The wild world of Enchantment Creatures, Heroics, Gods, and Devotion has come to an end with the third set of the Theros block, Journey into Nyx. For Commander players like myself a new set presents a handful of cards that are new, exciting and deserve a home (or at least a trial run) in our beloved EDH decks.
For those of you that are familiar with my previous set reviews, you will remember that I provide Top 10 lists for cards that work in my EDH/Commander decks. With this in mind, there may be better cards for EDH out of the Journey into Nyx set, but they just don’t fit into my current or future decklists. For reference, here is the list of my fourteen (14) EDH/Commander decks:
Wrexial, the Risen Deep
Uril, the Miststalker
Kaalia of the Vast
Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
Chainer, Dementia Master
Lavinia of the Tenth
Oloro, Ageless Ascetic
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Tajic, Blade of the Legion
Lazav, Dimir Mastermind
Sigarda, Host of Herons NEW!
oh… and I maintain my nephew’s Daxos of Meletis Commander Deck
I hope you enjoy the article. I would love to hear feedback so please comment in the section below! Be sure to check back for my Magic M15 Commander Set Review for my EDH Decks in July 2014!
Let’s Get Started!
Athreos, God of Passage: Hands down, my second favorite god from Journey. In fact, if I was doing a normal best Top 10 in the set list, this guy would be top 3, easy. Unfortunately, I do not have an existing deck for Athreos to slide into which scales back my excitement on obtaining the Black/White god for my collection.
For a moment, I contemplated creating an Athreos deck, but I used all of my EDH resources on Oloro a few months ago and it would be quite expensive to start buying the pieces. I envision Atheros being a White/Black control deck using sacrifice and echo abilities (ie: Fleshbag Marauder and Bone Shredder) to manipulate the board.
Keranos, God of Storms: The mindset and thinking path of the Izzet player has always intrigued me, mostly because I could never understand the inner-workings of Red & Blue together. The good thing is that you don’t have to be an Izzet player to see that Keranos is wicked cool. In fact, the God of Storms will be my first choice as commander of my future chaos deck.
Disciple of Deceit and the Inspired mechanic: In fact, let’s put King Macar, the Gold-Cursed and Daring Thief in here too. Transmuting, Exiling Creatures for Gold and swapping permanents is the stuff that EDH dreams are made of. Dreamy good. The downside of Inspired is that it takes two turns before receiving the benefit of their ability. They must also live through combat and not get blasted with a wrath effect or removal spell. However, these three Journey cards are “must haves” for Phenax, God of Deception decks or blue decks that utilize tap/untap shenanigans (ie: Mind Over Matter).
Mana Confluence: Oh, Wally D., why do you bore us with a land that is a functional reprint of City of Brass? Actually, Mana Confluence is slightly better than City of Brass. In a situation where you have a Chromatic Lantern in play you would be able to tap Mana Confluence for mana without paying life. In the same situation, City of Brass still pings you for 1. The current price of $18.00 and the terrible name (Mana Confluence, really?) is enough to keep it out of my Top 10.
Agent of Erebos: I love graveyard shenanigans. That being said, I really do not want this card being used against me. The Agent definitely has Top 10 potential, but in my current casual meta, I am usually the one manipulating graveyards. If I put him in my Chainer, Dementia Master deck and an opponent sifts him out with Bribery then I would be in for a very bad day.
Countermand: Counter a spell AND mill? No-brainer. Going into Lazav, Dimir Mastermind for sure.
Enough of the “honorables”… Let’s get to the list!
Top 10 Born of the Gods Cards for EDH Commander
#11 – Nyx-Fleece Ram
I am sure that if I included Nyx-Fleece Ram in my Top 10 list you would have been shaking your head, laughing in disbelief, and discrediting me as knowing anything at all about EDH/Commander. To assure this wouldn’t happen, I cheated and included the Battle Ram at #11. Yes, a very valid argument can be made (and won) for how Baa-aaaa-aad this card is. Truth be told, this card is cool (said Johnny) for a few reasons. First, the Terese Nielsen art. Second, He is a two drop 0/5 blocker. Third, it fits the theme of my Oloro, Ageless Asthetic deck. The sheep should be able to recoup some of the damage I will be taking from Phyrexian Arena or Pain lands at the early stages of my Oloro games. So yes, the Nyx-Fleece Ram will be going into one of my decks, until I get bored with it. When that happens I will have a free slot for the next “cool” card to come along.
#10 – Godsend
Elespeth’s Legendary Artifact Equipment Godsend begins our Top 10 Journey into Nyx list. Make no mistake, at and a equip cost, I would probably rather have one of the five Swords in my Commander deck. In my Tajic deck, however, I have stayed away from the Swords of X/Y to give other equipment a go. One of the issues with Tajic is that he usually gets blocked by a bigger creature with the result of a stalemate “they both live” combat scenario. Tajic equipped with Godsend on the other hand, will have opponents second guessing a block with their beefier blocker. I am assuming that they would rather take a hit from Tajic then lose their Sheoldred or Vorniclex to exile.
Another target to land in my Tajic, Blade of the Legion EDH deck is Prophetic Flamespeaker. I am hoping for good things from the red Human Shaman as he could play well in EDH or be quite the dud. A successful swing for damage into our opponent’s dome would allow his ability to trigger twice, exiling the top two cards of our library. Cards exiled with the Flamespeaker could be played that turn. With this in mind I would wait to use my land drop and any other spells until after my combat phase. Although Prophetic Flamespeaker does not fit the theme of my Tajic Indestructible deck I do believe he could provide some card advantage for my Boros deck. He may need to be a little bit beefier in the power/toughness category, so attaching the before-mentioned Godsend to him would be double delicious.
Black has always had a solid source of creature spot removal. Black kills things, it just does. Silence the Believers is a bit different, and in my opinion, probably better than a lot of other black spot removal you or I are currently running. At first glance it is seems a bit expensive at , but this is the only Black MTG Card that can unconditionally exile target creature(s) at Instant Speed. Am I serious? Yes, yes I am. Take a look on Gatherer and see for yourself.
Hero’s Downfall, Dismember and Murder are all great instant speed, targeted removal but they do not exile. Therefore, your opponents can use recursion to get their dudes back. Ashes to Ashes, Gild, and Sever the Bloodline can all exile a creature from your opponents side of the board, but it must be done on your turn at sorcery speed.
In today’s world of commander our creature spot removal needs to be fast and efficient.
- Exile > Destroy
- Instant > Sorcery
BONUS 1: Not only is Silence the Believers the only Black creature spot removal that meet both of the above criteria, but it also exiles all auras attached to that creature. Of course, hexproof tyrants Uril and Sigarda won’t be effected but the aura removal is still a nice conditional bonus. “StB” will find its way into my non-white decks like Chainer and Lazav.
BONUS 2: Silence the Believers has the ability Strive. For each you spend after the initial casting cost you get to exile another creature. Holy schnikees, that is value town! With cards like Crypt Ghast, Cabal Coffers and Caged Sun available to mono-black, being able to pay extra mana to exile more creatures (along with their auras) will be easy cheesy.
Since my Top 10 Journey into Nyx article is about cards that will be included in my EDH decks, I feel a little out of sorts by including Kruphix, God of Horizons. The main reason Kruphix is mentioned here is because the deck brewing juices are starting to simmer with a potential super-Johnny deck build. I have always wanted to build a Green oriented Commander deck where all of the spells had an in their casting cost. Hydras, Hurricanes, Fireballs, Mass Draw you name it. Kruphix’ main ability allows us to store colorless mana from turn to turn for as long as he is on the board. Since the Big K is indestructible, this makes it much easier to pool the mana together for enormous EDH spells.
My plan is in the preliminary stage, but I have already started doodling on the drawing board. Kruphix is all set to include an array of mana doublers (including the new Green Dictate), untap shenanigans (Courser of Kruphix/Seedborn Muse), and spells and creatures. Oozes and Hydras have always seemed fun to me and this will be my chance to play them. Win Conditions could be anything from big fatty critters, combos, mass draw (making his Reliquary Tower ability relevant) and maybe even rock out a Hurricane. And… Helix Pinnacle, oh yes, alternate win at its finest. A must have! Stay tuned!
#6 – Eidolon of Blossoms
Shortly after the release of M14 in 2013, rumors that the Theros block was going to be heavy on enchantments had me hopeful for at least one or two competitive auras for my Uril, the Miststalker deck. Well, Uril waited for awesomeness to arrive and here we are with all three expansions available and… disappointment.
That being said, Journey to Nyx did give us a conditional draw engine with Eidolon of Blossoms. Although my Uril deck is not an enchantress build, it does includeArgothian Enchantress. Eidolon will get a trial run in Uril, replacing Auramancer for the time-being.
Next subject, for EDH players with Enchantress builds, Eidolon
should be IS an auto include. In fact, this Blossom Spirit helped inspire me to build my own Enchantress Commander deck featuring Sigarda, Host of Herons. The best part about Eidolon is that it replaces itself by allowing us to draw a card when it enters the battlefield. This alone sets Eidolon apart from other enchantresses.
#5 – Dictate of Erebos
So Grave Pact 2.0 hits us in the form of Dictate of Erebos. Dictate costs one more total mana than the original, however, it is easier to splash this version as the black mana needed to cast it is one less. The feature I like best about Dictate of Erebos (and the entire dictate cycle for that matter) is the ability to “Flash” it into play at instant speed.
The black Dictate will find an immediate home in my Chainer, Dementia Master Commander deck. My Chainer build is slightly different from the norm, as it concentrates on an entire “sacrifice theme”. With Grave Pact and Dictate of Erebos in play, all opponents will have to sacrifice two creatures every time I Skullclamp my Reassembling Skeleton.
So the artwork on Dictate of the Twin Gods features god-brothers Iroas and Mogis in an epic battle of sibling rivalry. Ironic that my evil plan for the red Dictate involves Purphoros, God of the Forge. Although this card is nearly identical to Furnace of Rath (a card I do not run in Purphoros), it is much better for the pure fact that you can Flash it in at any time for a tide-turning surprise factor. My ambitions for Dictate of the Twin Gods is to have a token bomb ready to go (for example, having Snake Basket in play) and then flashing the double damage enchantment into play at the end of my opponents turn. Then, on my turn, my token damage doubles causing mass damage to each opponent. Turning a 6 mana 12 damage Snake Basket into a 6 mana 24 damage bombshell is quite the dastardly play I am looking forward to.
Dictate of the Twin Gods could also wreak havoc on other players turns. I would not hesitate to flash this onto the battlefield in a multiplayer game if one opponent is attacking another and I could help intensify the results.
#3 – Dictate of Kruphix
For those of you that are not familiar with my Hanna, Ship’s Navigator Deck, I highly encourage you to take a look at it as soon as you are done reading this article. In a nutshell, my Hanna build centralizes on everyone drawing cards and then punishing them for full grips with Iron Maiden like effects. Dictate of Kruphix should slide right into the role of an additional Howling Mine. The creamy frosting goodness of this particular group draw effect is the flash ability. This ability will allow me to sit back with a counterspell (such as Forbid) and then flash it into play at the end of my opponents turn. Not only will it allow for me to protect myself by keeping mana open, but I will also be the first to receive the benefits of the extra card draw.
Outside of my realm of EDH decks, I could see Dictate of Kruphix being a strong candidate for inclusion in EDH Group Hug decks or as a new toy for Nekusar, the Mindrazer.
It’s time to let the “cat out of the bag” and admit that the new Selesnya Ajani is another one of the main reasons that I built my Sigarda Enchantress deck.
Most of the time when new Planeswalkers are introduced the casual Magic Commander player is left drooling at the Ultimate ability. For Green/White Ajani this simply is not the case. -8: Gain 100 life. Hmmm. Okay. Simple, within the color pie of Green/White and will possibly receive the biggest sad face from opponents playing aggro. My personal thoughts on the ultimate ability? Seems a bit outlandish, but it is interesting and the most straight-forward ultimate I have ever seen on a walker. I think the 100 life will be a lot more relevant in a game of Commander than we can imagine.
Now that we have the ultimate out of the way, let’s talk about why Ajani, Mentor of Heroes pulls in at #2 on my Journey into Nyx list. Big Kitty’s first +1 ability will build Sigarda up for a Voltron strike or distribute some much needed P&T (power and toughness) to our harem of card drawing enchantresses.
Ajani’s other +1 ability provides us with card advantage allowing us to dig four (4) cards deep and put an aura, creature or planeswalker into our hand. The remaining three cards get placed on the bottom of our library. In an aura based Enchantress deck, this is going to be amazing. Being able to rifle through 4 cards every turn and pull out an enchantress or a game winning aura is reminiscent of an early game Sylvan Library.
I have considered giving the new Ajani a trial run in my Uril, the Miststalker deck, and depending on how well he does with Sigarda, I just may do that. Ajani is currently sitting at $24.99 so it may be a while before I pick up my copy, but I am definitely looking forward to including him in my game plan(s)!
Not too long ago, I raided the bulk rare section of my tradebinder creating a Boros EDH Deck with an Indestructible theme and Tajic, Blade of the Legion as the intern Commander. I wanted to evaluate the Red/White god due out in the upcoming Journey into Nyx expansion before committing to Tajic as the long-term leader of this deck. Ladies and gentlemen, Iroas, God of Victory has been revealed and at he is a a freaking beast! Actually, I think he is a centaur, but none-the-less, this deity is oober good, tactical and menacing. Better than I could have imagined! So I am pleased to say that the General of my Boros deck is… still Tajic. Wait, what?
It was a tough decision but I was able to rationalize Tajic commanding the indestructible crew while Iroas served in the other 99. I like the fact that Tajic can swing every turn (for Commander Damage) whereas Iroas needs devotion to be able to beat face. In addition, Iroas will be easier to get into play with my newly acquired Idyllic Tutor and Academy Rector. A well timed Earthquake with Rector on the board will bring Iroas from the library onto the battlefield making Tajic’s army nearly unstoppable. A pseudo-unblockable Tajic has an increased chance of hitting for general damage at battalion strength or with a nasty piece of equipment (like Worldslayer). Iroas also prevents our attacking creatures from taking combat damage. This is extremely important when we have Repercussion on the battlefield.
I am really digging this aggro oriented Boros god. So much in fact that I will be picking up a second copy to run him in my Kaalia of the Vast EDH deck. With Iroas on the battlefield Kaalia can swing into opposing flyers without fear of dying in combat. With Iroas also granting the ability of my Angels, Dragons and Demons not being able to be blocked except by two or more creatures, the percentage of successful hits with Rakdos the Defiler, Master of Cruelties, and Balefire Dragon increase.
Final thought on my #1 pick. While I believe Iroas, God of Victory would make an extremely dangerous General of his own EDH army, I am more excited about using his tools in the presence of my existing decks and themes.
So there you have it folks, my 7th MTG set review for EDH/Commander. I hope you found some decent information in this article that you can apply to your own decks and strategies. What are some of your favorite EDH cards from Journey into Nyx? Please comment below! Don’t my Magic M15 set review due out in July 2014!
Until next time!