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Friday, January 19, 2018

Set Review: Commander – The Commanders

July 10, 2011 by  
Filed under In-Depth FAQ, Review

EDH is all about Commanders. How you play the deck largely depends on your Commander. From the colors you could play in your deck, to how you play the deck. Back then, when Wizards decided to go with the printing of a set based on EDH, I was shown Karador, Ghost Chieftain, one of the new printed Legendary Creatures. Now, along with the release of the new set Mtg: Commander come more new Legendary Creatures you could use as your General.


New Commanders:

Out of the 51 cards, there are a total of 15 Legendary Creatures. Out of these 15 Commanders, 10 of them are tri-colors and the rest 5 of them are dual colors. The tri-color ones are made in what the Wizards called wedge color, where a color is combined with two of its enemy colors. As for the 5 dual colors Generals, they are made with enemy color combination. These as Wizards explained was due to the lack of enemy colors Commanders available. Below are each Commander and their color identity.

Wedge Commanders Duel Enemy-color Generals
Animar, Soul of Elements – URG Riku of Two Reflections – URG Basandra, Battle Seraph – RW
Damia Sage of Stones – GUB Ruhan of the Fomori – RWU Edric, Spymaster of Trest – GU
Ghave, Guru of Spores – BGW Tariel, Reckoner of Souls – WBR Nin, the Pain Artist – UR
Kaalia of the Vast – WBR The Mimeoplasm – GUB Skullbriar, the Walking Grave – GB
Karador, Ghost Chieftain – BGW Zedruu the Greathearted – RWU Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter – WB

Now we are done with the basic introduction of all the Generals, let’s get down to business with some strategies you could use to play with them. Here are just some suggestions we would like to share with you all for each of the Commanders.


Low CC to cast but color dependant. Color identity has Green though to support Color fixing so it is not too hard to cast. Protection from White and Black is not that useful as spot removal is not so popular in EDH. Serve more as a way to escape damage from the two colors. Animar greatest weakness is that it is just 1/1 to begin with. Anyone could easily just deal damage to it in response to you casting a Creature. Play some Creatures with Flash to pump it up in response to damage to allow it to survive the damage. Potential beatdown Creature when you cast Weenies to pump it up, which in turn lessen the cost to cast more Creatures, especially those with a lot of generic Mana in their Casting Cost.

  • Artifact Creatures and colorless Eldrazi – Since it is only generic mana which is reduce; Artifact Creatures and Eldrazi are usable here, eventually rendering them free to cast.
  • Combo: Animar + Glimpse of Nature + Artifact Creatures – Creature spells reduction of 1 less for each +1/+1 counter on it will turn devastating for your opponents when you use Artifact Creatures instead of colored ones. It would be like a spell chain of Artifact Creatures since each time you cast one and put more +1/+1 counters on Animar. Combined with Glimpse of Nature, you might be able to chain off like Elf Ball…..though of course the keyword here is “might” due to the nature of EDH decks. As you get more counters onto Animar, almost every Creature would be free. You may even be able to dump an Eldrazi onto the battlefield for free. This combo is a potential way of using Animar this way in normal variant.


Basandra has all the common stats of most Angels (Flying, 4/4, 5CC). What made her stands out from the rest is her ability to stop spells during combat. That means no pump spells, or removal during combat. One good way to abuse that is to use abilities since they are not affected. Another way will be to pack your deck with lots of first strikers and double strikers. That way, your Creatures have a better chance of surviving combat. Her color identity consists of a lot of Creatures with First Strike and Double Strike. You will be spoiled with choices of them. The force attack ability would be a nice way to bring fore those Creatures which pose a danger for as long as they stayed on the battlefield. As these Creatures are usually not meant to attack, forcing them to attack would get rid of them without wasting a removal.

  • Anger, Glory, Valor – The three graveyard Incarnations (all of their abilities work only when they are in the graveyard) of Basandra’s color identity. Since she is quite an Aggro General, Anger’s Haste to all would serve well for you to start the beatdown asap. Valor’s First Strike to all fits well to the above strategy, to kill your opponent’s Creatures before they even get to deal their combat damage. Finally Glory would protect your whole army for as much mana as you could pay its ability (2W each time). Just in case you didn’t notice, all the bonus only applies to your army.
  • Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion – White and Red is Boros color, so it is no wonder that the Guild Land would serve well too for Basandra, granting Double Strike to any Creature you want till end of turn.


A very Controlish General which could block smaller Creatures and Deahtouch the bigger ones. The drawback of skipping your draw step is actually negligible by her ability to fill up your hand back to seven each turn. It is more like the drawback of skipping the draw step is to help ensure you do not have to discard due to having too many cards in your hand. Color identity has lot of Tutors, card draw, disruption, even big Creatures.

  • Maro and Gang – Since your hand size is always full each of your turn, the below Creatures could be your main army. For their power and toughness is depending on your hand size, each of them would be at least 7/7 each of your turns.
Name Abilities
Maro The basic Creature with power and toughness equal to your hand size.
Sylvan Yeti Power is equal to your hand size.
Masumaro, First to Live Power and toughness equal double your hand size.
Aeon Chronicler Supend X – X3U. X can’t be 0. Whenever a time counter is removed from it while it’s exile, draw a card
Soramaro, First to Dream Flying. 4, Return a land you control to its owner’s hand: Draw a card.
Kagemaro, First to Suffer B, Sacrifice it: All Creatures get -X/-X until end of turn, where X is your hand size.
Thought Gorger Trample. 2/2 which enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter for each card in your hand and then discards your hand. Refills your hand with each +1/+1 counter on it as it leaves the battlefield.
Overbeing of Myth At the beginning of your draw step, draw an additional card.
  •  Hand Size matters – Expanding on with the full hand size each turn theme, here are also some cards which you could use to maximize the benefits from having a full hand.
Name Ability
Inner Calm, Outer Strength Pumps Creature power and toughness as per your hand size.
Rending Vines Destroy Artifact or Enchantment with CC equal to or less than your hand size while drawing a card in the process.
Sophic Centaur 2GG, Tap, Discard a card: Gain 2 life for each card in your hand. Not really that useful as General damage still kills you when there is 21 of it.
Spontaneous Generation Sorcery which spawns a 1/1 Green Saproling token as per your hand size. Instant army of at least 7 at the cost of 3G only.
Descendant of Masumaro Gain +1/+1 counters as per your hand size at your upkeep, and then loses them as per target opponent’s hand size. You could always aim the person with the smallest hand size each turn to ensure this 3CC is always big.
Descendant of Soramaro Library manipulation of the top X cards, where X is your hand size.
Meishin, the Mind Cage All Creatures get -X/-0, where X is your hand size.
Oboro Envoy Flying. 2, Return a Land you control to its owner’s hand: Target Creature gets –X/-0 until end of turn, where X is your hand size.
Kagemaro’s Clutch Aura which makes enchanted Creature gets -X/-X, where X is your hand size.
Empyrial Plate Equipment to pumps the equipped Creature’s power and toughness as per you hand size.


“The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Edric truly embraces this phrase and drills it into your opponents. He would be the political tool for you to prevent opponents from attacking you since the combat damage had to be dealt to your opponents in order for the Creatures’ controller to be able to draw a card. Therefore it would not draw them any cards to attack you unless it is to take you out of the game, but that would also take out the card advantage they would gain from Edric. Kinda messes with their thinking. Card draw would be abundant, therefore those Green and Blue Creatures used for Damia’s army, which all have power and toughness depending on your hand size, could also be use here. In additionally, you should also include ways to allow you have no maximum hand size if you like to draw all the cards you could. Library of Leng, Reliquary Tower, Spellbook and Venser’s Journal are all good choices since they are Artifacts or Lands which are harder to deal with than Creatures.

  • Unblockable – Since you have to physically deal combat damage in order to draw cards, there is no better evasion for Creatures to get pass than being unblockable. Blue provides most for this ability for all shapes and sizes of Creatures, giving you enough to form an army of unblockables. Below are some of the unblockables you could use.
Name P/T Other abilites
AEther Figment 1/1 Kicker 3. Enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters when kicked.
Blighted Agent 1/1 Infect
Blockade Runner 2/2 U: To be unblockable until end of turn.
Bouncing Beebles 2/2 Unblockable as long as defending player controls an Artifact, like for eg. a Sol Ring. 😀
Bubbling Beebles 3/3 Unblockable as long as defending player controls an Enchantment.
Cephalid Inkshrouder 2/1 Discard a card: Gains Shroud and is unblockable until end of turn
Cephalid Pathmage 1/2 Tap, Sacrifice it: Target Creature is unblockable until end of turn.
Covert Operative 3/2 None
Deep-Sea Kraken 6/6 Suspend 9 – 2U. Time counters are removed as well when your opponents cast spells.
Dream Prowler 1/5 Unblockable as long as it’s attacking alone. Good combination with Exalted.
Escape Artist 1/1 U, Discard a card: Bounce itself.
Ethereal Usher 2/3 U, Tap: Target Creature is unblockable until end of turn. Transmute 1UU for 6CC.
Hada Spy Patrol 1/1 Level up 2U. Level 1~2: 2/2 unblockable. Level 3+: 3/3, Shroud unblockable
Higure, the Still Wind 3/4 Ninjutsu 2UU. Whenever Higure deals combat damage to a player, Tutor for a Ninja card. 2: Target Ninja is unblockable
Hunted Phantasm 4/6 Political card which gives target opponent five 1/1 Red Goblin tokens as it enters the battlefield.
Jhessian Infiltrator 2/2 None
Metathran Elite 2/3 Unblockable as long as it’s enchanted.
Metathran Soldier 1/1 None
Neurok Invisimancer 2/1 Make target Creature unblockable until end of turn as it enters the battlefield.
Neurok Spy 2/2 Unblockable as long as defending player controls an Artifact, like for eg. a Mana Crypt. 😛
Phantom Warrior 2/2 None
Plasma Elemental 4/1 None
Talas Warrior 2/2 None
Tidal Kraken 6/6 None
Trespassing Souleater 2/2 PU (U or 2 life): Unblockable until end of turn.
Scrapdiver Serpent 5/5 Unblockable as long as defending player controls an Artifact, like for eg. a Sensei’s Divining Top 😀
Walking Dream 3/3 Does not untap during your turn if an opponent controls two or more Creatures
Wormfang Crab 3/6 Exile a permanent you control as it enters the battlefield. Return that permanent when it leaves the battlefield.
  •  Combo: Edrik + Consecrated Sphinx / Mind’s Eye – Reaps the card draws your opponents had gained from you. In fact, you are drawing two cards for every one card your opponents draw with Consecrated Sphinx. Mind’s Eye works the same except you have to pay 1 if you want to draw along with your opponents.
  • Combo: Edrik + Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur – Your opponents can draw all they want, but they have to clear their hand before their turn ends. Kinda throws away all the political value Edrik provides. So be prepare to be public enemy when you cast this one.


Here is your one-man army. For as long as you have ways to replenish the +1/+1 counters on it, you could keep on churning out Saprolings with those +1/+1 counters. Ghave also has the handy ability to let you sacrifice your Creatures, those that are going to die, and convert them into +1/+1 counters. If it was a spell which had caused your Creature to die, that would cause that spell to fizzle. Color identity is also has control and disruption. The best permanent control is available with the likes of Beast Within, Desert Twister, Vindicate, Pernicious Deed, etc.

  • Proliferate – Use to increase or maintain the number of +1/+1 counters on Ghave.
  • Persist Creatures – Although all of them become almost invincible once Heartmender hits the battlefield (Heartmender removes -1/-1 counter at your upkeep), Ghave will be the one to protect them before Heartmender comes. What you would do is sacrifice a Persist Creature with no -1/-1 counter on it to put a +1/+1 counter on one with -1/-1 counter, removing both kind of counters in the process.
  • Graft Creatures – Some of these Creatures has the ability to allow other Creatures with +1/+1 counters on them to gain an ability. Below are some of them.
Name Ability
Aquastrand Spider Gives the Creature Reach until end of turn.
Cytospawn Shambler Gives the Creature Trample until end of turn.
Simic Basilisk Until end of turn, Creatures dealt combat damage by the Creature is destroyed at end of combat.
Sporeback Troll Regenerates the Creature.
  • Combo: Ghave + Daily Regimen – 1W to replenish the +1/+1 counters you used to make Saprolings.
  • Combo: Ghave + Rite of Passage / Vigor – Converts damage into +1/+1 counters. This combo is especially sick when used with Vigor, since the damage is prevented and then converted into +1/+1 counters, Ghave will not die from damage while you make even more Saprolings with those counters gained.
  • Combo: Ghave + Sadistic Glee – Every time you sacrifices a Creature to make a +1/+1 counter, no matter where you put it, Ghave will get a +1/+1 counter in the process, which you could use to make more Saprolings to sacrifice for more +1/+1 counters.
  • Combo: Ghave + Doubling Season + Ashnod’s Altar – Ghave and Doubling Season alone is a powerful combo as every +1/+1 counter and token are double when you make them. Adding Ashnod’s Altar to the mix will give you an infinite combo where you get a very BIG Ghave in the end.


To fully benefit from Kaalia, you have to be very tribal either towards Angels, Demons or Dragons. You could choose either one or just dump all of them into the deck since either one of the tribes is already powerful enough on their own. Casting cost is not a problem since all you need to do is just attack with Kaalia and you get them all onto the battlefield, but it is more recommendable to stick to Angels as their casting cost are more easier met. Most Dragons tend to have high casting cost and Demons have huge drawback to upkeep them. With the ability being attack trigger, Kaalia would most of the time be the prime target of removal once she enters the battlefield as frankly no one likes to be hit by the girl followed by an Angel, Demon or Dragon. It would serve her well to have a Lightning Greaves or Swiftfoot Boots around to protect her, and also to attack right away when you summon her. Having Flying helps Kaalia to avoid being blocked and killed. Her color identity also provides you with Tutors to find specific card you need, not to mention it also contains control and disruption too.

  • Combo: Kaalia + Conspiracy – Now you get to dump any Creature you like onto the battlefield. Some extreme choices include the likes of Darksteel Colossus and Blightsteel Colossus; the later which is an auto win if your opponent is open.


The cost reduction of 1 per Creature in your graveyard would hit a point where Karador would cost just BGW to cast. Creatures who could sacrifice themselves are welcome here, since you could recast them again with Karador’s second ability. It’s like having an extended hand from the graveyard for Creatures. With Karador color identity, graveyard recursion is not an issue too, as those colors specialize in that field. Like Ghave, Karador color identity also provides the same kind of control and disruption to help you deal with threats.

  • Lhurgoyf and gang – With so many Creatures in the graveyard, Lhurgoyf and Mortivore which both power and toughness depends on the number of Creatures in there are very powerful in the deck. Going one step higher, you could also include Lord of Extinction which counts all cards in all graveyards. And although only counting your graveyard, Nightstalker Engine; Revenant; Svogthos, the Restless Tomb also fits well with Karador theme of having a full graveyard of Creatures. Svogthos, the Restless Tomb, being a man-land, is also hard to deal with, as most EDH removal is mass destroy Sorceries.
  • Mortal Combat – Your alternate win con. As you will be filling up your graveyard to benefit from Karador cost reduction and recursion ability, having twenty or more Creatures in your graveyard is not that difficult. You could even search for Mortal Combat with Tutors if needed.
  • Necrotic Ooze – With so many Creatures in your graveyard, some of them are bound to have a couple of activated abilities which Necrotic Ooze could use.
  • Filth, Brawn, Genesis, Glory, Valor – As with any theme which revolves around having a graveyard, these Incarnations work best when they are in the graveyards. Genesis would also provide you with more graveyard recursion should you need any.


Customized Creatures are always good as they enter the battlefield best suited to your needs. For Mimeoplasm, it not only come into play customized according to your choosing, but also doubles as a graveyard removal. Since its power comes from the graveyards, those graveyards must be filled up with Creatures first before Mimeoplasm could be of much use. An empty graveyard means Mimeoplasm has not choices to choose from. Looking at its color identity, you could use Black for Creature removal to fill up the graveyards; while Blue could also be used here to mill away libraries for hope of hitting a Creature in the process.

  • Shroud and Hexproof – Since Mimeoplasm copies one of the two chosen Creatures, it would be a good choice to let one of it have either Shroud or Hexproof to better protects Mimeoplasm.
  • High Power Creatures – For the additional +1/+1 counters part of Mimeoplasm, here are some high power Creatures you could use. These guys are chosen as they are not that difficult to cast normally and serve as your beaters too besides being Mimeoplasm’s food.
Name P/T Ability
Death’s Shadow 13/13 Gets -X/-X, where X is your life total.
Krosan Cloudscraper 13/13 Upkeep cost of 2GG. Morph 7GG.
Phyrexian Dreadnought 12/12 Trample. Requires sacrifice of any number of Creatures with total power of 12.
Denizen of the Deep 11/11 Bounce all other Creatures you control when it enters the battlefield
It That Betrays 11/11 Annihilator 2. Gain control of nontoken permanents your opponents sacrifice.
Artisan of Kozilek 10/9 When you cast it, you return a Creature card from your graveyard to battlefield. Annihilator 2
Doomgape 10/10 Trample. Upkeep cost of sacrificing a Creature and gain life equal to its toughness.
Skyshroud Behemoth 10/10 Fading 2
Supreme Exemplar 10/10 Flying. Champion an Elemental.
  •  Life’s Finale – What better way to fill up the graveyard than to wipe out the board. Now with Life’s Finale you get to grab three more Creatures from one of your opponent’s library.
  • Survival of the Fittest – The best way to search for Creatures according to the situation. Add in spells which could reanimate Creatures from the graveyard as well to maximize the full graveyard. Do remember though that Mimeoplasm exiles the card it copies, so it always best to look at your opponents’ graveyards first for Mimeoplasm’s food.
  • Buried Alive – Like Survival of the Fittest, Buried Alive also serves as your Tutor for Mimeoplasm.


This is like Reparations, an old Enchantment from Mirage. Like the flavor text “Sorry I burned down your village. Here’s some gold.” totally fits what Nin is doing. For killing a Creature, you pay the controller X cards. In that way, you could use Nin as your political card to your opponents. Whoever wants cards could just go to you. Although with a permanent way to deal X damage to your opponent Creatures is nice, do remember that Nin could deal that damage to any Creature. That means you could also target your Creatures and draw the cards. This would make Nin becomes “XUR, Tap: Draw X cards”.

  • Combo: Nin + Stuffy Doll – Since the way to use Stuffy Doll is to hit it, what better way than to do it and draw cards in the process? For every damage you dealt to Stuffy Doll, you will draw a card, while the chosen player gets hit with more damage to kill him or her. When the chosen opponent is die, Blue will provide you with spells to bounce Stuffy Doll, so you could target another player.
  • Combo: Nin + Mogg Maniac – Like the combo with Stuffy Doll. Mogg Maniac is the one shot method as Mogg Maniac will mostly die from the damage. Ways to revive it is needed if you want to do it again.
  • Combo: Nin + Cowardice – Although you will not be drawing cards from this combo, it is a good way to get rid of Creatures which you could kill with damage. And also you could put in other cards to fully utilize Cowardice. Cards like Cowardice’s good partner back then, Jolting Merfolk, which has Fading 4 and uses those fade counters to tap Creatures.


Riku is considered as the Mirari for almost your whole deck. For as long as you have the mana, you could just double every Instant and Sorcery you cast; plus the nontoken Creatures just have to enter the battlefield and not cast. Meaning that Creatures you blinked out could be copied. Creatures with Enter the Battlefield effects are best suited for this purpose. The Green of Riku color identity provides you with the necessary mana ramp and color fix you need to pay for Riku copying abilities.

  • Token Beatdown – Any of the below Creatures work well for this strategy if you want a full army of tokens to beat down your opponents. Since you only need the Creatures to just enter the battlefield, include Erratic Portal to bounce those Creatures to cast again for more tokens.
Name Tokens Produced when entering Battlefield
Benthicore Two 1/1 Blue Merfolk Wizard.
Hunted Phantasm Five 1/1 Red Goblin for target opponent. Political card.
Emrakul’s Hatcher Three 0/1 colorless Eldrazi Spawn with “Sacrifice this Creature: Add 1 to your mana pool”.
Hearthcage Giant Three 3/1 Red Elemental Shaman.
Hunted Dragon Three 2/2 White Knight with First Strike for target opponent. Political card
Siege-Gang Commander Three 1/1 Red Goblin.
Wort, the Raidmother Two 1/1 Red and Green Goblin Warrior. Added ability of giving all Red and Green Instant or Sorcery spell you cast has Conspire.
Ambassador Oak One 1/1 Green Elf Warrior.
Avenger of Zendikar One 0/1 Green Plant for each Land you control.
Caller of Claw One 2/2 Green Bear for each nontoken Creature you control which died this turn.
Deranged Hermit Four 1/1 Green Squirrel.
Guardian of Cloverdell Three 1/1 White Kithkin Soldier.
Hunted Troll Four 1/1 Faerie with Flying for target opponent. Political card.
Kozilek’s Predator Two 0/1 colorless Eldrazi Spawn with “Sacrifice this Creature: Add 1 to your mana pool”.
Nest Invader One 0/1 colorless Eldrazi Spawn with “Sacrifice this Creature: Add 1 to your mana pool”.
Patagia Viper Two 1/1 Green and Blue Snake.
Wolfbriar Elemental Multikicker G. One 2/2 Green Wolf for each time it was kicked.
  •  Retrievers – Most Instants and Sorceries go to the graveyard after you had cast them. So in order to truly abuse the copy ability of Riku, ways to retrieve these spells is needed. Below are some Creatures which retrieve stuff from your graveyard, and being a Creature means that they all could help you attack or block if needed. Also you could copy the Creatures as they enter the battlefield to get back more stuff while you are at it.
Name Stuff Returning
Mnemonic Wall Return target Instant or Sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand when it enters the battlefield.
Scrivener Return target Instant card from your graveyard to your hand when it enters the battlefield.
Anarchist Return Sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand when it enters the battlefield.
Izzet Chronarch Return target Instant or Sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand when it enters the battlefield.
Eternal Witness Return any target card from your graveyard to your hand when it enters the battlefield
Genesis Return any one of the above from your graveyard to your hand at the cost 2G each turn.


Although who Ruhan will attack is unpredictable, he is still a 3 turn clock if that opponent is damn unlucky. At 4CC and 7/7, he is quite the beatstick even for 3 colors required to cast him. His color identity provides control through White and Blue while Red shall give you the direct damage to finish your opponents off if needed. Not that effective for multiplayer but more suited to 1v1. Ruhan could also be use in normal variant as the 3 colors has very nice control cards (Force of Will; Daze; Mental Misstep; Swords to Plowshares; Path to Exile; Lightning Helix… with Ruhan as a finisher….maybe a nice Zoo deck). The reason why Ruhan is good in 1v1 or normal variant is that you only have ONE random opponent to choose from in these formats.

  • Anger, Valor, Wonder, Glory – As Ruhan will be attacking each turn if able, it is obvious fact to equip him with various abilities to better enhance his ability to better survive in combat. These Incarnations of his color identity, providing you with Haste, First Strike, Flying and Protection from a chosen color, would serve not only making Ruhan a powerful attacker, but also your whole army too.
  • Giant Tribal Theme – Ruhan color identity consist of a lot of Giants which are very good for EDH decks. Beside the three Titans (Inferno Titan; Sun Titan; Frost Titan) which are an auto add in if you could afford them, below are some other Giant theme cards recommended to be used.
Name Description
Boldwyr Heavyweights Low casting cost high power political card. (8/8 with Trample for 2RR)
Borderland Behemoth Gets +4/+4 for each other Giant you control.
Desolation Giant Wrath of God when kicked.
Giant Harbinger Tutor for Giant card.
Hamletback Goliath Gets +1/+1 counters equal to the power of another Creature which enters the battlefield.
Stinkdrinker Daredevil Not a Giant but reduces your Giant spells by 2.
Sunrise Sovereign Giant lord which give your Giants +2/+2 and Trample.
Jötun Grunt Graveyard recursion.
Stonehewer Giant Repeatable Equipment Tutor.
  •  Warrior Tribal Theme – Expanding the Tribal theme, Warrior could also be used to your advantage. Below are some Warrior theme cards recommended to be used.
Name Description
Boldwyr Intimidator Make your army unblockable by turning your opponent’s blockers into Cowards.
Brighthearth Banneret Reduce your Warrior spells coast by 1.
Lovisa Coldeyes Warrior, Berserker and Barbarian lord which gives +2/+2 and Haste.
Aysen Crusader Gets bigger with more Warriors you control. (Card had been Errata from counting Hero to Soldier and Warrior)
Obsidian Battle-Axe Warrior Equipment. Provide equipped Creature with +2/+1 and haste. Auto attach to Warrior which enters the battlefield.


With Haste and the ability to keep all counters on it whenever it dies or get exiled, this makes Skullbriar an aggressive attacker. As the counters only drop off when it get bounced or put back to the library, ways to sacrifice it is quite important to ensure Skullbriar stays its size. Both Black and Green of its color identity provides very good control cards like Damnation; Life’s Finale; Desert Twister; Maelstrom Pulse; Pernicious Deed; etc. Also use Green as your mana ramp and color fix for build up to stability of deck.

  • Forgotten Ancient – Gets a +1/+1 counter for each spell cast and distributes any number of those counters to any Creatures you control.
  • Armor Thrull – Provides +1/+2 counters for Skullbriar.
  • Dragon Blood – Provides +1/+1 counters for Skullbriar.
  • Graft Creatures – As with the Creatures working for Ghave, Guru of Spores, those Graft Creatures will also provide Skullbriar with useful abilities like Reach (Aquastrand Spider), Trample (Cytospawn Shambler), Regeneration (Sporeback Troll), destroying all Creatures dealt combat damage by the Creature (Simic Basilisk)
  • Combo: Skullbriar +Attrition– A way to keep Skullbriar away from the hand or library; destroying a onblack Creature while at it.
  • Combo: Skullbriar +Viscera Seer– A way to keep Skullbriar away from the hand or library; Scry 1 in the process.
  • Combo: Skullbriar + Greater Good – Since counters on Skullbriar will keep accumulating if you are able to keep it out of your hand or library, the cards you could draw from sacrificing it will be more. Also a good way to put Genesis into the graveyard for recursion later on.
  • Combo: Skullbriar + Ashnod’s Altar or Phyrexian Altar – Get some mana out of the sacrificing Skullbriar. These Artifacts could also be use for ramping of mana for early games.


Tariel is pretty much a win more Commander. As an Angel, Flying is a given ability. Vigilance allows you to attack with her and still be able to use her ability to reanimate a random Creature from opponent’s graveyard, adding insult to injury. Her color identity offers quite a lot of flexibilities and control over the board. With board sweepers against Creatures, plus control and disruption from White and Black. Black also provides you with the best Tutors to search for the card you need for the situation.

  • Creatures Board Sweeper – These spells serve duel purpose for you here. Firstly it rid the board of Creatures. Secondly, it fills up the graveyards with more choices for Tariel to reanimate. Though be warned that with this huge amount of board sweepers, you would become everyone target board in no time as you spoiled their effort to build up their board.
Name Description
Austere Command Besides having the choices of choosing to destroy all Creatures with CC 3 or less; and 4 or greater, there also the extra choices of destroying all Artifacts or Enchantments should the need arises.
Day of Judgment Destroy all Creatures. Use Creatures with Regeneration to let your own Creatures stay.
Hour of Reckoning Comes with Convoke. Destroy all nontoken Creature.
Kirtar’s Wrath Destroy all Creatures outright. Gives you two 1/1 White Flying Spirit tokens if you have Threshold.
Mageta the Lion Repeatable Wrath of God with legs.
Rout Instant Wrath of God if you pay 2 more to cast it.
Solar Tide Comes with Entwine. Choices between destroying Creatures with power 2 or less; or 3 or greater. Possible to cast even with Tariel on the battlefield.
Sunscour Free Day of Judgment (Requires exile of two White Cards from hand).
Winds of Rath Wrath of God which spares enchanted Creatures. Could help your politics with opponents by using the Vow cycle Auras.
Wrath of God Everyone favorite Creature sweeper
Damnation The Black Wrath of God.
Decree of Pain Black Wrath of God which also draw you cards for each Creature destroyed. Comes with Cycling and Cycling triggered ability of -2/-2 until end of turn to all Creatures.
Forced March Can be cast even with Tariel on the battlefield as her CC is high.
Overwhelming Forces Another Decree of Pain without Cycling.
Plague Wind Most hated Wrath of God. Guaranteed to make you everyone Archenemy.
  •  Clear the unwanted – As Tariel’s ability is random, you might not get what you want. One possible way to deal with this problem is to exile those Creatures you do not want, ensuring you get only the Creatures you want.
Name Description
Selfless Exorcist Exiles the Creature and that card deals damage equal to its power to Selfless Exorcist.
Cemetery Reaper Zombie lord which creates Zombie token by exiling Creature card from the gravayard
Eater of the Dead Exiles Creature card and untaps itself. Combo with Equipments which would let it tap for effect (eg. Hankyu; Heavy Arbalest; Paradise Mantle; Viridian Longbow)to clear the graveyards of all Creatures which you do not want.
Withered Wretch 1: exile a card.
Zombie Cannibal Exile a card on combat damage to player.


With both Flying and Lifelink, VIsh could nets you a lot of life as it attacks, but life is not all that important in EDH. This is sole because that you lose the game if you take 21 Commander Damage regardless of how much life you have. The unique thing about Vish is that you could sacrifice Creatures to him and let him gain +1/+1 counters as per the sacrificed Creature; then remove all +1/+1 counters on him to let target Creature gain -1/-1 until end of turn. This ability let you gain a little control of the board by getting rid of Creatures. Vish could also win you the game in one shot when he connects with your opponent. This could be achieved by sacrificing Creatures to get his power to the lethal 21 General Damage for the win. Sort of like combing all your Creatures power all into one. Color identity consists of control and disruption via both White and Black; not forgetting that Black is also the color well known for its vast number of Tutors, so you could search for the right card at the right time.

  • Proliferate – When there is no Creatures in sight to kill, this would be a good way to pass the time while waiting for something to come along. Contagion Clasp and even Contagion Engine could be use, over and over again, for this purpose.
  • Unspeakable Symbol – Let you use those extra life points you gain from Vish to put more +1/+/1 counters on him.
  • Combo: Vish + Extractor Demon – Since you need to sacrifice Creatures to get those +1/+1 counters, this Demon could help to mill your opponents at the same time, providing you targets to reanimate from later on.
  • Combo: Vish + Grave Pact – Forces everyone to sacrifice while Vish gets bigger.
  • Combo: Vish + Reveillark – Brings in more Creatures to sacrifice as you sacrifice it. Total net gain of eight +1/+1 counters.
  • Combo: Vish + Sadistic Glee – Gets one more +1/+1 counter as you sacrifice the Creature
  • Combo: Vish + Twilight Drover – This Creature gets +1/+1 counters when Vish “eats” tokens for +1/+1 counters. In turn, you could use the +1/+1 counters gained to create more tokens to sacrifice to Vish, creating massive amount of tokens or +1/+1 counters for Vish for as much mana as you can afford. Throw in Teysa, Orzhov Scion to get more use out of the White Spirit tokens.


Zedruu benefits only come when your opponents control more stuff of yours. That being said, you would wonder how the hell you get the advantage when you keep giving opponents your stuff. The way to play around this is to give away those things which would still work regardless of who controls them; or things which you do not want to control. Zendruu color identity also provides you with control via White and Blue, so that you will not lose too much control as you give away your stuff.

  • Donate them away – Adding on to the theme of giving away your stuff, you could also use these cards to pass over stuff to your opponents.
Name Description
Bazaar Trader Give away an Artifact, Creature, or Land.
Chromeshell Crab Exchange control of it with your opponent’s Creature, like his or her General, when it Morph face up.
Cultural Exchange Massive exchange of Creatures. Tokens are recommended for this kind of change.
Donate Give one permanent away.
Gilded Drake Exchange control of it with your opponent’s Creature, like his or her General, when it enters the battlefield.
Juxtapose Exchange control of Creatures with highest CC with target opponent.
Legerdemain Exchange control of Artifact or Creature with your opponent’s permanent which share one of those types.
Political Trickery Exchange control of Lands with your opponent. Grab his Commander Tower and give him an Island in exchange. Muahahahahah
Puca’s Mischief Repeatable exchange control of permanents with your opponents each of your turn. Powerful play as EDH is full of high CC permanents.
Shifting Borders Exchange control of two Lands with your opponent.
Spawnbroker Exchange control of Creatures with power equal or less.
Vedalken Plotter Exchange control of Lands with your opponent. Comes with a body.
  • Things you don’t want – Not everything you give away is desired by your opponents. They may even cursed and swear at you for giving it to them. Here are some examples of stuff your opponents will hate you for giving it to them.
Name Description
Delusions of Mediocrity You gain the 10 life as it enters the battlefield while your opponent will lose the 10 life after you gave it to him or her.
Illusions of Grandeur You gain the 20 life from it as it enters the battlefield, but your opponent will EVENTUALLY lose the 20 life after you gave it to him or her.
Bronze Bombshell Explodes in your opponent’s face when you gave it away.
Jinxed Choker / Jinxed Idol / Jinxed Ring Each comes with its own way to be passed to the opponent (Choker automatically at the end of turn; Idol & Ring by sacrificing Creatures) and hurts the controller for controlling them (At the beginning of upkeep, Choker deals damage by the no. of charge counters on it; while Idol just deals 2 damage; Ring deals 1 damage whenever a nontoken permanent is sent to the graveyard)
  • They work for you wherever they are – Artifacts and Enchantments which stops Creatures or shuts down things could also be used. You could then pass these over as they still do their work while at your opponent’s side of the table.
Name Description
Arrest Enchanted Creature can’t attack and block and activated abilities also can’t be activated.
Bound in Silence Enchanted Creature can’t attack and block.
Cessation Enchanted Creature can’t attack and block. Returns to your hand when it goes to the graveyard from the battlefield.
Crackdown Locks down nonwhite Creatures with power 3 or greater.
Faith’s Fetters Shuts down the permanent activated nonmana abilities. If it is Creature, it can’t attack and block.
Pacifism Enchanted Creature can’t attack and block.
Prison Term Enchanted Creature can’t attack and block. Possibility of coming back to your side of the table if your opponent did not realize the combo behind it.
Stasis Cocoon Locks down Artifact by shutting down its activated abilities. If it is Creature, it can’t attack and block.
Dream Tides Locks down Green Creatures while instilling cost of 2 to untap for nonGreen Creatures.
Rising Waters Locks down Lands. Use of alternate mana sources beside Lands to get out of lock.
Static Orb As long as it is untapped, locks down all but two permanents for each player. Players are usually screwed if caught off guard.
Winter Orb As long as it is untapped, locks down all but one Land for each player. Same as Static Orb.
















Do note that EDH is about innovation and playing that you like. Different people have different ideas to build their own decks so this review is not a hard and fast rule that you should follow to build your deck around these Commanders. So do leave a comment or maybe share a way you had found to truly break these Commanders. With that we end the review for this set.

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



2 Responses to “Set Review: Commander – The Commanders”
  1. smallTalkKing says:

    Yo Edward 🙂 nice reviews and many great deck building ideas 🙂 and i agree with you on one point about edh : innovation and i also like to add : THINK BIG !!

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