MTG_CDR_HeavenlyInferno

After doing an exhaustive review of the Heavenly Inferno deck, it has been decided that future Commander products will be reviewed in a new overview fashion as prescribed here: 5 best/5 worst creatures, 5 best/5 worst non-creatures, and the Commander’s own rating.

Heavenly Inferno was easily one of the best values on the market when it was first released. All of the original Commander 2011 decks had their “money” cards in them, but Heavenly Inferno has definitely held up its value. After an exhaustive look at the creature spells and non-creature spells of this deck, let’s take a look at the five best and worst creature and non-creature spells in the deck, then rate Kaalia herself as a Commander.

CREATURE SPELLS

  1. Angel of Despair
  2. Angelic Arbiter
  3. Basandra, Battle Seraph
  4. Mother of Runes
  5. Tariel, Reckoner of Souls

These are ranked in no particular order. Angel of Despair is a white/black staple that belongs in every Kaalia deck. Destroying a target permanent for free off of Kaalia’s ability to put her directly into play attacking is just too good not to abuse.

Angelic Arbiter is perhaps the most underrated card in the deck, and while its casting cost can be a little prohibitive to get out un-countered, putting Arbiter into play off of Kaalia can really ruin opponents’ days. Arbiter is also a 5/6 flyer. The power of making your opponents choose to either cast spells or attack is actually pretty relevant.

Basandra, Battle Seraph is the best Commander-exclusive in the deck for both preventing combat tricks and being able to force awkward blocks by making a creature attack that really doesn’t want to. Add on top of that Basandra is a solid Commander option of her own, and she may be the best overall creature in the deck.

Mother of Runes is just too good not to put on a best of list. She fits into pretty much any aggressive strategy running white, if only to protect your creatures from removal spells.

Tariel, Reckoner of Souls has an awesome effect, and can be a decent Commander of his own, but that powerful effect comes with a hefty casting cost. Played off of Kaalia, however, Tariel is a pretty scary thing to deal with.

WORST:

  1. Dragon Whelp
  2. Furnace Whelp
  3. Gwyllion Hedge-Mage
  4. Orzhov Guildmage
  5. Serra Angel

None of the cards really fit in Kaalia, besides Serra Angel for flavor reasons. But there are just far better 5-drop Angels than Serra Angel, despite her being a classic card. The Whelps just don’t belong in a Commander deck. THe Guildmage is sort of random. The Hedge-Mage belongs in a totally different archetype.

NON-CREATURE SPELLS

Besides the obvious Sol Ring and Lightning Greaves (which are in every Commander 2011), here are my picks for top 5 non-creature spells in the deck.

  1. Stranglehold
  2. Path to Exile
  3. Akroma’s Vengeance
  4. Return to Dust
  5. Soul Snare

Notice I leave out super-solid removal spells like Terminate and Mortify. Stranglehold may be one of the strongest Enchantments in all of Commander. Shutting down tutoring is just murder in the format, especially when people decide to play extremely competitive Commander decks, making it one of the most expensive Commander exclusive cards out there. It saw some Legacy play at one point. It’s the most valuable card in the deck besides Kaalia herself. It’s the best non-creature spell in the deck bar none.

Path to Exile is just so solid, and it’s a Modern staple. It has to be #2 purely on how good it is.

Akroma’s Vengeance is a great board-wipe that can cycle. In Commander, this is pretty good, and there was a time where it was Standard playable.

Return to Dust can exile two target artifacts and enchantments. It’s one of the better non-creature removal spells in the game along with Hull Breach.

Soul Snare is such a cute little card that I had to include it. A lot of cards could vie for the #5 spot here. Master Warcraft could easily take this spot for how it can completely change a game.

WORST:

  1. Congregate
  2. Syphon Flesh
  3. Syphon Mind
  4. Cleansing Beam
  5. Death by Dragons

Congregate doesn’t really belong in the deck. It could potentially gain you a bunch of life, but it’s so terribly situational. Syphon Flesh and Syphon Mind are hardly terrible cards in multi-player, but there are far stronger spells that can take these slots in the deck. Cleansing Beam is a bit over-costed removal that is again very situational. Death by Dragons is nice flavor, but in the long run, it’s not really worth casting.

KAALIA

Kaalia of the Vast is one of the easiest Commanders to build around and is great for beginners who want to be aggressive. She’s one of the most competitive Commanders and this makes Kaalia players a primary target from other players in multi-player. Kaalia definitely needs to have Angels, Demons, and Dragons to drop every turn to be super-effective, though, so there’s a chance of inconsistency, especially in the way this particular list is built. There is a lot of removal in the pre-con to hold out in the long game for a late big finish. But typically, you want to flood the board with big creatures for which no one else has an answer. She’s an A-list Commander.

If you want to play her, I highly recommend her, as the deck is a ton of fun to play simply for the surprise factor that she gives with her put into play ability. Just don’t run Master of Cruelties unless you’re playing one-on-one competitive Commander. Otherwise, you will lose friends

OVERALL

Heavenly Inferno is definitely one of the best of the Commander 2011 decks, and over time has done a great job of retaining its value. Dollar figures fluctuate wildly with some of these cards, but it’s very safe to say that Kaalia and Stranglehold alone leave you with a considerable profit if you happened to pick this deck up for about $30-35.  Now a days, you’re lucky to find a sealed copy for $100-200. That being the case, you’re better off picking up the top singles from the deck and forming your own list with the best Angels, Demons, and Dragons you can find. Kaalia is only getting better with the release of each coming set, so if you want to play her, pick up a copy before her price continues to rise even further.

~ Elspeth for the Win

 

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