Obeka, Splitter of Seconds "That's a LOT of Upkeeps" - Plot Twist #7

Jeff Girten • April 23, 2024

Obeka, Splitter of Seconds by Ryan Pancoast

When Obeka, Splitter of Seconds was first spoiled, I immediately knew that she was a commander that I wanted to feature on Plot Twist. A commander who can give us multiple upkeep steps, in the middle of our turn, nonetheless, is just the sort of strange card we love to build around. I've tinkered around with similar effects in Paradox Haze and Sphinx of the Second Sun before and found the card pool was a little too shallow for my taste, so having a commander who can support an 'upkeep matters' deck seemed to be just what was missing.

If you're joining us for the first time, welcome! I'd encourage you to check out the previous articles in the series to get a sense for the types of stories we're looking to tell.

How Does Obeka Work?

Compared to our last couple of commanders on Plot Twist, Obeka, Splitter of Seconds is rather straightforward in that she only has one wordy ability: "Whenever Obeka, Splitter of Seconds deals combat damage to a player, you get that many additional upkeep steps after this phase." She also has menace to give her a form of evasion so that it's easier for us to get through for combat damage and then trigger multiple upkeeps.

The Upkeep Step is a rather odd part of our turn that can be overwhelming for even experienced Magic players. The important thing to note is that it happens immediately after the untap step and is the first time any player can take actions on your turn. Early in Magic's history, there were tons of effects that would trigger on your upkeep, with mechanics like cumulative upkeep and echo, and while we don't see quite as many keyword mechanics that trigger on the upkeep step in modern Magic, individual cards, like Bonehoard Dracosaur and Case of the Crimson Pulse, still pop up. 

Doing the Twist

In looking over Obeka's EDHREC page, it's clear that I'm not the only one excited about brewing with her. People are leaning heavily into effects like As Foretold and Jhoira of the Ghitu, to cheat on mana, the Court cycles, to get extra value, and lots of initiative cards, like Rilsa Rael, Kingpin and Caves of Chaos Adventurer. We'll definitely be looking at some of these cards for our own decklist today, in particular the Courts, but it wouldn't be Plot Twist if we didn't put our own spin on Obeka, Splitter of Seconds.

As I was starting to construct my decklist, there were two things that stood out to me:

  1. For whatever reason, there are a lot of Grixis enchantments that trigger during our upkeep
  2. If we can get 10 or so extra upkeeps from Obeka, we might be able to knock out a player (or the whole table) at once

Therefore, in order to add a little twist to our particular Obeka decklist, I decided to make this decklist into a combination of the Enchantments and Voltron themes! Given that there are (as of the time of writing this article) only 18 Grixis Auras decks listed on EDHREC, this seems like a great direction to go in order to tell some new stories.

Getting Lots of Extra Upkeeps

Since we're building a Voltron deck, I considered adding cards like Blackblade Reforged, Ring of Valkas, and Winged Boots to help buff Obeka or give her evasion. I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to add those to the deck, but given the density of enchantments in the deck, I opted to instead include Auras like Convenient Target, Demonic Embrace, and The Sound of Drums that are cheap to cast and we can recur in some way. That lets us run Auramancer's Guise, Jeska, Thrice Reborn, and Helm of the Gods to give Obeka a huge boost in power, while Security Bypass, Minas Morgul, Dark Fortress, and Rogue's Passage can make her unblockable. 

I really like being able to use Drake Umbra, Eel Umbra, Fool's Demise, and Octopus Umbra as ways to both buff and protect Obeka, Splitter of Seconds. Speaking of protection, one thing that ultimately led me to picking Auras over Equipment for this particular build, despite Auras being notoriously squishy, is that I've found that enchantments are often harder for our opponents to interact with than artifacts, so while Equipment can be re-equipped in the event that Obeka dies, they're also easier to destroy because they're artifacts.

Since we're not running white for Aura tutors or any of the traditional 'get anything' black tutors, this build of Obeka, Splitter of Seconds should play out differently every time depending on which Auras we draw. There are tons of ways for us to win with extra upkeeps in the deck, but not going for the same win conditions game after game will help us tell different stories every time and hopefully not make our opponents too salty.

ALL the Upkeep Triggers

Once we've got Obeka, Splitter of Seconds suited up to do extra damage and generate lots of upkeeps for us, we need to make sure we have effects that trigger on our extra upkeeps. The best effects in this particular build of Obeka are Court of Ambition, Court of Cunning, and Court of Embereth. We can cast any of these Courts on our first main phase, attack with Obeka, and then potentially win on our second main phase. If our opponents are at 40 life, Court of Ambition only needs to trigger seven times after we hit with Obeka to KO the whole table, Court of Cunning can reasonably mill the whole table out with nine extra upkeep triggers, and, while Court of Embereth involves us doing a little more math, we can potentially knock everyone out with only eight extra upkeep triggers. All three seem achievable with Obeka in play and get easier as the game goes along. We can also double up on any of these Courts with enchantment-copying effects, like Copy Enchantment, Estrid's Invocation, and Mirrormade, and watch the game really spiral out of control. I bet your opponents will definitely remember the time that you killed them all on your ninth post-combat upkeep step.

There are plenty of other upkeep effects that can help us grind out extra value if not outright win the game in the deck, too. Dragonmaster Outcast and Skyline Despot can help build out a massive board of Dragons with enough upkeep triggers, Extravagant Replication and Followed Footsteps create a bunch of extra copies of our best permanents (you'll definitely have quite a story to tell about the game where you had both in play and then got an extra 10 upkeeps), and Blood Tyrant, Court of Ire, and Twilight Prophet can all help us drain the table for massive amounts of life. All of these can present huge threats to our opponents while still allowing them a turn to potentially stop our newly massive board state from winning outright.

Interacting with Our Opponents

In looking at the sort of interaction spells that synergize with Obeka, Splitter of Seconds, I stumbled across some really novel and powerful effects. Recantation and Vile Requiem are poised to be one-sided board wipes in the right circumstances, and Recantation can even bounce lands if we're feeling particularly spicy. Virtue of Persistence is a removal spell that can later reanimate a bunch of creatures from ANY graveyard onto our battlefield if we manage to get multiple upkeeps with Obeka. Silent Arbiter pulls double duty in this deck by minimizing how many creatures can attack us and giving Obeka pseudo-unblockability in combination with menace. Glistening Oil can allow us to kill an opponent with infect counters or act as a removal spell if we need it and returns itself to our hand whenever it goes into the graveyard from the battlefield.

A Few Extra Twists for Good Measure

As always on Plot Twist, I stumbled across some interesting cards I'd never played with before while building Obeka, Splitter of Seconds. Triskaidekaphobia is a mouthful of a card and an alternate win condition that will build a lot of tension when we trigger its upkeep effect multiple times. The tension it creates as life totals start ticking down one at a time is something I'm very much looking forward to seeing in action. Auramancer's Guise is sort of like a color-shifted Ancestral Mask that I used in an Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief decklist once before and have been looking to find a new home for ever since. Mist of Stagnation feels like a novel stax piece that we can potentially break parity on in this deck if that's your jam. Finally, Descent into Avernus has been a blast every time I've played with it because it deals lots of damage and rushes games towards their conclusion. It might be my favorite card from the Warhammer precons.

Here's the full decklist for you to peruse:

"That's a Lot of Upkeeps" with Obeka, Splitter of Seconds

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Lands (37)
Creatures (10)
Enchantments (38)
Artifacts (11)
Instants (2)
Planeswalkers (1)

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

Roll the Credits

I hope you enjoyed reading the latest edition of Plot Twist featuring Obeka, Splitter of Seconds. Next time you sit down for a game of Commander, see what sort of plot twists you can add to take the game's narrative in a new direction.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's deck and what cards could find a home in it in the comments below or on Archidekt. The Maybeboards of my decklists are always filled with cards I thought could work but didn't make the final decklist.

You can find me on Instagram at @girtenjeff and you can check out my other articles here or see what decks I'm currently playing here

Stay tuned to see what other twists and turns are headed your way in the next edition of Plot Twist.