Welcome back to Let’s Brew: a weekly deckbuilding mini-series exploring legendary creatures from Commander 2017. We’ve already given Nazahn some toys to play with and assembled a legion of Licia’s soldiers, and today, we’re going to build a home for one of C17’s most colorful legends: O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami.
Any one reason will do, but we have a couple of angles for deckbuilding inspiration. For starters, I love Kamigawa, its overabundance of legendary creatures, and the odd ways they’ve affected Commander. O-Kagachi not only ticks off the nostalgia and flavor boxes, he also provides a challenging template for 5-color decks that aren’t Tribal Spirits. With an influx of new options added to a list of long-tenured format standbys, finding a way to harness these forces into a meaningful design required pulling out many of my tools and tricks.
Aside from building decks built towards grindier games, one of the biggest criticisms I’ve been given about my decks is that I have a “hipster reluctance” to add cards that are both powerful and incredibly popular. While I’m not likely to change, this quality makes sense; as someone that has a lot of decks and plays Commander almost exclusively, favoring less ubiquitous cards leads to higher-variance games while also providing a wider threshold for risk-taking at the deckbuilding level. Being both a mono-colored player and someone that has yet to make a deck with all of Magic’s colors, it was important for both deckbuilding discipline and the task of proving that I am not afraid of building with powerful cards; I just needed to find the right reasons to include them!
From what I’ve seen so far, the biggest difference between this O-Kagachi list and the ones online is that instead of Maddening Imp, Warmonger Hellkite, and Fumiko the Lowblood, we are playing Progenitus, and our plan is to put it into play early. We’re also playing Rhystic Study, which will be obnoxious, and we’re playing Havoc Festival, which will make the game go quickly.
Why? Aside from the fact that attacking Commander politics at its core is a lot better than playing Imps’ Taunt and its ilk, O-Kagachi overloads our opponents with a compelling rattlesnake/anti-rattlesnake subgame in combat. With access to haste, a few reanimation spells, the eventual Progenitus, and a decent removal suite, there are plenty of ways for us to navigate and control whatever we do or don’t want to attack us. Since playing more aggressively lends itself to a faster game and more people that will want to attack us, we’re ensured to have a healthy supply of targets driven by incentivized attacks.
Because we can’t really predict how our opponents will react, we have some card choices for potential disaster scenarios.
The deck runs three Fog effects —Darkness, Dawn Charm, and ye olde Fog— for the intersectional crowd of Infect players and lovers of Craterhoof Behemoth. These are probably the most important cards for the archenemy scenario, where the whole table has ganged up on us because we’ve either asked, “Did you pay 1 for that?” too many times, or disrespected the tactics of their political game. Naturally, the goal is to be as close to the archenemy as possible without going over.
The removal suite runs light on Wrath effects, but I think that’s okay. Again, we want creatures on the battlefield, and we want them attacking us. In fact, we want our opponents to also have the option to attack each other, which means removing the pillows from the Pillowfort decks. We can’t have Sphere of Safety and Ghostly Prison forcing extra damage onto us.
We’re also running light on creatures, mostly to increase our odds of hitting Progenitus with Oath of Druids. Xenagos and Keranos are around for additional support – the former for extra O-Kagachi power and haste, the latter for helping to draw cards and close out games. Ashen Rider and Angel of Despair are extra helpful, too, particularly with our reanimation package, while Academy Rector rounds out our enchantment toolbox, with the added versatility of grabbing the Gods.
Ultimately, our lowest goals for the deck are to play Progenitus and to exile one or two things with O-Kagachi, but I think this can get troublesome quickly and win some games. The secret is that it’s going to be all-in on fun, and not necessarily for serious players. Without our big creature threats, our more obnoxious enchantments provide serious pressure, forcing the game to have a definite direction as opposed to carrying on too long.
Overall, I expect this design to be one of the better off-theme versions of O-Kagachi. I encourage players looking to give this brew a try to adapt the splashier cards in the deck to something that is sure to get their opponent’s attention.
For most of his Magic-playing life, Aaron has been playing and writing about Commander. One of the few mono-colored players in a gold-bordered world, Aaron enjoys the challenges of creating meaningful, memorable games, as well as the excitement that comes with engaging underrated cards as he explores the format’s uncharted territory. A disciplined deckbuilder with over 200 lists to his name, Aaron has spent the past several years creating content about his favorite format.