Conditions Allow – Medomai the Ageless

(Medomai, the Ageless | Art by David Palumbo)

Medomai Said It’s My Turn Next

That time is upon us, once again. A new set just came out, and your playgroup is testing out new commanders like Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger, Siona, Captain of the Pyleas, and Heliod, Sun-Crowned. But what are we to do if none of the new legends piqued our interest? It doesn’t make sense, but it always feels bad to feel left out when others are getting new toys. We’ve been to Theros a couple of times now, though, and not every major character made a reappearance this time. One such character that I heard mentioned more than any other was Medomai the Ageless.

Medomai’s absence is only made more noticeable by Dream Trawler, a very powerful Sphinx that seems to have stolen our ageless friend’s spot in the set. Unless you think Medomai is in the set, being devoured by Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger on Eat to Extinction. Whichever theory you subscribe to, Medomai the Ageless doesn’t get much love on EDHREC, either, with only 74 decks, just below both Isperia the Inscrutable and Isperia, Supreme Judge. All three are popular Sphinx Tribal commanders, but I think Isperia is much more straightforward, in either of her incarnations. Medomai, on the other hand, can be deceptively difficult to take full advantage of.

There are several combos that use blue creatures, rather than instants or sorceries, to take infinite turns. Sage of Hours and Wanderwine Prophets are both supposed to have limiters in place so they can’t go infinite, but Ezuri, Claw of Progress and Inalla, Archmage Ritualist easily find workarounds. Neither of those creatures have a built-in line of text that makes going infinite explicitly impossible. Medomai the Ageless isn’t so lucky. This is probably why effects that grant double strike are so popular on his page. Since his ability triggers on combat damage, giving Medomai the Ageless double strike will give you two extra turns every time Medomai can attack. Unfortunately, Medomai still isn’t a great Voltron commander because he can’t take advantage of all those extra turns (and extra combat steps). You could, of course, simply put all the Equipment on a different creature, but that doesn’t sound like fun at all.

The other option is to forgo having Medomai the Ageless as our commander in order to use Ilharg, the Raze-Boar to sneak Medomai into play attacking. This skips around the restriction that prevents Medomai from attacking during extra turns and grants you infinite turns. Again, though, I really want to build Medomai the Ageless as my commander. We’re going to need to find another option.

Oh Captain, My Captain

As it turns out, finding an effect to put a creature into play in Azorius isn’t that difficult. There is exactly one creature, from Morningtide, that has the potential to do exactly what we need. Preeminent Captain is a 2/2 Soldier that can put another Soldier into play tapped and attacking from your hand when it attacks. The only downside now is that Medomai the Ageless is very much not a Soldier. Blue is a tricky color, though, and things are not always as they appear on the surface.

The Combo

Arcane Adaptation, unsurprisingly, doesn’t appear on either Preeminent Captain‘s or Medomai the Ageless‘s EDHREC pages. This isn’t surprising, though, as most Soldier tribal decks are Boros or Mono-White. Perhaps Daxos of Meletis could put this enchantment to good use, much the same way other underrepresented tribes like Ninjas, Cephalids, or Scarecrows do. Artificial Evolution is also popular with tribal commanders like Reaper King and Sliver Overlord, where it lets you use both incredibly powerful effects with whatever tribe you prefer.

For this deck, these two cards give us the ability to take infinite turns with Medomai the Ageless and Preeminent Captain, either by naming Soldier with Arcane Adaptation or changing the Preeminent Captain‘s text to “put a Sphinx into play tapped and attacking.”

Just like any deck that tries to assemble a set combo of cards, we’re going to want as many tutors as possible. Mystical Tutor and Enlightened Tutor both make the cut, alongside the just reprinted Idyllic Tutor. Unfortunately, blue and white aren’t great at finding creatures. Recruiter of the Guard can find Preeminent Captain, along with a couple of other utility creatures, but that’s pretty much the only option.

Another vital part of our combo is putting Medomai the Ageless back into our hand to continue using Preeminent Captain, and Expedition Map searches for Sanctum of Eternity to let us do just that. Portal of Sanctuary and Crystal Shard are both three-mana artifacts that fulfill the same purpose, and each are searchable with Trophy Mage. We can fill out the rest of the deck with card draw to make sure that we find these cards as reliably as possible, along with counterspells to protect the combo once we have it together. Fill any remaining slots with artifact ramp, and we have ourselves a deck!

When Everything is Tribal, Nothing Will Be

Well, not quite. That would be much too straightforward. Artificial Evolution opens up a lot of possibilities when imprinted on an Isochron Scepter, and I want to explore as many of them as I can. The real inspiration for this deck is Mistform Ultimus, who commonly plays a collection of the best lords blue has access to, making Mistform a huge threat. Arcane Adaptation also makes a top appearance on Mistform Ultimus‘s page, alongside Tribal powerhouses like Azami, Lady of Scrolls and Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign.

We don’t have to limit ourselves to Tribal synergy cards, however. This deck is focused around sneaking big creatures into play, and there are plenty of great options. Chancellor of the Spires and Consecrated Sphinx both work if we’ve hacked Preeminent Captain to say Sphinx, and each offers an incredible amount of value. Steel Hellkite is great surprise removal, while Avacyn, Angel of Hope shuts down a lot of the best interaction we’ll face. Meteor Golem is a slightly more precise option, or you can take the “player removal is best removal” approach with Blightsteel Colossus.

But if you’d rather play for value, Preeminent Captain can be a great kick-start for a flicker strategy, as well. With Conjurer’s Closet, Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, and Deadeye Navigator, we can continuously trigger Diluvian Primordial and Mulldrifter. Emancipation Angel and Aether Adept both let us reuse Preeminent Captain if we don’t have another flicker engine, while Naban, Dean of Iteration (and Panharmonicon) doubles the effects of every single creature in this category. As long as they’re Wizards, at least.

I’ll Take One of Each

A potential problem for the deck is that it’s possible that none of this could ever come together. The core combo of the deck, sneaking in Medomai the Ageless with Preeminent Captain for infinite turns, relies on a lot of pieces of an engine being in play at the same time. In actuality, it isn’t difficult to find either Arcane Adaptation or Artificial Evolution. Azorius colors are very good at finding instants, artifacts, and enchantments. The hardest card to tutor for is actually Preeminent Captain.

The rest of the deck, however, is largely not dependent on type. Naban, Dean of Iteration and Azami, Lady of Scrolls are at the most risk of being dead cards, but there are a fair number of Wizards in the deck. At its core, this is a flicker deck, aiming to get as much value from the repeated triggers of creatures like Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign and Diluvian Primordial as possible. Both cards are powerful alone, but triggering Unesh when Diluvian Primordial enters the battlefield is gross, especially since those triggers get doubled with Naban, Dean of Iteration.

With plenty of ramp so we can cast all the expensive creatures we have, if needed, here’s the full list.

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It feels like there’s a lot going on here, but it is deceptively simple. The main goal of the deck is to get a flicker engine (mainly Thassa, Deep-Dwelling) into play and start following it up with powerful effects like Cavalier of Dawn. If you happen to find Arcane Adaptation early on, naming Wizard to get the most out of Naban, Dean of Iteration is often the best option. Sphinx is also a good choice with Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign. With all the card draw those two can generate, however, it usually isn’t too hard to find Preeminent Captain and Artificial Evolution to make him a mini-Ilharg, the Raze-Boar for Wizards. After that, all you need is ways to get Medomai the Ageless back to hand every turn, which the deck is packed full of.

Do you play Medomai the Ageless? What strategy do you use? Double strike could be a fun keyword to focus on, alongside a suite of aggressive Azorius fliers, perhaps. Let me know your thoughts and experiences down below, and thanks for reading!

Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.