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Classic Commander: Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer


Have you ever been extremely hyped about a set and then go through all the cards, only to find a card that just seems tremendously disappointing? That's how I felt the first time I pulled up the New Phyrexia set list in the wake of the legendary Godbook leak and saw Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer.

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer

New Phyrexia was a monstrously powerful set. Its impact can still be felt to this day. Phyrexian mana tore up Constructed formats, the praetors - along with several others - became staples in Commander, and you can still find many cards from the set in a typical Vintage Cube. So, seeing Jor Kadeen in a set like this felt weird and off-putting. It was simply, in a word, unexciting. At this time, I was really starting to get into Commander and I loved all the neat and quirky things you could do. Jor Kadeen just felt like the antithesis of that and seemed boring to my newly returned to Magic eyes.

Hindsight is quite often 20/20, though, and looking back, I've begun to feel like he's actually quite a bit better than I initially gave him credit for. It's hard to justify him as much today with the sheer diversity of playable legendary creatures out there, but with Classic Commander, he fits in just fine. That's where we're going to be looking today, at a what could've been style of deck for a commander made at the very tail end of this snapshot-in-time format. He's big, he's bad, and he's bringing the beats, so let's check out a list!

Jor Kadeen | Commander | Paige Smith

One thing I realized as I was making this deck was that I think I turned my nose up at Jor Kadeen because of when New Phyrexia came out. As it happens, that's still when I was kind of easing my way back into the game and I hadn't really amassed a collection again, nor had I really found areas where I could get singles. Looking back at it, though, there's a lot of ways a deck like this could've been built and I think I was just more interested in Commander decks doing interesting things. As it turns out, though, you can make a pretty dang good deck with The Prevailer!

Emeria Angel
Shrine of Loyal Legions

The premise here is pretty simple: make a bunch of creatures, spit out some artifacts, and beat your opponents' faces in! The best way to do that? Tokens, of course! And boy do we ever have some great token generators here! Several mainstays are here, like some Elspeth planeswalkers, Hero of Bladehold, Emeria Angel, Captain of the Watch, Cloudgoat Ranger, and Darien, King of Kjeldor. There's a lot of great artifact making ones that can turn on Jor Kadeen himself at a breakneck speed! Myrsmith, Precursor Golem, Shrine of Loyal Legions, and Myr Battlesphere can swiftly flood your board with a ton of artifacts that come in looking way bigger than they might otherwise be!

There's also a number of excellent ways to buff your creatures. The aforementioned Hero of Bladehold does a great job with the battle cry mechanic, but so does Hero of Oxid Ridge, which also makes it easy to get attacks. There's also Balefire Liege, Celestial Crusader, and Kabira Vindicator to give mass pumps. Marshal's Anthem is another one, but here it not only pumps your creatures - it brings them back from the graveyard! Last but not least is everyone's favorite Mirror Entity. A +1/+1 here and there isn't a big deal, but turning your 1/1 token army into a bunch of 7/7s that still get a ton of additional buffs on top of that is incredible!

One of the trickier aspects of putting the deck together, though, was finding the right artifacts to add to the mix. With Classic Commander, we effectively remove ten years of Magic releases and there's been a lot in that timespan. Artifacts have improved tremendously and have a ton of different varieties as well. We have more mana rocks, for one. Can't put an Arcane Signet or a Talisman of Conviction here! So, I tried some other options instead.

Boros Signet
Sword of Light and Shadow
Mimic Vat

You still do have a few classic artifacts like the artifact lands from the original Mirrodin block, Sensei's Divining Top, Everflowing Chalice, Boros Signet, and of course Sol Ring. There're also some artifact creatures thrown in, but hardly enough to get metalcraft going beyond the tokens. So, I ended up settling somewhat on equipment as a minor subtheme here. Not only do they help push the metalcraft strategy, they also buff your creatures individually in their own way. Nim Deathmantle and Sword of Light and Shadow are especially notable here, as they can keep bringing creatures back from the dead, which works superbly with your token generators. If you need a little more, Crawlspace and Norn's Annex do the job just fine, or you can use cards like Mimic Vat and Phyrexian Processor for a slow trickle of additional creatures.

Regardless of how you slice it, though, Jor Kadeen is an excellent commander. He might look kind of boring and bland at first glance, but his ability is no joke. Imagine spitting out ten 1/1 tokens only to then play Jor Kadeen. Oops, where'd all these 4/1s come from?! I only wish I'd given him more of a chance when I was younger and first saw him. Sometimes, it really is the least flashy cards that make the best decks, and that rocks. Give Jor Kadeen a try at your next Commander pod. Classic Commander or not, this list will pack a wallop and bring your opponents to their knees!

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

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