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Around the Wheel: O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami


At the moment of this writing, the number one Commander on EDHREC.com is Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. There are over 5,000 decks listed with this dude as the head. Turns out free spells are popular. And don't give me "but you're paying 7 mana for those spells!" Whatever. 7 mana and you get three free spells? If you're not getting your mana back on at least one of those spells, you're not doing it right... but I digress.

No one needs me to do a column on Golos. There are multiple ways to build to him, but all of them have been mined, and most likely better than anything I could offer. At the very least I try to put something into the world that is different than normal - a way to look at a Commander that maybe, just maybe, you hadn't considered yet.

So, when it came to five-color, I ran into a bit of a problem. The five-color commanders are all fairly focused. There are a bunch of Slivers, but boring. Allies? We've been there, a few times. Scarecrows? I suppose. Morophon could be neat, because one could do something really silly like Unicorns or Squirrels or something, but most likely it's just going to have a bunch of Changelings.

Not that I have a problem with Tribal decks. I actually like them, and think it's fun to work really hard to keep them on theme. So, let's do this. Let's build an unusual Tribal deck around a Commander that has 500 decks, rather than 5,000. Allow me to introduce you to O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami.

O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami

O-Kagachi is a good deal. For 6 mana, we get a 6/6 Flying Trampler. That's no joke, especially in a Commander. But that second ability is what attracted me; why on Earth don't we see this Dragon Spirit more? Talk about incentive not to attack, because if they do, they're going to get smacked and they're going to lose something they probably want around.

The other thing is that 6/6 stat, because 7 power is where Commanders really begin to shine. (At 7 power, a Commander kills in three hits, rather than four or more.) We're in all five colors, so we have no restrictions, which means we can use whatever ways we want to raise O-Kagachi's power. If we go tribal, we'll run lords, which means power boosts. Done.

We can do Dragons or Spirits if we want to go tribal. Dragons are expensive and common, and I'd rather be able to do something early in the game. So, let's build a Spirit Tribal deck with O-Kagachi as the finisher. We'll drop early creatures which fly and get bigger and have all kinds of spooky abilities. Then we'll play our Commander to beat some serious face and keep our opponents from sending their forces our way. Why don't we give the Dragon Double Strike while we're at it? With a couple of power boosts we could even end up in one-hit kill world, which is always fun. If we do it with Enchantments, we can do a sub-theme, so let's run all the Shrines while we're at it. Now we've got a deck.

We're going to run 40 lands and not ramp at all. The mana base here should be able to manage the color requirements: we're pretty heavily White, so we're making more of that than anything else, but we shouldn't need any ramp. Shuffle well and mulligan if you've only got two or fewer lands in an opening hand. The only lands that don't make color are Hall of Heliod's Generosity (great for returning any lost Enchantments) and Rogue's Passage, which is almost always worth running if you can fit it in.

We can draw cards a few ways. We have two Shrines which draw based on how many Shrines we have in play. We've got 11, so we have a chance to be drawing a fair amount. Additionally, there are some Spirits which draw cards. Particularly, the -Onna cycle from Kamigawa block is neat; they come into play and have an effect, then whenever you play a Spirit spell you can return it to your hand. Haru-Onna draws us a card when it ETBs. We have enough Enchantments to make it worth running Eidolon of Blossoms, too.

Our way to win is most likely our Commander. We have a few ways to grant Double Strike, and we want to reserve them for our Dragon Spirit leader; with Double Strike we kill in two hits. It's possible we'll even manage to get O-Kagachi up to 11 power, at which point Double Strike just kills. Note we're running three of the Enchant Creatures from Lorwyn block: Runes of the Deus, Shield of the Oversoul, and Steel of the Godhead. These three are the most valuable to our Commander, I thought, but it might be fun to run all 10, just for the heck of it. They all give at least +2/+2 and a couple of abilities, though sometimes they overlap with things we've already got. Anyway, two of those and a lord and we're killing in a single shot with Double Strike.

A couple more -Onnas will destroy Enchantments and Artifacts for us, which is nice. We have a few Spirit-centered ways to do other things; Aether Shockwave will bounce all non-Spirit creatures for us, Kaya's Guile does a nice Fleshbag Marauder impression, and Rend Flesh is basically a Murder. Kirtar's Wrath leaves a couple of Spirits behind when it blows up the board. I kept the answers on-theme; the deck could likely do with a few more, and one could stay mostly on theme by keeping it limited to Enchantment-based removal. I'd start with Banishing Light and Oblivion Ring if I found myself needing more.

We have a bunch of little Spirits, and we should feel comfortable playing them out early and using their abilities whenever we want. Needle in a bit of damage, draw a card, save your team, counter a spell - whatever they do, do it early. Angel of Flight Alabaster has some of my favorite artwork of any card, and most of the time I can't run it because it's normally not helpful, but in this case it makes perfect sense as our only non-Spirit creature. We can also make a fair amount of Spirit tokens which work nicely with the various lords we're running.

All the Shrines are useful, too. We will gain life, draw cards, make tokens and mana, force discards, kill things, and if we get Sanctum of All out we can do it all twice every turn! It makes for a fun little mini game happening during the game. It probably won't win for us, but it'll be fun watching people try to figure out whether it's worth it to point removal at the Shrines while we drop an Embercleave on our Commander.

O-Kagami Spirits | Commander | Mark Wsichkaemper

This deck is the equivalent of an off-Broadway play. It's not quite ready for the big stage, but it's close, and with a little work and some tight play, it could be a strong deck. It probably wants a more focused removal package, and a stronger mana base is never a bad thing, but there's a big, evasive Commander with good support, lots of little distracting fliers with great abilities, and a whole sub-theme going on that helps our overall game plan while keeping us alive and forcing our opponents to pay attention. (Expect to hear "how many Shrines do you have again?" a fair amount.) It'll also be fun to play, and it's pretty good at staying on-theme, too.

What's the five-color Commander you want to build? How would you put your own stamp on it? Please let us know in the comments.

I'll see you in a couple of weeks for the last column in Around the Wheel!

Thanks for reading and stay safe.

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