There’s something that happens with every new set release. New sets bring new Legendary Creatures, and that means new Commanders for EDH. Core Set 2020 has hit the shelves and brought twelve new Commanders with it. We’re going to take a look at one of them that is near and dear to my heart. You see, this is a recurring character, and one of the first characters that I built a deck around in this format. I’m talking about an Elemental powerhouse in its new form as Omnath, Locus of the Roil.
Omnath has been on a journey of discovery since it first showed up in Worldwake. It started as Omnath, Locus of Mana, a mono-Green Elemental mana battery, collecting more mana to itself and becoming more powerful. Then the Eldrazi started to tear the world apart and Omnath discovered anger and Red mana.
Omnath, Locus of Rage, a Red-Green Elemental, brings more Elementals to the party with a Landfall ability. On top of that, if Omnath or another Elemental you control dies, Omnath’s rage deals 3 damage to target Creature or Player. This was the form that inspired my very first Commander deck. But, Omnath’s story doesn’t end there.
In Core Set 2020, it has become Omnath, Locus of the Roil, and it is clearly still angry. When Omnath enters the battlefield, it deals damage to any target equal to the number of Elementals you control. Omnath’s Green shines through with another Landfall ability (okay, it doesn’t say Landfall, but it works the same). When a Land enters the battlefield under your control, you put a +1/+1 counter on an Elemental you control. Omnath is not stopping there, though. After you’ve put that +1/+1 counter on an Elemental, if you control eight or more Lands, draw a card. This happens because Omnath has learned and incorporated Blue mana into itself.
Now that we have this perfect synthesis of Red, Green, and Blue mana, what are we going to do with it? We definitely want to take advantage of all of its abilities, and that means we’re going to need Elementals in play. I think the first additions should be the two previous incarnations of Omnath. Who’s next?
Since we’re talking about a Tribal strategy for this deck, we should check out the home of the Tribal supertype: Lorwyn/Shadowmoor. Elementals were one of the supported tribes and they bring the heat. Smokebraider gives us two mana to use to cast Elementals or activate the abilities of Elementals, which is great because some of the Lorwyn Elementals, like Inner-Flame Igniter, have abilities that get additional effects if you can activate them multiple times. We’ve also got Incandescent Soulstoke, who gives all of our Elementals +1/+1 and also has the ability to cheat an Elemental into play with Haste. We have to sacrifice the cheated Creature at the end of the turn, but that is a small price to pay for dropping a cheap, uncounterable Bane of Progress on a board full of mana rocks.
Let’s talk about Elemental synergies for a minute. Core Set 2020 brings Risen Reef with it. Whenever an Elemental enters our battlefield, we get to look at the top card of our library. If that card is a Land, we can reveal it and put it on the battlefield tapped. If we don’t put that card on the battlefield, it goes to our hand. Risen Reef is one of the best Creatures we can play in the early game. It is either going to ramp us up to our heavy-hitters, or it is going to draw us to them. Either way, this Elemental is an all-star.
Grave Sifter lets each player choose a Creature type when it enters the battlefield, and then return any number of Creatures of that type from their graveyard to their hand. This is amazing for us, obviously, but we need to be aware of what other players might have in their graveyards. If we are against other Tribal decks, we might want to hold Grave Sifter until we absolutely need it.
With Omnath, Locus of the Roil‘s enter-the-battlefield trigger, we want to have as many Elementals as possible. We’ve got a couple of ways to make a lot of Elementals in a hurry. Tempt with Vengeance gives us X 1/1 Elemental tokens with Haste, where X is however much mana we can spend. The card also offers to give our opponents the same number of tokens. Each opponent who accepts gets X 1/1 Elementals and then we get X more. The trick is to play this when an opponent is in dire need of chump blockers, if possible, to get the maximum number of Elementals out of it.
Elemental Mastery is an Aura that lets us tap the Enchanted Creature to make X 1/1 Elemental tokens with Haste, where X is the Enchanted Creature’s Power. The tokens have to be sacrificed at the end of the turn, but by then they’ve most likely done their damage. If we can Enchant a sufficiently large Creature, like Rubblehulk, Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar, or Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer, then we can make lots of Elementals and follow up by playing our Commander and dealing a lot of damage.
Another, somewhat slower way of making more Elementals is to copy the ones that we already have with Helm of the Host. Making a new copy at the beginning of Combat on our turn can give us more uses of our enter-the-battlefield effects. This is especially hilarious when the Creature you are copying is something like Primalcrux, because it creates an exact copy complete with casting cost. Primalcrux and its copies each get +1/+1 for each Green mana symbol among the casting costs of Permanents you control. So, if you only have a Primalcrux, it is a 6/6 because it has 6 Green mana symbols. If you make a copy, both the copy and the original become 12/12. Did I mention the copies have Haste? That is a lot of damage.
Also worth noting: Helm of the Host makes non-Legendary copies, so we can Equip it to Omnath, Locus of the Roil to trigger its enter-the-battlefield effect every turn. Or Equip Omnath, Locus of Rage and make a lot of Elementals with each Landfall trigger.
The deck features many more Elementals than we have time to talk about individually, from Animar, Soul of Elements to Maelstrom Wanderer, which I honestly forgot was an Elemental. We are playing 48 total Creatures in the deck, and every one of them is on-theme. However, we’ve got to spend a little time talking about what else the deck has.
To support our Tribal plan, we’re running Vanquisher’s Banner. Another +1/+1 to all of our Elementals never hurts, but the real appeal of this card is that it draws us a card every time we cast an Elemental spell. Late in the game we can churn through our deck by casting a lot of small Elementals.
To help us get to our expensive Creatures, we’ve got Cultivate and the usual mana rocks in Sol Ring, Simic Signet, Gruul Signet, and Commander’s Sphere. We’ve also got Leafkin Druid as a mana-producing Creature.
We’ve got both spot removal and sweepers in the deck. For single-target, we’re looking at Beast Within and Void Stalker. Blasphemous Act, Cyclonic Rift, and Ashling the Pilgrim all give us ways to sweep the board. Ashling gives us the ability to tailor the damage we do by building a pile of +1/+1 counters over a few turns. Also, if we have Omnath, Locus of Rage in play when the board gets wiped, then we’re likely going to get a lot of 3-damage triggers. Late in the game, that might be enough to keep a board wipe from our opponents at bay.
As far as our Lands go, we’re running all of the Scrylands, Gainlands, Creaturelands, Shocklands, Bouncelands, Checklands, and Horizonlands in our colors. We’re also running Mutavault for an extra Elemental, Kessig Wolf Run to help punch through a board stall, and Cavern of Souls to help make sure our Creatures hit the field. We also get to play Primal Beyond, which is a Land that taps for any color if you are using that mana for an Elemental.
Omnath, Locus of the Roil EDH
The power level of this deck is probably about 5/10, but that is totally fine if you are just looking to get a fun game with friends. That’s what I usually want when I play Commander.
What Core Set 2020 Legendaries are you looking at for a new EDH deck? What does your 5/10 Commander deck look like? Let me know in the comments or catch me on Twitter (@BadMoonMTG).