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Jodah, the Unifier's Forever Deck


Jodah, the Unifier is arguably one of the most powerful cards to come out of the Dominaria United set and is a commander that received a lot of legendary support from 2023's Magic: The Gathering releases. Most notable among them is The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth that featured cards like Flowering of the White Tree, Gandalf the White, Storm of Saruman, and a legendary lands cycle that provide extra value and come in untapped when legendary cards are on the battlefield.

Flowering of the White Tree
Gandalf the White
Storm of Saruman

When Jodah works, he really works, overrunning the board with more and more legendary creatures. However, when I saw Jodah, I saw a chance for an evolving deck, a forever deck that changed each time I bought new packs. I challenged myself to build a battle cruiser deck that played Jodah out no earlier than turn five, giving my opponents a fair chance to build their defenses before I landed my commander. I also wanted a support system for Jodah, about 20 "forever" cards that supported Jodah's shenanigans, and a slower mana base that kept me from landing Jodah on turn two or three. As of the writing of this article, I've never landed Jodah before turn four and that's something I'm pretty proud of. (Now if you're reading this and thinking to yourself, "why would I want to slow myself down?" worry not, I have the cEDH version of Jodah for you, located here.)

Jodah, the Unifier

Jodah's base consists of cards that add to the silliness and directly support the theme of Legendary Cascade. These cards either cheat new cards onto the battlefield, make legendary cards cheaper to cast, or give value off of casting these cards for free. The cards that really shine here are Kodama of the East Tree, Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, Storm of Saruman, and Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. Occasionally these cards switch out when something better comes along. Some examples of cards that I have removed include Bolas's Citadel, Chromatic Orrery, and Shanid, Sleeper's Scourge. These cards all support Jodah but were removed in favor of cards like Storm of Saruman, Inga and Esika, and Djeru and Hazoret.

The next step in building this deck is figuring out what to put into the deck. When getting a set of new cards to consider, I first pull out everything that is modular in the deck. I keep track of this by using tags in my decks, but the process becomes pretty streamlined after a while. Separate the deck into four piles, the base, the lands, the supporting cards, and the modular cards. Sometimes it can be necessary to look at the whole deck, focusing on the modular cards. To make Jodah really get the most value out of random cards, I focus on the mana value, not necessarily what the card itself is meant to do.

The goal is to include cards that make the mana chart look as close to a bell as possible. You'll want to include a few 1- and 2-cost legendaries, a few 5-cost legendaries, and a bunch of 3-4 cost legendaries. Don't forget that non-creature legendaries will also trigger your commander, but don't include too many or you'll have a board state full of legendaries that don't necessarily help you in combat. Keeping all of this in mind allows Jodah's trigger to hit as many times as possible, quickly going to an overwhelming board state. By turn six and seven, expect to have eight or more legendaries in play if not faced with removal. With Jodah's secondary ability to pump legendary creatures, this makes for a nearly insurmountable combat step that is sure to end games if unanswered. It is fair to say that when Jodah is on the board, you are the threat.

What keeps this deck fun for me is that these new legendaries all have their own additions to the board state. Currently, with Wilds of Eldraine, cards like Ash, Party Crasher, Goddric, Cloaked Reveler, and Totentanz, Swarm Piper push the deck toward taking advantage of both ETBs and deaths on your board state. Previous sets like March of the Machines gave the deck a poison and proliferate package, while The Brothers' War focused on artifact creatures and Commander Masters leaned into good stuff.

You can check out my current deck list for Jodah here: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/aWdi9nwsak2jDjHkXy04YQ

As you can see, I've got a high amount of land, most of them slow two or three-color lands. I also make use of tags to help keep me organized and figure out how to change the deck. I have a few basic rocks and I highly suggest Relic of Legends if you want to take full advantage of having a full board. For my deck, I only included a few spell cards that weren't legendary spells. I also chose to forgo spells like Urza's Ruinous Blast because while these spells can trigger Jodah, I personally didn't want to lose out on the spell if it came up at an inopportune time. I have a total of five nonpermanent spells in here but don't feel strongly one way or another about keeping them in.

No matter how you want to build Jodah, one thing is clear, the card is good and there are limitless options to include in the deck. The most important thing is to make sure your mana base supports the legendaries that you want to include and that you include legendaries that will allow you to trigger Jodah as many times as possible. What are your auto-includes for Jodah, and what "forever" decks do you keep around?

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