9 Popular Deck Archetypes In 'Magic: The Gathering' Commander
We love us some Magic here at Cracked. We’ve written about Commanders which will make your friends hate you, the biggest bads in MTG, and even gotten a sweet new legendary preview. But today we’re getting back to basics and running through a partial list of Commander archetypes. For a few, we’ve included colorless card recommendations that can compliment any color pairing. Happy gaming y’all.
These decks care about putting stuff into your graveyard so you can return it to the battlefield or make another creature more powerful, rinse and repeat. This archetype is often associated with black cards and has overlap with self-mill decks that aim to get cards in ‘yards. The colorless cards Sword of Light and Shadow, Nim Deathmantle, and Crucible of Worlds can all be crazy powerful if you can afford them.
Blink or Flicker
Boooooo. Booooooooo this deck. Don’t mind us, we’ve just lost to Brago too many times. It’s a totally valid and very popular strategy to repeatedly trigger enter the battlefield effects by using “blink” and “flicker” cards. Players will take their own creatures off the battlefield either after blocking an opponent’s attackers, or after they’ve attacked themselves so they’re untapped and available to block.
You basically teleport your creatures from attacking your opponent’s land back to defend your fortress in the blink of an eye, accruing lots of benefits each time they re-enter the battlefield. Like we said, nasty.
Cast instants and sorceries to stack their effects, copy the spells, and deal damage to your enemies. Colorless cards like Aetherflux Reservoir and Vedalken Orrery are staples for decks like these, making crazy, complex combos possible and handing players early game wins for cheap. Spell slinger’s most common colors are red and blue, where cheap damage and draw spells are plentiful. And once you start copying those spells… it’s a race against the Midnight Clock for your opponents.
This archetype takes its name from the Voltron cartoon. You have one creature that you pile a bunch of equipment and/or enchantments onto and then hit your opponent for a veritable sh*tload of damage. It’s simply delightful to imagine a warrior or big ass dinosaur wielding 3 swords and two shields and a collar that gives it deathtouch. Colorless cards like Argentum Armor, Quietus Spike, and of course, Swiftfoot Boots do some really nasty stuff in this type of deck. This is a great type of deck for low cost Commanders who can come in cheap, suit up, and then do it all over again when they get destroyed. Bonus points if your Commander cares about attacking alone.
If you’re looking for a luxurious way to play Magic, this is it. Take your time casting spells and dealing damage as you steadily gain life. This is a well supported and very popular type of Commander deck that is as fun to play as it is frustrating to play against. Opponents can’t kill you if you have 145 life! Traditionally lifegain decks are often white with green or black as their secondary color. But the shenanigans WotC has been printing (looking at you Prismatic Piper) means that you can make this deck work in pretty much any color. There aren’t a ton of colorless lifegain cards, but equipment like Basilisk Collar and Loxodon Warhammer are valuable assets for this strategy.
Aka the least fun way to play magic. It’s a brutal strategy that leaves everyone at the table feeling like they need a shower after the game. And that’s just how you filthy infect players like it, isn’t it? We’re not going to give you any hints or help because Infect is a dirty way to play. Shame on you.
Go forth and multiply. You’ll never be alone when you use your spells to create tons of creature tokens. Myr Matrix, Skyclave Relic, Mimic Vat, Helm of the Host… there are lots of cards you can fit into any color combination to craft a deck that builds up your army quickly and devastates your opponents. Lots of blockers means you’ll have plenty of time to amass your forces and the usual way to win with decks like these is to swarm your opponents with an overwhelming amount of creatures.
Cares About Artifacts or Enchantments
Cards that get more powerful the more artifacts you have in play or the more enchantments on the board are bread and butter for “cares about” decks. These decks are likely to combo off and can deal big damage either through massive attacks or by dealing damage directly to an opponent’s face. While the decks play differently, the principle is the same: more enchantments/artifacts equals better.
Merfolk, Elves, Slivers, Spiders, Minotaurs, Ooze… there are dozens of creature types to choose from to brew a tasty tribal deck around. Tribal decks all care about casting one type of creature, which makes Changeling cards, which are counted as all creature types, very valuable. Commander’s steady rise in popularity has incentivized Wizards of the Coast to print more and more bombs and staples for this type of deck. Cards like Vanquisher’s Banner, Metallic Mimic, and Herald’s Horn are all colorless must-haves you’ll encounter often in this archetype. Tribal decks always have a lot of flavor and are a blast to build since the field is immediately narrowed to one creature type. That’s helpful when choosing from over 20,000 cards available in Magic: The Gathering.