Archetune-Up – Curse You, O-Kagachi!

(O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami l Art by Daarken)

I’ll Put a Curse on You

Hello, and welcome back to Archetune-Up, a weekly article series devoted to tweaking a deck with the help of the EDHREC Theme pages!

This week we will be conjuring up some devious inclusions for EDHREC’s average O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami Curses list! O-Kagachi is a fun political commander who helps us punish people who turn their blade towards us, so what better way to enact our vengeance upon an opponent than by cursing them?

Average O-Kagachi Curses

Commander (1)
Creatures (12)
Enchantments (36)
Sorceries (8)
Instants (2)
Artifacts (5)
Lands (36)

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This O-Kagachi deck is a slow, Enchantress-like build, looking to employ political maneuvering while slowly crushing opponents under the weight of multiple Curses. Looking at EDHREC’s list, there are three standout issues that I believe we can improve on.

  • First, this deck is too on-theme and is akin to having a cake that is 80% frosting. We need a cohesive theme, but it is overpowering the deck in its current state.
  • Second, we need a few more tutors and a bit more card draw to smooth things out. While I am not often one to include tutors, this deck is similar to a toolbox-style deck and hinges upon being able to fish out relevant pieces when they are needed.
  • Last, there are a few Curses that are a bit too weak for my taste. Hopefully in fixing the first two issues, we will cull the weaker, less cohesive Curses and build in more synergy with the strongest ones.

Now that we have our roadmap figured out, let’s dig into the Curse Theme and see what diabolical secrets it has in store for us.


A Curse in Everything but Name

Much like my Wrexial Article a few weeks ago, where I added zero sea monsters from the Sea Monsters theme, I did not take any Curses from the Curse theme. Why is that? Well, because nearly every Curse was added to the deck already! I ended up using this theme not to find more Curses specifically, but cards that have high synergy with them, and in this regard, the theme page delivered in spades!

That being said… just because we didn’t have any Curses to add doesn’t mean we didn’t add scary enchantments that put our opponents in a pickle.

Captive Audience is basically a Curse without the subtype, and it quickly replaced Cruel Reality as our seven-mana Aura of choice. Cruel Reality is much too slow for my taste and also gives our opponent too much wiggle room to play beneath it. When I Curse an opponent, I want them to struggle, not be able to mitigate the repercussions. Captive Audience does exactly this and is just plain brutal. Every mode is crippling, and it is a much-needed win condition for the deck, especially with some of the other tools in the deck we’ll add next.

Painful Quandary fills a similar role to Captive Audience. While it will never end up killing anyone, after enough time it will either drain your opponents of their hands or a large portion of their life, both of which we are quite happy to facilitate. What’s great about Painful Quandary is that, unlike the Curses that have to focus down a single player, Quandary will consistently bog down each opponent, giving us some needed reach to affect everyone at the table.

What could be better than one Captive Audience or Painful Quandary? How about two? Mirrormade joins Copy Enchantment, Clever Impersonator, and Estrid’s Invocation in our suite of enchantment-replicating tech. These are great ways to keep the pressure on the opposition while also not having to worry about ‘wasting’ a Curse on a single target. Are you worried about only having one Overwhelming Splendor when there is a big Simic deck and an Eldrazi deck at the table? Copy it! A token deck and an aggressive Boros deck got you down? Play Trespasser’s Curse and copy it! Two is almost always better than one, and Mirrormade and friends help us fight against the usual drawback of Curses in a fun and flashy way!


Tutors, Tutors, Everywhere

I know I’ve already mentioned it before in other articles, but I want to reiterate: I am not the biggest fan of tutors.

It’s not that I dislike them, I just like drawing cards so much more. If you give me the option of drawing six cards or tutoring for the card I want, I’m going to pick the former. That being said, there are some strategies where I find tutors are necessary to help them function properly, and that’s okay, too. There are certain themes that need specific cards at specific times, and this is definitely one of those, so we need to help facilitate it.

Heliod’s Pilgrim and Idyllic Tutor are quite straightforward. Heliod’s Pilgrim enters play and lets us get any Aura, and more importantly, any Curse, from our deck. I’ll gladly pay three mana for a small dork that cantrips the exact card we need! Idyllic Tutor trades Pilgrim’s body for the ability to search up any enchantment in our deck, Aura or not! There are plenty of other options if we want tutors for this deck, as well. Enlightened Tutor, Three Dreams, Plea for Guidance; all of these cards can work and are fairly interchangeable. I just picked these two for efficiency and budget purposes, but mix and match them as you see fit!

The last tutor I added into the deck is something akin to a “utility tutor”. Sterling Grove gives all of our (quite vulnerable) enchantments shroud, forcing our opponents to keep their grubby hands off of our lovely Curses. This is already a great effect for two mana, but Grove also has the added ability of being able to sacrifice itself to tutor through our deck for an enchantment! This is great utility for a single card, which is why it made the cut over something like Greater Auramancy. Feel free to run them alongside one another if you want the redundancy!


One’s Curse is Another’s Boon

This deck already came with an Enchantress sub-theme built into it, so I decided that it would be a great idea to lean into it a bit harder!

With Theros Beyond Death‘s release, I figured Constellation would be a great mechanic for this deck, and I was not disappointed.

Archon of Sun’s Grace is a mini Sigil of the Empty Throne that makes lifelinking fliers when its Constellation ability triggers. This creature is a great way to create chump blockers or start threatening opponents in the air. Archon is fantastic value over time, but it really gets out of control when combined with cards like Replenish, where you could get upwards of ten or more triggers at once!

The same is true for the next inclusion, Doomwake Giant. Giant does a fantastic job at consistently mopping up small tokens and X/1s, and can get really out of control if you are able to trigger it multiple times in a single turn. Doomwake Giant has the potential to consistently be a single-sided board wipe when combined with various Enchantresses drawing you cards! Because of this, Doomwake Giant is easily one of my favorite Constellation creatures.

The final creature that cares about enchantments is Tuvasa, the Sunlit. While her ability will only trigger on the first enchantment you cast each turn, that is often more than enough to grease the wheels to allow the deck keep up its momentum. As great as drawing cards is, though, we cannot forget about her first ability. The majority of creatures in this deck are pretty frail, so having a creature that can scale with the number of enchantments and Curses we have on the board will be a potent threat, especially when combined with Doomwake Giant or other pieces of removal.


The Curse of (Mana) Curves

The last few cards are our bread and butter spells, cards that work well in the deck but maybe don’t have as much synergy as the others we’ve talked about above. These are great cards that you can’t overlook, or you’ll once again have too much frosting on your cake.

Negate.

N E G A T E.

👏N👏E👏G👏A👏T👏E👏.

If you are running blue, you should be running Negate. I say it every time I add it to a deck, but it is so good. I add it before even the OG Counterspell or Swan Song. It’s just so versatile, and hits every single card type aside from creatures, which can easily be remedied with other removal or with O-Kagachi, itself.

Please just play it.

If you take anything away from any of my articles, let it be this.

Please.

We all know Boros Charm is a great card, but in this deck it is able to pull even more weight. Not only will it do its usual job of protecting our permanents from being destroyed, but the double strike mode is able to be used on O-Kagachi to exile two permanents from an opponent in retaliation! Aside from that, when combined with Tuvasa, the Sunlit, or a creature with Ancestral Mask on it, we can easily knock an opponent out of the game! In extremely niche cases it can also deal the last four damage needed to kill an opponent after Captive Audience has its way with them, too!

33 of our permanents, not including lands, have a CMC of three or less. This is perfect for Sun Titan to come in and do what it does best: bring back meddlesome permanents that our opponents already got ride of! Most of our Curses, no matter how cheap they are, will be on players’ radars as potential issues that they will need to deal with. This goes doubly for our Enchantresses like Argothian Enchantress, which will consistently provide us with an incredible amount of advantage the longer they are on the board. Sun Titan provides us with necessary recursion and ensures that cards that grease our wheels, like Curse of Verbosity, are never truly gone.


Curses! Foiled Again!

Five-color decks often have the unintended consequence of becoming a pile of “good stuff” since they have access to every Commander-legal card in existence. By sticking to a theme, we’re able to circumvent this, turning a potential “good stuff” pile into a synergistic deck. Every color has a spot in this deck, even red, which isn’t often thought of as a color that interacts with enchantments. With all that said, there were a lot of cards left on the cutting room floor at the end…

There are tons of cards that could have been added to help supplement this list. Curses-that-aren’t-Curses like Xantcha, Sleeper Agent and Crown of Doom, more creatures to interact with our Curses like Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker and Thoughtrender Lamia, more cards to bog down combat like Propaganda and Mystic Barrier; the wide array of potential inclusions goes on and on. While having so many options can be overwhelming, it can also go a long way in being able to personalize a list like this and tune it to the way you want or need to play it!

Have some fun with hammering down a theme and sticking to it. Restriction breeds creativity, even if you’re in five colors!

Once again, we’ve reached the end of the line. If you’d like to reach me, I’m quite active on Twitter (@thejesguy), and I have an email that I do my best to respond to (thejeskaiguy@gmail.com). If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or anything else of the sort, please don’t hesitate to leave them below or get in touch! I’ll see you next week, my friends!

Archetune-Up – O-Kagachi Curses

Commander (1)
Creatures (13)
Enchantments (31)
Artifacts (5)
Instants (4)
Sorceries (10)
Lands (36)

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Angelo is a Connecticut native who started playing Magic during Return to Ravnica, and has made it his mission to play Jeskai in every format possible. With at least 20 EDH decks constructed at all times, it's an understatement to say that he loves Commander. Angelo trusts counterspells over creatures, and is still hurt by Sphinx's Revelation rotation out of Standard.