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. 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 and determining for ourselves if he is really as bad as some say.
Like his earlier iterations,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.
One of the key problems that Odric decks will run into is a split focus.and appear in 74% and 40% of 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.may not let you copy directly, but it can copy to blink Odric. For another repeatable effect, is a slightly worse , although it provides two keywords where the Eldrazi has none. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to include . Likewise, and 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 whileand are in the deck, the real stars are and , which both have flying. For removal, I’m including . If your budget allows, is also a worthy inclusion. Artifacts are a strong subtheme in the deck as well, so will generate a lot of value, and to protect that value, will give your whole team indestructible. Finally, I’m adding as a win condition with .
As much as I’m not a fan of, 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. and are both extremely easy to cast, so they don’t disrupt your curve, and they can represent real threats if you draw . 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.shows up on ‘s EDHREC page, but it seems most players aren’t digging as deep as for recursion. Including , all of these cards can return Odric from the graveyard and ensure you at least one Blood token. and can also return noncreature permanents, like lands and utility artifacts you have cycled away. Pairing these effects with ensures you’ll never miss a land drop, and can regularly take advantage of ‘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‘s and ‘s abilities, I’m running a ton of cantrips, including and , but also and .
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. is an especially great artifact to bring back, letting you control graveyards and draw cards all at once.
Of course, Blood tokens can be put to other uses than just drawing cards. Once you have an engine established,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 as well. Turning all your Blood tokens into pseudo- s is pretty good. and even work great together, since you can still tap your Equipped tokens to deal damage. Finally, to really sink your teeth into your opponents, lets you deal three times as much damage with 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:, , and . Being an artifact deck led me to pick over , and I really like right now. Paired with , 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, so I could focus on having him enter play as often as possible, and while all of the 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.