Welcome back! Last Big Daddy Brews I promised that we would look at my Omnath, Locus of Mana deck. This deck has evolved with me as I’ve gotten better at Magic and subsequently Commander. I first learned how to play Magic when I was sixth grade or so. I didn’t play for a very long time before quitting the game for about six years. When I finally returned to the game, it was because a group of my friends had been playing Commander. The social aspect of playing long multiplayer games appealed to me, but I had a condition: Whatever deck I played had to be Mono-Green because my sixth-grade kitchen table deck was Mono-Green. With that in mind one of my friends pulled out Omnath, Locus of Mana from his binder, showed it to me and donated to me an entire Omnath Commander deck based on the green bulk rares that he owned. I’m much better than I was a teenager first relearning the game just as Omnath is a much better deck than it was when Scute Mob and Engulfing Slagwurm were trying to carry the load. Green is no longer my favorite color in Magic, Blue is, but this deck holds more sentimental value to me than any other. None of what I just said has anything to do with how to play the deck, so let’s look at the list and talk about it!
Commander: Omnath, Locus of Mana
Survival of the Fittest Package
1 Blighted Woodland
1 Gaea’s Cradle
1 Myriad Landscape
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Desert of the Indomitable
1 Slippery Karst
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Command Beacon
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Homeward Path
1 Mosswort Bridge
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Rogue’s Passage
1 Strip Mine
1 Winding Canyons
1 Yavimaya Hollow
22 Snow-Covered Forest
The backbone of most any green Commander deck begins with its ramp package. Like many Mono-Green decks in the format, this deck is a Ramp deck. Green’s minimal creature removal is not a huge issue here because we’re looking to go over the top of whatever it is our opponents are doing anyway. This build is not designed to be blazing fast, but instead value oriented and resilient. When choosing my ramp cards, I decided to omit mana dorks and instead focus on ramp cards that provide card advantage. Some of the cards in my “ramp” category don’t ramp at all but help ensure that the deck makes its land drops while offering card advantage. Courser of Kruphix and Yavimaya Elder are both great examples of this. We do choose to pass on cards like Ranger’s Path and Explosive Vegetation because having a high creature count is important to the deck for cards like Natural Order, Craterhoof Behemoth, Regal Force, or Zendikar Resurgent.
One of the strongest advantages one can have in Magic is a mana advantage. Having more mana than your opponents and the appropriate resources to spend that mana on, generally, means that you’re casting more spells and activating more abilities than your opponents. This, in turn, tends to swing the game in your favor. Earlier I said this deck wants to “go over the top” of its opponents. What I mean by that is that it wants to make enough expensive, powerful plays that it can overwhelm its opponents regardless of what the opponent’s strategy is. The mana doublers in the deck help facilitate that gameplan.
It should come as little surprise to anyone who has been reading the series for awhile that the deck plays a fair number of tutor effects (as they are my favorite effect in all of Magic). Being green this means that our tutors are limited to creatures, but that is rarely an issue as most of our powerful spells are either creatures or things that find creatures anyway. The deck has a decent toolbox that should allow you to tackle most problems, but it could always be tweaked to fit your metagame. If Indestructible artifacts and enchantments such as Darksteel Forge and the Gods are common for you, but exile effects are not then cutting Riftsweeper for Brutalizer Exarch could be a consideration, for example. Generally, that is the tutors’ secondary function because as previously mentioned, the deck is mostly okay with ignoring its opponents to push forward its strategy. Understanding when to tutor for an answer to an opposing board state and when to advance your own comes with proper threat evaluation and deck experience.
There used to be a point in time where Green struggled to draw cards. Wizards have been kind to Green in recent years giving it many new and different tools to refill its hand. Generally, those effects are either tied into creatures (Garruk, Caller of Beasts) or attached to them (Tireless Tracker). This is part of why the deck’s creature count is fairly high. If we’re looking to play a value based game, then that means not running out of cards and that in turn means playing creatures. Creatures also attack and block and serve as a means to win the game, so that’s cool too.
Not being fast means expecting there to be a reasonable number of games that go long. Long Commander games tend to mean a lot of removal and sweepers. Having the capability to recur your most important cards often is the difference between victory and defeat. Eternal Witness and Greenwarden of Murasa both have unique functions in allowing Tooth and Nail loops and Genesis works well with Fauna Shaman and Survival of the Fittest.
This is a package of cards that help us deal with opposing threats. The deck may not need to interact with everything that the opposing decks are doing, but it will need to do so some of the time. Having access to some amount of removal allows you to always play towards an out.
This is my favorite aspect of the deck: Survival of the Fittest chains. For this, all to work the way it is intended to you need to have access to at least seven mana, Survival of the Fittest on the battlefield, and one creature in hand. I’ll explain it in steps.
Step 1: Pay G to active Survival of the Fittest discarding a creature and fetching Genesis during the person-before-you’s end step.
Step 2: During that same end step pay G again to Survival of the Fittest discarding Genesis to put Masked Admirers into your hand.
Step 3: Still during that end step, Pay G to discard Masked Admirers to find Seedborn Muse. Pass priority and allow the turn to conclude so that you may take your turn.
Step 4: During your turn, cast Seedborn Muse paying GG to return Masked Admirers to your hand from the graveyard.
Step 5: During the very next turn, your lands will untap at the same time as your opponent’s. During their next end step, pay G to discard Masked Admirers to Survival of the Fittest to tutor for Yeva, Nature’s Herald. During that same end, step Flash in Yeva paying GG to return Masked Admirers from your graveyard to your hand once again.
Once those steps are completed, you’ve set up an engine that allows you take a pseudo-turn during every one of your opponents’ turns.
Well, that’s it! I’m working on some small tweaks to this deck currently, but they’re unfinished. Expect the changes to be updated when the next set is released! Speaking of, this is a good time to mention that there will not be a Commander 2017 set update because none of the new cards from the Commander 2017 decks are going to be added to any of my paper decks. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be tapping into those cards in the future, however, so if you’re excited about that set then be patient with me. We’ll get there! Anyway, I love this deck with all of my beings and I hope you found it cool at the very least. Feel free as always to holler at me in the comments below! Next time we will be tackling Mono-Blue Omniscience as led by Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir.