Building for Trostani

I got pretty excited when I found out the guild leaders in Return to Ravnica were being redone. I had been looking for new ideas and RtR was a perfect set for new commanders.

I had to make a decision about which legend to make a deck around first. My options were Trostani, [card Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius]Niv-Mizzet[/card], [card Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord]Jarad[/card], or [card Isperia, Supreme Judge]Isperia[/card]. Niv-Mizzet and Isperia are cool, but in terms of a commander they are pretty bland. Jarad would be fun to make a deck around, since he has several fun abilities, but I decided to go with Trostani.

Initial Ideas

When I first saw Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, I thought of a deck idea immediately. Obviously it was tokens, but I wanted to bring it in a direction that token Commander token decks don’t usually go in. Big tokens. Typically a token deck produces multiple small creature tokens and then buffs them all in some way. I decided to show some love to the big token making cards. The bigger the tokens, the better populate is.

Besides making tokens, Trostani also reliably gains life. This can be quite helpful but also dangerous. I’ve noticed that players will often attack the person with the most life, which is wrong in most situations, but still happens. My idea to combat this was to incorporate cards that you could spend life on, like Sylvan Library.

Step 1: Token Makers

The first thing I did was compile a list of token making cards, focusing on the ones that made large tokens. I wasn’t sure if there would be enough at first, but after writing a list of them I was pretty surprised. I tried to choose cards that made 4/4’s or bigger. Here are some of the all-stars:

Armada Wurm
Crush of Wurms

Step 2: Token Synergizers

The next step was to find cards that worked well with tokens. I like every single card with populate, plus some other obvious ones:

Doubling Season
Parallel Lives
Parallel Evolution

Step 3: Taking Advantage of Extra Life

The final set of thematic cards were those that took benefit from having extra life. After searching gatherer I found there aren’t many white or green cards that let you spend life to do stuff. I had to settle with cards that benefit from either gaining life, or having lots of life:

Ageless Entity
Serra Avatar
Well of Lost dreams

Step 4: Fill in the Gaps

The theme of this deck fills the rolls of threats, so I don’t have to worry about adding any large creatures. However, the deck is lacking answers to my opponents permanents. Some standard Commander staples should fill the role just fine:

Swords to Plowshares
Return to Dust
Beast Within

It would also be silly not to take advantage of green’s mana ramping capabilities. It’s what green does best, and in my opinion, is the best strategy in Commander:

Skyshroud Claim
Explosive Vegetation
Rangers Path

Step 5: Lands

This part is easy. Add a bunch of dual lands, some staple utility lands, couple basics and you’re done. I’ve found that in two-color decks you can get away with quite a few basics, which turn out to be quite helpful in many situations.

The Finished Deck

Final Thoughts

This is a nice and friendly Commander deck. There aren’t any combos or any annoying cards, just some good old fashioned large monsters and life gain. It could probably be made much more competitive, but as it is it fits the spirit of Commander.

This deck should also be easy for a newer Commander player to pilot. Continually pumping out large monsters to pummel your opponents with is straightforward but still powerful. Also, life gain is alluring to newer players. Typically I wouldn’t incorporate life gain as a primary theme, but Trostani pretty much throws it in for free, so why not.

Creating decks that are fair and fun is my primary goal when constructing a Commander deck, but at the same time it needs to be powerful so I don’t lose every game. I think this deck is pretty cookie-cutter when it comes to a Commander deck. It reliably creates threats and has a good package of cards to deal with whatever your opponents do.

I haven’t gotten a chance to play with it yet, but I foresee if being decent. My Commander decks always go through several stages of development before I get them where I want them. I’m sure this deck needs some fine tuning, so if you have any suggestions feel free to post them in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

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Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin

I'm an avid commander player with a knack for deck building. I've played commander since its genesis and have loved it ever since. If you ever want to talk about commander feel free to contact me at

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