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Commander Top 10: Jared Carthalion, True Heir

A dispossessed prince reclaims his birthright as Bennie Smith builds his latest deck around Jared Carthalion, True Heir.

Jared Carthalion, True Heir, illustrated by Lius Lasahido

Commander Legends has an eye-popping 32 brand-new multicolor legendary creatures we can build new Commander decks around, and I’m going to dive into a lot of them here every Saturday for the foreseeable future. Bookmark my Star City Games archives right here and check back often!  I’ve covered a bunch of them already.

This week I’m diving into a very interesting new Naya legend that does some really cool things keyed off the monarch mechanic:  Jared Carthalion, True Heir!

Yes, that’s right — Jared Carthalion finally got made into his very own card! 

…and if you’re anything like me, you’re wondering, who the heck is Jared Carthalion?  Apparently, he’s a very obscure character from Magic lore:

When I checked the Lore Finder function on Scryfall, Jared shows up for the first time in the flavor text of Fists of Flame from Modern Horizons. His quote boldly takes the place of Ruhan’s quote in the flavor text of the newest printing of Vow of Lightning from Commander Legends.

According to the lore, Jared’s family is one of the oldest in Dominaria of noble heritage and ancestral lands, though events sent Jared begging and thieving before he was able to finally fight to reclaim his birthright. He also eventually ignited his spark and became a planeswalker, though this version of Jared is from before that. So, might we end up seeing a planeswalker version of Jared one day?  I imagine it’s quite possible.

True Heir… or True Hair?

When Jared Carthalion, True Heir enters the battlefield, target opponent becomes the monarch and you can’t become the monarch this turn. That’s an interesting design—you’ve got to hand over the monarch, and you can’t take it right back immediately.

This has some great political ramifications—whom will you crown?  Maybe you wheel and deal, see who’s willing to do something for you in exchange for that free card (if they can keep it). Or maybe you give it to someone who’s been struggling in the early-game with developing their battlefield.

With no other considerations, I imagine you most likely give it to the player to your right, since that means the next two players will be encouraged to attack that person rather than you. And if everyone starts scrapping to get the monarch, then perhaps their resources will be stretched a bit thin, and once it comes back to your turn, you can take back what’s yours!

Or you can just cast a card that gives you the monarch.  Either way, once you’ve got the monarch, Jared’s other ability kicks in: if damage would be dealt to Jared Carthalion while you’re the monarch, prevent that damage and put that many +1/+1 counters on it.

Any damage adds counters to Jared, whether it’s from combat, or from mass damage spells, or a fight effect.  This is a really cool way to go “Voltron” with your commander rather than traditional ways with Equipment or Aura spells.

I also really like that the sort of spells that work great with Jared (assuming you’re the monarch) also work great with some cool cards that have come down the pike of late:

I’ve had some great fun on Magic Arena with a Historic deck that plays these cards along with spells that deal damage to all creatures and redirect spells like Gideon’s Sacrifice. Having a commander where all these cards work great together is incredibly exciting to me.

Okay, let’s get brewing!

1. Palace Jailer

The first order of business the turn after you cast Jared is getting the monarch back, and I’m going to lean pretty heavily on creatures that give you the monarch, since they can also help you protect it immediately. One of the best of that bunch is Palace Jailer since it can also temporarily exile a creature until you lose the monarch, though if you target someone’s commander, they’ll probably decide to put the commander back in the command zone and they’ll need to pay extra commander tax to recast it.  With white in our color identity we can even add some “blink” effects for creatures at instant speed, which means that Palace Jailer’s effect can take down a threat while bringing you back the monarch.

I’ve included many of the available creatures that make you the monarch in the Naya colors:

I really love some of the new creatures from Commander LegendsEmberwilde Captain punishes greedy players that attack you while you’re the monarch; Archon of Coronation protects you from damage while you’re the monarch, though it’s cleverly worded to still allow someone to take the monarch through combat damage; and Dawnglade Regent is a gigantic 8/8 that gives all your permanents hexproof so long as you’re the monarch.

2. Pariah’s Shield

While you’re the monarch, if you can redirect damage dealt to you to hit Jared instead then you’re firing on all cylinders, and nothing does it better than the Equipment Pariah’s Shield. Anyone who attacks you just grows Jared that much more without taking the monarch from you.

I’m including a handful of other cards that do fun things with damage redirection:

Gideon’s Sacrifice is a great surprise spell for just one mana if someone thinks the coast is clear to attack you, either just to nab the monarch or to finish you off.  Redirect all that damage to Jared and watch him swell up to epic proportions! 

Shaman en-Kor is an old-school blast from the past that I should try to put into more decks, but it does serious heavy-lifting here: you can redirect any damage dealt to any creature to Shaman en-Kor for two mana, and then redirect any of that damage to Jared. Even if your opponent decides to attack someone else with an enormous Lord of Extinction, if they chump block it, you can redirect all that damage back to Jared through Shaman en-Kor

I don’t even remember Saving Grace from Hour of Devastation, but its enters-the-battlefield effect is going to do wonders in this deck. Even if Saving Grace leaves the battlefield during the turn its triggered ability resolved, damage will continue to be redirected to the creature it enchanted before it left the battlefield.

3. Chain Reaction

When white is in your color identity you’ll often automatically reach for sweeper spells like Wrath of God, Austere Command, and Cleansing Nova, but in this deck I’d rather go for red sweeper spells that deal damage since they will kill off a lot of creatures while making Jared much larger if you’re the monarch. There are great ones to choose from and I’m including some of them here, but to my mind the best of the bunch is Chain Reaction. It’s cheap enough that you could double-spell in a turn with a creature that makes you the monarch and then cast Chain Reaction, and its effect can scale much higher than the mana cost.

Here are the others I’ve made room for:

I’m only playing three artifacts so I think Subterranean Tremors could do some great work in the deck, especially against Equipment-heavy decks that might otherwise give you a run for your Voltron money.

4. Eldrazi Displacer

Being able to blink the creatures that make you the monarch is going to be great utility in this deck, especially if you can do it at the end of an opponent’s turn right before you untap and have a big turn with Jared. Having an effect like Eldrazi Displacer takes away the surprise value but being reusable makes it incredibly valuable. It can also be used to clear away blockers (since they enter the battlefield tapped) so you can attack and take back the monarch that way if you need to. Since Eldrazi Displacer is colorless you can even pick on creatures with Equipment that gives them protection from white.

I’m including some of the instant-speed choices that can be more flexible surprises:

5. Grothama, All-Devouring

While you have the monarch, Jared loves to fight other creatures, and one of my all-time favorite cards with built-in fight is Grothama, All-Devouring!  You can cast Grothama and then attack with Jared, taking advantage of the attack trigger to fight Grothama and add ten +1/+1 counters to Jared. If Jared is big enough already to kill Grothama in the fight, you can draw eight or more cards when Grothama dies, well worth the five-mana investment. Killing Grothama with something like Star of Extinction to draw twenty cards is also a fine play in this deck!

Here are a few more fight spells I’ve added to the deck:

6. Selfless Spirit

When you’re not the monarch, Jared’s a mere mortal just like your other creatures, so I’m adding in some ways to give Jared or your whole team indestructible. This works great with what we’re doing here because it doesn’t prevent creatures from taking the damage, it just prevents them from being destroyed by the damage, so you can save your team and if you’re the monarch you can still do shenanigans with Jared. I think the best of these is Selfless Spirit since it’s a cheap creature with evasion, so it’ll be able to steal back the monarch if you give it to someone who lacks flyers.

I’ve added these other effects to help protect our entire team from battlefield sweepers or other damaging effects:

7. Giver of Runes

Evasion is going to be important in this deck, both for stealing back the monarch and for letting an enormous Jared wreak havoc on opponents’ life totals, and one of the best cards for this purpose is Giver of Runes. While it’s generally thought of as a weaker card than Mother of Runes since Mother can protect herself but Giver cannot, I like that Giver can allow a creature to bypass an artifact creature by choosing protection from colorless, which can be clutch for stealing back the monarch. Not to mention being able to protect most of your creatures from pinpoint removal spells and effects.

Rogue’s Passage bypasses blockers altogether, while the trample from Kessig Wolf Run and Shadowspear can help a huge Jared punch through blockers. The flying Thopter tokens that Loyal Apprentice churns out for Jared are another good way to help steal back the monarch. Naya Charm is an incredibly flexible card but its ability to tap all creatures target player controls at instant speed is going to be clutch here, either as a way to protect your monarch from a mass attack or to tap down all blockers so you or other players can crash in.

8. Settle the Wreckage

The red sweepers will take care of a lot of our removal needs, but we’ll still want some other options in the deck, and I really like Settle the Wreckage here. Once you’ve got Jared and the monarch, players will want to break up that combo and stealing back the monarch is one way to do it. If you have some defenses in place a player may be forced to resort to an attack en masse and Settle the Wreckage can really put a serious dent in their battlefield presence.

I’ve included a few other removal spells too:

9. Xenagos, God of Revels

I’m including a fair number of what I’d call “Naya Good Stuff cards” in the deck too, and one of the best is Xenagos, God of Revels. Xenagos is indestructible, so even if he’s a creature he’s resistant to the battlefield sweepers I’m playing, and his ability to grant haste and +X/+X to a creature where X is that creature’s power can punch through a huge amount of damage.  It’s also a great way to steal back the monarch from someone who’s cleared the battlefield with a sweeper and thinks they’re safe for a turn.

So much of what this deck has going on involves the combat step, a serious thorn in our side is going to be something like Fog or Spike Weaver that prevents combat damage, which is why I’ve included Skullcrack and Questing Beast — sorry, that damage can’t be prevented!  Obscuring Haze is a great way to punch past blockers your opponents may have with deathtouch.

10. Pir’s Whim

Last up is mana ramp, and I’ve got a lot of green’s usual suspects in the deck, but one that doesn’t always make the cut is my top choice in this deck: Pir’s Whim. While this is slower ramp than other green options, I like that this is also a removal spell—so much space in this deck is taken up with synergy cards for Jared that I’m a bit lighter on removal than I usually like, so it’s awesome I can get double-duty out of a card like Pir’s Whim. There’s also the potential for political deals here if there’s a player that needs some help with mana ramp and is willing to help you in return.

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

Commander


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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