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Jhoira, Ageless Innovator in Commander


The Castle of Bentheim by Jacob Van Ruisdael (1650s). Warkite Marauder by Victor Adame.


I have many feelings about Jhoira, none of which have anything to do with Magic lore.

She first appeared on a card in 2007 in Future Sight as a 2/2 Human Wizard with the ability to give your nonland cards suspend. Casting Eldrazi Titans, extra turn spells and other bombs for 2 mana with 4 suspend counters on them is powerful, but also lacks subtlety. I never liked giving my opponents ample notice of what was going to hit them in a few turns, and never seriously built or played with Jhoira of the Ghitu.

Jhoira's second appearance was in 2018 in the Dominaria set as Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. In 11 years she went from being a 2/2 Human Wizard to being a 3/3 Human Artificer with the ability to give you card draw whenever you cast an historic spell. Historic spells are Artifacts, Legendaries and Sagas. This Jhoira led many a "Cheerios" deck, so named because of all of the 0 cost artifacts you'd spam out onto the battlefield. I played this deck and while it was a lot of fun, it also led to long turns where you'd play solitaire, playing out low mana spells and digging for your actual wincon.

I hated the first Jhoira for the fact that she telegraphed exactly what you were going to do. I loved the second Jhoira for giving me an early taste of playing storm. I didn't love the fact that you'd end up playing solitaire, but it is fun to have so much power available in the command zone.

Today I'm going to dive into building our third iteration of Jhoira: Jhoira, Ageless Innovator. I'm not sure yet if I'll love it or hate it, but I'm guessing I'll end up somewhere in between those extremes. Let's take a closer look.

Jhoira, Ageless Innovator

My original goal was to try to find a way to break Jhoira wide open, but at this point I'm feeling like that might not be quite as easy as I had hoped. This 2/3 Human Artificer has a neat party trick. She can tap to get 2 ingenuity counters and then you get to put an artifact from your hand onto the battlefield with a mana value of X or less where X is the number of ingenuity counters on her.

I've got lots of ideas on what to do with Jhoira. I could play around with proliferate cards, giving her extra ingenuity counters. I could run ways to untap her at instant speed. That would let me tap her, hold priority, untap her, tap her again, and when her activations all resolved I'd be able to drop multiple higher mana value artifacts rather than having to slowly step up from 2 to 4 to 6, and so on.

I had been hoping that I would be able to build another crazy Jhoira deck that had the capacity to snowball out of control like Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. I think there may be ways to do that, but they will not be self-contained the way a Cheerios deck is able to run amuck largely on the back of what its commander brings to the game. This Jhoira is going to need some help.

Card Draw Rocks

This deck has a healthy supply of mana rocks, but what I've tried to focus on in this build is ways to keep having artifacts to play when I tap Jhoira. I'm not going after a Cheerios (zero or low mana value artifacts) strategy because I don't get a ton of value out of this Jhoira that way.

What I decided to do is load up on every artifact I could find that could draw me cards. Usually those aren't very mana-efficient. If I'm just putting them on the battlefield that should free up my mana to pay for activations that I might not ordinarily be able to afford.

Bonder's Ornament
Jayemdae Tome
Seer's Sundial

Bonder's Ornament doubles as a mana rock, but for four mana I can draw a card and curry favor with anyone else who happens to have a Bonder's Ornament on their battlefield. Jayemdae Tome dates all the way back to Fifth Edition and can draw me a card for the lofty cost of four mana. Scepter of Insight, Arcane Encyclopedia, Serum Tank and Endless Atlas should also help with card draw, though that last one will only work if I have three or more lands with the same name. Seer's Sundial rounds out this section with a landfall trigger that will let me pay 2 mana to draw a card after playing a land.


I took a page out of Prime Speaker Vannifar's book and decided to also run a few additional ways to untap my commander to get more activations. I'm a bit leery of getting ahead of my card draw and finding myself empty handed, but I think it makes sense to build this first draft with ways to untap Jhoira and if that turns out to not work well I can adjust the list accordingly.

Corridor Monitor
Thousand-Year Elixir
Pemmin's Aura

Corridor Monitor is fantastic in Vannifar and good in a flicker deck,, but might be on the bubble if I end up playing and refining this list. On the other hand, Thousand-Year Elixir is a fantastic card for a deck like Jhoira, Ageless Innovator. It will let me activate Jhoira on the turn she enters the battlefield and can tap for one mana to untap target creature. I'm also running both Pemmin's Aura and Freed From the Real as additional ways to untap.

Unwinding Clock
Isochron Scepter
Dramatic Reversal

Unwinding Clock will untap my artifacts on each other player's untap step. Jhoira might not be an artifact creature, but being able to untap all of my mana rocks and any card draw artifacts should go a long way towards helping me refill my hand.

With the number of artifacts I'm running, it made sense to throw in Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal, though I'm not (yet) running tutors for that powerful mana combo. If I hit it, I've got Memnarch and Staff of Domination in the list as ways to finish off the game.

Ageless Innovation

The big question is going to be whether my card draw will be able to reliably pull me into anything helpful. I think it's a solid plan. Save mana on playing card draw artifacts that aren't that efficient. Use the extra mana to pay for the activations. It all makes sense on paper, but in an actual game I'll have to see how much that plan actually turns into hitting land drops and having cards in hand.

If it looks like the list above has just over 20 artifacts, you're missing the fact that a bunch of creatures in the list are artifact creatures. I'm running a few cost reducers along with Vedalken Archmage and Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain in hopes that I'll be able to squeeze yet more card draw out of the deck. Shimmer Dragon is also in the list, and is an all-time favorite of mine for turning an artifact heavy list into a draw engine.

Final Thoughts

My initial hopes of finding the next fringe cEDH Jhoira might have come up short, but better deckbuilders than I may have taken that leap. I'm a little skeptical that this commander can push up into that rare air, but I'm also aware that my take on a new card usually won't be the most optimized build possible.

I think this list would probably be a lot of fun, but you might find that players freak out if Jhoira gets too many Ingenuity counters. You can either reassure them that you aren't running Blightsteel Colossus, or if you prefer, you can take that extra step and load up on all the big metal dudes you can get your hands on.

It's worth noting that you can tap Jhoira at instant speed, so you may have players imagining you dropping that Blightsteel on the end step before your turn and murdering someone once you untap and go to combat. It's a real threat if you've got it in your list, but it's also not really my style and I wouldn't assume Jhoira will get that many Ingenuity counters in an interaction heavy meta.

Tuning this list down would probably involve dropping the combo lines and playing a much fairer game. If you wanted to tune it up, you'd likely want to run better mana rocks and a few tutors. Another combo finish or two, along with Thassa's Oracle, would make sense if you were going to push up in power level but I still don't see this as being a cEDH commander.

I'm not sure what's next but I have plans to write up a Ramos, Dragon Engine list at some point in the coming weeks. We're getting too many five color cards to not revisit that old favorite.

That's all I've got for today. Thanks for reading and I'll see you next week!

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