MTG Commander/Elder Dragon Highlander

Is Jenara eclipsed by Atraxa?
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Author:  Skyknight [ 2018-Nov-17 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Is Jenara eclipsed by Atraxa?

Back before even KTK, I'd been charting up a Jenara +1/+1 counters deck based around graft and persist. (When KTK did hit, it didn't take long to shift gears from graft to outlast mentors.) A big part of it was that, due to my results on the Dissension player's manual guild quiz (Azorius and Simic tied for first place, Selesnya in second; it didn't take long for me to get the hint), I was determined to play Bant, and I was interested in giving creatures as many abilities as possible. Hence the graft/outlast. In effect, I'd chosen Jenara as the commander who could best benefit from the 99, rather than first picking a commander, then selecting the 99.

Now, we have Atraxa, who intentionally works well with counters. (And poison and planeswalkers, but those aren't germane for this topic.) It's true she isn't Bant, but I'm still worried about, for lack of a better way of putting it, deck design honesty. Is shifting to four colors necessarily better than keeping to three, when the mechanism of the deck would be largely the same? I actually do have an Atraxa chart on my iPod (whole thing about preparing for when I actually have resources and time to properly play; I keep multiple charts just in case for this sort of fickleness), but I'm not certain whether I'd enjoy that or Jenara more. It's worth noting that when I brought this up on the Commander Discord, one person advised Ghave and Daghatar, apparently ignoring that I'd have to give up blue (read: Skyrider Patrol, Sage-Eye Avengers, Bred for the Hunt, Sage of Fables, etc.).

I suppose it's a matter of whether I'm cohering too much to the past. Not to mention, as I alluded to in one of my previous threads, whether it makes more sense to choose the 99/theme/colors based on the commander or vice versa. (Or, somehow, both. What did people usually do when the Planar Chaos primordials came out?)

Blasted insecurity/depression/etc....

(On a side note, the charts I do have on that iPod? Jenara, Yasova, Teneb, Rashmi, Roon, Atraxa, Shu Yun, Muldrotha, Sydri, and Karador. Price estimates usually hover around $270-280, and that probably mostly on account of keeping full suites of shocklands, scrylands, filterlands, and checklands when possible.)

Author:  Inkeyes22 [ 2018-Nov-17 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Jenara eclipsed by Atraxa?

Atraxa has the benefit of placing a huge target on you, where Jenara will eventually (i.e. if she is 7/7 or bigger) but you do not start as the Archenemy. Also if budget is the concern, the fewer colors the less expensive the mana base CAN be. I personally would rather run Jenara v. Atraxa, and I had both of them at the same time not that long ago. I found myself picking Jenara over Atraxa pretty much all the time. Now of course your results will vary, but overall they are pretty different playstyles too. 1vmany vs do your own thing.

Author:  Sid the Chicken [ 2018-Nov-17 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Jenara eclipsed by Atraxa?

Inkeyes22 wrote:
they are pretty different playstyles too.

That was my first thought - you can quibble about which one is better overall, but Jenara feels like more of a voltron general, possibly with her built-in ability to grow large supplemented by "Creatures with a +1/+1 counter on them gain X ability" type abilities, whereas Atraxa doesn't directly use counters itself, and simply makes all your other +1 counter stuff that much better. There are other ways to proliferate every turn, although Atraxa is undoubtably the most efficient.

Author:  crimsonwings3689 [ 2018-Nov-17 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Jenara eclipsed by Atraxa?

Eclipsed? Strong word to use there, as they both have their own strengths.

I suppose that I'll list a few of the pros and cons of both from my own experience, and you can decide what to take away from it:

Jenara, Asura of War
+ 3 drop commander
+ Scales well with infinite mana
+ Strong Voltron commander (though sadly that's where her only strength lies)
+ Best color combination for Auras
+ Can run away with games if left unanswered
+ Cheaper mana base than 4 or 5 color decks
+ Strong ability to answer relevant threats with the combination of colors you run
- 3 hard colors needed to cast
- Vulnerable to boardwipes and sacrifice effects as a common Voltron commander
- Gameplay can be boring for enchantress decks (it eventually was for me with Uril and Rafiq)

Atraxa, Praetors' Voice
+ Access to 4 of 5 colors
+ Very strong build around potential - with multiple possible strategies
+ Likely the strongest Super Friends/Planeswalker option
+ Likely the strongest Infect option
+ 4 relevant keywords
+ Can run away with games if left unanswered
- 4 hard colors needed to cast
- Bullseye/kill-on-sight stigma - a result of seeing so many Infect and/or Planeswalker decks since she came out.

Author:  Sinis [ 2018-Nov-19 2:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Jenara eclipsed by Atraxa?

I feel like they're different decks. I play a Jenara deck, and realistically, it's just a kind of draw-go control where if you do nothing, I dump mana into Jenara and kill you. There are a couple of ways to help it along (like Duelist's Heritage, Silverblade Paladin, Hardened Scales, and Finest Hour), but the gist is the same: I will generally have mana up to play my instants, and if I don't have to, Jenara gets some counters. At the upper end, I've put 6+ counters on Jenara in a single turn, making her closer to a two-turn clock.

I feel like Atraxa is a much more incremental game. You cannot (without more work) just pay a bunch of mana and attack to kill a player. As such, I don't think Atraxa eclipses Jenara. I feel like they're just different decks, and demand different things.

Atraxa is a deck that's going to enjoy cards like Fathom Mage and counters on a variety of cards. The more targets you can proliferate, the better. Jenara is only nominally +1/+1 counters.

Author:  Skyknight [ 2018-Nov-21 9:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Jenara eclipsed by Atraxa?

Now that I recall it, I’d designed the Jenara plan before tuck interdiction came about. Knowing better than to pin all my hopes on a commander, I instead sought a strategy that the commander could consistently benefit from.

Essentially, through graft and later outlast, it was a case where the commander benefited from the 99, rather than being the cornerstone. The real cornerstone was ability conduction, with +1/+1 counters being the wires. I think, in retrospect, the counter theme just bloomed with a general lack of other things to fill the 99 with.

Author:  Sinis [ 2018-Nov-21 11:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Jenara eclipsed by Atraxa?

I mean, I do play other creatures that like +1/+1 counters in my Jenara deck, and I have cards other than Jenara that will make +1/+1 counters.

Stuff that stands well alone, like Cold-eyed Selkie, but can benefit strongly from a little juice.

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