Ormendahl, the Corrupter by Yongjae Choi
Welcome back to Conditions Allow, where I take a card with a drawback and turn it into a strength. Its October, and we’re back on Innistrad, so prepare for tricks, and maybe a few treats, as I dive into the first dual faced card of the series, .
is a fresh new commander from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt with the potential to turn into something much darker. During your end step, if you have exactly 13 life you can pay six mana to flip Jerren into Ormedahl, the Corrupter. This version of Ormendahl is a 6/6 Legendary Demon with flying, trample, and lifelink. And he also lets you sacrifice a creature to draw a card. Ormendahl is undoubtedly powerful. Sacrificing creatures to draw cards is reminiscent of two other powerful demons, and . But I want to think about Ormendahl, the Corrupter more in terms of an instant infamous for its prevalence in the competitive end of the EDH pool, .
lets you draw a huge number of cards in exchange for dramatically lowering your life. reverses that relationship of life to cards. He requires you to lose a bunch of life, and then you may be able to draw cards. Of course, the number of cards you get to draw also depends on the number of creatures you have in play. But if you can flip Ormendahl with a few creatures in play, you’ll go into your next turn with a lot of cards in hand. This can let you grind for a long game, or dig for a big spell to end the game right away.
Payment Up Front
The first step of this plan is getting down to 13 life. Luckily, black gives you plenty of tools to control your life total.and both let you pay life down to 13 at any time. They’re also strong blockers, so you’re only ever losing life when you want. also lets you pay one life at a time, but requires an up front mana investment. You can keep using the mana creates to activate its ability though, so it still ends up costing less mana than any other similar spell in the deck. This makes it much easier to cast, set your life to 13, and still be able to pay to transform in one turn.
And then there are the cards that let you pay life in multiples.is trickier to use than , because if you start at an even life total, you won’t be able to drop yourself to 13 life on your own. It’s effect is much more useful than though, ensuring you can find the card you need when you need it. Similarly, keeps safe from most removal, ensuring you get to summon Ormendahl. The last card in this category is . Paying three life for a single +1/+1 counter is a steep price, but it does get you from 40 to 13 life with nine activations. And because cards don’t leave the battlefield as they transform, those +1/+1 counters will transfer from to Ormendahl, the Corrupter, making commander damage a viable win condition.
Of course, you can lower your life total gradually as well.also fits into a Voltron strategy, and can be cast repeatedly from the graveyard. is a powerful card advantage engine, along with and . Plenty of your removal can help lower your life total as well. is free, except for four life as long as you control a , and is one of the best board wipes in the game. Just be wary of wiping out your own creatures.
A Cult Requires Cultists
Sometimes, though, your own creatures dying isn’t that big a deal. Whenever another non-token Human dies,replaces it with a 1/1 Human Cleric token. , , and all leave behind tokens of their own. Not only do these tokens help insulate you from mass removal, they double the number of cards you can draw with Ormendahl. Other high value sacrifice targets include and . Finally, you won’t want to sacrifice but it also doubles the number of cards you draw by sacrificing humans.
Next up are the creatures that passively make tokens.will finally be getting a reprint later this year, and this is the perfect place to put it. Deathtouch-y snakes are fantastic blockers, and a consistent source of sacrifice fodder. can make a few more tokens, but is less likely to stick around into the late game. Most of our creatures have a fairly low mana value though, so Endrek Sahr will usually sit around for a few turns. You can also sacrifice the Thrull tokens with to ensure you never have more than seven at your end step. Lastly, also rewards you for sacrificing Humans, and fits perfectly alongside .
With all this sacrificing, it makes sense to include a card or two to bring creatures back from the dead. Two new cards really shine in this category, and they work together really well.will exile any creature you sacrifice under itself, and when it dies they’ll be returned to the battlefield. If one of those happens to be , you’ll be able to exile two cards from your graveyard to bring the Geistcatcher right back to play. While does prevent and from triggering, you will still draw cards through Ormendahl, the Corrupter’s ability. If your graveyard is large enough, this loop will dramatically increase the number of cards you draw.
The End Times
Now that you’ve gotten down to 13 life and flipped over Ormendahl, the Corrupter with a battlefield full of creatures to sacrifice, how do you win the game? You could choose a classic, likeor , but they don’t really mesh with the sacrifice theme the rest of the deck has. To stay more on theme, I’m going to combine with
is a natural fit for a deck that wants to lower its own life total as dramatically as does. It also makes it significantly easier to win with and . With all the tokens this deck creates, sacrificing 13 creatures happens almost by accident. And if you’ve already sacrificed most of your creatures to draw , it isn’t difficult to get them back.
doesn’t have to be a tribal deck. Ormendahl, the Corrupter doesn’t care about what he sacrifices, and many non-Humans are more easily recurred from the graveyard. , , and are all left out of this deck to fit as many humans as possible. This lets you take advantage of and to keep the card draw, and damage, flowing.
Cult of Jerren: Jerren, Corrupted Bishop EDH
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One challenge that I didn’t foresee withis that you really want both sides of the card in play at the same time. His front face helps make extra tokens that his back side wants to sacrifice for value. and help offset the fact you can’t have Jerren and Ormendahl in play, though. It also means I’ve built this deck to be more explosive than grindy. Once you have Ormendahl in play with a bunch of creatures to sacrifice, your opponents will know who the threat at the table is. With that said, helps you gain life right away, and puts the whole table on relatively equal footing, even if Ormendahl does get removed.
Did you take the same approach to? What cards stood out to you for this commander, and have you had any success with him? Let me know if I missed anything in the comments.