Hello and congratulations for making it past what may be the strangest year in modern history. Taking a look back at the mess of a year that turned the world on its head, it brings to mind just how literal and appropriate you can take the saying “hindsight is 2020”. On that note we wanted to take a look at some of the new Commanders that have graced our format through the pandemic. These are not to say the most competitive ones but what we found can be both powerful, synergistic, and also fun to play. Objective opinions against meta aside we hope you enjoy this little showcase.
Coming out at number 10 is Moraug, Fury of Akoum. This 6CMC Minotaur Warrior is definitely cause for concern if left on the battlefield. With its landfall trigger which creates additional combat phases, Moraug can quickly smash your opponents for multiple consecutive attack steps. His static ability which gives all creatures +1/+0 for every time they attacked this turn makes even the smallest of creatures into an increasing threat. Not even mentioning the fetchland or any sort of ramp, the very basics of Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse become dangerous and deadly in conjunction with Moraug. As a Commander you want a good number of landfall triggers to synergize with this. You can dig for an early game Treasonous Ogre in this mono-red deck to drop him in early to bring a fast and early beating to your opponents. There are a lot of tricks to the timing of the landfall triggers though, a good amount of haste enablers and a bit of vigilance wouldn’t be amiss.
The newest iteration of Thassa is a great inclusion to many decks or quite breakable as your commander. Flickering creatures you control at the end of your turn such as with Conjurer’s Closet allows for repeated abuse of enter the battlefield abilities. Along with having constant access to this ability as a value engine, since it’s in your Command zone, Thassa as a Theros God is also Indestructible, making it quite difficult to remove. Like Conjurer’s Closet when the flickered creature returns, it comes back to the field under your control meaning temporary theft of your opponents creatures can become a bit more permanent. A very open build around Commander, whether the theft strategy with things like Vedalken Shackles , an enter the battlefield abuse strategy making good use of creatures like [Venser, Shaper Savant[/c] or even Fblthp, the Lost or both with the ever rude Agent of Treachery. Again a great engine for all sorts of shenanigans not limited to, but possibly, just taking infinite turns to win.
Boros was given a powerhouse of a commander this year with Winota, Joiner of Forces, so much that it was banned in Brawl (for any of those that is relevant for). Her ability to cheat a human from the top 6 cards of your deck into play and attacking the opponent would be good enough but she triggers for each non-human attacking. With the added text of those humans becoming indestructible for the turn creates a lasting board state along with a deadly combat. The strategy of this deck leans into generating non-human bodies to trigger her abilities. Do you know how many tokens don’t have the human subtype? With token generating effects you wouldn’t even need to play non-human creatures in the deck. You can though and creature token producing cards like Goblin Rabblemaster and Legion Warboss really pull their weight in this deck. As for humans you can cheat in something like Angrath’s Marauders is possibly one of the most devastating, doubling all the damage your board will be dealing and coming out as indestructible will be a substantial hit to whoever is stuck on the receiving end.
From a token for Nissa, Sage Animist to a full blown card Ashaya, the Awoken World is now the Soul of the Wild. As any mono-green player, I was thrilled when Ashaya was spoiled. Being able to have all your non-token creatures withstand a Cyclonic Rift just as Dryad Arbor does is amazing enough, but also making all your creatures into Forests and therefore mana producers just made Ashaya all the better. With infinite mana combos using Quirion Ranger and Lotus Cobra or just a Ley Weaver Ashaya has no problems keeping up in that regard. Ashaya is also incredibly strong with a scaling power and toughness totallying all your lands including itself and other non-token creatures you control which are honourary Forests Ashaya has been holding her own in the 99 and is a nice new favorite, just watch our for any Blood Moon effects.
Mono-White makes it as our 6th place slot with a strong combo victory method. Heliod is the best life-gain commander in Mono-White as gaining life triggers his +1/+1 counters granting ability to himself or any other creature you control. By granting lifelink for 2 mana, he can get the lifegain going even by himself. The lifelink can be granted to any creature as well in case you need to Commander politics with the board. The combo that brings such authority to Heliod is the one with Walking Ballista and in turn Triskelion. By granting them lifelink the damage they do by removing +1/+1 counters adds those counters right back, giving you an infinite damage ability typically aimed at your opponents face. If they can’t be hit in the face though shooting Heliod as a creature for infinite life is a good second. There are an increasing number of ways to make this combo consistent and having an indestructible half of a combo in the Command zone is as dangerous as ever. Mono-white is seen as the weakest of the colours and Heliod is a good step to correct that case.
Jeska, Thrice Reborn in a deck that creates infinite mana is an instant win condition. By being constantly replayed from the Command Zone and draining her loyalty with the -X ability allows you to burn your opponents to death. Even without the combo finish, her triple targeting or triple damaging abilities are incredibly effective. Add in the fact that she has Partner tacked onto her, and you have such a wide variety of deck and colour combinations to choose from. Third time’s the charm as they say and that seems true with Jeska, as she poses to be one of the best of the new Partner Commanders.
4. Vadrok, Apex of Thunder
The Elemental Dinosaur Cat swoops into 4th place as a high value Jeskai Commander. Vadrok’s mutate ability allows you to replay non-creature cards 3CMC or less for free. Not only can it recur some incredibly frustrating things like Teferi, Time Reveler but with instant’s and sorceries unlike flashback they don’t exile. So perhaps you have a [Savor the Moment[/c] in the graveyard and could use a bit more time, or all of it with the right pieces. With all the right colours and all the right tools, this Commander can play with all the Windfall or Wheel of Fortune[c] effects and all the draw denial effects like [c]Narset, Parter of Veils you want. With Snapcaster Mage and Underworld Breach as well you have all the recursion you need to make deadly use of your graveyard.
Both Partner Planeswalker Commanders made the list and for good reason. Tevesh is fantastic value engine, creating creatures, drawing cards, and potentially stealing/playing everyone’s Commanders (himself included if he dies when activating his ability). This with the added benefit of having Partner, he fits into so many different decks with other partners and can just sit there to grind value. Being a Planeswalker allows him to dodges a ton of board wipes and leave him to tick up towards Commander theft create his little thrull tokens to protect him, get sacrificed, or get Skullclamped in the process. Whether as a Commander synergizing with another partner or as a new Planeswalker for a superfriends deck they finally gave Tevesh Szat a card and it’s damn strong.
Clones are an effective way to multiply your effects in this singleton format. Having one in the Command Zone though allows for some great abuse. Sakishima has never been one for following the Legend rule in any way and adding a Mirror Gallery effect to the card is one way to show it. As another Partner Commander as well the use and abuse of multiple Vial-Smasher, the Fierce has been well documented. Being able to Rite of Replication your Commander usually stays in Reaper Kings domain but with Sakishima it’s an absolute free for all. So as a Clone, as a Mirror Gallery, or as a blue Partner Commander Sakishima of a Thousand Faces versatility lands it high up on the list.
Can someone please explain this to me? Why was Kodama considered a Rare instead of a Mythic? This 6CMC for a 6/6 Reaching Spirit which lets you drop in additional permanents gets out of hand quick. Did you create a token? Play a land. Did that land make a token? Play another land!. Play The Great Henge? Drop in Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger for free. This card has far exceeded my expectations of it, and it very much so adds my favourite colour identity to a deck, because what else does it obviously have? Partner. This card literally gives any partner the ability to create explosive turns that makes throwing all your lands in hand onto the field possible. Great card, great Commander. He takes our number one spot. Take that Storm Cauldron, Cloudstone Curio, and Rampaging Baloth and abuse the heck out of the stack.
Yes, of course there is a number 0 spot, and the rightful heir to this spot is none other than the 0CMC Commander Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh. This Commander has the lovely Partner ability, but most importantly, he costs 0 mana. Even as a 0/1, this is extremely powerful. How powerful? Well…
1) Enables Mox Amber.
2) Enables cards like [/c]Fierce Guardianship[/c].
3) Jeska’s Will gets both abilities.
4) Skullclamp, Diabolic Intent, Phyrexian Tower have something to sacrifice.
5) Bloom tender[/c]/Faeburrow Elder tap for red.
6) Kobold Tribal.
7) Storm count +1.
8) It’s hilarious.
I did not believe this angry little thing was a threat, but he’s deadly. Genesis Storm count increases substantially for nothing. Early game blocker stopped Oko, Thief of Crowns from dying. Cryptolith Rite or worse Opposition just make use of the extra body. If you see him in the Command zone odds are the opponent has some sort of way of abusing this little 0/1. I some way you died to Commander damage then the humiliation is complete.
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That’s a wrap for this list, we do hope you’ve enjoyed the read and feel free to let us know your opinions or any experiences you may have had. As we look to a new year with the lowest possible bar of expectations to subvert let’s see what twists and changes come to our beloved game.
May this coming year be filled with shiny cardboard and fun games. Until next time be healthy, stay safe, and keep shuffling. Cheers.