Usually when I hate a card in a card game, it’s because I hate playing against it. Jaxis is special because I hate playing her. Let’s back up a minute for a bit of context.
I’ve been doing streams on YouTube where I make Historic Brawl decks for MTGA. Specifically for every legendary creature in Streets of New Cappena. If you haven’t played Historic Brawl, the format is effectively paper magic’s commander format, with two differences. First, the card pool is limited to MTGA cards, obviously, but second you can use planeswalkers as commanders.
That’s not relevant to this discussion, though. No, this discussion is purely about Jaxis, and why I hate trying to play her as a commander.
So instead of continuing to rage and throw my matches, I’m going to quickly go over why I hate this card, and why I hate her as a commander.
So let’s start with the simplest one: She’s monocolor. Historic Brawl has a much smaller card pool than regular commander, and the easiest way to take advantage of her ability is copying cards with strong “Enter the Battlefield” abilities or strong “When this creature dies” abilities. But surprise, surprise, red doesn’t have a huge number of those abilities, and many of them are on higher costed creatures.
Being monocolor isn’t a death sentence, though. Magda, Brazen Outlaw is monocolor, and one of my favorite Historic Brawl commanders.
The second issue with Jaxis as a commander is speed. Jaxis is a 4 drop without haste. (Yes, you can blitz her, but ignore that for a moment; we’ll come back to it.) This means that the fastest she comes out is likely turn 3 off either treasure, or a mana rock. In addition, the fastest she’ll copy something is turn 4, but her activated ability costs mana, meaning even if you hit your drop you’ll only copy another 4 drop. In addition, since her ability can only be activated at sorcery speed, you can only do it on your own turn, and it’s only useful prior to combat in most situations.
Compare her to Magda for a second. Magda comes out on turn two, can generate a treasure on turn 3, and can immediately come back on turn 4 even if she gets removed. Magda also provides her ability to generate treasure with dwarf tribal the second she comes into play. A fast Jaxis doesn’t do anything until turn 4.
Now, some people here are going “Well, you’re completely ignoring her Blitz mechanic!” Okay fine.
Blitz is a good mechanic. I like it a lot in draft.
But its an absolutely terrible mechanic to put on a commander, and it becomes downright horrible on a mono-color commander with a limited card pool. There’s no easy way to dodge the sacrifice trigger, meaning that even if you blitz her in early, the second she dies, you’re not playing her again until turn 6. And her ability costing mana means even if you hold her, she costs 3 mana to make a copy of another creature.
But are highly costed cards unplayable? Hardly. Lets take a look at a card that isn’t in Arena, and is effectively just a better version of Jaxis.
Kiki-Jiki is effectively just a much better Jaxis. This is despite having a much worse stat line, and higher mana cost. So why is he better?
Well, there’s a bunch of reasons. Kiki-Jiki inherently has haste, meaning you can use him the second he comes into play. So Ii he resolves, he’s at least going to do something. Secondly, even though he doesn’t make you draw any cards, his activated ability doesn’t have any costs associated, so he can also copy a six drop.
And perhaps most important: YOU CAN USE HIS ABILITY WHENEVER YOU WANT. You’re not limited to sorcery speed activation, meaning that he can function offensively and defensively, and can be held until the needed moment.
So, in conclusion, here’s why I hate Jaxis in a nice list.
- High mana cost, without immediate ability to have an impact on game state when played, meaning she can get removed without doing anything.
- Blitz makes her useful at high speed, but as a commander, it mostly just makes her die super fast, and runs her cost far up past what a red deck can support
- Small card pool limits ability to manipulate her blitz ability, or provide powerful targets to copy
- Ability timing is highly conditional, making it only useful as an offensive tool, and relatively heavily costed when compared to equivalents.
I’m going to go do a stream with the deck I did make for her now, and just going to accept that I don’t have a good way to use this card.