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Kicking it Old School with Jared Carthalion

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Commander Legends featured tons of great new legendary creatures (and a few sweet planeswalkers) for Commander players to jam in their decks. Some of these were all new and became quick fan favorites, like Archelos, Lagoon Mystic and Obeka, Brute Chronologist. For every excellent new card, however, there were some truly classic characters being thrown around as well. You might've already seen me gush over a few like Kamahl and Jeska (of Odyssey and Onslaught block fame) and the lesser known Rebbec and Glacian (from the book The Thran) but today I wanted to tackle someone even older and more obscure.

Jared Carthalion, True Heir

Jared Carthalion was one of Magic's original protagonist characters, helming much of the Armada comics stories in the mid-90's. He was the last of a long line of Carthalions and bore a crescent moon birthmark on his right cheek to indicate his lineage and his destiny. When his family was manipulated by the evil planeswalker Ravidel, Jared was left a beggar on the streets, having to work his way up to achieve his destiny of defeating the planeswalker who had taken his father's life. In his conquests he used familiar artifacts and spells like Fellwar Stone, Black Lotus, and Shivan Dragon. Using these, he took on Ravidel in an epic rebellion, which it seemed he'd won.

Over time, Jared fell in love with Kristina of the Woods, a planeswalker who tutored him in the ways of mana usage. Things weren't all roses and sunshine for the lovers, however, as Ravidel soon revealed he was very much alive, causing the pair to pursue and defeat him. Unfortunately, Ravidel escaped following an epic battle that left Liana, Jared's former lover, dead, and her Moxen stolen by Ravidel. Using these, he erected the Mox Beacon, which triggered the great Planeswaker War.

The outcome isn't known from a purely canonical standpoint, as the comics were ended before this arc could be finished. However, outlines were discovered and a final story pieced together by the blog Multiverse in Review in 2015, providing some story to bring things to a close. In short, Ravidel is defeated, though not shown to be dead, and Jared and Kristina went off and live together at the end of the war. Not much is known beyond that for the two characters, apart from Kristina appearing during the Phyrexian Invasion as one of the Nine Titans - with no Jared at her side.

I thought about how I could do a deck around such a classic character, and started with two cards that I could find mentioned in the lore available online:

Fellwar Stone
Shivan Dragon

That's right, it's two of the spells used by Jared in the story. While he uses a Black Lotus to summon the Shivan Dragon, it's clear that we can't really use that card here, so these would have to do. My first thought was to do something like Classic Commander in nature, or in other words Commander that uses only sets prior to the release of Commander 2011 (so New Phyrexia backwards). When I started going through cards, I also tried to pull cool old frame versions of applicable cards from the new Time Spiral Remastered to fittingly give Jared a bit more of that old school aesthetic.

The more I handled the cards, though, the more I found myself wanting to make more use of the old frame cards from the set that were originally printed outside of Classic Commander's boundaries. And so, I set forth with a different goal instead: make a deck that could be playable with only old frame cards, sans Jared himself! Check it out:

Old-Frame Jared | Commander | Kendra Smith


As it turns out, only a small handful of cards from outside Classic Commander made it in, and they thankfully mostly make up utility that helps us hold our own against more modern Commander decks. These cards include the likes of Vandalblast, Elvish Mystic (which could easily be Fyndhorn Elves), Banishing Light, Feldon of the Third Path, Reclamation Sage, Courser of Kruphix, and Palace Jailer. These largely fill some removal spaces that would be simply outclassed. No one wants to run plain old Disenchant or Naturalize these days, for example, so let's even the play field a little bit.

Eternal Dragon
Feldon of the Third Path
Karmic Guide

Feldon of the Third Path is an especially sweet inclusion, though. Much like Jared, he's a truly classic character who was finally able to get a long-overdue card thanks to the Commander releases. Giving him a timeshifted card feels incredibly natural, and his ability happens to work fantastically with our deck. The list runs a number of large creatures and if any happen to be discarded or killed, Feldon can bring them back for a short reprise before dying once more. This pairs nicely with Eternal Dragon, Krosan Tusker, Yavimaya Elder, Karmic Guide, Avalanche Riders, and more - all classic cards in their own right.

There's also a number of cards that act as deterrents to make your opponents unable to attack. Crawlspace, Radiant Kavu, and Windborn Muse both make it that much harder to attack and let your opponents steal your crown from under you. If you want something a bit firmer, then you can use Peacekeeper or Constant Mists to keep the Fog effects going and further your gameplan. The ultimate synergy here is putting Pariah onto Jared himself, thereby making it impossible to take you out with combat damage and making Jared more powerful in the process.

There's several other pet cards and classics that long-time players might recognize, like Impulsive Maneuvers, Verdeloth the Ancient, Avatars of Fury and Might, and the original You Create The Card winner Forgotten Ancient. But there's three cards that might leave you scratching your heads:

As it turns out, all three of these mighty Swords had lesser-known old frame judge foils, thereby making them eligible for the deck! They make great targets for the likes of Enlightened Tutor if you already have your Pariah out of your deck. I also considered the judge foil Crucible of Worlds originally due to synergy with cards like Constant Mists, but felt the deck was probably fine enough without it. If you want, however, it is also a worthwhile inclusion.

These along with the new timeshifted cards beg the question of what other cards will be brought to the old frame in the future. Among them, Jared Carthalion just seems like a slam dunk. I mean look at him - they even kept a very 80's/90's fantasy style in his artwork! I'm very curious to see what the future brings for these timeshifted cards because I'd love to see what more could be done with Jared in this classic style. I think he's a very interesting character, commander, and has plenty of cool ways to build around him. If I had more time, I'd likely have also put together some kind of actual Classic Commander Enchantress build because of how many great enchantments Naya has among these older cards.

For now, though, I'm really in love with this deck. I built the list on Magic Online and it felt really spectacular seeing a full Commander list in all old frames like this for a change. I love it so much, even, I may just have to go and put it together in paper soon. Sometimes, nostalgia really rules, and I'm glad that these old frames are back on the menu once again.

Kendra Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: Kendra Smith

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