The idea behind the EDH Companion Guide series is to explore each Companion available in Commander, and cook a deck for each, presenting an alternative list.
Companion was a mechanic introduced in 2020, in the Ikoria, Lair of Behemots set. Before the rule was updated, it was possible to play the Companion straight from its zone, respecting its cast speed.
But, due to some problems in a few competitive formats at the time, the rule was updated to "You can put your Companion from outside the game to your hand for 3 generic mana", and it was restricted to be played only as a sorcery spell.
It is interesting to note that Companion, unlike Partner, Friends Forever or Choose a Background, doesn't limit the deck to 98 cards, and instead becomes the 101st card.
Currently, it is the only way of "going around" the 100 total cards rule in Commander, a rule that prevents cards such as Battle of Wits and the aforementioned Yorion, Sky Nomad from being Companion in the format.
Keruga, the Macrosage's condition is that all non-land cards need to have 3 cost or more, precisely to trigger its card draw when entering the battlefield.
But that won't be a problem, because we'll show you great alternatives to these cards. It is interesting to "divert from the path" of what usually is Commander nowadays. After all, the fun in having a Companion is the challenge of how the deckbuilding around it will be.
Besides that, with Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty we'll have something to even out the lack of these cards: the Cascade mechanic.
Key Mechanic: Cascade
Cascade is particularly one of my favorite mechanics alongside one of my favorite commanders: Averna, The Chaos Bloom. Cascade spells go 2 for 1, literally: when you cast something with Cascade, you exile cards from the top of your deck until a card with a lower cost comes along, and then you cast it without paying its cost.
It is important to note some conditions regarding this ability: Cascade opens up the stack again, so it is possible to answer it before the ability resolves.
For instance, if I cast a Natural Reclamation, one of my opponents can answer its Cascade, and counter it with Negate, but the Cascade effect happens as usual. It is possible to prevent this effect with spells that counter triggered effects, such as Disallow.
Another important factor: if Cascade is resolved as usual, the spell that is brought by it resolves first, and only after that the one originally cast resolves. If you have multiple instances of Cascade, such as Apex Devastator, it works in the same way: the spell that appears from the ability resolves before the one cast first. The same goes if a spell with Cascade appears from the ability originally cast.
Imoti + Keruga List and Deck Strategy
We have the deck's full list, which will be explained in topics, and also the reasons for each card being there.
We'll explain it better soon, but to sum up: this is a deck that casts many, many spells per turn, which will win through combat damage or other ways which will be mentioned later on.
The goal is to keep Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty on board for as long as you can, so that your big spells are always 2 for 1, or even more, as the effect isn't limited to cards cast from hand, such as in Sunbird's Invocation or Zhulodok, Void Gorger.
Which means, if Imoti is on board, and you cast a 7-cost spell, if Cascade brings a 6-cost spell, that spell will also have Cascade, as it fits the commander's conditions - costing 6 or more.
We don't have access to the aforementioned ramp cards and mana rocks, so we'll go with different alternatives.
Mana Rocks and Mana Dorks
As mana rocks, we have Decanter of Endless Water to replace Thought Vessel, as the deck allows you to have many cards in hand for some plays; Hedron Archive for ramp and, alternatively, card draw; and Midnight Clock to serve as a rock while it doesn't fulfill its role of renewing your hand.
Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea and Somberwald Sage are one of the, if not the most important generator. This deck has 38 creatures, and Gwenna offers interesting turns, being able to be used several times. Somberwald Sage is one of the creatures which guarantee a great step forward in the game, as it creates 3 mana. Even if its limitation is only for creatures, if it goes in on turn 3, it is almost guaranteed you'll be quite ahead in the game depending on your hand (and, of course, if she comes back alive from summoning sickness).
Ramp and Miscellaneous
Search for Tomorrow is another card which is perfect for your turn 1 hand, alongside Rift Sower. At 3 cost, we have Kodama's Reach, Cultivate, and Entish Restoration; and, at 4 cost, Skyshroud Claim, which can search Breeding Pool, Rimewood Falls and Tangled Islet.
Creatures which almost have that same use are: Tireless Provisioner, Wood Elves and Farhaven Elf. One of the most interesting ramp cards is Beanstalk Giant, which works both as an accelerator and as a spell for Imoti's Cascade.
Besides searching for lands, we also have interactions to increase mana and lower costs.
The cards that have this role are Zendikar Resurgent (which also draws), Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger, Thryx, the Sudden Storm and Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma. Not to mention the evasion Goreclaw provides when attacking and granting Trample to creatures.
Important 6+ Cost Cards
This deck will have many triggers, and, depending on how the board develops, it is very important to keep an eye on them. Apex Devastator is definitely almost a win condition in the deck, because with Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty it will create 5 different Cascades.
Ghalta, Primal Hunger is one of the, if not the most, important and strong card in the deck: for 2 green mana, it will Cascade basically any card in the deck. It's worth mentioning Ghalta and Temur Sabertooth, plus the commander on board, wreak a lot of havoc, as each 4 manas represents an 11-cost or lower spell going on board. Not to mention a scenario in which Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea is on board, lowering this cost from 4 to 2, considering you'll use Gwenna to cast Ghalta always.
It might represent a second Ghalta due to its reduced cost, besides its effect of returning to your hand alongside 3 snow lands. The three on board might trigger a loop. If you want it easy, Simic Growth Chamber with Kodama and Tireless Tracker already guarantee infinite mana and life.
Last, but not least important to mention, we have Nexus of Fate and Surrak and Goreclaw. One flaw is that, even when playing several creatures on the same turn, we don't have cards such as Concordant Crossroads, Lightning Greaves or Swiftfoot Boots to give them Haste, and this way attack as soon as they enter the board.
Answers and Recursion
Interaction with the Graveyard
Whether to recover already used cards, milled cards, countered cards or whatever it is, we have cards that allow us to interact with the graveyard. Eternal Witness, Timeless Witness and Bala Ged Recovery all have the same role: recovering a card from the graveyard. Colossal Skyturtle always fulfills this role, and, in case it isn't used for that purpose, it is a great creature to play with Imoti.
Artisan of Kozilek is this list's only Reanimate, which, by the way, Reanimates when cast, this way being way harder for opponents to answer.
This is where our Companion shines: Keruga, the Macrosage can renew the breath this deck lost, so it is crucial to know exactly when to take it out of the zone and place it in your hand.
As "indirect" card draw, we have Dig Through Time, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, which can also provide an extra spell to your turn, and Dawnglade Regent with its Monarch ETB. It might guarantee some protection when you're the Monarch with its ability.
Answering and Interacting with the Board
As "punctual" removals, we use Beast Within, Natural Reclamation, Meteor Golem, Terastodon and Ravenform. If you want to lean even more on control and only play lands and pass your turn, Alchemist's Refuge opens up space for that type of play, being able to do everything when passing.
We have a creature tutor which will help us however it can: Fierce Empath, which searches for basically any creature that might be necessary at specific times. As possible targets, we have Archetype of Endurance, Kogla, the Titan Ape or even Brinelin, the Moon Kraken.
All these cards offer possible answers for threats that might come up in the game. Last but not least important, we have Temur Sabertooth both to save some creatures and replay some Cascades.
Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth is used exclusively because of Nissa, Who Shakes the World. This planeswalker is good on her own in this build, but guaranteeing with just one land that all others will take advantage of Nissa's ability is a good condition.
As we cast way more than one spell per turn, it is possible, yes, to kill a player, or even finish their board with Aetherflux Reservoir.
Hullbreaker Horror can return all non-land permanents back to their owner's hands, taking advantage of this window to remove all blockers and answers that are in the way.
Alternative List with Only Keruga, the Macrosage
This list is similar, but not 100% faithful to the original idea, as it is more focused on card draw than on great spells with Cascade.
As a Cascade player, it is quite fun to build decks based on this mechanic. Imoti is a very strong commander if it is used well in this sense, precisely as it doesn't limit the Cascade cast to spells in hand only, and Keruga can renew the gas the deck eventually loses. Changing it a bit due to the limited mechanics, such as Companion, provides challenges when it's time to build decks, and here was no different.
It is important to note that this is a deck that can have many, many triggers. So, just think calmly, and don't be desperate or untimely when you play. Play using your time, understand how interactions will connect, and don't be surprised if, out of absolute nowhere, the deck decides to pop off, as this is our goal. There are many possibilities, and it is possible to discover new interactions each time you play.
What about you, would you use Imoti or another commander? Would you add something to the list? Remove any card? Comment!