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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Commander Review: Khans of Tarkir – Jeskai Way

November 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Welcome back my fellow EDH-ers to another Khans of Tarkir Commander review. Today we will be looking at another Wedge color combination called the Jeskai Way, who resides on the lower and mid Mountain areas where waterfalls runs down to the lower parts of Tarkir. The clan who admires the ancient Dragons’ aspect of cunning is of the color combination of Blue as focus color with White against Red.

 

Higher Enlightenment

Jeskai Ascendancy

Outer Fury, Inner Peace

The Jeskai Way, or more commonly referred as Jeskai, is a clan of martial artists, mystics and Monks. The clan symbol is the Eye of the Dragon. They focus on strategy over strength, planning battles against other clans from their remote monasteries in the misty Mountain lakes. The basis of their culture are isolated Mountain strongholds, each with its own mystical styles and schools of thought. The prime stronghold is the Sage-Eye Stronghold. In design, the clan is loosely based on the Chinese Shaolin Monks. The clan mechanic is called Prowess, a triggered keyword ability which grants the Creature with it +1/+1 till end of turn for each non-Creature spell its controller casts.

 

Enlightened Master

The Khan of the clan was called Narset. She was a master martial artist, sage and scholar. She seems to be to be afflicted with a minor form of ADHD or wanderlust causing her to find it hard to concentrate on a single matter. She had seen visions of other worlds when she was younger and those visions are coming back to her when she meditates now. This was largely in part due to her unignited Planeswalker spark. She is also seemed to be in friction with the elders of her clan though she still forced herself to fulfill her duties as Khan of the clan. The Jeskai elders had plans and agendas of their own and seek to make her a puppet leader. They went even as far to conduct operations behind her back; like sending Assassins after her former pupil, the Rogue Monk Taigam. Even her bodyguard was more loyal to the elders than her and reported on her actions to them.

 

Her destiny all but changed after she heeded the guidance of a Kirin and found Sarkhan. Always been fascinated with the extinct Dragons of the Tarkir past and of Ugin in particular, she agreed to bring Sarkhan to Ugin’s Nexus after hearing his stories. There at the Nexus, Narset was killed by Zurgo, the Mardu Horde Khan, while trying to aid Sarkhan’s passage through the Nexus to the past. Things however did not end there for the Jeskai Khan. For Sarkhan’s intervene with the past, Narset’s destiny was changed. She did not become Khan in but instead ascended to Planeswalker in the new timeline where Ugin did not die and the Dragons took over Tarkir.

Ugins Nexus

It’s a ride of “Back to the Future”.

 

Now enough with the history of the Jeskai Khan, let us look at her stats.

 

Narset Enlightened Master

Card Name: Narset, Enlightened Master

CMC: 3URW

Types: Legendary Creature – Human Monk

Card Text: First strike, hexproof

Whenever Narset, Enlightened Master attacks, exiles the top four cards of your library. Until end of turn, you may cast noncreature cards exiled with Narset this turn without paying their mana costs.

P/T: 3/2

Narset, being the great martial artist she is, is very powerful in the sense that she can strike first (First strike) and dodges enemies’ strike (Hexproof). This pretty much protects her when she goes into combat even given her low toughness of just 2. What caught my eyes though was how she aids her clan with her attack trigger. The clan mechanic, Prowess, requires you to cast nonCreature spells in order to trigger. Narset attack trigger gives you a chance at the top four cards of your library whenever she attacks if those cards are nonCreature spells. This effectively means that she helps to trigger Prowess whenever she attacks. Being able to cast spells without paying their casting costs had always been a crazy ability because most spells are balanced in MtG by their casting costs. My personal favorite of this trend of ability is Mind’s Desire and its mini-predecessor Temporal Aperture. Looking back, we can see many spells have very powerful effects but are mostly not play too much in normal variant due to the high cc. The game usually ends before you have enough mana to cast those spells. EDH had given these spells a chance since games are usually long drawn out thus mana is not a problem. Narset has the small restriction that those spells have to be nonCreature spells though but being able to dig four cards into the library for nonCreature spells to cast is especially powerful when you costumed your deck to it. In some way, the ability is a very top down design in that it shows her as the responsible Khan she is. Ever putting the clan wellbeing as her top priority.

Singing Bell Strike

“Size does not matters.”

 

Enlightened Voltron

At first glance, Narset does seems out of place with the clan with her abilities especially if you look at it with her clan members. On one end you have her allowing you to cast nonCreature spells for free whenever she attacks to help trigger Prowess; on the other end, you might have the chance of her hitting another clan member which is a Creature while you trigger her attack trigger. This may seems bad especially when you exiled the top four cards and they are all Creature or Land cards as you cannot cast Creature spells and you cannot play Lands with her ability. This immediately changes if you look at it from another perspective. Since her attack trigger only allow you to cast nonCreature spells, then just pack the deck with only nonCreature spells. The chances become higher that way. What we are talking about here is to use Narset to cast game changing spells. One of such game changing spells are those which I can think of are those that give extra turns which will result into extra attacks. The group of spells can also be further group into another group which give extra combat phases too. Either way, the objective here is to allow Narset to continuously attack. Some examples of such spells are as below.

 

Extra Turn
Beacon of Tomorrows Temporal Mastery
Capture of Jingzhou Temporal Trespass
Part the Waterveil Time Stretch
Plea for Power Time Walk
Savor the Moment Time Warp
Temporal Manipulation Walk the Aeons

 

Temporal Mastery

Here. Take another Turn.

 

Extra Combat Phase
Fury of the Horde Seize the Day
Relentless Assault Waves of Aggression
Savage Beating World at War

 

Seize the Day

“This is it, my Comrades!!! This is our moment!!!!”

 

The reason I pointed out the above group of extra turns providing spells is that Narset actually makes a great Voltron Creature. Having a default Hexproof means you do not have to spend extra resources to protect her. Hexproof being an improved version of the old Shroud is also the choice for Voltron protection as you can pump up Narset for the attack. Furthermore in order for her trigger to be utilize fully, it is best to have her as the only Creature; which is pretty much how a Voltron deck works. In case any of you are wondering what is a Voltron, it is a play style which plays by enhancing one Creature and sending that Creature in for the kill. With her attack trigger and the above extra turns spells, there is always the potential that she will become bigger and better with each attack. With some luck, there is even the possibility of killing someone with just attack if you are able to chain into extra attack after extra attack as each attack packs the possibility of having more pumps onto Narset. The pumps spells we are talking about here are quite the usual suspects for most Voltron decks. Narset color identity packs some serious enhancements. Below are some recommendations to consider.

 

Angelic Destiny Big enhancements. Recurring Aura.
Aqueous Form / Spirit Mantle / Steel of the Godhead / Unquestioned Authority Ensure each attack goes through.
Battle Mastery Bring the game to a faster end.
Celestial Mantle Small enhancement but makes you harder to kill.
Daybreak Coronet Huge enhancements. One of the strongest Aura even for its restriction.
Eldrazi Conscription The craziest Aura to slap on an attacking Creature even when the Annihilation does not trigger.
Empyrial Armor Enhance the Creature with your hand size.
Ethereal Armor Enhance the Creature with the number of Enchantments you control. One of the best and most recommended Aura for Voltron with White.
Flickerform Protects the Creature and its enhancements by blinking everything.
Indestructibility Indestructible attacker.

 

Angelic Destiny

All the Bonus at a Low Cost.

 

I Want to Attack Ten Times

Going by what today article is about, Narset is a really powerful Voltron style build around Commander. This is rather common with most Voltron Commanders as your choice of enhancements are restricted within their color identity. Narset provides an additional strategy to the deck with her attack trigger. Our recommendations is to utilize her attack trigger with the “Time Walks” or “Relentless Assaults“ that will give her extra attacks and also more enhancements with each attack. Narset is overall more powerful than any Voltron I have seen so far. With most Voltron Commanders, it is mainly pumping up the Commander and going in for the kill. With Narset, it is just attacking and attacking and attacking. If you think that somehow the trigger is randomly generated, you are only half right. There is consider library manipulation in MtG and you can decide to a certain degree what is coming up on the library top. Even if the spells you want are in your hand, you could also use Scroll Rack to put it back on top. So the randomness can actually be controlled if you want to.

SS01

“And I will attack and attack and attack and attack and attack……”

 

What do you think of the Jeskai Khan? Will you consider her to be your Voltron Commander? Do share with us your thoughts in the comments below. With that we shall end it for the Jeskai and their Khan. Stay tune for more Commander Review of Khans of Tarkir for the other clans and their Khans. Till the next article.

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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