"I am light. I am dark. I must give my life to serve; not even death can release me."
—Selenia, dark angel
Selenia is a 3/3 Angel with Flying that costs 3WB to cast. Her ability to evade removal and other combat tricks makes her tricky to deal with and there are cards in the deck to be able to make her deal lethal damage rather easily. She doesn’t have many creature friends in the deck, so she actually plays a pretty big role in your victory.
Ad Nauseum (Time Spiral)
For those familiar with the Modern combo deck, you’re probably well aware how much card advantage this card can give you. With all the ways you can get life back in a hurry at the cost of your opponents’, you can draw a whole bunch of cards with this little instant. Just be cautious that you play it right.
Angel’s Grace (Time Spiral/Modern Masters)
A card also seen in the Ad Nauseum combo deck, Angel’s Grace prevents you from losing the game by not allowing you to go below one life. It also prevents any of your opponent’s from winning the game in case they happen to have alternate win conditions. Being uncounterable with Split Second is pretty awesome, too.
Children of Korlis (Time Spiral)
Gain back all the life that you’ve lost in a turn by sacrificing a one-drop creature? Sign me up for that! This allows you to go pretty deep on Ad Nauseum and other life-loss cards and not pay the price.
An enchantment from one of the older sets in Magic, Hatred allows one of your unblocked creatures to deal an incredible amount of combat damage for the cost of some life. It’s especially good with Selenia.
Magus of the Mirror (Future Sight)
Sacrificing this creature to swap life totals is fun.
Near-Death Experience (Rise of the Eldrazi)
While this alternate win condition can be tricky to achieve, it does combo nicely with Angel’s Grace. It’s an Enchantment that’s good to have around just in case.
Phyrexian Unlife (New Phyrexia)
While this Enchantment allows you to go below 0 life, it gives you poison counters for each point of damage you take beyond 0 so be careful! It’s useful as a safety net, however.
Repay in Kind (Rise of the Eldrazi)
Bringing everyone down to the lowest life total among all players, then gaining it all back with one of your other key cards seems good!
Soul Conduit (New Phyrexia)
Making it so that two players exchange life totals, and not simply opponent’s means that you can use this card politically in a multiplayer game to eliminate a particular opponent.
Tainted Sigil (Alara Reborn)
A better artifact version of Children of Korliss, you actually get the life lost by all players in a turn, which can give you a pretty awesome life total!
This list is fairly budget for Commander, weighing in at about $175 total. This includes Commander staples such as Enlightened Tutor and Cabal Coffers. The deck really wants to have these, but could live without them if necessary.
Selenia, Dark Angel
Children of Korlis
Magus of the Mirror
Angel of Despair
Non-Creature Spells (48)
Path to Exile
Swords to Plowshares
Aura of Silence
Debt to the Deathless
Return to Dust
Wrath of God
Promise of Power
Repay in Kind
Decree of Pain
Reverse the Sands
Caves of Koilos
Temple of Silence
Temple of the False God
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Vault of the Archangel
If you want to go out and spend a bit more to upgrade this list, here are some changes you could make as you see fit.
Dark Petition -> Demonic Tutor
The original Tutor only costs 1B to play, making it strictly better than Dark Petition, even if most of the time Petition will essentially cost you the same anyway. With Selenia in it for the long game, Petition is just fine if you can’t afford Demonic Tutor.
Diabolic Revelation -> Vampiric Tutor
While Revelation can seek out multiple cards for you, a single Black mana and paying 2 life is just fine to get the card you need the most in a hurry.
Oblivion Ring -> Land Tax
Having spot removal is nice, but Land Tax assures you that you can fetch out the basic lands you need in case you’re falling behind in your mana base.
Phyrexian Reclamation -> Vindicate
If you lose the spot removal of Oblivion Ring, Vindicate is a great non-budget option to replace it. Reclamation is nice for being able to reuse some of your utility creatures, but premium removal is always strong in Commander. Anguished Unmaking is also a good, cheaper version of the same effect, and the life loss isn’t really an issue at all in this deck.
Scoured Barrens -> Fetid Heath
The White/Black filter land is strictly better than a dual land that comes into play tapped, even if that tapped land does gain you one life.
Tithe Drinker -> Serra Ascendant
Serra Ascendant is one of the most hated cards in EDH because of the fact that many times, since Commander players begin with 40 life, the Ascendant is a 6/6 flying with lifelink for a single White mana. It’s an early drop that your opponent has to deal with, or potentially a finisher if you play your cards right and drop a wide open opponent to a tiny life total.
Any particular Commander you would like for us to review? Let us know in the comments!