win.
Noble Heritage might well be the most bang for your buck when it comes to giving Sisay power boosts. For a modest two mana, you immediately confer +1/+1 to Sisay by being a Legendary permanent. If you curve into Sisay from here, you’ll get two +1/+1 counters, and then when you untap, a further two counters. That’s a potential +5/+5 to Sisay for just two mana, which is frankly absurd.
Next, something on another axis. Abdel Adrian, Gorion’s Ward is an answer to Cyclonic Rift and other bounce and mass-exile board wipes, tutorable by Sisay. The best way to play Sisay when not going for a win is to play defensively, reacting to opponents’ plays.
The sheer power of the deck means you’ll often be anticipating what will be your undoing, and Abdel can be a foil to many plans. He even exiles our Relic of Legends, Chromatic Lantern, Wilderness Reclamation and Planeswalkers. Stunning.
While we’re on the subject, additional answers in the deck or in play are often worth more to Sisay than the chance to draw into instant speed interaction. We do still run some instant speed interaction, but the versatility of being able to tutor it into play — or curve out by playing it in advance — really goes a long way. Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate is one such piece, and she gives two colors to Sisay.
One recent card that deserves a little more love in Commander is The Wandering Emperor. There aren’t that many Legendary permanents that can come into play and solve a problem at instant speed, but The Wandering Emperor fits nicely into Sisay.
She can be tutored out to exile a tapped creature or just played on curve to buff our Commander. Our other main options are Kogla, Titan Ape and the Legacy Weapon, both a lot harder to pull out until we’re fully set up.
Building Sisay for Combat
The win condition I’ve decided to go for in my Sisay Commander build is combat, with some solid lines that straight up win the game the turn we play them out.
Enter Selvala and Samut. Provided we can generate the green mana to activate Selvala, the white mana to untap her with Samut and WUBRG to activate Najeela, we can have infinite combats.
When we attack with Samut and Najeela, and activate Najeela, we can hold priority and use Samut to untap Selvala. Najeela then resolves, untapping Samut, allowing us to keep going. Alternatively, we can just slam a Sword of Feast and Famine.
Of course, going infinite with Najeela isn’t always necessary. If we have Jodah in play for a huge buff, and multiple of our mana dorks that produce WUBRG (and/or Dynaheir), we probably have enough to kill the table anyway.
One of the most fun parts of playing a Sisay Commander deck is having access to a toolbox. With individual answers and interaction tied to legendary permanents, we can remain in the driving seat in a game.
Cards like Yasharn and Tamiyo shut down aristocrats decks and mass edicts, which generally prove to be our undoing. Both double as ways to hit land drops and return key cards from our graveyard, making a strong case for their inclusion.
Kardur, Doomscourge is great when it comes out of nowhere, especially when it’s in response to an opponent declaring their intentions with a mass overrun and an all in combat step. Cruel, but effective.
While cards like Avacyn, Angel of Hope and Shalai, Voice of Plenty might seem like obvious inclusions, there are other effects we want to prioritize, too. Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero is an early game and low-power Sisay way to escape a wrath. Questing Beast makes sure Glacial Chasm and other fogs don’t stop us cold.
Dragonlord Dromoka and Conqueror’s Flail, on the other hand, demand we not be interrupted when we try to go off. Having a turn with a minimal amount of interaction is essential to popping off, as opponents will wait for us to tap out activating Sisay to interact. What’s more, Flail gives a chunky buff to Sisay, doubling up on the power boost from having a color diverse board.
Sisay’s Combat Toolbox Decklist
An example Sisay Commander deck list can be found here. While more recent Sisay builds focus on Shrines or enchantments, or even Superfriends Planeswalker lists, I wanted to do something a little more combat oriented here.
This is a toolbox list that wants to play conservatively and reactively, before turning the corner into multiple activations of Sisay to close the game in one fell swoop. You’ll experience plenty of resistance playing a deck like this, so there’s also plenty of redundancy, contingencies and ways to win.
The astute among you will have spotted the high price tag of the deck. This is largely propped up by the inclusion of Gaea’s Cradle and Dual Lands, and can be dropped significantly by dropping these and opting instead for more Triomes or the new dual tapped-lands. Alternatively, if you want to try out the deck at full potential, you can always proxy these cards up to try out.
If you’re wanting to take the deck even higher, you can opt to add some fast mana, more legendary hatebears like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and more tutors, while narrowing the win conditions. This version of the deck would certainly have the potential to win faster, but it would lack the redundancy of effect and the resiliency of this build.
Personally, I feel there’s diminishing returns when you keep powering a deck up into the upper echelons of high-power Commander, and you eventually just end up with a bad cEDH deck that struggles to find tables.
Alternatively, if you want to reduce the budget and make the deck easier to build with a smaller collection, I would concentrate mainly in the Selesnya sphere for early game (which I’ve still done with this build; notice that the dual lands are either Plains or Forest based). This would suit an Enchantress style deck with Shrines, and you could then slot in the Siona/Shielded by Faith combo, tutorable with Sisay and with Light-Paws, Emperor’s Voice.
There are many ways to build Sisay, Weatherlight Captain in Commander, and if you’ve been inspired by recent legendary creatures, then I hope this article has helped you with some ideas on where to take it.
Dominaria United truly delivered on great includes for the deck, but don’t forget to look back to recent sets for prime inclusions. What have you slotted into your Sisay builds recently? Let me know on Twitter!
Kristen is a lover of both Limited and Commander, and can most often be found championing the Boros Legion when called upon to sit down and shuffle up. As a member of the Commander Advisory Group, Kristen lives and breathes Commander. When she’s not playing Magic, she works as a freelance writer and editor in the UK.