Tilonalli’s Summoner

With Ixalan Block rotating out of Standard here soon, I wanted to highlight a card I was excited for and played a few times in limited, but never saw it break out like I had expected: Tilonalli’s Summoner.

You might be able to see why I thought this card would break out. Tilonalli’s Summoner allows you to pay X and a single red to create a bunch of 1/1 red Elementals that go away at the beginning of the end step. If you have the city’s blessing (something that is quite easy to get with the summoner’s ability), they stick around. This ability is extremely versatile, but the fact that it’s on a 1/1 that costs two mana and requires it to live a turn, telegraphing what is going to happen is most likely why this card never broke out. I still think the summoner deserves her day in the sun, so let’s go over how versatile this creature really is.

Tapped and Attacking

First and foremost, Tilonalli’s Summoner puts our 1/1 Elementals into play tapped and attacking. In a typical match, that is just going at your singular opponent. If you’re in multiplayer, that means you can declare them at any player. This is helpful when you might want to politic your way in for free damage if someone has a Edric, Spymaster of Trest ability on the battlefield for instance. Ultimately, this section doesn’t have too much in the world of synergy, but is important to point out so you understand that these tokens can go wherever you’d like, not just the person you attacked with Tilonalli’s Summoner.

Something else that is important to understand is that the summoner is most likely going to die when it attacks unless we are protecting it. I don’t think we need to invest in ways to keep it alive. If you’re wanting to focus on attacking every turn with it and getting some of the synergies below to happen multiple times, then by all means slap Indestructibility onto it. Just know that in addition to telegraphing what is coming to your opponents when you play her, the summoner will be targeted by removal or large blockers as swiftly as possible. This means that going all-in on her is risky, but there is a ton of reward if you do so.

Enter the Battlefield Triggers

This card again?

Naturally, the shenanigans begin when we have a ton of tokens entering the battlefield all at once. Cards like Impact Tremors guarantee our opponents take two damage per token we create with the summoner, regardless of if they connect for combat damage. You are literally Fireballing everyone. Of course I have to mention Impact Tremors’ older brother Purphoros, God of the Forge, who deals two damage instead of one. Imagine having one of those enchantments out alongside Parallel Lives or Anointed Procession. Oh, and don’t forget Panharmonicon.

Funnily enough, this isn’t the first time I’ve suggested all of those cards in the same paragraph. They are some of my favorite cards after all, and are often relevant when I’m making a deck as token decks are my favorite style of decks. So let’s see about breaking out of the typical cycle into other enter the battlefield effects (that are going to be great when paired with Panharmonicon, surprise surprise).

Soul Warden, Soul’s Attendant, Ajani’s Welcome, and many others can gain you life equal to whatever you paid for X.

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Things can get really out of hand if we use cards that buff our Elementals upon entering the battlefield. A bunch of 1/1s might not be scary, but if they start growing it might get a bit overwhelming. Juniper Order Ranger and Cathar’s Crusade make those 1/1s much bigger. The ranger makes them 2/2s and adds +1/+1 counters to himself equal to X. Cathar’s Crusade is even sillier as each 1/1 enters the battlefield and then gets X +1/+1 counters onto it. With the crusade, the summoner gets larger as well, making it more likely to stay alive or at the very least eat a few blockers along the way.

Midnight Guard is a Pauper friendly Intruder Alarm. Slap Paradist Mantle on the Guard to get X mana of any variety during combat. Intruder Alarm untaps all your creatures. This could allow you to float a bunch of mana from mana dorks or by having Cryptolith Rite or Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter in play. This strategy lends itself well to instant speed mana sinks, so pick your flavor there. Or just dump the mana into Purphoros.

Maybe you want to go the energy route? Aetherstorm Roc gives you energy equal to X. Resolve the summoner’s ability first and you can dump that energy into Lightning Runner and end up with at least one more attack. Or you could dump the energy into Whirler Virtuoso or Electrostatic Pummeler.


Since it isn’t guaranteed that your Elementals will stay around either through combat or at the end of your turn if you lack the city’s blessing, we might as well make them useful upon death. Tilonalli’s Summoner will attempt to exile them so we need to get around that. Goblin Bombardment is a great sacrifice outlet that turns all of them into one damage. Ashnod’s Altar and Phyrexian Altar are popular sacrifice outlets as well.

Threatening our opponent’s with death triggers is a way to discourage them from blocking. Something as simple as having Blood Artist or Zulaport Cutthroat on the battlefield makes your opponent decide whether combat damage or life draining is the smart way to go. Pair it with a sacrifice outlet like Goblin Bombardment and they’ll probably feel that blocking is marginally better than nothing. Cruel Celebrant turns those deaths into group hug levels of silliness. And if you’re feeling dangerous, Dark Prophecy basically reads “draw X cards and lose X life.”

Get Busy Summoning

Tilonalli’s Summoner isn’t busted by any stretch of the imagination, but pairing it with popular Commander cards puts it into fun territory. While on the surface you might think you’re paying for some temporary tokens, you’re actually getting yourself to the city’s blessing much faster and opening your strategy to X enter the battlefield effects, X attacking 1/1s, and X potential death triggers. With that in mind, I hope you find a great place for the summoner during your next brew session!

2 thoughts on “Tilonalli’s Summoner

  • So does the attacking creatures. Trigger campaign of Vengeance. In that. When a creature attacks you u that player looses a life

    • When you pay the XR to create the tokens, they would not trigger Campaign of Vengeance because they are created “tapped and attacking” and therefore are never declared as attackers.

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