7 Easy To Play 'Magic: The Gathering' Commanders
So, you’ve decided to pick up Magic: The Gathering Commander. Welcome. Maybe you’ve been playing other MTG formats for a while and are dipping toes into the world’s most popular way to play the game. Or maybe you’re a tiny baby Planeswalker who is totally new to the game. Either way, we’re happy to have you. But with over one thousand legendary creatures to build a Commander deck around and over twenty thousand cards to deck build with… things can get a little daunting when you’re just starting out. Never fear. We, the wizards of Cracked, have your back.
Yarok, the Desecrated
Yarok is a great beginning Commander because it plays itself. In this case “playing yourself” is a good thing. It’s also a great way to level up your play, this nasty elemental zaddy teaches some crucial lessons you’ll need to grow as a player. First off, casting the dang thing. Some folks, even ones who’ve been playing MTG for years, get intimidated by multi color casting costs. Especially in Commander, there’s nothing to worry about. There are dozens of multicolored lands and ramp cards (cards that add extra mana) to make sure you’ve got all the mana you need to cast any spell. Once Yarok is on the board, you’re golden. Fill your deck with enter the battlefield (ETB) effects like bouncing or destroying your opponents’ creatures and protect yourself with a deathtouch lifelinker. It’s fun to experiment with and get to know different ETB cards. Well, it’s fun until your opponent flips the table over in frustration.
Muldrotha, the Gravetide
This card, in Magic parlance, is disgusting. (Which means it’s really, really good.) Use green cards and mana rocks (colorless artifact cards which tap for extra mana) to ramp up and cast this card as soon as possible, then use powerful sacrifice effects in black to deal damage or destroy your opponents’ creatures, round it all off with blue counterspells to protect Muldrotha and you’ve got a nasty brew indeed. This is a great Commander to provide lots of extra value for you because each turn, you can rinse and repeat those same sacrifices by playing cards from your graveyard. Take advantage of lands that you can sacrifice for value as well and buddy, you’re unstoppable.
Volo, Guide to Monsters
It’s not for nothing that most of the cards on this list are in blue and green. It’s a powerful combination and Volo is a powerful man. He’s the closest thing Magic has to a Pokemon trainer basically, he really wants to catch ‘em all. Deck building around this card will give you a tour of pretty much all the different creature types available in MTG. Put one of each in your deck and watch the magic happen. Toss in a few cards that care about tokens or ETBS like Parallel Lives and Panharmonicon and you’re on your way to Victory Road.
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Let me explain this like a cartoon caveman would: Red deal damage. Torbran make red deal more damage. More damage mean you win.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Disney got it all wrong, in this original Hans Christian Andersen story, the Little Mermaid didn’t want to walk on land, she wanted to play lands, draw cards, and crush her enemies. Ok that part about HCA isn’t true, but it is true that Tatyova kicks ass as a Commander. Commander, and in fact most MTG, really boils down to a simple principle: card advantage. The more cards you have in hand, the better your chance of winning. Even without any wacky strategy, having Tatyova on the battlefield means you’ll probably be drawing at least one extra card per turn. Tossing in spells that let you play extra lands per turn or search your library for extra lands to plop onto the battlefield (a speciality of green) means your hand is going to fill up real quick. Plenty of players who run Tatyova make sure they’ve got cards like Reliquary Tower in their deck. It allows you to have an unlimited hand size. You’re gonna need it.
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Just because you’re new to Commander doesn’t mean you don’t like playing blue. Nothing feels quite like countering someone’s spell and watching their face fall. Playing mono blue means you won’t have to worry about fiddling with mana. Bonus for intermediate players: Talrand is both a merfolk and a wizard, both well supported tribes, with lots of sorceries and instants that care about those creature types. Fill your new favorite Commander deck with instants and sorceries to draw cards, counter spells, stun opponents creatures, and watch your drake army grow.
The Scarab God
I, personally, want to immediately concede whenever someone decides to play this against me. The Scarab God has a simple strategy: Play. Zombies. The more zombies you play, the more life your opponents lose. When your opponent does play a powerful creature, use a removal or counter spell to get it into their graveyard and boom, pay a paltry amount of mana and that puppy rises again, but this time on your side as an unholy abomination of itself. Oh shoot! The opponent destroyed Scarab God? Joke’s on them, it just goes back to your hand. This card is a walking, undying “thanks, I hate it” meme.