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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Of Commanders Colors and Tribes – Color Identity

December 31, 2012 by  
Filed under FAQ, In-Depth FAQ, Strategy

One to Lead All

In our previous articles, we had taught you how to build an EDH deck. That to build an EDH deck, one has to first choose their Commander, and from there the Commander color identity will determine what colors your deck would be and a general direction for your deck to go depending on what colors you could play. That was the introduction to EDH. When you had played long enough, everyone would like to improve their deck or even build new decks. Then they would have to start considering other factors beside just the color identity of your General.


Commander Colors:

All MtG-ers who played the game long enough know that each color has its own specialty and field of play. For example, when you want life gain, you go for White. When you want to play control by countering your opponent’s spells, you look for Blue. This does not change in EDH. Some players actually chose their Commander for its color instead of building around it. For those who are relatively new to the game, let us run you through what each color could do so you could get a better picture of this strategy of choosing the Colors of the Commander.


White: – Defense

“You have not died until I consent”

Iconic Tribes: – Angels, Clerics, Kithkins, Rebels, Soldiers

White main game play involves a lot of life gain. It helps you to defend yourself by control what could be on the battlefield by taxing. This means that opponents have to pay to keep their permanents on the battlefield (Kataki, War’s Wage) or to do something (Aura of Silence; Ghostly Prison; Suppression Field). It is also the color which interacts a lot with Equipments and Enchantments. When you need Tutors for both Equipments and Enchantments, White provides the most if not the best (Academy Rector; Enduring Ideal; Enlightened Tutor; Idyllic Tutor; Quest for the Holy Relic; Steelshaper Apprentice; Steelshaper’s Gift; Sterling Grove; Stoneforge Mystic; Stonehewer Giant; Taj-Nar Swordsmith). White also has recursion for Creatures (Breath of Life; False Defeat; Karmic Guide; Miraculous Recovery; Resurrection; Reveillark; Reya Dawnbringer) and Enchantments (Auramancer; Monk Idealist; Tragic Poet). White is also strong with its removal for just about anything, and some of it even in mass. When you need to remove Creatures, the ever famous Wrath of God comes in mind. When you need to remove an Artifact or Enchantment, there is Disenchant. Even if the problem is a Planeswalker, it could also be dealt with through White (Detention Sphere; Oblivion Ring). Last but not least, White is also good at providing tokens, sometimes more than two at the same time (Battle Screech; Captain of the Watch; Cenn’s Enlistment; Decree of Justice; Elspeth Tirel; Elspeth, Knight-Errant; Field of Souls; Kemba, Kha Regent; Knight-Captain of Eos; Lingering Souls; Luminarch Ascension; Luminous Angel; Martial Coup; Midnight Haunting; Mobilization; Spectral Procession).


Blue: – Control Strategy

Masters of tactics makes their people bold in battle merely by arriving to lead them

Iconic Tribes: – Faeries, Merfolks, Wizards

Blue is the color of control, which it does through countermagic. Threats which never hit the battlefield are not a threat. So by countering it, you are effectively removing the threat. The other form of control is by bouncing the threats back to the opponent’s hand (Boomerang; Wipe Away). Blue is also the color to go for when you need extra card draw (Ancestral Recall; Arcanis the Omnipotent; Concentrate; Shared Discovery; Standstill; Thirst for Knowledge). Blue also has an Affinity towards Artifacts. It interacts with Artifacts by searching for them (Artificer’s Intuition; Reshape; Transmute Artifact; Treasure Mage; Trinket Mage) or restoring them from the graveyard (Argivian Restoration; Reconstruction; Rootwater Diver). One more fact to show that Blue likes Artifacts is that it is the color printed till date to have the most cards with Affinity with artifacts (Assert Authority; Blinkmoth Infusion; Broodstar; Chromescale Drake; Into Thin Air; Quicksilver Behemoth; Qumulox; Somber Hoverguard; Thoughtcast). Milling is also part of Blue strategy of win. Most of the cards involve with milling effects are relate to Blue (Jace Beleren; Jace, Memory Adept; Mental Note; Traumatize; Thought Scour; Tome Scour). And if you want to steal your opponent’s stuff, Blue also provides the cards to do that (Aura Graft; Charisma; Confiscate; Control Magic; Kukemssa Pirates; Steal Artifact; Steal Artifact; Take Possession).Last but least, Blue is also the master of copying. If you need to duplicate something, Blue is the color to go for (Clone; Copy Artifact; Copy Enchantment; Twincast). Another specialty among Blue Creatures is unblockablity. Blue has the highest number of Creatures which are unblockable.


Black: – Graveyard and Life Total as Resources

Join the Dark Side

Iconic Tribes: – Demons, Vampires, Zombies

As the dark side of the game, Black is the dark sadistic color which uses your graveyard and life total as resources. Regardless you need Creature removal; card draw (Necrologia; Necropotence; Night’s Whisper; Sign in Blood; Skeletal Scrying); even pumps a Creature power to sky high (Hatred), you could do all that but life is needed. There is huge amount of Creature removal which kills the Creature outright instead of by damage. All these removal ranged from targeted (Assassinate; Death Stroke; Doom Blade; Feast of Blood; Go for the Throat; Murder; Terror), non-targeted (Chainer’s Edict; Cruel Edict; Diabolic Edict; Gatekeeper of Malakir; Geth’s Verdict), and en mass (Barter in Blood; Damnation; Decree of Pain; Mutilate; Overwhelming Forces; Plague Wind). As good as Black is good at Creature removal, it is also the color with the most Creature recursion (All Hallow’s Eve; Balthor the Defiled; Coffin Queen; Empty the Catacombs; Exhume; Living Death; Living End; Oath of Ghouls; Patriarch’s Bidding; Twilight’s Call). Black is also best at “attacking” the hand, though it is not a sound strategy in EDH (Duress; Cabal Therapy; Mind Sludge; Mind Shatter; Mind Twist; Mind Warp). Black also specializes at “attacking” the library directly by exiling cards directly from the library (Bitter Ordeal; Cranial Extraction; Extirpate; Haunting Echoes; Memoricide; Neverending Torment; Sadistic Sacrament; Surgical Extraction). Big Mana is also possible for mono Black by using Cabal Coffer, Crypt of Agadeem and Magus of the Coffers. Last but not least, if you need to search for anything, Black has the best Tutors available (Beseech the Queen; Cruel Tutor; Demonic Collusion; Demonic Tutor; Diabolic Intent; Diabolic Tutor; Grim Tutor; Imperial Seal; Rhystic Tutor; Vampiric Tutor).


Red: – Aggro and Burn

Burn Baby… BURN~!!!!

Iconic Tribes: – Dragons, Goblins

Red is the most violent color of them all, which is like living in the NOW moment. Most effects from Red usually do not last after end of turn. Fast mana (Brightstone Ritual; Desperate Ritual; Mana Geyser; Pyretic Ritual; Seething Song), direct damage (Beacon of Destruction; Blaze; Incinerate; Lightning Bolt), Creatures solution which is usually involves grabbing the Creature over to your side (Act of Treason; Blind with Anger; Mark of Mutiny; Threaten; Word of Seizing), even its card draw is an all out method (Barbed Shocker; Chandra Ablaze; Dragon Mage; Faithless Looting; Incendiary Command; Reforge the Soul; Robber Fly; Shocker; Wheel of Fate; Wheel of Fortune). Due to all that, Red is always the color to go to when you need cards for Aggro builds. It is also the color which has the most Land-D (Avalanche Riders; Boom // Bust; Flowstone Flood; Molten Rain; Seismic Mage; Stone Rain) and Artifact removal (Detonate; Goblin Tinkerer; Goblin Vandal; Ingot Chewer; Keldon Vandals; Manic Vandal; Shattering Pulse; Viashino Heretic), sometimes even doing either as you choose (Demolish; Icefall; Pillage; Stingmoggie; Volcanic Submersion). Being the fast color it is, a lot of Red Creatures also come with the ability Haste, allowing you to go for the kill from the start.


Green: – Mana Ramp

Once you Go Green, You will Never turn Back

Iconic Tribes: – Beasts, Elves

Green is the color for Creatures and mana. It is famous for its ability to ramp your mana through Creatures (Birds of Paradise; Devoted Druid; Joraga Treespeaker; Llanowar Elves; Priest of Titania; Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro; Gaea’s Cradle; Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary) and Land search (Rampant Growth; Sakura-Tribe Elder; Seek the Horizon; Skyshroud Claim; Sprouting Vines; Yavimaya Elder). Due to that fact, Green is also a color very good for Aggro builds as it has fast mana build up combine with Creatures which comes in all sizes and cc. Trample is Green Creatures’ specialty in that it has the most number of Creatures which have Trample. Being the Creature color, it is also the color which could produce a lot of Tokens (Ant Queen; Beacon of Creation; Bestial Menace; Crush of Wurms; Doubling Chant; Doubling Season; Gelatinous Genesis; Hornet Queen; Parallel Evolution; Saproling Symbiosis). Green is also famous for its graveyard recursion of anything (Elven Cache; Eternal Witness; Holistic Wisdom; Make a Wish; Praetor’s Counsel; Recollect; Regrowth; Restock; Woodland Guidance). So when you need recursion, Green provides the best of the lot. Last but not least, Green as the color which represents nature, it also has lots of removal for permanents (Chain of Acid; Mold Shambler; Rootgrapple; Woodfall Primus) but seems to spare the Creatures in this aspect.



With each color explained, you could see though sometimes overlapping that each color has its own field of specialty and capabilities. If you chose to play your EDH General by its access of colors, the above shall give you a rough idea as to what colors you could use as per you liking of play style. We shall leave you to digest the information for now. Next we shall discuss the Tribe of your Commander, so till then have fun exploring the colors.


This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.


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