Conditions Allow - Odric, Blood-Cursed in EDH

Ben Doolittle • January 24, 2022

(Odric, Blood-Cursed | Art by Chris Rallis)

A Pain in the Deck

Spirits where high going into previews for Innistrad: Crimson Vow. Two fan favorite characters, Odric and Thalia, would be getting new cards in the set, and speculation was running rampant. Would either have picked up a new color since their last appearance? Could Boros get a fun commander not focused on attacking? The answer to both questions was yes, with Odric, Blood-Cursed. At first, it seemed this new, vampiric Odric was relatively well-received, but public opinion quickly turned against him. He doesn't actually do anything on his own, requiring other creatures to create Blood tokens. Additionally, a single Blood token will have little impact over the course of a game of Commander. However, that shouldn't stop us from seeing what's made possible by Odric, Blood-Cursed and determining for ourselves if he is really as bad as some say.

Like his earlier iterations, Odric, Blood-Cursed cares about the keywords on your other creatures, rewarding you for having multiple creatures in play. Unlike his previous selves, however, Vampire Odric doesn't need you to attack. Instead, whenever he enters the battlefield, you'll get a Blood token for each keyword on creatures you control. Blood tokens let you pay a mana and discard a card to draw a card. Essentially, they give you the option of cycling any card in your hand. If you can reuse the cards you discard then Odric's Blood tokens become card advantage. Graveyard recursion also opens up the possibility of reanimating Odric to generate more Blood tokens and keep the value train rolling.

More Blood

One of the key problems that Odric decks will run into is a split focus. Swiftblade Vindicator and Aerial Responder appear in 74% and 40% of Odric, Blood-Cursed decks, respectively, even though they don't contribute to the gameplan of the deck. While they do ensure that Odric is making three Blood tokens when you cast him, I don't like including these cards. They aren't useful unless you plan on Equipping them and attacking, which is specifically what I want to avoid.

Instead, I'm going to include creatures that can retrigger Odric's ability, while also providing at least one keyword for Blood tokens. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker may not let you copy Odric, Blood-Cursed directly, but it can copy Restoration Angel to blink Odric. For another repeatable effect, Angel of Condemnation is a slightly worse Eldrazi Displacer, although it provides two keywords where the Eldrazi has none. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not going to include Eldrazi Displacer. Likewise, Teleportation Circle and Conjurer's Closet are just too good to pass up. Consistent ways to blink your creatures are going to be vital for this deck to function, so I'm including as many as possible.

The Key is the Words

Just like the blink-enablers, I'm picking as many payoffs that also have keywords as possible, so while Wall of Omens and Priest of Ancient Lore are in the deck, the real stars are Skyscanner and Pilgrim's Eye, which both have flying. For removal, I'm including Fury. If your budget allows, Solitude is also a worthy inclusion. Artifacts are a strong subtheme in the deck as well, so Osgir, the Reconstructor will generate a lot of value, and to protect that value, Archangel Avacyn will give your whole team indestructible. Finally, I'm adding Zealous Conscripts as a win condition with Kiki-Jiki.

As much as I'm not a fan of Swiftblade Vindicator, I am including a couple of creatures just because they have keywords. Unlike the Vindicator, however, these creatures are free, or are powerful enough to stand on their own. Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh and Ornithopter are both extremely easy to cast, so they don't disrupt your curve, and they can represent real threats if you draw Arterial Alchemy. Stonecoil Serpent is a surprisingly powerful card on its own. Having protection from multicolored is relevant against most commanders you'll face, and having reach makes it a valuable blocker.

This is also where I get to start talking about graveyard recursion. Sun Titan shows up on Odric, Blood-Cursed's EDHREC page, but it seems most players aren't digging as deep as Emeria Shepherd for recursion. Including Venerated Warsinger, all of these cards can return Odric from the graveyard and ensure you at least one Blood token. Sun Titan and Emeria Shepherd can also return noncreature permanents, like lands and utility artifacts you have cycled away. Pairing these effects with Crucible of Worlds ensures you'll never miss a land drop, and can regularly take advantage of Emeria Shepherd's Landfall ability.

Finding the Pieces

In total, this deck doesn't play as many creatures with keywords as you might expect. Rather than making a ton of Blood tokens, I want to make a few of them consistently. Then you can cycle through your hand to ensure you can answer your opponents' plans and advance your own. To facilitate that, and to synergize with Osgir's and Emeria Shepherd's abilities, I'm running a ton of cantrips, including Thrill of Possibility and Cathartic Reunion, but also Pyrite Spellbomb and Soul-Guide Lantern.

Each of these artifacts is essentially a Blood token in your main deck. They help you dig for the land or spell you need on a given turn. Additionally, it's important to have this many low-cost permanents to ensure that you always have something to return with Sun Titan. Soul-Guide Lanter is an especially great artifact to bring back, letting you control graveyards and draw cards all at once.

Bloody Synergy

Of course, Blood tokens can be put to other uses than just drawing cards. Once you have an engine established, Ghirapur Aether Grid will help turn unused Blood into direct damage. Use the pings from the Aether Ggrid to clear away enemy blockers and let your bigger creatures get to work on life totals. To make those creatures as big as possible, I'm including Arterial Alchemy as well. Turning all your Blood tokens into pseudo-Bloodforged Battle-Axes is pretty good. Ghirapur Aether Grid and Arterial Alchemy even work great together, since you can still tap your Equipped tokens to deal damage. Finally, to really sink your teeth into your opponents, Unwinding Clock lets you deal three times as much damage with Ghirapur Aether Grid while still having the option of sacrificing Blood tokens for cards.

The final piece of this puzzle is interaction. For this initial list, I'm including the classics: Cleansing Nova, Blasphemous Act, and Generous Gift. Being an artifact deck led me to pick Dispatch over Path to Exile, and I really like Shenanigans right now. Paired with Liquimetal Torque, it can destroy any permanent, and you can easily recur it at any time with a Blood token.

Put all these cards together with a few lands, and this is the final decklist:

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This deck actually came together a lot easier than I expected. It turns out that a lot of good red and white creatures happen to have at least one relevant keyword for Odric, Blood-Cursed, so I could focus on having him enter play as often as possible, and while all of the Chromatic Star effects seem weak, they are vital for the deck to function; they're what gives you the initial velocity to put together Odric and a blink engine, and then the Blood tokens can take over maintaining your draw engine.

But what do you think? Is new Odric as bad as people say? If you've tried to build him, what cards stood out to you? Let me know what I missed in the comments, and thanks for reading.

Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.