Replacement Commanders — O-Kagachi, Where Art Thou?
Hello again readers and welcome back to Replacement Commanders. For this series, we look at all the alternative legendary creatures created for the Commander 2017 product and concoct some different brew strategies for them with the help of EDHREC.com's endless data on what the cool kids are building for each Commander. I put up a poll on Twitter for which tribe we would talk about on the second installment of this series and dragons won by a sliver. When I made a second poll to see which dragon we would be looking at this week, it came out to a draw and I made the decision to talk about a very interesting Legendary Dragon in O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami!
O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami
Known as “the mightiest kami of Kamigawa”, O-Kagachi was the first kami and the very soul of the world of Kamigawa. While the set based in Kamigawa is considered somewhat controversial by splitting the Magic: the Gathering fanbase on whether you love it or hate it. Regardless, we cannot deny that O-Kagachi presents some unique build around strategies. The first thing we should notice is the type line. We are not just dealing with a dragon here, but a dragon SPIRIT that allows us to build in all five colors. Naturally, since the Commander 2017 precons were tribal in nature, we can automatically think to build spirit tribal which could be a fun idea. We also have a flying 6/6 trampler for six mana, so a voltron-style strategy is not out of question, either. Finally, O-Kagachi's has a unique ability that depends on being attacked to truly give us some value and there are ways to take advantage of this kind of strategy, which I have nicknamed “The Clapback Commander”. We will explain why later in the article.
Getting Spiritual with O-Kagachi Meta
Right now, if we look up the Vengeful Kami on EDHREC, we see very a large amount of spirit and arcane type cards listed. As we touched on earlier, the current meta is to build five-color spirit tribal, and while there is room to build other strategies, some of these cards are simply high value with O-Kagachi in the command zone. Strionic Resonator gives us another trigger on the commander. Since we want more than the one trigger, anything that gives double-strike like Duelist's Heritage, Blood Mist and Fireshrieker are great additions. Godsend creates a situation where anyone that attacks you must make hard a decision to block your commander and have a creature exiled or letting you hit for a large amount of commander damage and getting the choice to exile any nonland permanent. Drogskol Captain offers some protection for our Kami and a slight stat boost. Similarly, Rattlechains is great value because it can be flashed in to protect our commander and/or allows us to recast Kami with flash. Commander staple for three and more colored decks Chromatic Lantern is another good auto-include so we have less trouble hitting our colors. In the same thought, Prismatic Geoscape can potentially give you five mana in any colors you need. Here is what the list I generated from EDHREC.com looks like:
O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami
NOTE: Path of Ancestry and Cavern of Souls are there because the current meta has us building tribal spirits. For anything other than tribal, we can replace these two cards. Also, we are looking at a budget-friendly version of the mana base. Upgrade it dependent upon your own budget for a smoother experience.
Smells like Tribal Spirit
Since the current meta is to run O-Kagachi with tribal spirits, there is no need to talk about cards we would remove or add to the EDHREC.com list because it is already composed of some of the best spirits for this strategy. However, we can look at those cards and try to understand why they are the best spirits for the deck. Both Nikko-Onna and Yuki-Onna are ways to get rid of pesky artifacts and enchantments that we can bounce and recast very often. Ribbons of the Relkai can potentially draw us quite a few cards while Angel of Flight Alabaster will be able to recur nearly all the creatures in the deck. Another source of recursion is Karador, Ghost Chieftain. For new cards from Commander 2017, Teferi's Protection seems to go in any deck that runs white and I have only seen amazing things happen in tribal decks that run Kindred Summons. Kindred Discovery is another source of draw power that works with how many spirits we plan on casting while Herald's Horn helps us cast spirits faster and has a pseudo-draw power ability whenever a spirit appears on top of the deck. There is a dozen or so enchantments in the EDHREC.com list, so Eidolon of Blossoms has a decent chance to draw us some cards as well. Even more reliable is the fact that we are going to cast spirit creature spells, so Sire of the Storm is another great source of card draw just for doing what we want to do in the deck naturally.
Typically, I try to avoid running land destruction because it can create some “feels bad” moments, but the reality is that there are times when the situation calls for it. If we are sitting in a game across from someone playing both Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers in a mono-black deck, we are going to love drawing Ore Gorger to get rid of these key pieces of our opponent's strategy. Since our Commander is comprised of all five colors, hitting land drops can be very important. Elder Pine of Jukai helps us find those lands.
The Clapback Commander
O-Kagachi's ability requires someone to attack us to make full use of it. We cannot forget, the tagline on our Commander is “Vengeful Kami”, so we should plan on seeking revenge for everyone who would dare attack the soul of the world of Kamigawa. Having O-Kagachi on the battlefield might deter some people from wanting to attack us, and while a 6/6 flying Commander with trample is still good, we came here to seek revenge. If we must “convince” people to attack us, there is multiple avenues on how we can do that. Taking out some of the more “tribal” aspects of our EDHREC build, we can add in Bident of Thassa and Goblin Diplomats to force our opponents to attack. Ixalan also provides us with an interesting card for this kind of strategy in the form of Trove of Temptation, which even specifies that each opponent must attack us with at least a single creature. If we want to give everyone a chance to clapback around the table, Assault Suit will loan O-Kagachi out to our opponents while preventing him from storming back against us. Alternatively, we can protect ourselves from being hit with too many creatures through traditional pillowfort means. Propaganda and Ghostly Prison are the normal cards for this kind of strategy and we already have Windborn Muse in our EDHREC-generated deck. Additionally, Spear of Heliod gives us the option of destroying creatures that hit us when our Commander is back in the Command Zone. Argentum Armor even emphasizes on O-Kagachi's strength when it comes to the declare attackers step of combat.
Blackjack (Commander Damage)
We already noticed that the Vengeful Kami is a flying 6/6 trampler. This means he does a decent amount of damage. With only four hits, we can take an opponent out of the game via commander damage. If we want to do it faster than that, however, this is easily done with some support cards. Dictate of the Twin Gods is a surprise attack that can be an instant kill if O-Kagachi has double-strike from any of the cards we mentioned in the EDHREC-generated list. Alternatively, Boros Charm is a versatile spell that can give O-Kagachi double-strike or save him from a board wipe. Gisela, Blade of Goldnight can be a safer card than Dictate because we will take reduced damage instead of double damage. Again, Ixalan provided us with a new card for a strategy like this with Angrath's Marauders, which only doubles the damage we put out. Of course, one-shotting someone with a single strike is not the only way to score blackjack on an opponent. Neheb, the Eternal combos with Aggravated Assault to give us infinite combat steps if our opponents do not find a way to stop O-Kagachi from dealing damage and generating six red mana with each hit. Conqueror's Flail fills two purposes by turning out 6/6 Commander into an 11/11 while providing some security from our opponents' spells during our turn. We should never forget that when dealing with a combat-based win, haste enablers can be very important. Try to remember our Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots or any other source of haste when putting the deck together.
The Tribal We Deserved
Sometimes Wizards does things that I think we fail to truly appreciate. Originally, I had no idea what to do with O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami for Commander. Realizing that he was not just a dragon but a dragon spirit and then using EDHREC and the newly EDHREC-ranked-powered Scryfall.com search capabilities showed me how you can take the soul of Kamigawa in so many different strategies and still find success. Hopefully, I have been able to show you the light (get it?) and get you excited about brewing your own Vengeful Kami deck, no matter how you choose to destroy your opponents.
Have you come up with your own unique spin on O-Kagachi? Are there key cards that we have not yet seen in the EDHREC data? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time, happy brewing, everyone!