Epic Experiment - Jodah

(Jodah, the Unifier | Art by Ryan Pancoast)

Epic Preparations

Hello, EDHREC fans! I’m Bernardo, and this is Epic Experiment, a series where we throw all common sense aside and experiment with some unusual strategies, changing how we normally build our deck. Is it going to work? Who knows?! We’re making science here. When you’re an Izzet mage, blowing things up is half the fun.

Jodah, the Unifier provides a powerful legendary Cascade-esque ability, and to complement it, Jodah also pumps up every legendary creature we control - including himself! This combination of strong abilities makes Jodah a serious threat that can very easily take over the game.

Getting card advantage in Commander is nothing out of the ordinary, and when we combine this with inherent card selection (since Jodah's ability only hits other legendary cards) and the fact that we also get to play that card for free (which technically also counts as mana acceleration) we can accumulate a truly astounding board presence. In a format where we have such a deep card pool, a 'legendary only' restriction is frankly quite close to having no restriction, especially with a five-color commander!

While the pump effect may at first seem overshadowed by the Cascade ability, believe me, it adds up quickly. That's exponential damage growth! The extra bump in power can even be useful for a Voltron win condition if you don't want to invest in playing a ton of other legendary creatures.


Epic Ingredients

Cascade is quite an intriguing ability for people that enjoy messing around with the brewing process, and Jodah gives us a unique spin on the mechanic. Usually, when building around Cascade, we need to decide if we're digging for a specific card to hit off a Cascade trigger, or if we're just using it for straight-up value. Many Jodah decks go for the value, but this is Epic Experiment, and oh boy, I have just the right target to Cascade into!

Norin the Wary might not seem all that much of a threat, but in the right shell, he's a hard-to-remove threat that can fuel ETB-based decks all by himself.

So that's the 'what', but now let's address the 'how'. Jodah can guarantee us access to Norin if we build our deck such that we don't have any other one-mana (or less) legendary cards in the 99, which isn't very difficult to do, to be honest. A key way to make sure we can achieve a guaranteed legendary Cascade is to also have a Companion. Jegantha, the Wellspring fits in nicely here, since the Companion restriction is rather mild, and the extra mana it provides is very welcome.

This means, however, that we can't play any other legendary cards with a mana value less than five. If we cast Jegantha, the Wellspring, we need it to hit [e]Norin, the Wary[/el] 100% of the time. Note that Jegantha isn't the only way we can dig for Norin; Jegantha is here for the small extra consistency rather than for speed, which often means we don't even have to play it to get our strategy underway.

To get the most out of Norin, we need to build an engine dedicated to getting value out of creatures entering and leaving the battlefield. 'Soul Sisters' like Essence Warden are a great starting point, giving us both a starting direction and a high level of consistency through the sheer number of available variants out there. Genesis Chamber gives us a steady stream of bodies. Gala Greeters is an all-around powerful addition to the archetype, mostly providing two Alliance triggers on our turn and, generally, a Treasure token on everyone else's turn.

We also have a lot of direct damage sources, which are essential to our plan to keep the pressure on our anamies while avoiding combat ourselves. Warstorm Surge is a classic Norin staple that loves to watch him arrive at the party, and Vela the Night-Clad loves to watch him leave! Corpse Knight and Witty Roastmaster are essentially reverse Soul Sister effects, which stack pretty quickly when Norin's constantly going on and off the battlefield. While Outpost Siege's LTB triggers are less frequent than the usual ETB triggers, the versatility to act either as a poking tool or as a draw engine is useful enough to warrant inclusion here.

We run a bit low on lifegain payoffs, since we're also trying to balance out the 99 with a bunch of Soul Sister effects, ETBs, LTBs, and legendary cards, as well as the normal necessities like removal, mana acceleration, or card advantage. Still, Cliffhaven Vampire, Marauding Blight-Priest, and Indulging Patrician, combined with our other pingers, will all give us a steady amount of damage output, putting a clock on our enemies. Trudge Garden and Griffin Aerie give us some beefier tools that we can use to smash face. And for a personal favorite, Blossoming Bogbeast is a repeatable Overrun effect that works extremely well with all our lifegain!


The Mixture

Jodah Norinfall

Commander (1)
Companion (1)
Creature (25)
Artifact (7)
Enchantment (12)
Instant (5)
Sorcery (9)
Land (41)

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Our card draw is good once we get Norin out. Tocasia's Welcome and Guardian Project passively draw at least four cards per turn cycle just from the usual Norin shenanigans alone. Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, and Dawn of Hope are very easy to trigger and can be useful mana sinks for when we're lacking other options or when we don't want to commit more to the board. Rite of Harmony is a more explosive card draw that can help us restock our hand for two turns.

We have a few other legendary cards in the 99 too, that way we don't always have to rely on Jegantha to help dig for Norin in the first place. Note again that any legendary cards in the deck must have a mana value of five or higher, and they can't have multiples of the same colored pips in their mana costs. This somewhat limits our options, but the ones we can play are truly excellent. The Mightstone and Weakstone and Timeless Lotus are big mana rocks that help us rocket ahead in the late game while also providing a chance for a Cascade. Celestine, the Living Saint provides some recursion for our smaller creatures, which we have tons of, and Yarok, the Desecrated is yet another copy of Panharmonicon, doubling up all our Norin shenanigans!


Be Wary!

That’s it for this Epic Experiment! What do you think of this list? Do you have any questions about the deck? Which cards did you like? Which did you not? Was this experiment a success? Please let me know in the comments below!

Bernardo has been playing(on and off) since portal and somehow manage to survive mirrodin block while being a total casual(beast tribal ftw?). He loves all the shades of blue and being the one saying "nope", while holding a full grip of cards in hand.