With the release of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, we’ve welcomed five new mono-colored Gods to Magic’s metaphorical Mount Olympus. It’s always exciting to see the idea of Gods reflected in each new set. The Theros Gods have devotion, the Amonkhet Gods can’t attack or block unless they meet certain criteria, and the Kaldheim Gods are double-sided!
This time around, the Ixalan Gods turn into lands when they die! As soon as I saw them previewed, my brain was already teeming with ideas on how to use their incredibly fun and unique abilities in Commander.
Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation
Of course, we have to start out with the most popular God. Ojer Taq is one of the chase cards in the set, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a token tripler. If Magic players love anything, it’s making multiples of tokens! However, Ojer Taq only triples creature tokens. So to all you Treasure and Food freaks, sorry, but Ojer Taq won’t cut it. Might as well stick to Anointed Procession and Mondrak, Glory Dominus.
So now that we’ve established what Ojer Taq specializes in, we can figure out what to do with the card! Ojer Taq feels like a better fit in the 99 to me rather than the command zone, but there are still some great strategies that can make the deck a powerhouse.
If you focus on Ojer Taq as the commander, you’ll want a lot of low-mana-value creatures that are consistent token generators. Adeline, Resplendent Cathar; Myrel, Shield of Argive; and Hero of Bladehold are great options. I know people want to go for the heavy hitters like Ancient Gold Dragon, but with how high Ojer Taq’s mana value is, you want to go a bit lower. I also encourage running Oketra’s Monument, as it’s a cost reducer/token generator, and a Halo Fountain! Not only is it a win condition, it makes tokens as well!
Moving on to Ojer Taq in the 99, I feel as though this deck has great homes in Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon decks; Brenard, Ginger Sculptor decks; Jetmir, Nexus of Revels decks; Rhys the Redeemed decks; Atla Palani, Nest Tender decks; and even Neyali, Suns’ Vanguard decks. Ojer Taq is incredibly comfortable in decks with strong go-wide themes, but then again, it’s a token tripler, so it makes sense.
Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch
Next up, we have the snakey boi, Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch. This God has a much more reasonable mana value and focuses on casting instants and giving them rebound! Ojer Pakpatiq is as generic of a spellslinger commander as you can get. Because of the rebound ability, I view him as belonging more in the command zone.
That being said, this God lives in value town. You can get multiple iterations of Brainstorm, Opt, Reality Shift, or High Tide. The exciting thing is that rebound gives you an extra cast, which means you can double up on cards that care about cast triggers. You can get tons of tokens with Metallurgic Summonings, Murmuring Mystic, and Talrand, Sky Summoner. Another avenue you can explore is Storm! You can get so many storm triggers off regular and rebound casts! It’s so dang exciting, and I’m not even a fan of blue decks! While Ojer Pakpatiq may be one of the more linear cards on this list, there still is a lot you can do with it.
Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal
Before we dive into this God, I was low-key annoyed that Aclazotz is the only mono-colored God that doesn’t have Ojer in their name. The lack of consistency here is unsatisfying and hurts my soul.
Now that I’ve aired my grievance, we can get into this guy. Aclazotz is a very linear kind of card. He is your standard, generic discard legendary creature. When your opponent discards a specific type of card, you get a thing. It’s the same song and discard dance.
Whether you run him as the commander or shove him in the 99, you know you’re gonna want some strong discard pieces. Megrim, Waste Not, Liliana’s Caress, and Bottomless Pit are staple pieces for this strategy. The more you discard, the more damage you can deal and the more Bats you can possibly get. If you’re not feeling him as the commander, he has a home in Tinybones, Trinket Thief and Tergrid, God of Fright decks. If I can say anything about this card, it’s that he does exactly what is expected of him, and we love him for that.
Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might
Finally! We have moved on to my favorite God out of the cycle: Ojer Axonil. I feel 100% normal about this card, but maybe that’s the red mage in me. Ojer Axonil is the epitome of a red card. He likes noncombat damage; specifically, he likes when red sources deal damage less than his power, because he then makes it so that damage is dealt equal to his power instead. This specific requirement makes him an incredibly interesting brew, and I feel as though he is the most viable commander out of all the Ixalan Gods.
The mind first wanders towards pieces like Impact Tremors, Pyrohemia, and Purphoros, God of the Forge. Small instances of damage are what this deck absolutely loves. If you can find small ways to ping your opponents, you can deal a ton of damage to them by proxy. Heck, even tossing in Manabarbs can make your game end rather abruptly. It’s disgusting and I love it. I’ve also had friends talk to me about using Ojer Axonil as a commander for their Goblin and token decks. While he only cares about noncombat damage, you can still pack a punch by jamming this deck full of gross typal synergies. Red decks like to go fast, and what’s faster than Goblins and noncombat damage?
Ojer Kaslem, Deepest Growth
Lastly, we have Ojer Kaslem, Deepest Growth. It’s the green God, baybeeee! This God is definitely not my favorite, but then again, I don’t typically play green cards. Ojer Kaslem does your typical green creature and/or land shenanigans. Deal damage to get a free thing! But we can make this card more than that!
Ojer Kaslem specifically says to reveal a certain number of cards from the top of the library, and then you can put a creature and/or land card from among them onto the battlefield. While this may scream randomness to you, this screams topdeck manipulation to me. Pieces like Worldly Tutor, Noxious Revival, Sensei’s Divining Top, and Cream of the Crop are great additions to an Ojer Kaslem deck because you can essentially pick and choose what you get off the trigger. I love strategies like this because it feels as though you’re cheating the system. It’s like giving yourself a little treat, giving yourself exactly what you need when you need it.
When I first saw this God, I thought creature deck; however, Ojer Kaslem also cares about grabbing lands! Why not make this a lands deck? Green is chock-full of land synergies, and you can make this work well with Nissa, Resurgent Animist; Azusa, Lost but Seeking; and Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer decks. Getting that exact land you need can make decks like this so incredibly fun and wacky. I know people wouldn’t necessarily think “lands deck” when they look at Ojer Kaslem, but that can give you the element of surprise, and who doesn’t love that?
It’s exciting to get a new cycle of Gods, and it’s even more exciting to get to discover new ways to fiddle with and brew around them. While these might not be the most powerful Gods in Magic’s history, I find their limitations much more interesting. There is clear, intentional thought put behind these designs, and I find that incredibly exciting. Do any of these Gods interest you? Would you slot them into the 99, or would you run any of them as your commanders? Until then, happy deifying, deckbuilders!