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Spirit Squadron Upgrade Guide – 5 Great Ideas

Do you believe in ghosts? Hopefully, they don’t frighten you, because today we’re going to be talking about a lot of Spirits. Specifically, we’re talking about what cards you can add to your Spirit Squadron pre-constructed deck to improve it. Let’s get started.

A Brief Note on Budget

This article, as usual, is meant to stimulate the flow of ideas with regard to upgrading this deck. I’m spitting out five ideas that came to me as I Pondered purchasing and upgrading it. If you come up with different ideas, I’d love to hear about them. If I missed some cards that would be fun and powerful, let me know about those too.

And what exactly do I mean by upgrading? I am looking to focus this deck around one specific theme or other, as well as improve its consistency. I am a firm believer in doing well whatever it is you do. As a result, this article might recommend odd or underpowered strategies. If this is the case, I will do my best to show how to make such a jank deck do what it does as often as possible.

And my last thought related to budget, is that oftentimes Magic can be expensive. This is true at any most power levels. As I make recommendations in this article, though, I do not plan to take budget into account. As I said before, this is just a Brainstorm. I am getting some ideas out on paper, and you can adjust those ideas to fit your specific budget or other needs. If, however, there are cards with similar abilities and smaller price tags, I will try to make a note of that.

Anyway, if you’d like to purchase the Spirit Squadron deck, you can order it on Amazon.

Spirit Squadron Crimson Vow Commander Deck Decklist

Spirit Squadron Decklist

Commander (1)
Millicent, Restless Revenant

Planeswalker (1)
Dovin, Grand Arbiter

Creatures (26)
Angel of Flight Alabaster
Boreas Charger
Bygone Bishop
Custodi Soulbinders
Custodi Squire
Drogskol Captain
Geist of Saint Traft
Ghostly Pilferer
Hallowed Spiritkeeper
Hanged Executioner
Kami of the Crescent Moon
Karmic Guide
Knight of the White Orchid
Mentor of the Meek
Mirror Entity
Nebelgast Herald
Oyobi, Who Split the Heavens
Rattlechains
Remorseful Cleric
Shacklegeist
Sire of the Storm
Spectral Sailor
Spectral Shepherd
Supreme Phantom
Twilight Drover
Windborn Muse

Sorceries (4)
Distant Melody
Fell the Mighty
Flood of Tears
Kirtar’s Wrath

Instants (4)
Arcane Denial
Benevolent Offering
Crush Contraband
Swords to Plowshares

Artifacts (8)
Arcane Signet
Azorius Locket
Azorius Signet
Commander’s Sphere
Marble Diamond
Midnight Clock
Sky Diamond
Sol Ring

Enchantments (7)
Darksteel Mutation
Field of Souls
Ghostly Prison
Imprisoned in the Moon
Promise of Bunrei
Reconnaissance Mission
Verity Circle
Lands (35)
Azorius Chancery
Command Tower
Exotic Orchard
Moorland Haunt
Myriad Landscape
Path of Ancestry
Port Town
Prairie Stream
Skycloud Expanse
Temple of Enlightenment
Temple of the False God
Unclaimed Territory
11 Island
12 Plains

New Cards* (14)
Breath of the Sleepless
Disorder in the Court
Donal, Herald of Wings
Drogskol Reinforcements
Ethereal Investigator
Haunted Library
Haunting Imitation
Occult Epiphany
Priest of the Blessed Graf
Rhoda, Geist Avenger
Spectral Arcanist
Storm of Souls
Sudden Salvation
Timin, Youthful Geist

*These are the brand-new cards. You can see all of them in the next section. The rest of the cards are reprints.

Spirit Squadron – General Upgrades

Millicent, Restless Revenant Crimson Vow Commander Decks Spoilers

Innistrad: Crimson Vow’s Commander precons come with two commander pairing possibilities. The first one is Millicent, Restless Revenant, and the other two are Rhoda, Geist Avenger + Timin, Youthful Geist. As with many of the recent Commander precons, Spirit Squadron works well as-is with either of these commanders. The only thing I want to mention is how the mana could be a little better.

The Mana Base

Out of the box, this set comes with thirty-five lands. This number is appropriate, if a bit low. You can test it out yourself, and add or take away a couple lands to make it play as effectively as possible.

Of these 35 lands, eight of them can tap for either of your commander’s colors. This is probably adequate for lower power levels, but one simple way to improve the power and consistency of the deck is to upgrade the lands.

Flooded Strand

For example, you should run probably twice as many dual lands. Here are some great ones for Azorius colors:

Obviously, some of those cards are super expensive. These are not necessary parts of the deck, but if you have them, they can make sure you don’t lose any tempo as you try to cast your spells on curve. There are dozens of other lands as well, even if they enter the battlefield tapped. The most important thing is making sure you have all the colors you need to cast your spells. The second most critical thing is to always have those lands enter untapped.

What to Take Out

There are versions of this deck that would be willing to play each card that comes in the precon. I don’t think I can say any of them are dead cards that you should always take out. And rather than outline each individual card and when to take it out or leave it in, I will talk more in-depth about cards to cut at the end of each upgrade path.

5 Ways to Upgrade the Spirit Squadron Precon

Speaking of, here are the five ideas I came up with:

  1. Tribal
  2. Tokens
  3. Tap/Untap
  4. Flying
  5. Aristocrats

Please let me know in the comments’ section below if there are any other themes you would want to focus on for this deck. I know there’s no way I came up with all of them.

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
1-2JankVery 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.

1. Tribal (4-7)

Recommended Commander: Millicent, Restless Revenant, or Rhoda, Geist Avenger + Timin, Youthful Geist

Spirits

Drogskol Reaver Spirit Squadron Upgrade Guide

If I’m being honest, Spirits should be the only tribe I talk about in this section of the article. They are the tribe that the deck was intended to be built around. However, a lot of Magic’s best Spirits already come in this deck, which can make it difficult to upgrade. Here are a couple Spirits that didn’t make it into the precon that would make fine additions to it.

You will notice a lot of similarities between this deck and the Phantom Premonition deck that came out with Kaldheim. If you have both of those decks, smashing them together and making two unique decks from them could be a great way to get more Spirits that you need. You can find my Phantom Premonition upgrade article here.

If you want, you can also get Phantom Premonition on Amazon.

Humans

Thalia's Lieutenant

I feel like choosing to upgrade this deck to be tribal Humans, is both missing the point and a little disrespectful. However, Rhoda, Youthful Geist is a Human, and if someone is dying to play blue/white Humans, this could be their commander. For this reason, I will quickly go over some Azorius Human cards.

These cards are, mostly, white, so if you already have a white-based Humans deck and are hell-bent on making it Azorius, it should be a fairly easy swap.

Soldiers

Captain of the Watch Spirit Squadron Upgrade Guide

Similar to Humans, Soldiers have little to no synergy with this deck. The only reason I am bringing them up here is because Millicent, Restless Revenant and Rhoda, Geist Avenger are also Soldiers. So, in the interest of being thorough, here are a few Azorius Soldiers.

It seems like this color pairing would be good at manipulating combat and making their big army of Soldiers difficult to block. If you really want to add blue to your already white Soldiers deck, try that theme out and let me know how it goes.

New Cards From Innistrad: Crimson Vow

Crimson Vow is overflowing with new Spirits. It also has some Humans and Soldiers, but I’m going to focus on the Spirits here:

What to Take Out

When I build tribal decks, I like to be all-in on the tribal theme. In other words, I don’t like including cards that are not members of the tribe. If you are that way, there are a few off-tribe Creatures that you could cut (even more if, for some crazy reason, you decided to build Humans or Soldiers). Other than those, you could probably cut Dovin, Grand Arbiter, Flood of Tears, Disorder in the Court, Verity Circle, Ghostly Prison. Of course, feel free to cut any other cards that you don’t really want to run.

2. Tokens (4-7)

Recommended Commander: Millicent, Restless Revenant

While Millicent likes to make Spirit tokens, there are many other kinds of tokens in the game. If we ignored the Spirits focus, there are lots of other cards we could use to make an army of tokens in blue/white.

Anointed Procession

First and foremost, Anointed Procession has to go in the deck. Any token worth making is worth making two of. This might seem like kind of a stretch, but Anointed Procession is an Enchantment. The Spirits from Crimson Vow are mostly all enchantments if you cast them for their Disturb cost from the graveyard. There are a few other Enchantments that make tokens for you. Examples include:

These cards will make sure your token army is enormous. But how can you make sure they can finish the job? Glad you asked:

Tokens are such a vague theme, that there are like tons and tons of ways to build them. Let me know if this way suits your fancy, or if there’s another way you found that is really fun.

New Cards From Innistrad: Crimson Vow

As I mentioned before, the blue/white theme from Crimson Vow is exactly this: tokens and Enchantments. Because of this, there are a good number of cards that you could get out of that set to upgrade this deck. Here are a few of my favorites:

What to Take Out

This version of the deck doesn’t care about the Spirits as much. You will still probably want some, since Spirits are the engine the commander uses to make tokens, but there are enough Spirits that make tokens that you can still get plenty of use out of them. If a Spirit doesn’t also care about tokens, though, you can reasonably cut it.

3. Tap/Untap (4-9)

Recommended Commander: Rhoda, Geist Avenger and Timin, Youthful Geist

Tempo might be another name for the strategy of this version of the deck. Spirits like Nebelghast Herald and Shacklegeist are powerful cards that have seen play in 60-card competitive formats. They sort of embody one of the tribe’s main strengths, namely being incredibly difficult to block. The partner pairing from this deck, Rhoda and Timin, focus exactly on this aspect of Spirits, so this section is going to try to emphasize it even further.

Yosei, the Morning Star Millicent Commander Upgrade

If you wanted to get really mean, this deck is only one or two short steps away from being a full-on Stax deck. All you would have to do is add some Stasis effects, and you could reasonably lock down the board.

In these kinds of decks, it’s polite to also include a way to break parody, or in other words, play through your own lock, so the game ends faster. Fortunately, as long as you can attack with Rhoda, you should be able to finish things off fairly well.

New Cards From Innistrad: Crimson Vow

There aren’t a ton of mass-tap effects or Stax pieces, but here are the Crimson Vow cards that are worth mentioning for this section:

What to Take Out

While this upgrade idea also cares less about Spirits, Spirits happen to do this thing pretty well. In fact, there are a handful of Spirits from the precon that tap or untap different permanents. Leave these in, and feel free to take out the rest of the cards to make room for your upgrades.

Obviously, you should leave in Verity Circle, along with any other card draw, ramp, or removal that you deem necessary. Keep in mind, though, that if you can find cards that fill these roles and contribute to your theme, that’s much better than just filling a role.

4. Flying (3-8)

Recommended Commander: Millicent, Restless Revenant

The potential power level on this version of the deck varies from really low to pretty high. This is due to the fact that fliers are very powerful in MTG, but their floor is very weak. Take, for example, Storm Crow. This creature is efficient and hard to block, but also very small and unlikely to kill an opponent.

Sephara Sky's Blade Spirit Squadron Upgrade Guide

There have been a handful of cards throughout Magic’s history, though, that care about and improve your Creatures with Flying. Here are some of the ones that came to mind for me:

Flying is a pretty generic ability, and it shows up on tons and tons of cards. This might make building this deck pretty difficult. However, if you use some of these “Flying matters” staples, then pad the rest with your favorite Creatures with Flying, I’m sure you’ll have a great deck.

New Cards From Innistrad: Crimson Vow

Awkwardly, the best Flying support card in this set doesn’t have the right color identity to go in this deck. The card I’m referring to is Winged Portent. If you wanted to find a Bant commander to add green to this deck, that’s a great card to add in. Otherwise, there are a few cards in the set with Flying, and nothing else worth mentioning for this deck.

What to Take Out

As I said before, this deck will need its core of Flying matters cards, then whatever fliers you happen to like best. If some of those cards are in the precon, keep them in. Otherwise, you can take out any or all of the cards you find in it.

5. Aristocrats (5-7)

Recommended Commander: Millicent, Restless Revenant

I should specify that this version of the deck is sort of a reanimator/sacrifice strategy. These concepts are very similar to Aristocrats, though, so that’s why I labeled the section the way I did. The inspiration for this idea was the fact that Millicent gives you a small payoff for your Creatures going to the graveyard. Even though she only gives you one small Spirit for your efforts, this could potentially be a worthwhile engine to lean into. Let’s explore the possibilities.

Karmic Guide

First and foremost, Karmic Guide is a Spirit. I don’t say that as a recommendation to upgrade this version (there’s already a copy in the precon), but rather to draw attention to the ability Spirits have to reanimate things from the graveyard.

Spirit Squadron also has Spectral Arcanist, Angel of Flight Alabaster, Custodi Squire, Storm of Souls, and Sudden Salvation with similar abilities. Other Spirits that can pull things out of the graveyard include:

This seems to me like a reasonable enough package of cards to try to build around. I should note, that it is unlikely that this deck ever goes infinite. Aristocrat strategies like Zombies and Vampires can get into loops where the cost to initiate the loop is less than or equal to the value generated by the loop, thus allowing you to activate it infinite times. While you can certainly generate a lot of value in this deck, you probably won’t be able to make infinite value.

The Basics of Aristocrats

If you have read my upgrade articles before, you might know that there are three elements to Aristocrats decks. There are cards that sacrifice things, cards that want to be sacrificed, and cards that care about things being sacrificed. Fortunately, there are tons of Spirits that care about more than one of these categories.

Cards That Sacrifice Things

Mausoleum Wanderer Spirit Squadron Upgrade Guide

This is the category of cards that fills up your graveyard. Typically, we think of sac outlets like Altar of Dementia, Ashnod’s Altar, or Phyrexian Altar. While these are very reasonable includes in this kind of deck, a lot of Spirits have abilities that sacrifice themselves. For instance:

These are all all great reanimation targets, as they get you a little bit of incremental value. As we all know, this kind of value can add up over time.

I also want to add that Mirror-Mad Phantasm, while not a card that sacrifices itself, is a great card to fill the graveyard, which gives you way more options for reanimation targets.

Cards That Want To Be Sacrificed

Kami of the Palace Fields Spirit Squadron Upgrade Guide

All of the cards from the previous section count as also wanting to be sacrificed. Although they don’t have an ability that reads “whenever ~ dies”, they have to sacrifice themselves as part of the cost for their ability. This serves multiple functions when considering Aristocrats roles.

Cards with an ability called Soulshift also fill this role extremely well. Basically, when they die, they let you return a creature with (usually) lesser mana value from the graveyard to your hand. Here are the cards in white/blue with this ability:

This list is not huge, but if you combine it with the other Spirits we’ve already talked about, it is adequate.

Cards That Care About Things Being Sacrificed

There are already a few cards in the precon that care about other things dying. For example, the commander, Millicent, Restless Revenant makes Spirit tokens for you. Promise of Bunrei and Field of Souls both have a similar effect. The fact that one of these is in the command zone is very helpful, especially because there are not a lot of other Spirits in the game that reward you for this.

Yomiji, Who Bars the Way Spirit Squadron Upgrade Guide

Yomiji, Who Bars The Way is the only one really worth mentioning, and he specifically cares about Legendary creatures. Fortunately, there are a few of those in the deck you could work with.

I also want to mention here that the close cousin to Aristocrats is Flicker. Both try to get more value from enters/leaves the battlefield or death triggers. I wouldn’t blame you if you added Soulherder, Brago, King Eternal, or Ranar, the Ever-Watchful to your Aristocrats deck.

New Cards From Innistrad: Crimson Vow

The draft archetype for Crimson Vow includes Sprits which can be cast from the graveyard by paying their Disturb cost. You would think that this would be amazing for an Aristocrats deck. However, the fact that the back side of most all these cards says, “If [cardname] would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, exile it instead.” This makes it difficult to repetitively get value from them. However, I mentioned earlier that infinite loops are pretty unlikely with this deck, so if you like the idea of using Disturb, go for it.

Otherwise, this set has a couple of cards that sacrifice themselves for some sort of value. Ollenbock Escort will keep one of your Creatures safe, one or more times (if you can bring it back from the graveyard). Biolume Egg rewards you with a big Flying body when it is specifically sacrificed. Geralf, Visionary Stitcher also rewards you with another Creature by sacrificing a different one. By Invitation Only is a boardwipe that will help with cards that care specifically about sacrificing things.

What to Take Out

You’ll want to keep in a handful of Spirits, since they are the cards that trigger the commander. However, a lot of the recommendations that I made earlier are Spirits, so you are probably safe to cut some of the ones that don’t really help the Aristocrats theme. Basically, those are Spirits (or any other Creature type) that don’t care about sacrificing or being sacrificed, or sacrifice themselves. There aren’t a ton of these in the deck, so you will probably be able to make plenty of cuts.

Conclusion

Once again, I appreciate you making it this far in the article. These Commander precon upgrade guides are a lot of fun to make, and I hope you found inspiration in for buying Spirit Squadron and making it your own. If you have any other questions for me, you can message me on Instagram or Twitter. You can also listen to Gathering: My Thoughts, my MTG Podcast on Apple Music or Spotify.

If you want to open some new Crimson Vow cards, to upgrade your Spirit Squadron deck with, you can purchase a Set booster box on Amazon.

Crimson Vow Set Booster Box

If you want to pimp your deck with the rarest card, then you’ll probably like Collector boosters. You can find the Crimson Vow Collector Booster contents here.

More Upgrades

And if you have other Innistrad 2021 Commander decks that you want to upgrade, check out these upgrade guides:

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