Hello there friends, I hope everybody had fun at their prerelease(s). I know I sure did! I went to two this time around (both at Collector’s Heaven).
In the first one (at midnight), I played a UW fliers deck with Glyph Keeper and Regal Caracal. Both of these rares were amazing but my MVP had to be Vizier of Deferment. Vizier killed token creatures, saved my guys from combat tricks, and flickered both Regal Caracal and Angler Drake in the second main phase. I also opened a Drake Haven and was very tempted to play it but I figured that 4 cyclers just wasn’t good enough. I could have thrown in some more off-colored cyclers to bring my total to six but then I was playing cards just to cycle them and thought that that wasn’t good either.
In my second prerelease, I played a super bomb heavy RB hellbent deck. I got to play with Hazoret which was awesome because on top of having a 5/4 indestructible haste creature, all of my draws were at worst 2 damage to my opponent. To synergize with the “no hand strategy”, I also had Neheb the Worthy. On top of that, I got to play Cut to Ribbons and Insult to Injury. I really enjoyed playing the deck but wish that I had opened a Final Reward or some other type of larger removal. Also, I think I might value the cyclers too highly because I lost games where all I was doing was cycling cards while my opponent played real spells and just beat me up with 2/2s.
I know y’all have some similar stories and would love to hear them but now it’s time to build some Commander decks! Let’s start at the top of the color pie with the newest white god, Oketra.
I want to reiterate something I mentioned in one of my recent past articles about how I plan on building some of these Amonkhet Commander decks. While the obvious main focus of these decks with be the newest god, I wanted to be able to sub in the on-color Theros god as well. So, while Oketra is the main Commander for this deck for instance, I want the deck to work well enough that I can go old school and sub in Heliod to make some vigilant enchantment creatures.
It’s interesting to me that Heliod and Oketra are extremely similar. Both gods have a 4-mana activated ability that makes vigilant creature tokens, although they’re obviously not precisely the same. Heliod’s tokens have an additional point of power and are enchantments whereas Oketra’s are merely 1/1s. There stats are comparable, with 3-power double strike being more or less equivalent to 5/6.
Because I want to support Heliod in this deck, I have to include his Spear. Let’s also go ahead and throw in Godsend since it’s pretty cool and seems flavorful. Also, both Gods make me want to build token based decks around them so let’s start there.
Tokens and Single Card Armies
Since we’re looking to attack with our Oketra, it’s important to make sure we can turn Oketra on and keep her on. In order to do so, we have to control at least three other creatures, so let’s add some tokens!
Last week when I previewed Oketra, I discussed wanting to add a bunch of “army in a can” cards, ones that can create multiple creature tokens the turn you play them. My favorites are Cloudgoat Ranger, Captain of the Watch, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, and the newly minted Regal Caracal. White Sun’s Zenith, Secure the Wastes and to a lesser extent Entreat the Angels can even help us build an army at instant speed. These cards can turn an empty board into one where Oketra can attack immediately, meaning they’re ideal for rebuilding the turn after a board wipe. Or, you can even cast the board wipe yourself, follow it up with one of these cards and then attack with an unimpeded double striking, indestructible god. This seems like a sweet trick so I added Martial Coup as a way to clear the opponents attackers and allow Oketra to attack all in one card.
Because I’m playing a bunch of creature tokens, I’ve also included ways to buff them. There’s the classic Cathars’ Crusade alongside the new (and soon to be classic) Anointed Procession. There’s also Angel of Invention, Elesh Norn, and Mentor of the Meek. Jazal Goldmane also seemed like a pretty sweet card that I’ve never really played with but who seems to fit perfectly in this deck.
While adding cards for this deck, I thought, “There sure are a lot of keywords between Oketra having indestructible and double strike and her tokens having vigilance.” Then I remembered Odric, Lunarch Marshal. With only Odric and Oketra out, all of your creatures have double strike and indestructible and if you have at least one token from Oketra they’ll also all have vigilance.
After thinking about how Angel of Invention will give them all flying and lifelink, I decided to search for other ways to play with this “keywords matters” theme. It was then I discovered Concerted Effort, essentially an enchantment version of Odric. Archetype of Courage will give all of our creatures first strike while taking first strike away from our opponent’s creatures. Angelic Skirmisher will buff our creatures in a similar way by allowing us to choose whether to give them all first strike, vigilance, or lifelink. This deck wants all of the keyworded abilities and doesn’t mind taking a few away from our opponents in the process.
Oketra makes 1/1 Warrior creature tokens so let’s figure out what we can do with that. We could play Herald of Dromoka, but Oketra makes tokens that have vigilance anyways.
However, lucky for us, I did find some cool Warrior synergies we can play around with. The first is Arashin Foremost. While giving a single token double strike might not be the strongest play, if that token is equipped with either Godsend or bestowed with Eidolon of Countless Battles, the double strike can be a real thing. We can also gain Rush of Battle which will buff all of our creatures and give most of them lifelink. Finally, I also thought it would be cool to play Mardu Woe-Reaper. The random exile cards from the graveyard effect can be very relevant in Commander as players do love to play their reanimate spells. I also really like the small increments of life gain the lowly 2/1 gives you.
One of the best things about Oketra is the fact that she has double strike on top of being indestructible. I discussed it a little bit previously but I think swinging for Commander damage with Oketra can be a real thing if we strap her up with enough stuff. I already mentioned Eidolon of Countless Battles, which should be a solid one-two punch most of the time. I also included Chitinous Cloak to help force Commander damage through. I liked Cloak a lot as well with Odric which is another reason I thought it was a good inclusion. Finally, while our Commander is indestructible, it would be nice to protect her with Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots meaning that only something like Terminus or Hallowed Burial can deal with her.
Oketra seems like a pretty good Commander that can both go wide and go tall. So, if you’re looking to kill your opponent with a swarm of creatures or simply a big fattie, this deck may be the deck for you. I hope you enjoyed reading about it and maybe trying this deck out? Anyways, join me next week as I tackle Kefnet the Mindful with a landfall, no maximum hand size deck. Of course, I’ll also have to include Thassa in some way so I’ll have to think about that. I hope you all have fun playing Commander with our new Amonkhet toys.