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Witherbloom Witchcraft Commander Deck Upgrade – 5 Different Ways

Are you a black-green Magic player looking for something other than Golgari’s graveyard shenanigans to build a deck around? If so, I’ve got some good news for you. This pre-constructed Witherbloom Witchcraft deck looks at black-green magic in a whole new way.

In this Witherbloom Witchcraft 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 Strixhaven.

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 Witherbloom Witchcraft deck. If you would like to purchase the deck, you can order it on Amazon.

Witherbloom Witchcraft Strixhaven Commander Precon

Witherbloom Witchcraft Decklist

Commander (1)
Willowdusk, Essence Seer

Planeswalker (1)
Ob Nixilis Reignited

Creature (23)
Ageless Entity
Bloodthirsty Aerialist
Bloodtracker
Blossoming Bogbeast
Defiant Bloodlord
Dina, Soul Steeper
Epicure of Blood
Ezzaroot Channeler
Gluttonous Troll
Gyome, Master Chef
Honor Troll
Leyline Prowler
Marshland Bloodcaster
Noxious Gearhulk
Sangromancer
Sapling of Colfenor
Silversmote Ghoul
Sproutback Trudge
Tivash, Gloom Summoner
Vampire Nighthawk
Veinwitch Coven
Verdant Sun's Avatar
Yedora, Grave Gardener

Sorcery (13)
Ancient Craving
Cultivate
Damnable Pact
Deadly Tempest
Essence Pulse
Feed the Swarm
Gaze of Granite
Healing Technique
Nissa's Renewal
Pest Infestation
Rampant Growth
Revival Experiment
Taste of Death

Instant (4)
Mortality Spear
Pulse of Murasa
Reckless Spite
Suffer the Past

Artifact (12)
Alhammarret's Archive
Arcane Signet
Druidic Satchel
Elixir of Immortality
Loxodon Warhammer
Paradise Plume
Pristine Talisman
Sol Ring
Sun Droplet
Talisman of Resilience
Venser's Journal
Well of Lost Dreams

Enchantment (6)
Blight Mound
Gift of Paradise
Greed
Moldervine Reclamation
Sanguine Bond
Trudge Garden

Land (40)
Blighted Woodland
Command Tower
Exotic Orchard
Gingerbread Cabin
Golgari Rot Farm
High Market
Jungle Hollow
Llanowar Wastes
Myriad Landscape
Radiant Fountain
Rogue's Passage
Sapseep Forest
Study Hall
Tainted Wood
Temple of Malady
Temple of the False God
Witch's Clinic
Witherbloom Campus
11 Swamp
11 Forest

Witherbloom Witchcraft – General Upgrades

Willowdusk, Essence Seer Commander 2021 Strixhaven Decklists

Before we get to the fun part, there are a few general upgrades for improving the precons. Some of them are recommendations for cards that synergize with the commanders, other just ways to make the deck more consistent.

The Mana Base

I always say this, but the number one way to improve precons is by improving the mana base. These decks are usually printed with mostly basic lands. They’ll typically have less than ten dual lands and a bunch of colorless lands. None of these are inherently bad things, but they make it so that sometimes you don’t have the right colors to cast your spells.

Additionally, Witherbloom Witchcraft comes with forty lands. Some would say that forty is a good number. I say that its too many. You can clear up at least three slots for other cards but simply cutting three basic lands from the deck.

Replacing some of the other basic lands or lands that enter the battlefield tapped with untapped dual lands is a great start to any precon.

Woodland Cemetery Witherbloom Witchcraft Upgrade Guide

Unfortunately, these ones are both the best and the most expensive options. Here are a couple that are more budget-friendly, if less efficient:

And don’t forget that lands that tap for mana of any color are also dual lands in this deck:

General Commander Synergies

First and foremost, I want to emphasize that I think as many cards as possible should synergize with your deck’s theme. For this reason, if you can find utility cards like removal or ramp that also contribute to the overall strategy, your deck will be stronger for it.

Phyrexian Arena Witherbloom Witchcraft Upgrade Guide

Here are a couple of cards that interact with your life total in addition to being generally useful:

What to Take Out

This deck did a pretty decent job of using synergy for the utility parts of the deck. This has made it difficult to find cards that should generally come out of every version. I recommend more cards to take out in each individual upgrade path. Check out those recommendation as well. If you have any questions about cards I think you should take out, please put them down in the comments. I would love to explain my thought process.

5 Ways to Upgrade

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

  1. Life Manipulation
  2. +1/+1 Counters
  3. Life Drain
  4. Food
  5. Troll Tribal

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.

Power Level

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.

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.

Last thing before we get to the fun part. Each of the precons come with at least two Legendary Creatures that can be the commanders. At the beginning of each section, I will indicate which of the two creatures I think would make the best commander for that specific deck.

1. Life Manipulation (4-8)

Recommended Commander: Willowdusk, Essence Seer

You might have noticed that there is a life manipulation recommendation section as well as a life drain recommendation section. I separated these two ideas because I wanted to accentuate the differences. Feel free to take inspiration for your Witherbloom Witchcraft deck from either section.

Life Manipulation vs Life Drain

The distinction I made between life manipulation and life drain is fairly simple. The life drain cards are trying to get your opponents’ life totals to zero as fast as possible. This usually involves you gaining the life that they lost. Life manipulation, on the other hand, is trying to utilize your own life total as a weapon. You spend it to cast spells, draw cards, et cetera. You are really trying to embrace the adage that winning the game at one life is the same as winning the game at forty life.

How To Use Your Life Total

These are all cards that take big chunks out of your life total when you use them. Most of them have the ability to use as much life as you want, while others hit you one time for a specific amount. Either way, be pretty careful using them, since your opponents might be able to capitalize on you low life total if you get carried away.

Bolas's Citadel Witherbloom Witchcraft

There is a fairly small handful of cards that let you switch life totals around. Fortunately, most of them are black or colorless:

If you can manage to keep yourself alive, these cards can secure a win for yourself almost out of nowhere. Not only that, but they make great stories if you successfully cast them.

Repay in Kind MTG

These next couple of cards can also take advantage of abusing your life total (or your opponents’ for that matter). As a quick note, don’t forget that exchanging life totals counts as life loss and life gain.

Gaining The Life Back

Whip of Erebos Willowdusk Essence Seer Upgrade

If you find ourself investing a large chunk of your life total into casting your spells or drawing cards but don’t have one of the above-listed payoffs of a low life total, you might want to gain that life back. Here is a short list of cards that do that:

New Cards From Strixhaven

Even though the main theme for Witherbloom in the upcoming set is lifegain, there are only a couple of cards that fit with this specific kind of lifegain deck. Specifically, Beledros Witherbloom lets you cash in a bunch of life for double mana every turn (or on your opponents’ turns). I know I mentioned it before, but Accomplished Alchemist also works amazingly in this deck.

What to Take Out

For this deck you could make a compelling argument for hanging on to a lot of the cards in the precon. However, few if any of those are going to have the impact on your life total that this deck is trying to have.

Marshland Bloodcaster is one notable card that I think deserves a home here, as well as Greed for card advantage and Essence Pulse for board control. Other than that, feel free to strip the deck of everything else.

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

Recommended Commander: Willowdusk, Essence Seer

Kalonian Hydra Witherbloom Witchcraft Upgrade Guide

If there’s one deck in this article that I don’t really need to recommend cards for, its the +1/+1 counters version of Witherbloom Witchcraft. Seriously, this deck builds itself. I bet you could pull out your draft chaff and make a decent +1/+1 counters Commander deck. I could go on for pages recommending all of the black-green +1/+1 counters cards and explaining why they are good and which ones you should play.

I don’t think I need to do that, though. Go to Edhrec.com, look through the cards they recommend, and pick your favorite hundred to put in this deck. Keep in mind, WIllowdusk still synergizes with lifegain and life loss, so find cards that do both things. Other than that, here are a couple of great cards off the top of my head that work with counters:

New Cards From Strixhaven

There are a couple of great cards in the set that deal with +1/+1 counters. A lot of them are not very impactful in Commander, but here are a couple that could work. Keep an eye out for them when you are cracking packs.

What to Take Out

As is sometimes the case, it is easier to mention the cards in the precon that should be left in than the ones that should be taken out. There are three cards in the deck that care about both life and counters. They are:

Everything else can go.

3. Life Drain (6-8)

Recommended Commander: Willowdusk, Essence Seer

This is the version of the life deck that wants to drain your opponents’ life totals as fast as possible. For that purpose, I would recommend as many redundant copies of the Exquisite Blood/Sanguine Bond combo as you can find. Defiant Bloodlord, Epicure of Blood and Dina, Soul Steeper come with the deck, but adding Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, and Marauding Blight-Priest will round out that package nicely.

Exsanguinate Witherbloom Witchcraft Upgrade Guide Commander 2021

Additionally, there is no shortage of Commander finishers that drain life. Exsanguinate, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, and Kokusho, the Evening Star are probably the most popular ones. Essence Harvest is another card with a similar ability.

There are tons of other cards that make your opponents lose life and you gain life. Blood Artist is one that leads you towards building this as an aristocrats deck. Twilight Prophet is another one that helps with card advantage. Meanwhile, as you suck your opponents’ life force from them, Willowdusk will be pumping up your creatures to apply even more pressure.

New Cards From Strixhaven

Spector of the Fens isn’t exactly the most exciting Commander card out there. It is one of the few life drain cards in Strixhaven though. Plus, with infinite (or just a ton of) mana it could theoretically win you the game.

Technically, Professor Onyx and Witherbloom Apprentice also drain life. In order to properly take advantage of them, you will want to play a bunch of Instants or Sorceries. This card is not new from Strixhaven, nor is it really in the main set, but Tendrils of Agony is actually the perfect card for this kind of strategy.

What to Take Out

We talked a little bit about the combo pieces that come in this deck. Honestly, keeping any of those cards and any cards that gain you life (which could be a lot in this deck) will help trigger Sanguine Bond effects and drain out your opponents.

4. Food (4-6)

Recommended Commander: Gyome, Master Chef

In the fairytale set that brought us Food, Wizards forgot to include a Food commander. Perhaps they thought that Food wouldn’t be that interesting as a Commander mechanic. Boy were they wrong. But fortunately, Gyome, Master Chef has come to our rescue. We finally have a Legendary Creature for all of our culinary inspirations in the Witherbloom Witchcraft precon.

Trail of Crumbs Witherbloom Witchcraft Upgrade Guide

These are all of the relevant (or almost relevant) cards that create Food tokens:

As you can see, not very many of these cards have a large impact on the game. Many of them do have slight utility outside of creating Food tokens, though. If you want to really maximize the value you get from Food, though, try cards like these:

New Cards From Strixhaven

There are not any new Strixhaven cards that make Food tokens, or interact in a meaningful way with them.

What to Take Out

In order to make room for all of your food cards, you are going to have to take out almost everything but Gluttonous Troll. Nothing else makes Food except the commander. I also like Silversmote Ghoul, mostly because it wants you to gain exactly the amount of life that you gain from sacrificing a Food token.

5. Troll Tribal (3-6)

Recommended Commander: Gyome, Master Chef

Nope, I’m being serious. This version of the Witherbloom Witchcraft deck uses Troll creatures, not troll cards. But I guess you could build a troll deck that just messes with your opponents if you want.

Trolls as a creature type, though, are pretty much good at three things: +1/+1 counters, Regeneration, and giving Creatures to your opponents. Fortunately, I believe there is a way to fuse these things together.

Grismold, the Dreadsower

First, check out this list of Trolls I made:

In my opinion, the glue that could hold all of these creatures together is Illness in the Ranks. If some of your Trolls want to give your opponents creatures, that’s completely fine. If other Trolls want to have or give +1/+1 counters, thats also great. Lets kill two birds with one stone and include as many universal -1/-1 effects as we can.

Curse of Death’s Hold, Golgari Charm, Night of Souls’ Betrayal, Hazardous Conditions, Virulent Plague, and Retribution of the Ancients are all examples of cards that will do the trick.

Once you have the cards that will nerf everyone, making sure that you have cards that make tokens for your opponents (like Grismold, the Dreadsower, Hunted Troll, and Forbidden Orchard) is really important. Maybe even include a couple of tutor effects to get these out of your deck.

Black Market Witherbloom Witchcraft Upgrade Guide Commander 2021

Then, play cards like Bastion of Remembrance, Bereavement, Black Market, Revel in Riches, Shadows of the Past, and Sadistic Glee to capitalize on your opponents losing the creatures you gave them.

New Cards From Strixhaven

There are only three Trolls in the main set. One comes already in the precon, one is green/blue, and one is Novice Dissector. If you want to include it in the deck, be my guest. It doesn’t seem like the kind of card to make a splash in Commander, though.

What to Take Out

Believe it or not, the Witherbloom Witchcraft deck actually comes with a Troll in it. Not only that, but it also synergizes with what the deck is doing. Honor Troll is the specific card that I’m talking about. Gluttonous Troll also comes in the precon, but isn’t quite as good in this deck. Any other card could be cut if you wanted it to, though.

Witherbloom Witchcraft – Conclusion

And with that, we finish another upgrade article. Thank you so much for making it to the end of the Witherbloom Witchcraft upgrade guide. 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.

More Strixhaven

If you want to open some of the new Strixhaven cards, to upgrade your Witherbloom Witchcraft deck with, you can purchase a booster box on Amazon.

Strixhaven School of Mages Booster Box

If you want the shiniest and the rarest card, you can check the Strixhaven Collector Booster contents here.

More Commander

Would you like to check upgrade guides for other Commander 2021 / Strixhaven decks? They are listed here:

However, if none of these precons suit you, you can find all Commander precons here.

Until next time, enjoy Magic and have fun with your upgraded Witherbloom Witchcraft Commander deck!

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