Last updated on October 26, 2022
Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice | Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez.jpg
Back when I played casual Modern decks and brews some 10 years ago, there was this Bant () Superfriends list I liked to play around with. It wasn’t tier 1 by any means, but it made me wonder what a competitive planeswalker-based deck would look like.
Today I’m gonna share my version of this oh-so-popular deck and walk you through its card choices and gameplay decisions. Ready, set, go!
Oath of Nissa | Illustration by Wesley Burt
Teferi, Master of Time
Tamiyo, Field Researcher
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Vraska, Relic Seeker
Jace, Architect of Thought
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Tamiyo, Compleated Sage
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Liliana, the Last Hope
Sorin, Grim Nemesis
Kiora, the Crashing Wave
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
Birds of Paradise
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Shalai, Voice of Plenty
Toxrill, the Corrosive
Roalesk, Apex Hybrid
Vault of Champions
Sea of Clouds
This Atraxa list focuses on the following packages: mana fixing and ramp, planeswalkers, proliferate synergy, and proliferate cards. The proliferate package is here since Atraxa won’t always be on the battlefield for you and proliferate cards stack well anyways. You’ve also got some infect cards to eventually poison your opponents here and there.
This legendary angel lends itself well to a planeswalker deck. Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice‘s main ability is to proliferate every turn, which essentially puts a loyalty counter on each planeswalker you control.
Color Fixing and Ramp
A 4-color deck needs to have several sources of mana that can produce all five colors. If you were playing three colors (let’s say Bant colors only) then you could focus on , , and fixing only, but it gets a bit more complicated than that once you add that fourth color.
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove serves as a mana accelerant and a color fixer. The body blocks well too, which actually matters when you’re trying to defend all your planeswalkers.
Chromatic Lantern is probably the best color fixer out there in EDH.
Creatures with Proliferate Synergy
A 1/1 for three is bad, but add some proliferating and spells from your opponents and suddenly you have a big beater in Managorger Hydra.
The worst-case scenario is that it dies when you play it. Try to play Fathom Mage only when you can evolve it on the same turn, then the proliferating will draw you lots of cards.
Shalai, Voice of Plenty can be used to pump your team when needed on top of protecting your creatures and planeswalkers from spot removal.
Here’s the meat of the deck. You should play somewhere between 15 and 25 planeswalkers for a Superfriends deck. The selection of planeswalker cards boils down to how well they interact together.
You want the planeswalkers to have powerful ultimates, in particular ones that produce emblems. The advantage of this is that, barring a well-timed Stifle effect, there isn’t a way for your opponents to interact with them.
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage can lock down a powerful permanent from your opponent, draw a bunch of cards if needed, and its ultimate can provide a steady source of card advantage.
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets is the classic formula: 5-mana card advantage on the +1, removal on the -2, and an emblem that will annoy opponents for the rest of the game as its ultimate.
Considering that almost all your cards are noncreatures aside from lands, Narset Transcendent supplies great card advantage. And while its -2 ability isn’t that great here, the ultimate is where it’s at.
Another classic 5-mana planeswalker, Ob Nixilis Reignited’s ultimate is a death sentence to someone at the table.
Kiora, the Crashing Wave brings some protection, ramp, and an ultimate capable of producing 9/9s every turn to the table.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General makes some tokens to defend the team, draws some cards, and your opponents will be short of permanents when its ultimate goes off.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is a powerful planeswalker that you’d ideally like to play ahead of curve. From there it wraths the board and its ultimate generates both card advantage and mana advantage.
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar gets on the battlefield early, interacts with +1/+1 counters, and has a very powerful ultimate for a 3-mana planeswalker.
Oaths and Planeswalkers-Matter Cards
The cycle of oaths are enchantments that produce advantages whenever a planeswalker is cast. Besides that you also have cards that enhance the planeswalkers already on board.
Oath of Teferi blinks a planeswalker (in case it’s low with loyalty counters) and allows you to double on your walkers.
Doubling Season is synonymous with the Commander format, and it’s a must-have in a deck full of walkers. To be able to ultimate a planeswalker as soon as it hits the table sometimes just feels unfair. It also doubles the +1/+1 counters put on creatures and the tokens produced by walkers.
Rings of Brighthearth allows you to pay two more to double a lot of things, including proliferate activations and a planeswalker activation (or even an ultimate). You should know that this card just doubles the effect of the activated ability, not the cost of activation, so you don’t get extra loyalty counters from it.
This is plan B when Atraxa isn’t around. These work well with the rest of the deck even if your commander is in play.
Roalesk, Apex Hybrid is a very good threat, and it proliferates twice when it dies.
Inexorable Tide proliferates every turn, just like Atraxa.
Evolution Sage proliferates whenever a land enters the battlefield.
Tezzeret’s Gambit is card advantage that also proliferates.
These cards are included to give the deck another axis. It’s a small package and there are entire builds dedicated to potentially killing opponents via poison counters. But even a single poison counter can be enough to win the game over time with the amount of proliferate that the deck has.
Ichor Rats gives each of your opponents a poison counter. Sometimes this is enough to put your opponents on a clock, and it puts an even larger target on Atraxa.
This 1-mana combat trick can give somebody at the table poison counters out of nowhere, possibly removing an opponent in one shot. You can even participate in your opponents’ combat via Tainted Strike.
The Mana Base
Here comes the tricky part. The mana base is harsh, because playing four colors comes at a price. Tri-lands are great for multicolor mana bases but you shouldn’t just limit yourselves to that.
Also keep in mind that the mana base is very expensive. There’s a set of fetch lands and shock lands, but feel free to change the mana base according to your budget or whatever duals are available to you.
Roalesk, Apex Hybrid | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov
Your first turns will be slow. You’ll spend some time playing tapped lands, attempting to fix your mana with fetches and mana rocks.
Green ramp is aimed at fixing your colors, so look out for cards like Bloom Tender and Faeburrow Elder in your opening hand. Mana rocks are selected to generate mana of any color, barring cards like Sol Ring and Everflowing Chalice in favor of Chromatic Lantern and the like. You want to play Atraxa as soon as you can, ideally landing a planeswalker on the following turn to start proliferating.
From turns 3 to 7 you’re ideally playing one planeswalker per turn along with your commander. Some loyalty abilities will be activated each turn. Don’t be afraid to use the minus abilities on the walkers because patience is the name of the game. Kill some threat or commander from your opponent, and it’s okay if Atraxa dies in the early game. You can even wrath the board on occasion.
From turns 10 on you’re going to have your planeswalker engine going. Maybe your opponents already have a poison counter or two and are slowly dying. Ideally you’ll also have an emblem online. Remember that the main win condition of the deck is a planeswalker pulling off its ultimate or threatening to ultimate.
Combos and Interactions
Rings of Brighthearth can double the effect of any activated abilities, which will be planeswalker abilities in this deck. Atraxa’s proliferate is a triggered ability, so it won’t be doubled. Remember that loyalty counters also aren’t doubled since they’re part of a cost, not an effect.
If Ugin, the Spirit Dragon hits the table it can exile your colored permanents with its -X ability, so use the +2 when in doubt.
Remember that Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice blocks and attacks too. Don’t be afraid to trade your commander in combat.
Rule 0 Violations Check
This deck is safe if your group or local game store has “Rule 0” terms to define the format of casual Commander and what’s acceptable in your playgroup. It doesn’t have any “I win!” moments, infinite combos, or unfun play patterns.
Darkwater Catacombs | Illustration by Monte Michael Moore
Most of the planeswalkers in the deck are available at a low price because they’re usually too clunky to see play in other formats once they rotate out. It’s not like you’re playing Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Liliana of the Veil anyways. There are loads of cheaper ones that can be switched if a planeswalker is too expensive because it currently sees play in a given format.
The shock and fetch lands can be replaced by the Temples from the original Theros and the slow lands from Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow. You can also include some filter lands like Darkwater Catacombs and Sungrass Prairie.
To budget even more you can play some basic lands and rely on green for your mana fixing with cards like Cultivate and Sakura-Tribe Elder. Cheaper fetches like Bad River, Grasslands, and Glacial Floodplain can replace the Zendikar fetches. Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse can also do the trick.
Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice lends itself well to a multitude of builds. Here are some other strategies worth exploring:
- +1/+1 counters, level up creatures
- Charge counters
Rings of Brighthearth | Illustration by Howard Lyon
Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice is one of the most popular and powerful commanders out there, and even a bad Atraxa deck will get some respect. It’s easy to build a deck when you have the best ramp, card draw, and removal at your disposal, and the cuts become very hard. There are lots of crazy builds out there, all the way from group hug to monarch.
What’s a card that can’t be removed from your Atraxa deck? Is there a wild Atraxa strategy you saw and want to mention? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below, or over in Draftsim’s official Discord.
That’s all I’ve got for you today. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: