I'm giving away an Ojer Axonil deck! Details + Primer inside Social Interaction
GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED - Congrats to our winner u/Zarolyth! Take good care of this deck!
---Original Post Below---
Hey there denizens of r/EDH!
This is my personal build and will continue to be updated long after this giveaway has closed, so be sure to follow or bookmark it if you're interested to see how it evolves over time.
And here is an album showing the actual, physical cards you'll be receiving if you win the giveaway.
- Deckbox and sleeves will be included.
- Two versions of Axonil in clear sleeves for easy transforming.
- Relevant tokens & emblems as well. Sadly I had to improvise a bit since WotC did not give us Knight tokens to go with Court of Embereth. So you're just going to have to pretend this elemental is a knight. I mean come on - he's red, his stats are 3/1 and he's holding a sword. Just squint a little bit and he's basically a knight!
- The last image shows a suite of "backup" cards that will also be included (they are in addition to the 100-card deck, so you'll be getting 105 cards total). The primer below explains exactly why these are in here.
Speaking of primer, I've included it in this post and put a lot of effort into it. I hope that everyone who enters will at least take the time to read it, as I wanted you all to take something of value from this post even if you don't win the giveaway. I highly encourage you to give this awesome commander a try. He can be built on a budget if needed and he ends games insanely quickly. Give him a chance and you won't be disappointed!
GIVEAWAY RULES & CHOOSING A WINNER
To be entered, all I ask is that you spread the word and leave a comment on this post. In at least one of your comments, you'll need the following phrase:
One string, no spaces. Be sure to double check that you've typed it correctly and included the exclamation point.
DUPLICATES WILL BE FILTERED OUT. AND PLEASE DON'T MAKE MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES, I WILL ONLY AWARD THIS DECK TO AN ACCOUNT AT LEAST 1 MONTH OLD.
You may make a new comment or reply to another; so long as you've said the phrase at least once, you will have the same chance of winning as everyone else. 24 hours after this post goes live, I'll run the RNG to pick a winner.
Once a winner is picked, I will contact them via Reddit message and comment reply. If they do not respond to me and claim their prize within 24 hours, I will have to remove them from the pool and run the RNG again to pick a new winner. Once a winner is confirmed, I will announce them at the top of the post and close the giveaway.
You may enter no matter where you are in the world. However, if you live somewhere in which I cannot arrange reliable tracking, I'm afraid I'll have to pick a new winner. I'm very sorry but a lot of effort and nearly $300 went into this giveaway and it would feel pretty terrible if it were to get lost in transit.
INTRODUCTION & GAMEPLAN
Our return to Ixalan brings with it one of the most metal creatures ever printed: Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might. Just look at this guy. He's got a dinosaur for an arm, a burning club in his other hand and a solar crown adorning a skull screaming what I can only assume are death threats to literally everyone and everything in a 50-mile radius.
Also, "Ojer" is actually a title, like "King". And "Axonil" is his name. So, throughout this primer I'll be referring to him shorthand as Axonil. By the way, here is a clip on how to correctly pronounce his name.
Let's take a minute to break down the main ability that dictates the rest of the build for this deck:
- "If a red source you control would deal an amount of noncombat damage less than Ojer Axonil's power to an opponent, that source deals damage equal to Ojer Axonil's power instead."
And just like that, we know what to do. Effects that deal direct burn damage to opponents such as Volcanic Spray suddenly become way more painful because they are now dealing damage equal to Axonil's power instead of the pathetic 1 damage they would normally do. At its absolute worst, we would only need to activate something like Lobber Crew 10 times with Axonil to incinerate our opponents, but we can do even better than that!
The bigger and angrier Axonil gets, the more painful the burn our opponents will feel. This is why we have a few ways to buff his power. Things like Commander's Plate and Thundering Raiju can give him a permanent stat buff. Things like Dragon Mantle can be used to buff his power temporarily and follow up with a devastating activation of Lobber Crew or a Firebrand Archer trigger.
Next up, Axonil has a self-recursion ability in the form of returning to the field on his flip side, Temple of Power, after he dies. We can then transform him back into his creature side but if and only if we've dealt at least 4 burn damage in a single turn. It's worth noting that this transformation is technically not optional, but because he's our commander we are allowed to send him back to the Command Zone if he would die, thus bypassing the mandatory transformation. This bit is important, because I (usually) found more success with this deck when I was just letting him go back to the Command Zone after death, since dealing 4 non-combat damage can be trickier than it sounds.
Obviously, if you have the setup to do so, then by all means let him come back to the field as Temple of Power. An example of this would be a pinger that can deal 1 damage to each opponent (for a total of 3) and then you'd need to deal 1 more damage from another source. A better example would be Spear Spewer who can deal 1 damage to everyone for a total of 4 so Spear Spewer alone can fulfill the requirements to transform the temple back into Axonil. Or if you're really desperate, you can float 4 mana while Manabarbs is out and deal the 4 required damage to yourself! But if you do not have the setup to deal that critical 4 damage, then I'd highly recommend sending Axonil back to the Command Zone so you can reliably re-cast him later.
With all of that in mind, here's the general gameplan:
Setup is the name of the game. Axonil isn't providing value if you have nothing to fire at opponents.
Get some source of burn damage into play before casting Axonil, something like Brimstone Trebuchet, for example, so you have it ready to fire once you do get Axonil onto the board. This sounds obvious, but the reason I point this out is that we have a few mana rocks like Fire Diamond and Mind Stone. So it's possible to have 4 mana available by turn 3 and cast Axonil, but if you have a choice between him and something like Brimstone Trebuchet in hand, cast the Trebuchet first because that way it won't be summoning sick on the next turn when you cast Axonil.
You can also play it a bit slow and just hold off casting Axonil entirely until you've set up as much as possible. In some games, I hadn't put him on the field until turn 6 or 7, but by then I had some massive triggers and pings ready to go which resulted in 16+ damage on the turn he came into play and the game was over on the following turn.
Begin leveraging repeatable tap-to-burn effects to consistently damage opponents each rotation; damage that will be amplified by Axonil.
Regarding these pingers, I advise that you keep them untapped until the last possible moment, namely the end step of your opponent's turn just before yours begins. The reason being that if you need an emergency blocker, you can use them for that purpose. But if a whole rotation goes by and they're still untapped, you should activate them at instant speed to deal some burn damage and they'll untap as soon as your turn begins anyway. The only exceptions to this line of play would be:
- you have enough pinger activations lined up to just take somebody out of the game; if that's the case then show no mercy!
- or if there is something on the stack that is about to remove Axonil; if that's the case then use your pingers and get as much damage out of them as you can before Axonil leaves!
Aside from pingers, you can set up future burn with things like Impact Tremors and Kessig Flamebreather if you have the cards to capitalize on their triggered abilities.
Apply even more pressure with stax effects, prioritizing ones that punish players taking basic game actions (Manabarbs) or for simply just existing (Roiling Vortex). These will be triggering A LOT and will be dealing damage equal to Axonil's power so the damage will be racking up VERY quickly.
If you find an equipment or aura that boosts Axonil's power, be sure to play it before using any of your burn effects that turn. But prioritize any equipment that provides Axonil with some form of protection like Commander's Plate or Mithril Coat. The more difficult he becomes for opponents to remove, the quicker the game will end. Axonil is essential to our gameplan so it's important that he sticks around.
And don't be afraid to swing with Axonil if the coast is clear! Damage is damage so get in for a cheeky attack whenever possible. The only exceptions would be:
- If you have one of your Chandras in play. These walkers are great ramp and card advantage engines and holding Axonil back to protect them from attackers would be in your best interest.
- Or if you're the Monarch (thanks to Court of Embereth). Leaving Axonil untapped could help you hold onto the crown.
Games with this deck are typically pretty short but if things aren't coming to a close, there are some big finishers available:
Dragon Mantle and Draconic Destiny are mana sinks that can pump Axonil's power. Spend as much as you can spare to boost his power to absurd levels and then hit your opponents with every damaging spell/ability you have available for devastating damage.
Fiery Confluence lets you choose the "Deal 2 damage to each opponent mode" three times. With Axonil, this is a minimum of 12 damage. If you have a way to boost his power, Fiery Confluence can easily end the game.
Pyrohemia plain and simple deals 1 damage for each (R) we spend. With Axonil on the field, this is boosted to 4 damage per activation, minimum. In the late game, you'll probably only need a few activations of this to end the game. Save this card in hand as a finisher; don't just play it and pass turn. You should be winning the game on the turn you cast Pyrohemia.
GOLDFISH & PRACTICE
It's one thing to read a guide and look at a decklist, it's another entirely to go through the motions. I highly encourage you to use the Playtest feature on Moxfield and goldfish this deck a couple of times.You seriously need to feel just how fast it is and how quickly damage adds up with Axonil in play. You should be dealing 40+ damage to everybody in 8 turns or less.
PROS, CONS & POWER LEVEL
- This deck makes games go very fast. Thanks to stax effects that punish opponents for basic game actions (Manabarbs, Zo-Zu, Spellshock, etc.) combined with the damage amplification from Axonil, the burn damage will be racking up very quickly.
- As burn decks go, this one is a bit more unique thanks to Axonil's power-matters way of affecting burn damage, so there is a light sprinkling of Voltron going on.
- It has a very simple gameplan with simple decision-making so your turns will be short and sweet, as will the game itself.
- This deck is highly dependent on Axonil staying on the field, so you have to dedicate some of your deck slots to protection pieces.
- It has a very aggressive playstyle, meaning you'll be taking some damage while dishing it out. If that's something that scares you, this isn't the deck for you. If, however, you're the type of person to sink the ship you're sailing on just to kill the captain, you'll have a blast with this deck.
☢️ Power Level
- This deck is high-power casual. There are no combos, but it is so efficient at dealing burn damage that games will rarely go past turn 8.
- Please don't ask me for a number. I believe using a 1-10 scale to gage power is pointless. Describing what the deck does and how it wants to win is much more useful info.
- Chandra, Dressed to Kill, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, Fire Diamond, Mind Stone, Fellwar Stone, The Irencrag and Heraldic Banner all produce mana on their own.
- Jeska's Will and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx can produce more mana than it costs to use them.
- Ruby Medallion and Hazoret's Monument reduce the cost of our spells.
- Defiler of Instinct lets us pay life instead of red mana when casting red permanents.
Removal & Interaction (15)
- Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Chandra's Incinerator, Shatterskull Smashing, Fiery Confluence, Abrade, Embereth Blaze, Defiler of Instinct, Pyrohemia, Volcanic Spray, Blasphemous Act and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle can deal burn damage to creatures.
- Vandalblast, Fiery Confluence and Abrade can all destroy artifacts.
- Chaos Warp can get rid of any permanent.
- Deflecting Swat and Bolt Bend can redirect spells on the stack.
Card Draw & Card Advantage (10)
- Mind Stone and War Room have activated abilities that can draw us cards.
- Court of Embereth gives us the Monarch when we play it, and having the Monarch will draw us a card at the end of our turn.
- Chandra, Dressed to Kill, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Jeska's Will, Valakut Exploration, Tavern Brawler and Virtue of Courage don't explicitly draw us cards but they do exile them from the top of our library and allow us to play/cast them if we want to, functionally serving as card advantage.
- Dragon Mantle replaces itself by drawing us a card upon ETB.
Feel the Burn (34)
This section points out all of the sources that can deal direct damage to opponents, which are the main effects that will be amplified by Ojer Axonil's ability.
- Blisterspit Gremlin, Spear Spewer, Thermo-Alchemist, Brimstone Trebuchet, Lightning-Rig Crew, Lobber Crew and Unruly Catapult all have activated abilities that can deal 1 damage to everyone, making them fantastic repeatable ways of dealing massive damage if Axonil is in play. Note that some of these have useless secondary effects (i.e. Lobber Crew) but we don't care about those, we're running them because of their repeatable tap-to-burn ability.
- Sunshot Militia has an activated ability that requires tapping any two creatures/artifacts to deal 1 damage to opponents (one of them can be Sunshot Militia themselves). The nice thing is that it's repeatable so in the late game when we have more ammo, we can put some serious hurt on our opponents.
- Kessig Flamebreather and Firebrand Archer deal 1 damage to our opponents whenever we cast a non-creature spell. Note that they're not limited to instants and sorceries (like Guttersnipe) and can trigger off of our large number of artifacts and enchantments we're running in this build.
- Pyrohemia has an activated ability that we can use repeatedly. With Axonil on the field, this can straight up end games if we have enough mana to sink into it.
- Tunneling Geopede deals 1 damage to opponents whenever we play a land.
- Witty Roastmaster, Purphoros, God of the Forge and Impact Tremors deal damage to opponents whenever we play a creature and Rampaging Ferocidon deals damage to any player who plays a creature.
- Court of Embereth deals damage to opponents equal the number of creatures we control and it makes an elemental token on our upkeep which combos nicely with the burn effects mentioned just above.
- Defiler of Instinct deals 1 damage to any target whenver we cast a red permanent, easily turned into 4 if aimed directly at an opponent.
- Valakut Exploration can deal damage to opponents on our end step if there are any cards exiled with it that we chose not to play.
- Thundering Raiju deals damage to opponents whenever it attacks equal to the number of other modified creatures we control, and it can put a +1/+1 counter on one of our creatures each time it attacks so it's self-sufficient at triggering this effect.
- Eidolon of the Great Revel, Harsh Mentor, Immolation Shaman, Zo-Zu the Punisher, Roiling Vortex, Sulfuric Vortex, Spellshock, Burning Earth and Manabarbs are all stax pieces that deal damage to opponents for taking certain game actions.
- Fiery Confluence, Spikefield Hazard and Embereth Blaze are all one-time effects that can deal damage to opponents.
- Volcanic Spray is a simple burn spell that can be cast twice thanks to Flashback.
- Chandra, Torch of Defiance's first ability lets us exile a card off the top of our library and if we choose not to play it, she'll deal 2 damage to each opponent (4 if Axonil is in play).
Turn Up the Heat (13)
This section points out cards that increase Axonil's power, which is important because that's how much damage our other burn effects will be doing.
- Tyrite Sanctum's middle ability can buff Axonil with a +1/+1 counter. Yes, we can use this ability even though he is already a God, he just simply receives the +1/+1 counter.
- Thundering Raiju can also buff Axonil with +1/+1 counters.
- The Irencrag, Shadowspear, Commander's Plate, Champion's Helm and Hammer of Nazahn all increase Axonil's power while equipped.
- Draconic Destiny while attached gives Axonil a flat +1/+1 buff.
- Heraldic Banner while on the field gives all of our red creatures including Axonil a +1/+0 buff.
- Purphoros, God of the Forge, Castle Embereth, Dragon Mantle and Draconic Destiny let us pay mana to temporarily increase Axonil's power.
- Tavern Brawler can also temporarily increase Axonil's power.
Axonil is important to our gameplan, so protecting him is important. This section highlights the cards that can do just that.
- Deflecting Swat and Bolt Bend can redirect a spell/ability aimed at Axonil.
- Commander's Plate, Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots and Champion's Helm all give Axonil some form of protection and/or non-targetability while equipped.
- Darksteel Plate, Mithril Coat, Hammer of Nazahn and Tyrite Sanctum can make Axonil indestructible, making him much more difficult to remove.
- Wanted to break down this pair so you can understand how to maximize on the potential burn damage.
- Let's say you have Trebuchet and Court of Embereth on the field. The turn gets passed to you. A couple of things happen during this crucial beginning phase.
- First up on the Untap Step, you untap everything, notably the Brimstone Trebuchet.
- Next, move to Upkeep. Court of Embereth triggers. In response, go ahead and activate the Trebuchet to deal damage to everyone. Now let the Court trigger resolve and create a 3/1 Knight token. If you're the Monarch, you get to do some more burn damage here.
- More importantly, however, because a Knight just ETB'd, you get to untap your Trebuchet so it's ready to fire off again.
- Remember this sequence if you happen to get these two on the field together. It's easy to be on auto-pilot and just go through the "Untap, Upkeep, Draw" phases without thinking too much. I know we mono-red players have a reputation of drooling all over ourselves but if my dumbass can write a post full of complete sentences and punctuation then you can certainly remember to take advantage of the Trebuchet/Court pairing for some extra burn damage! If Axonil is on board, that's 8 damage from this interaction!
- Looks a bit random but this is our only source of Lifegain. We're playing a lot of effects that punish and burn all players, ourselves included, so an equipment that grants Lifelink is a great way for us to outgrind our opponents.
- The best candidate to put this on is a pinger like Lobber Crew. The stat boosts don't really matter because we're not attacking with it. However, non-combat damage can also trigger Lifelink, so tapping Lobber Crew to deal damage to all opponents will result in +3 life for us, or +12 if Axonil is in play.
- Also, if we have the mana to spare and multiple sources of damage lined up, we can gain a ton of life. Let's say for example we've got Axonil on the field along with Lobber Crew and Unruly Catapult. We can pay (2) to slap the Shadowspear on our first pinger, activate it to deal 4 damage to each opponent and gain 12 life. Then we can pay another (2) to move the Shadowspear over to our next pinger and activate that one as well, gaining another 12 life. We're not limited to pingers either; we can put the Shadowspear on something like Firebrand Archer if we've got a way to trigger it, then move the Shadowspear to the next candidate, and so on.
- Note that I didn't go too far down the lifelink rabbit hole since the deck is running a few effects that straight up prevent lifegain (such as Sulfuric Vortex).
- One of the best cards in the deck since casting spells is kind of essential to playing Magic. We, however, can play around it a bit since we have so many pingers whose damage comes from activated abilities already on the field, so we can still burn our opponents without having to cast spells.
- Keep in mind, that Spellshock actually triggers whenever a spell is cast; that spell doesn't actually have to resolve. I say this because this card only has one printing in paper and its text is outdated.
- It says "Whenever a player successfully casts a spell, Spellshock deals 2 damage to him or her." You'd be forgiven for thinking the word "successfully" implies that the spell must resolve but that's not the case. Take a look at the oracle text and you'll see that it triggers on spell cast.
- Keep in mind that lands are colorless, therefore Valakut's burn ability will NOT be amplified by Axonil's ability.
- But I mean, come on, we're playing a mono-red deck with 29 mountains. There's very little opportunity cost for throwing Valakut in here.
- Mainly in here in case we have Witty Roastmaster, Impact Tremors or Purphoros, God of the Forge on the field and don't need the land drop, so we can Channel Sokenzan and make two tokens for some easy burn damage.
⬆️ Powering Up ⬆️
I already have a fairly expensive mono-red deck (Chiss-Goria Affinity) so I didn't want to spend too much on this one and keep it more on the casual side. However, you can certainly speed things up with stuff like Jeweled Lotus and Mana Crypt which help get Axonil onto the field ASAP.
You could also consider running Snow-Covered Mountains and Extraplanar Lens for additional ramp. The Lens is usually run alongside snow-covered basic lands because typically opponents won't have snow lands to benefit from it but the user does.
You can be even more mean with things like Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, Ruination and Stranglehold. Don't be afraid of harsh stax if you're playing this deck at high-power or borderline cEDH! If your playgroup or meta is heavy with Blue decks, Red Elemental Blast and Pyroblast are also good options.
After that, you can lean a little harder into lifelink equipment to help you outgrind your opponents with all of the punishment burn effects. Things like Loxodon Warhammer, Batterskull and Basilisk Collar all come to mind.
⬇️ Powering Down ⬇️
If your playgroup doesn't appreciate mean stax, you can remove the following: Zo-Zu the Punisher, Spellshock, Burning Earth and Manabarbs. Personally, I haven't encountered anyone who throws a fit over these cards but not every player out there has the same level of tolerance so those four are the most likely to be complained about. In terms of replacements, I would pick any four from among Cemetery Gatekeeper, Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh, Zariel, Archduke of Avernus, Invasion of Karsus and Tectonic Giant. These five are the backup cards I included in the giveaway, in case you win the deck but your playgroup is not a fan of the aforementioned stax cards.
Other than that, the deck is pretty fair. I can't really find an issue with the rest of the list. It's just a burn deck at the end of the day.
⬅️ Other Directions ➡️
This particular build leaned heavily into permanents. This is why I didn't include things like Guttersnipe and Electrostatic Field, since they want a critical mass of instant and sorcery spells. I chose not to go this route because I already have a Ghyrson Starn deck with a spellslinger theme and I typically don't like overlapping with my builds. But you can certainly go in that direction with your Ojer Axonil build.
In terms of cuts, the immediate ones would be Defiler of Instinct, Witty Roastmaster, Purphoros, God of the Forge and Impact Tremors. Immediate additions would be Erebor Flamesmith, Electrostatic Field, Fiery Inscription and Guttersnipe. From there, start swapping other permanents with instants and sorceries that deal direct burn damage to opponents.
I also considered things like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Mirage Phalanx and other such effects that make copies of creatures and gives them haste - the idea being that we can take advantage of stuff like Impact Tremors while copying a pinger and it can activate right away thanks to haste. Sounded good in theory but unfortunately there just aren't quite enough pingers in my opinion to dedicate valuable deck slots to these copy-maker cards. Could be worth exploring though, if you'd like to take a crack at it.
This section points out every card in the deck that costs more than $5 USD and provides a much more budget-friendly substitute. They won't all be functional replacements but will have similar mana costs and serve the main gameplan as much as possible.
- Valakut, Sokenzan and Nykthos can all be replaced with basic Mountains.
- Pyrohemia → Leyline of Lightning, Invasion of Karsus or Spitfire Lagac.
- Commander's Plate → Mask of Avacyn.
- Shadowspear → Basilisk Collar.
- Ruby Medallion → Cemetery Gatekeeper.
- Mithril Coat → Claws of Valakut or Blackblade Reforged.
- Deflecting Swat → End the Festivities or Unleash Fury.
- Shatterskull Smashing → basic Mountain.
- Jeska's Will → Seething Song.
- Purphoros, God of the Forge → Zariel, Archduke of Avernus or Tectonic Giant.
- Chandra, Dressed to Kill → Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh.
Alright, if you made it this far, I appreciate you taking the time to read and enter the giveaway. While it is not required by any means, you're welcome to check out and follow my Moxfield page. I've put together quite a few lists and primers for each. A lot of work goes into these and I keep my decks up to date as often as possible. If you'd like to see what I'm working on, be sure to give that page a follow.
And with that, we've concluded. 24 hours after this post goes live, I'll be running the program to pick a winner.
Best of luck to you all!