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Ojutai’s Command in Tempo Decks

Counter target creature spell. Draw a card.

Ojutai’s Command is reminiscent (if in name only) of everyone’s favorite 1UUU instant—and one of my favorite cards of all time.

How to Make This Card Good

To my mind the ability that we have to take advantage of in order to push this card into the realm of Standard playability is the first one: “Return target creature card with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.”

Without this ability, Ojutai’s Command will be lackluster against any sort of slow control deck. Counter target creature spell is fairly useless against UB or Sultai control, and a Renewed Faith isn’t any better.

However, in concert with creatures like Seeker of the Way and Fleecemane Lion Ojutai’s Command becomes an instant-speed threat that cantrips—which should prove to be pretty good against control. I also think returning a good defensive creature and gaining 4 life is the best mode against a hyper-aggressive deck, as countering a creature on turn 4 doesn’t do too much against something like red aggro.

Obviously there are a number of other permutations to consider—countering a Siege Rhino and returning a previously killed card is a good way to hijack tempo and break the “two-spell rule,” impacting the board in two different ways with only 4 mana and in only one card.

Fleecemane Lion is probably the card I’m most excited about with Ojutai’s Command. It works really well when your plan is to hold mana up, and is the type of card where the first one usually dies and redundant copies are much more likely to live and take over the game.

In Modern, this effect becomes even more powerful with great targets like Snapcaster Mage and Tarmogoyf available. I doubt that this card is efficient enough to see play in Modern, but if it does, it will be on the back of the first ability.

Back to Standard, the Bone to Ash half is going to be good against midrange decks, dealing with threats like Siege Rhino and Stormbreath Dragon effectively. The biggest issue with Ojutai’s Command as a counterspell is that it doesn’t line up particularly well against planeswalkers, which is something to consider when building the rest of our deck.

Another new card that pairs very well with Ojutai’s Command is Anticipate. Anticipate is the best cantrip-style blue spell we’ve had in Standard for a little while, and as an instant it gives us something to do with our mana when we choose to leave Ojutai’s Command up.

A Bant deck implementing Ojutai’s Command might look something like this:

Bant Tempo

This deck is obviously a bit off the deep end, but I like that it shows off a few of the cool things you can do with Ojutai’s Command. Satyr Wayfinder is cool trick that not only helps fill up your graveyard with other creatures that cost 2, but can be returned with Command in a pinch to help fuel delve spells like Treasure Cruise.

Fleecemane Lion, Seeker of the Way, and Monastery Mentor are all creatures that benefit from protection like Valorous Stance and Gods Willing. Mentor and Lion are particular examples of creatures that win the game on their own, once you exhaust the opponent of removal with redundant copies and protection effects.

A much more inside-the-box way to play Ojutai’s Command is in a traditional Jeskai shell as a value card.

I think this deck has promise against all 3 aspects of the Standard metagame. Against aggro, you have 8 life-linking two-drops, 12 burns spells, and 4 ways to get those two-drops back while gaining life in the process.

Against midrange decks, this deck is able to get ahead and use Ojutai’s Command to deal with midgame creatures like Siege Rhino and Tasigur. The burn spells fueled by Dig Through Time should help finish things off.

Against control, your deck is all threats, card draw, and burn spells—hoping to finish the game off before their inevitability takes over.

With the printing of Ojutai’s Command and Anticipate, I think a UW prowess deck is in the works. All we need is a two-drop creature along the lines of Augur of Bolas. Jeskai Sage might work, but something even better could push the deck into the realm of being competitive.

Thanks for reading,

Matt Costa

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