New EDHREC Feature – Precon Upgrade Guide

Upgrading Your Precon

Suppose you just bought a preconstructed Commander deck and you want a rough idea of which five or ten or twenty cards you could add to make it a more tuned and functional deck. Since you’re adding cards to the initial 99, you’ll also need to know which cards need to be removed, since they don’t fit with the commander you chose. By using the power of data, decklists, and science, EDHREC can help answer this question for you.

Meet the new Precon Upgrade Guide! This guide measures the most frequent additions to a precon deck, as well as the cards most frequently removed from it. For players who feel overwhelmed by all the different info on a commander’s normal EDHREC page, this is a great way to find some quick, convenient tune-ups for your brand new EDH deck!


Where Is It?

edhrec.com/precon

This URL is one way to find the new guide. From that link you can browse every Commander set, each grouped by the year of release!

Alternatively, if you are looking at a commander’s page, and that legendary character was one of the featured commanders of a precon, then there will be a link to the Precon Upgrade Guide for that particular product. Like so…


How Do I Use It?

As an example, let’s click on the link for Aminatou, the Fateshifter’s Precon Upgrade Guide. When we do, we see the following:

Given Aminatou’s abilities, these cards are right on the money. Aminatou specializes in Miracles like Temporal Mastery, and she can blink permanents, which makes those

Don’t you worry, there are more than just four cards recommended here! I just can’t fit all those images into one article. Definitely take a look at Aminatou’s Precon Upgrade Guide for more info.

Oh, and don’t forget: we have more information here than just cards to add! See those buttons labeled [Cards to Cut] and such? Click on one of those and the page will scroll all the way down to another section: cards that are most frequently removed from that precon! Continuing our example with Aminatou, here are some of her most frequently cut cards:

Looks like the cards most frequently removed from Aminatou decks are Zombies! Since Aminatou likes manipulating her deck and blinking permanents, it definitely makes sense that some of these Zombies aren’t on theme, so they wouldn’t stick around when it’s time to upgrade this deck. Part of me can’t help but wonder if folks are removing these cards to make separate Esper Zombie tribal Varina, Lich Queen decks!

We also see that Geode Golem gets the axe. It’s an interesting card, for sure, but since Aminatou herself is only a three-drop, the Golem isn’t likely to save a lot of mana. That makes it a great candidate to cut when you’re looking to add in that Temporal Mastery or Cloudblazer.

There are tons of other recommendation on Aminatou’s page, so definitely go give it a look, or any of the commanders from Commander 2018! We have this feature for all of the featured commanders for past products, so there’s a ton of info to dig through!


How Does It Work?

The new Precon Upgrade Guide starts by taking every deck in the EDHREC database (yes, every deck) and comparing them to each of the preconstructed Commander product decklists. If a deck shares enough identical cards with any given precon (“enough” meaning “above a certain secret threshold”), then we count that deck in these results for that precon. After we narrow down the set of decks and filter out the cards that are included in the sealed product, we can tally how often people added or cut specific cards. Once there is enough data for a specific commander, then there will be a page for upgrading that precon with that commander in mind.

A very important point to consider is that these results show the most popular additions and subtractions. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best options available; what’s popular is not always what’s good. Still, these recommendations are likely to be good signposts to point players in the right direction.

One more behind-the-scenes detail: as we saw in one of the images above, land cards have been moved to their own sections.

Why? Frankly, because mana bases are almost always one of the first things people upgrade in their new decks. Precon mana bases have lots of room for improvement, and we didn’t want to waste your time showing you that some of the most popular additions to a new precon were dual lands; you’re not going to remove Geode Golem to add in a Glacial Fortress. Instead, the lands have been put into their own [Lands to Add] and [Lands to Cut] sections, which leaves the other sections free to show you which actual spells are most commonly added or removed.


Who Made It?

Me! I hope you enjoy it!


How About a Test Drive?

I thought you’d never ask! Below is the out-of-the-box, original precon decklist for Aminatou, the Fateshifter.

Subjective Reality Precon

Commander (1)
Creatures (26)
Sorceries (12)
Instants (10)
Artifacts (8)
Enchantments (3)
Lands (40)


Now let’s use our fancy new Precon Upgrades Guide! I won’t be making any personal additions here. Rather, I’ll make exchanges straight across the board. Varina, Lich Queen is the #1 most cut card, and I’ll be replacing it with the #1 most added card, Temporal Mastery. I’ll do this for the #2 cards, and #3, and so on down the page. Then I’ll do the same for lands.

Once we’re finished, that leaves us with this beauty:

Subjective Reality Upgrade

Commander (1)
Creatures (21)
Sorceries (11)
Instants (12)
Artifacts (9)
Enchantments (4)
Planeswalkers (2)
Lands (40)


I don’t know about you, but I think this looks like a pretty great upgrade for an Aminatou deck.

Happy brewing! Enjoy the new Precon Upgrade Guide, and let us know what you think of this new feature in the comments below. If you have any other ideas for future features, we’d love to know!

Cheers!

Nate is a game developer, programmer, and writer from San Francisco. He is a co-host of the Commander Time! podcast, a former co-host of the Commanderin’ MTG Podcast, and does occasional programming with EDHREC's database. Nate can be found @commandtime and/or @misterplorg.