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!
Scion of Oona | Illustration by Eric Fortune
Alseid of Life’s Bounty
Scion of Oona
Sephara, Sky’s Blade
Glen Elendra Liege
Ancient Gold Dragon
Oona, Queen of the Fae
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Sower of Temptation
Talisman of Progress
Obelisk of Urd
Door of Destinies
Hall of Heliod’s Generosity
Sea of Clouds
Path of Ancestry
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.
Glen Elendra Liege gives +1/+1 to blue creatures and +2/+2 to Dimir () creatures.
Sephara, Sky’s Blade can be cast by convoking fliers and it protects your fliers, but it’s also a 7/7 flier itself.
Skullclamp turns our tokens into cards.
Door of Destinies is also tribal support, getting better the more faeries you cast.
Distant Melody draws you an extra card based on the number of faeries you have.
Each time you cast artifacts and enchantments while having Alela in play you make a token, so it’s good to cast them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You also want to play enchantment-based removal like Detention Sphere because you’ll also get a flier token.
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 is there to protect Alela from spot removal.
Alseid of Life’s Bounty can protect your commander while on the battlefield.
You’re playing a deck that wants to have presence on the board, so your sweepers have some modality.
The two planeswalkers in this deck serve as flying and token support.
Kaya, Geist Hunter supports tokens and can even double them for you.
The Mana Base
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
Stoneforge Masterwork can produce a huge threat attached to your commander which at the very least will gain you life.
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.
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.
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.
You could also stand to change some of the dual lands since the shock lands are very expensive:
- Hallowed Fountain for Sejiri Refuge
- Watery Grave for Waterfront District
- Godless Shrine for Scoured Barrens
- Raffine’s Tower for Obscura Storefront
- Inkmoth Nexus for Moorland Haunt
Other options include artifacts to sacrifice, like Eggs and Braids, Cabal Minion. Suddenly you can support a stax-based deck.
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.
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