New Omnath, New Staple
With the spoiler season for Zendikar Rising beginning, Wizards has graced us with what will likely be the most interesting card in the set for Commander players; Omnath, Locus of Creation. A new four colour legend that excludes Black in your deck is a rare but welcome sight for the Commander format, offering a new alternative to partners or the group hug special Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis. At the higher end tables, this deck is known for Hermit Druid shenanigans, but how about we look at a big mana deck all about taking advantage of various creatures to draw our deck or drop a gigantic Craterhoof Behemoth?
The Commander Themselves
Omnath, Locus of Creation is up there as one of the best additions to our format in recent years. The first land entering the battlefield doesn’t do a whole lot when it gains you life. Ramping further on a second land drop and then dealing damage is a nice upside. Omnath starts off at a reasonable power and toughness at 4/4 keeping them out of Lightning Bolt range but they won’t be able to dodge that much removal. The upside of this is the enter the battlefield trigger of drawing a card making it so that Omnath, Locus of Creation consistently replaces themselves and helps you draw into any combo pieces.
There are so many landfall enablers that in combination with other spells can draw you through your deck. Explore and Exploration are sure to be auto-includes as they are in most Green ramp decks, but the addition of Tatyova, Benthic Druid, Summer Bloom, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Lotus Cobra and Chulane, Teller of Tales are what make this deck go over the edge. If you can consistently draw cards or generate mana off of each land drop that you’re cheating on, you’ll quickly outpace your opponents. One of the most interesting aspects of this Commander deck is the ability for its combo to be supported by Chulane, Teller of Tales and Aluren. Ramping is great and all, but drawing through your deck to find all of your enablers is even better. Since a large number will be creatures that cost three or less, this makes your deck go off very consistently.
Landfall decks historically have huge creature finishers that take advantage of all the different mana dorks or ramp that you’ve achieved over the course of the game. A deck involving Chulane, Teller of Tales is going to want to take advantage of this even more making cards like Craterhoof Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar all the more powerful. Being able to bounce and replay them using Chulane’s ability makes their abilities more powerful as well, both are easily tutorable using Natural Order or Green Sun’s Zenith but aren’t the only high power creatures that can be included. Roil Elemental and Rampaging Baloths are classics of the ramp deck but the world is your oyster for combat finishers. There is plenty of budget and high priced options here which makes this Commander and strategy all the more appealing. Since this deck does have access to Red, you also get access to damage doublers. Furnace of Rath, Dictate of the Twin Gods, and Fiery Emancipation are all going to be huge power upgrades for the Commander’s last ability and they help even more if you’re going to throw in Impact Tremors effects.
There are plenty of combos to include in this type of deck. Peregrine Drake / Palinchron in combination with Deadeye Navigator feels like an obvious take that most players will go towards. However, I point you towards options that involve Aluren to finish the game out. With the inclusion of Red, Impact Tremors, and Purphoros, God of the Forge look to be easy additions to the deck while you’re comboing out with Chulane on the field let alone when you have infinite enter the battlefield effects with Deadeye Navigator or Aluren and friends. Shrieking Drake and Whitemane Lion are both excellent additions to the deck that will really help any of the aforementioned plans.
You can also go the route of drawing your entire deck and just winning the game on the spot. Laboratory Maniac, Thassa’s Oracle, and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries are all easy inclusions for the deck if you choose to take the full combo route. With Chulane and another enabler or two, this is going to be one of the cleanest and most consistent routes to a victory that the deck can take on (outside of Food Chain, but let’s look at that another time). With the number of tutors available, I would expect any combo that you choose will be taken on. Even if you choose not to include any combo, you’ll be able to create a more budget-friendly version of this deck. You'll still win a high number of games you play with it by virtue of the raw power level.
With the number of colours you’re given access to, you’re given nearly every tutor imaginable that isn’t Demonic Tutor. For the creature heavy builds you get access to Eladamri’s Call, Worldly Tutor, Green Sun’s Zenith and Natural order. If you choose to combo out with enchantments you get Idyllic Tutor, Enlightened Tutor and Academy Rector. For the spell focused builds you’ll have Mystical Tutor, Gamble and so many more options. No matter what route you go you’re not going to have a hard time finding the spells you need. This makes each of your games interesting and heavily reliant on your skill level. Games like those make the wins feel all the sweeter.
That’s it for the broad strokes on how you should start looking at the new 4-colour all-star in Commander; Omnath, Locus of Creation! A Commander who offers both budget options as well as versions with a higher power level. The deckbuilding limits for this card are non-existent and we’re all looking forward to seeing lists hitting the internet. Going forward, we should all expect to see this card at many Commander tables given not only the history of Omnath cards in the format but also the raw power level of this card. Next time we’ll be breaking down a few examples of decklists for this new Commander.