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Four Levels of Naya: Jared Carthalion, True Heir


If you've been reading along with the Naya articles we've been doing, you'll know I love Titanic Ultimatum. I had a thought as I went through our four levels, each deck would include that card, but alas, sometimes it just doesn't make sense to play an uber-Overrun in your deck.

Today's deck is an example of that. It's a Naya deck which doesn't rely on big creatures getting bigger (and tramplier, and first strikier). Instead, it declares that we are, in fact, in charge, and the only way that will change is with our death. Let's see what we can do with $350 and the truth.

Jared Carthalion, True Heir

We get a 3/3 for rgw. Someone else becomes the Monarch. But then if we can become the Monarch, we prevent any damage done to him and put +1/+1 counters on him instead. I think I want to be the Monarch. And I think I want to wallop Jared until he can barely see straight and then send him straight for my opponents like an asteroid in a '90's action movie. Let's break it down.

We're going to be spending some mana and we're three-color, so plenty of ramp and fixing is in order. We start with only 38 lands, most of which will help us fix by being various duals. There are a few specific lands worth pointing out, though. Axgard Armory will hunt down a piece of Equipment or an Aura; that could come in very handy at some point, and it functions as a White source otherwise. Kessig Wolf Run, Slayers' Stronghold, and Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion are all ways to make Jared more formidable: power boosts and keywords are great for him. Throne of the High City can take back the Monarchy when needed, and Rogue's Passage will likely win you a game or two with this deck, since Jared is likely to get absurdly large.

(Keen-eyed readers will note we don't have 40 lands. That's true, but it's because we're running three double-faced cards with lands on the backside. Those cards shouldn't count toward your total lands, but we can kind of count them, because if we're hurting we can always play them. With some ramp and a few of those, I don't mind dropping the total land count a bit, but keep in mind we not only have those three cards which can also be lands but also several pieces of ramp. It's not a one-for-one trade; more like four- or five- to one.)

Our ramp is a combination of rocks and land search. Normally when in Green, it makes more sense to just do lands, because lands are harder to destroy and thin your deck so you're more likely to draw action. However, the color requirements for this deck are intense enough (and the colors are equally divided enough) it's worth it to go both ways. The rocks like Arcane Signet and Chromatic Lantern make all the colors we need, while Kodama's Reach and Migration Path help thin and get us more lands.

Let's talk about being the Monarch for a minute, because we intend to be the Monarch for most of the game, and it may not be familiar to everyone. The Monarch doesn't exist until someone plays something that makes someone the Monarch - like our Commander. Thereafter, you become the Monarch by either a) playing something which makes you the Monarch or b) doing combat damage to the player who is the Monarch. When you are the Monarch, you draw a card at the beginning of your end step. This means we'll be drawing an extra card most of the turns we're playing! We're still running Hunter's Insight as a way to draw a bunch of extra cards, and Reliquary Tower is a worthwhile inclusion in any deck which manages to reliably draw extra cards, but otherwise we can lean on being the Monarch to keep extra cards flowing.

And now let's talk about how we're going to win. We want to win with Jared, but the red zone should probably be on the bottom of our list of ways to do it. What we want is for Jared to be on the battlefield, to be the Monarch, and to have a ton of damage done to Jared somehow; that will give him a bunch of counters and be huge. Then we want to be able to use that damage we've done to him in some specific way, preferably thrown at someone's face. For example, what if we equipped Jared with Blazing Sunsteel or Fiendlash? Both of them read, basically, "whenever equipped creature is dealt damage, it deals that much damage to some kind of target." What we really want is one of these two, equipped on Jared, and to start hitting Jared ourselves, because that's damage that can't be stopped with a Plant token.

How do we do damage to Jared? Let's start with Blasphemous Act. The Act is a common board wipe in decks without access to White or Black, because it does 13 damage to each creature and kindly reduces its cost based on how many creatures are on the battlefield. So, we fire off one of those bad boys, put 13 +1/+1 counters on Jared, and if he's equipped we do 13 damage to something. Storm's Wrath does 4, Solar Blaze does damage equal to each creature's power to itself, and Star of Extinction does 20 (!). That should get some hearts racing.

While we're at it, why don't we do some fighting? Pit Fight, Ancient Animus, and Khalni Ambush // Khalni Territory are all variations on the Fight mechanic; we can fight something and kill it, or if we just want a lot of counters we can fight something really huge, let it do its damage, and get all the counters because whatever its fighting will do all its power in damage. ("Oh, you have a 40/40? Cool, I'll fight it with my 3/3. NOW I HAVE A 43/43 COMMANDER.")

There are a few tricky things we can do, too. We have a few ways to Pariah Jared, so he'll take all damage we'd otherwise take. It's always nice to just take the damage from an alpha strike and have it turn into counters on our commander. (Do keep in mind we'll still lose Monarch, because the damage is redirected but we were still dealt combat damage by another player.) And we can use our giant commander to wrath the board with Chandra's Ignition.

There are a couple of ways to make our commander Indestructible; it seems a bit silly because most of the time damage he takes will be turned into counters, but sometimes plans go awry and holding on to the Monarchy isn't the easiest thing to do when opponents do stuff like make creatures themselves and attack with them. (Jerks.) It can also be useful to save another creature we want to survive one of our massive do-damage-to-everything spells. We've got a few ways to just pump Jared up, like Angelfire Ignition or Blackblade Reforged. Mage Slayer is a great way to end someone's life, especially after a big Fiendlash hit. Shadowspear helps us fight creatures we otherwise can't see, and Trailblazer's Boots are Rogue's Passage number two in this deck. It'd be nice to win by simply Fiendlashing everyone to death, but chances are we'll need to send Jared at an opponent to take them out; having a few ways to get him through and do some extra damage seems worth it. Toralf, God of Fury // Toralf's Hammer also works well; go ahead and block our 26/26 with a 0/1 Plant. We'll do 25 to your face!

The final thing we have is every way possible to become the Monarch in our colors. The Courts of Ire, Bounty, and Grace are all excellent for us, but any way to become the Monarch is worth it so we don't have to fuss around with combat before we can pump up Jared. We're not overly focused on any of the Monarch cards, but some of them have relevant abilities worth keeping in your mind when you play them.

Jared Carthalion, True Heir | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

We came in way under budget at $171.85. Nothing got cut for cost, it's just not an overly pricey deck. I suppose you could get to the budget by "improving" the lands, but this mana base should work really well all on its own. Or buy foils or something? Anyway, no sense in making a deck cost more than it needs to.

This is certainly a tricky way to approach Naya. Are there others? If you've got a non-combat-based Naya deck, let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading.

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