Hey folks! Battle For Zendikar spoilers are upon us, and the set looks fantastic so far. My focus has been on my favorite singleton format, so I’ve been on the lookout for the best Commanders that will be roaming the planes come October. Thankfully it wasn’t too hard to find a sweet one. Observe:
Without help, it’s a 7-mana 5/5 with no evasion that Bolts something when it dies. Obviously this is not how we want to be spending 7 mana. With the idea that 8 mana gets us a Maelstrom Wanderer in mind, things look pretty grim for Omnath. While Omnath isn’t on par with the feared Temur-aligned Elemental I just mentioned, not much is, and it’s often more fun to power down a Commander deck a little bit so that more gameplay can happen. After all, Commander is a really great excuse to shout at your friends and cast awesome spells for a few hours, and Omnath fits right into that paradigm.
Of course, Omnath happens to be a part of at least one sort-of-infinite combo, if that’s your cup of tea. I won’t be including it in my final deck list, but I think it’s worth mentioning.
With Omnath, Locus of Rage on the battlefield alongside either Amulet of Vigor or Lotus Cobra, you can use Perilous Forays to go nuts. Imagine you’ve just played a land and Omnath’s landfall trigger is on the stack.
Step 1: Let Omnath’s trigger resolve, getting a 5/5 Elemental.
Step 2: Tap a land for mana and use it to sacrifice the Elemental to Perilous Forays. Omnath triggers, so you get to point 3 damage at something.
Step 3: Use the Forays activation to search up a “land card with a basic land type.” Yes, this includes the new dual lands from Battle for Zendikar! Lotus Cobra will generate a point of mana, or Amulet of Vigor will make the land enter untapped. You also get an Omnath landfall trigger.
Step 4: GOTO 10… er, I mean, see Step 1.
With that out of the way, if Omnath is going to be our Commander, we want to make sure our deck works on a few axes:
- Ramp effects or other effects that put lands onto the battlefield so we can trigger Omnath’s landfall and recast him when he dies.
- Other creatures with landfall or land-related abilities so we can have redundancy when Omnath is not on the battlefield.
- Additional Elementals or cards that generate Elementals to trigger Omnath’s Lightning Bolt ability.
- Sacrifice outlets for our Elementals to generate large bursts of damage from Omnath’s triggered ability.
A myriad of cards fit into these categories, so I’ll just give you some highlights in each one that come from recent sets. That way, most people will be familiar with the examples.
Recent sets have brought us a nice spread of abilities of this type, from one-time effects like Nissa’s Pilgrimage and repeatable effects like Sword of the Animist’s trigger to explosive haymakers like Animist’s Awakening. I’ll leave the result of resolving that one with Omnath on the battlefield to your imagination. Nissa’s Renewal is also a cool peek into Battle for Zendikar cards that might be good in this deck.
Landfall & Land-Related Abilities
Okay, I cheated a little, but Avenger of Zendikar is in the Eldrazi vs. Zendikar Duel Decks, so most people have probably seen it. Zendikar’s Roil even generates Elementals, albeit 2/2s that look adorable next to the hulking 5/5s Omnath brings to the battlefield. Oran-Rief Hydra is probably better in a mono-green deck, but it’s at least an example.
Elementals and Elemental Generators
I dipped into Modern Masters 2015 a little here too. Evoke is a really cool ability with Omnath in play because you get an Omnath Bolt to go with the enters/leaves the battlefield ability from the evoked creature. Gaea’s Revenge is, of course, just really powerful, and Phytotitan keeps coming back, dying, and feeding that Omnath bolt-machine.
Obviously the options in Standard are a lot less powerful than the ones available in the entire Commander card pool—of these, I think Evolutionary Leap is almost certainly the best, since it’s repeatable multiple times in a single turn and it allows us to reload.
So, that’s an outline you can use as well as a sort of mini-thesaurus of cards you might want to play. Where’s the list? Here, of course! What cards do you see that seem really strong or weak? What cards would you include in your list? I’ll take a few trips through the comments—post your list and we can talk about it!