Oko, Thief of Crowns was recently banned in Standard and Brawl, to the joy of players tired of losing to Simic and Sultai food-based decks. But not everyone is rejoicing. Some players invested heavily in cards for Oko decks and are now disappointed that they can’t use those decks any longer.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other uses for Oko and the cards you may have bought to go with him. And with a diverse new Standard metagame at hand, some of them may have powerful presences of their own in tournament play. Oko is still legal in Pioneer and Modern, as are many other cards recently banned from Standard. But if you’d rather stick with Standard or Brawl than change formats, here are some ideas that reuse as many of your Simic and Sultai Food cards as possible.
Oko’s food strategy isn’t the only one available to Simic decks. Simic Ramp decks have been making waves in Standard, including this deck from GP Brisbane. Simic Ramp combines combines cards like Hydroid Krasis and Gilded Goose with ramp payoffs that include End-Raze Forerunners and Agent of Treachery.
If you’ve been playing Sultai Food, you can use the pieces to build a Golgari Sacrifice deck, like this one. Vraska, Golgari Queen fits in here, as well as Murderous Rider and Assassin’s Trophy. Some players are even moving into Jund, including Mythic Championship VII winner Piotr Glogowski.
Oko was as powerful in Brawl as he was in Standard, and many Brawl players used him as a commander. Here are some suggestions for replacement commanders for a Brawl deck centered around making and sacrificing food. (Keep in mind that Once Upon a Time, Veil of Summer, and Field of the Dead are still legal in Brawl, even though they’ve been banned in Standard.)
Roalesk, Apex Hybrid puts +1/+1 counters on your creatures every time he enters the battlefield, and adds more every time he dies. If you plan to convert your Oko Brawl deck into a midrange deck, he’s probably your best bet. Zegana, Utopian Speaker may be more powerful, but she’s better suited for a deck built around +1/+1 counters.
Yarok, the Desecrated allows you to take better advantage of any enters-the-battlefield triggers that are already in your deck, from creating more food to using Queen of Ice to tap down more of your opponents’ creatures.
Oko, the Trickster is the best alternate commander for flavor, since he’s still an Oko Planeswalker. His abilities, which buff your creatures and allow him to copy them, are geared toward midrange, and activating his ultimate ability is going to be extremely satisfying.
You can also convert your Oko Brawl deck into an Oathbreaker deck, pairing him with a food-related Signature Spell like Giant Opportunity or Insatiable Appetite. Or, if you have enough blue mana sources in your deck, you could lean into his ultimate ability and use Mass Manipulation or Entrancing Melody as his Signature.
Brewing Right Along
While many Standard and Brawl players will miss playing with Oko, his departure opens the door to a lot of creative deckbuilding space and an exciting new metagame in Standard and Brawl. Tweet at @Card_Kingdom and let us know what post-Oko decklists you’re working on!
Mara is an Azorius bureaucrat who dreams of joining the Selesnya Conclave. Their favorite color of mana is green, and they love brewing for Commander variants.