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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
"Commander Contest Winner #2:
Commander Jenara"
April 17, 2012

The second winner of the Commander Contest won for an excellent devotion to the themes most easily supported by his choice of commander-- or is it his choice of a commander that easily supports the themes he was devoted to? In a good Commander deck, it really should be a chicken-and-egg question bewteen the general and the strategy.
Greetings! I was planning on waiting till I saw your followup article, but by this point I figure I'm better off just sending in my deck and getting it over with.
First, the contest deck:
Commander Jenara
Commander Card:
Jenara, Asura of War (GWU)
Land (30):
Forest (9)
Plains (6)
Island (6)
Azorius Chancery
Elfhame Palace
Gavony Township
Halimar Depths
Llanowar Reborn
Novijen, Heart of Progress
Prahv, Spires of Order
Seaside Citadel
Sejiri Refuge
Creatures (34):
Alloy Myr
Ant Queen
Aquastrand Spider
Beast of Burden
Bramblewood Paragon
Enclave Elite
Fangren Firstborn
Feral Hydra
Harvester Druid
Kazandu Tuskcaller
Living Hive
Lorescale Coatl
Jorga Treespeaker
Jade Mage
Pallid Mycoderm
Plaxcaster Frogling
Plaguemaw Beast
Protean Hydra
Scorned Villager
Scute Mob
Selesnya Guildmage
Selesnya Evangel
Soratami Savant
Simic Guildmage
Spinx Ambassador
Sporeback Troll
Sporeoloth Ancient
Stonybrook Schoolmaster
Thallid Germinator
Twilight Drover
Vigean Graftmage
Viral Drake
Winged Coatl
Artifacts (7):
Contagion Clasp
Evolution Vat
Obelisk of Bant
Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII
Unbender Tine
Ur-Golem’s Eye
Instants (12):
Dismal Failure
Fuel for the Cause
Grip of Amnesia
Safe Passage
Simic Signet
Sprout Swarm
Steady Progress
Stoic Rebuttal
Enchantments (13):
Armadillo Cloak
Corrupt Conscience
Daily Regimen
Druid’s Call
Live and Limb
Marshal’s Anthem
Molting Skin
Presence of Gond
Quest for Ancient Secrets
Reality Acid
Terra Eternal
Wild Growth
Sorcery (3):
Pulse of the Tangle
To paraphrase Day[9], the basic overall strategy comes down to "Counters and Tokens, Counters and Tokens".
Strategy 1: Early Game, if I can pull the right mana, the plan is to get Jenara out ASAP and take advantage of her quickly growing power levels to hopefully fly over the opponent and hit them for over 21 damage. If they can't counter and can't block flight, it's going to be a pain for them to deal with.
Strategy 2: "Counters and Tokens, Counters and Tokens" - Building off of Jenara's counter power, the rest of the deck places heavy emphasis on creating mass quantities of critters and then building them up with mass quantities of +1/+1 counters. Then, to further hammer the point home, I've stuck as many cards with Proliferate in the deck as I could get my hands on. There's also an emphasis on the control element.
For kicks and giggles, I also threw in a Sphinx Ambassador. It really has absolutely nothing to do with the overall theme of the deck, but the card practically cried out to me to be played in a Commander Deck. So I threw it in with the hope of occasionally seeing it pop up and having fun shifting through dozens of opponents cards and making them squirm while I pick one - A bit that's sure to be a hoot any time it actually comes up.
Jenara makes an excellent general, but her ability to hit opponents like a truck makes her a frequent target of kill spells. Many Jenara players use her as the win condition in a draw-go style control build, holding a grip full of protective instants like Hunter's Guile, Rebuff the Wicked, or Eel Umbra and then pouring all their end-of-turn mana into Jenara's ability. There's definitely an appeal to that kind of deck, but "Space Java" here has gone with a different plan-- a very straightforward swarm deck that piles on +1/+1 counters and spits out tokens as fast as possible. In this deck, Jenara is not the lynchpin but simply the shining example. Her evasion and self-pumping make her one of the best creatures in the deck, but she is merely one of the best at what all the cards in this deck aim to do, and thus the deck can win with or without her.
My biggest complaint here is the absence of Doubling Season, but I can forgive that in light of what it goes for on the secondary market. I'm sure we all await the day they finally reprint it. My second biggest complaint is the likelihood of the deck to have to put counters on tokens. Most playgroups I've seen use glass beads for both, which makes a token with a +1/+1 counter on it a lamentable game state to keep track of. That, however, is simply a matter of my own preferences and pet peeves, and I don't hold it against the deck's creator-- if I had, he or she may not have won. Proliferate is a good addition, though it is a shame more cards with that Johnny-on-the-spot ability weren't printed. It's a bit strange to see Daily Regimen and Jenara in the same deck, since Jenara seems to already have her Daily Regimen, but of course it works just fine on other creatures. I would've also been more likely to run a card like Battering Wurm or Skarrgan Pit-Skulk, and I would've found room for Flurry of Wings, but the card choices here all look alright. My only concern si what the deck does in the event of a board wipe.
I'm confident that a deck like this would be a great joy to play, as you build up your army both bigger and more numerous and swarm your opponents. it's not the most ruthlessly efficient deck, I'll admit, but Jenara's ability to carry the whole show if needed and the general efficiency of the rest of the deck should allow for a decent win rate, if the pilot plays fairly well. If nothing else, this deck can present a great number of fearsome threats that an opponent will be forced to answer, and its army of creature tokens should hold off the lion's share of opponents' attackers until it can rally a solid alpha strike.
So, that's two winners down, and tomorrow we'll see the third! Come on back for the next winner of the Commander Contest, and remember to e-mail me if you see your own deck so we can talk about getting you your prizes!
Good luck!



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