Jodah, the Unifier - Illustration Ryan Pancoast

Jodah, the Unifier | Illustration by Ryan Pancoast

Legendary creatures are the heart and soul of Commander. The temptation to run a solely legendary deck is almost insurmountable with a juicy creature like Jodah, the Unifier.

How exactly does this new Jodah out-value the other 5-color commanders? Let’s find out!

The Deck

Moritte of the Frost - Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Moritte of the Frost | Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Commander (1)

Jodah, the Unifier

Creature (29)

Arvad the Cursed
Athreos, God of Passage
Cadric, Soul Kindler
Captain Sisay
Cromat
District Guide
Esika, God of the Tree
Etali, Primal Storm
Garth One-Eye
Iroas, God of Victory
Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
Karametra, God of Harvests
Kethis, the Hidden Hand
Kolvori, God of Kinship
Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa
Maelstrom Wanderer
Moritte of the Frost
Nine-Fingers Keene
Nylea, Keen-Eyed
Ratadrabik of Urborg
Reki, the History of Kamigawa
Sakashima the Impostor
Shanid, Sleepers’ Scourge
Sisay, Weatherlight Captain
Spark Double
Vega, the Watcher
Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder
Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful
Zacama, Primal Calamity

Instant (3)

Cast Down
Generous Gift
Price of Fame

Sorcery (10)

Circuitous Route
Cultivate
Karn’s Temporal Sundering
Kodama’s Reach
Open the Gates
Ponder
Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth
Time of Need
Urza’s Ruinous Blast
Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering

Enchantment (1)

Day of Destiny

Artifact (19)

Akroma’s Memorial
Altar of the Pantheon
Arcane Signet
Avacyn’s Memorial
Blackblade Reforged
Champion’s Helm
Chromatic Lantern
Chromatic Orrery
Fellwar Stone
Hammer of Purphoros
Helm of the Host
Heroes’ Podium
Instrument of the Bards
Jodah’s Codex
Kaldra Compleat
Mirror Box
Navigation Orb
Sol Ring
Swiftfoot Boots

Land (37)

Azorius Guildgate
Baldur’s Gate
Black Dragon Gate
Boros Guildgate
Cabaretti Courtyard
Citadel Gate
Cliffgate
Command Tower
Crystal Quarry
Dimir Guildgate
Evolving Wilds
Field of the Dead
Forest
Gateway Plaza
Golgari Guildgate
Gond Gate
Gruul Guildgate
Heap Gate
Island
Izzet Guildgate
Manor Gate
Maze’s End
Mountain
Orzhov Guildgate
Plains
Plaza of Harmony
Rakdos Guildgate
Rogue’s Passage
Sea Gate
Selesnya Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Swamp
Terramorphic Expanse
Thriving Grove
Thriving Heath
Transguild Promenade
Untaidake, the Cloud Keeper

This Jodah, the Unifier deck works like a typical tribal deck, except the themed type sits on the other side of the dash. Typical “choose a creature type” effects like Coat of Arms or Door of Destinies won’t be effective in this deck. Luckily you aren’t pressed for options for legendary spell synergies.

The goal is simple. First, ramp and fix your mana base with Gates and prepare the field for Jodah with lords, anthems, and triggered abilities. Once you’re ready, bring out Jodah, the Unifier and either activate its ability that turn or protect it until the next one. Then crush the pod in combat with a board full of big legendary creatures or keep yourself safe until you can Maze’s End your way out of the game.

The Commander

Jodah, the Unifier

Jodah, the Unifier’s ability makes it a step above the other legendary tribal commanders. Probably most obvious, access to all five colors make it immediately better than Kethis, the Hidden Hand, Captain Sisay, or even the newer Dihada, Binder of Wills and Shanid, Sleepers’ Scourge.

Jodah isn’t alone among popular 5-color legends decks. Sisay, Weatherlight Captain can give it a run for its money. Sisay buffs itself as more legends stick on the battlefield, but Jodah’s ability returns exponentially more advantage as your board gets bigger and bigger.

Jodah’s pseudo-cascade ability is also triggered rather than activated, which saves you mana in the long run. This isn’t to say these other legends won’t have a place in your 99, though.

Legends for Jodah’s Sake

With a deck built almost entirely of legends, it’s great to include more than a few that synergize with your commander.

Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, Reki, the History of Kamigawa, and Vega, the Watcher all draw you cards whenever you hit another legend off Jodah (or sometimes straight from your hand).

Athreos, God of PassageRatadrabik of Urborg

Other legends protect Jodah, the Unifier from removal. It’s expansive at , and that commander tax adds up quickly. Athreos, God of Passage disincentivizes your opponents from killing your creatures while Ratadrabik of Urborg compensates you with a zombie copy should Jodah fall.

Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa

A new and exciting way to protect creatures is Kyodai, Soul of Kamigawa, a creature that’s mechanically like Aegis Angel but with a ton of upsides.

Akroma's Memorial

Of course, you can always go all the way and cast Akroma’s Memorial to spread that indestructibility around your board.

Legends for Legends’ Sake

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no lack of legendary creature lords to choose from. Arvad the Cursed and Day of Destiny give you an extra +2/+2 each on top of Jodah’s anthem, and Shanid, Sleepers’ Scourge’s gift of menace means you’ll swing those creatures right past your opponents’ blockers.

Heroes' PodiumAkroma's Memorial

Heroes’ Podium is good, but Akroma’s Memorial is the real sauce. It dumps a keyword soup onto each of your creatures and can turn a threatening board into a game-ender.

You can use other legendary creatures to grab even more legends once Jodah’s hit the field. Kethis, the Hidden Hand and Nylea, Keen-Eyed cheapen your creature spells. Kolvori, God of Kinship’s flip side can ramp you, but its activated ability to refill your hand is typically much more valuable.

Esika, God of the Tree

Esika, God of the Tree has a similar problem. You can get devastating turns when you make your board into mana dorks, but its flip side can get out of hand very quickly.

Captain SisaySisay, Weatherlight Captain

Of course, you also need some ways to dig up more legends if you decide to invest your two gods for mana. Captain Sisay and Sisay, Weatherlight Captain are as consistent as it gets, tutoring up just about anything you need at instant speed.

Time of Need

Time of Need is functionally similar to Demonic Tutor in this deck.

Spark Double, Sakashima the Impostor, and Moritte of the Frost make your legends pull double-duty, getting you another copy of Arvad’s anthem effect or even Jodah’s pseudo-cascade. Just make sure you’ve got a Mirror Box in play before using Moritte on one of your own legends.

Legends for Your Opponents’ Sake

Yidris, Maelstrom WielderEtali, Primal Storm

Some legends need to be sent your opponents’ way. Big beat sticks like Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder and Etali, Primal Storm need to attack to use their abilities.

Iroas, God of Victory

Any of the Theros gods can also swing damage around the board, especially Iroas, God of Victory. Reaching their devotion quotas won’t be hard with so many colored mana symbols in this deck.

Maelstrom Wanderer

Maelstrom Wanderer is at least an impressive 9/7 with Jodah on the field, most likely more as you cascade twice and then again from Jodah. You get three more legends, each with haste and a huge buff from your commander’s anthem.

Hammer of Purphoros

Hammer of Purphoros is a cheaper haste-enabler that you see more often as the second spell in a cascade.

Karn's Temporal Sundering

Creatures aren’t the only legends your opponents need to worry about. The legendary sorceries from Dominaria United are already strong spells, but you double that by cascading into another legendary spell after casting Karn’s Temporal Sundering.

Primevals' Glorious Rebirth

Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth is really your only response to a board wipe. Should it resolve you come out of that Damnation on top.

Kaldra Compleat

If they’re still not satisfied (read: conceding), break out the big guns and slap Kaldra Compleat on Zacama, Primal Calamity and go to town.

Legends for Your Own Sake

CromatGarth One-Eye

Jodah, the Unifier has finally made a home for some oddball 5-color legends. Cards like Cromat and Garth One-Eye don’t serve any specific purpose in this deck beyond being valuable cards on the field, especially when powered up by Jodah.

Maze's End

Maze’s End is an optional win condition that’s usually only available to 5-color decks. Running the full cycle of guild Gates keeps your mana base cheap, and it’s always nice to have another option to end the game when damage won’t do the trick.

Nine-Fingers Keene

Nine-Fingers Keene helps to collect your guild Gates along the way, and its low mana cost means you have a greater chance of topdecking into it with Jodah.

Nonlegends that Should be Legends

Cultivate

There will always be a few mechanics you won’t be able to account for with legendary spells alone. You’ll always need a Cultivate to get you going.

Open the Gates, Circuitous Route, and District Guide help grab Gates directly from your library on top of the typical ramp spells.

Yawgmoth's Vile Offering

Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering gives you some removal on a legendary spell because a well-tuned deck values consistency above all.

Cast Down and Price of Fame are two thematic removal spells, and Generous Gift is, well, Generous Gift.

Jodah's Codex

Why is Jodah’s Codex not legendary? Is the implication that Jodah wrote multiple copies? Why not call them “Volume One” and “Volume Two”? Regardless, Jodah needs something to read during this game, and this artifact isn’t half bad as far as repeatable draw effects go. At the very least it can filter through some unwanted hits from your cascade effects.

Ponder

Finally, Ponder helps you to set up the top of your library for a cascade from Jodah.

WUBRG Mana Bases: A Gateway Drug

5-color mana bases get expensive quickly. You can save a buck and torment your friends with your wonderful collection of Gates. All 10 Ravnica pairs are here, plus the Battle for Baldur’s Gate gates.

Baldur's GateGond Gate

Importantly, the Baldur’s Gate and Gond Gate can counteract the disadvantages inherent to running a mana base composed entirely of tap lands.

Crystal Quarry

Crystal Quarry is an underrated land for 5-color decks, and it fixes your mana like a charm.

Instead of expensive fetches, Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse, and Cabaretti Courtyard get the job done because you’re mostly searching for green to cast further ramp spells.

Field of the Dead

A singleton mana base like this is incomplete without Field of the Dead.

Gateway PlazaPlaza of Harmony

With all that plus every Gate including Gateway Plaza and Plaza of Harmony, there’s just enough space for one of each basic!

Thriving GroveThriving Heath

Green and white mana sources are favored, so Thriving Grove and Thriving Heath are here and bring the total to a whopping 38 lands.

The Strategy

Jodah, the Unifier has one goal: play a ton of legendary creatures and beat face for the win!

The early game for this Jodah deck, like many, involves ramping. You can’t miss a land drop, so it’s paramount to keep a hand with at least three lands. Running so many tap lands means you need to eke out every bit of mana you can during those early turns, so keep the District Guide or Circuitous Route if you can. And the earlier you drop Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful the better.

You need Jodah, the Unifier on the field by turn 5. If you can’t it’ll be a long hard road to catch up. Luckily your deck really comes alive as soon as you cast Jodah. Depending on what’s left in your hand by the midgame, your options to trigger Jodah’s cascade should be obvious.

The biggest legends have the most possible returns. Things like Zacama, Primal Calamity and Maelstrom Wanderer can bring Etali, Primal Storm and Arvad the Cursed out with them, resulting in huge plays out of nowhere. This is where this deck really shines.

By the late game you’ve hopefully assembled a board of legendary lords and equipment and can sneak that last bit of damage through with Rogue’s Passage or Shanid, Sleepers’ Scourge for some light evasion. If you’ve been locked out of a combat victory, you can turtle up and double down on drawing and tutoring up your guild Gates to shoot for the Maze’s End victory.

Combos and Interactions

There aren’t many definite combos present in this deck, but there are a few interactions to be aware of when piloting it.

Sakashima the Impostor and Spark Double can safely copy your legendaries, but not Moritte of the Frost. Moritte will need Mirror Box or a similar effect in play. The same goes for Helm of the Host.

Yoshimaru, Ever FaithfulInstrument of the Bards

You also need to be familiar with the decklist and know what cascade triggers can hit which cards. Nobody wants to watch you dig for three minutes to find your single Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful or Instrument of the Bards after casting a 3-mana legend. Remember to offer to just search up the spell rather than nonsensically flipping cards over. Some opponents will require you to reveal the cards in order, and that’s also fine.

Budget Options

This Jodah deck is no joke, ringing up around a pricey $380. That’s pretty steep for an initial investment, but there are some budget options.

Cheaper

A lot of this deck’s best legends are also it’s most expensive. Some are redundant or can be replaced with similar legends for a cheaper price.

Huge beaters like Zacama, Primal Calamity can be swapped for Ghalta, Primal Hunger or The Tarrasque. You can reduce your consistency a tad bit by trading in the expensive Captain Sisay for some generic tutors like Diabolic Tutor.

More Expensive

If it’s consistency you’re looking for then the 5-color mana base is where you’re headed. To really make this deck shine, swap out the unnecessary tap lands like Thriving Grove and Untaidake, the Cloud Keeper for some exciting fetch lands and shock lands. Mana Confluence, City of Brass, or Prismatic Vista wouldn’t hurt either.

And there are always more legends you could grab. Trade out Avacyn’s Memorial for Avacyn, Angel of Hope, or become the bane of your playgroup and run Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer.

Other Builds

This Jodah, the Unifier deck is effectively a “legendary creatures-tribal” deck with a little bit of Maze’s End splashed in. That’s not all this wonderful 5-color commander can do, though.

This Jodah deck focuses on mostly legendary creatures, but it also makes a great commander for a superfriends deck. Every planeswalker is a legendary spell, so Jodah cascades you into multiple planeswalkers each turn, maybe even The Chain Veil to pull some nasty combos.

Together Again

Karn's Temporal Sundering - Illustration by Noah Bradley

Karn’s Temporal Sundering | Illustration by Noah Bradley

Jodah, the Unifier brings together the strongest characters from across the Magic multiverse under your command. It’s rare to get a commander with both an ability to dig through the library and one that passively buffs those cards you’ve dug up. Jodah is one of the best legendary tribal lords, if not the best.

What do you think? Is Jodah deserving of this grand title? Are there other, broader Jodah, the Unifier deck themes? What are the best spells for Jodah to cascade with and into? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.

Thanks for reading, until next we’re unified!

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