Commander decks often have a high density of multicolored cards, but what about a deck that has only multicolored nonland cards? A friend of mine has a Cromat deck that meets this odd restriction, and my recent Niv-Mizzet Reborn list for the Commander newsletter comes close, but Magic 2020 has a Commander that so nearly asks for the full complement of nonlands to be multicolored that it just wouldn’t be fun not to go the whole nine yards. I’m talking about Rienne, Angel of Rebirth!
Rienne works well with creatures that want to get in fight–we’re not blessed with the ability to play black cards here, which means an Aristocrats-type shell is out of the question. Instead, we want creatures that fight, die, and live to fight again, which means we’ll be building a fun, proactive deck. As an added bonus, playing only multicolored nonland cards while restricted to the Naya color identity means we’ll get to play some wacky stuff.
I’ll also say that taking a theme suggested by a Commander and turning it into a deckbuilding restriction is one of the shortcuts you can take to building a fun deck in this format, especially if your instincts lead you to build spikier lists, so you can take this as a convenient example of that methodology!
Some creatures in this shard do know how to put themselves into the graveyard, either by inches or all at once. Recurring Dauntless Escort turn after turn keeps the team on the battlefield, and Saffi’s death can save you mana on a more powerful creature if Rienne is in play or save Rienne herself. Apocalypse Hydra takes some time to spew off its counters, but when it returns to your hand you’ll be able to cast it for a larger value of X. Spark Trooper shows off the power of Ball Lightning-type cards in a Rienne deck, and a more traditional one might be able to play that, Blistering Firecat, Groundbreaker, and other similar creatures. Skarrgan Skybreaker goes from unimpressive to unbelievable when you can cast it over and over again.
On the other hand, some know a bit more about how to put other creatures into the graveyard. Devour is the easiest way to take advantage of Rienne’s ability, creating some enormous creatures without really depleting our resources too much. Brion Stoutarm takes Rienne’s goodwill toward our creatures and abuses it by hurling said creatures at opponents’ faces.
These creatures lead our team into battle, either by buffing the team or providing a single creature with an enormous power-up. The two Gods here are some of my favorites in this deck, as both provide a ton of value for our attacking creatures on their own, even when they’re not showing up to fight themselves. Gahiji usually shines as a Commander itself, but in this case, it buffs our team when we attack and provides an incentive for other players to attack each other rather than us. Mirri is particularly fantastic, as she imposes the Dueling Grounds restrictions on our opponents but not on us, and her big weakness – being blocked and killed – is offset by Rienne.
Of course, some of our creatures do a better job of taking the strengths of our team onto themselves. Both Rubblebelt Raiders and Tajic get powered up when we attack with a larger squad, whereas Knotvine Paladin is better suited to going on adventures by itself.
A little extra mana will help us cast the creatures that return to our hand, and both of these creatures provide tons of that. Savage Ventmaw doesn’t need help, but Radha can outpace it with a sufficiently sized board.
Some creatures are just strong, and we need finishers. Woolly Thoctar is an incredibly well-priced creature that we can send into battle again and again, whereas Zacama lives on the other end of the spectrum – it’s not just an MTG Arena Momir all-star, you know! Six of these creatures are powerful dragons that you’ve seen plenty of times, and they synergize well with the Fate Reforged Atarka and Dromoka, but I want to spend a little more time talking about a creature you probably haven’t thought about recently: Meglonoth. I find this one to be a fantastic deterrent to opponents who want to attack on the ground. It’s one of those creatures that seems like it’s underperforming, because it rarely gets to block and trigger, but the reality is that if it’s keeping players from attacking us, it’s doing its job.
Enters the battlefield effects play well with Rienne’s ability – just let them die, then bring them back for another go-round. Knight of Autumn does a great job of keeping artifacts and enchantments down, but the options get worse from there, with Harmonic Sliver being very poorly statted and Vithian Renegades only hitting artifacts. Ravager Wurm might spend a lot of time hitting utility lands instead of fighting in this list. Trostani’s Summoner is my favorite card here – seven mana for ten power is a decent deal the first time and an even better one each time you cast it after that.
Utility creatures abound in this color combo. Shut off control effects or sacrifice effects, give yourself hexproof, sneak into the red zone and kill a small creature, make new rules in combat… the list goes on. Archon of Valor’s Reach can shut off an unfair deck for a while all by itself, even!
Anything that keys off multicolored spells is obviously welcome. Gloryscale Viashino gets pumped when we cast almost anything, whereas Knight of New Alara does more to pump our team – each creature will get +2/+2 at minimum!
Obviously if every creature in our deck costs 7 mana, we’re going to have a bad time in the early game. These are some decent options for curving out. Plus, if some of our creatures are cheap, it does make it easier to recast multiple things per turn later in the game.
Without mana rocks to lean on, we’ll need some help fixing our colors and ramping. We do have Dinosaurs and Dragons to synergize with the Seer and the Disciple, so that’s a bonus. Pale Recluse and Valley Rannet don’t get brought back when we landcycle them, but that’s okay – they still play an important role.
There’s an embarrassment of riches in terms of planeswalker availability for this deck. Ajanis galore can refresh our hand with more and more creatures, as can Domri, and the rest of these selections work hard to pump our team for big attacks.
A lot of spells that destroy artifacts and enchantments are readily available in this combination, whereas only Wheel of Sun and Moon is really good at hating on graveyards. Sylvan Reclamation is a notable inclusion here, as it’s effectively modal – you can nab a basic if you don’t need a powerful artifact & enchantment hoser, but you usually won’t.
This shard knows how to hit hard, and these enchantments (plus one equipment) know how to make that happen. Fires of Yavimaya is the classic, and Rhythm of the Wild is the modern version. Killer Instinct and Impromptu Raid effectively draw us cards if we have Rienne in play to return the creatures to our hand after they dash onto the battlefield.
Never let it be said this isn’t a tricky color combination – we have a few cool spells up our sleeves here. Hunting Grounds is a little weird because it requires Threshold, which we might not be great at getting going, but once it happens, it’s a very powerful way to replay the cards that Rienne returns. Captain’s Maneuver and Deflecting Palm are great ways to turn combats or burn spells on their heads, and Response // Resurgence and Waves of Aggression both let us get in for more combats.
There’s something to be said for sleeving up one copy of Guttural Response in this deck. You’re going to get someone with it pretty often, so having it dead in hand sometimes is survivable.
More ramp! Some of these are weirder than others – the Borderposts , particularly – but cards like Trace of Abundance and Frenzied Tilling are welcome in a deck that can’t just play a normal Rampant Growth.
A little removal never hurt anyone except our opponents’ creatures.
Sometimes Rienne won’t be around to bring our creatures back, and sometimes we might need to get a noncreature back from the graveyard! These three powerful cards all do a great job of keeping things coming back around, especially Reap the Past, which is an incredibly powerful Modern Horizons inclusion that I think I’ll be adding to lots of decks for the foreseeable future.
Of course, I don’t think we can include all these cards in the decklist, but here’s my take on Rienne:
Commander: Rienne, Angel of Rebirth
4 Plains (331) 3 Mountain (343) 4 Forest (347) 1 Clifftop Retreat 1 Command Tower 1 Desert of the Fervent 1 Desert of the Indomitable 1 Desert of the True 1 Evolving Wilds 1 Gavony Township 1 Jungle Shrine 1 Kessig Wolf Run 1 Mosswort Bridge 1 Prismatic Vista 1 Reliquary Tower 1 Rootbound Crag 1 Sacred Foundry 1 Scavenger Grounds 1 Slayers' Stronghold 1 Stomping Ground 1 Sunpetal Grove 1 Temple Garden 1 Temple of Abandon 1 Temple of Plenty 1 Temple of Triumph 1 Terramorphic Expanse 1 Windbrisk Heights 1 Windswept Heath 1 Wooded Foothills 1 Apocalypse Hydra 1 Archon of Valor's Reach 1 Atarka, World Render 1 Atzocan Seer 1 Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice 1 Brion Stoutarm 1 Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder - Foil 1 Dauntless Escort 1 Draconic Disciple 1 Dragon Broodmother 1 Dragonlord Atarka 1 Dragonlord Dromoka 1 Dromoka, the Eternal 1 Gahiji, Honored One 1 Grand Warlord Radha 1 Iroas, God of Victory 1 Knight of Autumn 1 Knight of New Alara 1 Meglonoth 1 Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist - Foil 1 Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner 1 Ravager Wurm 1 Saffi Eriksdotter 1 Samut, Voice of Dissent 1 Savage Ventmaw 1 Sigarda, Host of Herons 1 Skarrgan Skybreaker 1 Spark Trooper 1 Steward of Valeron 1 Tajic, Legion's Edge 1 Thromok the Insatiable 1 Trostani Discordant 1 Trostani's Summoner 1 Ulrich of the Krallenhorde/Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha 1 Woolly Thoctar 1 Xenagos, God of Revels 1 Zacama, Primal Calamity 1 Zhur-Taa Druid 1 Zhur-Taa Goblin 1 Ajani Unyielding 1 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes 1 Aura Shards 1 Behemoth Sledge 1 Decimate 1 Deflecting Palm 1 Firewild Borderpost 1 Fracturing Gust 1 Frenzied Tilling 1 Guttural Repsonse 1 Heaven/Earth 1 Killer Instinct 1 Mirari's Wake 1 Naya Charm 1 Reap the Past 1 Rhythm of the Wild 1 Sarkhan Vol 1 Savage Twister 1 Sylvan Reclamation 1 Trace of Abundance 1 Waves of Aggression 1 Wheel of Sun and Moon 1 Wildfield Borderpost
That’s all for this time around – I’m sure we’ll be checking out more sweet Commanders from Magic 2020 in the coming weeks!