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Commanding The Big Bad Jon


Hello Awesome Folks! Today is my seventh deck built around a dork that debuted in Battle for Baldur's Gate. The Appendix below is rocking the first six.

Who am I building around today?

Jon Irenicus, Shattered One

The Big Bad of Baldur's Gate II himself, Jon Irenicus, who will draw a card when a creature you own (the opposite of the controlling brew you'd expect in Dimir) but don't control attacks. Nice! Then in your end step (yours only) you can give away a dork you control to an opponent, give it some counters, and then goad it permanently and it cannot be sacrificed. Nice right? I think so as well! There are already 528 decks built around him over at EDHREC.com.

I want to build around trading dorks in this deck, with effects that will swap your stuff for another, and thus keep you going. This won't be the traditional Dimir control deck with Control Magics, Bribery effects, or other effects where you steal opposing things and smash away with them. Or a bunch of instants and sorceries and only a handful of key dorks like Consecrated Sphinx and good stuff like Rhystic Study and Cyclonic Rift. Nope!

You need to run enough dorks to trade them away. You also need goad to get them to swing so you can draw those cards (note this triggers for each attacker). Since the card flow is uneven, we'll add in some more card draw to your brew and some ways to play nice with your opposing team that is attacking each other. The best things to give away are evasive creatures that cannot be blocked easily, or ETB abilities that already got triggered and now you don't care about them anymore, or cheap creatures that suck and you are happy to give them. I don't want to run too many of the latter since you can only give away one creature each turn. EDHREC.com is just dorks with problems you have to build around like Lord of the Pit, rather than a deeper creature base or a better swapping and goading deeper levels. Maybe 10 total, I don't want my hand clogged up with heavy disadvantage options. We are going in different directions here and there.

Key Cards to Make Trades

Rotting Regisaur

Check out these two awful dorks, the Blue one is a 5-drop 7/7 with trample and phasing, and your lands phase out every other turn, which is pretty rough from where I am sitting, and trample evades. The black one is a cheap Zombie Dinosaur with a 7/6 size, no evasion, and in your upkeep, you have to discard a card, which sees play in madness and hellbent decks, but not generally. Love it a lot here.

Desecration Elemental
Demonic Taskmaster

These two lean into powerful sacrifices. The first is an 8/8 with fear for four mana that makes you sacrifice a dork each time someone casts a spell, but you cannot sacrifice it to itself with Jon, so it will always be a nasty amount of removal for just the owner. The second is a 4/3 flyer, and you also have to sacrifice in your upkeep. Nice pair of creature removal.

Wrong Turn

I am running six trade and give away things other than our leader. I'd prefer to trade a dork than give one away, but you might want to give one to someone without a dork, so both are here. The uncommon is a 5-cost sorcery that swaps control of two dorks - note that it must target, and the rare is an instant, creature only version of Donate for the same mana, so it's a nice combat trick. I like doing it normally in response to a Diabolic Edict effect on a solo board and you give your giant beater to another foe to keep on the beating.

Puca's Mischief
Sudden Substitution

Check out these two giving away options. The enchantment is a 4-drop that gives mana, ongoing swapping and it's probably the best non-Jon in here. The instant is a four cost with split second that swaps control of a dork you have with a non-dork spell, which is also nice for basically countering a key removal spell by sending it to a mutual foe or just getting some card draw.

Card Draw and Answers

Master of the Feast

In your upkeep everyone else draws a card, so give it away and that's a Howling Mine for everyone else for a while, which means it's much less likely to get targeted for removal by your mutual foes. They might even protect it with counters if the controller tries to kill it with a Murder.

I am running 10 counters if you count Sudden Substitution. Since I need bodies, I am running the duo of Draining Whelk and Desertion, the first is a classic at the kitchen table since it counters anything, and then grows into a game winning threat as well based on the mana cost of the card you countered. Nice! The second counter will counter anything, and you'll gain control of artifacts and dorks, so you can get a free body of yours to block with, note that if you send it elsewhere, the owner won't be you, so you'll want to just use it to shore up defenses from all your giveaways.

Venser, Shaper Savant
Silumgar's Command

The first printing of Venser is pretty sexy as it can bounce any spell or permanent back to the hand, even lands. It has flash and can really play havoc. The Command is a 5-mana Negate, bounce, -3/-3 or planeswalker death, and you can do two, my default mode is counter and bounce. It's very powerful at the kitchen table. Love it loads here!

Parasitic Impetus
Psychic Impetus

I have five cards with goad. This first set are the two common Impetus auras that give +2/+2, goad, and then an attack trigger. The Black one is a drain life of 2 from the attacker, which is nice to spice, and can win the game. The Blue one scries, which is good deck manipulation for making sure you draw the right thing over time. Good pair!

Bloodthirsty Blade
Sly Instigator

The artifact is a 2-drop and 1 to attach to a foe's creature, and then they get +2 to their power and are goaded. Nasty here as it survives mass removal like Wrath of God and can be reattached quite quickly. The creature is a bit pricey 4-drop 2/4 with tap and a Blue mana to goad a dork and keep it from blocking, which is nice, repeatable fun times. Good duo of goading fun times!

Synergies and Win Conditions

Strionic Resonator
Torrential Gearhulk

I don't have too many synergies here that aren't in other categories, but check out these. The Resonator is two to copy a triggered ability like the ETB of Mulldrifter or Ravenous Chupacabra, or Jon's triggered card draw or give away in your end of turn. The other is a 5/6 with flash that can copy an instant like your counters, or a key instant speed giveaway like Wrong Turn.

Psychosis Crawler
Ebon Drake

I do have a few cards I added for win-cons. The artifact is a 5-drop X/X where X is your hand count, and with the reliable card flow from our leader that could be quite nice, as well as winning with the card draw triggers to each foes' life. The Drake is a 3-drop 3/3 with flying that can be given away and then as people cast any spells at all, they lose a life each time, pretty quick clock. Nice duo.

Blighted Agent
Grafted Exoskeleton

Let's move to infect. The Agent is unblockable and has infect, so that's one poison counter per attack, 10 to die. If you gave this away, it's now a 3/3 with the +1/+1 counters so that's a four-turn clock. The Exoskeleton is here to give something we control infect and a +2/+2 boost. The idea here is to equip prior to giving away, and now they get +4/+4 and infect, and have to attack.

Phyrexian Vatmother
Ebonblade Reaper

The Vatmother is the final infect card. You give it away as a 6/7 infect two-turn clock, and then you also give the owner a poison counter each upkeep. Nice win con from both angles. The Reaper is morphs for five mana. When you attack you lose half of your life, so around 15-20 the first time. When it deals combat damage to a foe, they lose half of their life. You want to force someone to attack and lose a ton of life, and then hurt the person they attacked for a ton of life. Nice black pair that wants to be given away, although you could keep the first to finish off a wounded poison dork and the latter to morph up post-attack and badly wound that player.


Field of Ruin

Check out these two non-basic land destroyers. Why are they here? The worst thing that would wreck this deck is to activate a Homeward Path. Sending all of these horrible dorks back to me is the worst thing. It's funny, but we need an answer for this land, enter this duo, which can be used to end a Path. Use them well.

Karn's Bastion
Rogue's Passage

We have a few poison counter things here and there as well as the +1/+1 counters given by Jon. For that reason, I am running the proliferate land, the Bastion of Karn, which activates for four. The Passage will tap to give any creature unblockable for the turn, not just your own, so that will make sure that the goaded stuff won't get blocked. I also tossed in Access Tunnel for that reason.

Because Jon costs four mana I won't be running any Manaliths in here instead we'll be running two drop mana rocks for a third-turn Shattered One.

New Cards from Battle for Baldur's Gate

Mocking Doppelganger

Your flash Clone copies a foe's dork, not your own, but they are goaded, and that's pretty nice, isn't it? A flash Clone is powerful, but limited by the range of targets, but goading a foe in their pre-combat phase and then swinging in your main phase at their newly opened defense is keen, and you draw a card from your Commander.

Ready for my deck?

Giving Away the Goods with Jon Irenicus | Commander | Abe Sargent

100 cards later...what did you think? Anything in here that I missed or that you want to talk about? Just let me know, and have an awesome day!


  1. My first deck was built around Alora, Merry Thief and Far Traveler. The goal was to self-bounce and recast your things to trigger ETB things (Mulldrifter), self-bounce things (Azorius Aethermage), leaves play things (Circuit Mender), cast things (Equilibrium) and tapping the dork for something valuable (Opposition), with a bounce of self-bounce (Erratic Portal) and a flicker backup theme (Far Traveler proper) in order to lean into the non-cast stuff. Love it loads and it was inspired by my Equilibrium self-bounce Bant Commander deck. Check it here.
  2. My second deck is a Gruul deck built around the planeswalker Minsc and Boo, Timeless Heroes, which you can find here. That deck enables and is built around fun hasters (Froghemoth), tramplers (Giant Ankheg), and changelings with Hamster (Chameleon Colossus). Fun stuff and many of these cards are not on the EDHREC.com page of him either.
  3. My third deck is a Pinger deck that uses Prodigal Sorcerer and Prodigal Pyromancer to tap and kill small stuff, and then combines with deathtouch equipment like Basilisk Collar, and pinging synergies like card draw (Curiosity) and creature stealing and bounce (Sigil of Sleep). It's run by the haste-giving to tapper Dynaheir, Invoker Adept, which you can find here.
  4. My next deck a Tribal Rakdos build around Raphael, Fiendish Savior, and his love of Tribal and loving creature that went to the graveyard from anywhere. I tossed in tribal synergies, Aristocrats in the Tribe like Mayhem Devil, self-recurring dorks (Bloodghast), cycling cards (Archfiend of Ifnir), discard card flow (Big Score) and recursion (Living Death). It's fun!
  5. Myrkul, Lord of Bones (Check it out here) was built as the leader of a Midrange and Constellation deck that ran a bunch of dorks with ETB abilities for value (like Liliana's Specter and Archon of Cruelty), sacrificed them for value (High Market and Dockside Chef), netted a return as an enchantment to trigger another ETB for it and constellation dorks (like Underworld Coinsmith and Eidolon of Blossoms) and then added in some ramp, answers, card flow, and called it a deck! I hope you enjoy this weird thing!
  6. My next deck was an Aristocrats-style artifact heavy brew around Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter, which you can find here. It's built around Black Aristocrat triggers (Disciple of the Vault) and Rakdos sacrificing (Goblin Welder, Dockside Chef) and red ETB triggers (Reckless Fireweaver) and White recursion (Open the Vaults).

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