Building Jodah: Mana Reduction

Dominaria United releases today and with it there will be a major splash in the EDH format. Five color commanders often are quite popular. Jodah, the Unifier will not be an exception to this trend. There are a lot of ways to build this commander and everybody will have a take on it. Previously we talked about the good stuff build of Jodah and we also posted a list of top cards for this build. Today we will discuss the mana reduction or the excess mana build. 

Jodah Review

Jodah, The Unifier is a legendary creature that costs WUBRG to cast and he essentially gives all your legendary nonland cards cascade. One difference though is that cascade does not care where the card was cast from where Jodah specifies that you must cast the card from your hand. This is a significant difference because cards like Experimental Frenzy and Bolas’ Citadel or even the cascade effects off of cards like Bloodbraid Elf will not trigger Jodah. They are still excellent effects for the deck because the deck is seeking value or cheap casting costs any way it can. These effects are good just not as good as they could be.  

The Mana Reduction or Excess Mana Build

This version of Jodah is all about generating lots and lots of mana or reducing the cost of your legendary cards so that you can cast cards faster. With that excess of mana we can then cast multiple cards in a turn triggering our commander over and over again to gain value from our legendary “cascade” triggers. It is also about reducing the casting cost of spells. Jodah cares about the mana value of the card itself, not what you spent to cast it. 

Finally, because Jodah’s ability is for legendary spells only cards that are the infrastructure of a deck like ramp and card draw will be bypassed so that you can cast the meat of your deck off of Jodah’s triggers. The deck will still include cards that will do these things on legendary cards. When they are included, they will be on a body that grows in size which will increase the lethality of your battlefield.   

Ramp Hard

When creating such a build, start with a package of fifteen mana ramp and fixing cards. These cards should be lower to the ground where possible so that they can be cast early or squeezed in late game while casting other cards. Then we add a package of five cards that are mana reduction, make infinite mana or cards that make an absurd amount of mana but are at a higher mana value.

If more slots are needed for this strategy, then a couple of the “at large” legendary slots can be used to increase the potency of generating mana. Such a deck should push twenty or more ramp or mana fixing cards to ensure you have a fast start to the game. This deck runs 23 cards. Here are some critical cards to this strategy. You don’t need them all for the deck to run, just one or two will do. 

Jodah Archmage Eternal

A legendary card at four mana, he comes out fast and has a may ability to change the casting cost of a card to WUBRG.

Fist of Suns

One less mana than Jodah and is an artifact. Itis harder to remove but can’t be cast on a Jodah trigger.

Timeless Lotus

Taps for WUBRG.

Dryad of Ilysian Grove

Any land will tap for any color. Playing an extra land is a bonus. 

The World Tree

Same fixing effect as Dryad but on a land. You will need six lands though…

Animar Soul of Elements

If he stays on the battlefield, then we get our legendaries for VERY cheap. Free eldrazi anyone?

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

Legendary creature who generates more mana as the game progresses.

Relic of Legends 

Not only is it a mana rock but your legendary creatures tap for mana. 

Infinite Mana

Do not forget when you are building such a deck, infinite mana is also your friend. Feel free to include as many infinite mana combos that you wish. This deck includes the Navigating Infinite Mana combo. This is a great inclusion to the deck because it contains several enters the battlefield effects so it can provide some value even if we do not have the cards to generate infinite mana. If you have a haste enabler on the battlefield, then Selvala, Heart of the Wilds will also go infinite with Deadeye Navigator for additional versatility. While not in this deck, The Dramatic Scepter combo works wonders and is an easy inclusion for decks that run Timeless Lotus.. 

Rounding Out the Deck

As any deck should, card draw and removal packages are included. Ten cards were allotted to each. Legendary cards should be included in these packages to help fuel our Jodah triggers. Prime Speaker Zegana, Reki, the History of Kamigawa, and Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain can draw insane numbers of cards throughout the game. They are not for the faint of heart though as you will draw a lot of cards. When all goes well, your deck will get quite thin. We also allotted five additional non legendary cards that synergize with what the deck wants to do. This miscellaneous package will vary from deck to deck. After including 37 lands this leaves room for an additional 18 legendary cards. 

When we chose these additional legendary cards, we put the focus on exploding our battlefield and then being able to react quickly when we have an explosive turn. Waiting a turn cycle around the table will often give our opponents time to respond to our threats and we can find our battlefield wiped out if we do so. Thus, the faster we can attack or deal damage the better. Maelstrom Wanderer and Urabrask, the Hidden both provide haste while Raff Capashan, Ship’s Mage; Leyline  of Anticipation; and Alchemist’s Refuge provide flash. Flash, when used correctly, gives our creatures pseudo haste. With flash speed an option for this deck Seedborn Muse was an easy inclusion for when the opportunity arises to play it. 

Be a Manipulator 

We have ways to manipulate our deck. They won’t always come up, but when they do it will help us to maximize our battlefield. These cards are not necessary and if you want a more random build of “cascade” you can remove them. Volrath’s Stronghold would also work in this deck. If you are looking to optimize the deck, then include it. However, for this build the land base requires a significant amount of basics and any type of forests to fetch due to our ramp package. The card slot was better used including shock lands and triomes. The manipulation cards used in this deck are… 

Bolas’ Citadel

Cast unwanted legends off of the top of our library before you cascade. 

Brainstorm

Draw three cards, put an unwanted card in hand on the top of the deck and the creature you want to “cascade” into beneath it.

Scroll Rack 

Put the non legendary cards on top with the legend you want to “cascade” into beneath them. To cycle away cards you don’t want while getting the legendary you do. 

Varragoth, The Bloodsky Sire 

Varagoth power should be pumped enough through Jodah to survive. Even if he doesn’t, he boasts a legendary card to the top of your library. Trigger Jodah after combat.

Cast Triggers

Not only do we utilize Jodah to gain value on cast triggers, but the deck also contains thirteen cards that trigger on either our casting a card or our opponent casting a card. This is a free value as the card can be countered and we still will get the trigger. Jodah is a value deck. So any way we can heap on the value by just playing cards is highly encouraged. There are too many cards to list here so check out the deck on moxfield.com. You can see the thirteen cards listed in the Cast Trigger category. There also is a Cast it Again category. These cards allow us to gain value by being able to cast cards again.    

You Must Adapt to Your Meta 

This is the type of deck that will never be perfect or finished. Every meta is different and every meta requires different answers. Decks will also evolve to what others are doing. The eighteen at large legendary cards will be interchangeable depending what decks you see the most. For example, protection is very thin in this version of the deck. Avacyn, Archangel of Hope and Avacyn’s Memorial should be included in a meta where you know you will get board wiped at least once or twice a game. Liesa, Forgotten Archangel is also an excellent inclusion in this meta as well as the new card Ratadrabik of Urborg. These cards create value when your creatures die. 

Although, if the board wipes are exile effects, then these cards will do you little good. Then, a Roon of the Hidden Realms; Barren, Master Wizard; or Kaya, the Inexorable may need to go into your deck instead. Worst case scenario, you may need to remove some of the deck manipulation cards for a counter spell package to make sure your creatures make it to the end game. While not legendary, Temur Sabertooh and Teferi’s Protection can be an important inclusions as well to save key cards on the battlefield. .

Every meta is different and thus every legendary package in this sort of deck will vary. Choose the cards that work best for you and your meta. When building this sort of deck just make sure you are staying true to the mana ramp and mana cost reduction part of this deck. As this is what will make this version of the deck efficient. 

Summing it Up 

Big mana and reducing the cost of your spells can help you create a fun experience that explodes your battlefield. While fun to play, this build of Jodah can also hold its own and win some games as well. 

This deck also has some room for some fun legendary cards. If you like it, then put it in the deck. Decks do not always need to be optimized. Commanders like Jodah are not only meant to be strong but also fun to play. So tailor it to what you will enjoy playing. 

You can find the deck list broken down by card function on Moxfield. There are a lot of moving parts and many cards have multiple uses so I encourage you to check it out. It’s very easy when tweaking a deck like this to remove a card thinking it is only affecting one thing where in actuality it affects multiple parts of a deck and before you know it after a few tweaks the deck doesn’t function as well.  

Finally, you will find the deck list below broken down by card type. Jodah, the Unifier is still not done; there are two more ways to build the deck that Commander Clinic will cover. Next time we will cover my favorite type of build.  

Deck List

Commander

  • Jodah the Unifier

Creatures

  • Animar, Soul of Elements
  • Beast Whisperer
  • Beledros Witherbloom
  • Brion Stoutarm
  • Captain Sisay
  • Chulane, Teller of Tales
  • Deadeye Navigator
  • Dockside Extortionist
  • Druid of Purification
  • Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
  • Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma
  • Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty
  • Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
  • Jodah, Archmage Eternal
  • Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
  • Maelstrom Archangel
  • Maelstrom Wanderer
  • Medomai, the Ageless
  • Neera, Wild Mage
  • Niambi, Esteemed Speaker
  • Peregrine Drake
  • Prime Speaker Zegana
  • Raff Capashan, Ship’s Mage
  • Ramos Dragon Engine
  • Reki, the History of Kamigawa
  • Seedborn Muse
  • Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One
  • Silverback Elder
  • Timeless Witness
  • Urabrask, the Hidden
  • Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire
  • Vega the Watcher
  • Viscara, the Dreadful
  • Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
  • Zangief, the Red Cyclone

Artifacts

  • Arcane Signet
  • Bolas’ Citadel
  • Chromatic Orrery
  • Erratic Portal
  • Fist of Suns
  • Legacy Weapon
  • Relic of Legends
  • Scroll Rack
  • Timeless Lotus

Planeswalkers

  • Karn Liberated
  • Teferi, Master of Time

Enchantments

  • Aura Shards
  • Leyline of Anticipation
  • Rhystic Study
  • Warstorm Surge

Sorceries

  • Cultivate
  • Farseek
  • Hour of Promise
  • Kodama’s Reach
  • Nature’s Lore
  • Skyshroud Claim
  • Three Visits

Instants

  • Beast Within
  • Brainstorm
  • Crop Rotation
  • Generous Gift

Lands

  • Alchemist’s Refuge
  • Bonder’s Enclave
  • Breeding Pool
  • Command Tower
  • Evolving Wilds
  • Exotic Orchard
  • 3 Forest
  • Hallowed Fountain
  • Indatha Triome
  • 3 Island
  • Jetmir’s Garden
  • Ketria Triome
  • 2 Mountain
  • Myriad Landscape
  • Overgrown Tomb
  • 2 Plains
  • Raugrin Triome
  • Reflecting Pool
  • Spara’s Headquarters
  • Steam Vents
  • Stomping Ground
  • Swamp
  • Temple Garden
  • Temple of Mystery
  • Terramorphic Expanse
  • The World Tree
  • Vault of the Archangel
  • Watery Grave

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