Archetune-Up – New Year, New Me

(Omnath, Locus of Creation | Art by Bastien Grivet)

The Grass is Always Greener…

Hello, and welcome back to Archetune-Up, the article series devoted to tweaking a deck with the help of the EDHREC Theme pages!

Happy Late New Year, friends! I hope you had an absolutely wonderful holiday!

The turning of the year is often a time for change, a time to make resolutions, and a time to redefine one’s self. I wanted to take that ideology to heart with this article and focus on a legend that has redefined itself not one, not two, not three, but four times: Omnath, Locus of Creation!

Average Omnath Landfall

Commander (1)
Creatures (30)
Sorceries (11)
Artifacts (4)
Enchantments (7)
Instants (9)
Planeswalkers (1)
Lands (37)

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We all know Omnath by now. Not only was it the bane of Brawl and Standard, it’s one of the few four-color legends in existence, and is a pretty popular Commander with over 1,500 decks to its name already. For such a new card, this iteration of Omnath has a reputation that precedes it, and I am excited to try and tune it up.

For a bit of background, the initial idea for this article comes from a personal experience. For Christmas, I was kindly given a foil showcase Omnath, and I wanted to utilize it as a commander because of that. However, there was one issue: I already had a Lord Windgrace deck that I love dearly and have no intention of taking apart.

For my personal decks, colors and commanders aren’t important to me, the theming is. I could have four different Jeskai decks and be fine with all of them as long as they played differently. As such, if I were to have two decks where lands are the focus, I wanted them to each have a distinct feel and theme despite sharing similar cards. Initially, I wanted to eschew the land idea with Omnath entirely and make it into something else, like a blink deck, or an Elemental tribal deck, but each time, I didn’t feel like I was doing Omnath justice.

Then I remembered something that I had seen in my many trips to EDHREC’s Themes Page:

The site has both a Landfall Theme and Lands Theme! I figured that if I could find a big enough difference between the two, this is how I could split them up! But what is the difference between Landfall decks and Lands decks?

Well, the obvious answer is, as it turns out, the most unsatisfying.

The biggest distinction between the two is the number of cards that say Landfall on them. Yeah, yeah, that’s obvious, I know, but it plays a huge role in how the decks end up being constructed, so bear with me and compare the following:

One style of deck is looking to use lands to accrue value over time and enable their payoffs, while the other wants to amass lands to utilize them however it sees fit.

This distinction is how I decided the build path of my own two decks, as well as the deck for this article. With Omnath, I want to focus on consistent, multiple land drops per turn in order to try to fully take advantage of our four-colored friend. Conversely, anything remotely close to stockpiling a huge number of lands, or recycling them from the graveyard, I decided to cut, since these cards would fit better in traditional Lands decks.


…And Redder

So where does that leave this list? Well, I wanted to keep true to my word, and as such, I gutted anything big, splashy, or graveyard-related. This is a value deck, not a ramp deck. This means no Scapeshift, no Splendid Reclamation, no Genesis Ultimatum, no Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar. I had to be strict, even if it initially felt wrong, but I like where the deck ended up thanks to these harsh guidelines.

Let’s cover the stars of the show first. There are three cards with Landfall that I added to the deck: Tunneling Geopede, Sporemound, and Canyon Jerboa.

Tunneling Geopede joins Spitfire Lagac, Valakut Exploration, and Omnath as a way to whittle down the board as we play our lands. Our goal is at least three Landfall triggers a turn, so if we can hit that, Geopede and Omnath will consistently deal seven damage on each of our turns, minimum! That isn’t even taking the other two pingers into consideration! Having a fourth way to ping opponents’ life totals down is great, especially since in some games attacking for a win won’t be an option.

That being said, sometimes attacking for a win is very much an option! This deck has a bit of a token subtheme, with eight cards in the original deck producing tokens based on our lands or Landfall triggers. For this reason, I included both Sporemound and Canyon Jerboa. Sporemound continues our token-producing subtheme by creating 1/1s when we trigger Landfall, while Jerboa rewards it by pumping our growing army each time a land ETBs. This will ideally give our team at least +3/+3 on each of our turns, which can help us overwhelm and overtake the board.


…And Whiter

It’s all well and good that we have numerous Landfall payoffs, but that won’t help us out if we can’t trigger them multiple times. I want to stress again: our goal is to try and get at least three Landfall triggers on our turns once our deck gets going. We want to play, bounce, and replay lands as often as possible, and these cards are the means to that end.

Living Twister is functionally a second copy of Mina and Denn, Wildborn in this deck. Twister lets us pick up tapped lands so we can replay them, or so that we can discard them to throw some Shocks wherever necessary. This gives us some flexibility along with interaction, which is something every list could use more of.

Wayward Swordtooth joins the likes of Exploration, Oracle of Mul Daya, and a handful of other cards as a way to make sure we are able to actually play multiple lands in a turn. Yes, having a 5/5 for three mana is nice, but nothing else about this dino is relevant to us. We just want to play more lands! Having a plethora of this type of effects is integral for a list like this to function, and we’ll take all we can get.

Finally, the last card for this group is Ruin Ghost. Surprisingly, there were a lot of cards in contention for this slot. What I wanted here was a card that I could tap to get a land into play, and there were four cards that caught my attention: Ruin Ghost, Walking Atlas, Sakura-Tribe Scout, and Knight of the Reliquary. The reason why I wanted a card that fit this specific requirement was twofold. First, I wanted to give the deck another way to get lands entering the battlefield without actually having to play them, so we aren’t beholden to simply playing a single land a turn. Second, I wanted a card that combos with Retreat to Coralhelm to give us infinite, or near-infinite, Landfall triggers. I decided to only include one of these cards, as I didn’t want any combos to overshadow the main focus of the deck, but feel free to add any of them in you believe it is correct for your meta.


…And Bluer

Finally, we arrive at the last four cards. These are a mix of value pieces, a combo engine, and an old mainstay.

Field of the Dead and Horn of Greed are two pseudo-Landfall cards that are right at home here. Field of the Dead plays into our token subtheme, giving us 2/2 Zombies once we have seven or more lands with different names on our side of the board, which is absolutely busted. Seriously, I don’t know how this card ever got printed. Next, Horn of Greed will reward us for all of the hard work we’ve done by drawing us a card whenever we simply play a land! Horn of Greed is perfect for this deck, as opposed to a deck like Lord Windgrace. Horn will only trigger when we play a land, not whenever a land enters the battlefield. This is incredibly important distinction and changes its effectiveness drastically between decks.

Our penultimate card for discussion is Amulet of Vigor. Amulet is a card I often overlook in most decks. A vast majority of the time, Amulet simply makes sure that cards like Temple of Epiphany or Azorius Guildgate come in untapped, which is never worth the slot if that’s all it’s doing. In this deck, though, since we are running all six bounce lands from the original Ravnica block, Amulet’s stock rises considerably. Modern has an entire deck built around Amulet of Vigor and bounce lands called Amulet Titan, which is a deck that takes advantage of Amulet’s interactions with the bounce lands. Due to Amulet, the bounce lands will enter, then untap, giving you a opportunity to tap them in response to their own bounce trigger. This produces two mana before you bounce it back to your hand! Thanks to all of the ways we have to play extra lands per turn, and once we combine it with Omnath, we are able to produce egregious amounts of mana. The Amulet of Vigor + bounce lands not only lets us hit all of the Landfall triggers we need in a turn, but also lets us quickly pull away with the game by gaining a huge mana advantage at the same time.

Finally, our last card is one I can’t do without, and one I am sure you are sick of hearing about: Negate! I don’t know what I can say now that I haven’t before, but Negate is a favorite card of mine. Yes, we can run Dovin’s Veto, an uncounterable spell, or Fierce Guardianship if you have the budget, but everyone has a Negate somewhere in their collection. It’s cheap, efficient, and isn’t mana-intensive. I can’t ask for anything from a Counterspell other than that.


…On the Other Side

There we have it! A theme deck featuring everyone’s favorite walking jelly bean… Kool-Aid Man… thing!

One final thing I wanted to mention is that while this is not a budget article column by any means, I did want to be a bit conscious with the land base. In the final list I did not add any of the six fetch lands in Omnath’s colors. These cards would be perfect for this deck, but they also add a hefty price tag that not everyone can afford. Even if you want a Wooded Foothills, I think $20 can be better spent buying more integral pieces to the deck like Wayward Swordtooth, Tireless tracker, or even the Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait Precon from Commander Legends if you have yet to get any of those cards. This deck focuses on the interaction of the bounce lands first and foremost, so fetches actually take a back seat to them and make the mana base that much more affordable. If you have fetch lands, feel free to use them, but this deck was built to function perfectly fine without them.

Plenty of people, myself included, have felt that Omnath is just a jumble of words and good-stuff, which is why I was quite pleased to put together a deck with restrictions that was both thematic and fun. I’m happy that I was able to divorce the Lands theme from Omnath and give them a bit of contrast when compared to other “lands” commanders like Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, Lord Windgrace, or Tatyova, Benthic Druid.

I’ll be using this distinction to help separate my two personal decks and make sure they don’t step on each other’s toes, but what about you? What are your thoughts? Do you feel like the Lands Theme and the Landfall Theme are distinct enough on their own? Do they play differently enough to warrant separate theme pages? What are your opinions on this new version of Omnath? Do you have any interesting builds with them? Make sure to let me know down below!

Until next time, you can reach me on Twitter (@thejesguy), where you can always hit me up for Magic- or Jeskai-related shenanigans 24/7. Do you have any comments, questions, or concerns? Please don’t hesitate to leave them below or get in touch! Stay safe, wear your mask, and keep fighting the good fight. I support you. No justice, no peace.

Beware of Falling Rocks

Commander (1)
Creatures (31)
Planeswalkers (1)
Artifacts (4)
Sorceries (8)
Instants (10)
Enchantments (7)
Lands (38)

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer

Angelo is a Connecticut native who started playing Magic during Return to Ravnica, and has made it his mission to play Jeskai in every format possible. With at least 20 EDH decks constructed at all times, it's an understatement to say that he loves Commander. Angelo trusts counterspells over creatures, and is still hurt by Sphinx's Revelation rotation out of Standard.