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[Primer] – Ojutai's Winter Wonderland

Commander / EDH Competitive Control Primer Stax Voltron WU (Azorius)

Feiryn



Introduction



 Chilly here, isn't it? 


Welcome! This is a more traditional White-Blue stax deck with voltron elements, utilizing a mix of lockout and permission to slow down opponents while we pull ahead. We've got combos, control, and overall really enjoy making our opponents' lives difficult!

You might be thinking: "an Azorius stax commander that isn't Brago, King Eternal or Grand Arbiter Augustin IV?? How could this be???" Really though, while Ojutai may not be considered as competitive as the two typical Azorius heads, our draconic deliberator performs more than admirably within the role given his unique strengths.

Ojutai has two powerful abilities that make him stand out: innate hexproof and the fact he nets us a free Anticipate potentially every turn. With evasion through flying and natural high power Ojutai can easily connect with opponents, generating an absurd amount of card advantage over the course of the game. This also has the side benefit of quickly racking up commander damage, enabling us to go for a backup voltron win if the situation calls for it.

With such a demanding presence, Ojutai becomes a huge target in the eyes of our opponents. Of course, this is where his hexproof comes in. Its one downside of only being in effect untapped is negated by equipping Ojutai with pieces such as Batterskull. These make him nigh-invincible and only strengthen him further, greatly reducing the time our opponents have left to answer us.


Also c'mon, he's the Soul of Winter and we have Winter Orb; stax is so on-brand for him!

Strengths

Consistent – With a solid amount of redundancy and Ojutai's passive card advantage, it's easy to find the pieces we need for our gameplan. On top of this we have a multitude of different wincons so we're not always praying for one or two cards.

Versatile – This deck packs a lot of answers to pretty much everything. Depending on your pod's meta it's also fairly modular on what cards you can swap out in accordance with your opponents' decks.

Resilient – Ojutai's natural hexproof has two effects in the grand scheme of things. He himself is difficult to deal with and is a large threat due to his power especially when paired with equipment, and this also brings the benefit of splitting the opponents' attention between him and our stax pieces.


Weaknesses

Slow Startup – Due to his slightly higher cost compared to Brago and GAAIV, you'll typically be a turn behind by the time you play Ojutai. This can especially be an issue as Ojutai is an instant threat and may not be able to attack right away due to risks of removal. This can force us to wait on a vigilance enabler or counterspells.

Lacks Recursion – We have very few ways of retrieving cards from our graveyard which can be problematic if an important stax piece such as Winter Orb gets blown up. While we could pack more recursion, we sadly rely heavily on Rest in Peace for dealing with certain deck archetypes and as one of our wincons.

Established Boardstates – Opponents with a lot of creatures already on the field can easily overwhelm us, especially in the case of token generators or undying creatures. If we aren't able to stay ahead of our opponents we may not be able to halt their plans before it's too late.


  • Heavy revisions!

Huge shifts in my meta over the past couple of weeks, newly announced cards, and personal preference changes have all led to me reworking a good bit of the deck. While the core of the deck is still here, I've cut the Dramatic Scepter combo and have tuned the deck towards a faster, less creature-focused meta. On top of this I've cut some cards I've found lackluster or inconsistent such as Counterbalance and Scroll Rack, instead focusing more on true resource lockout as well as adding much more draw to keep our hand stocked with answers.

I hope you all enjoy the changes!


Holy crap, we got #1 in just a few days after release! Thank you guys so much for liking the deck, it means a tonne! I'll definitely be creating more primers in the near future and of course updating this one as time goes on!

  • Deck and primer released!

This is a project I've been working on for the past month or so and I'm glad to finally share it with you all! Ojutai is my main commander and I wanted to go the extra mile with my first public deck here on TappedOut. Hopefully this primer is a good read and inspires some of you to try out Ojutai yourselves!


Deck Piloting


Our starting hand can be fairly flexible, however ideally we'd like to have something along these lines:

  • 2-3 Lands
  • 1-2 Mana Rocks
  • 2-3 Interaction
  • 1-2 Tutors or Draw Engines

Fast mana of course takes priority over our two-drop rocks. If playing first or second, Mystic Remora is a godly draw engine to have in our starting hand. Rhystic Study and Verity Circle are excellent as well.

When it comes to tutors we're generally wanting Enlightened Tutor or Idyllic Tutor. Using this to fetch a draw engine or a treasure-generator such as Smothering Tithe and Hullbreacher is great.

While risky, it's also viable to take a hand with only one land if we have multiple pieces of fast mana that we can chain together. For example, playing Mana Crypt into Arcane Signet into Sol Ring.

Taking a hand with Jeweled Lotus or Mana Vault allows us to play Ojutai on turn 2 which is huge and one you should definitely look out for.


Our primary goal within the first few turns is to slow opponent decks down to our pace. Quickly getting resource stax into play such as Winter Orb, Back to Basics, or Cursed Totem in the case of mana dorks shuts our opponents down early.

One of the most useful things to tutor out early is a treasure generator. In the current iteration of the deck we have Smothering Tithe and Hullbreacher. Tithe is more consistent but if your opponents have a large amount of draw going on such as Sylvan Library, it can be more useful to fetch instead as it also turns off opponent draw engines.

We aim to have Ojutai hit the field as soon as possible to start generating card advantage. It's viable to play him as early as turn 2 with Jeweled Lotus, Mana Vault, or two other pieces of fast mana in our starting hand, though care needs to be taken against rival Blue decks if we don't have a way to protect him.

Hatebears Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, Aven Mindcensor, and Drannith Magistrate are all great early drops. Lavinia shuts down opponent ramp and protects us from zero-cost counterspells; Mindcensor prevents common early-game tutoring; and Magistrate holds up aggressive commander plays.

Once we begin to stabilize and lock down the board, our gameplan looks towards churning through our deck via effects such as Ojutai's Anticipate and our draw engines. We do so while playing a mix of proactively and reactively until we find our wincons, dropping additional stax pieces when necessary along with interrupting our opponents' answers.


Besides causing our opponents to scoop out of frustration we have two key ways to properly close out games:

  • Reaching 21 commander damage with Ojutai
  • Milling everyone else's deck with Helm of Obedience

The mechanics of our Helm of Obedience wincon are covered below in the Combo Explanations part of this primer.

Despite not being a proper voltron deck it's very common for us to take players out via commander damage. As a core part of our strategy revolves around Ojutai connecting with opponents, we naturally inflict a timer on each other player. Batterskull makes Ojutai hard to remove while also playing into our voltron side strategy. On top of that we have Sword of Feast and Famine for more evasion, opponent hand disruption, and to break parity on our own stax pieces.

While Helm of Obedience is mostly a dead card on its own, Rest in Peace is one of the strongest stax pieces in our arsenal. As such we will almost always have Rest in Peace in play before needing to resolve Helm of Obedience, making it our most efficient combo when it comes to card requirements. One noted benefit of this wincon is that Helm of Obedience is an artifact; this makes it easily fetchable and can become a surprise "oops, I win" card when played via Transmute Artifact or Whir of Invention.


Aim to drop Winter Orb, Back to Basics, and Stasis when opponents are already tapped out. While getting them into play early is ideal, they become far more effective when no one has resources for an answer.

Smothering Tithe, Sword of Feast and Famine, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and Tezzeret the Seeker all help us break parity on our stax, especially in the case of Stasis.

Fetchlands don't need to be cracked right away if the mana isn't needed. Saving them for shuffling your deck after using Sensei's Divining Top or Brainstorm can be incredibly useful.

Whir of Invention can be played in response to opponent casts. For example, this can be useful to cheat out Grafdigger's Cage in response to a Protean Hulk death trigger.


Helm of Obedience + Rest in Peace

Our only combo. Mills an opponents' entire library into exile, causing them to lose the game on their next card draw.

Simply have both Helm of Obedience and Rest in Peace in play, then pay 2 to activate Helm of Obedience with it targeted at the player you want to mill.

This works as Helm of Obedience's effect repeats until 1 card is put into the opponent's graveyard. As Rest in Peace makes cards go straight into exile this never happens, causing the effect to loop until there's no more cards in the opponent's library.


Card Selection


Aven Mindcensor – Shuts down opponent tutoring and fetchlands.

Back to Basics – With how reliant EDH is on nonbasics this card absolutely shuts down the vast majority of decks. While it loses value against mono-coloured commanders, it still can be nice to have for countering lands like Gaea's Cradle or Mishra's Workshop.

Cursed Totem – Shuts down mana dorks and a tonne of other things. The only card we have affected by this is Stoneforge Mystic which is a drop in the bucket compared to what it does to most other decks.

Drannith Magistrate – Says no to opponents playing their commanders and utilizing Underworld Breach lines.

Rest in Peace – Destroys decks that rely on their graveyard and is useful in general to prevent recursion. Also half of our combo alongside Helm of Obedience.

Grafdigger's Cage – Causes Protean Hulk players to cry. Also prevents Underworld Breach lines as well as to-battlefield tutors such as Finale of Devastation and Chord of Calling.

Hullbreacher – Literally just a cheaper Notion Thief that generates us ramp rather than draw.

Hushbringer – The things Hushbringer says no to are endless.

Lavinia, Azorius Renegade – Prevents opponents from utilizing their ramp, makes 0 drop mana rocks useless, and protects us from free counterspells such as Force of Will.

Stasis – The big boy of stax effects. We have a tonne of ways to break parity which make it worth running.

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale – Punishes our opponents for going wide with creatures and virtually shutting down mana dorks. Once we lock down everyone's mana it additionally functions as a pseudo-boardwipe every turn.

Winter Orb – One of our most important stax pieces. Does serious work especially when paired with literally anything else.


Enlightened Tutor – Staple.

Fabricate – Staple.

Idyllic Tutor – Staple.

Long-Term Plans – Our only tutor that's non-conditional. While mediocre on paper it pairs very well with Ojutai's Anticipate effect and Sensei's Divining Top.

Mystical Tutor – Staple.

Stoneforge Mystic – Fetches us any of our pieces of equipment while also allowing us to cheat out Sword of Feast and Famine and more notably Batterskull for cheap.

Tezzeret the Seeker – Parity breaker and artifact tutor all in one.

Transmute Artifact – Staple. Notably can also transmute Smothering Tithe and Hullbreacher's treasure tokens.

Whir of Invention – Staple.


Brainstorm – Staple.

Consecrated Sphinx – We slow things down enough to take advantage of its massive draw.

Mystic Remora – Staple.

Ponder – Staple.

Preordain – Staple.

Rhystic Study – Staple.

Teferi, Hero of Dominaria – Parity breaker, draw engine, removal, and a wincon (albeit a slow one) in one card.

Teferi, Master of Time – Draws us four cards each turn cycle. Also gives us extra turns for days if he sticks around

Timetwister – Staple.

Verity Circle – Meta-dependant. Green and thus dorks are common in my meta, making Verity a great draw engine.

Windfall – Staple.


Batterskull – Our way of giving Ojutai vigilance. On top of this can act as a free blocker when first played, and the +4/+4 with lifelink is great for our voltron side strategy.

Copy Artifact – Has a tonne of uses from copying a rock or duplicating something like Batterskull.

Helm of Obedience – Paired with Rest in Peace this card allows us to instantly mill an opponent's entire library for the low, low price of 2 colourless mana.

Sensei's Divining Top – Staple.

Smothering Tithe – Nets us a tonne of free mana which allows us to more easily play around our own stax. Has another small use of being able to convert its tokens via Transmute Artifact without sacrificing one of our actual artifacts.

Sword of Feast and Famine – Gives bonus evasion to Ojutai while also helping us break parity on our own stax effects.


Arcane Signet – Staple.

Azorius Signet – Staple.

Chrome Mox – Staple.

Fellwar Stone – Staple.

Grim Monolith – Staple.

Jeweled Lotus – Because Wizards thought this was a good idea. Also gets Ojutai out early.

Mana Crypt – Staple.

Mana Vault – Staple.

Mox Diamond – Staple.

Mox Opal – Staple.

Sol Ring – Staple.

Talisman of Progress – Staple.


Armageddon – Blows everyone's mana up. MLD basically guarantees us the win if we resolve it.

Cyclonic Rift – Staple.

Gilded Drake – Staple.

Ravages of War – See Armageddon.

Swords to Plowshares – Staple.


Counterspell – Staple.

Delay – Staple.

Dispel – Staple

Dovin's Veto – Staple.

Fierce Guardianship – Staple.

Flusterstorm – Staple.

Force of Negation – We have enough cheap and redundant Blue cards to make this worthwhile.

Force of Will – Staple.

Mana Drain – Staple.

Mental Misstep – Staple.

Muddle the Mixture – Decent counter that can also tutor us out cards such as Winter Orb and Stasis.

Negate – Sometimes you just need to counter a planeswalker.

Pact of Negation – Staple.

Silence – Staple.

Spell Pierce – Staple.

Swan Song – Staple.


Archon of Emeria – Rule of Caw is an amazing card and will most likely find a slot at some point, though as of right now I'm trying out some other hatebears instead.

Grand Arbiter Augustin IV – GAAIV is an asymmetrical Sphere of Resistance on a stick while reducing the costs of our own spells. Could potentially go into the list but we're already running cheaper stax pieces that are more effective than what he does.

Solemnity – Laughs in the face of commanders such as Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, Meren of Clan Nel Toth, and Pir/Toothy just to name a few. Heavily meta-dependant but shuts down entire decks in certain matchups.

Sphere of Resistance/Thorn of Amethyst/Trinisphere – The inclusion of these cards depends on the meta. My pod doesn't really have non-Underworld Breach Storm going on in it so these are primarily sideboard options for those against traditional Storm decks.

Static Orb – Very strong stax piece that shuts down more than just lands unlike Winter Orb. This goes in and out of the deck as while it's very potent it can often harm us as much as it does our opponents. At the moment I haven't needed it on top of already having Winter Orb, Back to Basics, and Stasis but it's still on the back-burner in case more artifact-heavy decks or such become prevalent in my meta.


As Foretold – Too unreliable in my opinion. If you manage to draw this early in the game it's huge but it drops off very fast the later on it's played. We run a lot of enchantment tutors but I'd rather fetch any of the other enchantments this deck has.

Humility – Ojutai's passive Anticipate effect is a huge boon for this deck so we don't want to lose that. I'd rather run something like Propaganda before Humility here as that also allows our opponents to duke it out while not wanting to attack us.

Lightning Greaves – Shroud actually causes issues for us due to having multiple pieces of equipment we plan on attaching to Ojutai. Considering Ojutai's natural hexproof as well, it ends up going to waste once we give him vigilance anyways.

Power Artifact – Used to be in the deck but I ended up cutting it as its sole purpose was comboing with Grim Monolith. Only rarely did I have both of them together as it was generally more important to tutor into other artifacts or enchantments at the time, meaning Power Artifact often ended up as a dead card.

Whispersilk Cloak – Has the same issues as Lightning Greaves. Its unblockable effect is pretty good for Ojutai though but I'd rather choose another piece of utility equipment first.



While this deck was built in and for a budgetless environment, it's definitely possible to still create a well-functioning Ojutai list without needing such a hefty pricetag! The bottom line is your budget; there's a tremendous amount of variation in the cost you can pump into an EDH deck. The best thing for you to do is set a limit for yourself, see what cards you already own, and do a bunch of research into sidegrades or replacements that you can make. Here are a bunch of general cuts I recommend going for first:


Lands

EDH landbases are notoriously expensive and the easiest place to start cutting costs. There's a huge variety of options available to you depending on your budget, these are just some examples:


Artifacts

While many artifacts tend to have fairly unique effects there's often cards that can fit in their spot well enough, especially in the case of mana rocks:


Others

There's a variety of other expensive cards in the deck that have good substitutes, though sadly certain types such as tutors have no direct replacement:


Don't forget to +1 if you enjoyed Ojutai!

I appreciate feedback, so feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions!

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Top Ranked
  • Achieved #1 position overall 8 months ago
Date added 1 year
Last updated 5 months
Key combos
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

14 - 0 Mythic Rares

50 - 0 Rares

14 - 0 Uncommons

8 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.20
Tokens Teferi, Treasure, 2/2 Bird, 0/0 Germ
Folders Scion cEDH, Team Ojutai, CEDH, saved decks, Cool Pages
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