My very first Commander deck was a Mono-Black Vampires deck built around Anowan, the Ruin Sage. Shortly after, war broke out on Mirrodin and the Praetors came to watch, including Sheoldred, the Whispering One. My Anowan deck, which was already built around the idea of lots of mana and forcing sacrifice from my opponents, changed tactics, putting Sheoldred (long may she reign) at the helm and pivoting off Vampires and into control. It didn't so much win as not lose; my only win condition was incidental damage from my Commander. But boy, it didn't let anyone have their toys.
The owner of my LGS at the time (this was three cities ago for me now!) was kind of my Magic mentor. He shared my love for Black decks which grind and helped me find good cards for my ideas. I told him I was changing from Vamps to Sheoldred, and he said, "are you running the black Myojin in there?" I said yes, and he said, "take it out. Don't be a jerk."
I didn't take it out, solidifying my reputation as a jerk for a couple of years to come. But Myojin of Night's Reach remains, for me, a shining example of one of the jerkiest things one can do in a game of Magic - but also one of the most powerful. In Sheoldred, that Legendary Kami could keep opponents from having hands for the rest of the game, a brutal but effective tactic to keep the game going for longer, ultimately allowing me to grind out a win.
So, I was excited about our return to Kamigawa in part because I just knew there would be a new slate of Myojin, and I was hoping I'd get to be the one to talk about them. There are, and they're extra cool because they match the power and toughness of their predecessors. Let's get into it!
Before we talk about each one individually, I want to discuss the elephant in the room: that "cast from hand" clause in the first paragraph of each one. Each one of these Kami comes into play with its indestructible counter if it's cast from our hand. There are a couple of ways to put indestructible counters on things, but they are tricky and severely limited, so really, we need to cast these guys from our hands to make them worth their while. We can use some tricks players of Phage the Untouchable have been using to move them from the Command Zone to somewhere else, then return them to hand, but that seems like a lot of work when we can just run them as part of the 99.
Beyond that, though, I believe this is a strong statement by Papa Wizards that these creatures are not meant to be Commanders. They can be, but the hoops are small, high in the air, and on fire - there's a lot of work to do to go through them. They weren't nerfed so much as built to be role-players, not leaders. Rather than looking at ways to put them at the head of a deck, we're going to look at ways to incorporate them into other decks. (Oh, and can we just assume that Proliferate is a good keyword for these guys? I'd run Contagion Clasp and Contagion Engine in all these decks if I could, and Sword of Truth and Justice if I have any reason to run equipment. Additional Proliferate will never be bad. If we can make more than one Indestructible counter, we're going to be in much better shape.)
Myojin of Blooming Dawn probably wants to be in any deck running both White and tokens. I can see it doing good work in a deck run by Heliod, God of the Sun or Brimaz, King of Oreskos. I can see value in an Orzhov tokens deck like my Elenda, the Dusk Rose deck or something headed by Aryel, Knight of Windgrace. Emmara Tandis would make sure all our Spirits are safe in combat, and Khemba, Kha Regent might be a great fit because you'll have a lot of permanents from the Equipment and the tokens. A Kykar, Wind's Fury spellslinger deck might like this particular Kami as well, as you'd wind up with more Spirits which could be turned into more mana to power more spells and make more Spirits. And a Millicent, Restless Revenant Spirits build almost certainly wants this Myojin.
But I'd want to put her in my dad's first Commander deck, led by Darien, King of Kjeldor. That deck is a finely-tuned instrument of terror, but here's the gist:
Myojin in Darien | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper
- Commander (1)
- 1 Darien, King of Kjeldor
- Lands (1)
- 1 City of Brass
The idea is to play out Darien and inflict self-damage, making tokens and gaining life via the Soul Sisters the whole time. It makes a lot of tokens, and it gains a lot of life. Because its entire army comes from the Commander, it has a lot of space to run other cards which dramatically change the way the game is played. Certainly, the opportunity to drop the Myojin and more than double the number of tokens on the 'field would be strong (even if they're not Soldiers).
Myojin of Cryptic Dreams is the one where I think I'd lean into Proliferate the most. No matter what, you're going to want to use that ability a lot, whether it's in a Bruna, Light of Alabaster deck copying Auras, an Animar, Soul of Elements deck copying all the great creatures it plays, or Sharuum the Hegemon making everyone sad by making four copies of Darksteel Forge. Ultimately, though, I want to run this in Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, and Proliferate all over the table.
Myojin in Atraxa | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper
- Commander (1)
- 1 Atraxa, Praetors' Voice
- Creatures (5)
- 1 Evolution Sage
- 1 Guildpact Informant
- 1 Kiora's Dambreaker
- 1 Myojin of Cryptic Dreams
- 1 Pollenbright Druid
- Instants (1)
- 1 Fuel for the Cause
- Enchantments (1)
- 1 Inexorable Tide
- Lands (1)
- 1 Karn's Bastion
By Proliferating all the time, you can make it that every permanent spell you cast gets quadrupled. You get four Guildpact Informants. Four Kiora's Dambreakers. Four Inexorable Tides. I think you can probably figure out a way to win the game with that. (Definitely don't try to put Poison counters on your opponents. You think Myojin of Night's Reach is mean...)
Myojin of Grim Betrayal sits in a neat space. It's like Rise of the Dark Realms but immediate and limited. It's nice that it doesn't care about whose creatures went to the 'yard, and it doesn't care from where. That means there's certainly some value in running it in a Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker deck; just have it sit there until some really juicy targets get hit and snag 'em. It's an interesting choice in Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder, because it has such a high mana cost and would Cascade nicely, then be a great response if someone casts a Wrath of God. But really? I want this one in my Hythonia the Cruel deck.
Myojin in Hythonia | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper
- Commander (1)
- 1 Hythonia the Cruel
I built this deck seven-and-a-half years ago for my third column ever for CSI. I also built it in real life and still play it to this day. It is, however, due for an upgrade, and I think this Myojin is a great place to start. The theory of the deck is straightforward: make a ton of mana, control the board with a built-in Wrath effect and other control cards, and eventually combo off with Ashnod's Altar, Nim Deathmantle, and either Geralf's Messenger (infinite) or Gray Merchant (not so much but probably wins anyway). However, this Myojin could give the deck another solid line of attack, especially given its ability to clear the board over and over. In response, just put every creature that got Wrathed away back on the 'field on our side and alpha strike for the win.
How badly do you want Jeska, Thrice Reborn to say "damage" instead of "combat damage" right now? I'm looking at Myojin of Roaring Blades and thinking how awesome it would be to deal 21 to each opponent just by removing a counter, but alas. However, Myojin of Roaring Blades probably wants to find a home in any Red deck looking to double up on damage with effects like Dictate of the Twin Gods. It would also probably be good in a deck like Heartless Hidetsugu, because seven damage is enough to kill someone after they've lost half their life if they started at a low enough life total. I think I'll put this particular one in my Xenagos, God of Revels deck.
This deck is a blast to play (despite my misunderstanding of how he worked originally) but it does exactly what I predicted: it is either really explosive or it fizzles out dramatically. It seems to fizzle more than it explodes, though, and I've been thinking it, too, is due for some adjustment, probably by adding some actual ramp and mana fixing. However, it also could use some interaction, and Myojin of Roaring Blades could be just what the doctor ordered, as it is a relevant creature on the 'field, doesn't mind getting Double Strike and Trample, and can be used to remove some troubling creatures.
Myojin in Xenagos | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper
- Commander (1)
- 1 Xenagos, God of Revels
- Enchantments (1)
- 1 Dictate of the Twin Gods
With proper mana acceleration, Xenagos will reliably be able to power out a Myojin along with cards like Hydra Omnivore and Dictate of the Twin Gods. When the deck explodes, it really explodes, often doing 30 damage or more with a single creature. It's great fun, and the Roaring Blades will do a good job aiding it in its quest.
There are few things more Green that a huge beater. An 8/8 for eight with a relevant ability seems to show up a lot, and there's a lot of competition for what to run at eight mana. I mean, we're at Craterhoof Behemoth mana here!
But don't let Myojin of Towering Might fool you. It actually is kind of a mini-Craterhoof, granting Trample in addition to a power/toughness boost, and in the meantime, unlike Craterhoof, it's a Indestructible 8/8 standing there being a deterrent from anyone looking to break through your defenses. Certainly, a deck built around Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar might want this, but so, too, might Verdeloth the Ancient, as a way to buff up even more Saprolings. Once again, Proliferate is great; imagine not just putting counters on Saprolings but being able to add one and use the Myojin's trick again each time you Proliferate! Seems like a good use of Contagion Clasp.
But two decks jump out as really wanting this particular Kami. The first is Experiment Kraj, or as my friend calls it, "X-Men". This is a way to scatter counters all over the battlefield, giving Kraj eight more abilities in a single swoop. The second is one of my least favorite Commanders to see on the other side of the table: Vorel of the Hull Clade.
Myojin in Vorel | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper
- Commander (1)
- 1 Vorel of the Hull Clade
- Creaturres (6)
- 1 Fathom Mage
- 1 Gyre Sage
- 1 Herald of Secret Streams
- 1 Kiora's Follower
- 1 Master Biomancer
- 1 Myojin of Towering Might
- Enchantments (1)
- 1 Simic Ascendancy
- Artifacts (1)
- 1 Astral Cornucopia
Vorel does stupid, stupid things. It makes absurd mana (Astral Cornucopia, Gyre Sage), it makes ridiculously-sized goofy creatures (Master Biomancer), it draws insane amounts of cards (Fathom Mage), it does its thing way too much (Kiora's Follower), it makes it almost impossible to survive an attack (Herald of Secret Streams), and it wins without even trying (Simic Ascendancy). Myojin of Towering Might makes more things unblockable and bigger, draws extra cards, and nearly halves the time to a win with the Ascendancy. Sounds like a solid add. (Just don't play against me, please.)
I hope this has given you some ideas of how to use the new Myojin, even if they don't make the best Commanders ever. What decks do you want to add these Myojin to? Let us know in the comments - the more ideas, the better!
Thanks for reading.