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Obscura Operation Upgrade Guide

Ever felt like someone was watching you? As if they were there, just beyond the shadow, keeping tabs on your every move? Well, watch your step. The Obscura very well could be there, collecting information and laying traps. So be good, because they see everything.

Today’s article is an Obscura Operation Upgrade Guide, where you’ll find how to improve the deck built around Kamiz, Obscura Oculus. It is a unique take on the blue/white/black color combination, with a greater emphasis on attacking and combat. We’ll go over a few interesting directions you could potentially take this deck.

A Brief Note on Budget

Just a reminder, these articles are designed to be an opportunity to find inspiration. So often, new Commander decks come out, and you see the same cards and strategies until the next one comes out. I don’t necessarily think that people shouldn’t build around the most popular or common ideas, but sometimes you want to shake things up. This article is supposed to be a chance to come up with fresh ways to spice up your pre-constructed decks.

In spite of this, there’s no way I come up with all the possible upgrade paths. If you come up with something I miss, please leave me a comment below. Also, I won’t feel bad at all if you use some of these ideas and branch off in a direction that I didn’t recommend. Feel free to think of this as a springboard for your own creativity. I’m just here to cultivate creativity.

In the spirit of cultivating creativity, I am not going to impose any budget restrictions on these upgrade recommendations. This isn’t because I want to keep anyone from playing a fun deck, bur rather because I want to offer a thorough guide to some possibilities available to these commanders.

I’ll try to also include budget alternatives for expensive cards when available, but sometimes they just don’t exist. If your friends or playgroups are okay with using proxies, those could also be great ways to get to enjoy whichever strategy you end up wanting to build around.

If you don’t have your Obscura Operation precon yet, you can order it on Amazon.

Obscura Operation New Capenna Commander Decks 2022 Precons

Obscura Operation Decklist

Commander (1)
Kamiz, Obscura Oculus

Creatures (28)
Daring Saboteur
Ghostly Pilferer
Inkfathom Witch
Looter il-Kor
Cephalid Facetaker
Champion of Wits
Chasm Skulker
Daxos of Meletis
Drana, Liberator of Malakir
Graveblade Marauder
Nadir Kraken
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Thief of Sanity
Alela, Artful Provocateur
Identity Thief
Misfortune Teller
Skyway Robber
Whirler Rogue
Aerial Extortionist
Custodi Lich
Dragonlord Ojutai
Fallen Shinobi
Oskar, Rubbish Reclaimer
Archon of Coronation
Sun Titan
Tivit, Seller of Secrets
Wrexial, the Risen Deep
Silent-Blade Oni

Instants (7)
An Offer You Can’t Refuse
Swords to Plowshares
Change of Plans
Obscura Charm
Lethal Scheme
Obscura Confluence
Utter End

Sorceries (9)
Jailbreak
Profane Command
Nightmare Unmaking
Writ of Return
Austere Command
Stolen Identity
Treasure Cruise
Dusk // Dawn
Commit // Memory

Enchantments (3)
In Too Deep
Smuggler’s Share
Life Insurance
Lands (38)
Arcane Sanctum
Ash Barrens
Choked Estuary
Command Tower
Creeping Tar Pit
Darkwater Catacombs
Esper Panorama
Exotic Orchard
Fetid Heath
Island
Myriad Landscape
Obscura Storefront
Path of Ancestry
Plains
Port Town
Prairie Stream
Rogue’s Passage
Skycloud Expanse
Sunken Hollow
Swamp
Temple of Silence
Thriving Heath
Thriving Isle
Thriving Moor

Artifacts (14)
Currency Converter
Sol Ring
Wayfarer’s Bauble
Arcane Signet
Azorius Signet
Dimir Signet
Fellwar Stone
Mask of Riddles
Orzhov Signet
Strionic Resonator
Swiftfoot Boots
Commander’s Sphere
Mask of the Schemer
Quietus Spike

Obscura Operation General Upgrades

Kamiz, Obscura Oculus New Capenna Commander Precons

The Mana Base

The overall land count from this deck is pretty solid. However, there are tons of lands that enter the battlefield tapped. This is completely workable if you don’t want to put more money into your mana base.

Flooded Strand Where to Get MTG Fetch Lands

However, your deck will play more efficiently if you can include more lands that tap for two or more colors and enter the battlefield untapped. There are lots of great options for this at multiple budget levels. Here are some examples:

General Commander Synergies

This deck is full of Creatures that do something when they deal combat damage to a player. Most of them draw a card. I think that this is probably a smart way to build the precon, but it is probably a bit under powered if you go to a less casual group. You will attack a lot with little Creatures, not dealing much damage but drawing cards slowly.

However, that might start to annoy your opponents, since players rarely like being attacked (even for small amounts of damage) or letting you draw cards. As we explore some other options available to this deck, we might add to or take away from this strategy.

What to Take Out

Most of the cards in this deck are relevant in some way to some version of the deck. I will recommend which cards you should remove for each specific upgrade path. However, if I am nit-picking, Nightmare Unmaking can be replaced with a better board wipe. Also, An Offer You Can’t Refuse is probably just a bad card, especially in more casual playgroups. Other than these two cards, specific recommendations for what to take out are going to vary from strategy to strategy.

5 Ways to Upgrade Obscura Operation

These are the five directions I thought of taking this deck:

  1. Connive
  2. Attacking Alone
  3. Council’s Dilemma
  4. Tribal
  5. Clues, Treasures, and Food

Power Level

At the beginning of each of the next 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. Connive (5-7)

Recommended Commander: Kamiz, Obscura Oculus

There are three parts of the Obscura’s new mechanic. You draw cards, discard cards, and put counters on the Conniving Creature. You can focus on one or more of these parts as you try to build your deck around this mechanic.

Draw Cards

Wizard Class Obscura Operation Upgrade Guide

Drawing cards is one of the most fundamental parts of a game of Commander. I believe that in most instances, the player who draws the most cards in the one who wins the game. However, drawing cards in itself is not much of a win condition. If you want to build a deck around drawing cards, you will need to find cards that care about when you draw cards. The precon comes with Nadir Kraken and Chasm Skulker, but there are other cards you can include as well.

Madness

Archfiend of Spite Obscura Operation Upgrade Guide

Not all the Madness cards are good enough to see play, even in a deck focused around discarding cards. Additionally, you have to keep in mind the timing for when you discard. Kamiz lets a Creature Connive when you attack. This means that counterspells Broken Concentration and Circular Logic are not really very effective options. However, here is a list of the Madness cards that I think are reasonable for this deck:

If you really want to commit to the discard plan, there are other cards that can help you squeeze even more value out of discarding your cards. You might not have enough room to fit these alongside card draw and +1/+1 counters synergies, but they are essential if you build a discard deck:

+1/+1 Counters

The Ozolith Commander  Obscura Operation Upgrade Guide

Of the three elements of Connive, getting the counters is the one that gets you the closest to winning the game. After all, this deck already wants to attack every turn. The counters just make it, so you can hit even harder with your attacks. Leaning into counters even more will hopefully help you end the game faster.

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

Obviously, since Connive is a new mechanic, there are plenty of cards in the set with Connive. Since Kamiz is your commander, you won’t necessarily need a lot of Connive cards. However, if you want to include them, here are the new ones from SNC:

What to Take Out

Most of the cards that I would recommend taking out from the precon are new ones. Some of these cards include exciting new white cards that generate card advantage.

It might seem weird that I recommend taking these cards out, but this deck draws plenty of cards on its own. Plus, these cards don’t synergize very well with the rest of the deck’s game plan. Anything that doesn’t synergize with Connive or actively takes away from that strategy should be taken out of the deck.

2. Attacking Alone (4-7)

Recommended Commander: Kamiz, Obscura Oculus

Kamiz triggers whenever you attack with any number of Creatures. This is different from other abilities we have seen like it in the past that mostly care about attacking with only one Creature. However, it still works well with those abilities. This section is going to outline some ideas for utilizing the combat step.

Exalted

Sublime Archangel Obscura Operation Upgrade Guide

One of the abilities I was talking about before is Exalted from Alara block. Basically, if a Creature attacks alone, each Creature with Exalted gives it +1/+1. This works well with Kamiz’s ability, since she makes whichever one Creature that attacks unblockable. Here are some of the cards with Exalted in Kamiz’s colors:

There are multiple other abilities that look very similar to Exalted, but are not named. Here are some of the most potent ones that I was able to find:

Cipher

The main reason that you want to attack with only one Creature is to make sure it gets through to deal combat damage to your opponent. With this being the case, you will want to have access to Creatures that can do some legitimate damage.

Stolen Identity

One way to maximize the value you can get out of dealing combat damage is by playing spells with an ability called Cipher. This is a weird ability, but it basically when you cast a card with Cipher, you imprint it on a Creature you control. Then, each time that Creature deals combat damage, you get to cast a copy of the spell again. You can probably see why that could be powerful combined with Kamiz’s ability. The deck already includes two Cipher cards, but here are the rest:

Dealing Combat Damage

In addition to these, you can get a lot of value from simply playing Creatures that trigger when they deal combat damage. If you get to put the +1/+1 counter from Connive, their abilities get more and more potent. The deck already has a lot of these kinds of Creatures, but the quality of them can increase. For example, review this list:

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

There aren’t really any new cards to speak of that contribute to this version of the deck at all. There are a handful from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, but that is the newest set with relevant cards.

What to Take Out

Like I said before, this version of the deck likely just wants to upgrade the quality of the Creatures with combat damage triggers. Considering what the most powerful/your favorite fifteen to thirty such Creatures are (that come with the precon or that you would want to add), you can take out the ones that don’t make the cut. Other than that, you can probably take out any Creatures that don’t actively want to deal combat damage to your opponents. Like I’ve said before, the more synergy you can fit in your deck, the better.

3. Council’s Dilemma (4-8)

Recommended Commander: Kamiz, Obscura Oculus

Expropriate Kamiz, Obscura Oculus Commander Deck Upgrade

The title for this section is a bit deceiving. There are actually two named mechanics that have very similar meaning. Council’s Dilemma and Will of the Council are the two mechanics I’m talking about. They both have to do with voting, which is a unique game action in Magic. You could easily include all the voting cards in the game in a single deck, and have room for more. Here are all the voting cards:

The thing that makes these cards so much fun is that they employ the politics of the table. Commander is a unique format in that you can make deals with your opponents to try to get an advantage. Voting helps you utilize this element of the game in a more structured way. Be sure to use your votes to help your opponents from time to time in order to gain their favor.

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

There aren’t any new cards from SNC that care about voting or ask you to vote. There are a couple in the Commander set, but those already come in the precon.

What to Take Out

This version of the deck doesn’t really need more than a few cards from the precon. You can hang on to whatever utility cards you need to make sure you have enough ramp, removal, card draw, etc. Then, keep any voting cards, and feel free to cut the rest. You likely won’t have to get rid of as many cards as you would in other upgrade paths, since there are so few Council’s Dilemma/Will of the Council cards in the game.

4. Tribal

Each time I write an upgrade article like this, I like to look at all the commanders’ tribes. Even if the deck isn’t a dedicated tribal deck, it’s possible that the commander offers a new and novel way to look at the tribe. Maybe it’s a terrible commander for its tribe. But maybe, just maybe, it turns out to be a lot of fun.

Cephalids (3-6)

Aboshan Caphalid Emperor Kamiz Upgrade Commander Precon

Recommended Commander: Kamiz, Obscura Oculus

Octopus-folk are a tribe that Magic hasn’t used in a very long time. Here is an exhaustive list of every Commander-legal Cephalid. You will notice that you won’t be able to include all of them, as their abilities are not really strong enough for EDH. Feel free to review them here:

Seeing these cards, there are a few strengths we can identify in this tribe. One, cards like Cephalid Aristocrat, Cephalid Broker, Cephalid Illusionist, Cephalid Inkshrouder, Cephalid Looter, and Cephalid Vandal can all fill up your graveyard.

Similarly, almost all the Cephalids in Streets of New Capenna have the faction mechanic, Connive, which contributes well to this strategy. With so much ammunition in the graveyard, you should be able to maximize the value from cards like Immortal Servitude, Rally the Ancestors, Living Death, and Patriarch’s Bidding. Basically, This tribe could create a fascinating blue-based reanimator deck.

Generic Tribal Cards

If that idea intrigues you, you’ll also need to fill out the rest of the deck slots. As mentioned before, there are only so many Cephalids in the game, even including the new ones. Even though I am not a huge fan of them, I can’t deny the value of running some generic tribal staples like:

Tap/Untap

Another thing that Cephalids can do is tap Creatures and care about tapped Creatures. This could also be a cool direction to go in. Here are a few cool cards that could contribute to this strategy:

Rogues (4-8)

Anowon the Ruin Thief Obscura Operation Upgrade Guide

Recommended Commander: Kamiz, Obscura Oculus or Tivit, Seller of Secrets

Tribal Rogues is also a theme we explored for the Riveteers Rampage upgrade guide recently. That theme is also very present in the Sneak Attack Commander deck, for which you can find the Upgrade Guide here.

Rogues appear in all five of Magic’s colors. However, they tend to be a primarily blue/black tribe. For example, here are a bunch of Rogues that care about other Rogues:

These cards are just the ones that care specifically about tribal Rogues. There are tons of other powerful cards that just so happen to be Rogues. For example:

You probably noticed, but white is probably the color that contributes the fewest Rogues. I think that the other colors can do the heavy lifting, but maybe white can contribute some sort of utility to this deck.

Sphinxes (4-7)

Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign How to Upgrade Obscura Operation Precon

Recommended Commander: Tivit, Seller of Secrets

While we usually get a new Sphinx pretty much every set, we rarely get Sphinxes that care about their tribe as a whole. It seems like New Capenna has enough Sphinxes, though, that the set is going to give us some fun new toys for building around this tribe. Presently, Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign, Hour of Need, Riddleform, and Warrant // Warden are our only “Sphinx tribal” card in the entire game. However, Sphinxes as a tribe might be able to make a deck work without too much tribal support.

One great thing about Sphinxes is that the tribe is naturally full of fliers with large bodies. This is important, because Sphinxes don’t really have many other win conditions in their tribe. You probably noticed that they provide unparalleled amounts of card advantage, but otherwise struggle to finish games.

I didn’t even explore all the potential card advantage outlets. In the above list, Eligeth, Crossroads Augur cares about Scrying. There happen to be a good number of other Sphinxes that either Scry or care about the top card of your library. This could be a fun subtheme to lean into if your deck has the space for it.

Also, between Tivit’s Council’s Dilemma ability and the Sphinxes that make players guess cards, this deck has the potential to be a fun deck for everyone at the table. It will create a bunch of mini-games within your Commander game. If this sounds fun to you, give it a try and let us know how it turns out for you.

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

There are plenty of new cards from each of these tribes in this new set. I’m sure you’ll be able to find plenty of tribe members, regardless of which one you want to build around. Not all of them are great options, but here are some of the relevant tribe members:

What to Take Out

As with all tribal sections of the upgrade articles I write, if a Creature is not a member of the chosen tribe, you don’t need to keep it in the deck. Try to find utility cards that you need within the tribe if at all possible. The more tribe members you have, the better. Everything else can be cut unless you want it or the deck seems to need it.

5. Clues, Treasures, and Food (3-5)

Recommended Commander: Tivit, Seller of Secrets

Academy Manufacturer Obscura Operation Upgrade Guide

This last upgrade path is probably the one that is least relevant to the way the deck was intended to be built. Tivit’s ability makes either Clues or Treasures, which tokens tend to work well together for some reason. Truly, the fact that this archetype exists at all is thanks to the card Academy Manufactor.

Other cards that care about all three of these tokens are at least partially in green, and therefore can’t fit in this deck. You should make finding the Manufactor a high priority if you want to build this version of the deck.

These are other cards that care about one or more of these tokens:

Obviously, there are still dozens of other cards that make Clues, Treasure, or Food. Feel free to run whatever other cards you want that deal with these tokens. You can also include fun synergies like Inspiring Statuary, Idol of Oblivion, Rise and Shine, Junk Winder, Shimmer Dragon, or Marionette Master.

New Cards From Streets of New Capenna

There are tons of new cards from New Capenna that specifically deal with Treasures. There aren’t, however, that many cards that make Food or Clues. None of the new cards in these colors are very good, and I already mentioned that you should remove the only SNC card that comes in the deck that deals with Treasures. For the most part, I wouldn’t worry about adding new cards from this set into this deck.

What to Take Out

You can probably take out all the cards from this deck that deal with its original strategy. What I mean by that is pretty much anything that cares about dealing combat damage, attacking alone, drawing cards, etc. This leaves quite a few slots open for the rest of the deck. Plenty of room for as many Treasure, Food, and Clue cards as you want.

Obscura Operation Upgrade – Conclusion

That marks the end of Obscura Operation Upgrade Guide. If you have any thoughts about this article or any other, you can leave me a message in the comments section below. You can also find me on Instagram or Twitter. Also, feel free to check out my podcast episode talking about upgrading this deck on the Gathering: My Thoughts MTG podcast. It is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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

New Capenna Set Booster Box

More Content

Here are the upgrade articles for the rest of the New Capenna Commander decks. Feel free to check those out as well if you need some ideas for them as well.

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