In the near future, Poroscope will cover the new Commander decks which are released with Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths! The decks are the first commander centric product released this year, but not the last!
In this article, we will check out the Jeskai colored (or blue-white-red) Timeless Wisdom deck. The deck is focused on cards with cycling and general draw effects. This means that at least the card advantage should be generous in terms of the regular level of precon decks! The cards in the deck are pretty normal for precons: as a win condition, the deck has some big creatures or a bunch of smaller creature tokens. In addition to those, the deck has some removal spells and some red cards that deal damage to either creatures or to your opponents. The most hyped card of the Commander 2020 set, Fierce Guardianship can be found in this deck also. The card will see a ton of play and it is also an auto-include to all commander centric decks, both in cEDH and in more casual EDH.
All the Commander 2020 precons also include a "Partner with x" creature duo in them. The "Partner with x" mechanic which debuted in Battlebond lets the player search their deck for the other partner when the creature enters the battlefield. You can also play these partners as a designated pair of commanders in your deck. In Timeless Wisdom, the partners are Brallin, Skyshark Rider, and Shabraz, the Skyshark. These two make an effective pair of creatures that will gain lots of power from cycling, discarding, and drawing cards. From one cycling card, you can effectively get two power to the table making this pair quite hard-hitting creatures. You can also pay some mana to add up some evasion for these creatures! If you run them as your commanders, you might end up beating your opponents down with the commander damage pretty fast! If I'd play this deck, I might run these two as the commanders over the default Gavi, Nest Warden, even though the ability of Gavi that lets you cycle cards for free is very interesting!
The third possible commander is Akim, the Soaring Wind. Akim seems to be a nice, token-themed commander but in this deck, it might not be as effective as the other two options. In any case, giving double strike to your creature tokens is a fairly powerful thing and I think Akim could be at it's best in a more token-orientated deck.
Typical for precons, this deck contains 39 lands which is pretty much. As the deck can draw lots of cards, I would estimate that you could cut the number of lands to something between 34 and 36. In addition to land cards, the deck contains some mana producing artifacts. Each of the precons will have the commander typical Sol Ring and also the Arcane Signet debuted in Throne of Eldraine Brawl decks. In addition to these two, this deck includes the guild signets for these three colors, Commander's Sphere and a couple of new cards Raugrin Crystal and Bonder's Ornament. Also, the Cryptic Trilobite can produce mana, which can be used only to activate abilities.
Scratching the surface, this deck seems to generate a ton of card advantage compared to other Commander 2020 decks. The strategy of the deck is a tad split between tokens, cycling, and other "good stuff" cards. Despite this, the deck offers a nice archetype and drawing cards is usually a pretty nice thing to do!
How to make improvements to this deck?
As a default, I would cut the number of lands to at most 36 land cards. The first lands I would cut are the bounce lands Azorius Chancery, Boros Garrison, and Izzet Boilerworks. Though being somewhat popular, these lands are not really good in my opinion as they easily get out tempoed by even basic lands. The only possible reason to run these in this particular deck is the fact that you might be able to bounce your cycling lands from the table back to your hand and cycle them later on. It's a neat interaction, but I doubt it is rare to get an advantage over this.
With the other updates, I would first find out to which direction the deck is going to be updated. The default commander, Gavi, works nicely if you want to update it more to the cycling direction. Because Gavi gets a trigger from the second drawn card each turn, some cards like Improbable Alliance from Throne of Eldraine work nicely with Gavi. Irencrag Pyromancer might also work nicely with it by producing a nice damage-dealing value. Naturally, all the cards that let the player draw more cards help with this as well. Decree of Justice is already included in the deck but also Decree of silence and even Decree of Annihilation could be put in the deck as well if your playgroup is cool with land destruction. Other cycling cards that have "when you cycle this card" abilities fit the deck pretty well, such as Complicate, Choking Tethers, Vizier of Tumbling Sands, or Windcaller Aven.
If you decide to run the partners as your commander, you could add more spells that directly draw and discard cards. Cycling does this as well, but the best cards could be additional wheel effects, such as Wheel of Fortune, Magus of The Wheel, and Wheel of Fate. These cards would easily pump up the power of the partners in a very fast manner. Some cheaper alternatives would help as well, such as Careful study, Faithless Looting, Tormenting Voice, and Thrill of Possibility.
Despite which commanders you play, the EDH staples such as Rhystic Study, Mystic Remora, and Smothering Tithe all fit in pretty well. The last one is especially good if you decide to go the wheel way. One good addition from Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths is the Whirlwind of Thought that fits this deck pretty neat!
All in all, Timeless Wisdom seems to be a nice precon deck out of the box. In a "precons only" game this deck is probably the one drawing most cards. Its weakness is probably the mana base and the possibility that you draw only to more draw effects without drawing any payoffs. Personally I would probably still grab this deck from the precons since it seems to be super fun to play!
Pekka "Löhis" Löhönen