Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Jhoira of the Ghitu as Commander in Magic: The Gathering
Picking a commander in EDH format dictates which creature you'll have available throughout the match and what colors you can include in your 100-card deck, so choose wisely. To help narrow your search, let's examine one of my personal favorites: red and blue Jhoira of the Ghitu, who I always enjoy playing.
While she isn't particularly strong, bearing just 2/2 stats for three mana, she can suspend any card (at instant speed) by paying two colorless mana, exiling it with four time counters. One is removed during your upkeep, and you cast it for free when all are gone—essentially, Jhoira plays any card for just two mana, just with a delay, entering a new world of powerful spells you normally wouldn't be able to afford. Speaking of which, I especially recommend trying Jhoira thanks to her remarkably low price tag, costing less than two dollars (an excellent deal for a competitive legendary).
But with dozens of impressive spells available, how should you support your general? These are the 10 best cards for your Jhoira of the Ghitu commander deck in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Decree of Silence
When browsing spells for Jhoira to suspend, many players immediately look at creatures—sometimes forgetting about the best high-cost enchantments. Case in point: Decree of Silence takes eight mana to cast or six to cycle (letting you draw a card and counter a spell), but of course, Jhoira can suspend it for just two mana.
Once Decree eventually hits the field, it automatically counters any spell your opponent plays, but gains a depletion counter each time and is sacrificed when it collects three. Still, three auto-counters negates the next trio of cards your opponent tosses at you, and since Decree will likely enter late in the game even with suspend, your opponent should be playing their best spells—too bad the next three will flicker into nothingness.
Timecrafting operates at instant speed, letting you play it on any phase of any turn. You pay one red mana and X amount of any hue, then either add or subtract a corresponding number of time counters from a permanent or suspended card.
This lets you hasten the arrival of one of Jhoira's suspensions by as many turns as you can afford. Plus, if you happen to face another Jhoira build, you could alternatively delay an opponent's suspended unit, letting your titans arrive first to wreak havoc.
8. Fury Charm
Fury Charm works great because it's an inexpensive, instant-speed spell that lets you pick between three options that all benefit a Jhoira build:
- Destroy target artifact
- Target creature gains +1/+1 and trample until end of turn
- Remove two time counters from target permanent or suspended card
These all make great additions to Jhoira's structure. Punishing artifacts slows your opponent's mana ramp, trample and +1/+1 lets your eldrazi bosses bleed through blockers, and removing two time counters speeds up the arrival of your cards in limbo. Finally, as an instant, once in the graveyard, Charm is useful for meeting the graveyard-fill conditions of spells with "delirium," "threshold," or "spell mastery" effects.
7. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
We could fill this list with the game's strongest eldrazi, as Jhoira adeptly accesses them without paying their high prices, but for diversity's sake, we'll just examine one. Ulamog should be suspended, accessing his amazing 10/10 power and toughness in four turns without paying his colossal fee.
Plus, his "when cast" effect still activates because suspended cards are indeed cast (just for free), letting him exile any two permanents, a brutal removal that eliminates multiple foes and prevents graveyard recoveries. Also, when Ulamog attacks, he exiles the top 20 cards of the defending player's library, offering some interesting mill potential. Finally, note that creatures who are suspended gain haste on arrival, preventing them from having to wait another turn before attacking.
Needing just one mana, Clockspinning's a great option when you only have a single resource left, not quite enough for Jhoira's suspend. This instant simple adds or removes a time counter from a permanent or suspended card, letting you hasten one of your arrivals or stall an opponent's.
Plus, in the rare cases where you have mana to spare, you can buyback Clockspinning by paying an extra three mana, letting you place it back into your hand as it resolves, ready to be used again later.
Another daunting blue enchantment, you'll definitely want to suspend Omniscience considering its insane price tag. However, once fielded, this permanent lets you play spells from your hand without paying their mana costs!
Because of Jhoira's signature ability, your deck should be well-stocked with expensive cards, letting Omniscience access your fearsome army without having to wait or pay for Jhoira's suspensions. As icing on the cake, Omniscience's wording states that you "may" avoid the fees, so in the rare cases where you want to spend mana, you still can.
4. Temporal Mastery
Like many of blue's best sorceries, Temporal Mastery can grant you an extra turn, a powerful benefit that gives you consecutive draws, land plays, and time counter removals. The cool thing about Mastery is how well it works with Jhoira; as a card bearing the rare miracle trait, when you draw it, you can instantly reveal it to utilize its drastically-reduced price of two mana.
However, if you can't yet afford that, or if you're unlucky enough to have Mastery in your opening hand, you can circumvent its pricey cost of seven (compared to the standard five-cost extra turn spells) with Jhoira's suspend.
3. Shivan Sand-Mage
While 3/2 stats certainly aren't impressive on a four-cost creature, they're also not terrible, making Shivan a fair combatant once fielded. He's also not too expensive, costing only four mana to play. However, you can use his latent suspend ability (which is even cheaper than Jhoira's) to exile him for four turns by spending a single red mana.
This excellently spends your leftover resources, and when Shivan enters the field, you can either add or remove two time counters from a permanent or suspended card, halving the time your suspended cards need to arrive. While I wish Shivan possessed a goblin or wizard subtype, his viashino and shaman lineages still offer some interesting synergies.
2. Rift Elemental
Rift Elemental simply costs one mountain's mana, making a great first turn play or leftover mana outlet when you can't afford another suspension. He's fittingly weak at 1/1, but by spending two mana, Elemental removes a time counter from a permanent or suspended card you control, receiving +2/+0 for the turn in the process.
That's a fierce one-two punch, as you've simultaneously cranked Rift and hastened your card's arrival. Like Jhoira's effect, you can activate this trait at instant speed, making your foes hesitate to block Rift, as they'll know you can increase his power and likely defeat any defenders.
1. Jhoira's Timebug
Jhoira's Timebug offers a crucial, continuous, and inexpensive way to hasten your suspended cards. For two mana of any color (useful if your land draws have been stale), Timebug arrives as a 1/2 artifact creature, just sturdy enough to survive a -1/-1 counter when needed.
But his main use is his tap ability, which lets you either add or remove a time counter from a permanent or suspended card you own. Thus, he can once per turn hasten (or delay, if desired) your troop's arrival, letting you cast your behemoths many turns ahead of schedule. Simply a must-have for any Jhoira deck, Timebug's saved my bacon in several matches; fortunately, he's an astounding bargain, costing less than a single dollar!
Supporting Your Jhoira EDH Deck
Today we've examined several potent Jhoira forces, but you'll still have to round out the rest of your deck with other cards. Look for valuable lands that can provide either blue or red mana, like "Temple of Epiphany" and "Volcanic Island." The artifact "Izzet Signet" also provides some appreciated mana ramp, and in addition to the cololess eldrazi, examine red and blue's strongest creatures and planeswalkers.
With these tips and cards in hand, you're well on your way to a Jhoira victory, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of suspend-supporting spells, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill