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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Commander Review: Born of the Gods – Sim City with Ephara, God of the Polis

March 8, 2015 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Lavinia of the Tenth

Justice Served

Today featured Commander is Ephara, the White and Blue minor Gods of Theros and of the color combination of Azorius Senate. She is the god of protection and provides her wisdom and boons to those who prayed to her. Embracing the powers of White and Blue, Ephara provides benefits through another aspect of the colors White and Blue. Through the Weenies the two colors are capable of producing, she provides card draw for her controller to further grab control of the game. With the short introduction done, let us look at how she really works.

 

Protect the City

Meletis

Here where the wise live.

Ephara is the God of protection. She is sort of the patron deity of Meletis, city of scholars and philosophers on Theros. She was also the one who gave power to the Meletians to kill the evil Archon Agnomakhos who once ruled the city. Ever since then, Ephara had been worshipped throughout the city with statues and sculptures of her all over the city. She also provides wisdom to those deem worthy of it. As the God of protection, she sheltered those who are under her care and make sure they are unharmed as much as possible. Below are the stats of the God of protection.

Ephara's Enlightenment

Giving out wisdom where it is most needed.

Ephara, God of the Polis

Card Name: Ephara, God of the Polis

CMC: 2WU

Types: Legendary Creature Enchantment – God

Card Text:

Indestructible

As long as your devotion to white and blue is less than seven, Ephara isn’t a creature.

At the beginning of each upkeep, if you had another creature enter the battlefield under your control last turn, draw a card.

P/T: 6/5

Like all the other minor Gods, Ephara also needs to meet the devotion of seven to meet to become a Creature; and at 6/5 with Indestructible. The real deal of her wisdom providing is her upkeep trigger which triggers every upkeep; letting you draw a card at each upkeep if you had a Creature enter your battlefield the last turn. This effectively means that if you have a way to produce a Creature (most probably tokens) every turn, then you will be drawing tons of cards every upkeep. Card advantage is very important in MtG and had been proven and emphasized so throughout MtG history. The theory behind this is that the more cards you have in your hand, the more options you have. Ephara combines the weenie aspects of White in her two colors by allowing you to draw cards, something Blue is most capable of, as you put more Creatures onto the battlefield. In normal variant, this can be view as a form of refilling your hand by one card at each upkeep if you can put Creatures onto the battlefield every turn. The real benefit kicks in if you can put Creatures onto the battlefield during your opponent’s turns; you are effectively drawing an extra card during your own upkeep too. Viewing it in sotry perspective, it is like the more people populate her city, the more powerful she becomes.

 

Token Army

Timely Reinforcements

Help coming at the right time

As mentioned above, Ephara provides a card draw at the next upkeep when you had put a Creature onto the battlefield the turn before. This can be exploited especially if you are able to produce tokens during other players’ turn. Token producers can usually be use at Instant speed; thus ensuring you a card draw every upkeep. Taking for instance a four way multiplayer game, if you manage to put a Creature onto the battlefield each turn starting with your turn, you will have already draw four extra cards even before your draw step when the turn is back to you. Below are some ways within Ephara’s color identity which you can use for her upkeep trigger if you decided to use her as your Commander.

Angelic Accord

Produces an Angel token each end step when you gained 4 or more life. Combo engine with Angelic Chorus which ensures an Angel token every end step once it starts.

Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Produces a Cat Soldier token every time it goes into combat.

Darien, King of Kjeldor

Produces a Soldier token for each damage you take.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant / Elspeth Tirel / Elspeth, Sun’s Champion / Nahiri, the Lithomancer

Planeswalkers that produces tokens.

Field of Souls

Replace your actual Creatures who died with Spirit tokens.

First Response

Produces a Soldier token at each upkeep if you lost life last turn. Combo of sorts with Ephara.

Homarid Spawning Bed

Costly token producer since it requires the sacrifice of an actual Blue Creature with converted mana cost to produce tokens.

Heliod, God of the Sun / Mobilization / Twilight Drover

Mid cost repeatable token producers.

Luminarch Ascension / Meloku the Clouded Mirror / Sacred Mesa

Low cost repeatable token producers.

Mycologist

Free Saproling token producer but requires a bit of time to grow.

Séance

Token producer which exhausts your graveyard. Best combo with Populate to keep the tokens around.

 

As Ephara is of the colors of Azorius Senate, choosing her as Commander opens up options of control due to the huge amount of control elements in the color combination. Combined with the card drawing she provides, your hand will be refill every turn as long as you can produce tokens each turn.

 

Xenagos the Reveler

“Need more people to your party?”

Moving away from the Azorius colors, Ephara can also be a source of card draw if chosen as a common Creature instead of a Commander as there are many token producing cards out of White and Blue. Besides Ephara is not too small as a Creature and is quite the beatstick with Indestructible when she is available. Below are some examples of cards out of Ephara’s color identity which produces tokens.

Ant Queen / Centaur Glade / Jade Mage / Korozda Guildmage / Master of the Hunt / Nemata, Grove Guardian / Sliver Queen / Soul of Zendikar / Spawnsire of Ulamog

Repeatable token producers.

Awakening Zone / Master of the Wild Hunt

Free token at your upkeep and free card draw the next upkeep.

Bearscape

Produces Bear tokens by exiling cards from your graveyard.

Deathspore Thallid / Elvish Farmer Psychotrope Thallid Savage Thallid Sporoloth Ancient / Sporesower Thallid / Thallid / Thallid Devourer / Thallid Germinator / Thallid Shell-Dweller / Utopia Mycon / Vitaspore Thallid

Group of Creatures which gain spore counters and uses them to make Saproling tokens (3x spore counters = 1x Saproling). This process can further speed up with Sporoloth Ancient and Sporesower Thallid.

Dragonlair Spider

Get an Insect token for each spell your opponents cast.

Dreampod Druid / Verdant Embrace / Verdant Force

Saproling token every upkeep.

Druid’s Call

Aura which turns blocker into token producer. Works even better if there is way to damage enchanted Creature.

Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury / Garruk, Apex Predator / Garruk, Primal Hunter / Garruk Relentless / Garruk Wildspeaker / Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath / Sorin, Lord of Innistrad / Sorin, Solemn Visitor / Xenagos, the Reveler

Planeswalkers out of Ephara color identity that produces tokens.

Eyes of the Wisent

A countermeasure against Blue players who cast Blue spells on your turn. Nets a 4/4 Green Elemental token and free card draw the next upkeep.

Fable of Wolf and Owl

Free Wolf token for Green and Bird token for Blue spells you cast. Note the Enchantment gives a Wolf and a Bird token if you cast a Blue and Green spell.

Feed the Pack

Backup plan for token producing if you didn’t draw into any Creature spell during your turn.

Flourishing Defenses

Possible continuous token producing at other players’ turn when combo with Infect or Wither.

Greener Pastures

Free Saproling token each upkeep if you are always the player with most Lands; ensuring the Ephara card draw the next turn.

Gutter Grime

Replace your actual Creatures as they die with Ooze tokens.

Honden of Life’s Web

Free Spirit token for each Shrine you control at your every upkeep.

Hornet Nest / Saber Ants / Sekki, Seasons’ Guide / Sprouting Phytohydra

Creatures which produce tokens for each damage it takes.

Howlpack Alpha

Werewolf and Wolf Lord which produces a free Wolf token at each of your end step.

Jedit Ojanen of Efrava

Produces a Cat Warrior token every time it goes into combat.

Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Ultimate which is the token producer and game ender.

Necrogenesis / Night Soil / Pharika, God of Affliction

Anti-reanimation token producer.

Ooze Flux

Low cost Ooze token producer.

Predatory Advantage

Free Lizard token at end step of every opponent who done nothing during their turn.

Snake Pit

Counter Blue and Black opponents. Gets Snake tokens for the Blue or Black spells they play.

Tombstone Stairwell

Constant Zombie tokens producer for as long as you can upkeep the Enchant World around with its Cumulative Upkeep.

Wolfcaller’s Howl

Free Wolf tokens against Control players whose hand is always full or near full.

 

Filling up the City

Ephara, God of the Polis

“I am the God the City deserves.”

At first glance, many would commonly think that Ephara is a control Commander due to her color identity. In my opinion, she is actually more suited in a token deck. Her card draw ability really shines in such a deck. Combining the token theme and card advantage, Ephara can be a very good Commander who can refill your hand. And as mentioned earlier, with her color identity of White and Blue a certain amount of Control can also be established. In that regard, Ephara is a pretty good Commander to use as a card advantage; combining Control with Token theme. Tokens are like fodders in MtG as they are easily replaced. Furthermore there are ways to produce them endlessly even during your opponents’ turn, ensuring the card draws keep coming in. The importance of card advantage cannot be stress more in MtG; and this is ever truer with Control style. Otherwise looking at it from another perspective; if you do not like to go the Control path, drawing more cards is still something good and nothing bad.

What do you think of Ephara? How would you have use the God of Polis otherwise? Share with us how else you would have used her in the comments below. And with that, we shall conclude the Born of the Gods Commander review for all the available Commanders. I shall end it here for now. Till our next article…

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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