This is my very first Duel Commander Deck, and it all happened by accident.

First, I received Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir as an Aftermath Buy-A-Box promo and fell in love with the art. I thought it would be fun to build a deck around her someday. She went into my binder next to a recently pulled March of the Machine full art foil copy of Keruga, the Macrosage. While flipping through, I saw synergy there and believed it would be fun to build a Simic Deck focused on "Man Lands" and card draw. I also wanted Keruga to be the Companion in EDH because it just seemed like a flavor win for a Druid and also because it is fun to start a Game of Commander with access to more cards with a technical 9 card opening hand. Keruga seemed like solid card draw engines and support, but restricted the deck to have only cards with 3 or greater CMC for this plan to work.

So, I construct Jolrael and Keruga V1.0, and it was an amazing experience. Using land ramp and then drawing cards means the deck moves seamlessly in the EDH format. You always have a grip of cards and never miss land drops. To cut corners on Keruga's restrictions, I used "X" spells such a as Awaken the Woods, Open the Way, Invasion of Ikoria   and Nissa, Steward of Elements. Literally, all of these X spells were amazing in play testing.

And then...I had a dark night of the soul. While checking the rules for Companions, I learned that they are not "part of the 99", but rather "the 101st card" in the deck. What this means is that I was playing with a 98 card deck when I started Keruga and Jolrael in the Command/Companion Zone. I also learned that "X" is assumed to be 0 for CMC purposes. So all of the really good cards I wanted to play with Keruga were illegal if I use Keruga as a companion. So, what is the solution? Given the insane value from the above mentioned X spells, I decided to sleeve up Keruga and play the Dino Hippo inside of my deck as opposed to as a companion. This means I get to keep all my X spells! V2.0 is born.

Normally, I would rush out and add Sol Ring, Arcane Signet and other staples to the deck. But I realized there is a format called Duel Commander where fast Mana rocks are illegal. For this reason, I have decided not to add them to the deck. I went ahead and started as if the restrictions were in play from Keruga, even though I know now that they are not. So, storytelling time is over. Let's discuss the deck!

Jolrael is not a Tier 1 CEDH deck, but the experience of playing is a lot of fun. Many decks do not bother to run flyers, so you should be able to attack with Jolrael easily. We want tools to boost hand size and draw cards so we always have options. We also play every Man Land possible in Simic Colors identity. The plan is to draw cards and hit with our Man Lands.

Winning the game:

1) Beat Down with the Bird! - At the beginning of combat on your turn, you get to make one of your lands into an X/X Flying bird. A lot of decks do not have support to deal with flying evasion so swing away to victory with what is usually a 4/4-7/7 ranged creature.

2) Last March of the Ents - cannot be countered, draws cards and then dumps creatures onto the board.

3) Overwhelming Stampede - I never considered this to be a win condition, until I actually won a game with this card. The thing that made it good was that Jolrael's Manland is usually a big X/X number, so ALL creatures reflect that.

4) Finale of Revelation - absolutely devastating if you cast it as X=10 or more. This is not impossible with all the land ramp. Not a guaranteed game winner.

5) Ride the Tempo/Value train. We bounce or answer our opponent and beat with a Bird Manland. It's a slow and painful death for them if they do not have answers.

Man Land Dept:

1) Nissa, Steward of Elements - can untap and turn Two lands you control into 5/5 flying haste creatures. Also has a static 0 ability to help you ramp if you hit a land off the top deck. Does everything we want in this deck.

2) Awaken the Woods - is simply a bomb in Jolrael. The created Mana dorks are all forest lands. This leads to insane amount of card draw.

3) Lair of the Hydra - can be pumped, excellent Mana sink.

4) Dryad Arbor - outstanding Man Land

5) Jolrael, Empress of Beasts - has an amazing ability to make ALL lands a target player controls into creatures until end of turn. Keep in mind, this can be done in response to a board wipe! Also can work for you as a way to swing out with an impromptu Army.

6) Hostile Desert - you have to exile lands from the graveyard to get this Manland active, but it's a 3/4 when it does.

7) Tatyova, Steward of Tides - is a legit house because it manufacturers Manlands! The lands DO NOT stop being 3/3 Elemental Creatures even when the turn ends. So essentially you can make target lands become Manlands.

8) Treetop Village - can become a land creature 3/3 green Ape with Trample until end of turn.

9) Lumbering Falls - has a high activation cost until end of turn, but it is a hexproof 3/3 land creature upon activation.

10) Mutavault is a fine addition to the deck, it only takes 1 Mana to activate and become a 2/2 but it only remains a creature until end of turn.

11) Druid Class - has an ability at Lvl 3 to create a Manland.

12) Crawling Barrens - a land which gets +2/+2 counters upon every activation. Also does not enter tapped.

13) Yedora, Grave Gardener - makes your Nontoken creatures return to battlefield as Manlands.

14) Sylvan Awakening - makes all your lands into indestructible 2/2 creatures for a punishing swing out.

15) Nissa, Vastwood Seer   // Nissa, Sage Animist   - Vastwood Seer gets you a land to hand but upon flipping to Sage Animist has a -7 ability to untap 6 lands and make them 6/6 creatures. This is a game ender if the ability goes off.

16) Restless Vinestalk

Card Draw:

1) Chart a Course - usually a pay 2, draw 2 in 2nd main.

2) Illusory Ambusher - flash Him in to block, die and get you cards.

3) Preordain - scry 2, draw 1.

4) Mystic Confluence - ability to draw up to 3 cards.

5) Tireless Tracker - is going to generate a lot of clues with all of the landfall going on. Bonus that it's a combat threat too.

6) Hydroid Krasis - a fantastic synergy with Jolrael.

7) Brainstorm

8)

9) Last March of the Ents

10) Lorien Revealed - draws 3 cards, similar to Mystic Confluence.

11) Tatyova, Benthic Druid - draw a card when playing a land.

12) Wizard Class - the Lvl 2 ability.

13) Finale of Revelation - does not need to be 10x to draw you a lot of cards. Custom draw spell design.

Ways to get unlimited hand size:

1) Reliquary Tower

2) Wizard Class - lvl 1 ability.

3) Finale of Revelation - when X is 10 or more.

4) Thought Vessel - the only Mana rock we use and the main reason why is due to unlimited hand size.

5) Body of Knowledge - no max ha d size on the creature.

Ramp Spells:

1) Invasion of Zendikar   - two basics

2) Rampant Growth - one basic.

3) Farhaven Elf - finds one basic land on a body.

4) Wood Elves - can go and get any Forest, making it possible to grab Dryad Arbor for an additional Man Land.

5) Kodama's Reach - two basic lands

6) Sword of the Animist - on the attack trigger you search a basic land, it is the perfect equipment to attach to Jolrael's flying land.

7) Springbloom Druid - on the ETB, sacrifice a land but then go and get two basic lands.

8) Cultivate - two basic lands.

9) Realm Seekers - has an amazing ability to search up lands and load your hand with them. Pseudo card draw and you never miss drops.

10) Nissa, Vastwood Seer   - searches a forest to hand as the ETB.

11) Hour of Promise - we LOVE the ability to search up two Manlands. The card allows us to put ANY two Manlands onto the battlefield. We will never control enough deserts to make the Zombie tokens. Ideal targets are Lair of the Hydra, Mutavault or Dryad Arbor.

12) Explosive Vegetation - digs

Honorable Mention "Ramp" Spells

  • Kiora, the Crashing Wave - let's you draw a card and play additional land per turn, tempo.

  • Crop Rotation - sacrifices a land, but allows us to find ANY man land. However, it's not truly ramp, card for card exchange.

  • Sylvan Scrying - searches up ANY land, but it's just a card for card exchange like Crop Rotation. No need to sacrifice a land to make it work.

  • Risen Reef - draws a card or slams a land onto battlefield.

  • Nature's Lore - searches up forests, so is ideal to get our copy of Dryad Arbor on board. However, also is just a card for card, so no ramp.

Removal Spells (17):

1) Lignify - is a sneaky good option to neuter a power Commander or creature on the board.

2) You Come to a River - a bounce or unblockable effect.

3) Seal of Removal - a static bounce effect.

4) Root Out - removal for artifact or enchantment and a clue.

5) Vapor Snag - bounce and burn

6) Ram Through - a fight effect, but also deals direct dage to opponent.

7) Mystic Confluence - ability to bounce 3x creatures.

8) Oko Theif Of Crowns - is going to make everything into a 3/3 Elk.

9) Ichthyomorphosis - Turns an enemy commander or creature into a useless 0/1 fish.

10) Simic Charm - a bounce removal spell, but has options to protect or buff or creatures.

11) Reality Shift - Exiles a creature. They do get a 2/2 in response, but this can also be done to ruin a tutor attempt.

12) Filter Out - a board wipe for Non Creature, Non lands. Works really well for us because that is all we are using.

13) Unsummon - OG bounce spell.

14) Reclamation Sage - ETB destroy Artifact or Enchantment.

15) Echoing Truth - perhaps the best usage of this spell is hosing down tokens.

16) Beast Within - destroys any permanent, but gift opponent a 3/3.

17) Devastation Tide - is a great bounce spell, much like Cyclonic Rift. Even better as a Miracle.

Random Notes:

Field of Ruin - is mainly utility for an additional land drop and an answer to "problem" lands like Maze of Ith.

Sylvan Advocate - functions as a "Lord" for your land creatures. +2/+2 is a pretty good buff, and you usually have 6 or more lands.

Tranquil Frillback - is a decent creature for the purposes of life gain, exiling graves or also hate on artifacts/enchantments.

Mirkwood Trapper - is more of a tempo piece. It slows down attacks on you and buffs attacks on opponents.

Psychosis Crawler - is a way to blast opponents whilst you draw cards. This deck is weak at dealing direct damage, so this helps. It is not quite a win con.

Nissa, Resurgent Animist - is really good in this deck. Basically functioning as a Lotus Cobra, but tutors Elves or Elementals which is neat.

7/23/23 - Changes: Pulled Weathered Runestone from the deck. It is a dead card in many matchups. Inserted Oko Theif Of Crowns as a better removal spell. Replaced Exchange of Words with Simic Charm. Ancient Silver Dragon was too slow, so replacing with Tireless Tracker for the Clue Card draw and threat. Opportunity is out in favor of Hour of Promise. Both Growth Spiral and Coiling Oracle do similar things, and Nature's Lore and Crop Rotation seem better.

8/11/23 - Added in Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse! It's not a win condition, but thematically we needed all versions of Jolrael and we now have them. The 2/2 Green Cats can be generated every turn in this deck. The 4GG ability can boost your land creatures to all behave like the bird without Jolrael on board.

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56% Casual

44% Competitive

Date added 8 months
Last updated 3 months
Legality

This deck is Duel Commander legal.

Rarity (main - side)

10 - 0 Mythic Rares

34 - 0 Rares

25 - 0 Uncommons

22 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.03
Tokens Ashaya, the Awoken World, Beast 3/3 G, 2/2 G Token Creature Cat, Clue, Emblem Kiora, the Crashing Wave, Food, Forest Dryad 1/1 G, Kraken 9/9 U, Manifest 2/2 C
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