MTG: 10 Best Budget Upgrades For The Maestros Massacre Commander Deck

Led by Anhelo, the Painter, Magic the Gathering's Streets of New Capenna Maestros Massacre commander deck is a blue, black and red deck focused around one thing and one thing only: Casting spells and hitting face. Wait, that’s two things…

Anhelo earns the title of legendary creature with his Maestros family secret, casualty, which allows you to sacrifice a creature to perform a spell you cast an additional time. Anhelo gives the first instant or sorcery card you cast casualty 2, meaning you’ll have to sacrifice a creature with power two or greater. This paves the way for you to cast incredibly devastating spells a second time, as long as you have the cannon fodder for them. So, which cards can you put on your wishlist to improve this deck’s out of the box experience?

10 Prowling Geistcatcher

Prowling Geistcatcher feels as if it was made for this deck. Its first ability allows you to take any creature you sacrifice and place it into temporary exile while scoring Geistcatcher a +1/+1 counter as a little bonus. Its second ability lets you return all of those exiled creatures directly back onto the battlefield.

While the most obvious way to make the Giestcatcher leave the battlefield is to either have it be destroyed in combat or even by Anhelo himself, keep in mind this effect happens no matter how it leaves the battlefield. You could return it to your hand to play again or blip it out of the way and gain all your wonderful creatures back.

9 Notion Thief

When it comes to spells, the more the merrier, which means the more cards in your hand, the happier you’ll be. On the flip side of that, more cards in your opponents’ hands will generally hinder that sweet, sweet happiness.

Notion Thief gives you the power to influence how large your opponent’s hands get. As long as it is in play, if any opponent draws a card other than the first card they draw during their turn, not only do they have to skip that draw, but you get to draw a card instead.

8 Solemn Simulacrum

While weak creatures are generally not how commander decks like to run, in a deck that’s centered around instants and sorceries using those creatures as cannon fodder, you’re really wanting the bare minimum power/toughness creatures that fit Anhelo’s requirements.

Solemn Simulacrum is one of those creatures, but with a little extra thrown in for flavor. When it enters the battlefield, you get to grab a basic land from your deck and put it into the battlefield. Then, when it is inevitably destroyed, you get to draw a card for your trouble.

7 Dark Intimations

Now is when the spells start rearing their beautiful heads. Dark Intimations takes a bit of the pain that comes with sacrificing your creatures and flips it onto your opponents, all while letting you take a reprieve and return a creature from your graveyard to your hand and draw a card.

While its second ability is only useful if you choose to run a Bolas planeswalker, its first one offers plenty of value for its mana cost. This card feels like a no-brainer as well if you use Anhelo’s casualty ability to cast it an additional time for no additional mana.

6 Khorvath’s Fury

In a format that’s all about playing against multiple people at once, cards that allow you to target multiple players are incredibly valuable. Enter Khorvath’s Fury. On its own, Khrovath’s lets you perform some politics at the table, helping some friends, while potentially really hurting some foes.

However, thanks to Anhelo, no friends are going to be made at your table. Sacrifice a creature when casting it to copy Khorvath's Fury, and now you can deal big damage. With the first version of the spell to resolve, declare everyone a friend and have them discard their hand and draw that many plus one. Then, on the second version of the spell, declare them a foe instead. This will deal damage to them equal to the number of cards in their hand, which you just ensured was as big as you could possibly get it. You'll deal max damage and become public enemy number one.

5 Danse Macabre

Some cards in the Adventures of the Forgotten Realms set can come across as a little gimmicky. Danse Macabre is not one of them. Everyone gets to sacrifice a creature, including yourself, but based on the creature’s toughness, you could get some good rewards from the sacrifice.

The higher your sacrificed creature’s toughness, the greater your chances are to return not one, but two creatures to the battlefield that were sacrificed by Danse Macabre. That means you can gain control of your opponents’ toughest creatures if they’re not careful. Or if they don’t have a choice.

4 Chaos Warp

Regardless of which deck it's in, Chaos Warp is some good not-quite-so-old fashioned red removal. Target an opponent’s permanent and have them shuffle it back into their library. Then they draw the top card of their library and place it on the battlefield if it’s a permanent.

While not getting rid of a threat outright, being able to target any permanent and get it off the battlefield is hard to ignore. That, and them getting a different permanent out immediately, probably means they’ll forgive you in just a little longer than instant speed.

3 Tasha’s Hideous Laughter

On the flip side, if you see Anhelo’s casualty ability as a sign to make an ultra powerful mill deck, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is a must-have. Exiling cards instead of putting them into a graveyard is always a wonderful sight, and exiling card, after card, after card is even better.

Then, double that psychological damage by recasting it with Anhelo. If your opponent hits a mana pocket, they’ll be exiling cards for a while, and that means they have fewer answers to your suite of abilities.

2 Comet Storm

Back to red, in your face, damage. With the potential to finish off all of your opponents at once, Comet Storm is simple, but beautiful. To start off, it’s an X cost spell where you deal X amount of damage to target a creature or player, but it has a kicker. Literally.

If you spend some extra mana and kick Comet Storm, you can deal the same amount of damage to any additional creature or player up to the amount of times you kicked it. Now double that damage by sacrificing a two toughness creature with Anhelo. If you have enough mana, you could one shot everyone at the table.

1 Dragonskull Summit (and Shipwreck Marsh)

One of the first upgrades anyone should make to any of their pre-constructed decks is dual lands. Especially when those dual lands don’t hinder your momentum by coming into the battlefield tapped.

For this deck, Dragonskull Summit is going to be an instant substitute for, at the very least, a basic swamp or mountain. As long as you have a swamp or mountain in play, it doesn’t come into the battlefield tapped. Ditto for Shipwreck Marsh, a sort of honorable mention, but if you have a swamp or island in play.

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