Is Ojer Axonil The Best Burn Commander? - $50 Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might Deck Tech

Benjamin Levin • November 23, 2023

Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might | Illustrated by Clint Lockwood & Viko Menezes
Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might | Illustrated by Victor Adame Minguez

Hello everyone! Welcome to another installment of BathroomBrews. For this week's deck tech, I wanted to provide you lovely people with a budget brew of one of the most popular commanders from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan: Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might. As always, the deck will be $50, excluding the price of the commander. Let's find out if Axonil is the best mono-red burn commander or just another flash in the pan!

Increasing The Might

The deck is pretty simple: 36 Dragon's Approach and some Dragons. See you next week!

Obviously I'm kidding, Dragon's Approach is, like, $3 each. Instead, I went with a more traditional mono-red burn deck with some specific inclusions to buff Axonil's power. There were three Equipment that stood out to me right away: Runechanter's Pike, Glamdring, and Champion's Helm. Runechanter's Pike and Glamdring buff Axonil as we burn out the table, and Glamdring has the added benefit of allowing us to cast spells from our graveyard if we deal combat damage. Then the newly reprinted Champion's Helm is just cheap Equipment to give our commander protection and a small buff. I wanted to include Colossus Hammer, but I don't think the equip cost of eight is realistic, even if we included rituals. 

If you want to give this god fire-breathing, Dragon Mantle is what you're looking for. Plus, it will replace itself when it enters the battlefield, which is nice, and since we're a mono-red deck, Claws of Valakut will allow us to burn out the table much faster. However, not all buffs need to be permanent if we can burn out the table in one shot. One of the best combat tricks is Unleash Fury to double Axonil's power for the low cost of two mana. That in combination with Fists of Flame and Monstrous Rage will make our commander so massive, a single Earthquake might be enough to end the game. 

Burn Baby Burn

You might think that having only 14 creatures in a deck is wild, but with a deck as focused as this, we don't need any other body aside from our commander. There are only two types of creatures we want to add to this deck: ramp and burn. The best burn creatures are Cinder Pyromancer, Kessig Flamebreather, and Firebrand Archer. Cinder Pyromancer is great, since 77% of our deck is red, so this will be untapping most of the time. Both Kessig Flamebreather and Firebrand Archer pay us off for casting noncreature spells, which is 49 cards of our 100. Also, Firebrand Archer has a special place in my heart because I 3-0'd my first draft with five of her back in Amonkhet block

There is also a class of creatures that burn when we cast instant and sorcery spells. We have Erebor Flamesmith, Guttersnipe, and Electrostatic Field, but we only have a total of 23 instants and sorceries in the deck, so I'm still on the fence if they are worth including, and the same goes for Unruly Catapult and Thermo-Alchemist

The last batch of creatures is more utility-focused. Livaan, Cultist of Tiamat will help grow our commander throughout the turn, possibly leading to wins out of nowhere. I included Harsh Mentor and Immolation Shaman to mostly punish people for playing Treasures or utility lands. 

Burn Baby Burn, But With Spells

Because our commander's ability only increases damage done to players, we want spells that can go to the face and we want them to be as efficient as possible. Cards like Lava Dart that will burn someone for 20% of their total life with Axonil in play, assuming we flash it back. Or Shock, which I'd rarely ever suggest you play in Commander, but this is one of the best homes for it. And I included 60-card all-star, Spikefield Hazard, which doubles as a tapped land. 

Burning out one player at a time, while fun, isn't the most efficient way to win. Instead, we want to burn out the entire table all at once, which is pretty easy to do on a budget. I am 99% sure you can cast Earthquake for X equals zero and it will still deal damage equal to Axonil's power, but even if you have to spend one extra mana, it is a great burn spells. The same goes for End the Festivities and the new Tectonic Hazard. One mana to deal at least 12 total damage most of the time is pretty powerful, and for the low cost of four mana, Fiery Confluence can deal a total of 36 damage. 

Burn Them Slowly, Sometimes

If you were to go to EDHREC and look at group slug, you'd see a pretty similar suite of enchantments across the board. These are usually included to prevent players from gaining life while helping get chip damage in, like Roiling Vortex and Sulfuric Vortex, or they punish players for simply playing the game, such as Burning Earth and Manabarbs. But one of my favorite burn enchantments is only $2 at the time of writing and only sees play in 3% of red decks: Descent into Avernus. This enchantment not only burns out the table quickly, it also gives you Treasure tokens. It does give your opponents Treasures, but we have creatures to deter them from cracking them, and you get the Treasures before they do, giving you access to the mana first. So not only is this card burn, but it's ramp and all for three mana. 

Getting More Cards

And finally, let's talk card advantage. In recent years WOTC has be been giving red more impulse draw, or exiling cards from your library for a turn, instead of traditional draw. Red does have access to wheels, which are in the deck, but we don't always want to give our opponents more cards. Our best impulse draw effect is Virtue of Courage. This five-mana enchantment isn't only a burn spell, but it's also a way to generate massive card advantage, for a single turn. It's unfortunate that you can only play the cards for one turn, but it is a may trigger, which means you be more selective when you want to exile cards. Return the Past is another great option that gives your instant and sorcery spells flashback for their mana cost on your turn, and Standard all-star from years ago, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, is either burn or card selection. 

My favorite card in the deck, and honestly one of my favorite cards ever, is Dance with Calamity. With an average mana value of 2.56, you should be able to flip about four to five cards whenever this spell resolves. Honestly, you haven't lived until you copied Dance with Pyromancer's Goggles. While a bit of a meme card, this can end games out of nowhere with the right setup. 

It's a trap! 

There is a very important rule I'd like to share with you, rule 616.1. "If two or more replacement and/or prevention effects are attempting to modify the way an event affects an object or player, the affected object's controller (or its owner if it has no controller) or the affected player chooses one to apply..." This basically means, if you have two or more replacement effects, the person being targeted picks the order they will apply. This means cards that either add additional damage or double damage aren't great with this commander. In my opinion, you only want to add damage-triplers to this deck; cards like Fiery Emancipation and City on Fire, which are only $4 at the time of writing

Other Brew Ideas

I don't usually do this with deck techs, but as I was writing I had a few ideas for some unique brews with this commander. The first was a Goblin deck that focused on noncombat damage. You can sacrifice Mogg Fanatic and Fanatical Firebrand to deal four damage. Or sacrifice Goblins with Siege-Gang Commander, Pashalik Mons, and Goblin Bombardment or attack with Raid Bombardment

The other option is to just go pure mono-red token burn with Purphoros, God of the Forge as your hidden commander. This makes Raid Bombardment that much better, and you buff all of your Impact Tremors effects. I'm not sure how viable either of these ideas are, but it is something to keep in mind when brewing! You never know what weird deck you might stumble into. 


If you're looking to spend just a little bit more money to push the deck that much further, my first pickup would be Jeska's Will. This card is a powerhouse in every red deck, and Axonil is no exception. Next is Ruby Medallion to help ramp out spells. While this isn't the most exciting inclusion. the amount of mana it can ramp over the course of a game is massive. And finally Neheb, the Eternal is one of the best creatures for this deck. It gives you more mana to cast other spells and can even be a backup commander in this deck. 

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Final Thoughts

So is Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might the best mono-red burn commander? Honestly, I don't think so. Do I think they are incredibly powerful and fun? Of course! My biggest issue with Axonil as a commander is how reliant the deck is on him. He is resilient, which is a plus, but Solphim, Mayhem Dominus is the same mana value, can become indestructible, and doubles damage to opponents and permanents. I think the best way to put it is that other commanders have a higher floor but Axonil has a higher ceiling. 

Let me know your thoughts on the deck and how strong you think Axonil. Are you excited to build him, or is he just going to slot into the 99 of a deck? 

Ben has been playing Magic since 2012 and started creating Magic the Gathering content in October of 2022 on YouTube under the name BathroomBrewsMTG ( Primarily focusing on budget EDH content. When he isn't thinking or talking about MTG, he is usually playing video games, spending time with his wife or playing with his two cats. You can find him on Twitter @BathroomMTG.