Tuesday Night Takeover

Emissary of Soulfire Exalted Energy Pauper EDH

“I need no blade to strike down my foes.”

Art:Emissary of Soulfire by Bartek Fedyczak

Emissary of Soulfire is a very cool designed commander, being in Azorius and focusing on both energy and exalted is fun and flavorful and just a really cool card to build around. Luckily in Pauper EDH we have a ton of great cards that produce energy, and quite a few proliferate effects and a bunch of strong creatures with exalted. This deck plays a little slower at around a midrange pace, but when it gets going, it’s hard to stop, and we hit extremely hard. Being able to use evasive creatures like Gray Harbor Merfolk and Keymaster Rogue with a ton of exalted triggers can easily enable us to one-shot an opponent, I also really enjoy being able to have protection for our creatures and spells through cards like Loran's Escape and some nice counterspells like Essence Scatter and Disdainful Stroke. This deck has a ton going on and is just a blast to pilot, if you love evasive creatures, a minor control package and hitting opponents hard, I think you are going to enjoy this one. Without further adieu, let’s get it!

The Deck:

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Emissary of Soulfire Exalted Energy!

Commander (1)
Emissary of Soulfire

Creatures (25)
Akrasan Squire
Armored Armadillo
Thriving Turtle
Aether Swooper
Aether Theorist
Aven Squire
Cathar Commando
Eddytrail Hawk
Ethercaste Knight
Gray Harbor Merfolk
Riddle Gate Gargoyle
Saiba Cryptomancer
Sighted-Caste Sorcerer
Tempest Harvester
Frontline Sage
Guardians of Akrasa
Guildpact Informant
Inspired Inventor
Solstice Zealot
Aether Inspector
Keymaster Rogue
Outrider of Jhess
Storm Sculptor

Instants (19)
Acrobatic Maneuver
Aether Spike
Arcane Denial
Disdainful Stroke
Essence Scatter
Experimental Augury
Flicker of Fate
Fuel for the Cause
Generous Gift
Loran’s Escape
Momentary Blink
Steady Progress
Teferi’s Time Twist
Tune the Narrative
Unbounded Potential

Sorceries (7)
Contentious Plan
Settle Beyond Reality
Vivisurgeon’s Insight
Wanderer’s Strike

Artifacts (5)
Arcane Signet
Glassblower’s Puzzleknot
Azorius Locket
Bonder’s Ornament
Consulate Turret

Enchantments (8)
Aqueous Form
Witness Protection
Cradle of Safety
Planar Disruption
Security Bypass
Fall from Favor
Mesmerizing Dose
Steel of the Godhead
Lands (35)
Command Tower
Drifting Meadow
Evolving Wilds
15 Island
Lonely Sandbar
11 Plains
Razortide Bridge
Remote Isle
Terramorphic Expanse
The Fair Basilica
The Surgical Bay

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Why Emissary of Soulfire?

Emissary of Soulfire is a great enabler for our deck. We have a lot of creatures with exalted already, but being able to give almost every creature we have exalted through our extra energy producers and additional proliferate effects allows us to hit hard with an unblockable creature and put a ton of pressure on opponents. They can also come down quite early in the game and have a strong impact, just an amazing asset to have in the command zone and a card we should cast as soon as we possibly can. Sadly, we can’t activate their ability at instant speed; it wouldn’t really matter that much anyway.


The overall gameplan of the deck is to spend our early turns committing cheap creatures and our commander and beginning to give all of them exalted if they don’t already have it, finding an evasive creature is also strong in the early-game but certainly not required, we have a lot of cheap creatures who come with exalted so we are pretty strong at attacking alone in the early game. Once we have a board established, we like to switch into control mode, which allows us to protect our board and permanents and stop our opponents from killing our stuff, casting their insane commander, or just doing anything that would slow us down. Being able to hit hard and still counter the best of the best our opponents have to offer is a huge strength of the deck and allows us to be protected and still output a lot of damage.

Deck Matchups:

Since this is Pauper EDH, there are an absolute ton of things that can tip a game in your favor or out of it. While an archetype may seem favorable, there are absolutely good and bad commanders for our deck to go up against; I have included both these, which were all played among my testing groups using various decks, and I have included the sample size for clarity purposes. This is just meant to be a guide after testing a bunch of games with this deck!

The information below is notes about specific decks that were featured in our testing pods and how we fared against them. Naturally, Pauper EDH is a multiplayer game, so these are just a summary of my notes against different commanders and strategies. When we test these decks we try to test to its strengths and weaknesses to give a full spectrum of what the deck has to offer. Various commanders and archetypes/strategies are used to get the most accurate information.

Deck Overview:

This section contains information about cards in the deck and how they function within the deck! I also highlighted some of my favorite cards in the deck!

Commanders, we have a good matchup against:

Blaze Commando Record against Blaze Commando 5-0

I like this matchup a lot; being able to counter their commander decently often while we build up a board allows us to shut down their gameplan; while we are not that fast, we can often get a couple of decent attackers established before they can get their commander out and since most lists don’t run a lot of creatures we can typically get a lot of chip-in damage. I like this matchup a lot, and if we can counter their commander a couple of times, we can easily take them out of the game.

Scarland Thrinax Record against Scarland Thrinax 6-1

Scarland Thrinax is a very cool commander, and one we certainly have to respect when playing against them; since they are a commander-focused deck, the best piece of leverage we have is to bounce their commander whenever it comes at us and reset it to be a 2/2. We do only have a couple of bounce effects that can target our opponent’s creatures, and these are very high-value cards that we should be saving for a dire situation. Eventually, they will run out of steam, and we can hit with an evasive exalted creature and deal a ton of damage.

Voltaic Brawler Record against Voltaic Brawler 3-1

Just for fun, I decided to compare another energy focused against ours, and generally, I think it’s a favorable matchup for us; being able to counter their commander or some of their proliferation effects allows us to get a leg up on them pretty easily. Stompy-style strategies typically aren’t that bad for us, and since Brawler focuses a lot on temporarily buffing up their creatures, we can get a lot of value out of our flicker effects. In an energy vs energy matchup, I like our chances a lot!

Commanders, we have a tough matchup against:

Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar Record against Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar 1-5

If they can stick their commander, this can be a tough matchup for us; not being able to bounce or flicker their big stuff at instant speed can hurt us a lot. Even though we don’t have a ton of flickers that can target an opponent having that option taking away to flicker or counter can seriously hurt us. Since they buff up a ton of creatures, they can be pretty strong against us in combat. This matchup is quite hard, and unless they have a pretty bad hand and we can get going very quickly, we are often not better than them in combat. Wins are certainly possible, but they do not come easily with this one.

Zada, Hedron Grinder Record against Zada, Hedron Grinder 0-4

Zada is arguably one of the best Pauper EDH commanders, and their speed is truly unmatched; there isn’t much we can do besides countering Zada; this is a very tough matchup as we simply cannot counter everything. As far as our gameplay goes, we just try to deal with as much damage as we can while awaiting the huge Zada turn that will likely kill us. This is a very tough matchup.

Legate Lanius, Caesar's Ace Record against Legate Lanius, Caesars Ace 2-2

Legate Lanius is a winnable matchup but still quite a tough one, if they are able to resolve Lanius it can be very bad, when playing against them I always try to keep a counterspell ready because if they drop Lanius it is much harder for us to win. We can fight through a lot of their removal and by focusing the Lanius player and targeting them we can definitely squeeze out a win, just be very careful of a turn where you or another player cant counter Lanius.


We have so many cool creatures within the deck. We have quite a few exalted creatures that help with the overall gameplan and can come down quite early and be great early-game attacks like Sighted-Caste Sorcerer and Akrasan Squire. Having early-game creatures that are great attackers and help in the late-game is a ton of value out of a cheap mana investment. We are also an energy deck, so we have a ton of new and old payoffs for the deck; some of my favorite new ones include Solstice Zealot, which is a great cheap way to take an opponent creature out of combat for a very small energy investment. Tempest Harvester is another very cool creature that is a decent source of card filtering or a free activation of our commander. It is pretty strong at basically any stage of the game. Last but certainly not least, we have a super high-value couple of creatures since they are unblockable and our main sources of damage. I love Gray Harbor Merfolk. It is unblockable and has a pretty consistent buff that is very strong for the deck, and this card is an amazing finisher. Keymaster Rogue is another very cool finisher with a ton of upside, bouncing an energy producer and replaying them for an additional is amazing, and we get an awesome unblockable finisher as well for only four mana!


I really like all of the blink effects in the deck, and being able to bounce our energy producers and keep on activating our commander, and keeping the overall gameplan going allows us to maintain a strong position within the game and fight through a lot of the removal our opponents have. We also have a lot of very sweet new cards in the deck, like Tune the Narrative is just an extremely efficient card; only paying one mana and getting a free activation on our commander is just an insane rate. Aether Spike is another great new addition, and on turns where we have a lot of disposable energy, we can counter spells of the most ramp-ed up big mana deck out there! Since we are an amorous deck, we have quite a few great counterspells like Disdainful Stroke and Essence Scatter, which can be a great way to catch an opponent off-guard, especially when we only have a couple of mana left.


Since we have a lot of energy sources within the deck, proliferating them to activate our commander or some of our other energy-based cards is great! Contentious Plan is just a great card for the deck, extra energy and a card is pretty great for only two mana. If an opponent has a key creature out on the field and we have the mana and just a little bit of energy, we can get a ton of value out of Wanderer's Strike five mana is a lot but we do get to exile the creature and proliferating is something we will always welcome. This most certainly is not our only exile effect, as we also have Ravenform and Settle Beyond Reality, which are both great ways to take out the best of the best an opponent has to offer and take it out for good. Exile is something that a lot of players undervalue but I think all of these cards are super amazing and provide a lot of additional utility for the deck.


Consulate Turret is such a cool card for the deck; I haven’t seen this thing since the draft days of the Kaladesh block! Being able to have a consistent energy producer helps a ton with activating our commander every time we drop a creature, and being able to turn our energy into damage as needed can be strong as well; while it doesn’t often become relevant, I can say I have killed an opponent by activating Consulate Turret in the late-game. Glassblower's Puzzleknot is another amazing energy producer for the deck, and being able to scry helps a ton. We have a lot of card draw within the deck, so being able to scry and help with the overall gameplan is very strong. Beyond those two awesome energy producers we have quite a few mana rocks, these help a lot with speeding out some of our late-game creatures a little early.


Some of the best control elements we have in the deck come from our enchantment package in the form of cards like Fall from Favor and Witness Protection. Being able to lock down an opponent’s commander or the best of the best creatures they have can shut down their entire gameplan and help us an absolute ton. These cards also help us a ton against decks that rely on their commander, for example, a Voltron strategy that wants to buff up only one or two creatures. Since we are focused on exalted creatures and attacking alone Security Bypass not only makes our creature unblockable but the connive is a great buff and a consistent way to increase our damage. We have quite a few multi-color creatures in the deck, and a lot of them are evasive, so I absolutely had to include Steel of the Godhead, which is crazy if we can get it to stick now I will note that in my testing experience opponents removal tends to come out of the woodwork the second we drop this card but even just one or two attacks with this can be great.

Land Base:

We have a pretty good landbase, I like all of the supplemental card draw that can help turn a dead draw into something. We are running thirty-five lands, which I think is appropriate for this deck; being able to cast a creature or enchantment on our turn and hold up a counterspell/protection spell on our opponent’s turn is core to our general gameplan. Our landbase is extremely simple with nothing too fancy going on, but it’s effective and works very well for the deck.

Strengths of the Deck:

  • We have a strong and adaptive commander that we can activate a ton of times during the game allowing us to have a high damage output pretty early into the game.
  • Extremely strong against creature base decks or decks that put counters on creatures because we run a lot of flicker effects.
  • We are pretty well-positioned against some of the most popular decks in the format, like Voltron, Aggro, and even other midrange decks can be a pretty good matchup.

Weaknesses of the Deck:

  • We can easily get run over by spellslinger-style decks as we often don’t have enough counterspells to shut down their game plan.
  • Control strategies can be tough matchups for us because if they constantly remove all of our creatures and we can’t get multiple exalted triggers, many of our cards are obsolete.
  • Without our exalted triggers we are much less impressive in combat.

Deck Stats:

Sample Hands:


I hope you all had fun on this journey with me; while I don’t think that Emissary of Soulfire is a format-warping commander, I think they are a ton of fun, decently cheap to build, and are just a lot of fun. As someone who played a lot during the Kaladesh days, this card truly brought me back to those old energy decks, and rekindling that strategy and fun was just an absolute blast. If you have an Emissary of Soulfire list, I’d love to check it out. From the decks other content creators have posted, there is a lot of variance between people’s lists. Would love to see it! As always, thanks for reading to the end and for all of your support!