Untap, Upkeep, Upkeep, Draw - Obeka, Splitter of Seconds Budget Deck Tech

Benjamin Levin • April 25, 2024

Obeka, Splitter of Seconds | Illustrated by Ryan Pancoast

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another installment of BathroomBrews. In this week's budget deck tech, I wanted to build around the newest Grixis commander from Outlaws of Thunder Junction, Obeka, Splitter of Seconds.

Deciding how to build her was tricky. She wants to hit face, but you also want upkeep payoffs. However, with too many upkeep payoffs, you don't get as much value. On the same note, if you don't have enough, she just becomes a bad Voltron commander. Walking that tightrope of payoffs and enablers is a fun challenge, so let's see how many upkeeps we can get! 

Upkeep Triggers

Card Advantage

Let's kick things off with the card advantage triggers of the deck. These are going to be powerful even without additional upkeeps, but they'll incredibly strong if we can get two or three more. However, there's also a risk with a lot of these that cause us to lose life to draw or to put cards into our hand; cards like Dark Confidant, Stormfist Crusader, and Phyrexian Arena can drain our life pretty quickly, which is why I added Twilight Prophet to help counteract the life loss and drain opponents. 

Drawing isn't the only form of card advantage we get from additional upkeeps. Scrying is just as important so we can avoid land pockets and taking too much damage from our painful draw effects. Cards like Thassa, God of the Sea, and Netherese Puzzle-Ward give us scry at our upkeep. Unshakable Tail has us surveil and investigate, and we can also use Laughing Jasper Flint to steal cards from our opponents. I think the best card draw engine, though, is Struggle for Project Purity. With this enchantment, we can easily draw nine or twelve cards each turn. Of course, we're giving our opponents cards, too, but we should be up with enough cards that it shouldn't be an issue. 

The Initiative

Next let's talk about the most balanced mechanic in recent times, the initiative. Additional upkeeps mean we can turbo through Undercity with ease. Once we complete the dungeon one time, our dungeon creatures (Caves of Chaos Adventurer, Ravenloft Adventurer, and Tomb of Horrors Adventurer) become that much more powerful, and with Loot Dispute out, we get a 5/5 Dragon whenever we complete the dungeon. 

The Rest

I wasn't quite sure where to put the rest of the upkeep cards in this section. We have suspend-enablers, with Jhoira of the Ghitu and The Tenth Doctor, which is similar to ramp if we can get additional upkeeps. Generous Plunderer is actual ramp, but we give Treasures to our opponents, too, and As Foretold lets us cheat on big spells as it gets more counters. Finally, Court of Ire and Palace Siege act as win conditions, draining and burning out the rest of the table. 

Hitting Faces


Before we can get any benefit from all these upkeeps, we need to actually hit with Obeka. She already has menace, which helps a ton, but we can do better. My favorite Equipment here is Vorrac Battlehorns, which essentially gives her unblockable. Along with Trailblazer's Boots and Psychic Paper, that gives us three cheap pieces of Equipment that help us get in. Notably, I avoided cards like Whispersilk Cloak because of the shroud; it's a powerful ability, but it can be restrictive with other cards in this deck. 


There are also a number of cheap non-Equipment artifacts we can include to make her unblockable. We have Manifold Key, Key to the City, and Sonic Screwdriver. The most expensive card mana-wise is Sonic Screwdriver, but it doubles as a mana rock, so it felt like a no-brainer here. 


Next up are the unblockable enchantments. All of these are two mana or less and are here because they're great budget options to let our commander hit. Aqueous Form lets us scry, Break Through the Line isn't an Aura, but lets us pay a single red to make Obeka unblockable, or any creature with power two or less, and Security Bypass has Obeka connive when we deal combat damage. The biggest issue with this is if she gets more than two power, certain cards can become dead. However, I think it's still worth it to have some dead cards for the upside of more upkeeps. 


Finally, we have the utility lands. In total, we have four lands that let us get in with Obeka: Access Tunnel, Escape Tunnel, Rogue's Passage, and The Black Gate. Not much to say here aside from providing a repeatable way to make our commander unblockable and tap for mana. 

Notable Exclusions 

Before we get into the upgrade section, I wanted to briefly touch on some of the cards I decided to exclude from my list, most notably Ring of Evos Isle, Ring of Xathrid, and Ring of Valkas. While these rings are powerful, I felt that they were a bit too slow for my liking. If I had to include one, it would be Ring of Valkas thanks to the haste it provides. 

The other exclusions were high-mana-value creatures. This commander can lead to decks with pretty high curves, and I don't think seven-mana creatures are generally going to be worth it. For example, I excluded Sheoldred, Whispering One, Sphinx of the Second Sun, and Skyline Despot because of their costs. 


Finally, let's talk about the upgrades! The biggest upgrades I'd suggest making would be adding the Courts: Court of Embereth, Court of Vantress, Court of Locthwain, Court of Cunning, and Court of Ambition. They provide incredible value, even if you aren't the monarch, but they're a bit too expensive for the budget list. 

Untap, Upkeep, Upkeep, Draw

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Commander (1)
Creatures (20)
Lands (38)
Enchantments (11)
Instants (6)
Artifacts (19)
Sorceries (5)

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Ben has been playing Magic since 2012 and started creating Magic the Gathering content in October of 2022 on YouTube under the name BathroomBrewsMTG (YouTube.com/@BRBMTG). 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.