Deck Tech: Jon Irenicus, shattered one

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldurs gate is well under way and a very spicy commander had been spoiled called Jon Irenicus, shattered one. This maybe the worst deck in the world, but we play it to our advantage in a big way. What do I mean well read on, as ever the full deck list can be found here

The commander

Jon Irenicus, shattered one is a 3/3 Elf wizard that costs 2, a blue and a black and reads: At the beginning of your end step target opponent gains control of up to one target creature you control. Put two +1/+1 counter on it and tap it. It’s goaded for the rest of the game and it gains “This creature can’t be sacrificed”. It also says when a creature you own but don’t control attacks, you draw a card.

This is great, we can fill our deck with the worst cards in magics history, give them to our opponents and they cannot sacrifice them to get rid of them. With them being goaded they have to attack everyone else and we are going to get cards out of it. We can run some bounce cards to get those creatures back to our hands so we can reuse them and we can take advantage of all that card draw and lean hard into it.

The general play with this deck is all about the set up, you need to ramp out and need to be able get our commander out and a creature to give to one of our opponents and some protection. Make sure you have some form of ramp in your opening hand even if you have to Mulligan pretty ruthlessly. Now that’s been said Let’s get into it.

I don’t want that!

So as I said in the introduction, we have filled our deck with the worst creature cards in magics history, they are bad because they have a draw back that isn’t consistent with its actual power. Now there are a tonne in this deck, so do be sure to check out the full deck list but some of my favourites are

We have a bunch of stuff that out right stops our opponents doing stuff, Steel golem is a 3/4 for 3 that stops our opponents playing creatures spells and Grid monitor is a 4/6 for 4 that does the same effect. We have cards that reduce our opponents hand size, Thought nibbler is a 1/1 flyer for a blue that reduces our opponents hand size by 1, Thought eater is a 2/2 flyer for 1 and a blue that reduces our opponents hand size by 2 and Thought devourer is a 4/4 flyer for 2 and 2 blue that reduces our opponents hand size by 4. All of these can really slow our opponents down and they will be buffed by the tokens making them harder to deal with when they swing out.

But that’s not all, we have creatures that damage out opponents for having them on the board or for attacking. Ebonblade drake is a 3/3 flyer for 2 and a black that makes our opponents lose a life whenever any player plays a spell which can definitely add up over the course of a game. Rust elemental is a 4/4 flyer for 4 that on our opponents upkeep Will make them sacrifice and artifact and if they can’t then they have to tap rust elemental and lose 4 life.

Grinning demon is a 6/6 for 2 and 2 black that deals 2 damage at our opponents upkeep. One of my favourites in this deck is Ebonblade reaper a 1/1 for 2 and a black that reads: whenever Ebonblade reaper attacks you lose half your life rounded up. Whenever Ebonblade reaper deals combat damage to a player that player loses half their life rounded up. With this swinging out you can potentially take 2 of our opponents life totals to 20 if not lower.

Some of the meaner cards in this deck will definitely paint a target on our back, be sure that if you play any of these cards.

Abyssal Persecutor is a 6/6 demon with flying for 2 and 2 black that reads you can’t win the game and opponents can’t lose the game. You give this to an opponent and well they will try and remove it and you from the game, which will be very hard to do.

Some more nasties in the deck are plague reaver and Drinker of sorrow. Drinker of sorrow is a 5/3 horror for 2 and a black that can’t block and when it deals combat damage our opponent will need to sacrifice a permanent. Plague reaver is a 6/5 beast for 2 and a black that will make our opponent sacrifice all other creatures they control at the end of every end step. Asmodeus the Archfiend may seem like a strange fit here but if you give the to an opponent not running black, then they just exile their cards instead. It’s the reason we don’t run urborg tomb of yawgmouth and Cabal coffers in this deck.

Watching our backs

We need to protect our commander pretty hard in this deck not to mention our life total. Aside from the usual counter magic and removal spells found in dimir we have a bunch of equipment that gives hexproof and protecting from colours. Lightning greaves and swiftfoot boots are commander staples, both offer haste and protection (note that shroud stops you from targeting whilst hexproof is just opponents)

Mirror shield is an underplayed 2 drop, that once equipped offers hexproof and offers protection from deathtouching nasty boys. Commanders plate was released in the last commander legends set and is great, it offers protection for colours outside of our commander’s colour identity. The big one’s being red for damage spells and white for exiling effects like swords to plowshares.

We are also running Propaganda and Revenge of ravens to disincentives our opponents attacking us. Propaganda makes our opponents pay 2 for each creature attacking us and Revenge of ravens deals 1 damage to our opponents for each creature they send our way. Remember this deck we want to be in assuming at first. Anything to point their creatures elsewhere will really help set up our board state.

Lastly for this section, we have a bunch of bounce spells these serve 2 purposes defense and recursion. Being able to bounce one of our own creatures at the right time means we can we redelpoy and give to someone else. Snap is basically a free bounce spell, and let’s not forget Otawara, soaring city a Chanel land from Kamigawa: Neon dynasty that can bounce a creature if we need. Brazen borrow will bounce a creature and we can flash it in as a blocker if we need it later.

Double the trouble

What’s better then giving one opponent a crippling card? Doing it to everyone. We have a suit of cards that either let us make a copy of our commander or let us copy his triggered ability.

Having copies of our commander means that the triggers stack so we are running Spark double and Phyrexian metamorph.

Phyrexian metamorph is a similar card but costs 3 and a phyrexian blue ( you can pay a blue mana or 2 life) notably this doesn’t get rid of the legendary rule, so you would ideally copy spark double with it. But you can also copy artifacts which can be relevant and we have some great artifacts in this deck

Spark double is a 0/0 illusion for 3 and a blue, that becomes a copy of target creature or planeswalker except it isn’t legendary and it enters with an additional +1/+1 counter or loyalty counter if it targets a planeswalker.

Strionic resonator is an artifact for 2 mana which lets us copy the triggered ability on our commander by tapping it and 2 mana. Being able to give 2 nasties out a turn can really speed things up and get your engine going a little more efficiently.

Lithoform engine is an artifact that costs 4 and has a few different things on going for it. We can tap 2 and tap it to copy a triggered ability, tap 3 and tap it to copy an instant or sorcery, or we can tap 4 and tap it to copy a target permanent spell. This gives us so much versatility, we can tap it to give more stuff to our opponents or we can tap it to copy a permanent to give to our opponents. or we can do somethjng even more absurd and use it to make a copy of spark double which then makes more copies of our commander.

Just call me JLK

I’ve watched the guys from Command zone and Game knights for years (if your not a patreon you should definitely become one) and if there is one thing I’ve learned from that show is the Josh Lee Kwai loves a card draw engine, which is why I’m dedicating this subsection to him. I’d you haven’t seen the boys you totally should check them out here

We run some blue staples with Mystic remora and Rhystic study. But we are also running some additional goodies to really get to our good stuff. Don’t forget once we start doing this, we will likely become a target, being able to draw through our deck, looking at more cards, will enable us to interact more with the board

We have Alhammarret’s Archive an artifact for 5 which reads: if you would draw a card, draw twice that many cards instead. If you would gain a life gain twice as much life instead. Being able to draw 2 cards at draw step is nice but don’t forget, we are getting cards when the goaded creatures attack, so we will be getting 2 cards on everyone’s combat step. Teferi’s Ageless insight has a similar effect but cost 2 and 2 blue and is an enchantment, which may be relevant if our opponents are running artifact removal.

Ways to win

Because we are drawing so many cards it only makes sense that we include Thassa’s oracle and Laboratory Maniac as our win cons but my favourite way to win is by playing Torment of Hail fire because they have creatures that cannot be sacrificed, it’s easier to deal a tonne of damage at the end and just wipe everyone out in one glorious blast.

And there we have it, what do you think you would run in this deck? I cannot wait for the Commander legends: Battle for Baldurs gate and I’m certain there will be even spicier Commanders will be spoilt soon so keep your eyes peeled for more deck techs.

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