"The machine is now alive
To wreak havoc in your lives
There's no use to hold me back
I am ready to attack."
- Fear Factory
Jor Kadeen's abilities might suggest he's meant to lead a metallic army into battle, but he's got pretty hefty stats on his own, and wasn't his homeworld destroyed by the Phyrexians? Friends are going to be few and far between. I like him better as a voltron general, because I can just focus on playing lots of mana rocks and equipment and not need to use aggressive little artifact guys to get the job done.
Sunforger: Oh man, Sunforger. R/W is a horrible pair of colours, but Sunforger is the one card that saves it from being a complete write-off. Sunforger allows a balls-to-the-wall aggressive deck to have a plan for the later game by giving the two colours not known for their ability to tutor/draw to access niche cards at a moment's notice. It's pretty safe to say that if Sunforger had not been printed, I never would have thought about building this deck.
Mistveil Plains: The premium Sunforger tech, Mistveil Plains lets you tuck the spells you pull out of the big hammer to be used again and again. You can find it with Tithe (also a valid Sunforger target), your general helps with the activation cost, it doesn't take up a spell slot... so good.
Cathedral of War: I love that I can just pull out basic lands for colourless utility lands and not have to think twice about it, because most of the spells in this deck don't need coloured mana in the first place.
Knight of the White Orchid: You would think Solemn Simulacrum would be the business here - it's an artifact, it's card advantage, it's mana fixing - but it turns out this is not the case. 4 isn't the right CMC for ramping into a 5CMC general, he never dies when you need him to, and he's not White for Mistveil Plains. The Knight can find Mistveil Plains and contribute to getting it active, as well as actually helping ramp into Jor Kadeen.
Godo, Bandit Warlord: I originally put Godo in just to tutor equipment, but when I cast him it clicked that if I gave Jor Kadeen vigilance, he could attack in the extra combat phase too. He's also not too shabby at closing games out of Jor Kadeen gets removed permanently. Solid sub-commander.
Obsidian Battle-Axe, Whispersilk Cloak: You might notice I don't have Lightning Greaves in here, and that's intentional. With so few creatures, Greaves is a pain in the ass to move around, and if it gets "stuck" on Jor Kadeen, I end up with an 8/4 that gets chump-blocked all day. The Axe helps with the summoning sickness part, the Cloak gives shroud, and both give all-important evasion. (Obsidian Battle-Axe also auto-equips to Stonehewer Giant, which is not insignificant.)
Reito Lantern: In addition to being the most irritating kind of graveyard hate, this is also a backup to Mistveil Plains.
Scroll Rack and Land Tax: This is the kind of sick card advantage White simply should not have access to. Not that I'm complaining, mind.
Sword of Vengeance: Akroma's Sword often goes overlooked as far as equipment goes (possibly because there's all these other equips that start with "Sword of..."), but I think it's pretty solid - haste, vigilance, evasion, a buff, all good stuff.
Pyrohemia: I included this on a whim and it's turned out to be a go-to in terms of getting blockers out of the way. You know how often opponents will just have random little utility dorks sitting around to block with in emergencies? Not any more!
Master Warcraft: This is one of those cards that everyone reads incorrectly for the first time (you choose what attacks but not who it attacks, which is obviously a big deal in multiplayer games) and then dismisses it as bad, but being able to make your general unblockable while they're big enough to swing for the rest of the general damage needed is no joke.
Midnight Haunting: Okay, so this is a bit of a weird choice, but I kept not being able to get Mistveil Plains running when I needed it, so I needed to put in something that would get me White creatures. The spirits can block in emergencies, and you can bet it's a card nobody will see coming.
Waves of Aggression: I actually like this a lot more than Aggravated Assault, because it has less initial investment and it's harder to get rid of. Land Tax and Journeyer's Kite provide all the fuel you'd need.
Angel's Grace and Final Fortune: Apart, these two cards serve a very similar purpose: getting just one more hit in to win a race. With Sunforger and Reito Lantern, you can get a very unconventional infinite turn loop going.
Inkmoth Nexus, Grafted Exoskeleton: Gloves off - we fightin' dirty now. Let's face it - even if you don't think aggro kinda sucks in EDH, it is a bit of an uphill fight. Going poison can shorten the clock significantly, and Inkmoth Nexus can get metalcraft active in a pinch.
Boros Charm: Ermahgerd Behres Cherm. Have you seen all the things this card does? Boros Charm is dumb. I'm going to keep Razor Barrier on for a little bit to protect from exile-based removal (StP, Return to Dust), but it may turn out Boros Charm might be all I need.
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight: You're in for a little while to see how much removal you absorb - make it a lot and I might be able to forget about how much you cost.
2012-05-31: -Vivid Meadow, +Ancient Amphitheater
2012-08-08: -Mountain, Gilded Lotus, Thran Dynamo, Voltaic Key, Aggravated Assault, Retaliate, +Cavern of Souls, Fellwar Stone, Fire Diamond, Marble Diamond, Angel's Grace, Final Fortune
2012-11-08: -Plains, Mountain, Traveller's Amulet, +Cathedral of War, Darksteel Citadel, Mox Opal
2012-11-23: -Solemn Simulacrum, Trailblazer's Boots, +Knight of the White Orchid, Tenza, Godo's Maul
2013-01-26: -Plains (4), Mountain (4), Terramorphic Expanse, Teetering Peeks, Seijiri Steppe, Rustic Clachan, Evolving Wilds, Boros Garrison, Khalni Gem, +Ancient Tomb, Blasted Landscape, Command Tower, Forgotten Cave, Gemstone Caverns, Inkmoth Nexus, Kher Keep, Mishra's Factory, Thawing Glaciers, Secluded Steppe, Solemn Simulacrum, Grafted Exoskeleton, Star Compass, Gratuitous Violence, Boros Charm
2013-04-20: -Gratuitous Violence, +Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
Enchantment removal like Allay, Chaos Warp? Although I don't think I'd bother to burn one of those up on a Propaganda, considering there's only maximum two creatures (Jor Kadeen and Godo) that need to attack. Taxes on attacking might mean something to token swarms, but they're barely on the radar for a voltron build - it takes something more serious like a Moat, and even that's fairly easily solved.
Return to Dust and Orim's Thunder over Allay or Shattering Pulse as my main source of enchantment and artifact removal. Both can potientally be a 2 for 1 if you play it during your turn and Orim's could be a possible removal spell depending on the cost of the artifact or enchantment. Id rather have the versatility in more cases than recur-ability bc Im wont always have both in my hand with a 5 mana open.
Lapse of Certainty should be a Auto-include in any deck that runs Sunforger. Counterspell in white? WHAT!? With Mistveil or Lantern returning it to your library and sunforger fetching it, it creates a soft lock that is hilarious to see the look on a blue players face to see they just soft-locked by a w/r deck. Granted its not going to win a game on its own but in these colors we need all the help we can get.
Dawn Charm is also an all star that has saved me quite a few times. And Oblation is another good tuck spell that warrants consideration.
Alright, let's go through these one by one (more or less)...
Return to Dust/Orim's Thunder: It's a real toss-up whether to use these or the buyback spells, but I ultimately decided to go with the buyback pair because they can destroy more things in the long run.
Grand Abolisher: This is also a conditionally useful card I can't search for, and I hate those. This isn't a Green or Black deck, I can't just magically make important creatures appear in my hand every game.
Mox Opal: Should replace one of the worse mana rocks, yes.
I've thought about most of these cards already (especially the creatures that care about artifacts), and came to the conclusion that they're for a different deck that wants to squeeze value out over a long game, slowly. This deck wants quicker stuff, blitzkrieg style, and anything long-term more or less has to be tied to Sunforger since it's the only big value-gaining card R/W can reliably expect to see and cast every game.
Give Puresteel Paladin another chance at some point. You will certainly play plenty of games where you don't see him. But in an equipment deck when he hits the board? It's a beautiful thing.
I recognize the voltron nature of your deck. But a couple of cheap doublestrike creatures are insane with sword activations. Kor Duelist seems horrible, until you get a Sword of Fire and Ice on him early game. A little beefier and with more evasion, Mirran Crusader is so much fun with some equipment. I like to attack with him, and then Stonehewer up a Batterskull on him mid-combat step. I can also see that you're tending toward the lower CMC equipments, which is certainly smart. Argentum Armor is a ridiculously expensive card to cast and equip in one turn. Costs 1W with Stonehewer Giant out though. I had a game where I got both Batterskull and Argentum Armor on a Mirran Crusader. Swing for 24 damage, lifelink, and blow up a permanent. Pretty fun.
I had Puresteel Paladin in the deck that became this deck, which was Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile, so I have seen it in action. I think I was running less equips there, but not much less. The card draw was fairly incidental - the biggest thing I got out of the Paladin was cheap equip costs (Brigid ran bigger equips, like Argentum Armor) and I think I ultimately ended up cutting it. A card that only interacts with twelve other cards in my deck that need to come from hand, it just doesn't do enough.
Other creatures just waste space, and the bigger pieces of equipment tend to be too slow in both enabling Metalcraft for Jor Kadeen and actually getting equipped. Extra sword triggers are nice, but every creature that doesn't bring another card with it is one less mana rock or spell for Sunforger. I have enough decks that I'd rather make them focused specialists instead of goodstuff. I've found Stonehewer Giant is actually pretty bad in this deck, since he's the slowest and most vulnerable tutor - a deck aiming for the long game can afford to put huge equips in so he can cheat them out, but so far I haven't needed the raw power stuff like Batterskull and Argentum Armor bring to the table when O-Naginata and Whispersilk Cloak get the job done pretty quickly.
Razor Barrier can protect any permanent, not just artifacts and creatures, and both cards cost WR, so Barrier slightly has the edge.
I run a Jor Kadeen deck which isn't voltron. I have the same equipment tutors that you do, except for one; I really found that Taj-Nar Swordsmith was quite slow. How has it been working for you personally?
In it's place, might I suggest Spirit en-Dal? It's cheap evasion that almost always = unblockable, and it can't really be removed like an evasion equipment might.
Some ramp off the top of the head that you seem to be missing would be Knight of the White Orchid (which most of the time seems strictly better than Kor Cartographer, but why not run both? I don't know how consistently you make land drops, but decks like these with lots of mana rocks usually mean that missing land drops is allowable, and therefore making the card valid.) and Fellwar Stone (This one is debatable depending on your playgroup, but I found it works for me.)
Where are the artifact lands? Ancient Den, Great Furnace, and Darksteel Citadel are musts! Even just the Citadel, which is indestructible, is nice.
You could replace Midnight Haunting with Master's Call. It allows for surprise metalcraft at instant speed and can be Sunforged.
Not to speak for him, apologies for doing so, but I don't think metalcraft is what he's looking for. There's plenty of that! Mistveil Plains requires white permanents to activate, which Myrs do not grant.
Taj Nar Swordsmith is alright because of the density of cheap equips - he's pretty much a second Godo. I've never noticed him being super-slow, but I do have a lot of mana rocks.
Speaking of mana, Fellwar Stone would probably be pretty good here - I've always resisted it because it doesn't really fix properly, but the colour requirements of this deck are so low that it doesn't really matter if it never taps for R or W the whole game. It might be better than Wanderer's Twig/Traveller's Amulet. The artifact lands... I'm not sure. Citadel at least should go in, but I think I do okay on metalcraft to not need the others - I overextend on artifacts as it is, no real reason to have random lands die off to Austere Command. Knight of the White Orchid could replace Solemn Simulacrum, actually, then I'd have an extra way of finding Mistveil Plains.
Spirit en-Dal is a pretty cool guy. I'll consider that one - seems like an excellent trick, and another reason to not use Lightning Greaves.
And, yeah, Midnight Hauntings is to get White creatures. There's zero issue getting metalcraft and it's not especially vital to the deck succeeding like it is in the token swarm versions of Jor Kadeen, but having an inactive Mistveil Plains is a big stumbling block.
Spirit en-Dal is worth trying at least once. If nothing else so that when you say "At the beginning of my upkeep I'm going to forecast...." you get to smile when everyone goes 'huh?' "
I like how you went all-in Voltron. You've made some against the grain decisions that are well thought out. I used to say the artifact lands were no-brainers, I still run them in my deck, but I've lost them to Austere Command before, which hurts.
Choosing Midnight Haunting shows a level of deck-tuning that I need to work on more. Out of the box thinking that gets you to interesting cards. That's the kind of card that somebody laughs at until you kill them with a spirit holding a sword. And it's quick and cheap and tutorable with Sunforger. There are plenty of stronger repeatable token making cards, but that's a specific solution to a problem.
Also, consider these three mana rocks as upgrades: Coldsteel Heart, Fire Diamond and Marble Diamond. Turn one Plains, Sol Ring, Pentad Prism won't let you cast Jor Kadeen on turn two unless you land a Mountain. Turn one Plains, Sol Ring, Coldsteel Heart will let you cast him turn two regardless of what land you drop on turn two.
Thanks. I tend to use magiccards.info while building decks more than the Top 50 list, so I usually end up with a couple of left-of-center choices. I also really like it when there's a card that's terrible in most situations but phenomenal in the right one - Midnight Hauntings to switch on Mistveil Plains, for example.
I have a Weathered Wayfarer that's not being used at the moment, actually. I'll see if there's a space for it, but it's very possible there won't be. I found Wayfarer is amazing on the first turn and then gets progressively worse as the game goes on. Then again, since I don't really intend for the game to go on too long with Jor Kadeen, that might be a moot point.
I have a soft spot for Pentad Prism, I'm not sure why. I could take out some of the high-end rocks and Voltaic Key and focus on the cheaper stones, but Thran Dynamo and Gilded Lotus and all those are really damn good when you chain them off some smaller ramp. Will have to think about this.
So how have some recent games played out with Jor? I shy away from extreme voltron builds because they seem easy to hate out. Do you not find Oblation and Condemn getting in your way, or do you always make sure to have hexproof on board before playing him?
I don't think people take Jor Kadeen very seriously when I play him, actually - he's not a known quantity like Rafiq or Uril. Shroud/hexproof equipment helps, but I usually make it my number one priority to find Sunforger first, since that solves most tuck with either Razor Barrier or Ghostway. It's still pretty all-in, but if the deck wasn't as all-in as it was then the gneeral wouldn't really be worth tucking in the first place.
I disagree with replacing Solemn with Knight of land drops. In my experience, with the amount of artifact ramp you're running, Solemn in the opening hand should probably come down on turn two or three, assist with metalcraft, and draw you a card. There are more edicts in my group, so having a body that I want to sacrifice to keep Jor Kadeen on the board also helps. Also, with a fair number of colorless lands, getting WW early on seems less reliable.
That said, I'd run them both. Knight is amazing in terms of getting you Mistveil Plains and activating it with Jor Kadeen on the table. Also another first strike creature to equip is a bonus. Drop Terramorphic Expanse and put Solemn back in. You don't need 39 lands with as much artifact ramp as you have. The only reason to keep the crappier land fetch is if you were going to have a Crucible package. I run 33 lands and 13 sources of artifact mana and don't have problems with mana production. I'm also running land destruction and Crucible though.
I know this is a Voltron build, so goodstuff creatures don't get to play. But Gisela, Blade of Goldnight is a voltron enabler and a good beater if Jor gets tucked. I don't know what you'd take out. But a flyer who wears equipment well and doubles your damage is hard to deny.
I adapted some of your ideas to my Armageddon Jor Kadeen deck, and got to take a game with Final Fortune a couple of weeks ago. That is such a fun card to play.
You know, this is exactly why I post my lists for other people to look at them. I should have broken away from the very fixed number of lands I have across each of my decks a long time ago, but for some reason I just... didn't. Then I overhauled my Jhoira deck to replace a bunch of lands with cheap mana rocks, and for some reason I didn't think to do the same with this deck even though I've noticed I get way more flooding here than with Jhoira (probably because she blows up all the lands every four turns or so). I'll fiddle around with this deck some, see what I can put back in.
Gisela, on the other hand, I'm not a huge fan of. She's good, but yeah, it's a good-in-everything kind of good, and the mana cost of those kinds of cards steers me away from her a little. I might try Furnace of Rath or Gratuitous Violence - Furnace works with burn (could put Bolt or Char or Helix in for Sunforger) but Violence is less likely to get me killed during counterattacks. Gisela helps on defense, and with her higher profile she might take some removal that's meant to Jor Kadeen. Maybe she is a better fit than I'm giving her credit for, I just have to think of her in a more temporary kind of sense, sort of like how Liliana Vess is often a tutor and a Fog. Kill one guy, other guy discards an StP? Not a bad deal.
How awesome is Final Fortune? Especially when your turn has like, double combat phases and swords and things. I think it's actually pretty legit even without Angel's Grace as a buffer.
I agree with Kraus, with what looks like 14 mana rocks I'd peel back a little on actual lands and maybe cut to 34 or so. I also notice that you run a lot of come into play tapped lands, and while that helps a lot for fixing it doesn't really do much for the deck being quick. 11 of your 39 lands (almost 1/3 of your lands if you drop down to the appropriate number) come into play tapped, which will certainly slow you down.
Drop these 7 lands: Terramorphic Expanse, Teetering Peeks, Seijiri Steppe, Rustic Clachan, Evolving Wilds, Boros Garrison, Ancient Apitheater.
Gemstone Caverns: This card promotes card disadvantage and I don't think you're trying to race for a victory. But it's something to consider if you're trying to make the deck faster.
Kher Keep: While this card doesn't quite promote your voltron strategy, it does give you three things. Something to sac to things like fleshbag marauder or something to sac for things like grave pact. It also gives you great chump blockers. Finally, with JK in play it gives you some extra tokens to swing in. 2 mana for 3 damage seems pretty awesome to me.
I recognize most of the land suggestions I gave would make you end up taking colored mana lands out for colorless. Though, as you said almost your entire deck is colorless. As long as your rocks mostly tap for colorless and you run a good > half of your lands colored you should be alright. My kadeen deck runs 32 lands, 18 rocks, and it has no problems getting colored mana unless I get completely screwed and draw into nothing which has happened about one time since I made the deck.
I'm on board with the Mishra's Factory type cards. I use the more dastardly Inkmoth Nexus as well. I've had people say "You don't have metalcraft so you're not a worry." Then I attack and animate my Factory.
Kher Keep I'll second too. Nothing like a kobold wielding a sword to end a grindy game.
Ancient Tomb is good if you're trying to race out... which I'm guessing you're usually at least aiming for.
On Gisela, yeah she eats removal, but there's a reason for that. 7 mana isn't that much for this deck to get to. I'm guessing you're usually there by turn five at the latest. Depends on your meta, but I'd test her and see how she works for you.
I like the idea of the artifact manlands (Inkmoth Nexus is especially brutal - doesn't take much to get to 5 power + double damage), but I really like Gemstone Caverns. Which is strange because I usually hate cards like that, but it seems like it could lead to some absolutely insane head-starts, and it still works like a fairly normal land even if it's not in your opening hand. A lot of the reason the manabase for this deck is not especially good is because this was one of the later decks I made so many resources were already in other places, and I found someone just after I had put the deck together who had an Arid Mesa and Sacred Foundary in their trade binder (who had obviously just taken about a R/W EDH deck themselves), so I think I just figured with those two auto-includes out of the way I didn't have to worry about fixing the lands so much. But now I've got a lot of my other decks in a much more finalised state, so I guess I can shift lands here to a higher priority. I think I have a couple of the cycling lands (Forgotten Cave, et al) in a box somewhere, that might be a thing to try too. Blasted Landscape at least, since it comes in untapped.
Made a pile of changes. I'm keeping my eye out for Gisela in a trade binder, but otherwise I've pretty much hit most of the changes. I'm trying out Grafted Exoskeleton, too, should be okay with Inkmoth Nexus. Thanks for all your suggestions, guys.
Ok, so I was ruminating on my own Jor Kadeen List, and here are some things I recommend, though obviously subject to meta discretion:
Divine Reckoning- One-sided sweeper that (primarily) only benefits you. Inherent card advantage in the flashback. Cons-Mass removal may not be necessary if you're consistently OHKOing people
Mages' Contest- Seems bad, but either way you get something. Either you pay a chunk and counter something, or you put them in a range where you can kill them with the casual Godo. Cons- Unless you're playing Loxodon Warhammer or something else with lifelink, it can be costly (though you are running Basilisk Collar).
Angel of Jubilation- Grave Pact effects really attack creature-sparse strategies like Voltron (barring Sigarda). Since most pact effects are activated by feeding tokens to sac outlets (in my limited observation, of course), Jubilation can be a relevant defense. Also contributes a minor boost to Kadeen. Cons- Largely irrelevant to the rest of your strategy, and nigh impossible to tutor for.
Walking Atlas- Turn 1 Land Tax into turn 2 Atlas will make RW ramp like never before. A solid inclusion, but nothing special. Cons- Largely irrelevant late game when RW's hand naturally dissipates.
Champion's Helm- Standard goodstuff Hexproof. Not necessary by any stretch, but excellent for extra redundant protection. Also a minor boost to P/T. Cons- Goodstuff isn't always so good. This does nothing a sword can't do better against relevant colors.
Trading Post- A groovy Swiss army knife of an artifact. Most notably recurs crushed artifacts, draws cards and creates white tokens for Mistveil Plains. Always useful, always relevant.
Cons- Criminally slow. If you're eating artifact sweepers often, it might as well read (5) Pay 1 life, (T): Waste a turn.
Seize the Day- Carpe Diem/YOLO jokes aside, this does exactly what Waves of Aggression does, only faster and cheaper, albeit with less potential repeatability. But really, how many extra swings does a juiced-up Kadeen need? Cons- Less repeatable than Waves of Aggression, and equally vulnerable to graveyard hate.
On a concluding note, I appreciate your list's omission of land destruction. Finding a Kadeen list without Armageddon is like trying to perform a heart transplant on yourself.
Anyway, that's all I have for now, as I'm still banging out dents on my own list and would love to hear your feedback. Thanks for yet another excellent list!
Most of these cards, like you say, have some fairly steep drawbacks of just not doing enough or not being available at the right times, but some of them are totally worth thinking about.
I can't think why I haven't tried Divine Reckoning - maybe I couldn't make room for it - but it's a fairly straightforward thing to put in a Voltron deck. It's possible the cards in the Sunforger suite make up for it, since there's enough ways to kill creatures or otherwise render them useless (Master Warcraft).
Sieze the Day is pretty cool, too, and that one I might end up replacing Waves of Aggression with - cost beats out a lot of the fringe benefits Waves comes with, and if I really need yet another attack step, that's what Final Fortune is for.
Mages' Contest is a really cool piece of tech. A counterspell that you can bluff people into putting themselves in lethal range in an aggro deck? I like it a lot better than the White counterspells, and though I don't think I like it enough to put it in that doesn't stop it being really awesome.
I completely forgot that I posted in this a while back. Have you been having much luck with Gemstone? I've only had it in my opening hand once, and that was during a fluke of a random 1v1 so it didn't matter anyway. I like the suggestion of walking atlas, and I've never thought about him. If nothing else, he's an artifact that can turn sideways if need be. Otherwise he's ramp central station. Wouldn't be bad after hitting an armageddon either (granted you don't run that) to be able to fart a few lands back into play.
Best tech ever:
T3 - > Cast walking atlas.
T4 -> tap walking atlas, putting a land into play.
cast seize the day, tap walking atlas putting a land in play
flash back seize the day, tap walking atlas putting a land in play
T5 -> Lose the game because you're an idiot, but at least you had fun.
Gemstone Caverns hasnt' come up yet, but I'm sure it will eventually, and the look of 'wtf are you running THAT for?' ought to be worth it. But I could take out one of the less-good rocks for Walking Atlas - Fellwar Stone, Star Compass, one of those. I kinda like Walking Atlas for the fact that it's printed wrong.