We are back again with the 3rd General from the Commander PreCon Products that I’d like to advertise a little because I feel he gets too little love: Gahiji, Honored One. Given that I have built him myself and love to play the deck, I should be able to give you some decent insight in how and why you should play this guy.
Gahiji - What Edric should’ve been
Now before people "What the %*&!, Edric is so good!" all over my face, let my clarify what I mean by this: Edric is played as a Bident of Thassa for the command zone 90% of the time, but looking at his wording you can see that Wizards tried to create a political card. Turns out that didn’t work because your opponents will likely just swing with their team, draw a bunch of cards and then kill Edric in order to prevent anyone else from getting value.
This is where I loop back to the card I actually want to talk about today. In comparison to Edric Gahiji offers a lot less value which is exactly why he is better at what we want to do. The "upside" of Gahiji - compared to how Edric usually plays out - is, while he still encourages people to go for each other because of the extra damage they can deal, there’s not much value to be had, therefor there’s no real reason to kill Gahiji.
At the end of the day, this will equal two damage dealt "by Gahiji" (indirectly) per creature that attacked an opponent plus some amount of damage because said creatures would’ve sometimes attacked you if it wasn’t for him.
Pillows & TNT
Based on the idea of diverting attention from yourself to your opponents, building some sort of a Pillowfort-Deck is the obvious approach. Not a bad idea for sure, but in this particular case I think it would be an even better idea to try and capitalize as fast as possible on the additional damage that will be dealt to your opponents. So Pillows yes, but with TNT beneath them.
Let’s start with some pillows:
Ghostly Prison and Soul Snare are big staples in the pillowfort archetype so no surprises there as well as Chronomantic Escape, that essentially does what every other card in the archetype tries to emulate: "Noone can attack you". Spear of Heliod on the other hand is not used in this kind of strategy too often, but as you will see later he fits really, really, really well.
Things are starting to get cosy but some extra comfort can’t hurt, can it?
Other than the first four cards mentioned before, these are less about "Don’t attack me!" and more "Why not attack him/them instead?!". If you’ve ever had a Sun Droplet in play or played against it, you’ll how discouraging that card is. In a 1v1 environment, healing 1 damage per turn isn’t much, but "each upkeep" happens a lot in multiplayer games so the card is more like a perma-fog than anything else. Angelheart Vial definitely falls into that same category, because noone would ever want you to draw a free card while basically preventing half the damage they’ve dealt… it just doesn’t feel good. And with your general in play Briar Patch equals a three damage difference between attacking you or someone else. What would you choose in that situation? Swinging with your Solemn Simulacrum for 1 or for 4? And last but not least we have Curse of Predation, which is probably my favorite card in this type of deck, serving as an encouragement to attack the cursed player instead of you while also helping you win the game faster later in the game. Very often it seems to read: "Enchanted player loses the game… eventually."
This brings us to the mentioned "TNT" underneath. Some of you might’ve already guessed what that could be, considering cards like Gahiji, Spear of Heliod and Curse of Predation: Tokens! But not any kind…
These allow you to hide behind a wall of political cards and interactions for most of the game without anyone having a good reason to target you. You’ll be able to hit land drops, ramp a little, and deal damage indirectly with your commander and other cards.
Then once the time is right, the lifetotals are low and everyone is getting low on removal and cards in general, you deploy that end-of-turn army of tokens, untap, play some sort of anthem or overrun and end the game in one big explosion of damage.
And that’s pretty much all there’s to it. Stall the game out while manipulating everyone’s combat steps, make tokens at instant speed to play around mass removal and win the game out of nowhere.
Let’s sum up the cards I’ve mentioned so far plus some additional cards I would definitely play:
Based on that you still have a lot of room left to take the deck in your own direction plus add general utility cards like Krosan Grip etc.
For example, you could go with cards like...
… and go for a sort of group slug strategy.
Or maybe punish broken stuff your opponents do?
All that is up to you and your meta/playgroup. Whatever you decide to do, Gahiji is definitely a very fun and interesting general to build a deck around.
Well then, that’s all for today I guess. I’ll head out now and play some games with my Gahiji deck since writing all that got me into the mood for some political token shenanigans.
See y’all ‘round!