The Commander hits keep coming from War of the Spark! This week I want to brew a deck around God-Eternal Oketra as our commander.
Oketra’s triggered ability that makes tokens is really exciting! There are a lot of options in Commander for churning out tokens, but most of them are 1/1 or maybe 2/2 at the largest. 4/4 tokens are no joke, especially if you can spit out a few each turn. That’s a significant battlefield presence and definitely worth leaning into quite heavily. What’s really fun is both Oketra and the tokens are Zombies, and Amonkhet gave us some Zombie synergy cards that can go in a mono-white deck. There are also white cards that care about tokens, so we can maybe dip into that as well.
Oketra’s other triggered ability is a nice way to get around paying as much commander tax as you normally would in a game of Commander at the cost of waiting a few turns for the redraw, and that’s pretty awesome too.
Let’s get brewing!
The first order of business is to find cards that can let us get a token-making engine going once we have Oketra on the battlefield with some extra mana laying about.
The first cards I thought about were the cool cycle from Planar Chaos Whitemane Lion, Stonecloaker, Dust Elemental and Stormfront Riders. There have been other cards with a similar ability to bounce a creature back to your hand. With enough mana you can cast these over and over, bouncing themselves back to your hand, and churning out 4/4 Zombie tokens each time.
Which leads me to Oketra’s Monument. This card shaves a mana off each creature spell you cast, and gives you a 1/1 Warrior token with vigilance too. You could cast Whitemane Lion over and over for just a single white mana each time, getting 1/1 Warriors and 4/4 Zombies. And since Whitemane Lion has flash, you could do this at any time you could cast an instant! Talk about a building a battlefield! There are some other cards that shave a mana from your spells that we’ll want to include too.
The Angels like Twilight Shepherd and Angel of Serenity give you some resiliency to removal, and the key is that they return the cards to your hand so you can cast them again and hopefully get more Oketra triggers.
Good and Cheap Creatures
I also want some good cheap creatures that we’d want to cast early or late for Oketra triggers. Soul Warden and Auriok Champion can significantly pad our life total if we’ve got an Oketra engine going. Wall of Omens draws a card and is an option to return to our hand with some of our engine cards if we want to keep digging for an answer. I’m a fan of Suncleanser as a weapon against decks like Meren of Clan Nel Toth that use experience counters, and our engine cards can pick up Suncleanser and cast it again.
Anointed Procession is the big game here, doubling the number of 4/4 Zombie tokens Oketra makes. I’m a little torn by Divine Visitation, since the Angel tokens aren’t any bigger than the Zombie tokens and it messes with any Zombie synergies we may be working with, but giving our tokens flying and vigilance seems worth the trade-off, especially if we’re also going to be getting other 1/1 tokens along the way that can fully appreciate the upgrade.
Rootborn Defenses is huge here since the token you can copy is of significant size, and surprising your opponent who was planning on wiping the battlefield clean with an extra Zombie token and an indestructible team is a great bargain for three mana.
Time to Reflect is conditional removal, but it’s cheap and the exile clause makes it worth playing, I think. I like the triggered abilities of Binding Mummy and Disposal Mummy, since we’re hopefully going to be churning out plenty of Zombie tokens with Oketra.
Heirloom Blade seems like a great inclusion here that plays nicely with Oketra’s ability to be put into your deck three cards from the top. If you equip it to one of your Zombies and it dies, you’ll probably put Oketra right into your hand. Also, giving your Oketra three bonus power goes extra far with Oketra’s double strike ability.
Unconventional Tactics is an unusual but interesting recursive card, but if there’s ever a Commander deck you’d want to play it in, this might be the deck. Three mana is expensive for this sort of effect, but if you’ve got something like Pearl Medallion to shave off mana, it becomes much more appealing. Giving Oketra +3/+3 and flying is amazing, potentially hitting someone for twelve points of commander damage. And there will be a ton of opportunities to get the card back from the graveyard over the course of the game.
We’ve already talked about how nice it is to boost Oketra’s power, so I want to include a few more cards that do that. Loxodon Warhammer gives some much-needed lifegain and trample, and Blackblade Reforged with make Oketra lethal way ahead of schedule.
Oketra’s dies trigger is great and all, but indestructible is better, so Eldrazi Monument gets the nod, especially since we’ll likely have tokens to feed it. It’ll feel a little rough to feed 5/5 flying indestructible Zombies to the Monument, but there should be more where that came from.
Oketra is relatively cheap and should avoid commander tax a good amount of the time, but our engine cards get better the more mana we have available, so I’m going to squeeze in as many ramp cards as I can.
White is notoriously weak on card draw, so I’ll scrounge as many ways as I can find into the deck. Mentor of the Meek should do some great work if I get an engine card like Whitemane Lion going.
White has lots of removal options, so I’m including a bunch of the best ones here. Removal effects tied to creatures like Nikko-Onna and Angel of Finality are nice, since they generate 4/4 Zombies with Oketra and can be reused with the engine cards. Ravnica at War is a brutal card in a format like Commander where so many people play multicolored cards, so it’s a slam-dunk inclusion in any mono-white deck.
I’ll round things out with some nice recursion elements like Emeria, the Sky Ruin and Reveillark. Basilisk Collar and Blind Obedience can provide some lifegain that we can use with Dawn of Hope.
Sweet deck! But wait, there are too many cards. I’ll start by looking at our mana curve:
Converted Mana Cost
Number of Cards
8 + commander
7+ / X
72 total cards plus 39 lands equals eleven cards too many, so we need to make some cuts! Let’s see what we can trim, starting with the top of our curve.
I love Sun Titan as a value engine that hits hard, but I feel that with six mana or more I’ll probably be using that mana to get an Oketra engine on line. Plus, Emeria, the Sky Ruin can do similar things without costing a nonland slot. Oketra’s Attendant has nice flavor value but is fairly weak for the format. I have enough cards similar to Stone Calendar that are cheaper that I think it makes a safe cut.
Oketra the True is a fine card for the deck, but I like pretty much all the other four-mana cards better, so it gets the boot. Twilight Drover is an awesome card in decks that churn out tons of small tokens, but since my deck’s tokens tend to be more quality than quantity, I don’t know that Twilight Drover pulls its weight here. Sunscourge Champion is just not as good as the other three-mana cards in the deck.
I love all of the two-mana cards in my list, but since I have eighteen of them and still have some cuts to make, a few will have to go. Treasure Map is a great card but I feel that I won’t generally have a lot of extra mana lying around to dump into activating Treasure Map, so despite having Anointed Procession in the deck, I think it’s one card I can cut. Intangible Virtue is another hard decision, but I feel that it’s better in a card with a lot more smaller tokens that a few 4/4 Zombie tokens. I feel that Blind Obedience is a better card than Authority of the Consuls, so I’m cutting that one, and lastly, the cool Fan Bearer gets the boot because I don’t want to tie up two mana using it.
Okay, so here’s how the deck ended up:
- 1 Mother of Runes
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Soul Warden
- 1 Auriok Champion
- 1 Karmic Guide
- 1 Nikko-Onna
- 1 Dust Elemental
- 1 Stonecloaker
- 1 Stormfront Riders
- 1 Whitemane Lion
- 1 Reveillark
- 1 Twilight Shepherd
- 1 Kor Sanctifiers
- 1 Kor Skyfisher
- 1 Stoneforge Mystic
- 1 Wall of Omens
- 1 Mentor of the Meek
- 1 Angel of Serenity
- 1 Angel of Finality
- 1 Jeskai Barricade
- 1 Oreskos Explorer
- 1 Thraben Inspector
- 1 Anointer Priest
- 1 Binding Mummy
- 1 Disposal Mummy
- 1 Alms Collector
- 1 Suncleanser
- 1 Boreas Charger
- 1 Wrath of God
- 1 Pearl Medallion
- 1 Swords to Plowshares
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Aura of Silence
- 1 Seal of Cleansing
- 1 Skullclamp
- 1 Loxodon Warhammer
- 1 Allay
- 1 Worn Powerstone
- 1 Rout
- 1 Return to Dust
- 1 Dispeller's Capsule
- 1 Eldrazi Monument
- 1 Basilisk Collar
- 1 Rootborn Defenses
- 1 Blind Obedience
- 1 Obelisk of Urd
- 1 Commander's Sphere
- 1 Oketra's Monument
- 1 Anointed Procession
- 1 Time to Reflect
- 1 Unconventional Tactics
- 1 Settle the Wreckage
- 1 Heirloom Blade
- 1 The Immortal Sun
- 1 Blackblade Reforged
- 1 Divine Visitation
- 1 Crush Contraband
- 1 Dawn of Hope
- 1 Smothering Tithe
- 1 Ravnica at War
What do you think? Are there any cards I’ve overlooked? And if you see any new cards from War of the Spark that should find a home here, let me know!
Oh, by the way, I got a token card included in the next series of Star City Games Personality Tokens! I am thrilled and honored to get my mug immortalized on this awesome Matrix-inspired token card. Go check out this link to find out how you can get your hands on some! And if you’re able to come attend the
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Below I’ve got links to decks I’ve written about going back to January 2017. If you want to read the associated article, just put “Bennie Smith” and the commander name into Google and it should pop right up. I’ve written a lot about Commander — and Magic in general — so if you want to explore further, the Star City Games article archives have my articles all the way back to January 2000!
Commander Compare & Contrast
Zedruu, the Greathearted with Emma Handy
Nahiri, the Lithomancer with Anthony Alongi
Feldon of the Third Path with The Professor
Why You Should Commander Like Me
War of the Spark
Storrev, Devkarin Lich, Nicol Bolas Tribal, Feather, the Redeemed, Massacre Girl, Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion
The Haunt of Hightower, Teysa Karlov, Prime Speaker Vannifar, Rakdos, the Showstopper, Nikya of the Old Ways, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, Judith, the Scourge Diva
SCG CON Winter 2018
Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, Grothama, All-Devouring; Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis; Feldon of the Third Path; Ramos, Dragon Engine; Inalla, Archmage Ritualist; Prossh, Skyraider of Kher; Brago, King Eternal
Guilds of Ravnica
Niv Mizzet, Parun, Emmara, Soul of the Accord, Lazav, the Multifarious (decklist in the comments), Tajic, Legion’s Edge, Etrata, the Silencer, Izoni, Thousand-Eyed
Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Xantcha, Sleeper Agent, Lord Windgrace, Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer
Core Set 2019
Sai, Master Thopterist, Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma, Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire, Chromium, the Mutable
Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle, Grand Warlord Radha, Arvad the Cursed, Muldrotha, the Grave Tide, Slimefoot, the Stowaway, Yargle, Glutton of Urborg, Squee, the Immortal, Firesong and Sunspeaker, Jodah, Archmage Eternal, Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker
Rivals of Ixalan
Azor, the Lawbringer, Etali, Primal Storm, Nezahal, Primal Tide, Zacama, Primal Calamity, Tetzimoc, Primal Death, Zetalpa, Primal Dawn, Ghalta, Primal Hunger
Grusilda, Monster Masher, Dr. Julius Jumblemorph
Vona, Butcher of Magan, Tishana, Voice of Thunder, Admiral Beckett Brass, Gishath, Sun’s Avatar
Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith, Inalla, Archmage Ritualist, Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist, O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami, Mairsil, the Pretender, Taigam, Ojutai Master
Razaketh, the Foulblooded, Zur, the Enchanter (Mummy’s Curse), Djeru, With Eyes Open, The Locust God, Karona, False God (All the Deserts), Nicol Bolas, Neheb, the Eternal
Oketra the True, Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun, Atogatog (Cartouches & Trials), Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, Samut, Voice of Dissent, Rhonas the Indomitable, Hazoret the Fervent
Yahenni, Undying Partisan, Nicol Bolas, Child of Alara (Five-Color Energy), Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Sram, Senior Edificer
Breya, Etherium Shaper, Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, Tymna the Weaver // Ravos, Soultender
Other Commander Decks
Thada Adel, Acquisitor, The Ultimate Golgari Deck, Anafenza, the Foremost (shutting down shenanigans), Momir Vig, Simic Visionary (no green creatures), Kytheon, Hero of Akros (Tribal Gideon), Tasigur, the Golden Fang