Not too long ago I would have agreed with basically everything you just said. However, I have to say, after having been playing the tweaked Derevi version of the deck these past months, I've come to very heavily prefer it.Quote from RivenEsq »I honestly think Jenara is one of the most adaptable commanders out there because she is cheap, has a good body, has evasion, and scales to any stage of the game via her counters ability. Plus, she makes an ideal sword carrier, which I run 3 of them, so that is often relevant. This is a mid-range list at heart, with a lot of ETB control utility. I don't see the list as written benefiting as much from Derevi as it does Jenara. She's unassuming enough, but can be a powerhouse if unchecked, and give opponents second thoughts about swinging in at all with her ability to ramp up her power. With 4 mana open on turn 4, any opponent of mine has to consider the ramifications of swinging into a 5/5, and eating removal is a benefit for us, because it isn't pointed at our bigger threats/combo pieces.
As many of the decks in my meta have become more heavily laden with cheap removal, I've actually come to actively dislike running the Swords in many situations, and came to feel like Jenara just never did enough when she'd just eat removal and go away. No value ability, no built in protection, etc. While it's true that she could scale to any stage of the game, she was also a dead card in very many situations. On the other hand, I have almost never felt Derevi was dead. If nothing else, she comes in at instant speed to blank an attacker. Being able to essentially always have her on the table is just insane, and having a relevant ETB and damage trigger is great.
I loved Jenara, but I don't see myself ever going back.