Streets of New Capenna Previews are here, and Scott is already brewing up some EDH mischief with a new legendary, Jaxis, the Troublemaker!
The official preview season for Streets of New Capenna has begun! We’ve seen the five crime families and their leaders, as well as a plethora of powerful new commanders and cards that help to flesh out the art deco noir world. During the official preview stream from Wizards of the Coast, however, one legendary creature in particular caught my eye (presumably with a left hook):
Jaxis, the Troublemaker is a real fighter with a few tricks up those rolled up sleeves. Her main ability can temporarily copy a creature for just one mana and by discarding a card. The copies draw you a card when they die too, ensuring you don’t run out of cards to fuel her value engine!
Her blitz ability is a new one, exclusive to the Riveteers family. It effectively lets you play Jaxis for cheaper, but also gives her the same clause as the tokens she makes. This can be brilliant if you want to make a quick copy of another creature, and thanks to the wording you can cast a creature for its blitz cost from the command zone too! This gives Jaxis more flexibility, and allows her to have an immediate impact when she joins the fight.
How Does She Compare To Other Commanders?
As copying creatures isn’t anything new to red’s slice of the color pie, there are already a number of commanders that operate in a similar way to Jaxis. Let’s take a look at some of these commanders to see how she holds up against them.
Delina Wild Mage is the most recent addition, and at first glance may seem very similar to Jaxis, but there are a few key differences. First, Delina needs to attack, so you need to either protect her for a turn or give her evasion. After that, she may need evasion to avoid dying in combat. Finally, Delina’s tokens exile; this means you won’t trigger any abilities that happen when creatures die, reducing the pool of creatures that could be useful in the deck. She does allow for multiple tokens to be made, however, and she works particularly well with creatures that grant additional combat steps.
Rionya, Fire Dancer is a niche commander, and is usually a cross between a creature copy and spellslinger deck. There’s an inherent tension in the deck between the balance of spells and creatures, and you need Rionya to make it to the combat phase. A well-timed Swords to Plowshares will stymie your game plan, so protection is crucial here too. She is possibly the most explosive of her kind however, and can produce some truly devastating turns if the conditions are right. It’s not to everyone’s tastes, but those that play with Rionya adore her.
Building A Deck For Jaxis
I believe that Jaxis has what it takes to break out as a fun and unique commander in her own right. I’m going to prove this by doing a mini deck tech, highlighting the main aspects of the deck and how it operates.
To make the most of Jaxis, we need to provide her with creatures that play nice with her copy ability. Thankfully there are a number of choices available in red to ensure that we can ramp, interact, and develop a strong board presence.
Smaller value creatures like Circuit Mender and Skyscanner help to filter through your deck in the early game, ensuring you develop on time to deploy your bigger threats. If you need to refill your hand fully, however, Magus of the Wheel is an ideal target to copy, effectively giving you a Wheel of Fortune whenever you like.
There are many creatures that can give you mana, which will help you to accelerate faster than mana rocks alone. If you copy Priest of Urabrask it functions as a ritual effect, which can be critical for double-spelling early to get on board. Rapacious Dragon, Generator Servant and Emrakul’s Hatcher are just a few more creatures that function in the same way, so you have redundancy with this effect.
When it comes time to bring out the heavyweights, Wurmcoil Engine is one of your best options. Not only is it a huge threat by itself, but replacing itself with two tokens when it dies is an easy way to populate the board through Jaxis’ ability while also making combat a nightmare for everyone else. You can also use Port Razer to sneak in a few extra combat steps to close the door on the game quicker.
If you’re focusing this much on Jaxis’ ability to copy creatures, you may as well make the most of it! Illusionist’s Bracers and Rings of Brighthearth give you an extra instance of her ability, giving you an extra copy each time! These effectively double her output; getting two copies of Wurmcoil Engine that each draw you a card and make two tokens on death will surely pull you ahead of the opposition with little effort.
If you’d like to keep the copies that Jaxis has made for you, Sundial of the Infinite will take care of it for you. The tokens will still retain the “when this creature dies, draw a card” clause, so they will still provide you with value regardless of when you get hit with a board wipe!
Since all of your creatures have decent effects, it can be nice to have a backup in the case of when the original copies die. Mimic Vat gives you a way to make copies of a creature you lost, which Jaxis can then copy again! Another nice addition is Fireflux Squad. You can use these soldiers to turn an attacking token into a random creature from your deck, which gives Jaxis more creatures to copy! They can also just be a fun pseudo-Polymorph effect that can turn the tide of battle if you’re lucky.
Since there are so many creatures entering the battlefield, it makes sense to include Impact Tremors and Warstorm Surge as a way for you to close out the game. They give you a lot of reach without having to turn your creatures sideways, saving you from Ghostly Prison-like effects.
Red Dragon acts like its own personal Warstorm Surge, and Jaxis is more than happy to spend one mana to deal 4 damage to each opponent. Just a couple of copies of this uncommon is enough to incinerate your opponents’ life totals in spectacular fashion.
Finally, Fanatic of Mogis is another great copy target that can easily cut your opponents down on the spot. If it doesn’t, Jaxis’ copies certainly will! The copies she makes also retain the creature’s original mana costs, so they will all add to your devotion to red!
Many players like to include combos in their decks, as a way to end a game that drags on too long. There are a couple of combos that would fit the deck, so you have a few options available if you decide to use one.
There is a combo involving Jaxis, Thornbite Staff, and Phyrexian Altar. While Jaxis has Thornbite Staff equipped, you copy a creature, then sacrifice it to Phyrexian Altar. This will give you one red mana, draw you a card, and untap Jaxis, as well as the trigger of whatever creature you copied. This lets you filter through your deck, and if you add an Eldrazi titan like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, you can loop infinitely thanks to its shuffle effect.
I’m not wild on this approach personally; Thornbite Staff and Phyrexian Altar already combo with a ham sandwich, and they don’t do much outside of the actual combo. If you were to run those kinds of combos, you’re likely leaning into them as the primary win condition, so you’ll need to run tutors for the pieces. This is how a deck like this ends up being high power, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not a great idea for more social tables.
I recommend Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Zealous Conscripts as a more synergistic combo. Kiki-Jiki copies Zealous Conscripts, which untaps Kiki-Jiki, allowing you to make infinite Conscripts with haste. These individual creatures work well with many of your other cards when you’re not trying to actively combo, which makes them feel much more at home in the deck.
The Finished Deck
This is the end result, and it looks to be a blast to play. You can go over the top of other fair decks, it has a lot of redundancies in case Jaxis gets removed one too many times, and you can really end the game quickly when you need to. Even if you get knocked down, you’re ready to pick yourself back up and go another few rounds!
Other Homes For Jaxis
While Jaxis does look to be a fantastic commander, she will undoubtedly have a home in the ninety-nine of countless other decks. Here are just a few examples of commanders that would love to enlist her skills:
Since Brudiclad transforms tokens into other tokens, they will definitely make great use of Jaxis’ copy ability. She can make a copy of your Goldspan Dragon, for example, and Brudiclad can turn your tokens into more Goldspan Dragons! They even gain the “when this creature dies, draw a card” clause; board wipes are suddenly much less effective, and even dangerous!
Jaxis seems to be Chainer, Nightmare Adept’s new best friend. Every aspect of her abilities is usable with him: the discard stocks your bin for reanimation, the copies she makes of the creatures will help you go over the top of opponents, and the card draw when they die ensures you stay in the fight.
Obeka, Brute Chronologist is effectively Sundial of the Infinite in the command zone. Given that Sundial is something that most Jaxis decks will want, it makes sense that she would fit in nicely with the Ogre Wizard. Jaxis makes token copies of the powerful creatures, and Obeka ensures they stick around. Thanks to the way Jaxis is worded, the copies still retain the “when this creature dies, draw a card” clause too, so you’ll still gain value from them eventually!
Jaxis, the Troublemaker is a powerhouse that can bring a lot of utility to a number of different strategies, or helm her own fantastic deck. We may have seen other recent commanders work on a similar axis, but I believe Jaxis is the one that will cause the most trouble, no matter how you build her.
What do you think of Jaxis? Do you think you’d like to play with or against her? Have you any inspired ideas for decks with the New Capenna cards that have been previewed so far? Let me know over on Twitter, I’d love to see the spice you’re working on!
Scott is an Irish content creator and the Head of Budget Magic for the Izzet League. He focuses on affordable decks in Pioneer, Modern, and Pauper, particularly ones that stray from the mainstream. When he’s not writing about his favorite decks, he can be found talking incessantly about them on Twitter and on The Budget Magic Cast.