Have you ever seen a seahorse giving birth?
The way it just shoots out a bunch of babies in little spurts, and they just keep coming, and just when you think it’s done it shoots out a bunch more. That’s what we’re doing with today’s EDH deck tech. Except replace the seahorse with a Phyrexian Nightmare called
Ovika, Enigma Goliath, and replace the cute seahorse babies with creepy Phyrexian Goblins. And it’s in the air.
Otherwise, totally the same thing.
A New Phyrexian Nightmare
Hello friends, and welcome back to Cardsphere. Today I’ve got a brand new Commander deck tech for you, featuring a blue/red (“Izzet”) commander from the latest set, Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Ovika is a 6/6 flyer with a ward cost of 3 mana plus 3 life. Whenever we cast a noncreature spell, Ovika will shoot out a number of 1/1 Phyrexian Goblins with haste equal to the spell’s mana value.
So you might be thinking spellslinger is the way to go with this commander. It’s definitely one of the most powerful themes for Izzet. Or you might even be thinking artifacts, since that theme has a lot of support in these colors as well. But you know what? Been there, done that. I wanna try something different.
My theme came as an “ah-ha” moment when I was considering Ovika and thinking of ways to get the most benefit from dropping a ton of Goblins on the board. I remembered a really powerful card I had sitting in my “Commander Staples” binder that was kind of collecting dust since I don’t really build creature-type decks. It’s an enchantment called
Mana Echoes. With Echoes out, every goblin you drop with Ovika is going to provide you with a ridiculous amount of colorless mana. Now that could really be great for an artifact deck, or even an X spell deck. But Mana Echoes is an enchantment…
Enchantments are not a supported archetype in blue and red. Enchantment, or “enchantress,” decks are most commonly found in Selesnya (white/green) or Bant (white/blue/green), because that’s where we find supporting cards like
Enchantress’s Presence and
Sigil of the Empty Throne. Izzet enchantment decks are so unheard of as to not even register on EDHREC. So that’s why we’re brewing it today.
With my theme decided, my mind immediately went to work trying to figure out all the best enchantments for the deck. There was plenty of card advantage to be found, with
Kindred Discovery, and
Teferi’s Ageless Insight.
Sunbird’s Invocation is especially good, since extra spells means extra tokens. And
Mind’s Dilation is fun for getting free spells from our opponents.
We’ve even got a few enchantment options for ramp, with
Shiny Impetus and
Curse of Opulence. So with a little help from a few artifacts, instants, and sorceries, we can definitely turn this into something. But how do we win with Izzet enchantments?
It turns out, there are a lot of ways to deal serious amounts of damage with this deck, especially with all the tokens we have entering the battlefield. We’ve got
Purphoros, God of the Forge,
Warstorm Surge, and
Shared Animosity makes those Goblins extra potent if we swing in for the attack, which makes their haste especially important.
Just casting spells can do the work for us too.
Soulblade Djinn makes our army bigger when we cast noncreature spells. And we’ve got
Kessig Flamebreather and
Lambholt Raconteur dealing out damage, with
Fiery Emancipation tripling the pain.
We’ve even got the option to kill people with Ovika. It’s already a 6/6, so pumping it up and swinging can bring life totals down fast, if not end them completely.
Bravado is an aura that will make Ovika lethal if we’ve made enough goblins. And
Eldrazi Conscription can certainly cause some terror as well.
But there’s a problem.
The Flaw in the Plan
Ovika costs seven mana. In non-green colors, that’s a big deal. While Ovika isn’t absolutely crucial to the deck performing, it’s definitely not what I would consider “powerful" without him. In fact, we have to be prepared for the possibility that we might not even get to play Ovika every game. I played a test game with some friends with an earlier version of this deck, and in that game I didn’t get to cast Ovika. I tried on turn three, but someone countered my
Jeska’s Will. Then another player killed me with
Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief on turn seven. It was very disappointing.
Does that mean the deck isn’t good? No, not at all. In fact, the deck put up a really good fight thanks to the damage from
Lambholt Raconteur. And I made several edits to the deck since that game that will strengthen it.
But still, we want Ovika. So ramp is crucial to the deck if we don’t want to wait until turn seven to cast him. Rituals are perfect because they give us a jolt of mana to get to the seven we need, but also give us tokens if we already have Ovika in play. So we’re including
Mana Geyser, and
Seething Song. There’s also plenty of mana rocks, treasure-makers, and cost reducers, which are all noncreature spells.
And of course we want to protect Ovika. To make sure it gets cast, I’ve included
Pact of Negation to stop counterspells. And while Ovika has ward, it’s not an insurmountable protection. So
Lightning Greaves is here as well.
We’ll also want to protect ourselves until we get Ovika going. I’ve included
Dissipation Field as attack deterrents, as well as ways to make other tokens for blocking, like
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, and
All the Goblin Babies
Here’s the full decklist, along with a link to Moxfield so you can test drive it:
1 Abrade 1 Aetherize 1 Arcane Signet 1 Blasphemous Act 1 Blue Sun's Twilight 1 Bravado 1 Cascade Bluffs 1 Cloud Key 1 Command Beacon 1 Command Tower 1 Curse of Opulence 1 Dissipation Field 1 Eldrazi Conscription 1 Estrid's Invocation 1 Fabled Passage 1 Fevered Visions 1 Fiery Emancipation 1 Fiery Islet 1 Frostboil Snarl 1 Geode Golem 1 Goblin Bombardment 1 Goblinslide 1 Impact Tremors 9 Island 1 Izzet Signet 1 Jeska's Will 1 Kessig Flamebreather 1 Kindred Discovery 1 Krenko, Mob Boss 1 Lambholt Raconteur 1 Leyline of Anticipation 1 Lightning Greaves 1 Lotus Bloom 1 Mana Echoes 1 Mana Geyser 1 Manaform Hellkite 1 March of Swirling Mist 1 Mind's Dilation 1 Mirrormade 10 Mountain 1 Mystic Remora 1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx 1 Omen of the Sea 1 Otawara, Soaring City 1 Ovika, Enigma Goliath 1 Pact of Negation 1 Propaganda 1 Purphoros, God of the Forge 1 Reality Shift 1 Rhystic Study 1 Riverglide Pathway 1 Roadside Reliquary 1 Run Away Together 1 Saheeli, Sublime Artificer 1 Scalding Tarn 1 Seething Song 1 Shared Animosity 1 Shark Typhoon 1 Shiny Impetus 1 Shivan Reef 1 Skull of Orm 1 Skullclamp 1 Sol Ring 1 Soulblade Djinn 1 Steam Vents 1 Stolen Strategy 1 Stormcarved Coast 1 Sulfur Falls 1 Sunbird's Invocation 1 Talisman of Creativity 1 Teferi's Ageless Insight 1 Temple of Epiphany 1 Thought Vessel 1 Training Center 1 Urza's Saga 1 Valakut Awakening 1 Valakut Exploration 1 Vandalblast 1 Warstorm Surge 1 Wayfarer's Bauble 1 Witness Protection 1 Witty Roastmaster 1 Wizard Class
Generally when I do these deck techs, and when I build decks for myself, I tend to avoid cards that are overly expensive. I can’t afford them, and I know a lot of you can’t either. But if money is no issue for you, there are certainly cards you can add to this list to improve it. My suggestions would be
Jeweled Lotus and
Mana Crypt to help cast Ovika, and
Force of Will and
Cavern of Souls to prevent Ovika from getting countered.
So what do you think of this deck? Do you enjoy brewing themes in colors that don’t support them? Or is this too much work for too little payoff? Hit me up on Twitter to chat about it! You can also find me making budget Commander content with the Scrap Trawlers over on Twitch and YouTube.
Until next time, take care. And play lots of games!