No-Cash Commander – Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge

Hi everyone, Crazy here.

This week was a bit of a challenge, as it’s the first three colour commander to grace this humble series – and also very different to my usual fare of “Make all the creatures!”… Okay it’s Mostly different to that, but we’ll talk about it. Clocking in at the hilariously close-to-budget $49.45, say “Stop stealing my spells!” to Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge:

Tappedout List available here:

The Plan

Unlike competitive Jeleva decks that can afford cards with “Storm” in the rules text – We’re aiming to cast hilariously expensive spells for next to nothing and copy the ever-loving hell out of them. This leads us into three primary win-conditions:

1 – Use and continue using high-impact spells to kill players through noncombat damage thanks to copying spells a lot.

2 – Generate a lot of tokens through spells like Army of the Damned and effects like Metallurgic Summonings and follow a tempo-midrange plan.

3 – Steal everything. Creatures, Spells, hell even turns. Use everyone else’s win-conditions.

So without further ado, let’s start with:

The biggest and the baddest (spells)

Army of the Damned – The biggest army in a can we can find, and it comes around for a second wave. This is 26 power for potentially no mana and that is hilarious.

Blatant Thievery – Steal everyone’s best card, and that’s value even at full price.

Cruel Ultimatum – A personal favourite of mine, and one which if we can copy it even just once is likely to completely bomb a player out of the game. And of course, their loss is your shiny, valuable gain of life, cards and creatures.

Grave Upheaval – Disregarding our own targets (Which there are some of), there are certain targets in other people’s decks we’d love to hit with this, say, Master of Cruelties or something with a powerful ETB effect, for those matchups where everyone is just looking to fling spells and have a good time we can turn this into a land – no harm done.

Mind’s Desire – Okay so I lied about the storm, but to be fair this card was cheap and we’re probably not going to get a storm count of more than four or five. four or five spells for 6 mana though is not entirely terrible, especially if you can get this for free off Jeleva.

Phthisis – The best card nobody can pronounce. Suspending or Jeleva-ing this can really put some pressure on decks that want to drop large creatures but also not lose 10 life from popping down a 5/5.

Sins of the Past – Hadn’t heard of this card before I did a little research for this deck but I have to say it seems pretty great – 6 mana to flashback a 7 mana Cruel Ultimatum or a 9 mana In Garruk’s Wake when you need them is pretty sound.

Spelltwine – Steal their biggest spell and recast your own. Anything off this list and you’re already rolling in value.

Stolen Identity – Make a copy of the biggest thing on the board. Provides a double-whammy with Jeleva since you can attack, cast this, cipher it onto Jeleva and then RE-CAST this when you make contact with her.

Volcanic Vision – Pulling back something like Phthisis or Army of the Damned to your hand and then also getting to boardwipe something seems pretty great for 7 mana. Alternatively, Free.

Worst Fears – Bit of a pet card of mine, I really do enjoy controlling other players during their turns. And if you can copy it a few times you can bring a whole new meaning to “Playing with yourself”.

So if Jeleva is the gun and those spells were the bullets, these spells are the ammo pouch:

Making the most of the bombs

Mirari – A permanent way to copy any spell that pops out of Jeleva or just any that you manage to cast normally for the low cost of only 3 mana per. Excellent card.

Strionic Resonator – Why cast one spell when Jeleva attacks when you can cast two? Why cast two spells of the top of your deck with Melek when you can cast three? Excellent card.

Howl of the Horde – Copy the next thing you cast once, or twice if you already attacked this turn. Because 10 mana for three Cruel Ultimatums is still value.

Echo Mage – If this can survive it is hilariously powerful. Chances are it won’t but there’s always a chance. And if it does dropping a triple Blatant Thievery will probably win you the game.

Galvanoth – Another way to freecast your spells with some decent topdeck manipulation (Which we’ll get on to in a minute) that also has a hilarious amount of synergy with…

Melek, Izzet Paragon – Best friends with Galvanoth, lets you see what you’re casting for free AND do it for free – He’s mostly here though just because with the amount of manipulation we have for Jeleva it would be senseless to not have this guy here as well.

Nivix Guildmage – Another permanent way to copy any spell that pops out that can also function as a looter if you have spare mana.

Talrand, Sky Summoner – Adds evasive bodies onto all of your spells – puts a fair bit of pressure on if he can last more than a turn or two.

Increasing VengeanceReverberate with flashback, but the flashback has it’s own benefits, even if it is a bit expensive. Good thing Jeleva lets us cast our big spells for free huh?

Reverberate – 2 mana, copies a thing. Basically fine.

Wild Ricochet – Steal someone else’s spell and then make another. Can be utterly brutal with the right target.

Jace’s Sanctum – Makes the spells cheaper and also lets you scry. Which is pretty great when knowing the top card of your deck can help you decide when to play Jeleva.

Metallurgic Summonings – One of the best cards in the deck. Adds some silly value onto your bigger spells – Adding an 8/8 onto Dig Through Time or a 7/7 onto Cruel Ultimatum is nuts. Also nuts is bringing back every instant and sorcery in your graveyard, which is conveniently where Jeleva leaves them after casting.

Of course, with a commander like Jeleva, we have a lot of support in the deck specifically to aid her ability to cast our ridiculous spells for free – Which conveniently frees up mana to cast the above cards that aid the big spells Jeleva is casting:

Commander Support

Swiftfoot Boots – Keeps her from walking on the Path to Exile but directs her swiftly to Valuetown.

Diabolic Revelation – Cast before we cast Jeleva for a sneak preview of what we get to cast. Nothing there? Probably not worth playing her then. With the added benefit of being able to save something from the indiscriminate exile.

Augury Owl – Similar to the above but also allows us to tilt the odds in our favour if we really want to cast Jeleva by putting non-targets on the bottom of our deck. Also provides a handy flying chump.

Blight Herder – With all the exiling that Jeleva gets done it would be remiss of me to not include some processors to abuse the fact. Put some bad cards back in their graveyard (Or some Spelltwine targets) and generate some ramping bodies for your trouble.

Rules note: Jeleva can only cast cards exiled with that instance of Jeleva, if she gets hit with a flicker effect or gets killed and has to be re-cast, you can’t cast spells from previous Jeleva triggers. So hitting a big spell from a previous Jeleva is a-ok for stealing later.

Oblivion Sower – Again, with all this exile we’d be silly to not put all of that land we’re hitting to good use. They certainly weren’t gonna use it from there.

Silent Arbiter – With so many flyers being 2/2 or smaller (Hi Talrand) this guy can can really take the pressure off of swinging with Jeleva without getting her killed.

Ulamog’s Reclaimer – Another excellent way to abuse the exile of non-targets for fun and profit. Also blocks like a champ.

Brainstorm – In most decks, this is just great card advantage. In  this deck, this is a way to put those powerful target spells like Cruel Ultimatum from your hand back to the top of your deck for Jeleva to nab.

Mystical Tutor – I frankly can’t believe I managed to fit this card in, as it’s by a wide margin the most expensive card in this deck – But I think I’d have been remiss to not put in one of the most useful bits of Jeleva tech considering that this can put a powerful instant or sorcery right on top of your deck for her to grab.

Ancestral Knowledge – A super-index, so we can put the cards Jeleva wants to hit nearer the top and still have firm knowledge of what we’re going to draw for a couple turns afterwards. Not too long though, Cumulative Upkeep sucks.

Fervor – In this deck it’s essentially the same as Switfoot Boots but it’s also pretty useful if you have a good turn with Metallurgic Summonings or Talrand on the board and someone’s open for an alpha strike.

You may have noticed we’re a Blue deck. Here’s the bit that blue does good.

Card Advantage and Selection

Diabolic Tutor – Yes, I can see that this isn’t Blue. Don’t worry, it’s coming. 4 mana, grab a thing. Perfectly fine.

Mystic Retrieval – Gets you back two cards for the price of one, including ones Jeleva already cast.

Night’s Whisper – Grab 2 cards for 2 mana, that’s pretty fine.

Treasure CruiseAncestral Recall this is not but it’s pretty damn close. I’ve played this in many full-power lists and I have no problem with continuing to do so.

Archaeomancer – It blocks a hit and gets you back a card. It’s pretty fine.

Charmbreaker Devils – This will get you a silly amount of value and maybe even win you a game or two if you can rack that storm count a bit.

Anticipate, Impulse – Pretty much the same card, 2 mana instant-speed card selection.

Bituminous Blast – Arguably goes in removal but casting a second spell for free counts more personally.

Fact or Fiction – Draws some cards, and we’ve got enough retrieval that we can probably get back any good spells that get lumped in the graveyard.

Frantic Search – Powerful looting for free (or better if it’s cast off Jeleva). Excellent card.

Of course, we can’t just ignore our opponents. So here’s ways to mess with their plans:

Interaction

In Garruk’s Wake – So realistically we’re going to be casting this off Jeleva but it’ll certainly make as much of an impact as a good Worst Fears or Ultimatum.

Incendiary Command – A fairly underrated card, this in my mind does a lot to disrupt many different types of decks considering the low pricetag.

Crosis’s Charm, Grixis Charm – Powerful and Modular Removal on a serious budget. Both excellent cards.

Evacuation – GTFO the board at instant speed. Fantastic card.

Rakdos Charm – Slightly separate from the other two charms as it’s not only one of my pet cards, but is also a Splinter Twin player’s worst nightmare since you can just play this and kill them after they go infinite (Hi Yami).

Sudden Spoiling – Another excellent card to turn off Twin decks, but this one also hits any other decks that like their creatures being even remotely useful.

Terminate – Kill a thing. Enough said.

Unsubstantiate – Pretty top-tier disruption for being both quite flexible and for being a “Counterspell” that isn’t 200% useless when flipped off Jeleva.

Other than that we have a couple of nonland ramp cards:

Ramp

Artifact Ramp:

2 mana: Rakdos Signet, Izzet Signet, Dimir Signet

3 mana: Obelisk of Grixis, Commander’s Sphere, Darksteel Ingot

A pretty standard rock suite, with the notable exclusion of Sol Ring for budget reasons. Can’t wait for the next commander set so it comes down again. Feel free to replace the Obelisk of Grixis if you have one around though.

Goblin Electromancer, Nightscape Familiar – Cost reduction effects, while not technically ramp, fill much the same role in a deck as loaded on expensive spells as ours.

Then, other than land, that’s the deck pretty much complete. The only really notable land is Opal Palace which gets a special mention for making our commander a bit more resilient.

Given the budget though? There are some cards I’d like to put in (Other than obvious efficiency upgrades like Diabolic Tutor into Demonic Tutor) but not as many as you might think if we’re sticking to this archetype:

Full-Cash Commander

Topdeck Manipulation –  Scroll Rack, Vampiric tutor

Very powerful ways to manipulate your topdeck for Jeleva. Some of them are repeatable.

Premier Jeleva targets – Time Stretch, Expropriate, Rise of the Dark Realms, Time Warp

All excellent and extremely powerful cards that you want to be casting off Jeleva. The extra turn cards in particular would be looking to help you extract an incredible amount of value from her.

At this point I would like to point out that – Speaking purely from the perspective of a competitive or “Spikey” metagame – This is not the optimal archetype with which to play Jeleva. As a cursory glance over many tier lists will tell you, if you’re looking to play Jeleva to her full, unbudgeted potential, you probably want to be on Storm.

And on that sobering note, that is the list. Did you enjoy my quick break from “Creatures and creature accessories”? Would you rather me switch back to breaking faces? Perhaps you have your own suggestion? Let us know over on our Facebook page.

Crazy out.

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