Commander Top 10: Obeka, Brute Chronologist

Bennie Smith’s next Commander Legends build-around is Obeka, Brute Chronologist. How did he build 100 cards of turn-stopping fun?

Obeka, Brute Chronologist, illustrated by Jesper Ejsing

By the time you read this, Commander Legends previews will be done with, and wow, what a wild ride it’s been!  The set brings a ton of goodies for Commander fans and I’ve been putting in preorders because I cannot wait to get my hands on ’em.  In particular there are a bunch of really cool new legends to build around, so keep checking back here because I’m going to dig deep into all the best ones.  Last week, I featured Gor Muldrak, Amphinologist, and this week I turn to our newest Grixis marvel, Obeka, Brute Chronologist!

Obeka, Brute Chronologist

I was particularly excited about this commander because it’s taken one of the coolest artifacts ever made and attaches the ability to a legend you can put in your command zone — Sundial of the Infinite!

Sundial of the Infinite

Sundial’s ability seems simple and weird. For one mana, you tap to end the turn, and you can only activate it during your turn…which is going to end anyway, right?  The reminder text on the card gives some insight into what activating Sundial means:

Exile all spells and abilities from the stack. Discard down to your maximum hand size. Damage wears off, and “this turn” and “until end of turn” effects end.

In the normal course of events, there will be triggers that go on the stack at the beginning of your end step, and once you’ve put those on the stack you can activate Sundial to clear everything off the stack, essentially bypassing those triggers if you don’t want them to resolve.

I’ve leaned into this artifact to play alongside cards that I collectively refer to as “no guts, no glory” spells:

Final Fortune Glorious End Chance for Glory

These spells let you take an extra turn for cheap at instant speed, with the only catch being you lose during your next end step.  Put that triggered ability on the stack, and then end your turn and you’ll continue playing the game.  It’s a very cool play when it all comes together. Luckily for us, we now have the ability tied to a legendary creature we can choose as our commander and always have it available!

The only wrinkle to this is Obeka’s color identity — Grixis colors means we can’t play Chance for Glory, and since we’ve got blue, we could actually play much less risky blue versions of Final Fortune and Glorious End:

Nexus of Fate Discontinuity

So, for me, I’d rather dig into other things that will give you benefit for ending the turn on your own terms, and you’ll find a bunch of them below.  But one thing to keep in mind about Obeka’s ability — you can activate it during any player’s turn!  Why would another player want to take you up on the ability to end their turn?  Just think of all the times an opponent has said something like: “at the end of your turn, I cast this spell” or “at the end of your turn, I activate this ability.”  It happens all the time, so if an opponent is trying to do something powerful or obnoxious at the end of another opponent’s turn, offer up Obeka’s ability to exile that from the stack. 

Okay, let’s get brewing!

1. Underworld Breach

Underworld Breach

When looking for cool cards to pair with Obeka I started by punching “at the beginning of the end step” into my favorite Magic card database, and one of the most exciting things to pop up was Underworld Breach.  Imagine just having Underworld Breach just sitting around turn after turn, giving all the cards in your graveyard the escape ability!  Sounds like good times to me.

I’ve included a lot of other cards with abilities that trigger at the end step you’d like to skip:

Citadel of Pain Sneak Attack Whip of Erebos Ilharg, the Raze-Boar Puppeteer Clique Cauldron Dance Molten Primordial

Sneak Attack is already a crazy powerful card, but imagine not having to sacrifice any creature you’ve put on the battlefield with it during the end step.  Or how about permanently keeping creatures you’ve temporarily borrowed with Molten Primordial?  The fun things you can do in a similar vein run deep and I’ve made room for a bunch of them.

2. Sedris, the Traitor King

Sedris, the Traitor King

Unearth is another powerful way to reuse creature cards from the graveyard with the caveat that you’ll have to exile them at the beginning of the next end step, but who wants to do that?  Unearth any monster from your graveyard with Sedris, the Traitor King, and during your end step, put that exile trigger on the stack and then have Obeka end the turn and you’ll keep it!

I included a couple of other creatures that have the unearth ability:

Anathemancer Fatestitcher

3. Flameshadow Conjuring

Flameshadow Conjuring

Red has ways to make temporary copies of creatures, and while that can potentially be quite powerful when copying large and scary creatures, it’s a bummer that you’ll have to get rid of them during the next end step.  Obeka to the rescue!  One of the best of the bunch is Flameshadow Conjuring, but I’ve included a few more as well:

Feldon of the Third Path Hate Mirage

4. Araumi of the Dead Tide

Araumi of the Dead Tide

Commander Legends brings a new ability to Magic called encore, which is a lot like flashback for creature spells that gets better the more opponents you have.  If you have three opponents, you’ll get to create three copies of the creature, and assuming they survive combat with each opponent, you can use Obeka to keep the surviving copies around for more fun.

Commander Legends includes two other powerful creatures with encore that should find a home in this deck too:

Amphin Mutineer Rakshasa Debaser

5. Hellkite Courser

Hellkite Courser

When I was looking for great support cards to maximize Obeka’s effectiveness, one late-breaking preview for Commander Legends jumped out at me — Hellkite Courser!  One way or another Obeka is going to end up back in your command zone, and Hellkite Courser is the perfect way to make a jailbreak to get around the commander tax!  Hellkite Courser enters the battlefield, put Obeka onto the battlefield with haste, and when the end step triggers get put on the stack, tap Obeka to end your turn.  Huzzah!

I’m including some other fun cards that help keep Obeka around:

Riptide Laboratory Minamo, School at Water's Edge Esior, Wardwing Familiar Spellskite Swiftfoot Boots Thousand-Year Elixir Deflecting Swat

I really love adding Esior, Wardwing Familiar alongside Spellskite and Deflecting Swat to make pinpoint removal spells difficult to resolve against our beloved Ogre Wizard.

6. Ideas Unbound

Ideas Unbound

Grixis has a fair amount of good ways to draw cards, but Obeka’s ability makes a weird card like Ideas Unbound quite nice: for two blue mana, draw three cards. Put the discard trigger on the stack at the end of the turn and end the turn with Obeka.  Boom!

Skullclamp Baleful Strix Grim Haruspex Painful Truths Yidaro, Wandering Monster

While I have dreams of cycling Yidaro, Wandering Monster (or rather, Godzilla, Doom Inevitable) four times and putting it on the battlefield at instant speed, I like it in this deck as a way to cycle early to draw deeper into the deck, and then later in the game being a trampling, hasty monster that can close out games.

7. Szat’s Will

Szat's Will

The Will cycle from Commander Legends is awesome, and I’m excited to find room for Szat’s Will in this deck as just a nice way to interact with your opponent at instant speed.  Each of the modes is decent on its own, and if you control Obeka, you get both effects, which is awesome!  This would be a great card to pull back from the graveyard a second time with Underworld Breach, don’t you think?

I’m including some other great ways to interact with your opponents:

Scavenger Grounds Dust Bowl Field of Ruin Shadowspear Swan Song Arcane Denial Negate Fierce Guardianship

8. Ravenous Chupacabra

Ravenous Chupacabra

Grixis has no shortage of great removal options and I’ve made room for quite a few of them in the deck, but my favorite here is good ol’ Ravenous Chupacabra.  “Destroy any creature” is a solid effect, but given the capacity for bringing back creatures in this deck, I really like having this ability attached to a creature I can unearth, copy, or bring back with encore.

Vandalblast Gorilla Shaman Feed the Swarm Terminate Reality Shift Go for the Throat Shattering Pulse Irreverent Revelers Blasphemous Act

I’ve recently started adding Gorilla Shaman to my red decks given how many cards make Treasure tokens these days. Being able to gobble them up for each mana you have lying around seems fantastic these days, and heck, I’d pay seven mana to destroy a Sword of Feast and Famine, wouldn’t you?

9. Doom Whisperer

Doom Whisperer

Speaking of great creatures, I wanted a few more high-impact creatures higher up the mana curve that can do great things if you cheat them out with Sneak Attack or copy them with Flameshadow ConjuringDoom Whisperer is criminally underplayed — a 6/6 body with flying and trample for just five mana is gravy even if you don’t consider its awesome activated ability.  Given how many of our cards interact nicely with out own graveyard, using the surveil ability to toss cards into the graveyard for zero mana (and a little life) is well worth the slot.

Here are a few more big beasties:

Terror of the Peaks Grave Titan Balefire Dragon

10. Arcane Signet

Arcane Signet

Last but not least, we’ll want all the mana ramp we can get our hands on.  Two-mana ramp is particularly great because it makes it that much more likely to cast our commander on Turn 3, and Arcane Signet is the best of the two-mana bunch.

Sol Ring Wayfarer's Bauble Fellwar Stone Talisman of Indulgence Rakdos Signet Sword of the Animist Scuttlemutt Burnished Hart Solemn Simulacrum Black Market

Okay, so here’s how the deck ended up:

Obeka, Brute Chronologist
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 11-07-2020

Here’s how the deck looks graphically, thanks to our friends at Archidekt:

What do you think?  Are there any cards I’ve overlooked?  If you see any new cards from Commander Legends that should find a home here, let me know! 

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter!  I run polls and get conversations started about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!  I’d also love it if you followed my Twitch channel TheCompleteCommander, where I do Commander, Brawl and sometimes other Magic-related streams when I can.  If you can’t join me live, the videos are available on demand for a few weeks on Twitch, but I also upload them to my YouTube channel.

And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

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