Jyoti, Moag Ancient Commander Deck Tech

Unsummoned Skull • July 3, 2024

Few commanders land in the sweet spot of innovative design, resuscitating old mechanics, and clean, subtle design quite like Jyoti, Moag Ancient. Trust something that purports to be "ancient" to take an old mechanic and make it feel new and fresh! Just like Freidrich Schiller revitalized Beethoven's Symphony Number 9 as Ode to Joy, I will delight in sharing how this new commander rejuvenates the awaken mechanic in this Ode to Jyoti. What happens when Magic alters the nature of a plane? The plane's nature fights back!

Core Synergy

Jyoti makes land creatures bigger each combat, so we want to take advantage of that as much as possible. In order to do that, we need a critical mass of animated lands. Awaken is a type of effect that turns lands into creatures as an additional effect if a cost was paid. While there aren't a ton of cards with those effects, Halimar Tidecaller makes it so we can reuse them.

In addition to the awaken spells, there are several incarnations of the planeswalker Nissa that animate lands. While she is less animated than her partner, Chandra, Nissa does a great job of pushing our offense. We just have to make sure we can protect her after she... lands.

Nissa isn't the only character from Magic's lore dedicated to animating lands: Kamahl's various incarnations and Wrenn, teamed with Realmbreaker, have also been in on the act. Kamahl, Heart of Krosa, in particular, turns the animated lands into a huge army with evasion.

Llanowar Loamspeaker is a deceptively strong card in this strategy. It can make mana, enabling strong starts. It can also animate a land at instant speed, providing surprise blockers to protect ourselves or our planeswalkers. It can even be used to adjust base stats to disrupt combat math involving lands animated as 0/0s!

Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir is an interesting alternate commander, one who previously was the heir apparent to this sort of a strategy. The problem with Jolrael as a commander is that she tends to go all-in on a particular creature, loading up buffs equal to cards in hand. This build is made to go wider, which is where Natural Affinity comes in, animating all lands.

Jolrael's earlier incarnation, Jolrael, Empress of Beasts, is a filthy, filthy Magic card. Spellshapers are my favorite creature type, as they turn all topdecks into live cards, and making every card into a Natural Affinity is a powerful game. The filthy part comes when you consider that she can animate anyone's lands. Someone wants to wipe the board? Guess what; you just Armageddoned yourself. Filthy.

Mana Spells

Unlike many decks, this one doesn't want Sol Ring. Instead, Exploration or Burgeoning are ideal starts, as we want to be playing extra lands to animate rather than just adding mana. Sol Ring might help empty the hand faster, but it doesn't contribute meaningfully to the game plan, and there are better, more synergistic spells to cast at that slot.

Rites of Flourishing is one of my favorite Commander cards because of its explosive political impact, but it pulls a ton of work here. It provides extra land drops, like Azusa and Wayward Swordtooth, but it also fuels them by drawing extra cards. Rites is the type of card that always seems to make games better, and this is the perfect deck to make use of everything it does.

Urban Evolution and Eureka Moment are functionally similar cards that draw extra cards and play extra lands. While they do lend credence to the idea that this is a typical Simic value deck, we need the lands to animate and the draw helps find them. This is an aggressive combo deck, playing more like a tokens deck than a Landfall one while not needing to spend a lot of time setting up.

While mana development is important, finding additional usage is vital for a deck like this. Aggressive decks and synergy-based strategies need cards to pull double-duty, and Broken Bond is a beautiful example of this. Naturalize is a powerful effect in Commander, and being able to drop an extra land is exactly the kind of synergy a deck like this needs, even if playing it in a deck filled with Nissas is a bit of a flavor fail.

Wrath Protection

An integral aspect of playing any linear deck or strategy is to know what cards beat you. Voltron decks are naturally weak to edict effects. Token decks are naturally weak to mass bounce effects. And this deck is naturally weak to the exact kind of cards that Jolrael, Empress of Beasts punishes: board wipes. Yedora and Ashaya are a beautiful partnership, making our land creatures essentially invincible by bringing them back from the grave...as land creatures.

Returning lands from the grave is a powerful effect, but it does bring with it the issues of summoning sickness and rebuilding. What if our stuff just didn't die? That's where Heroic Intervention and Wrap in Vigor come in. Indestructibility and regeneration give us the ability to laugh off removal and continue our pressure.

In general, we're looking to use mana development to contribute to a gameplan. Green and blue are great colors for mana generation, and being able to turn our lands into creatures makes it so we don't have to resolve huge, game-winning spells to create massive shifts in momentum. The downside is that wrath effects turn into Armageddon effects if we're not prepared. Still, what's commander without a little risk?

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
View this decklist on Archidekt

Teacher, judge, DM, & Twitch Affiliate. Lover of all things Unsummon. Streams EDH, Oathbreaker, D & D, & Pokemon. Even made it to a Pro Tour!