The Toolbox – Earnest Fellowship

(Earnest Fellowship | Art by Heather Hudson

The Importance of Being Earnest

Welcome back to The Toolbox! Here we take a look at underplayed cards and evaluate where they ought to see more play. Today we are taking a look at a bit of an odd protection enchantment, Earnest Fellowship. This card is in 100 decks on EDHREC, and you can’t get more underrated than that! Where can this card really shine? Let’s take a look!

Earnest Fellowship is a two-mana enchantment that gives each creature protection from its own colors. How can it be worth it to run such a high-risk enchantment? Let’s find out!

 

Eight-and-a-Half-Tails plays Earnest Fellowship the most often, though with only 29 decks. That’s only 12.08% of Tails’ 240 decks. In Tails decks, Fellowship effectively acts as a constant protection activation, which is a really strong effect if you use it wisely.

The downside, however, is that Fellowship doesn’t just affect your creatures, but everyone else’s as well. Thus, if you change an enemy creature into a white permanent with Tails’ ability, Fellowship shuts off cards like Glare of Heresy and Pentarch Paladin, which are very highly played in that deck, too. 

I’m more of a fan of this enchantment in Kaalia of the Vast decks, the next-most-popular commander for this enchantment (though admittedly, this card only appears in 1% of Kaalia’s almost 2,000 decks). The goal with Kaalia is to get her to survive long enough to simply attack. Earnest Fellowship protects her from three of the most efficient colors for removal while also allowing her to sneak past blockers with flying or reach in her colors, such as Selfless Spirit or random Spirit tokens.

The third-most-popular commander for this enchantment is Scion of the Ur-Dragon (again, only in about 1% of Scion’s decks),x and here I think the utility of the enchantment is pretty obvious. Acquiring protection from everything except a random Scour from Existence is just good all around. Safely executing combo kills or just protecting your Dragons is right where you want to be!

Those are the most popular commanders for Earnest Fellowship, but to be honest, it’s still not quite the amount of play this enchantment really deserves. Where else can this card really show its strength? 


The Joy of Painting

Starting off strong, we’ve got the multicolored majesty, Rienne, Angel of Rebirth! Rienne really, really likes multicolored creatures. She pumps them up just a bit and returns them to your hand when they die. What more could you want? Or rather, what more could she want?

 

The answer is that she wants Earnest Fellowship! I know that Rienne only has 90 decks at the moment, but seriously, this card makes so much sense here. This deck is all about multicolored creatures, which means Fellowship has a very high chance of giving every single creature you play protection from a good number of creatures on the board, allowing creatures like Samut, Voice of Dissent, played in 61% of Rienne decks, by the way, to sneak past plenty of pesky blockers out there. 

There’s also the fact that Path to Exile is in 34,888 decks and Swords to Plowshares is in 65,232 decks, 29% and 54% of all white-inclusive commander decks, respectively. Earnest Fellowship makes both of them irrelevant against your Dauntless Escort, Knight of New Alara, and Aurelia, the Warleader, all of which are in a minimum of 68% of Rienne decks. Fellowship also makes Blasphemous Act and other damage-based wraths look pretty irrelevant in the face of all your red creatures!

Rienne is honestly very underplayed; she opens up a lot of very unique doors and sweet interactions, and her relentless creatures-keep-coming-back style is pretty annoying for your enemies to deal with. It stands to reason that this unique and much-underplayed commander could use a unique and much-underplayed card to help out her super-diverse army. Let’s check out what it looks like in a decklist!

Paint With All the Colors of the Win

Commander (1)
Creatures (30)
Instants (5)
Sorceries (9)
Artifacts (9)
Enchantments (8)
Planeswalkers (1)
Lands (37)

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Set Fire to the Rain

That’s right, it’s time to set fire to everything with Firesong and Sunspeaker! The Boros general that everyone raved and tilted about. They’re a Spellslinger commander that wants you to gain life and burn your opponents out. Pretty interesting stuff for Boros! Why should they care about Earnest Fellowship, though?

F&S costs six mana, so any form of protection that prevents you from having to dump a bunch of mana into recasting them is worth the cost. Plus, 84% of Firesong decks are playing Blasphemous Act. This deck is all about dealing damage with spells, so protection from your own damage-dealers sounds like a great synergy. Does protection stop you from gaining the life from Firesong’s lifelink ability? Yes. Does it also prevent you from killing your own creatures? Yes, and that’s much more important.

I can imagine a criticism agains Earnest Fellowship because it is a symmetrical effect – technically, it could shut off our own removal, too. If you sit down against another Boros deck, that could be unfortunate. If that’s the case, though, just discard it to Jaya Ballard, Faithless Looting, or even Heartwarming Redemption. It’s really that simple! This card is niche, but it shuts down certain strategies exceptionally well – Voltron players, for example, can’t enchant their own commanders! The times this card is good, it delivers, and the times it might not be so hot, we still have ways to make use of it. 

Let’s take a look at the decklist to see all the cool board wipes we can cast without killing our own creatures.


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Let’s Be Bad

My final recommendation for a home for this wacky enchantment is none other than the big bad herself: Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice. Everyone knows what she does: she Proliferates at the end of your turn, and she also has about 96 keyword abilities. What use does she have for this enchantment? I’ll show you!

There are a lot of great things to do with Proliferate, but I’m still a fan of pairing it with the other ability that originated in the same Scars of Mirrodin set, and that’s Infect. A lot of Infect creatures struggle to stay alive: they tend to have smaller power and toughness since they deal different types of damage. Additionally, they can occasionally have difficulty connecting with people. Not on an emotional level; I mean connecting in combat.

Enter Earnest Fellowship. For instance, let’s take a look at Hand of the Praetors: Fellowship prevents it from being hit by a Vindicate or Ravenous Chupacabra; it allows the Hand to attack past a Gonti, Lord of Luxury, since protection from a color means a creature can’t be blocked by creatures of that color. Of the Infect creatures that make it into over 40% of Atraxa Infect decks, only 4 out of those 19 are colorless creatures, such as Plague Myr. This means that Earnest Fellowship gives around 80% of your Infect creatures protection from their own colors. That can be invaluable when you’re just trying to sneak in a little bit of poison damage that you can Proliferate later. 

Speaking of Proliferate, Atraxa happens to get really well-protected with Earnest Fellowship; there’s not much your opponents can do outside of a Rolling Earthquake or Wrath of God. The key part is that once you tag your opponents with a couple of poison counters, you get to just sit back and Proliferate them to death. I think it’s time we celebrated with a big bad decklist!

INFECT

Commander (1)
Creatures (27)
Instants (8)
Sorceries (7)
Artifacts (11)
Enchantments (8)
Planeswalkers (2)
Lands (36)

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Thank You, Thank You Very Much

Thank you all for your continued support of the series! I hope that you all enjoyed reading, and that you’ve found a new home for Earnest Fellowship. Do you think that these commanders pair well with Earnest Fellowship? Do you think I’m over-evaluating this enchantment, or do you agree it’s highly underrated? What other underrated cards do you think others should have in their toolbox? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, have a great day!

 

Elijah is a mildly obsessive EDH player from Georgia. He started playing during Battle for Zendikar with Green/Black Eldrazi Aristocrats and still pays tribute to the plane with his Omnath, Locus of Rage storm brew. He is always excited to innovate and try new things in Magic and Life. Elijah is currently a full time student looking to go into Computer Engineering but also has a bit of an artistic streak.