A Forbidden Love: Krav and Regna Commander Deck Tech
- Ryan Scicluna
Battlebond reintroduced partner commanders and even though it was a bit different from their 2016 debut, the Partner mechanic did not disappoint. Having two commanders is a powerful option in the ever-popular Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH) aka the Commander format. In this article, I will be looking at an unusual pair: Krav, a demon and Regna, an angel – lovers and partners. Here's a casual fun Commander deck built around them.
A Committed Partnership
It is very unusual to see couples represented in the cards of MTG. The only two recent examples that come to mind are Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis and Anax and Cymede, both from the plane Theros. What is even rarer is a loving relationship between creature types that naturally stand against each other’s beliefs and motives, such as an angel and a demon.
However, with Krav, the Unredeemed and Regna, the Redeemer, we are presented with a power couple from the plane Kylem that help each other in some powerful ways. We know these partners are lovers from the flavor text of the card Regna’s Sanction – "Show them the light, my love." — Krav, the Unredeemed – and from the artwork of Together Forever. (The card, with its name and mechanics, also hints that Krav and Regna love each other unconditionally.)
Krav, the Unredeemed is a 4B 3/3 demon that partners with Regna, the Redeemer, allowing you to pay B and sacrifice any number of creatures, so that target player can gain life, draw cards, and also put +1/+1 counters on Krav equal to the number of sacrificed creatures. This means that Krav would fit nicely in a token strategy. Sacrificing any number of token creatures at instant speed to draw you cards, gain you life, and make Krav even stronger is a powerful value engine as long as you can consistently generate said tokens. The only downside is the fact that Krav has no evasion and is vulnerable to any form of removal. As a result, I do not see Krav as a creature to attack with, unless you have a guaranteed hit, or you can give him evasion. Instead he is more of a value engine (card draw, sacrifice outlet, and life gain).
Speaking of tokens, that’s where his partner shines. Regan, the Redeemer is a 5W 4/4 angel with flying, which partners with Krav, the Unredeemed. Regna’s ability allows you to create two 1/1 white warrior tokens during each end step if your team gained life that turn. (Team refers to you as the player in Commander). So in order to make full use of Regna, we need to constantly gain life during each turn. This can result in Regna flooding the board with tokens, which we can use to sacrifice for Krav’s ability. The synergy is there, however, both commanders are bit over-costed and this means that our strategy might be slow compared to other commanders. This also makes the commanders feel like a combo, which makes it easy for opponents to disrupt our plans.
Looking at Krav and Regna, there are a number of ways to go. However, I chose to build them in a slightly different way. Instead of only focusing on the token and life gain strategies, I wanted to set up the board in such a way as to deter attackers from targeting me, giving me enough time to set the stage for Krav and Regna’s arrival. This will be a deck that does not require you to cast your commander as soon as you can. In fact, it would be wiser to wait and cast them only if the right conditions are met. The deck’s main goal is to try to control the game state up to a point where you can successfully drain your opponents with other creatures, gaining value when needed, while assembling an army of tokens to overwhelm the opponents. The commanders are more supporters of this strategy rather than them leading or being the focus of the deck.
Creating a Pillow Fort – Enchantments Matter
In order to set up a favorable board state, the deck requires a number of pillow fort cards that prevent opponents from attacking us or make it really hard for them to do so. Cards like Ghostly Prison, Windborn Muse, and Norn's Annex require the opponent to pay mana or life if they wish to target us for an attack. On the other hand, Lightmine Field makes it very hard for any payer to attack with a lot of creatures, as this enchantment will deal damage to all the attacking creatures equal to the number of creatures attacking. No Mercy and Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts destroy any creature that deals damage to us, with Teysa able to provide tokens for each creature she destroys with her effect. Furthermore, Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker makes our opponents sacrifice a permanent for each creature they damaged us with. These provide another form of insurance against attacks and will hopefully direct our opponents’ aggression towards someone else. Blind Obedience and Authority of the Consuls force our opponents' creatures and artifacts to enter the battlefield tapped. As an extra bonus, Blind Obedience even gives us the opportunity to extort our opponents each time we cast a spell, which synergizes perfectly with Regna, whilst Authority of the Consuls gives us 1 life for each new creature that enters our opponents’ battlefield.
Since we are deterring attacks, we are also running Luminarch Ascension. This enchantment gives us the ability to create 4/4 flying angels as long as the card has 4 quest counters on it. In a multiplayer game of Commander, it is very easy to get 4 quest counters on Luminarch Ascension, as we can put one on each of our opponent's end steps, but only if we did not lose any life. Since we are playing a lot of enchantments (more coming below), we can include Sphere of Safety as another means to make it harder for opponents to attack us and Greater Auramancy to protect all our enchantments with shroud.
As a means to politically target some aggression towards other players, I like to include Curse of Disturbance and Vow of Duty. Curse of Disturbance gives the opponents the option to attack another player in order for them, and ourselves, to get a 2/2 zombie token. Vow of Duty can give an opponent's creature +2/+2 and vigilance but they cannot attack us nor our planeswalkers.
Assembling a Token Army in Unconventional Ways
Half of our strategy revolves around slowly creating enough tokens to use with Krav or overwhelming our opponents with a large attack. For this reason, the deck runs Anointed Procession which doubles any tokens created. Legion’s Landing (Legion's Landing / Adanto, the First Fort) creates a single 1/1 vampire with lifelink. However, when we flip this enchantment into the legendary land Adanto, the First Fort, we will be able to always have a token generator at our disposal for 2W. Martial Coup and Dark Salvation are both removal spells and token generators, while Secure the Wastes is perfect for when we have a lot of mana to use at instant speed. Ophiomancer creates a 1/1 snake token with deathtouch on each upkeep if we don't control any snakes. This means we can sacrifice the snake token with Krav or use it as a blocker and generate another snake on the next upkeep (of any player). As a result, we can use Pawn of Ulamog to create Eldrazi spawn tokens each time a creature dies, generating more tokens for Krav’s ability and giving us extra mana should we wish to use the Eldrazi spawns that way.
Other token generators include, Crested Sunmare which creates a 5/5 horse token during each end step if we managed to gain life during a turn, Grave Titan which creates two 2/2 zombies when it enters the battlefield or attacks, and Overseer of the Damned which lets us destroy an opponent's creature when it enters the battlefield, plus creates a 2/2 zombie each time a non-token creature an opponent controls dies. Since we are generating a number of zombie tokens, I included Necromancer's Covenant which exiles all creatures from a single graveyard and converts those creatures into 2/2 zombies. This enchantment also gives zombies we control lifelink so as to continue with the lifegain theme.
Bring It All Together – Lifegain/Lifeloss Synergies
As can be expected from a Commander deck, there is a lot going on. Our goal in this deck is to drain our opponent's life and to do so, we need several other pieces. Soul Warden and Soul's Attendant give us lifegain each time a creature enters the battlefield. In a multiplayer Commander game, this can result in substantial gains during each player’s turn. Similarly, Suture Priest gains us life if creatures enter on our side of the battlefield, while making your opponents lose 1 life if they cast creatures. Another way to drain our opponents is by using Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat, which make your opponents lose 1 life, while we gain 1 life each time a creature dies. This can also result in a significant advantage for us whenever we sacrifice tokens with Krav.
Our strategy involves gaining a lot of life, so we can also include Karlov of the Ghost Council. It gets two +1/+1 counters each time we gain life with the added benefit of removing six +1/+1 counters to exile any target creature. In order to start buffing our army, we need Archangel of Thune so that it can give all our creatures +1/+1 counters each time we gain life.
To complement Krav’s ability, we can also include Butcher of Malakir and Grave Pact to force our opponents to sacrifice a creature each time one of ours dies. This also triggers our Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat, giving us more value as we go along.
Finally, to take full advantage of lifegain we have Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood, which respectively makes an opponent lose life equal to the life gained and makes us gain life each time an opponent loses life. When we are in a comfortable spot, we can even cast Debt to the Deathless to finish off each opponent simultaneously.
To protect our value engine and generate even more card advantage, we can include Enlightened Tutor to help us tutor for any enchantment or artifact we might need. Phyrexian Arena gives us more card draw without worrying too much about the lifeloss each turn. Tymna the Weaver is another form of card advantage since it lets us draw cards equal to the number of opponents that lost life during our turn. Crypt Ghast, Solemn Simulacrum, Sol Ring, Expedition Map, Orzhov Signet, Thought Vessel, Commander's Sphere, Fellwar Stone, and Hedron Archive help us ramp. Pristine Talisman gives us an opportunity to gain life while producing mana. For removal, we run Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares, Toxic Deluge, Anguished Unmaking, and Merciless Eviction. As a means to protect our commanders or other creatures, we also play Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots. Mother of Runes and Selfless Spirit give us more protection. Sun Titan and Ravos, Soultender respectively gives some form of recursion and makes our creatures stronger.
When it comes to the land package, one of the most important lands is Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. This makes all our lands Swamp in addition to their other types, which is helpful in order to generate more mana using Cabal Coffers and Cabal Stronghold. Since we are in Orzhov colors, we can run any land that produces white and black mana, such as Caves of Koilos, Fetid Heath, Godless Shrine, Isolated Chapel, Tainted Field, Temple of Silence, Shambling Vent, and Orzhov Basilica. We can include Marsh Flats to help us fix our colors together with Command Tower. In this version, I like to include Springjack Pasture and Westvale Abbey / Ormendahl, Profane Prince as a way to generate more tokens, giving us another way to beatdown our opponents using Westvale Abbey’s transformation ability. Vault of the Archangel is another powerful land that should be included in this deck as it gives creatures lifelink and deathtouch making any tokens you generate a nightmare for your opponents.
At first glance, Krav and Regna might not seem that powerful, but Krav’s ability to sacrifice your creatures at instant speed, any number of times during a turn, to draw cards, gain life, and make himself tougher permanently, can create some explosive plays under the right conditions. It also makes our opponents targeting removal spells useless, since whenever they target one of our creatures, we can immediately use Krav’s ability to sacrifice that creature and gain value. We are essentaly telling our oppoents to use their spells against someone else. As a supportive partner, Regna provides you with more fuel for Krav’s insatiable hunger. This deck does not rely too much on the commanders and can easily win games without even casting them. But having an efficient value engine can give you so much advantage that it will be very hard for your opponents to stop you.
Another way to play this deck can be by replacing Krav and Regna with Ravos and Tymna as commanders. Both have powerful abilities on their own, but this obfuscates your real strategy and keeps your opponents guessing. Since Krav and Regna partner with each other, if you cast one you can immediately tutor up the other. As a result, your opponents will not know what your end game is until it’s too late.
What do you think of this list? Have you tried any different builds for Krav and Regna? What did you think of the new partners introduced in Battlebond? Let us know.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.