Upgrading Precon Commander: First Flight (Isperia, Supreme Judge)

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Upgrading Precon Commander: First Flight (Isperia, Supreme Judge)

11/29/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

This article brings a guide with card recommendations to enhance the initial Precon Commander: First Flight deck!

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Introduction

Today I brought a quite different article: with the release of the Starter Commander decklistslink outside website, I decided to talk a bit about the UW with you guys, and bring ideas and what cards I find best to include and take out.

No card chosen here to be added to the list will cost more than $10, as this product is designed for Commander beginners and even though there are people that will start out spending a lot of money, the idea here is to enhance the list and keep it thematic.

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Deck Themes

I've identified 3 themes to this deck, one main theme and two sub-themes, which are:

Creatures with Flying

All creatures in this list have flying, and this ends up being quite a good thing, as alongside these creatures you have effects that benefit from having creatures with flying and effects that enhance them. Having this theme be the main theme of the deck helps you have an aggressive strategy, without being afraid of being blocked by your opponents a lot.

Besides having creatures with flying, this list also has magics that create those creatures, with the goal of filling up your board.

Sphinx Creatures

The list uses sphinx type creatures as its most expensive creatures in terms of mana, they are also the creatures that cause the most impact and they all have flying. Some of them also have quite a big synergy with the deck, and if you want to switch its theme for a sphinx tribal it's still possible to use the smallish creatures with flying that reduce cost of magics.

Effects that take advantage from receiving attacks

This deck's Commander and a few of its other cards have effects that will give them benefits when opponents attack you, so that by itself is a good tactic and you can take advantage of it by using other cards that aren't in this deck to enhance it.

First Flight list without upgrades

First Flight, just like most decks released lately, has an excessive number of lands. In this list, it's 39, and even though there are a lot of heavy cards, I don't recommend using more than 35 lands, as the probability you flood (become full of lands in hand needlessly) is very high.

I felt the lack of some ramp and better removals. Its strategy tends to be a Control deck, but there isn't much ramp to keep nor nearly enough removals. Outside of that, this precon was crafted very loyally attached to its theme.

Cards that can come out and come in this list:

Lands

From the top, I'd remove 4 basic lands. 39 is an excessive number and by taking out these 4 lands you still have 35, which is a nice number to have in a high curve deck such as this one.

If you want to remove more lands to put in some of the cards I'll recommend, the only non-basic that I would take out would be Coastal Tower and Meandering River, which are worse than a gate, as they don't interact with gate cards and don't have any pro to balance out the fact they come in tapped.

As better options, we have:

This list has a lot of basic lands, and that is good, because it is possible to enhance the mana base without much effort so we can figure out what to take out. I selected cheap lands that can be a good choice to upgrade your deck.

Skybridge Towers, from New Capenna, is a very interesting land for all two or more color decks, as it creates two different colored mana for you, and at the end of the game, when your available mana is much higher than the number of cards in your hand, you can sacrifice it and draw a card.

Mystic Sanctuary is almost always quite good. It can, or not, come in untapped and when it does, it allows you to recover one instant or sorcery spell from the grave, placing it on top of your deck.

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It is a very useful ability, mostly because when considering the end of the game, usually you will depend on global removal to clear the board, and this land will allow you to have access to that twice.

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Calciform Pools can be very useful. I really like Stock Lands, especially in Control decks. They allow you to, every time there's any mana left, keep it for next rounds. In this deck, with so much high cost magics, it is important to have a land that reserves you mana, mostly when we talk about one of the colors who least has accessible and good ramp.

Skycloud Expanse is interesting, as it is cheap and can filter mana from lands and artifacts that don't create colorful mana or that cost you life to do so.

Azorius Chancery can come in rather easily, as Bounce lands are a good way to guarantee land drops by increasing how much time you have to find a land, and creating 2 mana within the colors you need.

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Instant and Sorcery spells

Condemn is complicated, as using removals that depend on the creature attacking in a deck which wants creatures attacking them, ends up being counterintuitive for your opponents to attack you, as you have cards that benefit from it. I believe it is best to use removals that give out tokens instead, as usually players tend to hit you with the creature you gave them.

Absorb: Annulling magic for 3 mana and gaining 3 health points isn't what we want. We need counters that will help you not stay behind your opponents, so it's best to use other types of counters, especially in casual matches.

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These two, both annul for two mana, but they leave you behind two opponents, as you use one of your cards to take out one of your opponent's cards while the other two keep the same number of cards in hand.

As better options, we have:

Crib Swap is interesting, as one of the best ways to guarantee you will be the target of attacks, is removing an important enemy creature. Here it even gives out a small creature so they can use it to take revenge on you, while it gives you advantage.

Pongify and Rapid Hybridization: Creature removal that gives out a creature to your opponent helps you keep yourself in the game. These cost only one mana and give out a 3/3 creature, it doesn't fly and is probably smaller than your creatures, this way you can block it and it will still be a card draw if our Commander is on board.

Valorous Stance can be used both offensively and defensively, is a great big creature removal and can also protect your Commander, which you don't want to pay 8 mana to cast.

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Creatures

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Cartographer's Hawk is very slow, costs 2 mana and only ramps if you don't have more lands than other players. You also need to deal damage and it comes back to your hand.

That means, it can ramp you once every two turns, then I believe it would be better to use even a Signet in its place.

Sharding Sphinx is very slow when creating tokens for you and is very expensive in mana. Besides that, it doesn't help the deck's strategy a lot, and there are better cards with the purpose of creating tokens, which by the way, are already in the list.

Sphinx of Enlightenment can also come out, as sphinx cards in general cost a lot of mana and because of that need to have strong effects. Drawing you three cards, and giving one card to your opponent, isn't that good for its mana cost.

That is without mentioning that it doesn't do anything else, contrary to Inspired Sphinx, which besides drawing you the same amount of cards, doesn't give out a card to your opponent and also has the same ability of generating you creatures.

As better options, we have:

Medomai the Ageless is an interesting sphinx, basically giving you an extra turn if its damage hits, but it doesn't attack in extra turns. Medomai generates a lot of value and it is a problem for your opponents if they don't remove it, as you will play 2 rounds by each 2 round cycle.

Donal, Herald of Wings is simply incredible for a deck with creatures with flying, copying all creatures with flying you summon after it's on board, except for the legendary ones. The copies are 1/1, but you still have their effects and that makes you fill the board pretty easily.

Watcher of the Spheres: In this list, there's one copy of the creatures that reduce the cost of creatures with flying, but it didn't have this one, which is cheaper and gets even bigger. I like it a lot and it is imperative in a tribal deck of creatures with flying!

And Nimble Obstructionist is amazing, being an ideal creature in Midrange decks, as if you need to block a problematic creature, it can end up killing it as it is 3/1, and while it's on your hand, it recycles itself to annul an ability.

Like I had said, counters that just annul and don't refill themselves end up not being that good in a big board Commander as you have two more players at the table. And with this bird, you keep your number of cards in hand and solve the problem.

Dazzling Sphinx is interesting, as high curve creatures need to do something besides just having flying. This sphinx reflects this very well, generating you a lot of value.

Besides that, it also has evasion, and every time it deals damage it gives you a free magic card from the deck of the opponent that took the damage. You don't spend mana, spend one of your opponent's cards and go home satisfied. It is an interesting way to have card advantage and I furiously recommend it!

The ramp in this list is great, as it has the toughest ones to get. As the Azorius Magic Symbol uMagic Symbol w combination doesn't have many options, Ornithopter of Paradise. First because it is a creature with flying, and that means, it's affected by all the effects you gave to your creatures.

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Secondly, this Ornithopter generates you a mana of any color, being very good for ramping a bit, but it can also work as a blocker, and, depending on the number of lords you have, it might be just one more creature to lead your opponent to their grave.

Dream Trawler is a strong sphinx. It might seem small, but it hits for at least 5/5, besides giving you an extra card and it is able to protect itself. It is a very well-rounded creature that puts a lot of pressure on the board when it comes in.

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Enchantment and Artifacts

Soul Snare is the type of card that doesn't have synergy with the deck. You either like opponents hitting you, or use a card that makes them think twice before they do it.

Vow of Duty is a very nonsense card for this strategy. You grow a creature that isn't yours for 3 mana just to make it unable to hit you... but if you don't want a creature on board, it's best to put a removal in its place!

As better options, we have:

Like I had said, cards that make your opponent hit you are excellent here, and Court of Grace is one of them. It makes you the Monarch, which makes you draw cards, and gives you tokens.

As you are the Monarch, your opponent will want to take that away from you, which will give you even more cards to draw!

As for ramp, it is always welcome in a deck which has a Commander that costs 6.

Fellwar Stone depends on your opponents to generate the manas you want, but it is still very good as it costs 2 and can come in already generating mana.

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Isperia, Supreme Judge list with Upgrades

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Final Thoughts

There are other options to this list, of course. I just suggested some changes to enhance it, but many things ended up not making it. For instance, Azorius Signet and other artifact ramp cards can be interesting. Be my guest to keep on changing this list!

I hope you liked this article, have a nice week and good games! See you next time!

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Felipe Torres

Started playing Magic on M20 in 2019. Prefers control decks and seeks to improve his deckbuilding.

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