Last updated on December 22, 2022
Dragonlord Ojutai | Illustration by Chase Stone
In looking at tribes I’ve found plenty of instances of the full gambit that do exactly what you’d expect those creatures and colors to do. Goblins come in quick, aggressive, and in large numbers. Elves create quick mana and band together (not banding) to create massive amounts of damage. Dragons do, well, whatever it is dragons do.
They’re the odd ones out since they tend to do whatever you need and expect the colors of the pie to do. They’re able to fit into any niche, generally granting not only some sort of ability but a little bit of heft for the mana cost. This makes dragons one of the most popular tribes to build around, and why they lend themselves to 5-color decks nicely.
The Ur-Dragon is not only one of the most popular 5-color commanders but also the most common dragon tribal commander. Looking at other legendary dragons out there with some more restrictive colors leads me to what I think is a very interesting one that I’d like to share.
So let’s take a look at a different kind of dragon deck for Commander: Azorius () Ojutai Dragon Tribal.
The Ur-Dragon | Illustration by Jaime Jones
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset
Icingdeath, Frost Tyrant
Iymrith, Desert Doom
Keiga, the Tide Star
Ojutai, Soul of Winter
Taigam, Ojutai Master
Watcher of the Spheres
Yosei, the Morning Star
Settle the Wreckage
Swords to Plowshares
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows
Authority of the Consuls
Brave the Sands
Reflections of Littjara
Ring of Thune
Scepter of Dominance
Talisman of Progress
Tatsumasa, the Dragon's Fang
Cave of the Frost Dragon
Crucible of the Spirit Dragon
Haven of the Spirit Dragon
Path of Ancestry
Sea of Clouds
Temple of the Dragon Queen
Temple of the False God
The basic strategy is to get Dragonlord Ojutai out and use its ability to draw your way into your other dragons. From there you use them and your other spells to tap your opponents’ boards and make swinging with your fliers that much easier.
Dragonlord Ojutai is an interesting 5/4 flier for five that has its own built-in protection. The only thing you really need to fortify it more is to give it and your whole squad vigilance. Its repeatable draw scrying each combat makes attacking it a priority whenever possible.
Ojutai’s 5-mana value puts it in a bit of a sweet spot that lets you get it out as early as turn 3 if you get the right opening hand. This can really help with some deck filtering to get what you need as you progress.
All of the creatures you cast give you some nice bonuses, ranging from detaining and tapping abilities to value engines for your other dragons to chaining off other spells you cast. Let’s go over some of the more notable ones.
Cunning Breezedancer comes in a bit steep as a 4/4 for six, but growing at a rate of +2/+2 for the turn with each other noncreature spell you cast (which will be fairly often) means it can grow pretty quickly.
Ojutai, Soul of Winter turns all your dragons into repeatable Azorius Arresters. You won’t have any issue with blockers as long as your targets have the same amount (or fewer) creatures than you.
Sylvia Brightspear gives all your dragons double strike. It’s one of the few non-dragon creatures in the deck, but it still plays a big part in making the tribe work.
Taigam, Ojutai Master protects all your instants, sorceries, and dragons from being countered. It also gives you repeatable value from the instants and sorceries you cast after it attacks by giving them rebound.
Watcher of the Spheres makes all your fliers (i.e., dragons) cheaper and grows for the turn as they enter the battlefield.
Quicksilver Dragon and Keiga, the Tide Star have an interesting synergy when they’re both on the battlefield and Quicksilver is still morphed. If an opponent gets a bit too antsy and tries to wipe it out, you can morph it and redirect the kill spell to Keiga, allowing you to permanently steal a creature.
Yosei, the Morning Star is a very nice asymmetric board wipe deterrent. It locks down several of a target player’s permanents and makes them skip their next untap step.
Your hope for Tamiyo, the Moon Sage is to reach its ultimate and make sure nothing really affects you too much. Its +1 and -2 are still really nice with the synergies you have lined up in the meantime.
For Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset you’d still love the ultimate, but getting to untap one of your permanents and tap an opponent’s is really nice, especially if you aren’t able to get vigilance on Dragonlord Ojutai. Its -2 ability allows you to skip attacking with your commander for a turn if you choose and still get the same effect.
You get a subtle suite of counters in the form of Narset's Reversal, Silumgar's Scorn, and Stubborn Denial.
Your main source of interaction comes from tapping and detaining your opponents’ creatures and permanents, locking them out from using a lot of activated abilities. These come in the form of instants like Blustersquall, Crippling Chill, and Turnabout, sorceries like Sleep, and enchantments like Authority of the Consuls and Citadel Siege.
The Mana Base
This deck is a pretty good split of white to blue so having a lot of dual lands at your disposal is a good thing. This includes the Azorius () variant of the check lands, reveal lands, fast lands, slow lands, filter lands, future shifted lands, bounce lands, Battlebond lands, and Tempest lands.
Utilities along for the ride include Buried Ruin, Crucible of the Spirit Dragon, Ghost Quarter (for those stubborn nonbasics your opponent controls), Haven of the Spirit Dragon, Path of Ancestry (a must-have for any tribal deck), and Temple of the Dragon Queen.
Your wincons come from either combat or commander damage. Which one depends if you’re using some the buffs and artifacts to voltron Dragonlord Ojutai, which is viable, or the numerous detaining and tapping synergies to make sure the path is clear for your attacks. Especially if you happen to get Sylvia Brightspear and Reflections of Littjara out naming dragons. Brave the Sands makes your offense become your defense while Monastery Siege protects your board.
Your board wipe suite is meant to be either asymmetric for you (Settle the Wreckage) or put you in a better place than your opponents (Terminus, since you have several draw engines built in with Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, Borrowing 100,000 Arrows, and Verity Circle, not to mention Time Wipe bouncing something back if you manage to get Tamiyo’s ultimate off first).
Temple of the Dragon Queen | Illustration by Cliff Childs
I set out to bring a list that wasn’t another cookie-cutter dragon tribal deck to the table, and I think I managed that. Playing this list was fun since it ended up being solitaire a good chunk of the time with Taigam, Ojutai Master, Brave the Sands, and Monastery Siege out, but not so much that my opponents got bored. Just enough that I was identified as a main threat once I got some creatures on board.
And that’s the counter to all of this: aggro. This is a midrange control deck so getting blasted to the face early or through noncombat means having to take the L and move on. But win or lose, I was happy to play something that demonstrated the wonderful control capabilities of Azorius in a very lore-like way while showing off the versatility of these ancient reptiles.
What changes would you make to this deck? Do you agree with the best ways to use these beasts? Let me know in the comments down below or over on the official Draftsim Discord.
That’s all from me for today. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll see you in the next one!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: