Vorthos Vortex: Celebrating New Year's Eve with Obeka

Justin Fanzo • December 29, 2022

Hello, Commander players! Since we already covered Christmas in the last installment of Vorthos Vortex, I wanted to dedicate the final article of 2022 to celebrating the year changing. For that, it seemed appropriate to build an EDH deck around time manipulation and the changing of time, and what better way to do that than by ending turns early and also taking extra ones?

Today's commander is none other than Obeka, Brute Chronologist. Obeka is a one-of-a-kind commander whose sole ability gives the player whose turn it is the option to end the turn, thus ignoring any end-of-turn steps and triggers. It might initially seem like there are a lot of applications to such an ability, but today's article will reveal just how powerful that ability can be. Because this is a New Year's themed deck, I'm specifically building an extra turns theme to play into the theme of changing years and the transition of time.

In most cases, we will want to use Obeka's ability on our own turn in order to turn off end-of-turn negative effects on many of the cards in our deck, though there are some niche scenarios where one could engage in some political maneuvering and offer to use it on other player's turns as well.

Ultimately, our goal is to exploit Obeka's ability as much as possible (we will also include some other cards with the same ability to fortify the deck's strategy) so that we can reap long-lasting benefits from cards and abilities that normally grant one-turn advantages. This will make many of the cards in our deck incredibly powerful when used in conjunction with our commander's ability. Because we're designing around the extra turns theme, we'll be playing a high volume of instant and sorcery cards, as many extra turn effects come from them, meaning that we'll also benefit from including cards that that provide benefits from instants and sorceries being played.

As a friendly reminder, Vorthos Vortex deck techs try to stick to a budget of around $200 or less, though today's deck clocks in a little above $200 (around $240 or so), mainly because of the expensive extra turn spells. There are several high-priced cards that can be removed to bring the deck within budget, but I think that you'll find that most of them are worth keeping in the deck if you can afford it.

With that, let's jump into the deck tech!


As always, we begin with creatures. We can break up our creatures in this deck into three categories: instant and sorcery discounts, instant and sorcery cast payoffs, and creatures with abilities nerfed with "end of turn" limits (these creatures will have their abilities enhanced by "End the Turn" effects such as Obeka's).

As noted above, we'll be casting a high number of instants and sorceries with this deck, some of which cost a hefty amount of mana, so getting consistent discounts on them will help to make sure that this deck's gears keep moving. Baral, Chief of Compliance is one of the most popular discount-creators, only costing two mana. He also has an ability that allows players to loot when they counter spells, but we don't care as much about that ability in our deck.

One of our other discount-creators is Wizards of Thay, which is also one of the most powerful cards in our deck. Wizards of Thay not only gives us a discount on our instants and sorceries, but it also allows us to cast sorceries at instant speed, which is particularly powerful in this deck, as it will allow us to cast extra turn spells during our opponents' turns, effectively interrupting the turn order and allowing us to respond to changing board states as they occur.

Another powerful discount-provider is Vadrik, Astral Archmage. Vadrik gets +1/+1 counters when the day/night cycle changes (it starts the cycle upon entering the battlefield), and he provides us a discount on instants and sorceries equal to his power. This means that he provides us with a one-mana discount as soon as he enters the battlefield, but will continue to offer larger and larger discounts as the game goes on.

Our next category is instant and sorcery payoffs; long story short, we want to maximize our value by getting extra rewards for playing them. Archmage Emeritus allows us to draw cards when we play instants and sorceries, which is important in a deck like this where we will be slinging a high number of spells and will want to make sure that we don't run out of cards to play. Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch, from the Warhammer 40,000 Universes Beyond set, deals damage to each of our opponents when we cast instants and sorceries, which is a particularly powerful effect in our format.

Magar of the Magic Strings rewards us for playing instants and sorceries by allowing us to bring them back from the graveyard as creatures and cast copies of them when they deal combat damage to our opponents. This ability becomes particularly broken when used on extra turn spells, as it potentially allows us to take infinite extra turns and likely win the game. Important note: while many extra turn spells get exiled after being resolved, we are playing a number of less commonly used ones in this deck that do not get exiled and instead will go to our graveyard.

Manaform Hellkite and Young Pyromancer both create token creatures for us when we cast instants and sorceries. Young Pyromancer will create 1/1 Elemental creature tokens, while Manaform Hellkite will create Elementals with power and toughness equal to the amount of mana that we spent to cast the instant or sorcery in question. It's worth noting that these tokens will normally go away at the end of our turn, though we can use "End the Turn" effects to keep them around permanently.

Finally, we have the category of creatures with nerfed abilities whose effects end at the end of the turn. We will use Obeka's ability, along with several others', to nullify those effects. Avaricious Dragon lets us draw an extra card at the beginning of our turn, but normally it requires us to discard our entire hand at the end of our turn, which we definitely don't want to do. As long as we have Obeka on the battlefield or one of the other cards with the same effect on hand, we can safely play this card without worrying about its downside.

Hellkite Courser allows us to put our commander onto the battlefield from the command zone for free while also granting them haste, though normally our commander would be returned to the command zone at the end of turn. But we can have Hellkite put Obeka onto the battlefield and then immediately activate Obeka's ability to make sure that the turn ends before the effect takes place and that Obeka will thus stay on the battlefield.

Identity Thief is a fun creature whose ability exiles any one target creature on attacks, at which time Identity Thief becomes a copy of that creature. Normally the effect is a flicker effect, with the targeted creature coming back onto the battlefield at the end of turn. In our deck, however, we can use Identity Thief as a removal spell in conjunction with "End the Turn" effects, because once exiled cards miss the end-of-turn trigger after the effect takes place, they stay exiled for the remainder of the game. That is something that you have to watch for with this card, as normally players will feel licensed to use the ability on their creatures as well, but if we use Obeka's ability on the same turn that we exile our creature, it will stay exiled.

Instants and Sorceries

My build of this deck includes ten instant and sorcery extra turn spells (as well as an additional two extra turn permanents in Lighthouse Chronologist and Teferi, Master of Time). I won't be covering all of the extra turn spells here, as many of them are self-explanatory, but I do want to highlight Final Fortune, Last Chance, and Alchemist's Gambit. Each of these cards allows its caster to take an extra turn, with an added clause that says that you lose the game at the end step of the extra turn. In most decks, the added clause makes these cards unplayable, but in our deck, Obeka and other "End the Turn" effects will allow us to turn off the deadly clause. You'll want to be careful when casting these spells, however, as opponents will look to shut off your "End the Turn" abilities so that you're forced to lose the game at the end of your extra turn. Make sure your commander is protected when you cast them.

Most of the other instants and sorceries in the decklist are self-explanatory, so I won't cover them here, but there are four that I do want to highlight; all of them relate to end the turn effects. The first three are Time Stop, Discontinuity, and Glorious End, all of which are copies of Obeka's ability on instants (they are non-optional though!), and while they are one-off effects, they are powerful in that our opponents won't know that they're coming. This will prove useful when you want to surprise your opponents when Obeka is either indisposed or hasn't been cast, so don't sleep on them. They can be used to interfere with end step effects on your own turn, or they can be used to Time Walk opponents on their own turns.

The other card that I want to highlight is Day's Undoing, which is basically Obeka's ability on a sorcery, and barring the usage of a card like Vedalken Orrery, this card can only be used in a manner similar to Obeka's ability on our own turn. It also wheels the whole table, so that's something to consider as well. Wheel cards, or cards that let the whole table discard and draw a new hand, are somewhat divisive when it comes to strategy. In this deck, however, I think it ultimately works to our favor, especially later in the game when we will ideally be taking multiple turns in a row. When used later in the game, Day's Undoing should bring us significant value before our opponents have the chance to take advantage of it.

Artifacts, Enchantments, and Planeswalkers

There are no enchantments in this deck, and most of our artifacts are mana rocks to give us the ramp we will certainly need to cast our extra turn spells. I do want to highlight two important artifacts, however. Midnight Clock is probably the most important Vorthos card in the entire deck (though it's also just a great card in its own right!). The second one is Sundial of the Infinite, which is a copy of Obeka's ability on an artifact. It's important to remember that our commander will have a target on her back throughout the game, particularly because she is so integral to the strategy of our deck, so it's important to have backup options in situations when Obeka is indisposed, and Sundial will provide us with that.

There is one planeswalker in the deck: Teferi, Master of Time. Teferi is obviously in the deck for Vorthos reasons, though he is also a powerful planeswalker in his own right. If planeswalkers aren't your thing, though, there are certainly a number of powerful instants and sorceries that can be added in instead.


There aren't any must-include Vorthos lands in my build for this deck, and all of the lands included in the decklist are included for mana-balancing purposes. Keep in mind that budget is always a challenge when it comes to lands, so I had to include a lot of lands that enter tapped, but if you have high-cost lands in your collection already or you don't mind spending extra money, it's certainly worth including more powerful lands such as the shock lands or fetch lands.

Final Thoughts

That wraps up the final edition of Vorthos Vortex for 2022. I hope that you've enjoyed the column, and I look forward to bringing more Vorthos content for 2023. I'll be back in January with a new Vorthos commander. I'm also planning on beginning a new column on designing Commander Cubes (more info to come!). In the meantime, have a happy new year! Here's to a wonderful 2023!


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I'm an avid gamer with a passion for game design and both critical and creative writing. I've been playing Magic: the Gathering for over 15 years, and I've been playing the Commander format since its official adoption by Wizards of the Coast in 2011. My articles focus on vorthos deck building, designing decks for overlooked commanders, and designing commander cubes.