Have you ever felt like you’ve done something already, but looking back there’s no record of it? I could have sworn I’d written about Siona, Captain of the Pyleas and the Commander deck I built around her, but it looks like I never did. It’s time I correct that oversight.

The Pyleasants


Deck by Ben Iverach-Brereton


Siona immediately caught my eye when Theros Beyond Death first came out. She looked cool, and I loved the Xena vibes she gave off. I wanted to build a deck around her, but I kept dragging my feet about it. She clearly needed to be in an aura heavy list, but I always felt the enchantress archetype had been done to death.

We’ve all played against these decks before, and we already know half the deck list by the time the first card hits the table. That’s not to say it’s a bad deck or that people shouldn’t play it. It’s just that so many people have worked on enchantress lists over the years that it feels solved: grab your Rancor and your Armadillo Cloak and you’re off to the races!

Whenever I build a deck, I always like to have some unique angle to explore. that’s very difficult to find when it comes to auras. I think I managed to pull it off with my Xantcha Commander deck by delving into atypical colours, but Siona is white/green, exactly the colours you’d expect for most enchantress builds. If you look at my list you’ll find many staples of the archetype: Satyr Enchanter and Mesa Enchantress are stock ways to generate card advantage, while explosive payoffs like All That Glitters and Ethereal Armor are ubiquitous ways to create massive threats.

What you might not have noticed about my list, however, is that my cards are all either common or uncommon.

A few years back I put together a white/green Peasant Commander deck with Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy, and truth be told I was disappointed by how that list performed. Unlike my other Peasant decks, that one never quite worked the way I wanted it to. I tried tinkering with it, but it just never came together. The cards now sit unused in a box, and I’ve gradually started to pilfer pieces from it for other decks.

As a commander, Siona has a clearer, stronger game plan than Shanna. Enchantress decks are tried-and-true in several formats, after all. I considered taking the skeleton of my Shanna list and reworking it into this other archetype, but I decided it would be easier to start from scratch; the old white/green deck only had a handful of cards I wanted to use in the new deck anyway, so I just nicked them from the box and got to work.

Putting the whole deck together took next to no time at all, once I had set my mind to the task. The bulk of it was made up of what I would consider “obvious” picks, like Spider Umbra and Season of Growth, which saved a lot of time in the decision process. That said, I didn’t have access to as many of these ‘staple’ cards as I might have otherwise, since I was restricting myself to only common and uncommon cards. There would be no Sigil of the Empty Throne or Archon of Sun’s Grace here! This left me with extra room to include cards I might have otherwise overlooked, such as Reprobation and Karametra’s Favor. These might not be the most powerful spells I’ve ever played, but their presence in this Commander deck got me excited; I’m always looking for a reason to play atypical cards, and finding a way to do that in such an established archetype was an unexpected pleasure.

The biggest tradeoff I found with eschewing rares and mythics was my limited access to traditional “enchantress” effects. These are permanents that draw cards whenever you cast an aura; cards like Argothian Enchantress, Kor Spiritdancer and Eidolon of Blossoms provide a lot of card advantage, and give this kind of deck a lot of redundancy in Commander. Unfortunately of me, there are only a couple of them at lower rarities. This meant I would need another way to draw cards, or else the deck would risk running out of steam very quickly. Having Siona in the command zone certainly helped, since she can dig for an aura when she came into play, but a one-time trigger is a far cry from the mittful of cards Argothian Enchantress draws each turn.

I gave the problem some thought, and eventually determined that what I needed was a way to bounce permanents back to my hand. This would give me an easy way to recast my commander, find more auras and hopefully retrigger the few enchantresses I did have.

Unfortunately, the only creatures that allow you to repeatedly bounce your enchantments are blue, so I couldn’t use them. Hope wasn’t lost, however; while there’s no explicit way to return enchantments to your hand in white or green, both colours have a number of ways to return creatures. With a few useful “enters-the-battlefield” triggers on those creatures, like Siona‘s, it could be a way to grind out a lot of value. I wasn’t really looking for one-time bounce effects like Kor Skyfisher, mind you, though that has been shown in Pauper to be an entirely reasonable game plan. Instead, I decided to focus on repeatable effects, like Temur Sabertooth and Roaring Primadox; they’re a bit slower than a Skyfisher, but it only takes a few turns of keeping them in play to make up for this list’s lack of ‘true’ enchantresses. I need to play some more games with this deck before I get a feel for how consistent this plan is, but it looks alright on paper. Worst-case scenario, I’ll make room in the list for raw card draw spells, like Harmonize or Hunter’s Insight; they might not be on-theme, but I know they can get the job done.

All in all, I’m pleased with how my Siona deck turned out. It’s clearly recognizable as an enchantress deck, but I feel my rarity restriction let me put my own spin on the archetype. I’m sure the deck could use some improvements here and there, but it already feels much better than my last attempt at a Selesnya Peasant Commander deck. I know the basic game plan of this deck can work, and it has the potential to steal games with some massive attacks. What remains to be seen is how well it can rebuild after a board wipe, but as long as it doesn’t run out of spells to cast, it should do just fine.

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