Aurelia, the Law Above "Here, Have Some Creatures!" - Plot Twist #3

Jeff Girten • February 27, 2024

Welcome back to Plot Twist, the series where we build a Commander deck that starts out telling one kind of story only to throw out a plot twist mid-game. If you're joining us for the first time, welcome! I'd encourage you to check out the first article in the series to see what types of stories we're hoping to tell.

When Aurelia, the Law Above from Murders at Karlov Manor was first spoiled, I was intrigued by how it rewarded every player for attacking with three or more creatures. I love building creature-centric decks that win with combat damage, so Aurelia was right up my alley. My only reservation was that Boros combat-centric commanders tend to use the goad mechanic a lot, and I find that goad takes games in a direction I don't always enjoy because it forces our opponents to attack instead of having to make (sometimes) difficult decisions. But this is Plot Twist, where we take decks in new and unexpected directions, so today we're building a deck that encourages our opponents to attack without forcing them to via goad.

How Does Aurelia Work?

Aurelia has two separate abilities that trigger when any player attacks with a certain number of creatures. The first lets us draw a card when at least three other creatures attack, and the second does a pseudo Lightning Helix effect whenever a player attacks with at least five creatures. The deck we're building today should allow us to reliably trigger Aurelia's abilities ourselves, but we'll want to encourage our opponents to attack so that we can keep drawing cards and dealing chip damage on their turns, too. Our opponents might try to play around Aurelia's abilities by only attacking with two or four creatures, but we'll be sure to provide them with a steady stream of attackers and incentives to attack as well.

Doing the Twist

I love the combat phase (it's not just a phase, mom!), but there's something about goad and forced combat that irks me. Personally, I want my opponents to have to make difficult decisions, but goad means they don't have to make any decisions at all. Math is for blockers, but if our opponents don't have any creatures left to block, then they won't have to do any math at all!

When we look at the high synergy cards section on Aurelia's EDHREC page, we can see all sorts of goad cards, like Disrupt Decorum, Taunt from the Rampart, Goblin Spymaster, and Spectacular Showdown, that each show up in more than 45% of Aurelia, the Law Above decklists. The synergy with Aurelia's triggered abilities is undeniable, but I also feel like goad makes the game less fun for our opponents and will create games that play out along predictable lines. If Plot Twist is about one thing, it's about playing games that have storylines filled with interesting twists and turns. (It's right there in the name!)

So, instead of relying on goad, we're going to make sure our opponents have plenty of creatures to attack with and reward them for doing so. Here's the full decklist for you to peruse:

"Here, Have Some Creatures" with Aurelia, the Law Above

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Commander (1)
Lands (38)
Creatures (26)
Sorceries (5)
Instants (9)
Artifacts (11)
Enchantments (10)

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"Here's a Few Creatures for You to Attack With..."

First thing's first: we need to give ourselves, and our opponents, creatures to attack with in order to trigger Aurelia's abilities. Alliance of Arms, Eiganjo Uprising, and Tempt with Vengeance all give each player multiple attackers the moment the spell resolves, so we can pass the turn and watch Aurelia's triggers start resolving. While Akroan Horse, Combat Calligrapher, Genesis Chamber, and Rite of the Raging Storm make tokens for each player at a slower, but repeatable, rate. We'll probably want a mixture of these effects to keep the board flooded with creatures given how fragile tokens tend to be.

In particular, I like Benevolent Offering, Master of Ceremonies, and Ox Drover as ways to give our opponents creatures since we're able to control when we trigger them so that we're in a position to benefit more than the other players. That way we can selectively play the role of a group hug deck as needed. Each of these token-makers also help us slowly eke out a little more advantage over time than our opponents.

'Rewards' for Attacking

We're not going to be forcing our opponents to attack, but we still want to reap the rewards from Aurelia when they do, so this deck is full of cards like Crescendo of War, Frontier Warmonger, and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight that will 'reward' our opponents for attacking each other instead of us. That way, we still get the effective benefits of goad without the un-fun feeling it can create.

Occasionally, our opponents might need a little extra incentive to attack (or perhaps reasons not to block), which is when cards like Angel's Trumpet, Demoralize, Heat Wave, Hero of Oxid Ridge, Legion Loyalist, and Odric, Master Tactician come in handy. I love the incidental damage that Angel's Trumpet and Heat Wave provide us because they make they decision to hold back blockers difficult for our opponents when they're at a low life total. Demoralize can help us manipulate combat on an opponent's turn, while Hero of Oxid Ridge and Legion Loyalist let us break through chump blockers unexpectedly.

Reasons Not to Attack Us

One of the big potential drawbacks of this deck's gameplan is that sometimes we'll give our opponents the creatures they use knock us out of the game. In order to stop that from happening (and make attacking our opponents look fun and easy), we're running Archangel of Tithes, Baird, Steward of Argive, Elesh Norn, and Windborn Muse so that our opponents have to pay extra mana or life every time they attack us. I've also added in Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, to help us get more blockers attackers whenever an opponent attacks us, and Galadriel's Dismissal, which can phase out creatures that are attacking us, phase our board out in response to a wrath, or phase out blockers depending on what we need in the moment. Phasing works extremely well with our token-makers, too, because while a token that leaves the battlefield via a flicker effect is destroyed, tokens can phase out and in without being destroyed.

A Few Extra Twists for Good Measure

As usual, this deck has a few hidden gems that really shine but I'd never really explored before. Court of Embereth introduces the monarch mechanic into our games, giving our opponents yet another reason to attack, and it can do some huge damage to a single target if we manage to stay the monarch for a full turn cycle. Massive Raid is poised to be a game-swinging burn spell for us when our board gets wide enough and seems like it should slot into any red tokens deck. Mob Rule does a great Insurrection impression that pairs nicely with Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, Heat Wave, Legion Loyalist, and our other cards that make blocking difficult for our opponents. 

Fight to the Death was a card I'd never seen before, but we can use to punish two of our opponents at once. Currently, less than 1% of decks with red and white are playing Fight to the Death according to its EDHREC page, and I'm certain that's something we need to change. Order // Chaos is the sort of flexible card that will shine in a deck like this since it acts as both a removal spell or an instant-speed way to mess with the combat step on anyone's turn.

Roll the Credits

I hope you enjoyed reading the latest edition of Plot Twist featuring Aurelia, the Law Above. Next time you sit down for a game of Commander, see what sort of plot twists you can add to take the game's narrative in a new direction.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's deck and what cards could find a home in it in the comments below or on Archidekt. The Maybeboards of my decklists are always filled with cards I thought could work but didn't make the final decklist.

You can find me on Instagram at @girtenjeff and you can check out my other articles here or see what decks I'm currently playing here

Stay tuned to see what other twists and turns are headed your way in the next edition of Plot Twist.