Building Jodah Part 4:The Hidden Commander

Jodah the Unifier has been released and he is one of the most popular commanders from the Dominaria United set. Part of the popularity is that he is a value engine in and of himself and that he can be built in several different ways. In Part 1 we covered that Jodah is primarily a good stuff build. Part 2 we covered thirty of the top legendary cards to put in such a build. Part three we covered the big mana casting cost reduction build of Jodah. Today we will cover my favorite build… The hidden commander build. 

Hidden Commander

The hidden commander build has a couple of advantages compared to just playing the commander outright. The first is some commanders are kill on sight. When you see them in the command zone you know your opponent is going to do some gross things and that you need to target them right out of the gate. With a hidden commander your opponents do not know what your game plan outright it is and it buys you some time. Also by using Jodah as your commander it opens up more colors for your deck which in return opens up more cards for you to accomplish your strategy. The most important thing in this sort of deck is being able to get your hidden commander in play and then protecting it. 

This strategy is optimal when the hidden commander you want to play is lower in mana value. When you cast a legendary spell Jodah will cast another one for free as long as it is of lesser mana value. Mana value three or less is optimal but four mana value hidden commanders can be utilized. So if you use a hidden commander with a mana value of four then you do not want any legendary cards of mana value four or less in your deck. Then when you cast a five mana value spell you are guaranteed to get the legendary card that you want.    

Ratadrabik

We will use Ratadrabik as an example for this hidden commander build. He is a strong niche commander who actually benefits from adding additional colors to the deck. The deck is built around giving Legendary cards myriad so that they automatically die and you make non legendary tokens from them. To understand the concepts further read his deck tech. There is only one additional card added that grants myriad but with the tutor option from Jodah we can reduce the number of tutors in the deck since there is a card value engine built into it beyond Ratadrabik itself. 

The additional colors and legendaries that are included in the deck also cause problems for our opponents. Whether we copy them or not. This can create difficulties when our opponents have to decide what to do with their single target removal. It also creates a situation where mass target removal is the preferred method of dealing with our battlefield. Ratabrabik rebuilds our board and plenty of protection spells are included to protect our battlefield if we do not want it wiped.  

Drawbacks

There are a lot of legendaries that would help us protect Ratadradik and our other permanants as well as multiple strong options for card draw in a deck like this. Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain and Reki, the HIstory of Kamigawa is the card draw we want but we have to exclude them otherwise we water down our deck and we will not cascade into Ratadrabik. Teysa Karlov is a must have in a deck like this because doubling the death triggers the deck has built around it is too good to pass up. It is a risk when we cast a five mana legend we have a 50% chance of casting Ratadrabik. With the strength of Teysa its worth waiting a turn if we have to. If there is a secondary commander to this hidden commander theme it would be Teysa. 

The other drawback is the speed of the deck. Not only will Teysa slow us down but with Ratadrabik being in the 99 of the deck we need to be a little more careful iwhen we deploy him. We want protection preferably from single target exile. If Ratadrabik gets exiled our game is not sunk but it definitely gets hurt. Hexproof and/or Sacrifice Outlets should be in place before we try to cascade into our hidden commander. If you have a choice of putting Ratadrabik on the battlefield early or waiting to be properly protected, then wait. 

Keep in mind players that look scary early are more likely to enter into a game of archenemy which does not benefit them.By slowly building our board we can help ensure use getting to the end game without spending a single card. This is resource conservation and it is quite valuable.  

The Key Three

Ratadrabik has his own key three. We will not repeat them here. Check out his own deck tech to read about them and pet cards in such a deck. Here are three additional cards that help this specific deck run smoothly.

Liesa, Forgotten Archangel

The Hidden commander relies on death triggers and as such there are sacrifice outlets in the deck. This opens up additional value for the Jodah side of the deck as well. WIth Liesa on the battlefield we can sacrifice a creature bring it back to our hand and cast it again to gain another Jodah trigger. While this is happens we are making more tokens for our battlefield. 

Neera, Wild Mage

This is another value piece. There are several cards that are low in mana value that we can turn into better cards. This is especially true in the late game when you do not need another ramp spell. Also sometimes you may not want the card you received from Jodah’s ability. That is OK once per turn you can gamble and turn it into something else. Sometimes even bigger. It is also an additional chance of topdecking a myriad card as well.  

Imoti Celebrant of Bounty

There are 18 cards in the deck that are mana value six or higher. While not an elite number it does help speed up the deck by giving cascade to those cards. Maybe you only hit a three mana spell with the additional cascade. It is still a free spell that puts additional value to your turn. And if you hit a Sidisi, Udead Vizier or a Demonic Tutor off of it then it’s magical christmas land to fetch what you want. To close out the game. You still have to cast the card but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. 

Don’t Forget About (Pet Cards)

Pet cards are throughout the format. A Jodah deck has plenty of room for them. Here are some cards that work well in this deck that deserve a shout out.  

Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Ghalta is just huge with trample. And with Jodah’s buff he is even bigger. But more importantly he often can cast for just two mana while giving you a Jodah Trigger for 12. With Liesa on the battlefield and a sac outlet this just gets absurd as long as you have the green mana to cast him. 

Etali Primal Storm 

Slow to use but a wonderful target to distract your opponents from the real threats. Eltali Primal Storm will provide value when you get to attack with it. You don’t care what you get as long as you can use it to some sort of benifit. At six mana it will either cascade into you two critical cards in Ratadrabik or Teysa or give you a five mana legendary meaning you spent only one mana to create a distraction for your opponent. If you get copies from Ratabrabik triggers things can get out of hand.   

Song of Worldsoul

Song of Worldsoul is a cast trigger. Where it can be good in Ratadrabik to copy all those non legendary tokens it is just absurd in this deck because every Jodah trigger and every cascade trigger will make you another token once they are on the battlefield.. 

Martyr’s Bond

Dictate of Erebos and Grave Pact are wonderful cards but Martyrs Bond is slightly better. Just like with the other cards when you sacrifice a creature they are losing one too, but this card is bonkers good when you can create a significant amount of treasure. 

From Dockside Extortionist to Pitiless Plunderer or Old Gnawbone to Smothering Tithe there are ways to create a significant amount to treasure and the now they all read Tap sacrifice this treasure: add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Each opponent sacrifices an artifact. This will keep all but treasure decks empty of artifacts and give you an advantage in the treasure mana war. 

Alhammaret’s Archive

A decision was made early to keep the deck mostly grounded in Orzhov. Thus we did not include many cards outside of Ratadrabik’s color identity so that the deck can run more efficiently. A lot of our card draw effects are small draw a card or draw two cards. With the ability to cascade into the archive we gain a significant amount of value from our card draw. The archive is free in this case and if we cast it early getting a four mana critical card out of it is excellent value on a card that does little on it’s own. 

When you draw, four cards off of a Night’s Whisper, it far exceeds basic efficiency or drawing two off of each death trigger with a Midnight Reaper fills our hand rapidly and far exceeds the five mana spent to cast the card  

Summing it up 

HIdden Commanders can be a fun way to build a Jodah deck if the commander is low enough to the ground. You can use Jodah as a tutor and it opens up a lot more options to fill your deck. The temptation will be to just include the good stuff to make the deck. Do that for some of the basics of card draw and ramp but take the time to use the rest of the card slots to synergize with your hidden commander or other alternative cards that players will not expect in such a build. The balance of staples and alternative cards helps create a deck that is uniquely your own.

Which card would you consider for a hidden commander? What additional cards would you place in this deck?.Leave a comment below. You can also check out the deck and how it is broken down in packages on moxfield. You will also find this specific deck list below. 

Deck LIst

Commander

  • Jodah, the Unifier

Creatures

  • Arvad the Cursed
  • Atheros, Shroud Veiled
  • Dockside Extortionist
  • Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
  • Duke Ulder Ravengard
  • Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
  • Etali, Primal Storm
  • Ghalta, Primal Hunter
  • Ghoulcaller Gisa
  • God-Eternal Bontu
  • Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty
  • Liesa, Forgotten Archangel
  • Luminous Broodmoth
  • Medomai, the Ageless,
  • Midnight Reaper
  • Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
  • Neera, Wild Mage
  • Ob Nixilis, Unshackled
  • Old Gnawbone
  • Pitiless Plunderer
  • Ratabrabik of Urborg
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One
  • Sidisi, Undead Vizier
  • Storvald, Frost Giant Jarl
  • Syr Konrad, the Grim
  • Teysa KarlovVisara, The Dreadful
  • Viscera Seer
  • Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
  • Welcoming Vampire

Artifacts

  • Alhammaret’s Archive
  • Arcane Signet
  • Blade of Selves
  • Lightning Greaves
  • Phyrexian Altar
  • Sol Ring
  • Timeless Lotus

Planeswalkers

  • Kaya the Inexorable

Enchantments

  • Anointed Procession
  • Dictate of Erebos
  • Legion LOyalty
  • Martyr’s Bond
  • Smothering Tithe
  • Song of the Worldsoul

Sorceries

  • Austere Command
  • Cultivate
  • Demonic Tutor
  • Farseek
  • Kodama’s Reach
  • Night’s Whisper
  • Rampant Growth
  • Read the Bones
  • Sign in Blood
  • Three Visits
  • Victimize

Instants

  • Battle-Rage Blessing
  • Crop Rotation
  • Generous Gift
  • Malakir Rebirth/Malakir Mire
  • Rootborn Defenses
  • True Love’s Kiss
  • Vampiric Tutor
  • Wail of the Nim

Lands

  • Blood Crypt
  • Breeding Bool
  • Command Tower
  • Evolving Wilds
  • 3 Forest
  • Godless Shrine
  • Hallowed Fountain
  • High Market
  • Island
  • 2 Mountain
  • Overgrown Tomb
  • 2 Plains
  • Plaza of Heros
  • Sacred Foundry
  • Stomping Ground
  • 2 Swamp
  • Temple Garden
  • Temple of Abandon
  • Temple of Deceit
  • Temple of Enlightenment
  • Temple of Epiphany
  • Temple of Malady
  • Temple of Malice
  • Temple of Mystery
  • Temple of Plenty
  • Temple of Silence
  • Temple of Triumph
  • Terramorphic Expanse
  • The World Tree
  • Watery Grave
  • Westvale Abbey

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