Commander 2019 has given us a lot of very cool new legendaries to play around with. A new multi-color Morph commander, a populate Commander that makes trampling rhinos and even a madness-focused vampire. But these weren’t the ones that drew my attention.
I’ve always loved Jeskai: it’s probably my second favorite color combination and it’s the first deck that I took to a competitive standard event.
Mantis Rider will always have a special place in my heart. The Jeskai deck from this set however is a little different. The deck is meant to focus around flashback, but thankfully doesn’t rely on that keyword. Instead it references casting cards from your graveyard. Due to their double casting ability flashback cards tend to be underpowered, so Sevinne’s less specific wording is perfect.
Sevinne, the Chronoclasm is a great card to build a solid Jeskai Midrange deck around. A 2/2 for 2WUR is heavily overcosted, but Sevinne’s first ability:
‘Prevent all damage that would be dealt to Sevinne, the Chronoclasm’
means we can we can attack into people’s boards or use Sevinne to block all day with no worries about them dying. This isn’t just a benefit for combat though. Red is well known for it’s damage based boardwipes like Blasphemous Act and Star of Extinction, allowing you to kill everyone else’s creatures and keep your Commander intact, while white has a lot of cards to redirect damage from one source (creature, player or planeswalker) to another. In this case, you could redirect damage to be absorbed by Sevinne, potentially creating a soft lock with cards like Pariah and Pariah’s Shield, transferring damage from you until hard removal is used to get rid of Sevinne. These provide you with a couple of focuses for your deck without even looking at his second ability.
Sevinne’s second ability is the one that encompasses what the precon focuses around: flashback.
‘Whenever you cast your first instant or sorcery spell from your graveyard each turn, copy that spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.’
This means that the first flashback card you cast each turn (including opponents!) will be cast a second time. Like I mentioned earlier, avoiding the flashback keyword means we can copy any spell we cast from our graveyard, as long as we can find a way to recast it.
Recasting cards from your Graveyard
Sevinne’s precon was described as focusing on flashback, but thanks to recent sets we have more than just flashback cards to cast from our graveyards. We’ve got the jump-start mechanic from Guilds of Ravnica, Finale of Promise from War of the Spark and even Torrential Gearhulk from Kaladesh. These are all non-flashback ways of re-casting cards and getting the benefit from Sevinne. While jump-start still only includes specific cards, it gives us a way of putting other cards into our graveyard. However Torrential Gearhulk, Finale of Promise, Snapcaster Mage and so on all give us the ability to copy extremely powerful cards from our graveyard with Sevinne’s ability.
Instants are some of the best cards to copy – casting them in other player’s turns gets the most value from Sevinne’s ability. Dig Through Time is arguably one of the most powerful draw cards available to us, because it lets your dig so deep. Being able to copy it and dig 14 cards down means you’ll almost always be able to find that piece of interaction that you need.
One card I’ve had a lot of success in my wheels deck is Pull from Eternity which allows me to recast cards you should only be able to use once, like Time Spiral and Praetor’s Counsel. This is one card that I’ve found VERY powerful with Sevinne. When you recast jump-start and flashback spells or use cards like Torrential Gearhulk to recast spells they almost always have a caveat that the spell needs to be exiled. This can be mitigated with the use of Pull from Eternity to put that card back into your graveyard. The best engine I’ve found with this is Mystic Retrieval. Mystic Retrieval lets you return one card from your graveyard to your hand but when it’s flashed back with Sevinne in play you return two cards. In this case it will always be Pull from Eternity and another card that you want. This allows you to then put Mystic Retrieval back into your graveyard from exile over and over creating a powerful engine that lets you recast our most powerful cards and getting around the singleton rule of Commander.
Thanks to the ability to prevent damage, Sevinne makes not only a great spells-matter Commander, but one that can attack without worrying what he’s moving into. I have leaned into this element of Sevinne with my own build. With it’s recent unbanning (and so everyone clamoring to get their playsets), I was reminded just how powerful and versatile Stoneforge Mystic is.
With no equipment banned in Commander, this is the perfect format for Stoneforge to flex its muscles and fulfill that silver-bullet fetching role that makes it so powerful. These are a few equipment cards to consider, with varying roles in your normal Commander pod:
– Umezawa’s Jitte – Removal for small creatures and messing up of combat maths,
– Lightning Rod for artifact removal,
– Sword of Feast and Famine – Allows you to tap out pre-combat and still hold up mana for interaction in other players’ turns,
– Sword of Fire and Ice – Removal for small creatures/planeswalkers and card draw,
– Sunforger – All of the above and more (discussed further below),
As you can see there is a huge amount of power and variety available in pieces of equipment, and with Sevinne being able to attack freely they get a nice little boost when you equip them to your Commander, and that’s without even thinking about how Sevinne’s ability to attack all the time helps with Commander damage.
Sunforger, the card I’ve always underrated and why I was wrong
Sunforger. What a card. At face value, it’s a weird one: a Boros card with a heavy spell and control focus, two things that don’t come to mind when you think about Boros – the color combination best known for armies of soldier tokens and extra combat steps. I’ve always dismissed it as being too mana intensive, however my deck building process has recently had a much heavier focus on ramp from both mana rocks and land searching spells like Farseek. I decided, with this new mana heavy focus, that the mana-intensive nature of Sunforger would be minimalized.
What I found came two-fold. Firstly, Sunforger is not as mana intensive as I once thought. 5 mana to tutor and cast any 4-mana red or white instant is more than worth it. Secondly, with the amount of mana I had in my deck I could equip and activate Sunforger multiple times. Using it in my turn and then being able to re-equip and hold up any of the instants in my deck was almost too powerful. One of the things I missed when first building my Sunforger package was that while it specifies red and white spells you can use it for a lot more than just removal. I did a little research online for the best Sunforger cards to play in your deck and while most of them were your Path to Exiles, Swords to Plowshares and Utter Ends there are also so many utility cards you can use with Sunforger like Teferi’s Protection, Wild Ricochet, and Eerie Interlude[card]. Whilst researching I noticed that the majority of decks running Sunforger are in Mardu colors (WBR), however when you’re looking for Jeskai cards you suddenly have access to counterspells in [card]Counterflux, Render Silent and Absorb. When you’re able to tutor and cast a counterspell in your opponents turn for the low cost of WR without even looking at your hand it lets you play a little more laid-back and risky with your cards. In short, I’ve been very stupid in the past and will continue to jam Sunforger into any deck I can. I’m looking forward to playing with this new favorite card.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of what you can play with Sevinne at the helm, whether you want to go for a more control-focused build using Sevinne as a way to generate additional value off of your spells or a Voltron build using pump spells and recasting them to make Sevinne huge. This new legend provides a vast scope of what you can play in Jeskai colors and allows for tons of creativity. Let me know what you’re building Sevinne as whether it’s just the precon or if you’re using Spark Double and Sakashima to make copies of Sevinne and winning with Ral, Storm’s Conduit I’m excited to see your brews.
Check out the other Commander decks that I have written about as part of the 32 Commander Challenge below:
Thanks for Reading,