Against the Odds: Jodah Friends (Standard)

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Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 346 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had our first Dominaria United Against the Odds poll, and it was super close, with Jodah, the Unifier beating out Zur, Eternal Schemer by just 1% of the more than 26,000 votes cast! As such, we’re heading to our new Standard format today to see what cool things we can do with our new Jodah. I know other people have been playing a legendary Human tribal version of Jodah, which seems fun but isn’t spicy enough for Against the Odds. So, what are we doing with Jodah? Taking advantage of the fact that its cascade-like ability triggers whenever any legend is cast, not just legendary creatures, to see how many planeswalkers we can get on the battlefield at once! What are the odds of winning with Jodah, the Unifier and all of the sweetest planeswalkers in Dominaria United Standard? Let’s get to the video and find out in today’s Against the Odds; then, we’ll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Jodah Friends

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The Deck

As I mentioned in the intro, one of the things I wanted to avoid while building around Jodah was ending up with a deck similar to the legendary Humans deck other people have been playing. Thankfully, this wasn’t too hard because I’ve also been wanting to try superfriends in Standard, and Jodah is the perfect engine for a five-color planeswalker deck!

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Our deck’s goal is simple: use cards like Katilda, Dawnhart Prime, Llanowar Loamspeaker, and The Celestus to ramp into Jodah, the Unifier as quickly as possible. Once we get Jodah on the battlefield, we start slinging planeswalkers, all of which are legendary, so we’ll trigger Jodah’s pseudo-cascade ability when we cast a planeswalker and likely end up with a second planeswalker for free! Once we get two, four, or even six planeswalkers on the battlefield, we should be able to generate overwhelming value thanks to all of our planeswalkers’ abilities and figure out a way to win somehow.

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When it comes to planeswalkers, we’ve got pretty much all of the best ones in Standard split among all five colors. One of the weird quirks of building a Jodah superfriends deck is that we want to play one or two copies of a bunch of different planeswalkers, rather than a bunch of copies of a few planeswalkers, because cascading into a planeswalker that we already have on the battlefield is a bummer since we’ll end up legend-ruling ourselves.

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The other consideration is making sure we have a mixture of mana values to work with Jodah’s cascade abilities. In our dream world, we’ll cast a five-mana planeswalker like Elspeth or Tamiyo and then spin into a four-mana planeswalker like Jaya, Sorin, Ajani, or The Wandering Emperor for free!

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And then, when we cast one of our many four-mana planeswalkers, we’re hoping to spin into a Liliana of the Veil or Kaito Shizuki. Which planeswalker is best depends mostly on the specific matchup and board state, but we often don’t really care which planeswalker we hit—we just want to get as many of them on the battlefield as possible. In theory, if we can get three or four planeswalkers on the battlefield at the same time, it shouldn’t really matter which ones they are—their combined powers should be able to put the game away.

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We’ve also got two additional planeswalker payoffs in Urza Assembles the Titans and Luxior, Giada’s Gift. Urza Assembles the Titans is actually a super-powerful saga in a deck overflowing with planeswalkers, with each chapter offering a lot of value. But by far the most spectacular is chapter three, which lets us double-activate our planeswalkers for a turn. This is a good way to rush planeswalker ultimates or just generate oodles of value. One of the most absurd things the deck can do is hit the last chapter of Urza Assembles the Titans and then use Tamiyo, Compleated Sage to reanimate the saga to use its abilities again. If we read ahead to the third chapter, there’s a decent chance we’ll be able to ultimate all of our planeswalkers in the same turn by using their abilities a ton of times. As for Luxior, Giada’s Gift, it’s just a one-of, but we’re pretty good at finding it thanks to Jodah, the Unifier‘s cascade ability. If we cast a Katilda, Dawnhart Prime with a Jodah on the battlefield, we know that we’ll end up with a free Luxior since it’s the only legendary permanent that’s cheap enough for Jodah to cascade into. Once it’s on the battlefield, we can use it to turn a planeswalker into a creature, often a very big creature, making it a sneaky backup plan for winning the game with combat damage.

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Rounding out the deck are some sweepers and removal to help us stay alive long enough to get Jodah on the battlefield and start cascading into planeswalkers. Leyline Binding is especially good in the deck since we’re fully five colors, which means it’s often just one mana. Meanwhile, Farewell and Depopulate take advantage of the fact that we’re not really playing creatures outside of Jodah and our mana dorks, so we don’t really mind sweeping away the board in most cases, especially if sweeping the board will help us keep a bunch of planeswalkers active on the battlefield.

The Matchups

In all honesty, it felt like we lost to ourselves and our five-color mana base more often than we lost to our opponents. Our mana usually is solid in games where we find a Plaza of Heroes, but if we don’t find the five-color legendary land, we occasionally have issues casting all of our spells, which is awkward but expected with a five-color deck. Other than losing to our own mana base, the hardest matchups are aggro decks. During the early turns of the game, we’re often playing tapped lands and not doing much of anything, which leaves us open to getting run over by aggro. If we draw our wraths, we can usually catch back up, but if we don’t, we sometimes die without doing much of anything. On the other hand, jamming planeswalkers after planeswalker usually is good enough against midrange and control to outvalue our opponents.

The Odds

We finished 3-2 with Jodah Friends, which is a fine record for an Against the Odds deck. More importantly, we got to do some pretty absurd things with Jodah and planeswalkers! The first match we played with the deck was probably the best example of what the deck can do when things go well, with Jodah flooding the board with planeswalkers and Urza Assembles the Titans letting us generate a ridiculous amount of value, although winning with Ajani, Sleeper Agent‘s ultimate against control was pretty sweet too. While the mana’s inconsistency likely means that Jodah Friends won’t be a top-tier deck in Standard, Jodah Friends is a blast to play if you like planeswalkers and value-heavy decks!

Conclusion

Anyway, that’s all for today. Don’t forget to vote for next week’s deck! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.