Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate gave us one of the most adored uncommon Commanders in the history of the game – Wilson, Refined Grizzly. It’s also Pride month, so I figured why not have fun and tell you about my favourite ways to build Wilson at the head of your deck in every combination of colours available with the Backgrounds.
White: Folk Hero
Some of you reading this are shocked I didn’t go with Flaming Fist, but we already have three Voltron strategies in Background choices on this list. It’s not surprising – Wilson, Refined Grizzly is absolutely BEGGING to be a Voltron Commander. Its keywords SCREAM, “it’s time for Commander damage.”
I went with Folk Hero because, while people know that Wilson is a bear – and there are 29 of those that can be in this White/Green version of the deck – people don’t remember that Big Willy is also a Warrior.
Avenging Huntbonder, Bramblewood Paragon, Cazur, Ruthless Stalker, Champion of Lambholt, Champion of Rhonas, Hamza, Guardian of Arashin, Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist, and many many more Warriors can cantrip now with your Background in the command zone.
Of course, Folk Hero only triggers once per turn, but Qasali Ambusher has Flash, Yeva, Nature’s Herald, Vivien, Champion of the Wilds, and Vedalken Orrery can give your creatures Flash. Spicier Flash enablers include Vernal Equinox, Aluren, and Winding Canyons. Time to brew, ya Selesnya nuts!
Blue: Dungeon Delver
I won’t lie, I mostly picked this to shine a light on the fact that Green Dungeon decks aren’t really a thing, and many Green Dungeon cards are excited to be your new budget brew. I bet you can get a solid fun deck for under $50 to show up to your table and surprise folks with the power of not just the original Dungeons, but also The Undercity with Initiative. There are 26 cards in Green/Blue that push you into a Dungeons.
That’s not a lot of cards: 26 + 36 = 62. That means you have 38 slots to make this your own. You can get a lot of value out of Varis, Silverymoon Ranger, Tomb of Horrors Adventurer, and Undermountain Adventurer. Yuan-Ti Malison can net you a Dungeon advancement for sure, and with Wilson and Dungeon Delver out, you’ll stack room value constantly. What a departure from what Simic has given us over the last couple of years. No more all just Landfall good stuff. Have a little fun with a bear who loves exploring!
Black: Criminal Past
Golgari has a healthy history of self-mill. From Hermit Druid to Crow of Dark Tidings, mechanics like Unearth and Reanimate, or just straight up Magus of the Will, Green/Black loves breathing life in and out of the graveyard.
Giving your big Bear boy Menace on top of those other abilities means that this is still a Voltron creature, but you’ll want to slam ways to clear the way. Creatures like Fleshbag Marauder, Plaguecrafter, Demon’s Disciple, Chain Devil, or Merciless Executioner will force your opponents to get rid of some blockers and fill your yard to pump Wilson. Tenacious Underdog can be blitzed from your graveyard to apply more pressure and draw a card on the way out.
Clear the board with your Ravenous Chupacabra and Avatar of Woe to swing the Willybilly for big Commander damage.
(Psst, Golgari heads, if you liked what I wrote about Folk Hero, you can do similar things with Haunted One, just a heads up!)
Red: Tavern Brawler
Another in the Voltron builds for Backgrounds, but this time taking a page out of Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald’s book. While Tavern Brawler curves poorly with Wilson, you can use your first couple of turns to ramp with Rampant Growth, Three Visits, Farseek, and Nature’s Lore. Keeping your ramp low to the ground gives you a ton to work with while you’re exiling off the top of your library. You’ll need to cast stuff that turn, but also because… if we’re exiling off of Tavern Brawler, we’re going to want some BIG stuff.
Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Avatar of Fury, Avatar of Might, Primeval Protector, Khalni Hydra, The Great Henge, and so many more beefy mana value cards. Pair their casting from exile with Nalfeshnee to double up, or Kami of Celebration to make that pump a little more permanent.
Don’t forget your Haste enablers and have a great time swinging. He’s a Bear for god’s sake, he’s gonna come a-stompin’!
Green: Raised By Giants
Last but not least, who could have seen this coming? A Timmy’s dream! Ramp early into a six mana with your classic Kodama’s Reach, Cultivate, and of course the aforementioned Rampant Growth, Three Visits, and Nature’s Lore.
Smack Wilson onto the table as a 10/10 and follow up with a Berserk to make your opponents quake in their boots. Get that Rishkar’s Expertise and Return of the Wildspeaker to fill your hand regardless of hitting your opponents, and Hunter’s Insight when you do. Greater Good gets you a brand new hand.
Sylvan Anthem and Immortal Sun pump your creatures with enough upside that you don’t need a Fireshrieker or Grappling Hook to finish the job, but it makes the game quicker.
Sigh… I don’t want to talk about this one… but…
How are you going to build Wilson?
See you at Three Kings Loot at the All-Wilson Pod (not a thing but… could be? Ouhhhhh!)
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