Kaldheim is bringing us another pair of pre-constructed Commander decks. If you want to know how to upgrade your Phantom Premonition deck. look no farther. Today I am going to brainstorm five unique deck ideas based around the face commander for the Phantom Premonition deck: Ranar the Ever-Watchful.
In this Phantom Premonition Upgrade Guide I will offer ideas for cards to include, as well as cards to remove from the precon. Additionally, I will highlight new cards that are coming out with Kaldheim.
A Brief Note on Budget
First, I want to make a quick note about these upgrade recommendations. These lists have a lot of ideas, but they definitely don’t include everything. Feel free to do your own research and find your favorite cards to upgrade the deck with.
Second, there are going to be way more ideas in this article than one deck can handle. You can follow any one upgrade path and focus on that, or pick and choose your favorite parts of multiple paths to make the deck your own.
Third, I am not considering any budget restrictions when making these recommendations. I only want to brainstorm as many fun ideas as possible. Unfortunately, this means that some of the cards I recommend might be outside of some people’s budget ranges. If they are available, I will also do my best to include budget options for a card or effect.
Regardless of your budget or play style, this article will have a ton of great suggestions for powering up your Phantom Premonition deck. If you would like to purchase the deck, you can order it on Amazon.
Phantom Premonition Decklist
And without further ado:
*Cards from Kaldheim are grouped separately. The rest of the cards are reprints.
General Phantom Premonition Upgrades
No matter how you ultimately build the deck, there are a few basic upgrades that you should consider.
The Mana Base
The first thing to notice about this deck is that there are only 34 lands. This is not necessarily a problem, especially since there are 8 mana rocks in the deck. However, the precon comes with more than 10 cards that cost six or more mana. This mana curve to lands ratio is a little higher than I am comfortable with. I would recommend either adding more mana sources, taking out some high cmc spells, or both.
Next, other than Command Tower and Opal Palace, all of the dual lands in this deck enter the battlefield tapped. If they are available, I would recommend replacing some or all tapped dual lands with cards like:
- Adarkar Wastes
- Flooded Strand
- Glacial Fortress
- Hallowed Fountain
- Hengegate Pathway
- Mystic Gate
- Nimbus Maze
- Port Town
- Prairie Stream
- Sea of Clouds
- Skycloud Expanse
Finally, there are a couple of cool lands that synergize well with Ranar. Anything that exiles a permanent yields you one Spirit token, so Endless Sands, Safe Haven, and Mystifying Maze are all great includes. They even have utility outside of making tokens.
General Ranar Synergies
Beyond the mana base, there are a lot of cards that could go well with Ranar in any version of the deck. These cards are typically powerful cards that also incidentally trigger Ranar’s token making ability.
- Disrupting Shoal
- Force of Virtue
- Reverent Mantra
- Scars of the Veteran
- Shining Shoal
*Sunscour technically synergizes with Ranar by making a token, but it doesn’t matter much since it immediately destroys all creatures afterward. You can still run it if you want, but you should be aware of that anti-synergy.
Ranar, like other blue/white commanders, is hungry for as many cards as possible. It is very easy to exile all of the cards in your hand and be left with no fuel. This keeps you from interacting with your opponents as well as creating more tokens with Ranar’s ability.
Refilling your hand in blue is easy enough, though. You could go with classic card draw spells like Rhystic Study, Mystic Remora, Sphinx’s Revelation or any number of other cards. But if you want to get a little spicier, there are some cool cards that can draw you cards as well as trigger Ranar.
Moonring Mirror is a perfect example of this. The first ability does not create a token with Ranar, but it does create a stockpile of cards in exile that you can begin to pull from once you are out of gas. The second ability, however, makes a token as long as you had a single card in your hand and Ranar on the battlefield.
While this is easily the best version of this effect for this deck, other cards can do a similar thing:
I mentioned previously that the precon comes with 8 ramp spells. Some of these might be great options depending on which direction you decide to take the deck. However, there are a couple of other ramp spells that synergize well with Ranar:
Another thing to consider about playing this deck is that, regardless of how you build it, the deck probably wants Ranar on the battlefield as soon as possible. If you exile cards from your hand or permanents from the battlefield with him still in the Command Zone, you lose out on an amount of value you could have gained. For this reason, I would recommend playing Jeweled Lotus if you can.
White and blue both have a lot of exile-based removal, which is exactly what Ranar wants to utilize. Any version of this deck is going to want removal spells that look like:
- Amphin Mutineer
- Deputy of Detention
- Fiend Hunter
- Grasp of Fate
- Oblivion Ring
- Path to Exile
- Reality Shift
- Skyclave Apparition
- Swords to Plowshares
- Winds of Abandon
The last few general recommendations I have don’t quite have a specific category that they fall under. They were just a couple of cards that I wanted to point out because the way they work with Ranar is interesting.
The first one is Rest in Peace. Because Rest in Peace is a replacement effect that sends a destroyed permanent straight from the battlefield to exile, Ranar the Ever-Watchful will create a token if a source you control destroys a permanent while it is on the board.
And finally, Pull From Eternity can rescue a card from exile if you find for some reason that you need it back. This is probably not a common situation to find yourself in, but I think it is still important to bring up so you know this card exists.
I wanted to point out that abilities like Rebound (Profound Journey for instance) do not trigger Ranar’s ability. The reason for this is because Rebound exiles the card from the stack and not the player’s hand. Be aware of this when looking for fun interactions for this deck.
What to Take Out
While Phantom Premonition is a great starting point for someone looking to build a new deck, it contains a few duds that should be taken out. Not to say the cards are bad, but just that they do not contribute well to the main focus of the deck. These are the initial cards I would generally recommend removing for any build of the deck:
- Cloudgoat Ranger
- Evangel of Heliod
- Ghostly Prison
- Hero of Bretagard
- Inspired Sphinx
- Migratory Route
- Storm Herd
- Whirler Rogue
5 Ways to Upgrade Phantom Premonition
These are the five directions I thought of taking this deck:
- Tribal Spirits
These are not the only ways to upgrade this deck, just the ones I came up with. If you think of another cool idea, let me know in the comments below.
At the beginning of each 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.
|1-2||Jank||Very little synergy among cards. No Commander staples. Under powered on purpose.|
|3-4||Casual||Some synergies, but lacking the strong ones. Deck still lacks focus. Mana curves mostly neglected. A deck that a new player would build.|
|4-6||Focused||Synergy 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.|
|7-8||Optimized||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.|
|9-10||Competitive||The 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.
1. Foretell (4-7)
The low-hanging fruit for this upgrade article is to focus on Foretell. While he can do a myriad of things, Ranar was obviously designed to be the go-to Commander to lead a deck full of Foretell cards.
Since Foretell is a new mechanic, most of the recommendations I have for this section come from the new set. However, there are a couple of old cards that contribute to this deck as well.
- Training Grounds and Heartstone make it easier to Foretell a card.
- Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, Helm of Awakening, Pearl Medallion, Sapphire Medallion, Stone Calendar, and The Immortal Sun make casting those Foretell cards from exile cheaper.
New Cards From Kaldheim
A handful of Foretell cards from Kaldheim show up in the Phantom Premonition precon. There are also a couple of cards that care about Foretell. The deck left out a couple cards out, and I will list them here.
Cards with Foretell
- Alrund’s Epiphany
- Cosmos Charger
- Depart the Realm
- Glorious Protector
- Mystic Reflection
- Scorn Effigy
- Shepherd of the Cosmos
- Starnheim Unleashed
Cards that Care about Fortell
What to Take Out
If you want to focus on the Foretell aspect of this deck, your win conditions will be limited to the 1/1 Spirit tokens and the creatures that have Foretell. To make enough room to fit all of the Foretell cards, you should take out the spells that flicker permanents as well as the ones that make other creature tokens. For example:
- Angel of Serenity
- Brago, King Eternal
- Geist-Honored Monk
- Ghostly Flicker
- Momentary Blink
- Restoration Angel
2. Flicker (7-9)
Azorius colors are already intimately familiar with flicker decks. Brago, King Eternal has historically been the best commander to lead such a deck, followed by Ephara, God of the Polis, and Yorion, Sky Nomad. Ranar brings something new to the table, though. Rather than being the card that enables the blink strategy, he is the payoff for when it works. In other words, you fill a Ranar deck with blink spells so he can make 1/1 tokens with them.
Some great blink spells also synergize with Spirits, but this particular build doesn’t focus on the Spirits synergies. However, if that were to be relevant, here are some cards to include:
Other than those cards, lots of other cards flicker permanents:
- Charming Prince
- Conjurer’s Closet
- Eldrazi Displacer
- Felidar Guardian
- Thassa, Deep-Dwelling
- Wispweaver Angel
- Yorion, Sky Nomad
Another important piece of a flicker deck is to have things that like being flickered. The precon comes with Mulldrifter and Cloudblazer, but any other creatures with enters-the-battlefield effects are powerful. Furthermore, cards like Altar of the Brood and Panharmonicon work well in these kinds of decks.
This version of the deck quickly devolves into an infinite combo. If this is something you like, great! But if you are adverse to this kind of thing, maybe consider another upgrade path for Phantom Premonition.
New Cards From Kaldheim
The two best cards in this deck from Kaldheim are Cosima, God of the Voyage and Glorious Protector. Protector is another card that can flicker your things, which is always welcome in this deck. Cosima, on the other hand, can only exile herself, but then she’ll stay in exile while you continue to play lands and give her voyage counters. Then, when you really need her, she’ll come back and refill your hand for you.
What to Take Out
If you want this deck to be a flicker deck, you might have to take out most of the Foretell cards. Additionally, you don’t need any of the other token makers, as Ranar will make plenty of tokens for you. Finally, you don’t really need any of the anthems, as this deck will probably win most often with infinite tokens rather than a bunch of beefy ones.
3. Spirit Tribal (5-8)
Ranar makes a great Spirits commander, as he is himself a Spirit and he also makes Spirit tokens. However, because Spirits are such an old tribe, there are multiple different directions you could go with them. For example, you could try to build an army of Spirits (tokens or otherwise) and buff them all with lord effects.
You could also lean into Spirits’ graveyard synergies and make an Azorius reanimator deck. A third option is to utilize hate bear effects that incidentally show up on a lot of Spirits. Here are some great includes for those three different ideas:
Spirit Army and Lords
- Battleground Geist
- Drogskol Captain
- Drogskol Cavalry
- Empyrean Eagle
- Hikari, Twilight Guardian
- Oyobi, Who Split the Heavens
- Phantom General
- Supreme Phantom
- Angel of Flight Alabaster
- Field of Souls
- Hallowed Spiritkeeper
- Hundred-Talon Kami
- Kami of the Honored Dead
- Kami of the Palace Fields
- Mirror-Mad Phantasm
- Moonlit Strider
- Promise of Bunrei
- Torii Watchward
Spiritual Hate Bears
- Dungeon Geists
- Eidolon of Obstruction
- Eidolon of Rhetoric
- Godhead of Awe
- Kataki, War’s Wage
- Mausoleum Wanderer
- Nebelgast Herald
- Remorseful Cleric
- Skyclave Apparition
- Windborn Muse
These are some Spirits that have generically useful effects in a Spirits deck:
- Eidolon of Countless Battles
- Eternal Dragon
- Kami of the Crescent Moon
- Myojin of Cleansing Fire
- Myojin of Seeing Winds
- Selfless Spirit
- Sire of the Storm
- Tomorrow, Azami’s Familiar
And these are non-Spirit cards that could come in handy in a Spirits deck:
New Cards From Kaldheim
The best new Spirit from Kaldheim is Ascendant Spirit. If you decide to play this card, you will probably want to include snow lands in your deck. The opportunity cost for running them is very low, and when you have this card on the board, you will be glad you have them.
Cosmos Charger is a Spirit that also synergizes with Foretell. This might suggest that there is an amount of overlap between the two strategies. Let me know if you find a good way to glue them together.
If you find that you are able to cast multiple spells per turn on a regular basis, Clarion Spirit could also help build your Spirit army.
What to Take Out
This version of the deck focuses almost entirely on Spirits, so anything that isn’t a Spirit or a lord should probably be cut. The exile based removal and incidental exile from Spirits should be enough to fuel Ranar. Besides that, Spirits are decent at making more Spirits, so assembling an army shouldn’t be too difficult.
4. Suspend (4-6)
These last two ideas are easily the most unique. Unfortunately, I’m dubious that they will be too powerful. They will definitely be fun though!
Suspend is an interesting ability that has played only a specific role in the history of Commander. Other than Jhoira of the Ghitu, no other Suspend commanders have been very popular. Ranar the Ever-Watchful might hopefully be able to break that trend.
The way Suspend works, is that a player exiles a card with Suspend from their hand with a certain number of time counters on it. Every turn on that player’s upkeep, they remove a time counter. When all of the time counters come off, the player casts the exiled card without paying its mana cost.
When you exile a card to Suspend it, if Ranar is on the battlefield he makes a Spirit token. Thanks to this interaction, utilizing Suspend could give Ranar players an army of creatures to fend off their opponents until their Suspend cards finally come down.
Blue/White/Colorless Cards with Suspend:
- Aeon Chronicler
- Ancestral Vision
- Chronomantic Escape*
- Deep-Sea Kraken
- Divine Congregation
- Heroes Remembered
- Ith, High Arcanist
- Ivory Giant
- Knight of Old Benalia
- Reality Strobe*
- Restore Balance
- Riftwing Cloudskate
- Veiling Oddity
*Cards that exile themselves from the stack will not trigger Ranar’s ability to make a token.
Cards That Care About Suspend:
As Foretold, Baral’s Expertise, and Sram’s Expertise have historically worked well with Suspend cards as well, since they let you cast one without suspending it. This may or may not be relevant to this deck.
Maybe there is a Ranar Suspend deck that tries to win with Restore Balance by sacrificing all of its own things (minus Ranar) and making an army of tokens while it’s opponents try to recover.
New Cards From Kaldheim
Unfortunately, there are no new Suspend cards in Kaldheim.
What to Take Out
The idea of using Suspend to trigger Ranar is open ended enough that you could keep whichever parts of the precon that you want.
5. Imprint (4-6)
Like Suspend, Imprint is an ability that can help trigger Ranar. When you imprint a card, you exile it from the specified zone, and then the card that imprinted it gets value based on what was imprinted. For example, Mimic Vat.
A permanent can theoretically be imprinted from any zone. Because of this natural diversity, there are only a handful of cards that trigger Ranar. These are them:
- Isochron Scepter
- Exclusion Ritual
- Extraplanar Lens
- Mimic Vat
- Phyrexian Ingester
- Prototype Portal
- Semblance Anvil
- Soul Foundry
- Summoner’s Egg
- Thought Prison (targeting yourself)
In order to fill out the rest of the deck, you might have to find cards that then synergize with these Imprint cards.
Depending on your meta, you can play all snow lands like your deck to utilize Extraplanar Lens. If you have all snow lands and your opponents only have regular basics, your Snow-Covered Plains or Snow-Covered Islands (whichever one is imprinted) yield you twice as much mana as theirs. Running snow lands opens you up to play other snow payoffs like Marit Lage’s Slumber or On Thin Ice (which would then trigger Ranar).
Semblance Anvil, Prototype Portal, Thought Prison and a few of the others are artifacts. They could also synergize fairly well with other artifacts. So perhaps this could lead to a artifact themed Ranar deck.
As you can see, the Imprint pathway opens up doors for many more deck ideas. If you decide to build one of them, please let me know. I would love to see everyone’s most interesting Ranar decks.
New Cards From Kaldheim
There are not any Imprint cards in Kaldheim either.
What to Take Out
The only card I would say needs to stay in the deck for sure is Arcane Artisan. This card functions very similarly to an Imprint card, and for that reason should stay in the deck. Other than that, feel free to cut as many or as few cards as you would like to make room for more Imprint cards.
And with that, we finish another upgrade article. Thank you so much for making it to the end. Let me know which one of these builds you like best or are going to build. If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to leave them below or find me on Instagram or Twitter.
There’s also a Collector version of this set. You can find Kaldheim Collector Booster contents here.
If you want to check the other deck, you can read my Elven Empire Upgrade Guide. Additionally, you might enjoy some of my other articles:
- Is White Really That Bad in Commander?
- How to Build Your First Commander Deck?
- Commander Staples: I’ve Got 99 Problems, But Staples Aren’t One
Until next time, have fun with your upgraded Phantom Premonition deck!