Should I call this a “Vintage Review”? Surely not! I went on a hunt for this deck when I heard the news that the Wizards are going to be re-printing the deck as a part of next Summer’s “Commander Anthology.” That product is to contain four reprinted decks, and by adding Freylise’s “Guided By Nature” deck to my collection, I already own three of the four decks! (The other decks are “Invasive Manuevers,” “Plunder the Graves,” and the money-card loaded “Heavenly Inferno” which is the only deck I don’t have.)
I picked up my copy at Toys-R-Us. Yes. Still on the shelf. I paid $40. MSRP was $35. But this deck is selling on the internet for way more money. And I could piece it out and get well over my $40 worth of cards back if I wanted to.
I owned two of the Commander 2014 decks already, Ob Nixilis and Nahiri the Lithomancer. I truly hadn’t stopped to appreciate Freylise’s deck until the Wizards brought so much attention to it. I have found it to be a thing of beauty, and certainly worthy of a re-print.
“Guided By Nature” came in this traditional window box packaging, showcasing the Planeswalker Freylise, who can also be used as a Commander. We are told it is a 100 card deck, and there are 15 new Magic cards in the deck.
On the back we see some of those new cards. We get lots of propaganda. You can see the names of the other two decks I don’t have, “Built from Scratch” and “Peer Through Time.” This doesn’t really inspire me to get Deretti, Scrap Savant or Tefuri, Temporal Archmage’s decks.
Freylise’s deck didn’t open any differently than the Ob Nixills deck. You get the big splashy oversized card, a cellophane wrapped deck, a piece of poster just for this deck, the guide to playing Magic, and a pretty good deckbox, which has a tray inside that is more useful if you take it out. The Guide to Playing Magic is completely useless for this Commander product, and should be disregarded by new players. That guide only tells you how to play regular Magic, not Commander.
We get even more double sided tokens. (The same cards are featured in both images, just flipped over.)I already expressed that I feel that it is likely more challenging to make double sided cards for the Wizards. While they have access to the factory to do so, (for the main purpose of Origins Planeswalkers and Shadows Over Innistrad block), they have gotten lots of milage printing double sided tokens. These are great! And very useful as you play the game.
Should I show you a picture of plain basic lands…Nope. I’ll skip that.
We get these special lands. Notable is Crystal Vein ad Havenwood Battleground. These a “Sac Lands.” Ghost Quarter, Haunted Fengraf, and Evolving Wilds are also quite useful.
So on with the real cards…
So what does Freylise do? Rolling her up gets you a mana elf. You really want THAT in this deck! Rolling her down will get you Naturalize. And her -6 is important because that green card draw is hard to come by!
We get two more commanders. I have yet to try Titania. But Ezuri is a super “elf lord,” and I couldn’t help but give him a try!
As usual, the rares are on top. And you get an INCREDIBLE amount of them. From Seer’s Sundial to Thunderous Baloth, to Beastmaster Ascencion. The rares in this deck work wonders to bring you a win. You get lots of regular green stuff too…stuff that should be in every green Commander deck, like Silklash Spider and Emerald Medallion.
This deck is TRIBAL ELVES. And that becomes clear when you look at the rest of the cards.
Question: How many mana elves does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
But you need this critical mass of elves to make some of the effects in the deck work. Think by to Ezuri, the alternate commander. Lots of elves means Ezuri wins! It is also great that most of these creatures are small, with low converted-mana-cost. That makes a card like Thunderous Baloth, with its Lieutenant ability, really shine!
And finally we get to some of the usual stuff. Sol Ring has to be in EVERY deck. Commander’s Sphere and Swiftfoot Boots. Also worthy must includes. Overrun. How many times and different ways can you give your creatures +x/+x and trample?
Here is the full decklist from the poster.
HOW DOES GUIDED BY NATURE PLAY OUT?
Great. For real! I haven’t seen this deck lose. The mono-green elf strategy is tried and true, and the Wizards have given us one of the finest mono-green decks of this sort.
Can it be improved? Absolutely. Add some more expensive cards. Craterhoof Behemoth. Crucible of Worlds. Gaia’s Cradle. And so on! Allosaurus Rider. Nylea, God of the Hunt.
I see why this deck has elevated to Anthology level. And am proud to own it. I score it a 5/5. I have found that “Evasive Maneuvers” and “Plunder the Graves” are also rated 5/5. I can only imagine that “Heavenly Inferno” would be a 5/5 as well, but I think I can affort to piece that together rather than purchasing it. Either way, I WON’T be getting the Commander Anthology this summer. It would take some serious enticing, like foiling it out for me to change my mind. I mean, I already own the bulk of the product!
The SpartanNerd gives Frealise’s “Guided By Nature” deck a 5/5. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments!