Maestros Massacre Upgrade Guide

You must have an eye for fine art. This Maestros Massacre Commander deck is a beautiful piece; a must-have for any collection. Today, I’m going to break down my ideas for how to upgrade the deck and auction them off to the highest bidder. You won’t be disappointed with what I have to say in this Maestros Massacre Upgrade Guide.

A Brief Note on Budget

This article, like all the upgrade articles I write, is simply a brainstorm. I’m trying to come up with as many great ideas as I can. That way, you can find at least one idea that makes you want to build around the deck.

If you come up with an idea that I missed, though, I would love to hear about it. My list is not exhaustive by any means. In fact, I talk about the deck on my podcast, Gathering: My Thoughts, with my friend who came up with several ideas that I hadn’t considered at all. Check that out on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Let us know in the comments if you thought of something we didn’t.

And lastly, I am not considering any kind of budget with this deck. I don’t want to hinder the creative process in any way, so there might be some expensive cards that make their way into my recommendations. Wherever possible, I’ll mention cheaper options as well. If they don’t exist, though, as your playgroup how they feel about proxies.

If you don’t already own a Maestros Massacre precon, you can order one on Amazon.

Maestros Massacre New Capenna Commander Decks 2022 Precons

Maestros Massacre Decklist

Commander (1)
Anhelo, the Painter

Creatures (14)
Bloodsoaked Champion
Dogged Detective
Goblin Electromancer
Sinister Concierge
Skyclave Shade
Spellbinding Soprano
Squee, the Immortal
Woe Strider
Cormela, Glamour Thief
Kess, Dissident Mage
Rekindling Phoenix
Syrix, Carrier of the Flame
Parnesse, the Subtle Brush
Puppeteer Clique

Instants (10)
A Little Chat
Body Count
Frantic Search
Maestros Charm
Waste Management
Audacious Swap
Fact or Fiction
Mystic Confluence
Dig Through Time

Sorceries (21)
Damnable Pact
Dread Summons
Feed the Swarm
Chain Reaction
Deep Analysis
Drawn from Dreams
Make an Example
Sever the Bloodline
Talrand’s Invocation
Flawless Forgery
Zndrsplt’s Judgment
Maestros Confluence
Reign of the Pit
River’s Rebuke
Xander’s Pact
Call the Skybreaker
Army of the Damned
Clone Legion

Enchantments (5)
Determined Iteration
Cryptic Pursuit
Double Vision
Rite of the Raging Storm
Extravagant Replication
Lands (37)
Ash Barrens
Cascade Bluffs
Choked Estuary
Command Tower
Crumbling Necropolis
Darkwater Catacombs
Exotic Orchard
Foreboding Ruins
Grixis Panorama
Maestros Theater
Myriad Landscape
Path of Ancestry
Shadowblood Ridge
Smoldering Marsh
Sunken Hollow
Temple of Epiphany
Thriving Bluff
Thriving Isle
Thriving Moor

Artifacts (12)
Sol Ring
Wayfarer’s Bauble
Arcane Signet
Dimir Signet
Fellwar Stone
Izzet Signet
Lightning Greaves
Rakdos Signet
Commander’s Sphere
Mimic Vat
Twinning Staff
Smuggler’s Buggy

Maestros Massacre General Upgrades

Anhelo, the Painter New Capenna Commander Precons

The Mana Base

This mana for this deck is decent: thirty sevens lands is plenty, and a good handful of them are dual lands. A major highlight of this deck’s mana base in relation to previous years’ decks is Cascade Bluffs. This is a dual land that comes into play untapped and is honestly a great reprint. Big thanks to Wizards for including cards like these in the Commander precons.

Watery Grave MTG

Even with that being said, the lands can always be improved. The more dual lands you can fit in a deck that enter the battlefield untapped, the better. You will be able to cast your spells on curve no matter what their color requirements are. Here are some of the best lands you can include in your deck. Some are expensive, others are not. Any of them will make your deck better. Consider taking out lands that come into play tapped or only make one color to make room for these:

Don’t forget that the new Streets of New Capenna set has a cycle of tri-lands in it. Xander’s Lounge is a land that adds all of your deck’s colors of mana. It enters the battlefield tapped, but you can fetch it since it has basic land types. Plus it has Cycling. I would definitely recommend this land if you can get your hands on it.

General Commander Synergies

At first glance, this deck seems very straight-forward. You want to cast spells, copy them, and get value. However, I’m going to dive into a few ideas that focus in on a couple specific aspects of what this deck wants to do.

Thousand-Year Storm Maestros Massacre Upgrade Guide

Nevertheless, there are a few cards that would go well in most versions of this deck that don’t appear in the pre-constructed deck. Here are the ones I’m referring to:

No matter what you’re doing with Maestros Massacre, having these Enchantments that double up your Instants and Sorceries are going to be valuable assets. You may or may not want all of them, though. Expensive Enchantments like this can be a problem if you draw all of them and don’t get your Instants/Sorceries. The deck also comes with Double Vision, so keep that in mind as you consider which ones to include.

What to Take Out

For the most part, the deck feels really solid. However, there are a couple of cards that I consistently felt like needed to go. Specifically, those cards are Smuggler’s Buggy, Mimic Vat, Determined Iteration, Rite of the Raging Storm, and Extravagant Replication. These cards are great, but they just don’t really fit into any version of the deck that I’ll be discussing in this article.

5 Ways to Upgrade

With some of those general ideas out of the way, these are the five upgrade paths that I’ll be talking about for the rest of this article:

  1. Spellslinger
  2. Combo/Storm/Magecraft
  3. Tribal
  4. Aristocrats
  5. Politics

Power Level

At the beginning of each of these sections, I included 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
1-2Jank Very little synergy among cards. No Commander staples. Under powered on purpose.
3-4Casual Some synergies, but lacking the strong ones. The deck still lacks focus. Mana curves mostly neglected. A deck that a new player would build.
4-6Focused Synergy exists, the deck has a focused gameplan, although it 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.
7-8Optimized Powerful 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.
9-10Competitive The most powerful decks, on competitive EDH 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.

1. Spellslinger (6-9)

Recommended Commander: Anhelo, the Painter or Parnesse, the Subtle Brush

The low-hanging fruit in this deck is to try to cast a bunch of Instants and Sorceries. In fact, if you were to focus on this strategy, you would just be accentuating the strategy that the deck is already built around. There are plenty of cool spells, as well as Creatures that have two power that you can sacrifice to Anhelo’s ability.

Talrand, Sky Summoner Maestros Massacre Upgrade Guide

While the 2/x Creatures are clever, they are probably not better than cards that make tokens whenever you cast a spell. If you have a few of these token generators, you not only get maximum value from your spells, you also slowly generate an army that can ultimately beat your opponents:

There are also a lot of Instants or Sorceries that can give you tokens to sacrifice later:

While I don’t necessarily care which Instants/Sorceries you ultimately include in your deck, you will probably get maximum value from copying ones with x costs or large mana values. Anhelo only copies a spell once each turn, so you get the most bang from your buck by casting a big one. Cards like Torment of Hailfire, Mass Manipulation, or Crackle With Power are good examples of this.

I also want to mention that other spells with Casualty get an additional instance of Casualty from Anhelo’s ability. This means you will have to sacrifice two creatures, but you’ll get two copies of the spell, which is nice.

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

Obviously, there are tons of cards in this set with Casualty. You might want to be judicious about which ones are good enough, but here’s a list of all of them:

Other sweet cards from the main set that could work well in this deck include:

What to Take Out

This deck is pretty well-built the way it comes. More than taking out cards that don’t work well, you will likely just replace workable cards with better ones. For example, take out the recursive Creatures like Bloodsoaked Championp and replace them with the token generators. Take out the Instants or Sorceries that you don’t like or want, and replace them with your favorite ones instead. You probably don’t need Woe Strider or Syrix, Carrier of the Flame, though.

2. Combo/Storm/Magecraft (6-9)

Recommended Commander: Anhelo, the Painter or Parnesse, the Subtle Brush

Professor Onyx Maestros Massacre Upgrade Guide

Most of the time, if a commander wants to be a Spellslinger commander, you can make infinite combos with it. This is no exception. Anhelo lets you copy your first Instant or Sorcery each turn, so he lets you go even more infinite than some Grixis combos already do. There are obviously tons of combos in these colors, but I’m limiting this list to ones that let you cast or copy Instants or Sorceries infinite times. This feels more thematic to me, since this deck loves Instants and Sorceries so much.

Combo Enablers

Infinite Storm Count or Magecraft Triggers

For the first combo you’ll need both Scholar of the Ages and Burnt Offering and combine them with any of the following:

Infinite Storm Count & Infinite Mana

Isochron Scepter + Dramatic Reversal + enough mana rocks to make at least two generic mana.

Infinite Storm Count or Magecraft Triggers

Brain Freeze + Underworld Breach + Lion’s Eye Diamond

Infinite Copies or Magecraft Triggers

Professor Onyx + Anhelo, the Painter + any of the following:

Infinite Copies or Magecraft Triggers

Chain of Smog + Professor Onyx or Ral, Storm Conduit


I already included a few examples of both Storm cards and Magecraft cards, but these can be great payoffs for if your combo doesn’t end the game. That way, you can win even if your combo doesn’t do anything.



Archmage Emeritus Maestros Massacre Upgrade Guide

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

While there aren’t any cards with Storm or Magecraft from this set, there are still plenty of cards that could work well in this kind of deck. However, most of them are probably similar to the kinds of cards that would fit into the deck from the previous section. Refer to the New Cards section from that part of the article for what to include in this deck from the new set.

What to Take Out

Even though the cards from these first two upgrade paths are largely the same, you will need more room for this version of the deck since there are so many combo pieces that you need. Consider replacing all the generic Instants and Sorceries with some of the new cards I recommended in this section. You also probably don’t need sacrifice fodder for Anhelo’s ability, especially if you have a few Creatures with Magecraft.

Maybe keep a few token generators, but you won’t need nearly as many as you did in the previous section. Remember, this version of the deck is probably not winning with an army of tokens, but rather an infinite combo.

3. Tribal

One of my favorite things to do when I write these articles is to examine how each of these commanders might fit into their own respective tribes. Sure, Anhelo and Parnesse are not explicitly tribal commanders. However, they have Creature types, and might have interesting synergies with Creatures that share those Creature types. They might not actually end up being that good, but I always love to try them out.

Here are the Creature types that show up on the face commanders’ cards and how you might be able to build around those commanders in the context of their tribes.

Vampires (3-6)

Urge to Feed Anhelo, the Painter Upgrade Guide

Recommended Commander: Anhelo, the Painter or Parnesse, the Subtle Brush

Obviously, there have been a lot of Vampire commanders in the recent past. Not only that, but there are a lot of powerful Vampire commanders that care about Vampires. There’s even one in the main set of New Capenna. I’m gonna say right now that Anhelo and Parnesse are not such commanders. While they happen to be Vampires, nothing on their cards actively contribute to a tribal Vampires deck. However, there are actually quite a few Instants and Sorceries that specifically mention or care about Vampires. Check these out:

One good reason to build Anhelo or Parnesse around tribal Vampires would be to utilize these cards to their maximum capabilities. You could draw a bunch of cards, deal a bunch of damage, wipe everyone else’s boards, or make a huge army of Creature tokens. It might not be the optimal way to build the deck, but I have no doubts that it would be fun.

Support Vampires
Sanctum Seeker Best MTG Vampires

If you want to include more tribe members, here are a bunch of Vampires that could fill up the rest of the deck nicely:

Vampires are a great tribe. I’m sure that building Anhelo or Parnesse in this way would be a lot of fun. However, if you just want a commander that plays with blue/black/red colors and Vampires, consider trying Evelyn, the Covetous from the main set.

Assassins (3-7)

Scarblade Elite Anhelo, the Painter Precon Upgrade

Recommended Commander: Anhelo, the Painter

As you might have been able to guess, Assassins are excellent at one specific thing as a tribe: destroying your opponents’ Creatures. This doesn’t have very much synergy with Anhelo, but a lot of them happen to have power two or more. This means that at least you can sacrifice them to Anhelo’s Casualty ability.

You’ll have to get creative, though, if you want to make the tribe work together at all. Even more so if you want to incorporate Anhelo. For the sake of the brainstorm, though, here are most of the interesting Assassins in Magic:

You might be able to build a Madness/Discard deck with Assassins. You wouldn’t have access to a lot of the best payoffs (unless you included non-tribe members) but it could still be fun. The colors are perfect, and you would be able to interact with a lot of things that your opponents are doing. Unfortunately, your friends might not be too happy when you remove every Creature they play. Be sure to warn your pod in your Rule 0 conversation that this deck can be brutal against Creature-heavy decks.

Wizards (5-8)

Naru Meha, Master Wizard MTG Wizard Commanders

Recommended Commander: Parnesse, the Subtle Brush

A few years ago, Wizards made a red/black/blue tribal Wizards precon. This deck fits perfectly with what that deck was trying to do. Plus, there are tons of Wizards that care about copying spells. For example:

Other than that, Wizards can be a tricky deck to get right. The reason being that a tribal deck naturally wants Creatures in it, but Wizards are a tribe that care about having a lot of Instants and Sorceries. It can be hard to balance having enough spells without abandoning the tribal theme altogether. This is especially true since Parnesse cares specifically about copying Instants and Sorceries.

I’m not going to tell you which non-Creature spells you should play. Feel free to find your favorite ones and fit them in the deck around the Wizards. However, here are some great Wizards to consider including:

As you can see, there are plenty of Wizards to choose from. It’s unlikely that you’ll have enough room in the deck for too many of them. In fact, you probably don’t want to have more than twenty-five, give or take. That way, you’ll also have plenty of Instants and Sorceries to work with Parnesse and the rest of the Wizards in the deck.

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

There are new cards that could fit into any of these tribes from New Capenna. For Vampires, there’s Corpse Appraiser, Glamorous Outlaw[/c], Lord Xander, the Collector, Sanguine Spy, and Vampire Scrivener. Assassins get Aven Heartstabber, Midnight Assassin, and Raffine’s Silencer[/c].

Surprisingly, Wizards have the least support of all of these tribes in New Capenna. You only get Exhibition Magician and Syndicate Infiltrator. I would say that neither of these cards are good enough for tribal Wizards, especially since there are so many other kinds of cards that need to find a home in that deck.

What to Take Out

As usual, if you decide to build a tribal deck, I would recommend cutting all Creatures that are not members of the tribe you choose. Not everyone agrees with me, but I prefer my tribal decks to be 100% tribe members only. If you don’t mind including some off-tribe Creatures, feel free to add them to your deck. I would still recommend only Creatures that actively contribute to your deck’s theme, because the more synergy you have in your deck, the stronger it will be.

In addition to the Creatures, you can probably take out any Artifacts or Enchantments that don’t copy spells or care about Instants/Sorceries in some way. Obviously, you should leave the ramp in the deck, but other than that, you should feel free to cut whatever isn’t contributing to your deck’s theme.

4. Aristocrats (4-6)

Plumb the Forbidden Maestros Massacre Upgrade Guide

Recommended Commander: Anhelo, the Painter

If you’ve read many of my other upgrade articles, you know that Aristocrats tends to show up a lot. It seems that Wizards likes to print commanders that could lead good Aristocrats decks. Either that, or I like to force Aristocrats in as many odd ways as possible.

With that being said, Anhelo allows us to build a version of Aristocrats that we haven’t seen before: Spellslinger Aristocrats. The concepts are basically the same. You still need Creatures to sacrifice, cards that sacrifice Creatures, and cards that care that you sacrificed Creatures. For more info on those requirements, check out these other articles I’ve written that have Aristocrats sections:

Spellslinger Aristocrats

The thing that separates this deck from other versions of Aristocrats is that one or two of your three important roles will be filled by Instants or Sorceries. The thing that separates this deck from other versions of Spellslinger is that you will likely win with cards like Blood Artist or Zulaport Cutthroat.

I have already demonstrated how Instants/Sorceries can help supply you with Creatures to sacrifice. Here are a couple of ideas, though, for Instants/Sorceries that can sacrifice those Creatures or care about sacrificing those Creatures.

While these offer really cool ways to satisfy the needs of an Aristocrats deck, you might still need some more traditional Aristocrats cards to make the deck work. Just be aware of this as you are putting the deck together.

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

The Casualty cards, yet again, work extremely well for this version of the deck. I would even include Ob Nixilis, the Adversary. Additionally, you have Body Launderer, Sanguine Spy, Dusk Mangler, Pyre-Sledge Arsonist, Fatal Grudge, Forge Boss, and Body Dropper. Each one of them does one of the three main Aristocrats things. Not all of those are very efficient versions of the effect, nor are they synergistic with Anhelo’s ability, so you’ll have to consider that.

What to Take Out

Similar to other decks, I would recommend taking out most of the Creatures in the deck in favor of token creators that trigger when you cast an Instant or Sorcery. Other than that, you’ll have to be a little pickier about which Instants and Sorceries end up making it into the deck. Again, I won’t tell you which ones you should keep or take out, but I highly recommend prioritizing ones that contribute to the Aristocrats strategy and getting rid of the ones that don’t.

5. Politics (3-6)

Recommended Commander: Parnesse, the Subtle Brush

Replication Technique Maestros Massacre Upgrade Guide

Finally, this is the weirdest idea for the deck. Parnesse has an ability that gives your opponents copies of spells that you copy. This gives you a chance to make friends with cards like Replication Technique, Creative Technique, and Incarnation Techniquec. These are the easiest examples, since they sort of do the same thing that Parnesse does. However, you can also do crazy things with any spell that you copy. You might want to include some Wizards or Enchantments I mentioned earlier that copy your Instants and Sorceries.

In addition to being good for making friends, Parnesse’s ability can also be great for manipulating opponents. For example, if you get a pretty high Storm count and then cast Grapeshot or Tendrils of Agony, one or more opponents each get as many copies as you do. The only difference is that if they aim their copies at you or your stuff, they have to lose four life for each copy, thanks to Parnesse. This means that they are incentivized to deal damage to anyone other than you.

If you really want to get crazy, cards like Eye of the Storm and Hive Mind (or both together) will make insane things happen with Parnesse. Basically, each Instant or Sorcery that anyone casts will turn into multiple copies of that spell, which Parnesse can copy again for an opponent, and so on and so forth. Trust me when I say that this will be a nightmare. If you are looking for this kind of interaction, though, give it a try. If nothing else, you will definitely walk away with a cool story.

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

Honestly, the new cards that would go well in this deck are the same as the new cards from some other sections I already covered. Go back and look through the other recommendations and see if you find any spells you would like to copy for political purposes.

What to Take Out

Of all the upgrade paths in this article, this is probably the one that you will have to remove the most cards from. You will need to make a lot of room for the cards that you want to add, so you might have to take out all the Instants, Sorceries, Creatures, and Enchantments. Obviously, hang on to anything that makes copies, as well as the necessary ramp, removal, etc., but other than that you can cut whatever in this deck to make room for all the cards you need.

Maestros Massacre Upgrade – Conclusion

Thank you so much for making it to the end of another upgrade article. If you have thoughts or questions, leave a comment or find me on Instagram or Twitter. Again, go listen to the Gathering: My Thoughts podcast episode, where I talk about this deck in even more detail.

If you’d like to try your luck and perhaps open some cards to upgrade your Maestros Massacre deck, you can get a New Capenna Set booster box on Amazon.

New Capenna Set Booster Box

More Content

If you want to upgrade another Commander deck from the New Capenna Commander set, we’ve got you covered there as well. Check out these articles for reference:

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