I have finally made my return to the world of blog writing just when the spoiler season was concluding. I was working on a different article but then it occurred to me that releasing something completely off topic while the rest of the community was focused on the first ever commander-focused draft product wasn’t the best idea.
People tend to love a good list article so here are my personal top 5 commanders from Commander Legends. In other words, the commanders I’m most excited about casting myself. I’ll be focusing on specifically the commanders themselves, not the new cards in the 99 like Opposition Agent or Jeweled Lotus.
A quick aside about Jeweled Lotus, I think the freakout is more than a tad exaggerated. Yes, it will be powerful and expensive however, I do not think this goes in every commander deck from here until the end of time. It improves decks like Voltron decks and powerful engine commanders better, if it is their opening hand.
While it’s true that powering out commanders like Korvold or Bruna a few turns early is powerful and will likely win some games it also paints a massive target on the player’s head. If anyone has a removal spell it’s headed right at the commander who showed up to the party a few turns too soon. If the table is running a responsible removal suite the oppressively fast starts should (mostly) be kept in check.
With that being said, sometimes the table won’t have an answer due to variance and will get buried by the fast start of whoever played the Jeweled Lotus, which already happens. It’s certainly powerful but it is not the format-warping monstrosity as people are claiming. I personally will be looking for available slots to add to my removal suite in all of my decks moving forward to better even the playing field against Jeweled Lotus-fueled starts.
With all of that being said, onto my personal top 5 commanders from Commander Legends!
This legend is more suited for the 99 of commanders that cascade, tacking free a Rampant Growth onto each cascade is obviously quite powerful. The reason Averna makes my personal list is I run The First Sliver, sliver tribal, and oftentimes I don’t have anything to cascade into since my curve bunches up around 2, Averna will do a fantastic job of both ramping and more importantly dramatically improving my draws even if my cascades are not providing value.
Any cascade-focused deck will happily add Averna to its ranks such as the aforementioned sliver, Yidris and Maelstrom Wanderer. Even though Averna is legendary herself its clear that she is meant for the 99 since there is only a single-digit number of cards with cascade in RUG colors. That’s not enough support to hold a commander deck together. Thus, she is suited to be a sidekick but is a powerful one with some amazing flavor text to boot!
I’m a big fan of all things goblins, especially their lore. Here is the long-awaited card for a notable goblin! For those that were unaware Krark is the progenitor of the goblins on Mirrodin, his writings were used as scripture by the Krark Clan; a clan of goblins focused on the creation and destruction of metal and machines as can be seen on the card Krark-Clan Ironworks.
I’ve been saying for years that I would love a card for Krark and here it is! Unsurprisingly he synergies very well with his thumb and has a deceptively powerful effect. I envision him at the helm of a spellslinger style deck that is focused on spells that have a cast trigger including cards with the mechanic storm. Krark having partner gives the deckbuilder plenty of flexibility since its up to us what effects and colors we want to pair with Krark,
I’m building a Rakdos burn/storm deck with Krark and Vial Smasher. Since storm copies on cast the result of the coin flip is irrelevant we still can storm off with Tendrils of Agony or Grapeshot. Vial Smasher is there because I like her lore and to add black mana for tutors, additional rituals and Bolas’ Citadel. However, you could pair Krark with Thrasios if you want the blue storm cards and green ramp. Or he could helm a deck focused on coin flips as an alternative to Zndrsplt and Okaun. He’s also been paired with the new Sakisima, which gives the deck access to blue and a way to double-dip on his effect. He also fits well in the 99 of decks that are focused on copying spells like Melek or Kalamax–especially the latter since Kalamax will still copy the spell even if you lose the coin flip from Krark.
In short, there are a wide range of possibilities with Krark, he’s the happy medium between flavorful and powerful. Krark is a fantastic addition to the current pool of commanders, and the flavor text doesn’t disappoint.
Another named goblin finally makes his debut on cardboard!The excitement over Breeches is justified however, I was hoping that Breeches would have a generic effect so I could slot him into my goblin deck but nonetheless, I’m excited that he has arrived. His effect seems both thematic and decently impactful for pirates since he can be in our first main phase then attack with his fellow brigands and steal the maximum amount of loot from our opponents. He can also team up with a partner of our choice in the command zone if Admiral Beckette Brass doesn’t feel like a satisfactory leader.
However, I think that he works best as a first mate to his Admiral, since pirates aren’t a deep tribe and cannot afford to cut colors, greatly reducing the number of playables.
The other option is to pair Breeches with Silias Renn(the only dimir partner) which does give access to grixis colors but ultimately is a waste of a commander slot. With that being said, Commander Legends has a fleet’s worth of pirates, many of whom are in Izzet colors which might be enough. The discussion underscores the best part of Breeches, he gives a tribe that was previously low on playables both another option to lead and a solid lieutenant to his Admiral.
This one has no lore implications that I’m aware of, Obeka caught my eye simply because she has a unique and abusable effect. There are a ton of tricks that are available when there’s a Sundial of the Infinite in the command zone. The ones that immediately jump to mind are using cards like Final Fortune to take another turn then exiling the “lose the game” delayed trigger off the stack by ending the turn with Obeka.
In addition, consider the many delayed triggers that are supposed to balance out certain cards. Unearth becomes better since the “exile this creature” clause triggers on the end step. Additionally, Obeka can abuse effects that make token copies of our creatures that are supposed to only last for a turn like Kiki-Jikki or Feldon.
Underworld Breach is especially powerful in this context since the trigger to sacrifice Breach occurs on end step.
It has been pointed out to me that Breach sacrifices on each end step thus, it would simply be sacrificed on the next end step, I’m wrong here but Ill leave the line here anyhow.
I envision a deck with some haste enablers so Obeka can activate immediately and a suite of ways to protect her, all of these engines sound amazing but they are fragile. Luckily Obekea is in blue and for a deck who relies on this many fragile pieces counterspells are a must. Obeka can be built as a reanimator deck who abuses Unearth and Feldon or her deck could focus on taking as many extra turns with Final Fortune as possible. Either way she has an effect that is both unique and powerful with again fantastic flavor text.
As far as where she will see play in the 99, she seems solid in Sedris as she is essentially an additional copy of Sundial of the Infinite. Apart from helping out Sedris I don’t think she fits as a lieutenant anywhere else, she profiles as a true “build around me” legendary creature.
There are two features that will eminently draw my attention to a commander, Lorwyn flavor and recursion in the command zone. We’ve heard about this character before, he is the ancestor of the treefolk on Lorwyn and has been referenced in several cards most notably, Sapling of Colfenor. He has an interesting ability, a pseudo Scrap Trawler effect that cares about the toughness of the creature that died. It will play the usual suspects of the altars and reanimation spells but past that there is a good deal of flexibility here. Colfenor can lead a typical theme with cards like Cruel Celebrant and Blood Artist or his deck can focus on assembling various such as, Karmic Guide/Revillark loops; and while I won’t be including these lines in my build, any X cost creatures (Hangerback walker, Stonecoil Serpent, etc) will get you infinite sacrifice fodder with an anthem, if you don’t mind running some lower quality cards.
As far as whether Colfenor fits into any decks as a backup singer, I’m unsure. At first glance, his effect is only just specific enough to demand a build around. That said, graveyard recursion for creatures is solid for most Abzan decks however, I feel that there are simply better options than Colfenor in the 99 especially in Abzan colors.
Commander legends looks like a fun set both to draft and giving commander players more new toys. I’ve received some solid pieces in the 99 and some commanders I’m excited for. The power creep is real however, due to the social nature of the format I believe that commander will be fine. I’m not suggesting that the concerns aren’t valid, they are but every play has a counterplay and I’m looking foward to seeing what the community does with these cool new cards.
What cards are you most excited for from Commander Legends? Let me know in the comments section below