Wallet Warriors: Shalai, Voice of Plenty
Welcome back Wallet Warriors! Today we’re continuing our journey through the extensive library of Dominaria legends with Shalai, Voice of Plenty!
Last time we dipped our toes into the Brawl format with Jhoira but today we’re going back to our roots with a classic commander deck.
Shalai is a welcome addition to the Selesnya family of commanders since she is powerful in a vacuum while offering a lot of options in terms of deck building. All she asks of you is to play good creatures which is laughably easy in these colors.
Let’s get to the deck list:
If you would like to see the deck separated into the categories I talk about click here.
Your probably wouldn’t expect me to take this down a tribal path but after just leaving Ixalan behind I still had some of that tribal urge. That’s right what I have for you is a creature tribal deck! I painstakingly made sure that every single one of our creatures is a creature!
Shalai loves creatures for multiple reasons. She does a great job at protecting our threats by giving them hexproof while also providing a way to convert mana into power and toughness with her final ability. This deck has the most creatures out of any deck I have written about in this series and that is for good reason.
We are able to get away with having so many creatures because a lot of them act as spells. We have plenty of mana dorks which function as ramp that Shalai can protect and also make bigger in the late game. We have a removal suite attached to our creatures which, again, Shalai makes difficult to get off the board. Then we also have a lot of ways to gain card advantage from our creatures.
For our mana acceleration we only have one source which is not a creature and it is the obligatory Sol Ring. Apart from that we have seven one-drop accelerants because we want the greatest chance to get one down on the first turn.
Beyond that we have a few creatures that are able to generate more than one mana in the original Selvala, Gyre Sage and Fyndhorn Elder.
Developing our board as well as our mana is exactly what we want to be doing in the early turns of the game which is why so much of our ramp is attached to creatures.
The feature of Shalai that we want to take advantage of the most is her ability to protect our fragile creatures. The primary way we can abuse her hexproof ability is by using creatures with powerful removal abilities such as Angel of Sanctions, Fiend Hunter and Banisher Priest.
Another type of creature we can use to interact with our opponents are ones with powerful activated abilities like Intrepid Hero and Ulvenwald Tracker. These small creatures are great if they can stick around for a few turns and Shalai’s protection makes this much more feasible.
The rest of our interaction comes in the form of board wipes and defensive spells like Dauntless Escort. We’re going to be playing a lot of creatures and when someone goes to try and clear the board we want to be ready with either an escort in play or a card like Make a Stand which can leave our board intact.
There are plenty of creatures that can win the game if left unchecked by producing an overwhelming amount of value over time. We have a powerful assortment of threats that can help us win the game if they are able to sit behind Shalai’s hexproof shield.
Threats that generate more creatures over time are especially potent since we want to be going wide to make the most out of Shalai’s mass pump ability. Tendershoot Dryad, Verdant Force, Hanweir Militia Captain, Mycoloth and Ant Queen all make tokens to flood the board while Reya Dawnbringer and Elvish Piper are able to bring out our other creatures.
This section is brief but still very important. Many of these cards will be able to give us the final push to end the game once our board is sufficiently large. With so many creatures in our deck we are bound to build up a big board presence and while Shalai has an anthem-like ability it is very expensive to get a lot of power out of it. These are anthems that have a bigger impact in a shorter amount of time for when we need to take our opponents by surprise.
I must sound like a broken record at this point but if you happened to open this article and skip to this section arbitrarily, guess what? This deck has a lot of creatures. As a result we get to make tremendous use of the cards that benefit us with card advantage by playing creatures.
Lifecrafter’s Bestiary, Soul of the Harvest, Zendikar Resurgent, and Primordial Sage are all very similar. Mentor of the Meek and Bygone Bishop only work with our smaller creatures but are still very effective.
Another grouping of cards I have in this section are recursion spells like Sun Titan, Emeria Shepherd, Marshal’s Anthem and Holistic Wisdom. Wisdom is a very interesting diamond in the rough that can be a huge pain for our opponents to deal with since we have so many cards of the same type in the deck (it’s creature).
The first place you should go when aiming to improve this deck’s power level is protection. We are naturally very weak to board wipes so we want to mitigate this as much as possible and these three cards are all great at that.
The next place you want to go is the ramp package. Somberwald Sage and Shaman of Forgotten Ways make a bunch of mana and are great when protected behind Shalai. Growing Rites is a great way to ramp to the moon and having access to Shalai means you will almost always have a place to dump any extra mana.
Elesh Norn constantly surprises me with how much she affects the board. The key aspect to remember is her ability is passive. I know that’s super obvious but the implication is that your opponents are essentially locked out of playing any creatures with two or less toughness while she is in play which is incredibly valuable, that’s in addition to her wiping out any creatures that were already in play. She does all this while also pumping your team by a bunch. Definitely play her if you have a copy.
Well that does it for this one. Shalai is pretty clearly a very powerful creature and this list does a very good job of showcasing that power. I hope you enjoyed our trip down Selesnya lane because I had a blast putting this list together.
See you all next time! Cheers!
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