The Return Of Odric To Commander

Don’t let the big fat Frog and that ridiculous Angel steal all the Commander glory! Put those keywords to use by taking a man who knows his way around a battlefield! Bennie has his latest build!

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I’m not going to lie. When I was looking over the legends from Shadows over Innistrad to think about which would make for good Commander decks, Odric, Lunarch Marshal didn’t inspire me much. Archangel Avacyn was really cool, and The Gitrog Monster knocked my socks off, and I couldn’t wait to do the write-up for them. As I was looking over the remaining Legends – Odric, Lunarch Marshal; Olivia, Mobilized for War; and Sigarda, Heron’s Grace – and thinking about what each Commander deck might look like, I had a thought that got me excited about Odric.

What if the text box on Odric, Lunarch Marshal was actually a challenge mode for your Commander game?

Sure, you’ll want to have a good time playing Commander, and win the game if you can, and throw around some cool haymakers, but what if with Odric you actually have a subgame within the game, and it’s this: at the beginning of combat, your creatures have first strike, flying, deathtouch, double strike, haste, hexproof, indestructible, lifelink, menace, reach, skulk, trample and vigilance. All your creatures have all of the things.

Achievement unlocked!

Congratulations, you have won the challenge mode. It doesn’t matter if at the end of combat you’ve taken 1,000,000 points of damage from a swarm of giant Saprolings you have no hope of blocking. At the beginning of combat, you accepted Odric’s challenge and were victorious! High fives all around. You’ve got a story to tell all your friends.

On a quick flavor sidebar, did you note how many abilities Odric is willing to share amongst all your creatures?

Yep. It’s thirteen. Ah, can’t you just smell that Innistrad aroma Wizards has cooking? If you suffer from Triskaidekaphobia you might want to steer clear from Odric, Lunarch Marshal.

Odric's List

I find it interesting to ponder how they arrived on this particular list of thirteen abilities. Why did they choose skulk over prowess? I’m sure there was at least one meeting where R&D figured out what thirteen it would be. If anyone has any insight on this, please share!

What’s nice about playing a White Commander deck is that there are plenty of good creatures out there that can already get you a lot of the way there on your ability checklist. If you’ve got Akroma, Angel of Wrath on the battlefield, you’ve checked off five of the abilities right there.

My first inclination was to avoid the Equipment route. There are a ton of Equipment enablers in white that are easy for us to reach, for so I wanted to do something different. Unfortunately there are abilities on the checklist that are difficult to find within Odric’s color identity without dipping into Equipment. For instance, the only other way we can get menace is if we play Kozilek, the Great Distortion. For deathtouch we’ve pretty much just got Wurmcoil Engine, which has a much more reasonable mana cost for a non-ramp deck and also gives us lifelink, so we definitely want that in the mix.

And there’s no alternative for skulk. It’s Skeleton Key or bust. So yeah, we’re going the equipment route. And I think we can claim a bit higher moral ground when we’re playing our Stoneforge Mystic and Stonehewer Giant because we’re not trying to assemble one unbeatable equipped Voltron overlord. We’re actually doing nonsense like equipping Spidersilk Net to our Stonecloaker. That’s flying… and reach. Oh yeah!

Okay, so how do we best go about checking off our list of thirteen abilities? Akroma, Angel of Wrath is expensive but totally worth the effort if we can get her onto the battlefield. Deathrender is a good piece of Equipment we can fetch up that can cheat Akroma onto the battlefield early. Outside of Akroma, though, we don’t have any other options that check off five abilities, but one step down is her weapon of choice, the Sword of Vengeance, which gives us four of Akroma’s five abilities minus the flying.

No other artifact bestows four abilities, so let’s see what can check off three from the list. There are some pretty good options: Chariot of Victory and Haunted Cloak are equipment that do a lot of work. Then there’s Power Matrix, which simply taps to give a creature three abilities. Let’s not forget about Baneslayer Angel, whose mighty text box includes three abilities off our checklist.

So what cards can we include to check two items off our list? We already mentioned Wurmcoil Engine, but let’s not forget its Equipment twin Basilisk Collar. Fleetfeather Sandals provides two abilities, but they’re both abilities that are quite plentiful across so many other cards that I didn’t think they were needed for our list. Swiftfoot Boots provides one of the few options we have for hexproof in addition to haste. Longbow Archer gives us one of our few options for reach in addition to first strike. Hundred-Handed One can gain reach through monstrosity, but it has vigilance from the get-go so I think it earns a spot. Similarly, Serra Ascendant can eventually gain flying but has lifelink to start, so I think it earns a spot as well.

Now for the cards with just one ability from our checklist.


This is the ability that I think gives us the best shot of doing something actually game-breaking with our deck. Odric, Lunarch Marshal hands out abilities to all your creatures at the beginning of combat, but the abilities linger until the end of the turn, so once your team becomes indestructible, you can enter into your post-combat main phase and throw around one of white’s plentiful mass removal spells like Wrath of God and break the symmetry.

For that reason I’m going to have a fair number of cards with indestructible in the deck: Bastion Protector, Darksteel Myr, Darksteel Plate, and Shielded by Faith. Darksteel Mutation is usually going to be used to neutralize an opposing creature, but in a pinch it can get you there with one of your own.

Double Strike

I was a little surprised that there weren’t any cards that paired up double strike with another ability on our checklist, and there are relatively few options with just double strike. I went with Kor Duelist since it played nicely with the Equipment theme and Fireshrieker since it can be searched up. Mirran Crusader is a high-quality double striker, but I ended up having way too many three-mana cards in the deck.

Menace and Skulk

Pretty much the only options we have here are Chitinous Cloak and Skeleton Key. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye out for new options here that might pop up in future sets. You know an update to Amrou Kithkin or Goldmeadow Dodger (Return to Lorwyn?) will have the skulk ability. And why can’t white creatures be menacing?


Quite a few cards listed above include lifelink alongside another ability, but I thought it would be nice to toss Rhox Faithmender into the mix. Giving all your other creatures lifelink and then doubling the life gained from that just sounds like a nice one-two punch that is sure to turn on Serra Ascendent in a hurry. With all the lifegain, it might be worth finding room for Felidar Sovereign, especially since it has lifelink itself along with vigilance.

Beg, Borrow, and Steal

Sometimes you’re going to realize you’ve got twelve of your thirteen checklist items on your side of the battlefield and the very last one belongs to a creature your opponent controls. Luckily, there are a few options where we can nab that creature for our own, so I’m including Preacher and Helm of Obedience. The two cards also work extremely well together for grinding down opposing creatures.

Backup Odric

Odric has a pretty reasonable casting cost, but it’s entirely possible that he dies so many times that he’s stuck in the Command Zone for a while. I thought it might be wise to include a couple of cards as backup that do similar things with sharing abilities, like Concerted Effort and Angelic Skirmisher.

Equipment Matters

Most of the usual suspects are here. Kemba, Kha Regent is particularly good in this deck; the more Cat tokens she produces, the more creatures you have to share in Odric’s generosity.

I really like Nahiri, the Lithomancer’s ability to make a Kor creature that can immediately pick up one of our pieces of Equipment and then share it with the team during combat. Hopefully she can keep her mind off getting revenge on Sorin Markov to do her job for Team Odric.

Soldiers Matter

Odric, Lunarch Marshal is a Soldier, so I peppered in a few cards that care about Soldiers into the deck. Kjeldoran Outpost – the original “dude ranch” – makes Soldiers and I thought it would be good in this deck as a way to recover from mass removal if we’ve got a bunch of equipment lying around and no creatures in hand to make use of them.

So here’s what I’ve got pulled together:

Odric, Lunarch Marshal
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 04-15-2016

Even though prowess isn’t on our list of thirteen abilities, with all the equipment and non-creature spells in the deck I figured Monastery Mentor could churn out quite a few monk tokens that could pick up pieces of equipment and share abilities.

I included the old-school Land Tax / Scroll Rack combo as a source of card advantage to help ensure the gas keeps flowing. I included Bant Panorama, Esper Panorama, and Naya Panorama as ways to reset the top of your deck when using Scroll Rack too.

So what do you think of old Odric, Lunarch Marshal? What would you do differently? Are there any great cards that I overlooked?

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):

Zurgo Bellstriker (Bellstriking Like a Boss)

Dragonlord Ojutai (Troll Shroud)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Dragons, Megamorphs, and Dragons)

Dromoka, the Eternal (One Flying Bolster Basket)

Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (Tempests and Teapots)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Hatching Evil Sultai Plots)

Scion of the Ur-Dragon (Dragon Triggers for Everyone)

• Nahiri, The Lithomancer (Lithomancing for Fun and Profit)

Titania, Protector of Argoth (Titania’s Land and Elemental Exchange)

Reaper King (All About VILLAINOUS WEALTH)

Feldon of the Third Path (She Will Come Back to Me)

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Calling Up Ghouls with Sidisi)

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Two Times the Smashing)

Anafenza, the Foremost (Anafenza and Your Restless Dead)

Narset, Enlightened Master (The New Voltron Overlord)

Surrak Dragonclaw (The Art of Punching Bears)

Avacyn, Guardian Angel; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled; Sliver Hivelord (Commander Catchup, Part 3)

Keranos, God of Storms; Marchesa, the Black Rose; Muzzio, Visonary Architect (Commander Catchup, Part 2)

Athreos, God of Passage; Kruphix, God of Horizons; Iroas, God of Victory (Commander Catchup, Journey into Nyx Edition)

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)

Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Possibility Storm Shenanigans)

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)

SCG Invitational in Columbus April 15-17!