Commander Brew Battle: Jodah, Archmage Eternal
Welcome to our first Brew Battle here at flipsidegaming.com!
3 Flipside Commander writers enter the arena with their coolest, spiciest, most fun Jodah, Archmage Eternal deck, and only 1 will leave the victor! At the bottom of the article, you can cast your vote for which deck you think is the best in your eyes.
What are these gladiators fighting for? Bragging rights obviously, but most importantly, they get to choose the Commander of focus for the next Brew Battle!
So let's get battling!
Kilian Johnson - Jodah Flare
My take on Jodah is to jam in almost any card that lets our lands tap for extra mana then go absolutely nuts with that mana. To see the full list sorted by use, click here.
Cards like Zendikar Resurgent and Mirari's Wake are called mana flare effects after the original card to reach into this design space. In my list we have five mana flares which affect everyone symmetrically. These can be super dangerous in more competitive groups but in most casual metas they typically generate hilarious games and this deck is definitely set up to take advantage of the extra mana better than the rest of the table.
To accompany this extreme mana ramp package we have a suite of big bombs that get out of hand very quickly when left to their own devices.
Twenty-three of our cards cost six mana to cast or more. That’s not even including the X-spells we will usually be casting for much more than six. Jodah is more of a backup plan to cast our huge spells than priority number one. The archmage does have a big target on his back so we don’t want to rely too heavily on him being in play to enact our game plan.
Having access to Jodah out of the command zone is useful but our primary game plan is to stick a mana flare then start going nuts with giant spells. You’ll see in the list that the payoff section is not all that long but that is because we also have payoffs hiding in other sections. For example a lot of our card draw is attached to huge spells.
The best thing to pair with tons of ramp is card draw. When you have enough mana to dump your entire hand you ideally want some of those cards to draw you additional cards so you can continue casting spells.
Nezahal has been climbing my list of powerful creatures ever since it was printed and at this point I believe it should establish itself as a staple in the format. Loch Nezz is perfect for this deck since it’s a big spell we can ramp to that will help us refuel to continue going nuts.
Continuing down the path of payoffs hiding in plain sight we have our package of interaction to help us deal with our opponents threats we are incidentally helping them play.
Since we are spending a lot of resources and effort to set up in the early turns we will typically want a way to get back on the board in a big way. A nice avenue to accomplish this is either with a board wipe like Rout or Merciless Eviction. Alternatively a big creature that enters the battlefield with a powerful ability can give us a board presence while eliminating someone else’s such as Ashen Rider or Terastodon.
We also have a few cheaper ways to interact if needed. Because we have access to all five colors we can run some of the greatest pieces of interaction in Swords to Plowshares, Counterspell and Nature’s Claim (A very underrated naturalize effect).
Another important aspect of the deck I should touch on is the less extreme ramp package.
Unfortunately we will not always have a mana doubler in play but we will always have an extremely high mana curve. This means we need some other ways to get up to ridiculous mana levels. We’ve got some usual suspects in Cultivate, Kodama’s Reach, Rampant Growth and Sakura-Tribe Elder. We’re focusing on the ramp that gets us lands rather than creature-based ramp because we want them to synergize with our mana flare effects.
Some interesting includes here are a couple cards that pair phenomenally with our mana flares: Magus of the Candelabra and Frantic Search (Okay the search really isn’t a ramp spell unless we have a mana doubler but it didn’t fit into any other section)
And that’s it for my Jodah deck. If you enjoyed my list be sure to vote me the winner below and I’ll make good use of it for our next collab!
Cameron Franklin - Jodah Superfriends
Jodah, Archmage Eternal is a fun card because the sheer amount of decks he can command. Some decks will go big on the “Fist of Suns” effect while others, like mine, will use Jodah more as a value play. For this challenge I decided to theme around the clearly best card type in Magic, Planeswalkers. I run an Atraxa Planeswalker deck in paper and I am excited to be able to brew with Red and run some of the great planeswalkers that I have been missing out on *cough* Bolas *cough*. For this deck tech we are going to be looking through our card types and what they bring to the deck but you can find the deck broken out by categories by clicking here.
Starting at the top I am running 32 planeswalkers and am really relying on them for most of the effects. I have planeswalkers like Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and Vraska, Relic Seeker to make creatures. I have planeswalkers like Karn Liberated and Chandra, Flamecaller to remove things from play. I have planeswalkers like Will Kenrith and Ob Nixilis, Reignited to draw cards. The biggest asset of this deck is the ability to leverage the fact that planeswalkers act as modular spells that I get to use every turn. Even in the categories of token creation, removal, and card draw above there is overlap between what the planeswalkers do. I really want them to stick around and gradually build an army of emblems. Some other highlights are all three Nicol Bolas, Ugin, and Sorin Markos to put an opponent down to ten life.
All of my instants and sorceries are pretty narrow; in fact all of them either get me planeswalkers, get me lands to cast planeswalkers, or are Teferi’s Protection. Conflux can get five planeswalkers while Genesis Wave and Kamahl’s Druidic Vow will put quite a few of planeswalkers into play. Kodama’s Reach, Cultivate, and Farseek are in the deck to ramp out lands and fix my mana. Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth and Teferi’s Protection are my backup plans because they will either save me from death or if a bunch of my planeswalkers have died they puts them back in play.
I really wanted to play all of the Oaths in my enchantment slots… I really did… but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave Oath of Chandra and Oath of Liliana in the deck. I think some argument for Oath of Liliana could be made but in the end it didn’t make this draft. Doubling Season is the best enchantment for a planeswalker deck. If Doubling Season is in play 26 of my 32 planeswalkers will be able to use their ultimate on the turn they come down (not counting Chandra, Flamecaller that doesn’t have a real ultimate). I also have five of the oaths for value, Prismatic Omen to fix my mana for Jodah’s ability, and Sphere of Safety to protect the planeswalkers.
The creatures in this deck fall into two categories: get me my planeswalkers or are Deepglow Skate. Thalia’s Lancers will get a planeswalker when it enters the battlefield, Arena Rector when it dies, and Captain Sisay with its ability. If the situation calls for it Thalia’s Lancers and Captain Sisay can also grab other legendary cards like the oaths and the legendary sorceries. Deepglow Skate acts as a Doubling Season on a body where if I can keep bouncing Deepglow with Venser all of the planeswalkers will stay at a healthy loyalty.
In my artifact slot I have chosen to keep things pretty lean with almost exclusively artifacts that ramp. Chromatic Lantern is an all star with Jodah while card like Coalition Relic and Commander Sphere help with general mana fixing. Rings of Brighthearth is the only planeswalker focused artifact I am running as it allows for me to spend mana to double the abilities of planeswalkers. Contagion Engine and The Chain Veil probably have a place in the deck for their synergies with planeswalkers but didn’t make this draft of the deck. I am also choosing not to run Fist of Suns because I don’t think this is a deck that overly relies on the ability but it could also make a later draft of the deck.
For this version I have chosen to run close to the “modern” mana base for this deck of all 10 fetch lands and all 10 shocklands. This should get me the colors of mana I need to get the planeswalkers out as the game progress (with cards like Oath of Nissa, Prismatic Omen, Chromatic Lantern, and of course Jodah helping out as well). I have never run a 5 color deck in paper so I couldn’t resist putting the Maze’s End win in there as well. This is probably wrong and should be other lands (like some combination of Tri-Lands, Mana Confluence/City of Brass, or Check Lands to name a few) but again I couldn’t resist. Lastly we have Krosan Verge which is an amazing land, Command Tower, and one of each basic land to round out the deck.
Overall I really like the planeswalkers version of Jodah. This deck might not go as big and flashy as other version of the deck but there is a ton of value to be gained through the incremental advantage planeswalkers provide turn over turn.
Chris Silcox - Big Casting Cost Jodah
When looking at Jodah, Archmage Eternal, what strikes me most is that he permits you to play spells with very high converted mana costs cheaply. With this in mind, I set out to build a deck that cheated out expensive sells fast while also profiting from cards that care about the CMC of my spells.
Before I could begin playing big spells and generating bonuses for doing so, I needed to have reliable access to each color of mana. Green ramp spells are essential for most 5 color decks—especially those with a tighter budget for their mana base—so I accordingly weighted the mana base with green sources to make casting early turn ramp spells more possible. All stars like Harrow and Farseek make the cut, and additionally I’m tossing in Recross the Paths, as in a deck full of high CMC spells on the top of our deck I might as well benefit from it by clashing my way to a repeatable fetch (I will take this moment to express my disappointment in clash’s implementation as a mechanic, even in a deck that is running high CMC as a janky major theme, this is the only clash spell I found worth including). With these spells I’ll fetch a variety of lands, included in this decklist is every check land, the 5 Battle for Zendikar tango lands, Command Tower, several of each basic land, and a few other lands that can produce any color I want, chief among them being Crystal Quarry and Cascading Cataracts. These lands allow me to filter mana into the WUBRG needed for Jodah, or in Cascading Cataracts case filter into another combination of mana to compensate for an abundance of one and a deficit of another. Additionally, I added some artifacts like Chromatic Lantern and Commander’s Sphere to further fix colors.
Between ramp spells, artifacts, and a diverse mana base, I’ll hopefully be able to drop Jodah by turn 4 and curve into my first big spell on turn 5. There are 1,880 spells with a CMC of 6 or higher currently legal in commander, leaving plenty of options to cheat out with Jodah for a profit. The biggest of these spells include combos pieces Enter the Infinite and Omniscience with their draw your library and win interaction, creatures like Draco and Autochthon Wurm with the highest CMCs in the game, and devastating “late game” spells like Curse of the Cabal, Decree of Annihilation, and Hypnox. Several other spells of high CMC will come alongside these to make sure that every turn with Jodah out results in you opponents having to respond to another game changing threat.
To make the most of these impossible-to-cast-without-Jodah spells, I’ve also included several cards that care about converted mana costs in my build. Ancient Ooze grows titanic quickly with expensive Jodah enabled spells on the battlefield, as does Kurgadon and Naya Soulbeast. Ordinarily a chaos card, Timesifter becomes a fairly reliable way to shake up the turn order and let me likely take more turns than my opponents, and Psychic Battle makes it so that I often get to choose the targets of any spell cast. Additionally, multiple spells—Blast of Genius, Kaboom!, Sorin, Grim Nemesis, and Combustible Gearhulk to name a few—fill a burn role, turning my high CMC spells into catastrophically high damage to quickly subdue my opponents.
Further High CMC support comes from Blazing Shoal and Accelerated Mutation, which can pump Jodah enough to put a punishing amount of commander damage on an opponent in a single swing. Rashmi the Eternities Crafter and Sunbird’s Invocation potentially allow me to double the benefit from my first Jodah spell each turn. Finally, “if you cast it” abilities like those found on Zacama, Primal Calamity and Dread Cacodemon still work with Jodah, letting me cheaply reap the benefits of cards designed to not be so easily cheated out.
While playing big spells is the main feature of this deck, I also added a few cards to facilitate the strategy and/or have something to do should Jodah have to spend some time in the command zone. Ghostly Flicker and Cloudshift can help repeat powerful ETB effects for less than even Jodah’s discount cost, and a few spells that reduce casting costs like Conduit of Ruin can make a Jodah recast or a few other spells possible to cast faster. Finally, mana doublers Mirari’s Wake and Zendikar Resurgent come in to enable additional Jodahing each turn, or give me access to enough mana to hard cast a spell or two if needed.
And there you have it, in what I’ll be the first to admit might be one of the most convolutedly Timmy decks I’ve ever made I present a chance to play some of the biggest spells in the game consistently in a deck that is as chaotic and over the top as the commander format itself. Enjoy!
So now you've seen all 3 decks, who is the winner? Vote below and decide who gets to pick next week's Commander!
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