Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Best Upgrades for MTG Rebellion Rising Deck

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The two new Phyrexia: All Will Be One Commander decks have been revealed and they look pretty powerful. One deck focuses on the Mirran resistance, whilst the other is themed around their Phyrexian oppressors. Today we’ll be analyzing Rebellion Rising, the resistance’s deck. Read on to find out the deck’s strategy, which cards to cut, and which cards to keep.

The Game Plan

Neyali, Suns' Vanguard

Rebellion Rising is a deck focused on generating creature tokens and attacking with them. This is clear from the deck’s commander, Neyali, Suns’ Vanguard. For four mana, Neyali is a 3/3 who gives all of your tokens double strike when they attack. Neyali also allows you to exile a card from the top of your deck whenever a token you control attacks a player. The exiled card can be played on any future turn on which you attack with a token. This is very useful because both White and Red have problems with card draw which this effect gets around, allowing you to maintain momentum later in the game.

Otharri, Suns' Glory

The new card, Otharri, Suns’ Glory serves as the deck’s subcommander. Otharri is a 3/3 Pheonix for five mana with flying, lifelink, and haste. Otharri gives you an experience counter whenever it attacks and then generates an attacking 2/2 rebel token for each experience counter you have. The Pheonix can also be brought back from the graveyard for only four mana by tapping an untapped Rebel you control. This enables you to skirt around the Commander Tax if you decide to place Otharri at the head of the deck. Whether you put Otharri in the Command Zone, or keep them as one of the 99, they support the deck by giving you plenty of tokens to attack with.

Rebellion Rising is packed full of token-generating cards. Some like Finale of Glory and White Sun’s Zenith give you a large number of tokens in a single burst. Others like Legion Warboss, Loyal Apprentice, and Assemble the Legion provide you with a recurring trickle of tokens every turn.

The deck also has an equipment subtheme. Cards like Goldwardens’ Gambit and Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer reward you for making use of the abundance of equipment cards in the deck. The deck features several “For Mirrodin” cards which are pieces of equipment that come into play attached to a 2/2 Rebel token, tying the equipment and creature token themes together. Depending on your preference, you may wish to enhance this subtheme or adapt it out of the deck entirely.

Whether you decide to keep the equipment focus in the deck or not, it’s important to keep some cards around to buff your creatures. Effects like those provided by Intangible Virtue and Felidar Retreat are essential for this deck to function. A 1/1 token attacking with double strike is nothing to write home about. A 2/2 double striker is a bit scarier. It’s once your tokens start getting up to 3/3 that you know you’re in a good place, with even the smallest of your tokens dealing 6+ damage per attack.

Budget Upgrades

Here are a few quick cards to upgrade the deck with which you can grab for less than a dollar…

Rabble Rousing

Rabble Rousing is a great budget card that can generate a huge number of tokens in a deck like this. Rabble Rousing gives you a 1/1 Citizen token whenever you attack for each creature you are attacking with. What makes this effect so strong is that it feeds into itself. Each of the tokens it gives you means you will have more creatures to attack with on your next turn, which will then reward you with a higher number of tokens. You also get some incidental card draw from its hideaway effect, which is a nice little bonus.

Unbreakable Formation

Board wipes are the worst enemy of go-wide token decks like this. Unbreakable Formation gives you an answer to them. You can cast this card at instant speed, during an opponent’s turn, to protect your big board of tokens from being wiped out by a Wrath of God. If you’re feeling daring, you can also use this card offensively, casting it during your main phase to give all of your creatures +1/+1 counters and the ability to attack without needing to worry about getting destroyed in combat.

Sram's Expertise

Sram’s Expertise provides a great way of developing your board in the early and mid game. For four mana, Sram’s Expertise generates three 1/1 Thopter tokens and then allows you to cast a spell with a mana value of three or less from your hand for free. You can bring in a Legion Warboss to generate even more tokens alongside your Thopters or a Maul of the Skyclaves to turn one of those Thopters into a 3/3 flyer with first strike. Whatever you choose to bring out alongside Sram’s Expertise you’re bound to get a bargain for only four mana

Gnoll War Band

This deck really wants cheap ways of generating large tokens and Gnoll War Band can provide that. The War Band costs six mana, at base rate, but can be discounted by one mana per opponent damaged in any given turn. Assuming you’re in a four-player game, if you spread your attacks out, you can get Gnoll War Band out for three or four mana consistently. Gnoll Warband’s myriad effect makes it work beautifully with Neyali, Suns’ Vanguard. This card gives you three double striking, 5/5 tokens with menace during each of your combat phases.

Upgrades

For some pricier upgrades, here are some options to consider…

Secure the Wastes

Secure the Wastes is an iconic token generating card. This card allows you to pay one white mana and X to generate X 1/1 White Warrior tokens. Although Finale of Glory may make stronger tokens, at a slightly increased cost, the ability to cast Secure the Wastes at instant speed should not be underestimated. You can surprise opponents by flashing in blockers they didn’t see coming, or trigger effects that reward you for creatures entering play, like Goldnight Commander, during their turns.

Divine Visitation

Divine Visitation is another staple card that should be included in any creature token based deck. Whenever you would create a creature token, Divine Visitation gives you a 4/4 flying, vigilant Angel creature token instead. Most token effects only generate 1/1s or 2/2s, so this card provides a significant upgrade. Divine Visitation turns cards like Increasing Devotion into major powerhouses.

Anointed Procession

Anointed Procession is a reasonably pricy card, but it’s very powerful. Anointed Procession doubles the number of tokens generated by any of your token making effects. This gives those effects incredible value and allows you to flood the board with ease.

Cathars' Crusade

Cathars’ Crusade is also a great inclusion in any deck hoping to go wide. Whenever a creature enters play under your control, Cathars’ Crusade gives all of your creatures +1/+1 counters. Since this deck will often play many creatures in a turn, Cathars’ Crusade can pump out a huge number of +1/+1 counters.

Cards To Cut

Now that we’ve gone over some powerful cards to add, what should you be cutting to make room for them?

Hordeling Outburst

Hordeling Outburst should be first on the line to go. For three mana you can do a lot better than generating three 1/1 tokens.

Battle Screech

Battle Screech gives you only two 1/1 tokens for four mana. Even though those tokens have flying, and this spell can be flashed back from the graveyard, this is still a horrible rate.

Phantom General

While Phantom General certainly provides a useful effect for this deck, at 4 mana you’re not getting great value, especially considering only your tokens get this buff. Replace the general with a better alternative like Balefire Liege or Interpid Adversary.

Midnight Haunting, like Hordeling Outburst above, simply doesn’t have enough impact to warrant including it in your deck. There are significantly better token makers than this.

Hate Mirage

Finally, Hate Mirage just doesn’t provide enough impact to be worth a slot. It allows you to create a token copy of one or two creatures that you don’t control. The copies this card makes have haste, but are sacrificed during your end step. While it is nice that these copies will have double strike, if your commander is in play, this deck doesn’t have anything to make their sacrifice matter. Ultimately this card requires your opponent to have a powerful evasive threat in play to be worth it, and even then it’s unspectacular. The copies often get chump blocked, or only get a bit of damage through.

Read more: MTG 10 Best Humans in Commander

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