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Coven Counters Upgrade Guide – 5 Different Ideas

Our second return to Innistrad comes with a new set of Commander pre-constructed decks. Today, we’re looking at the Coven Counters deck, helmed by Leinore, Harvesttide Sovereign. These are my recommendations for cards that I would add to or take out of this deck.

A Brief Note on Budget

Just as I’ve done before, these articles are intended to be a brainstorm. I’m writing as many ideas as I can think of for upgrading these new decks. As such, I likely won’t have every possible card included. If you think of something I forgot about, I’d love to hear what it was.

In addition to that, this article isn’t going to tell you exactly which five or ten or fifty cards to take out and which five or ten or fifty to replace them with. I toss out a bunch of ideas, and you can decide what you like or dislike. Feel free to include any, all, or none of them in the final versions of your own decks.

And lastly, I don’t want these articles to be limited by a budget restriction. I know that not everyone has access to more expensive cards, but I want to make sure I include the expensive ones, in case their abilities might inspire you in some way. If they are available, I will try to point out cheaper cards with similar abilities.

That doesn’t mean that these upgrades are going to necessarily be expensive. However, some cards might end up being a little pricey, and I don’t want to exclude them solely for that reason.

Regardless of your budget or play style, this article will have a ton of great suggestions for powering up your Aura of Courage deck. If you would like to purchase the deck, you can order it on Amazon.

Coven Counters Innistrad Midnight Hunt Commander Decks

Coven Counters Decklist

Commander (1)
Leinore, Autumn Sovreign

Creatures (29)
Angel of Glory’s Rise
Bastion Protector
Custodi Soulbinders
Dearly Departed
Herald of War
Knight of the White Orchid
Mikaeus, the Lunarch
Odric, Master Tactician
Riders of Gavony
Victory’s Envoy
Champion of Lambholt
Gyre Sage
Kessig Cagebreakers
Somberwald Sage
Verdurous Gearhulk
Wild Beastmaster
Heron’s Grace Champion
Sigarda, Heron’s Grace
Abzan Falconer
Ainok Bond-Kin
Elite Scaleguard
Orzhov Advokist
Avacyn’s Pilgrim
Eternal Witness
Yavimaya Elder
Enduring Scalelord
Juniper Order Ranger
Trostani’s Summoner
Dawnhart Wardens

Sorceries (6)
Cleansing Nova
Hour of Reckoning
Shamanic Revelation
Bestial Menace
Biogenic Upgrade
Growth Spasm

Instants (5)
Unbreakable Formation
Return to Dust
Swords to Plowshares
Beast Within
Inspiring Call

Artifacts (6)
Moonsilver Key
Lifecrafter’s Bestiary
Arcane Signet
Sol Ring
Swiftfoot Boots
Talisman of Unity

Enchantment (2)
Citadel Siege
Death’s Presence
Lands (37)
Canopy Vista
Exotic Orchard
Fortified Village
Sungrass Prairie
Temple of Plenty
Blighted Woodland
Command Tower
Krosan Verge
Myriad Landscape
Path of Ancestry
Rogue’s Passage
Selesnya Sanctuary
Temple of the False God
12 Forest
12 Plains

New Cards (14)
Kyler, Sigardian Emissary
Celestial Judgment
Curse of Conformity
Moorland Rescuer
Sigarda’s Vanguard
Stalwart Pathlighter
Wall of Mourning
Celebrate the Harvest
Curse of Clinging Webs
Heronblade Elite
Kurbis, Harvest Celebrant
Ruinous Intrusion
Sigardian Zealot
Somberwald Beastmaster

General Upgrades for Coven Counters

Leinore, Autumn Sovereign Coven Counters Precon Innistrad Decklist

When I started writing these articles a little over a year ago, the pre-constructed Commander decks that Wizards of the Coast released lacked a lot of focus and synergy. Since then, they have increased the quality of these products dramatically. So much so, that I will likely not have much to say in this section of future articles. If a deck legitimately needs general improvements, I will definitely comment on it, though.

The Mana Base

That being said, there are always a few things we can do to the mana. As per usual, the lands in this deck could use some help. They aren’t terrible, and being in two colors makes things easier, but they can always be better. For example, of the eight dual lands, four of them come into play tapped at least sometimes. Increasing the total number of dual lands, as well as the number that unconditionally enter the battlefield untapped, will make this deck feel a lot better when you play it.

Here are some good dual lands:

As far as what to take out, there are a lot of basics in this deck. I don’t think it’s a good idea to take out all of them, but this deck has twenty-four basic lands. You could afford to remove maybe half of them and replace them with consistent dual lands and utility lands. Be sure to leave enough in, though, that you have enough when you cast Cultivate.

Utility Lands

Gavony Township Coven Counters Deck Upgrade Guide

In addition to these mana fixing lands, there are a few utility lands that could compliment some of the upgrade paths I recommend later in the article. First, there are a few tribal upgrade paths you might be interested. For these, Cavern of Souls, and Unclaimed Territory would make great additions.

Outside the tribal decks, though, you could run some of these:

These won’t go in all the upgrades I’m about to go into, but they will be helpful in most of them, as you will see later.

What to Take Out

There are not very many cards that actively hurt this deck’s theme. There are a handful that don’t necessarily buoy it up much, though. These are the kinds of cards we are going to want to trim in order to make room for better options that synergize with the deck’s theme. Later in the article, when I discuss the different upgrade paths I came up with for this deck, I go over cards that you should take out for that specific path. Here are a few cards, though, that could reasonably come out of any versions of the deck:

5 Ways to Upgrade Coven Counters

For every person that buys a Coven Counters Commander precon, there are that many potentially different versions of this deck. These are the five directions I thought of taking it:

  1. Coven
  2. +1/+1 Counters
  3. Humans
  4. Clerics
  5. Nobles

I’d love to hear what ideas you were able to come up with. You can leave me a message below, or find my contact info at the end of the article.

Power Level

At the beginning of the next sections, I’ll include a range of numbers. That range is what I expect this deck to be able to perform at on a 1-10 power scale (Based on the power scale established by the Command Zone Podcast). For more information on the Commander power scale, you can take a look at the table below.

Power LevelNameDescription
1-2JankVery little synergy among cards. No Commander staples. Under powered on purpose.
3-4CasualSome synergies, but lacking the strong ones. Deck still lacks focus. Mana curves mostly neglected. A deck that a new player would build.
4-6FocusedSynergy exists, deck has a focused gameplan, although doesn't always win in the exact same way, usually after turn 13. Includes staples and a small amount of tutors. On the same power level as most Commander precons.
7-8OptimizedPowerful and varied synergies between the cards. A decent number of good tutors. Good mana curve. Has an efficient and consistent way to win on turns 10-12 (level 7) or 7-9 (level 8). Some social rules - like no mass land destruction, no consistent combo wins - still exist.
9-10CompetitiveThe most powerful decks, on cEDH level. Quick and explosive, can win on turns 4-6 (level 9) or 1-3 (level 10). No social rules, no jank cards. Only the most powerful commanders and strategies can reach this level.

Actual power levels may vary, but let those numbers be a guide when considering upgrading this deck in those ways.

Now that we’ve gotten some general information out of the way, let’s move on to the fun part.

1. Coven (5-7)

Recommended Commander: Leinore, Autumn Sovereign

Coven is a new mechanic from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. It motivates you to have a lot of Creatures on the board, as well as variety among those Creatures. This means that you are going to want to figure out creative ways to put Creatures with different powers on the battlefield.

You will have to shy away from anthem effects. These are cards like Sylvan Anthem that give all of your Creatures the same kind of buff. While it’s nice to make each Creature you control a little stronger, in this deck you want to pump each individual Creature differently.

Variable Casting Costs

Hangarback Walker

My first idea is also one that bleeds into the next upgrade path: +1/+1 counters. I won’t go in depth just yet on the archetype as a whole, but there is one specific type of Creature that I think needs to have a home in this version of the deck. These are creatures with X in their casting cost. Specifically:

These kinds of Creatures give you a lot of flexibility when trying to put unique powers on the board. If you have four creatures, but they all have either two or four power, just cast one of these creatures with three as the value of X, and you’ve got a Coven.

Creatures That Grow Themselves

This next idea involves Creatures that can change their power autonomously. If you have something like Managorger Hydra, Forgotten Ancient, or even Luminarch Aspirant, you don’t have to worry too much about meeting the requirements for Coven. These Creatures will have so much power that you will be unlikely to have another Creature that matches them.

Big Creatures

As I just mentioned, Creatures with high power tend to be more rare than ones with low power. Creatures with uncommon power will make triggering Coven much easier. They will also make it more difficult for your opponent to get rid of Coven for you by killing one or two of your Creatures.

Impervious Greatwurm Leinore Coven Counters Deck Upgrade Guide

Here are some creatures with power that is so big you can’t find it very commonly:

Auras and Equipment

Lastly, an easy way to adjust a Creature’s power and toughness is by equipping or enchanting it. This kind of deck will likely look very similar to a Voltron deck, but with a twist. Most Voltron strategies focus around building one single creature up as large as it can get, knocking out an opponent with a single swing. This deck, on the other hand, will try to use the auras and equipment to buff multiple creatures to trigger Leinore’s ability and generate card advantage.

Here are some good Auras to consider:

Kaldra Compleat Coven Counters Upgrade Guide

And some good Equipment:

New Cards From Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

Coven is a new mechanic from this set, so there are sure to be a bunch of great options in it. Some of them come with the precon, but here are the ones that don’t:

Some of these cards might be geared more toward Limited play. If you can find a home for them in Commander, though, good for you!

What to Take Out

This deck seems to be focused around the Coven mechanic. Because of that, cuts are pretty tough to make. However, there are a handful of cards that don’t directly relate to the theme. Here are some of them I would consider cutting to make room:

2. +1/+1 Counters (5-8)

Recommended Commander: Leinore, Autumn Sovereign or Kyler, Sigardian Emissary

While either of the new Legendary Creatures could work well for this archetype, Kyler might be a bit better. Feel free to apply anything that I say here to Lienore, though.

Cathars' Crusade How to Make Coven Counters Better

+1/+1 counters are not a new theme. Chances are good that you’ve seen such a deck in the wild. However, I’m going to throw out a few cards that I think are great in a Selesnya +1/+1 counters deck:

This is obviously not an exhaustive list, since there are so many cards that care about +1/+1 counters in Magic. Just about any of these cards will go great in a deck like this.

Also, feel free to include some +1/+1 counters cards from the previous section in here as well. And if you are wondering about adding more Humans to trigger Kyler’s ability, don’t worry. We’re getting there.

New Cards From Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

The new set has tons of +1/+1 counters cards. Here are a few notable ones:

What to Take Out

This list is going to look long, but you might not need to take out every single card I recommend here. The following list is of every Creature in the deck that doesn’t care about +1/+1 counters. You will notice that many of them have utility beyond synergizing with the theme. While taking every one of them out is probably unnecessary, I do recommend finding utility Creatures that also synergize with your deck’s main strategy.

3. Humans (5-8)

Recommended Commander: Kyler, Sigardian Emissary

Again, either of these commanders are technically humans, but Kyler is going to be the one with the most synergy with the strategy. Giving himself a +1/+1 counter whenever a human enters is better than anything Leinore does with Humans.

This deck might look in some ways similar to Modern Humans. Obviously, that deck has all five colors to work with as well as a lot of disruption for your opponents’ stuff, which this deck doesn’t do. It does, however, make an army of Humans and grows it quickly with anthem effects.

Thalia's Lieutenant

Here are some great Humans that can turn your small militia into a formidable army:

Between these and the commander, you’ll be able to make all of your Humans large enough to take down any opponent.

Foolish Hoomans

Reverent Hoplite Coven Counters Deck Upgrade Guide

The above seven cards (plus your commander) aren’t going to make a full army. Here are some cards that make a bunch of Human tokens quickly:

Some of these cards only add a couple of Human tokens, which I usually try to avoid in Commander decks. However, if you consider that each of those tokens will add a counter to your commander, pumping your whole team by another +1/+1, those cards get quite a bit better.

New Cards From Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

Fortunately, Humans are a prominent part of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. This means that there are going to be several cards that could go in this version of the deck from the main set:

What to Take Out

This deck seems like it is designed to have a Humans subtheme. Thanks to that, a lot of the cards can stay in. However, there are quite a few cards that aren’t Humans. Most all of those can be taken out. Here are them now:

*These cards are the ones that are not technically Humans, but have strong Human synergies. If you like to build your tribal decks with tribe members only, these can come out. If you are a little more lenient about it, feel free to throw these in.

4. Clerics (3-7)

Recommended Commander: Kyler, Sigardian Emissary

Kyler doesn’t explicitly say the word “Cleric” on his card anywhere but his typeline. However, he synergizes fairly well with the abilities of members of the Clerics tribe. Most Clerics deck are mono-white or Orzhov colors. There are only a small handful of Legendary Clerics in Selesnya colors, and none of them could helm a tribal deck the way Kyler can.

The main reason for this, is that Clerics often tend to also be Humans. Since Kyler cares about Humans, this works for us. However, there are some great Clerics, like Essence Warden and Trelasarra, Moon Dancer, who are Elf Clerics. This is okay for us, because they still serve a similar purpose. What I mean is, this deck probably wants to pump up all of its Creatures, just like the Humans’ version did. However, rather than relying on anthem effects, we’re going to try a Soul Sisters route instead.

Soul Clerics

For those unfamiliar with the archetype, Soul Sisters is a lifegain strategy named after Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant (Both of whom will be in this deck). Players fill their decks with tons of Creatures, especially ones that care about you gaining life. That way, whenever they enter the battlefield, if you have a Soul Sister on the board you gain life and grow your Creatures.

Commander Life Gain Leinore Coven Counters Upgrade

Examples of such cards are:

Soul Sisters

Trostani, Selesnya's Voice Coven Counters Deck Upgrade Guide

You’ll also need more than just two Soul Sisters. Fortunately, there are plenty in the game:

Is This Really Cleric Tribal? Or Is It Just Lifegain?

You’ll notice that there is a wide variety of creature types in the above two lists; not just Clerics. Typically, when brainstorming for a tribal deck, I recommend sticking to the tribe members as closely as possible. If you start adding in non-tribe members, it ceases to be a tribal deck.

I’m doing things a bit differently for this deck, for a couple of reasons. First, Clerics are not very established in green. That’s not always a great excuse, but it happens to be true. Green clerics are hard to come by and don’t have a cohesive theme tying them to the rest of the tribe.

Second, and probably more importantly, gaining life and benefiting from that lifegain is a defining characteristic of the Cleric tribe, but it is also spread throughout tons of other tribes. No one tribe has exclusive rights to gaining life, even though it feels like Clerics probably should. If it makes you feel better, call this version of the deck Soul Sisters, rather than Cleric Tribal.

Kyler’s Role In The Deck

You might still be asking yourself: What does any of this have to do with Kyler, Sigardian Emissary? I’m glad you asked. If any of those Cleric Class abilities put +1/+1 counters on Kyler, he then gets to buff the rest of your team. While Clerics are typically known for their abilities to gain life, they are not necessarily known for being good in the combat step. Kyler helps strengthen this weakness.

You can also find some suggestions for best life gain MTG cards here.

New Cards From Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

While not as abundant as Humans, Clerics are fairly common in the new Innistrad set. Here are a few that you might consider for upgrading the deck this way:

What to Take Out

Choosing cards to take out of this version is a little more difficult. In some ways, it’s just a different take on the previous section on Humans. However, if we want to focus on Clerics specifically, we can be even more discriminatory about our cuts. Mikaeus, the Lunarch, Custodi Soulbinders, Sigardian Zealot, and Victory’s Envoy are the only Clerics in the precon. Keep these in for sure, and just about every other Creature can come out. This leaves room to add plenty more Clerics, as well as lifegain payoffs, if you so choose.

5. Nobles (1-5)

Recommended Commander: Leinore, Autumn Sovereign

If you thought finding a cohesive tribal theme for Clerics was a stretch, wait til you read the section on Nobles. Before the Throne of Eldraine, Magic didn’t even have any Nobles. Some cards have retroactively been errata-ed, but the tribe hasn’t existed long enough to have a solid identity. This deck would basically be a conglomeration of Eldraine limited and the above four deck ideas.

If you really are hellbent on making it work, though, I think there is one card that matters more than any other to do so: Maskwood Nexus. A lot of Nobles happen to care about other creature types. For example:

Mirror Entity Coven Counters Deck Upgrade Guide

Obviously, this is a very short list, but maybe the secret to making Nobles work is to use cards that change creatures’ creature types. Here is another short list of cards that can do that in green and white:

I’m not convinced that this everybody-wants-to-be-a-noble strategy can even work. If you want to give it a try, though, I would love to hear how it goes for you. Leave me a comment below, or find my contact info at the end of this article.

New Cards From Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

All the new Nobles from the new set are black or black/red. Unfortunately, you’ll have to make due with what is already available as far as members of the tribe are concerned. There are also not any cards that manipulate your Creatures’ types.

What to Take Out

This is one of those decks that you might end up gutting the precon in order to make the new deck work. There are hardly any Nobles in the deck, and nothing that messes with Creature types. Anything you like from the deck you are welcome to hang on to, especially if it fills the card draw, removal, or ramp roles. Other than that, it can probably come out of the deck.

Conclusion

And that’s it for this article. I hope you found some cool ideas to improve your Coven Counters precon. If you did, or you thought of some even better ideas, let me know in the comments below. You can also find me on Instagram or Twitter, or on my podcast, Gathering: My Thoughts on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

More Midnight Hunt

If you want to open some new Midnight Hunt cards, to upgrade your Coven Counters deck with, you can get a Set booster box on Amazon.

Innistrad Midnight Hunt Set Booster Box

If you want the shiniest and the rarest card, then you’ll probably like Collector boosters. You can check the Midnight Hunt Collector Booster contents here.

More Commander

If you want more Commander articles, check these out:

Until next time, enjoy Magic and have fun with your upgraded Coven Counters deck!

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