Alela, Artful Provocateur - Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski

Alela, Artful Provocateur | Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski

Alela, Artful Provocateur is one of the most popular Esper () commanders out there along with Zur the Enchanter and Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. It’s been printed in Throne of Eldraine alongside Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and Chulane, Teller of Tales for Brawl, which are also very popular cards and commanders, and I’ve played with Alela enough to know its power.

This faerie dominates if it survives, and the chances are higher in Commander than in Brawl. I’ve chosen the faerie tribal route for this Alela, Artful Provocateur deck since I’ve played a bunch of it in Modern with Scion of Oona and Spellstutter Sprite.

Ready to see the what the fae bring to the fight? Let’s get into it!

The Deck

Scion of Oona - Illustration by Eric Fortune

Scion of Oona | Illustration by Eric Fortune

Commander (1)

Alela, Artful Provocateur

Planeswalker (2)

Kaya, Geist Hunter
Serra the Benevolent

Creature (20)

Alseid of Life’s Bounty
Scion of Oona
Spellstutter Sprite
Mistbind Clique
Vendilion Clique
Brazen Borrower
Sephara, Sky’s Blade
Metallic Mimic
Glen Elendra Liege
Empyrean Eagle
Skittering Surveyor
Ancient Gold Dragon
Oona, Queen of the Fae
Faerie Formation
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Notorious Throng
Baleful Strix
Thunderclap Wyvern
Sower of Temptation
Solemn Simulacrum

Instant (11)

Distant Melody
Fact or Fiction
Counterspell
Negate
Dovin’s Veto
Generous Gift
Mortify
Lofty Denial
Path to Exile
Swords to Plowshares
Kaya’s Guile

Sorcery (5)

Hour of Reckoning
Time Wipe
Austere Command
Winged Words
Preordain

Enchantment (12)

Intangible Virtue
Bident of Thassa
Coastal Piracy
Bitterblossom
Detention Sphere
Grasp of Fate
Felidar Retreat
Inspiring Leader
Etchings of the Chosen
Hyena Umbra
Kaya’s Ghostform
Omen of the Sea

Artifact (15)

Sol Ring
Arcane Signet
Mind Stone
Dimir Signet
Azorius Signet
Orzhov Signet
Talisman of Progress
Skullclamp
Heraldic Banner
Strixhaven Stadium
Obelisk of Urd
Thought Vessel
Stoneforge Masterwork
Door of Destinies
Lightning Greaves

Land (34)

Command Tower
Raffine’s Tower
Arcane Sanctum
Watery Grave
Hallowed Fountain
Drowned Catacomb
Evolving Wilds
Unclaimed Territory
Glacial Fortress
Godless Shrine
Hall of Heliod’s Generosity
Hallowed Fountain
Isolated Chapel
Morphic Pool
Prairie Stream
Raffine’s Tower
Reliquary Tower
Roadside Reliquary
Sea of Clouds
Shipwreck Marsh
Sunken Hollow
Sejiri Shelter
Malakir Rebirth
Secluded Glen
Path of Ancestry
Dismal Backwater
Tranquil Cove
Island x3
Plains x2
Swamp x2

The Commander

Alela, Artful Provocateur

Alela, Artful Provocateur is a commander that makes blue Faerie tokens each time you cast an enchantment or artifact. Not only that, but other flying creatures you control get +1/+0. That leads you to a few possible roads:

  • Artifact matters (cheap artifacts, affinity)
  • Enchantment matters (cheap enchantments and auras, prison/moat, enchantress)
  • Flying matters
  • Faerie tribal

As I said earlier, I like flying tribal decks and this Alela build relies on faerie synergies. The similarities with Vampire Nighthawk means that Alela holds the fort on defense while being hard to block on offense, especially with the help of some equipment and protective spells.

And with Glen Elendra Liege in play Alela can be a 4/5 lifelinker that your opponents won’t want to block, or they’ll chump at most.

Creatures

Oona, Queen of the FaeAncient Gold Dragon

Oona, Queen of the Fae and Ancient Gold Dragon are your finishers because they also make Faerie tokens.

Faerie Formation

Faerie Formation is a 5/4 flier and a mana sink to make more tokens and draw more cards.

Glen Elendra Liege

Glen Elendra Liege gives +1/+1 to blue creatures and +2/+2 to Dimir () creatures.

Baleful Strix

Baleful Strix isn’t a faerie, but it is a cantrip that’s also an artifact.

Sephara, Sky’s Blade

Sephara, Sky’s Blade can be cast by convoking fliers and it protects your fliers, but it’s also a 7/7 flier itself.

Sower of Temptation

Sower of Temptation is both a faerie and a Mind Control effect.

Tribal/Token Support

The star of this deck is the Faerie tokens produced by Alela, Artful Provocateur and other sources. You want to have some ways to buff them besides your commander.

Intangible Virtue and Obelisk of Urd buff your tokens along with Scion of Oona.

Skullclamp

Skullclamp turns our tokens into cards.

Door of Destinies

Door of Destinies is also tribal support, getting better the more faeries you cast.

Empyrean Eagle

All flying/faerie tribal support like Empyrean Eagle also applies to your commander, which makes you gain more life and hit with a bigger threat.

Spellstutter Sprite

Spellstutter Sprite is a flash faerie with a Counterspell ETB.

Vendilion Clique and Brazen Borrower are similar cards that can come on your opponent’s end step and hit with a surprise effect.

Scion of Oona

Scion of Oona is a lord that protects your other faeries.

Distant Melody

Distant Melody draws you an extra card based on the number of faeries you have.

Enchantments and Artifacts

Each time you cast artifacts and enchantments while having Alela in play you make a token, so it’s good to cast them.

Skullclamp

Skullclamp is a given since you’ll have some 1/1 tokens around and draw cards. You can also attach it to your commander and hit with a 3/2 lifelink, and then you get to draw cards if Alela dies.

Inspiring Leader

Inspiring Leader is a perfect fit for this deck since you can have Alela give +3/+2 to all Faerie tokens.

Obelisk of Urd

You’re playing Obelisk of Urd since it has convoke, so you can use your tokens to help cast it and give your faeries another bonus.

Conclave Tribunal

Convoke is interesting in this deck, and that’s why you want to play Conclave Tribunal. It’s basically an Oblivion Ring variant that can be cast for cheaper.

Strixhaven Stadium

One of the most interesting cards in this deck is Strixhaven Stadium because it can be a win condition in this deck. If you hit your opponents more than they hit you, you’ll eventually win.

Bident of ThassaCoastal Piracy

Another synergy is to play enchantments like Bident of Thassa and Coastal Piracy to give you a flying creature and help you draw extra cards.

Heraldic Banner

The tokens created by Alela are blue, so if you want to play an effect like Heraldic Banner just choose blue for an extra +1/+0.

I also want to mention also that utility creatures like Baleful Strix, Alseid of Life’s Bounty, and Skittering Surveyor are nice for defense and fetching lands, and you’ll make extra tokens if you have Alela out.

Interaction

Counterspell, Negate, and Lofty Denial are interesting to protect your board from a key spell.

Path to ExileSwords to Plowshares

Good spot removal in white exists in Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares.

Detention Sphere

You also want to play enchantment-based removal like Detention Sphere because you’ll also get a flier token.

Ghostform

You have a few options to protect Alela when it’s on the battlefield. Ghostform gives your faerie commander another life, so to speak.

Lightning Greaves

Lightning Greaves is there to protect Alela from spot removal.

Alseid of Life’s Bounty

Alseid of Life’s Bounty can protect your commander while on the battlefield.

Sejiri ShelterMalakir Rebirth

Other forms of interaction that are also lands include Sejiri Shelter and Malakir Rebirth.

Sweepers

You’re playing a deck that wants to have presence on the board, so your sweepers have some modality.

Time Wipe

Time Wipe allows you to get Alela or a key creature back, while Hour of Reckoning can get anything but token creatures.

Austere Command

Austere Command lets you choose one of its modes as needed, so you can still get only big creatures and let your tokens live, or get rid of enchantments or artifacts as needed.

Planeswalkers

The two planeswalkers in this deck serve as flying and token support.

Kaya, Geist Hunter

Kaya, Geist Hunter supports tokens and can even double them for you.

Serra the Benevolent

Serra the Benevolent acts as a buff for flying creatures and can make a Serra Angel token.

The Mana Base

Raffine’s TowerArcane Sanctum

You play most of the Esper lands like Raffine’s Tower and Arcane Sanctum. You have lots of Dimir, Orzhov (), and Azorius () dual lands along with Signets in these colors.

Arcane Signet, Sol Ring, and Command Tower are staples that ramp and fix your mana.

Thought Vessel

Thought Vessel is nice in this deck because you get both a mana rock and the Reliquary Tower effect, which can come in handy if you’re drawing extra cards.

Path of Ancestry

Path of Ancestry fixes your colors and eventually scries 1 if you cast faerie spells.

Hall of Heliod’s GenerosityRoadside Reliquary

Hall of Heliod’s Generosity and Roadside Reliquary give you card advantage.

The Strategy

The main strategy here is a token swarm. You want to have your commander on the battlefield so that your flying Faerie tokens are at least 2/1. You have some staying power the more you can protect your commander and swing with small creatures.

You’re well set to play a “defend the queen” style deck with protection effects. You eventually get more cards if you connect with your tokens, and you can hit with your commander with some equipment and sometimes win via commander damage.

Your worst enemies are static effects that give -1/-1 to creatures, but there aren’t a lot of ways around them other than spending your counterspells and enchantment removal.

Combos and Interactions

BitterblossomMistbind Clique

Bitterblossom and Mistbind Clique is an interaction as old as the Lorwyn block. Both are faerie spells, and you can champion Bitterblossom as well as any Faerie token.

Notorious ThrongStrixhaven Stadium

Notorious Throng can create lots of tokens and give you an extra turn to use them, and Strixhaven Stadium can be your win condition if you have a flying army.

Thunderclap WyvernEmpyrean Eagle

Thunderclap Wyvern and Empyrean Eagle can buff your commander and Faerie tokens.

Stoneforge Masterwork

Stoneforge Masterwork can produce a huge threat attached to your commander which at the very least will gain you life.

Inkmoth Nexus

I’ve included a copy of Inkmoth Nexus since it’s a flying creature with infect that gets buffed by your commander and other buffs. It’s not a faerie, but there’s some flying support. Inkmoth can be a surprise alternate wincon as well in this deck.

Rule 0 Violations Check

There are no Rule 0 violations in this build. You can certainly make Alela a more competitive and combo-y type of deck with a build focused on artifacts and combos, but this ain’t one of them. It’s a very fair deck.

Budget Options

The budget on this deck is in the $300 to $400 range, so let’s make some switches if you don’t have the expensive cards. Those changes will get you into the $150 to $200 range.

Serra the Benevolent and Bitterblossom are nice parts of your engine but they’re expensive. Bitterblossom is the most on the theme of the two, so let’s keep that and replace Serra with Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer.

Brazen Borrower and Ancient Gold Dragon are next. Replace them with Sun Titan and Steel Hellkite.

Door of Destinies can be changed out with Adaptive Automaton. And it’s not needed, but you can also swap Grasp of Fate for Oblivion Ring.

You could also stand to change some of the dual lands since the shock lands are very expensive:

Other Builds

Alela, Artful Provocateur is a very flexible commander. Its characteristics are suitable for enchantment- and artifact-dedicated builds, token builds, and even stax builds.

Include more enchantment-based removal and cards like Magus of the Moat and Ghostly Prison and suddenly you have a prison deck where only you can reliably attack.

Maybe you’re more interested in token-making. If so you’ll want to include cards like Divine Visitation and Rhys the Redeemed.

Other options include artifacts to sacrifice, like Eggs and Braids, Cabal Minion. Suddenly you can support a stax-based deck.

Commanding Conclusion

Brazen Borrower (Secret Lair) - Illustration by Alexandre Chaudret

Brazen Borrower (Secret Lair) | Illustration by Alexandre Chaudret

Have a stack of blue Faerie tokens at your disposal (or some beads, coins, whatever fits) and give this deck a try. Just beware that some Commander players like to play Toxrill, the Corrosive.

The nice thing about Alela, Artful Provocateur is that you can make so much with cheap artifacts or enchantments that you have laying around. This deck is especially fun to me because it brings back that feeling of playing with Dimir faeries from some 15 years ago.

Do you play Alela in any of your EDH or Brawl decks? What do you think of this build? Are you gonna give it a whirl? Let me know in the comments below or join the discussion in the Draftsim Discord.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!

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