Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, the series where I take a Magic card with a downside and build a deck to turn it into a strength.
Innistrad: Crimson Vow has been out for a couple weeks now, and I’ve been taking some time to experiment with the new potential commanders from the set. There’s a lot of fun new legendary creatures to play with, and one of my favorites is.
is an extremely cheap, aggressive commander. A 4/4 with flying is very strong, so it’s no wonder that Dorothea won’t stick around for long. Whenever she attacks or blocks, you’ll have to sacrifice her at the end of combat. Then, you get to cast her again as an Aura for her Disturb cost, enchanting another creature you control so it will make an attacking 4/4 Spirit token whenever it attacks. Once again, however, there is a downside. If Dorothea’s Retribution would be destroyed, it is exiled instead of going anywhere else, meaning you can’t simply cast and recast this powerful Aura from your graveyard whenever the creature it’s attached to dies.
Of course, you can simply putback in the command zone when that happens. But having to recast Dorothea and wait a turn to attack and sacrifice her is a huge loss of tempo that can take you out of the game. Instead, I want to skip going back to the command zone and build this deck around to put Dorothea back in the graveyard so you can recast her immediately. With a suite of evasive creatures, plenty of protection, and a few ways to re-use , you’ll never stumble, allowing you to exact your vengeance on your enemies.
Carrying on Her Mission
Any deck built around an Aura needs creatures to enchant, and because Dorothea’s Retribution creates evasive attackers, I’m going to focus on low-cost evasive creatures to enchant.
The ideal play pattern for this deck is to play a turn-one unblockable creature, caston turn two, and then sacrifice her on turn three so you can enchant your and start attacking with 4/4 Spirits. The only problem is that doesn’t add much to the damage race, so while rounds out the lineup, the real all-stars are , , and . grows up to a 4/5 flier as it attacks and Dorothea’s Spirits enter the battlefield. rewards you for casting spells to protect it, eventually Evolving for just one or two mana. rewards you for casting your other unblockable creatures. You can also stack the Battle Cry trigger under Dorothea’s Retribution so the attacking Spirit will get the +1/+0 buff.
If you really want to turn up the damage, turn toand . isn’t a card you see very often, but it becomes a real threat very quickly. It gets an additional strike counter on every upkeep, not just yours, so it doesn’t take long for each attacking creature to get upwards of +4/+0. Just be careful since your opponents’ creatures will be getting the same buff. is slower, but much less likely to kill you. Every time you create a Spirit with Dorothea’s Retribution, will get another unity counter, buffing your team more and more each turn. Each of these enchantments also follows right after Dorothea’s Retribution on your mana curve, so you can grow your creatures as quickly as possible.
I’m also going to include some creatures that are solid targets for Dorothea’s Retribution later in the game.synergizes nicely with casting spells from the graveyard. The tokens it creates can be used to protect itself and help you pressure enemy life totals. To build on those graveyard synergies, helps you fill your graveyard and draw cards, all while being an unobtrusive unblockable creature. Finally, and both help protect your important creatures. Remember that protection can make your creatures harder to block in addition to helping them dodge removal.
Protection from Beyond the Grave
Whileis undoubtedly powerful, it sits on the wrong part of the curve for this deck: because you want to deploy your threats in the first three turns of the game, counterspells and removal should generally cost more. This lets you play more powerful cards, like , and easily hold up multiple answers for your opponents’ spells. For this particular list, I’ve included efficient removal ( and ), but opted for more flexible counterspells, like . In addition, board wipes like and can be one-sided, since most of the creatures in this deck have low power.
To get as much mileage out of these spells as possible, I’m including. The real goal of this deck is to get extra value from cards in exile, thanks to . This deck does play some cards with flashback and Disturb, but Lier lets us reuse any instant or sorcery in the deck, potentially as many times as we need. In a similar vein, essentially lets you cast your creatures from the graveyard with flashback as well. Plus, with all the extra cards being cast from the graveyard, and become potent card draw engines. Just remember that doesn’t actually cast creatures from the graveyard, so it won’t let you draw cards.
To Eternity and Beyond
So far, I’ve talked about a lot of ways to exile cards from your graveyard and not enough about how to get them out of exile. If you’ve been playing Commander for a while, though, you’ve probably already guessed.is a one-mana instant that puts a face-up card in exile back into your graveyard, making it the perfect candidate for pairing with .
The main challenge for the deck is getting bothand into your hand. has grown in price, but is still a relatively budget tutor option. helps to find and so you can keep the 4/4 Spirits made by Dorothea’s Retribution. also opens up plenty of opportunity for shenanigans with your other spells as well. Transforming your Spirits into Elementals with is one way around their “sacrifice at end of combat” clause. You could also hit them with if you need a little bit of ramp instead.
Still, there’s no way to avoid the fact that you won’t always manage to line upand , so I’m also including cards to mimic and increase the power of . Dorothea’s Retribution is functionally identical to , so including it as a backup copy of Dorothea herself seems fairly straightforward. is also a natural fit. Just keep in mind that the additional tokens will also enter play attacking and will also be sacrificed at the end of combat. As an added bonus, you’ll also get to copy the tokens created by . If is out of budget for you, though, consider adding instead. It can enter as a copy of either Dorothea’s Retribution or , performing essentially the same job as the procession. In the worst case, you can always copy to end the game in a real hurry.
Dorothea Vengeful Victim
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This deck was a ton of fun to put together. It feels like a combination of an Azorius fliers deck and a token deck. If you’re looking for a blue/white deck that’s playing aggro rather than control, or if you’re looking to play around with the exile zone, definitely give it a try. And if you’ve built around, tell me about it in the comments. Did I overlook any powerful synergies? Is there a card I overlooked? Let me know, and thanks for reading.