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Top 8 MTG Cards for Nocturno and Katerina in Commander/EDH

Unfinity is almost here, and with it, we got new partner commanders! Well, sort of. It looks like there’s a cycle of partners, but they’re all Acorn-stamped, meaning they’re not going to be traditionally legal in Commander. That said, if your playgroup is okay with them, they look like a lot of fun. I understand not wanting to add more partners to the ecosystem – you have to be so careful not to break the existing ones further than they’re already broken – but these seem nice and innocuous. Today, I’ll be focusing on the two in Orzhov colors, Katerina of Myra’s Marvels and Nocturno of Myra’s Marvels!

Katerina of Myra's Marvels (Showcase)

Katerina asks us to do something very simple – build our deck with a focus on cards sharing a starting letter. We can ignore our lands for this, but in my mind, the best way to make this ability sing is to choose the same starting letter for every spell we cast. I did some Scryfall searching (with regex magic) and some spreadsheet sorcery, and it seems there’s a superior selection. That’s right, it’s the letter S. Ignoring lands (and Attractions), and including Un-cards, the letter S is the runaway winner, appearing at the front of 1,309 card names in the Orzhov color identity. So, we’ll be starting all of our spells with the letter S. Good thing some of the best cards available to us – Sol Ring, Sun Titan, Swords to Plowshares – start with S, right? It would have been nice if N (252) had been better represented so we’d get a Cat from Nocturno, but so it goes.

Nocturno of Myra's Marvels

Now that we’ve settled on a starting sound, let’s move on to some textual analysis. Of all the words in Magic, a few pop into my mind as common choices. Things like battlefield, target and of course, creature. I think creature is probably the best fit for this deck, since we’re focusing on making 2/2 flying Cat creature tokens, and wouldn’t you know it, the stats bear that interpretation out. Of the 1,309 S-cards we’re looking at, 699 feature the word “creature” in their rules text, though we have to throw out the few that say “creatures” but not “creature”, since I’ve been told that doesn’t count. I’m also glad we can get a card draw from Katerina! It’s important to note that Nocturno’s ability isn’t optional – you draw the card, you lose the life. With that in mind, I’ll make sure we have some life gain in the list to offset this rather painful side effect. 

Let’s take a look at my top eight cards for a deck like this, plus a deck list at the end. Here goes – a rare but fun foray into Un-Commander for me!

 

 

8. Suture Priest

Suture Priest

If you cast a creature spell starting with S, you can easily offset the life loss from Nocturno using Suture Priest, at least as long as Katerina is in play. That alone is enough to make Suture Priest a worthwhile inclusion, and the life loss you send to opponents is some nice upside. This isn’t going to blow any minds, but it’s a solid piece of the engine, and as a two-mana card with the word “creature” prominently featured, it’s a nice cheap way to keep churning through your deck if Nocturno’s around.

7. Sublime Archangel

Sublime Archangel

Let’s clear one thing up right away: if “creatures” had been a match for “creature”, this would have been way better. Regardless, Sublime Archangel adds a lot of value by giving us a low-risk way to leverage our Cat army – only one creature has to risk the vagaries of combat at a time, but it can benefit from all of your tokens via the many exalted triggers we’ll get. Of course, there are plenty of circumstances where you’ll just want to swing out, but when you want to take things a little slower, Sublime Archangel is here.

6. Sanguinary Priest

Sanguinary Priest

A new and exciting addition from the Warhammer 40,000 decks, Sanguinary Priest is a new take on the whole Aristocrats thing. There’s no life gain here, and no life loss either – instead, when one of your other creatures dies, this deals a damage to any target. That’s huge. With all of those 2/2 Cats flying around, there’s sure to be some aerial carnage, and if there isn’t, well, you’re probably winning the game, aren’t you?

5. Silverwing Squadron

Silverwing Squadron

The wider you go, the bigger Silverwing Squadron is, and better yet, it provides even more creature tokens in the bargain. Since we’re focusing on a go-wide approach fueled by Katarina, Silvering Squadron synergizes quite nicely. It’s quite costly, but it’s a nice payoff card for this deck, and we’re somewhat restricted on our options when it comes to payoffs in “S Tribal”. 

4. Song of the Worldsoul

Song of the Worldsoul

The word “creature” does not appear on the rules text of this card, and that reminder text does not count, so why are we so hyped about this one? Well, you know how we’re getting Cats when we cast spells thanks to Katerina? What if we got twice as many Cats? Yeah, I thought you might like that one. Remember, the Cats have flying, so these are some fearsome tokens we’re populating. 

3. Sword of the Animist

Sword of the Animist

Our ramp and mana rock options are somewhat limited, so having Sword of the Animist as an option here is a big win. We shouldn’t be wanting for creatures, and with the flying Cats abounding, we shouldn’t have to re-equip too much – after all, someone will have their shields down in the air most of the time.

2. Syr Konrad, the Grim

Syr Konrad, the Grim

With all of these tokens, Aristocrats effects are at a premium, and while Sanguinary Priest is a great option, Syr Konrad gets a leg up. Syr Konrad doesn’t care who controls the creatures that die, and he deals damage to all of your opponents. What he loses in the inability to take care of creatures on the board he makes up in multiplayer carnage. Plus, if other people are getting milled, you get a little extra edge!

1. Serra the Benevolent

Serra the Benevolent

Okay, so maybe Sol Ring should be here, but that’s not interesting. Serra the Benevolent is, however, very interesting, especially since all those Cat tokens have flying (I’m not going to let you forget!). You might think one of the various Sorins would take center stage here, but Serra’s +2 works fantastically in combination with our Cat army. Her -2 includes the unambiguous word “creature” and makes a solid creature for attacks and blocks, and that ultimate is going to be more relevant than you might think given our ability to fill the board and our penchant for gaining some extra life.

Here’s my first draft of a list – I can’t wait for Unfinity to release (on October 7, by the way) so I can try this and some of the other sweet Acorn-stamped cards out in some friendly Commander games!

Commanders: Katerina of Myra's Marvels, Nocturno of Myra's Marvels
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Command Tower
1 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Marsh Flats
1 Phyrexian Tower
11 Plains
1 Shimmerdrift Vale
1 Sanguinary Priest
1 Scaled Destruction
1 Scourge of Nel Toth
1 Sculpted Sunburst
1 Seal of Cleansing
1 Secure the Wastes
1 Selfless Glyphweaver
1 Selfless Spirit
1 Sepulchral Primordial
1 Serra the Benevolent
1 Shadowspear
1 Shaile, Dean of Radiance
1 Shattered Angel
1 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One
1 Shineshadow Snarl
1 Sign in Blood
1 Silence the Believers
1 Silent Clearing
1 Silverblade Paladin
1 Silverwing Squadron
1 Skemfar Shadowsage
1 Skullclamp
1 Skyboon Evangelist
1 Skyclave Apparition
1 Skyclave Relic
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
1 Smothering Abomination
1 Snuff Out
1 Sol Ring
1 Soltari Champion
1 Song of the Worldsoul
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
1 Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord
1 Soul Shatter
1 Soul Snare
1 Soul Warden
1 Soul-Guide Lantern
1 Soul's Attendant
1 Spear of Heliod
1 Stalking Leonin
1 Star Compass
1 Starnheim Unleashed
1 Stasis Snare
1 Strixhaven Stadium
1 Sublime Archangel
1 Summon the Pack
1 Sun Titan
1 Sunscorch Regent
1 Sunset Revelry
1 Suture Priest
7 Swamp
1 Swift Reconfiguration
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Sword of Dungeons & Dragons
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Hearth and Home
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Sword of the Animist
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Syr Cadian, Knight Owl
1 Syr Konrad, the Grim
1 Tainted Field
1 Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
1 The Big Top
1 Vault of Champions
1 Vault of the Archangel
1 War Room
1 Wasteland
1 Windbrisk Heights

 

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