Conditions Allow - Iname as One EDH
Iname as One by Stephen Tappin)
Death is Part of Life
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, where I take a card with a drawback and build a deck to turn it into a strength. Wizards finally announced our impending return to Kamigawa, one of my favorite planes. To commemorate that news, it only seemed appropriate to talk about one of my favorite legends from the plane, Iname as One.
Iname as One is the fusion of Iname, Life Aspect and Iname, Death Aspect in just about every way. It's power and toughness and mana cost are equal to the total of its two halves, and its effects are more powerful versions. Where Iname, Death Aspect puts spirits into your graveyard, Iname as One searches one directly into play. Where Iname, Life Aspect returns creatures to your hand, Iname as One puts them right onto the battlefield.
This is undeniably powerful. Iname as One is both a tutor and recursion in the command zone, but it does come with a few restrictions. First and foremost, Iname costs twelve mana, making it the third most expensive commander just behind Emrakul, the Promised End. Second, Iname's first ability only triggers if you cast it from your hand. Finally, its second ability requires you to exile Iname as One from your graveyard to actually revive a spirit. This makes Iname prohibitively expensive as solely a reanimation commander. In order to make this deck work, we're going to need to get Iname as One into our hand, search for a powerful spirit, and ensure it sticks around.
Out of the Zone
Starting off with effects to get Iname as One into hand you may be expecting Command Beacon, but I want to start with Sanctum of Eternity. The sanctum is the easiest way to cast Iname as One from your hand multiple times. Searching for any Spirit card and putting it directly into play is Iname's most powerful ability, especially with the printing of Kodama of the East Tree. Most decks try to abuse Kodama of the East Tree's ability to combo with lands and tokens, but I'm looking to take advantage of Iname's monstrous mana cost. Whether you like enchantments, planeswalkers, or creatures, Kodama and Iname combo to put the most powerful permanents into play for free.
Which makes Kodama of the East Tree a magnet for removal. Luckily, Iname as One can bring it back, but then we will need Command Beacon. Iname is simply too expensive to cast from the command zone more than once. In order to have access to this effect as reliably as possible, I'm also including Road of Return and Netherborn Altar. Netherborn Altar isn't very popular, but this is the perfect place for it. The life you pay is easily offset by Bounteous Kirin and Kokusho, the Evening Star, both searchable with Iname as One. The altar also stays in play, easily retrieving your commander multiple times.
Wait, It Costs How Much?
As awesome as all that sounds (seriously, who doesn't want to play Impervious Greatwurm for free?) it still takes a lot of mana. Utilizing both two and four mana ramp spells helps you to get there, but seven mana on turn four is still a long ways from the fourteen or fifteen it takes to put Iname as One into your hand and cast it. Which is why you're not ramping towards Iname as One. You're ramping towards interaction, and card advantage.
Black and Green are both great at playing a long game of attrition, and this deck relies on that to last long enough to take advantage of Iname as One. By ramping on turns two and three, you can cast Liliana, Dreadhorde General or Garruk, Apex Predator on turn four. Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools and Tendershoot Dryad can come down even earlier. The goal is simply to clog up the battlefield so you can build up enough mana to start casting Iname as One.
There are plenty of powerful instants and sorceries to supplement these planeswalkers as well. Casualties of War is a powerful tempo swing that offers more flexibility than Windgrace's Judgment. I particularly like Binding the Old Gods, as it combines removal and ramp. It's also a permanent, meaning it can be put into play with Kodama of the East Tree if you happen to draw it later in the game.
The Spirit of the Game
Once you get all the mana you need though, what are the best spirits to search for? Kodama of the East Tree is possibly the most impactful option, especially in conjunction with Sanctum of Eternity. Putting Garruk, Apex Predator, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, or even just Impervious Greatwurm into play for free will have a huge impact on the game. Ugin in particular is fun. Most of the time he's a glorified board wipe, but you'll want to aim for his ultimate in this deck. Putting any seven permanents from this deck into play should be more than enough to take over a game.
Depending on the texture of your hand, you might instead choose to search for Kokusho, the Evening Star. Kokusho is a great reanimation target, and applies immediate pressure on your opponent's life totals. In conjunction with Iname as One's reanimation effect, Kokusho can take over a game all on its own. If, on the other hand, you have all your removal spells in hand Patron of the Orochi might be a better place to start. Patron of the Orochi is essentially a much bigger Seedborn Muse. It pairs especially well with Tendershoot Dryad, giving all your tokens virtual vigilance. Just keep in mind that Patron of the Orochi doesn't only untap your forests.
Finally, I'm including Iname, Death Aspect and Iname, Life Aspect as well. When you cast Iname as One from your hand and put Iname, Death Aspect into play you can put every spirit in your deck into your graveyard. Then, sacrifice Iname as One to revive Iname, Life Aspect. When the Life Aspect dies, you can exile it to return all your spirits to your hand. From there you can play them as needed.
What is Dead Cannot Die
To round out the deck, I'm including a couple of reanimation spells. Ever After is one of my favorite spells for a reanimation sub-theme. Getting back multiple creatures is powerful, especially when they have the impact of Kokusho, the Evening Star or Kodama of the East Tree. Patriarch's Bidding is even better, putting all of your spirits back in play. Just make sure you're paying attention to what tribes your opponents are playing, as they might get more out of your spell than you do.
The last card I want to mention briefly is Maskwood Nexus. With it in play, Iname as One could search for, or reanimate, any creature regardless of type, but I don't think that makes it worth playing. You already have to do so much to make Iname as One work, it doesn't make sense to add another step to make it work slightly better. And while there are plenty of splashy creatures, I'm fairly confident that the best creature to search for is Kodama of the East Tree. It will continue to enable a powerful game plan whether you can recast your commander or not.
With that out of the way, here's the final decklist
Iname as One EDHView on Archidekt
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Iname as One is a clunky commander, but it also has a powerful effect that encourages you to play powerful cards. It isn't difficult for this deck to take off without you needing to cast your commander. Ramping hard into Kodama of the East Tree or Kokusho, the Evening Star is a recipe for success no matter what card is in the command zone. This particular list does lean on Iname as One's search ability to compensate for the low amount of card draw.
How would you approach Iname as One? Are there other spirit synergies I overlooked? Am I undervaluing the utility of Maskwood Nexus?