Much of Strixhaven consists of fun Commander cards and weird school jokes, so it’s difficult to pinpoint what cards will make it into Standard. Outside of some choice removal spells, very little is obvious.
One of the cards that is clearly powerful is Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios.
Many eight mana cards are inherently powerful, as they should be. It’s a question of whether or not you can actually make the card work. In the case of Standard, I think the answer is yes. You’re not guaranteed victory if you untap with Jadzi but it should be damn close. If you’re skeptical about whether or not trying to cast Jadzi is worth it, it’s probably because reading the card for the first time won’t necessarily show you how Jadzi works.
If you trigger magecraft and hit another instant or sorcery, that will trigger magecraft again!
With a deck full of instants and sorceries, you can end up with some powerful turns. With cards like Genesis Ultimatum, Alrund’s Epiphany, and Sea Gate Restoration in the format, Jadzi will provide massive card advantage and mana advantage. That seems worth eight mana to me, especially with several ways to get her onto the battlefield on the cheap.
The first (and most obvious) is by ramping as hard as possible. Jadzi’s other side, Journey to the Oracle, is a fine ramp spell if you play a ton of land or are able to draw massive amounts of cards. There are also reanimation effects like Port of Karfell and Polymorph effects like Transmogrify.
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to get Jadzi onto the battlefield, you have to figure out how to trigger her as much as possible. If you jump through all the hoops, untap safely with Jadzi, trigger magecraft, and hit a creature or something, you’re not getting much out of the deal. Whether untapping with Jadzi actually translates into a win is unclear if you don’t have enough ways to trigger magecraft.
Adventure creatures can get the magecraft party started but unfortunately aren’t that great to hit. I’d usually rather hit a land to help cast future instants and sorceries. The simplest way is by loading your deck with DFCs, which keeps your deck high on magecraft triggers while still being able to play whatever cards you want.
Several of the decks I’ve thought of could use a way to refuel.
Not only does Ox of Agonas provide ample fuel for Jadzi’s magecraft, it’s also the perfect card to discard to Jadzi if you need to protect it. If your hand is full of lands and you decide to cast Journey to the Oracle, Ox of Agonas is the best possible card to be left in your hand.
I haven’t seen anyone other than Yoman5 advocate for Jadzi, although it makes me happy that we’ve been working on similar things.
Most decks built around Genesis Ultimatum try to kill with Terror of the Peaks. Genesis Ultimatum is both a great card to find Jadzi or reveal to Jadzi. Rather than build with Terror of the Peaks, I’d rather be able to ramp more effectively and have more cards that can trigger magecraft.
Moving away from Terror also means there’s plenty of space for Lotus Cobra, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, and trying to combo off like the old Omnath, Locus of Creations decks. If you have Lotus Cobra and cast Genesis Ultimatum, you can usually continue going off by triggering landfall and generating mana. There’s no Omnath or Escape to the Wilds but now you have Alrund’s Epiphany for the easy win condition once you have some mana.
Emergent Sequence reads strong as a variant to Rampant Growth but it’s actually a Quirion Elves in disguise. That has some advantages but it’s mostly correct to treat Emergent Sequence like a mana creature. Thankfully, it triggers Jadzi, so there are upsides. You can’t put it on the battlefield with Genesis Ultimatum, although that might not be a downside with Jadzi in the mix.
Another new card that looks strong is Expressive Iteration. On Turn 2, it’s an Impulse, which is fine. Any time after that, you will likely get a free land drop out of the deal. In the late-game, maybe you get to cast two spells with it. Overall, it’s a cheap two-for-one that’s solid at nearly any point in the game.
Turntimber Symbiosis, Castle Garenbrig, and Genesis Ultimatum can also help get Jadzi on the play, which makes everything seem easier than the eight mana price tag.
- 2 Azusa, Lost but Seeking
- 4 Lotus Cobra
- 3 Ox of Agonas
- 4 Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
- 4 Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios
Is it better to ramp hard and refuel or ramp just enough to try to cast Genesis Ultimatum? This is the only version of the deck that makes good use of Journey to the Oracle. If you cast it on Turn 3 thanks to Lotus Cobra, you can discard something like Ox of Agonas in order to have Jadzi ready to go next turn. Ox of Agonas should be able to keep you gassed up.
Valakut Exploration is another way to keep the engine going. In order to make Exploration actually do something, you need to be making extra land drops. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and Azusa, Lost but Seeking are solid, especially when you’re playing so many lands. You could also splash Showdown of the Skalds. Maybe Showdown on the Skalds provides more burst or generally makes things easier but I want to try the oft-maligned Valakut Exploration first.
A different way to play Jadzi is in a control shell, with or without Transmogrify or Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast. On one hand, you have plenty of spells to trigger and cast with Jadzi, which is certainly nice. On the other hand, controlling decks tend to have reactive cards that probably aren’t great to magecraft into unless you’re behind.
Honestly, Transmogrify might not be the best way to go about things. It’s cheap to cast but ideally your threat wouldn’t die to a lowly removal spell. Dream Trawler was a good target in earlier versions of this deck because of its resiliency. Thankfully, Lukka can allow you to suspend your Transmorgify and put Jadzi onto the battlefield with all your mana untapped.
The Raven’s Warning is interesting because you can set up a different Transmogrify or Jadzi magecraft if you’re able to time it correctly. It’s unlikely to actually come together often but the baseline of making a token and maybe drawing a card is probably good enough.
Improbable Alliance is my main token generator. It might not be necessary with all the other token makers but it seems easy enough to reliably trigger. It also buys time and protects Lukka, so I’m surprised more people haven’t tried it.
My favorite way to build Titan’s Nest decks is to trade resources, draw some cards, and eventually pull ahead by leveraging your absurd mana advantage. You don’t need to build it like a full combo deck to be successful.
Shark Typhoon, Jadzi, Sea Gate Restoration, and even Behold the Multiverse are fine payoffs for Titan’s Nest. With all that card drawing and mana generation, it’s not difficult to chain Alrund’s Epiphanies together. The rest of the deck is similar to what Sultai Ramp (Yorion) consists of. You have some ramp and some spot removal, which should be just enough to get you into the late-game.
The best part of trying to reanimate Jadzi is that you can cast the other side to neatly deposit it in the graveyard. Later, you can activate Port of Karfell at the end of your opponent’s turn and untap with all your mana available. You could go harder on the reanimation portion of the deck by playing Thirst for Meaning. It’s slightly too clunky to want to play normally but works well enough with Titan’s Nest to be worth considering.
This is a wild take. We have Dream Devourer to foretell Jadzi for a discount, Prismari Command and Magma Opus to accelerate, and Unbreakable Bond and Port of Karfell to reanimate. The rest of the deck is roughly the same makeup as the rest of my Jadzi decks. You want some removal to slow down the game, ways to trigger magecraft, and some powerful cards to spike.
If you decided the deck was trying to do too much, you could easily cut out a portion and focus on the other bits. Dream Devourer is probably the cleanest cut, despite being really sweet. More looting and reanimation effects could be solid. At that point, you could even branch out in Velomachus Lorehold if you wanted to.
Is Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios going to dominate Strixhaven Standard? I doubt that. Still, the power level is off the charts and it will likely end up as the top end in several decks. It’s too powerful to ignore, especially for a mostly fair format like Standard. Jadzi also happens to look really fun and capable of creating absurd gamestates. It’s one of the cards I look forward to playing with as soon as Strixhaven drops on MTG Arena.