With Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate coming out, be prepared for a whole influx of new legends helming decks at your local game stores. I know when I show up to Three Kings Loot for Commander, I’ll be mixing it up with a few decks led by characters being imported into the Magic: The Gathering universe.
I am most excited for, and worried about, Jon Irenicus, Shattered One.
Let’s take a look at this text box:
“At the beginning of your end step, target opponent gains control of up to one target creature you control. Put two +1/+1 counters on it and tap it. It’s goaded for the rest of the game and it gains “This creature can’t be sacrificed.” (It attacks each combat if able and attacks a player other than you if able.) Whenever a creature you own but don’t control attacks, you draw a card.”
Here are few cards for different circumstances.
Let’s start with the scariest things you can give your opponents or your opponents can give you with Jon Irenicus. Be sure to sequence these in the right order because these are awful.
LET’S GET MEAN
This terrible artifact creature becomes a 5/6 beater that prevents your opponents from playing further creatures. Donate this garbage to an opponent with creature-heavy strategies or while their Commander is in the command zone.
Once you give these away, they both have to attack, which means either they get blocked and have to sacrifice a ton of stuff (that they didn’t get from you) or they hit your opponents for huge damage. Dralnu is trickier because they could flashback spells, but it’s worth it if you got rid of graveyards with a Bojuka Bog.
If your opponents Terminate your creatures before you can give them away, flashing in a Dictate of Erebos to punish them for their actions. Jon Irenicus’ ability ensures that they can’t sacrifice your lovely gifts.
Give this away and your opponent has an 8/8 beater to hurt your opponents, but they can’t win them the game. When this gets dropped when it’s down to one v. one, this may as well be extending the handshake for a GG.
Because creatures you give away with the Shattered One can’t be sacrificed, Reaver’s ability cannot be activated, which means whoever you give this to is stuck with it. That means a one person board wipe at each of their end steps that leaves behind only creatures you give them.
LET’S HAVE FUN
Here are a few cards for builds that want to compete but don’t want to get targeted for playing Jon Irenicus.
Get the value when these big bads get in to the ring, and then donate an evasive beater to your opponents so that they can take each other down quick.
Get the Harpies when the Overlord drops, and then give this to a player to watch them trim their board down every upkeep.
This one is a twofer. Whoever attacks and whoever gets hit loses half their life. It’s a low toughness creature which means it might get blocked, but that’s where Manifold Key and Key to the City can come in handy.
Annihilator is a great ability for this deck especially since they can’t sacrifice your donations. Bane of Bala Ged has a pseudo Annihilator ability and it can definitely be mean, but they absolutely can exile your creatures, so stay away from that one.
Get your creatures back from your graveyard to your hand when your opponents go swinging with a 6/6 Deathtoucher that can cost you BB.
And now some ways to protect yourself against a mean Jon Irenicus deck.
By giving yourself Hexproof, you cannot be given creatures by the Jon Irenicus player. But you can still get hit by the ones they send to your other opponents.
You can choose new targets and send a particularly nasty Jon Irenicus gifts to someone else.
Let Jon Irenicus send you a donation and then swap it for the Shattered One himself. Or you can make a deal with someone and send a Steel Golem they control to the next poor shmuck.
That rounds it out for my deck and protection recommendations with Jon Irenicus. I hope to see you at the Commander tables at Three Kings Loot soon!