15 Best Commanders in MTG

Best Commanders in MTG
Next stop on the rainbow bridge: total planar domination.

Who's the best MTG Commander for your pile?

There are lots of ways your commander can stand out. Some sit back and draw you extra cards. A few get you the cards you need when you need them. Other generals suit up like Voltron. Either way, your general is the centerpiece of your deck and the most important decision in commander.

Of course, it isn’t just about the power of your commander. Some generals do something less effectively but are easier to protect. Some powerful commanders, like Grand Arbiter Augustine IV, can draw so much hate that they are almost unplayable. The best commanders are worth playing through the hate. Below are the commanders most likely to stand alone as the Elder Dragon Highlander.

15. Brago, King Eternal

Brago is a value engine. He flies, which makes it likely he will connect without any help. His ability triggers after the damage step, allowing him to ‘flicker’ any non-token creature post-combat. Your creatures get pseudo-vigilance, and you can reuse enter the battlefield (ETB) effects. There are a lot of powerful ETBs in White and Blue you can repeatedly use to simulate a variety of spells.

In the ETB and ‘flicker’ effects of blue and white is a dominant strategy. In addition to flickering once per successful combat, you can also use cards like Mistmeadow Mage to flicker your powerful creatures at instant speed. Your creatures become like instants and sorceries, allowing you achieve a variety of ends with the same engine. Additionally, flickering can enable game-winning combos such as the infamous Reveillark/Karmic Guide/Blasting Station Combo.

14. Karador, Ghost Chieftain

Karador is a top-tier graveyard commander in the best graveyard colors. This discount can be applied to the commander tax, letting him reappear in the late game without additional cost. Being able to replay one creature per turn is advantageous in colors known for game-ending bombs at high mana costs. He can kill an opponent in four turns through commander damage and lets you reanimate creatures that accelerate this process.

There are a wide variety of ways to fill your graveyard in green and black. By running game-winning reanimation targets and support cards to enable you can quickly dominate with superior threats. With added reanimators, you can bring back multiple game-enders a turn. Sacrifice outlets and repeatable recursion effects allow you to take advantage of ETB effects again, allowing you to gain massive advantage or combo-off.

13. Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

Selvala is a card-draw engine and green is infamously bad at drawing cards. She creates mana based on power which lends itself to escalating threats. All you have to do is play the next-best creature, and you can keep ramping. The open nature of her card-drawing ability does make playing her a risk, albeit one you can mitigate through deck construction. As you’re playing green, it is unlikely that anyone will out-gun you.

Selvala plays well in decks with ramp, creature-based answers, and fatties. These decks are both straight-forward and resilient while allowing you to play a variety of other synergistic, on-color commanders. Omnath and Azusa are both exceptional green commanders who can lead this deck to victory should you need to change up your angle of attack. They also make for some of the best support cards for your strategy, enabling big mana plays.

12. The Gitrog Monster

The Gitrog Frog is a strange but powerful tool for drawing cards. All it takes is a Life from the Loam or Crucible of Worlds and you’ve effectively broken Gitrog’s dangerous drawback. Fetchlands draw you extra cards and Mulch might as well be Ancestral Recall. Dakmor Salvage presents a natural combo finisher in a deck that cares about putting lands in your graveyard.

Dakmor Salvage is a dredgable land that works with a discard outlet to draw your library. You discard it and the draw trigger from Gitrog goes on the stack, allowing you to dredge salvage instead. If another land goes in your graveyard from the dredge, you gain an additional draw. You can accumulate draws until you would be near the end of your library, in which case cards like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth recycle your graveyard. You then loop mana-producing spells to generate infinite mana, allowing you to close out the game.

11. Captain Sissay

Captain Sissay leads the best toolbox in the multiverse. Green and White have a lot of legends available, ranging from devastating threats to “silver-bullet” answers for every situation. The real challenge with Sissay is making cuts when deckbuilding, there’s that much to include.

It is essential to have a clear plan when building Captain Sissay. The deck can follow many strategies including “Voltron,” “Hate-Bears,” tap-out control and tokens. You’re building a mix of options and it can be easy to make something too unfocused. Remember your role in your game and play accordingly.

10. Prossh, Skyraider of Kher

Prossh is the kind of commander that suddenly wins games. You can create a considerable board presence quickly and control combat until you can alpha strike. If your opponents remove Prossh, he comes back bigger. Be careful of the target on you might get if you sit down with a Prossh deck.

Cheap token generators and repeatable effects work well with Prossh’s sacrifice ability. There are multiple doubling-season effects and ways to refill your hand in these colors. The early game is spent ramping and developing support for your swarm. Once you are strong enough, you can swing out relentlessly. It is tough to slow this deck down short of multiple board wipes or well-timed removal spells.

9.  Edric, Spymaster of Trest

Edric draws a lot of people a lot of cards. He incentivizes your opponents to attack each other rather than you so that they can draw more. If one player starts, the rest will feel pressured to follow, to keep up. At that point, you can easily divide and conquer.

Edric thrives on weak evasive threats. Your opponents won’t care if you hit them with a few 1/1s if they can draw cards off of their 5/5s. If you play politics lightly, you can avoid getting a target on your back. By using some of your extra cards to help “solve” group problems and the rest to protect yourself you can survive unscathed. Be careful though, sometimes players all agree that Edric has to die if they are to have a shot at winning.

8.  Animar, Soul of Elements

Animar does it all. He protects himself from most removal. After resolving, he quickly becomes a formidable, if not unbeatable, threat. By making all of your creatures cheaper, you can play Maelstrom Wanderer for three or Mulldrifter for one. Wurmcoil Engine and Kozilek become free before long. An unchecked Animar runs away with the game.

These colors offer a lot of exciting and powerful threats. You will draw a lot of cards, kill a lot of creatures and have a formidable board state. You can swing relentlessly or hang back until Animar can start one-shotting people. Giving him evasion is a breeze when you can play high-costed team-buffs for only one or two mana. Ramp ends up doing double-duty in this deck, allowing you provide a steady flood of threats.

7. Arcum Daggson

Arcum Daggson commands an intricate and powerful deck. You build up your board and start swapping out your “harmless” artifact creatures for the powerful relics you need. Blue has unparalleled artifact recursion in cards like Academy Ruins. Artifact tutors, manipulation, and card draw are staples of the deck. Counterspells are an easy way to protect your gameplan.

This deck plays Arcum into protection or haste once you have a developed board. Then you get any protection or lock-pieces you need before you combo off. Finally, you assemble your engine and combo in at most four turns. The classic engine is to use Rings of Brighthearth and Basalt Monolith with Staff of Domination or Sensei’s Divining Top to draw cards. You then use the mana engine to play a devastating Walking Ballista.

6.  Breya, Etherium Shaper

A good artifact combo finisher in the colors who care for artifacts. There are dozens of artifact-driven combos you can play in these colors. Numerous infinite mana engines can be funneled into Breya to win the game. If Breya gets dealt with, there are plenty of other outlets in these colors. Additionally, you have access to most infinite-combos with these colors.

Breya is the complete artifact EDH package. You can use her as a sac outlet and an outlet for excess mana. Her color identity is unique and enables a lot of artifact play. Some of these artifacts can be used interchangeably in several combos. You can take infinite turns, burn out your opponents, mill everyone out, draw your library and make endless mana all in one deck.

5. General Tazri

General Tazri is a five-color commander dedicated to a particularly powerful tribe. She leverages the powerful ally tribe to win the game. There are many combo strategies Tazri enables, but the most potent is probably Food Chain. You have all five colors to facilitate and protect your gameplan, which can include many combos.

The Food Chain combo involves getting enough mana to play Food Chain and a creature you can cast from exile. You then exile that creature and cast it again with the mana you’ve received, netting one mana of any color. You use this to play Tazri enough times to kill your opponents with ally ETB effects. This is a potent combo that is both difficult to disrupt and requires only a few cards.

4. Zur the Enchanter

No commander gets groans like Zur. Zur is a toolbox commander that can run away with the game in a few turns. The strategy is simple: play the best enchantments you can fetch with Zur. Everything else is support for that strategy or complements it well. Zur can grab protection, removal or the auras you need to win the game. You can switch between Voltron, Stax, prison, and combo in a matter of turns.

This deck is streamlined and dedicated without being a glass cannon; Zur is the centerpiece, but he isn’t necessary to win. Other enchantment fetching creatures can grab things Zur can’t. Your opponents won’t stop you just by killing Zur, as once you get enchantments you have the advantage. People will struggle to deal with you if you know your gameplan.

3. Kess, Dissident Mage

Kess is a repeatable Snapcaster Mage. Your Kess deck is a value deck efficiently replaying good spells to gain card advantage. Grixis colors give you access to some of the best spells in the game, all of which are that much better when you can play them twice.

Kess is better than similar commanders like Dralnu even though her ability is less powerful. Acces to red, a more manageable cost and improved stats make her the better commander. Use your considerable arsenal of spells to wear your opponents down. Then start attacking with your small band of powerful, efficient creatures. Countermagic and tutors protect you while you work.

2. Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder

There was a period wherein people thought Maelstrom Wanderer’s double cascade was too strong. A few years later, Yidris was released and made Maelstrom Wanderer pale in comparison. Buy-one-get-one-free is a deal worth building a deck around.

You can build this deck to be a value-midrange, lightning-fast aggro, value-control or combo. While harder to combo with than Maelstrom Wanderer, Yidris gives you more control over what you cascade into. You can sequence your spells by mana cost to filter your cascades. If you get Yidris to connect more than once a turn you can stack instances of Cascade. Yidris gives you too many options to count.

1. Teferi, Temporal Archmage

Teferi is a powerful commander. He is the perfect leader for a deck that wants to control the game. First, you establish a board presence through mana rocks and utility spells. Then, play Teferi when you can protect him to accumulate advantage. Finally, you can end the game in any way you see fit.

The most comfortable Teferi win is the Chain Veil combo, where you take infinite planeswalker activations. All you need is a walker with a deadly effect like Ugin, and you can win the game handily. Teferi can filter your draws and untap anything, enabling many combos. Powerful, efficient creatures and a long list of spells allow you to control the board and protect your win.

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Alex traverses the multiverse in search of a greater understanding of storytelling. His Int is higher than his Dex and he’s put most of his skill points into writing, survival and arcana.
Gamer Since: 1997
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Currently Playing: Torment: Tides of Numenera, Bloodborne
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CMClassy 1 year 5 months ago

Damia and Yisan would like to have words with you

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