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The Ultimate Guide to EDH: How to Play Commander
Last updated on November 1, 2023
Demonic Tutor | Illustration by Scott Chou
When you started playing Magic, odds are that you were playing a deck that was just a combination of some of the cards you owned. Cards that you liked (and had enough of in the first place) to put in one big pile and call it your deck.
This simplicity is my most missed characteristic of the typical Constructed formats like Standard and Modern . Not only do you have a more narrow range of cards but you also need to get up to four of each.
Commander’s success in both casual and competitive settings can be attributed to many of its qualities. The wide range of legal cards and how easy it is to get your hands on them are two of its best. But what else is there to know about this popular format?
Hold on to your hats, I’m about to dive right in.
What Is the Commander Format?
Sol Ring | Illustration by Mike Bierek
Commander, also known as Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH), is a singleton format that revolves around building 100-card decks that usually work around a single card: that deck’s “commander.” Commander has its own set of unique rules that separates it from the typical Constructed formats.
The Rules of Commander
Commanders must always be a legendary creature and your deck can only include cards with mana symbols that are present on your commander’s card face (this is their color identity ) . This means if your commander is a card like Morophon, the Boundless , then your deck can use any cards as all five color symbols are present on the card.
Alternatively, if your commander is a colorless card with no colored mana symbols like Kozilek, the Great Distortion , then you’d be limited to colorless cards plus wastes instead of basic lands.
When your commander dies, you can recast it, but you have to pay a tax of two additional mana each time .
A commander deck has to be exactly 99 cards, plus your commander.
You deck must include no more than one copy of each card (i.e., it’s singleton). No playsets required here (woohoo!). This rule is what helps Commander be such an accessible format for players on a budget as well as what leads to players having unique and creative ways to play. There’s no need to buy four of each on-color fetch or shock land . This saves you the price of a used car payment each time you build a deck.
There’s also an alternative way to win than regular damage. Every time a commander deals combat damage to a player it also does commander damage. If a player receives 21 or more commander damage from a single commander throughout the course of the game, they lose.
Your starting life total in EDH is 40 instead of 20 and the format runs as a free-for-all between two to six players.
The higher life total and multiplayer aspects mean that games not only go much longer but also offer a wide variety of ways to interact with your opponents. Strategies like group hug , where you deliver table-wide benefits to your opponents, become a very opportunistic game plan. Join forces from Commander 2011 is a good example of a group hug mechanic.
Cards like Heartbeat of Spring ramp everyone into their threats as early as possible and Dictate of Kruphix gives them the resources to keep going. Group hug can be a unique and refreshing way to play Magic. Playing politics and forming secret alliances are standard methods of play and strategies that leave you as the last man standing are paramount in a multiplayer environment. Like in this Queen Marchesa-led EDH deck .
EDH vs. Commander? Which Is “Right”?
Commander’s origin dates back to a format called “Elder Dragon Highlander” that was nearly identical aside from the options you had to pick from for your “commander.” Instead of any legendary creature being your commander, players chose from one of the Elder Dragon creature cards printed in sets like Legends , Masters II , and Chronicles .
These original Elder Dragons include Arcades Sabboth, Chromium Rhuell, Nicol Bolas, Palladia-Mors, Vaevictis Asmadi, Ugin, and Piru, each representing a different 3- color combo . These origins resulted in the format having the alternative and exchangeable title of “EDH.” This acronym is also used in the competitive Commander sub-format often referred to as “cEDH.”
Why Is Commander So Popular?
Commander’s success and popularity stem from its ability to act as both a casual format as well as one with a large level of creativity. There’s no serious meta-gaming aside from the ultra-competitive scene and the format allows players to build decks that represent their play styles. The scope of a typical Commander/EDH deck is much broader than that of a Standard deck that usually aims to reach a very narrow goal as efficiently as possible.
Commander also gives you the option to throw a bunch of “good stuff” cards into a pile, add in some mana fixing and table interaction, and just have it work . Your ability to politic and persuade acts as a sort of equalizer between your deck’s power level and that of your opponent’s deck.
My love for the format comes from two aspects. First is the part where I only need to buy one copy of Snapcaster Mage for my deck instead of four , and second is that it allows for interactions that simply don’t happen in any other format. Where else do you get to Cyclonic Rift an entire board of elves , dragons , and zombies in one turn? Certainly not Standard, that’s for sure.
I don’t know of another format where I get to play Expropriate and hear three of my best friends groan in annoyance. Commander also gives cool cards like Blatant Thievery a home!
Any card with white or black borders that was released by Wizards of the Coast is legal in Commander, with a few notable exceptions. This is in stark contrast to having a legal range of sets like in Modern or Pioneer . So as long as the cards you’re running aren’t acorn-foiled or silver-bordered from a promotional set like Unglued , and it’s not on the ban list then you’re good to go!
Commander Banned List
Speaking of the ban list , here are all of the cards that are banned in Commander:
- 25 cards with the card type “Conspiracy.”
- 9 cards that reference “playing for ante.”
- Cards whose art, text, name, or combination thereof are racially or culturally offensive are banned in all formats.
- Ancestral Recall
- Black Lotus
- Braids, Cabal Minion
- Coalition Victory
- Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
- Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
- Falling Star
- Gifts Ungiven
- Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
- Iona, Shield of Emeria
- Leovold, Emissary of Trest
- Library of Alexandria
- Limited Resources
- Lutri, the Spellchaser
- Mox Emerald
- Mox Sapphire
- Panoptic Mirror
- Paradox Engine
- Primeval Titan
- Prophet of Kruphix
- Recurring Nightmare
- Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
- Sundering Titan
- Sway of the Stars
- Sylvan Primordial
- Tolarian Academy
- Trade Secrets
- Yawgmoth's Bargain
Where to Play Commander
Paper and irl.
Many Magic players ask the question: “Where can I play Commander IRL?” Lucky for us, Commander has been growing increasingly mainstream over the last few years. In addition to playing in casual pods with friends, local game stores have started their own casual Commander events. My LGS has even made an entire weekly event called “Commander Monday” that separates players into random pods based on the strength of their deck. Commander also found a permanent home in the side events at many Magic conventions and gatherings.
MTG Online has long offered both 1v1 and multiplayer Commander games in both casual and league formats. It offers a great alternative to paper Commander thanks to the affordability of buying singles on the platform.
Since MTG Arena only has cards from Ixalan plus a few remastered sets and onward, the sets that would be legal in Commander aren’t even accessible on the platform. WotC introduced “ Historic Brawl ” as a workaround. This is essentially the Arena variant of Commander/EDH , the big difference being the only legal cards are the cards in Historic , which includes all cards on MTG Arena except for a few banned cards (looking at you, Oko, Thief of Crowns ).
Commander Precons and WotC Decks
With every new set comes a new set of preconstructed decks from WotC for us to pick from. These decks offer a bang-for-your-buck type entry into the format and usually come with Commander staples like Sol Ring and Arcane Signet . Each release covers a variety of themes and play styles within each deck and is a solid choice in terms of content and value for new players.
March of the Machine Commander Decks
The newly released March of the Machi ne offer three different archetypes to choose from: a Jeskai “spellslinger deck that draws power from convoke “Divine Convocation” deck, a Orzhov “Growing Threat” list, and a Esper “Cavalry Charge” deck. The three decks also all include a new Planechase card, reviving the old, fan-favorite game mode.
Divine Convocation , as you may have guessed, builds around the the convoke mechanic. This means you’ll empower a traditional Jeskai-spells playstyle with a creature-based ramp strategy to quickly pull ahead and out-tempo your opponents.
The deck includes a variety of convoke cards as well as token-generators to get them online and in-play as quickly as possible. Once you get a wide board up and running, you’ll be able to continuously cast convoke cards and reap the card-advantage rewards from your commander, Kasla, the Broken Halo .
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Growing Threat is your Orzhov deck. It leans heavily into incubate and Phyrexian tribal, which is an interesting and fun combination.
It’s commander, Brimaz, Blight of Oreskos , is a 3/4 Phyrexian Cat gives consistent incubate triggers as well as a proliferate effect on every end step (assuming you meet the conditions). It’s a strong general, and most of the deck is tailored to this card specifically.
- Growing Threat (White-Black deck)—100-card ready-to-play March of the Machine Commander Deck with 2 Traditional Foil Legendary cards and 98 nonfoil cards
- 10 Planechase cards and 1 planar die to trigger unique abilities and jump across the Multiverse
- 2-card Collector Booster Sample Pack—contains 2 special treatment cards from the March of the Machine main set, including 1 Rare or Mythic Rare and at least 1 Traditional Foil card
- Accessories—1 Foil-Etched Display Commander, 10 double-sided tokens, Life Tracker, and deck box
- Deck introduces 10 never-before-seen MTG cards to Commander
Cavalry Charge is an Esper, knight-tribal deck with a strong emphasis on the eminence keyword ability . It provides great card advantage regardless of where your Commander is, which means that your early game will be much more consistent than other decks–assuming you’ve got a knight.
- Cavalry Charge (White-Blue-Black deck)—100-card ready-to-play March of the Machine Commander Deck with 2 Traditional Foil Legendary cards and 98 nonfoil cards
Starter Commander Decks
The Starter Commander Deck Bundle is an excellent way to break into the format for a group of friends on a budget. For about $100 USD, you get five unique decks to play around with and learn the format with. Each deck takes on a different two-color combination. You’ll get to try out every classic synergy from Azorius fliers to Selesnya tokens.
- Bundle of all 5 Starter Commander Decks—First Flight, Grave Danger, Chaos Incarnate, Draconic Destruction, and Token Triumph
- Each deck contains 100 cards—1 Foil-Etched Legendary card + 99 nonfoil cards
- Each deck also comes with 1 deck box, 10 double-sided tokens, punchout counters, a strategy insert, and a reference card
- The perfect introduction to Magic’s most popular format—join your friends in epic multiplayer battles with a ready-to-play MTG deck
- Commander Game Format 2–5 players, around 120 minutes to play
Older Commander Precons
WotC has been giving players new precons on a regular basis since 2012 which means there’s a long list of precons to choose from. Draftsim, lucky enough, has evaluated all of the precons from 2017 onward for your choosing pleasure (plus a couple extras).
Take a look:
- Commander 2017
- Commander 2019
- Commander 2020
- Commander Legends
- Zendikar Rising Commander decks
- Kaldheim Commander decks
- Strixhaven Commander decks
- Forgotten Realms Commander decks
- Midnight Hunt Commander decks
- Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate Commander decks
- Dominaria United Commander decks
- The Brother’s War Commander decks
- March of the Machines Commander decks
- Commander Masters decks
- Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Commander decks
- Wilds of Eldraine Commander decks
- Dr. Who Commander decks
- The Best Commander Precons
- The Cheapest Commander Precons
Popular Commanders and Deck Building Resources
So you’re a more advanced player and want to go beyond the power of the precons. Where do you start? With over 2,000 unique legendary creatures to choose from and about a hundred partner commanders there are nearly infinite routes to take building a Commander deck in a single lifetime. If you can think of a strategy or theme, then there’s absolutely a commander that powers it.
The best way to get yourself going is to pick a central theme or color you want to play. This can be as open as “mono blue fun stuff” or something much more narrow like “Jund Hydras .”
The next step is the most obvious: pick a commander that promotes or empowers your chosen theme in a useful or consistent way. This decision isn’t as easy as it seems. The choice can feel overwhelming with so many options.
Luckily for you, we’ve already done the hard work and broken down a few of the best commanders in different categories to get you started:
- Best partner commanders
- Best 4-color commanders
- Best 5-color commanders
- Best dragon commanders
- Best Esper commanders
- Best Grixis commanders
- Best Mardu commanders
- Best Simic commanders
- Best group hug commanders
The real fun begins once you have a theme and style established. There’s a near-infinite number of resources online about the best cards to include in any color, the best removal and board wipes , or the best tutors . There are even large databases like EDHREC which give you example decklists for various themes if you need inspiration.
We’ve also got a tier list of the best commanders , fun commanders and a guide on how many lands you need to build a good deck .
Azorius Flicker/Blink Commanders
Let’s say you’re looking to build an Azorius Flicker/ Blink Commander deck and want to start from scratch. You have a couple of really strong choices here.
Brago, King Eternal offers an excellent way to benefit from a wide board of creatures with ETB effects. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV gives an overall cost reduction to all of your spells while hindering your opponents. Ephara, God of the Polis provides card advantage if you’re flashing in your blink creatures on your opponent’s turns.
What you see here in your quest to pick our commander is a bunch of choices and roads to go down. This is the higher level of creativity and choice that Commander offers as a casual format. Brago gives you a very narrow and clear path while Grand Arbiter allows you to push your main goal while simultaneously benefiting you in multiple other ways.
There’s no right or wrong choice. It all depends on you and what you think will be the most fun for you. That’s the beauty of the format.
cEDH vs. Casual EDH
As with anything Magic there exists both a casual and ultra-competitive sub-format. Competitive Commander, often referred to as “cEDH,” is a unique breed of EDH that highlights using a lot of mana rocks and tutors to create a decklist that consistently wins by combo-ing off as early as possible and killing everyone but yourself.
An extremely common way to do this is to create an infinite combo for mana through cards like Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal paired some mana rocks. They can then be used through outlets, like drawing your whole deck with Blue Sun's Zenith and winning off of a Thassa's Oracle or Laboratory Maniac . Instead of focusing on tribes like elves or themes like flicker, cEDH decks focus on using whatever means necessary to win.
Casual EDH Decks
Casual EDH, as the name suggests, is a much more laid-back and “ for fun ” format. This means that play groups typically follow the unwritten Rule 0 , which is just “have fun.” Instead of winning as soon as possible through infinite combos that blow everybody up on turn 4, casual EDH games go much longer and include unique and exciting interactions that wouldn’t stand a chance in cEDH. Playing big ol’ eldrazi like Kozilek, the Great Distortion or group hug show-and-tell effects like Braids, Conjurer Adept is the name of the game.
Casual play groups sometimes even set their own rules like “no tutors” or “no combos” to promote a play style and game that prevents players from being knocked out before they’ve even gotten comfortable at the table. This is all in the name of promoting a fun and welcoming environment where new players aren’t being crushed before they can play their third land.
A few varieties and flavors of Commander have popped up since it began as a casual and unofficial format. These variants include Commander Cube, Commander Jumpstart, Canadian Highlander, Oathbreaker , and Tiny Leaders . Each of these spinoff formats bring a refreshing ruleset that still resembles the official EDH we know and love.
Commander Cube is exactly what it sounds like: a cube meant to be drafted that creates 60-card Commander decks in a Limited format. The cube, over 900 cards tall, is drafted in a standard draft format with four 15-card packs or from a sealed kit of 120 cards.
There are a few rules for Commander Cube that aren’t present in traditional EDH:
- Mono-colored commanders can splash one color.
- Some legendary creatures can’t be used as commanders but can still be included in a decklist.
- Decks are a minimum of 60 cards with one commander.
- Each player receives one free Command Tower after the draft to use as mana fixing.
Commander Cube can be difficult to get going since the cube costs roughly $7,000 to own on paper. This means that players typically phantom draft online and then play their drafted decks on MTGO or another online card sim like Tabletop Simulator where they can access the cards they drafted.
Just in case you’re not familiar, Jumpstart is a Limited format where you combine two boosters and create a finished deck instead of drafting from three packs. The packs include lands, multiple rares, and all the cards needed to create a 40-card deck when combined. You can probably see where Commander Jumpstart is going.
With this EDH variant you combine two different Commander packs plus a third pack. This final pack includes a variety of lands, fixing, acceleration, and other 2-color cards that all revolve around the color combo you created with your first two packs.
This allow players to scratch their Commander itch while providing a refreshing scene. It also improves on the time it takes to get started since similar formats like Commander Cube can take up to two hours just to draft, let alone build your deck.
Canadian Highlander is a singleton format that shares lots of similarities with conventional EDH. It was first developed in (you guessed it) Canada. It may seem like Commander without the commander at first glance, but don’t let the fact that it’s a singleton format fool you. The largest difference is the ban list, and the next one is called the “points list.”
Canadian Highlander’s ban list is identical Vintage’s ban list except for Lurrus of the Dream-Den since there is no sideboard. This means that all of the Power 9 as well as infamous cards like Mind Twist and Time Walk are legal.
The points list means that each deck is allocated ten points to “buy” some of the most powerful cards in the game .
Life totals are still at 20 in Canadian Highlander, and the games are 1v1, so the pace is significantly different. Locking your opponents out and refusing to let them play Magic is not only allowed but encouraged .
The Canadian Highlander Discord is a great place to find games and players to play with online.
Last but not least is Tiny Leaders! This variant is very similar to Commander and comes with only a few differences:
- All cards, including the commander, must have a mana value of three or less.
- Decks are limited to 50 cards instead of 100.
- Players start at 25 life instead of 40.
- Hand sizes are eight minus the number of cards in the command zone (seven unless you have partner commanders, in which case yours would be six).
- There are no commander damage win conditions .
These rules result in a much more unique format. Bomb creatures like Avenger of Zendikar are out and the tiny little 0/1 plants it would otherwise make are your go-tos. While aggro decks are most unaffected by these rules, they’re also much easier to deal with since a lot of finishers have a mana value of four or greater.
Tiny leaders can be easy to get going since the card limitations present a narrower range of options and fewer cards needed to power a strategy. It may be easy to convince one or a few members of your playgroup to throw something together because of this. While the format isn’t as popular or supported, Tiny Leaders offers a refreshing and fun break from Commander.
As with any kind of subculture or hobby, there’s more than one subreddit or Discord server attached to Commander. Here’s a list of a bunch of the relevant subreddits, Discords, podcasts , and YouTube channels that you might find useful or entertaining when it comes to EDH:
- EDH Subreddit
- cEDH Subreddit
- Pauper EDH Subreddit ( check this out for more info on this format)
- cEDH Discord Community
- PlayEDH Discord Community (Great for finding online playgroups!)
- Casually Competitive MTG YouTube Channel
- Playing with Power MTG
- EDHRECast (EDH-focused MTG Podcast)
- EDHREC (EDH database and decklists)
- The Command Zone YouTube Channel
- MTG Muddstah YouTube Channel
Rampant Growth | Illustration by Steven Belledin
That’s all there is to know about Commander. Have any suggestions or decklists you want to share? Leave a comment or head over to our Discord and talk to us there! I’ve been really interested in building a nice wizard tribal deck that does nothing but draw cards and counter spells . My friends will think it’s just awesome, right?… Right ?
Anyway, I hope this info was useful to you in your quest to understand more about what I think is the best format in Magic. Until next time, stay safe and healthy!
Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, you’ll help Draftsim continue to provide awesome free articles and apps.
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RagingLevine's Guide to Volo, Guide to Monsters EDH/Commander
Eric's hitting the books with a dangerously diverse cast of creatures for Forgotten Realms' own Volo, Guide to Monsters for EDH/Commander!
By Eric Levine | @RagingLevine | Published 6/16/2023 | 11 min read
One of my first Commander decks, which I fell in love with very quickly, was a Momir Vig, Simic Visionary list that relied on Simic creatures with ETB effects, especially card draw triggers, to continually accrue value and produce answers to threats before going off for large but non-infinite amounts of card draw, tokens and so on via Cloudstone Curio . So, when I saw Volo, Guide to Monsters previewed recently, I was really struck by how exciting the card is.
Volo gives me all the value I want out of a Momir Vig, Simic Visionary without having to worry about the tutoring aspect. All he asks is that I restrict myself a little bit on creature types, which is totally fine. In fact, I think that's a little bit of a fun restriction, and to challenge myself, I made sure every single creature in this deck list follows the "no shared types" rule. Volo himself actually complicates things, because most decks like this will want Eternal Witness (or Timeless Witness, even), but his Human type means that's right out in my structure. Here's the full list of types I've managed to fit into this deck:
That's 42 different types among 31 total creatures! A lot of the usual suspects, like Human, Elf, Shaman, Druid and so on, are pretty clogged up with powerful creatures, so I've had to make some difficult choices. Something like Coiling Oracle knocks out Snake, Elf and Druid in one go, so I had to be pretty choosy, especially regarding creatures with more than one type. This means we'll see some oddball choices in this deck, and honestly, what could be more fun than that?
Any deck predicated on creature-related interactions is going to need a great curve, so I'll introduce you to all 31 creatures in the main deck by stepping through from low to high mana value. Here we go!
Yep, that's it. Just Birds of Paradise. There aren't too many other Birds we'd want in this list, but snow-related payoffs like Rimefeather Owl and Blizzard Strix might have otherwise been interesting, and second-string birderback Gilded Goose is also locked out.
Here at the two spot, I'm largely looking for creatures that will retain their value in the late game while also being viable early game plays. Fblthp, the Lost , Ice-Fang Coatl and Wall of Blossoms all draw cards, which is really important in a deck like this, while Prosperous Innkeeper gives us a Treasure and helps push us forward toward Volo. Thieving Skydiver is more of a late-game play, and since the whole kicker situation is copy-able, Volo plays well with it. That said, if you have a window to make X=1 and steal a Sol Ring on your third turn, don't flinch – just do it.
We've got a few types here – Snake, Merfolk, Rogue, Plant and Wall - and all have some relevant overlap, while Halfling, Citizen and Homunculus are basically free. By choosing these cards, we miss out on some heavy hitters – Sakura-Tribe Elder , Tatyova, Benthic Druid , Glasspool Mimic, Sylvan Caryatid and Wall of Stolen Identity are among the many casualties.
These are still in the zone where we're liable to play these before Volo sometimes, so it's important to get value out of these by themselves. Wood Elves and Pilgrim's Eye help with the land situation, while Filigree Familiar and Generous Stray draw cards with different degrees of speed. Loaming Shaman is more of a midgame graveyard hate piece.
Type-wise, we've now knocked out some serious stuff. Elf and Shaman are big losses, with Fox, Cat, Centaur, Scout and Thopter quite far behind in relevance. Elf locks us out of many one-drop accelerators along with Reclamation Sage , Farhaven Elf , Beast Whisperer and more, while Shaman mostly appears on high-value Elves anyway. If you're a Temur Sabertooth fan (I'm a little tired of it myself), you'll want to stray away from the generous Cat I've dropped into this list – if you make that change, it might make sense to swap Pilgrim's Eye for Skyscanner .
Four is a little bit of a weird spot, as depending on the table and your hand, you may be dropping Volo and trying to yolo your way through a turn cycle, or you may still be throwing creatures down and waiting for a turn where you can cast Volo followed by another creature spell. That means these cards are all over the place, functionally. Abominable Treefolk is a late-game win condition, as we're going to have 24 snow lands, while Bramble Sovereign and Spark Double give you more of whatever you're already making. Solemn Simulacrum is here to do its usual good stuff, while Thassa, Deep-Dwelling augments our army of ETB creatures with her blinking ability.
Types lost here are Treefolk, Dryad, Golem, Illusion and God. Deadwood Treefolk and Woodfall Primus would both be solid options here, and I could also see Tendershoot Dryad or Yavimaya Dryad playing a role. The Golem spot is surprisingly contentious, with Meteor Golem being the other big option. Thassa, Deep-Dwelling is easily the #1 God option here, while Spark Double costs us Phantasmal Image.
Fives are all about removal, which is mostly a coincidence. Each card has its own specialty – Acidic Slime takes out noncreatures, Icefall Regent taps creatures down and Stingerfling Spider shoots down flyers.
We burn the Ooze, Dragon and Spider types on this one. Ooze could have easily been Biogenic Ooze instead, or Biowaste Blob if you're feeling like lowering the curve a little. Keiga, the Tide Star would also be an interesting choice for Dragon, as Volo's copy ability would basically give you a control effect up front, but remember that Keiga also uses the Spirit slot. Spider could also be used for Silklash Spider or even Hatchery Spider , but I like being able to just blow up some relevant threats.
I think Brutalizer Exarch doesn't really get its due these days. Bottoming a noncreature permanent means it's not in the graveyard to be easily recurred, and if that's not what you need, perhaps you'd like a quick Worldly Tutor . Soul of the Harvest is huge value in a deck with a high creature count, and if you're making a copy with Volo, well, watch out for your hand size. Duplicant takes out a dangerous creature, leaving room for Frost Titan and Ulvenwald Hydra to beat down. What's more annoying than one Frost Titan locking down your best permanent? Try two of them.
We use the Phyrexian, Cleric, Giant, Shapeshifter, Elemental and Hydra types here, so that means no Phyrexian Metamorph, Vizier of the Menagerie, Beanstalk Giant , Clever Impersonator , Mulldrifter or Voracious Hydra , among many others. Phyrexian has been retroactively applied to a lot more creatures than you might think, so be on the lookout for cards like Wurmcoil Engine , whose new types you might not have thought about.
This is a pretty motley group of creatures, but they're here with one purpose: end the game. They do so in a variety of ways, with Pelakka Wurm being the most value-oriented of the bunch. Junk Winder is my favorite of this group though, as it synergizes with the tokens from Volo's copy ability in really incredible ways. Two Junk Winders is even better, of course. Second place goes to the fearsome Icebreaker Kraken, whose ETB effect can really change the course of the endgame.
In our final roundup of creature types, we use Avatar, Boar, Kraken, Serpent, Myr, Construct, Wurm and Elephant. These types are, surprisingly, not very crowded with winners, but if you'd rather have Thorn Mammoth , Primeval Protector or one of the other wacky options here, be my guest.
As far as supporting cast members go, my main focus is ways to bounce or blink our ETB creatures. That means the following:
Powerful blink effects, especially repeatable ones like Conjurer's Closet , will make the original versions of our creatures even more powerful. Displace and Ghostly Flicker can even save Volo from targeted removal in a pinch.
Cloudstone Curio works amazingly well with Volo – play one creature, then bounce two originals to your hand. Ordering of objects on the stack means that Volo copies will enter before the originals, so you won't be able to bounce the original using the copy's Curio trigger, which means it's a little harder to set up infinite loops. Crystal Shard and Erratic Portal aren't as efficient as the Curio on mana, but they're a little easier to control and can be used to rescue creatures at instant speed as well. Plus, you occasionally get to wreck someone who's tapped out.
Then we get into some of the usual suspects – defensive counterspells, point removal, etc. I'll highlight some of my favorite cards that you won't see in a billion Simic lists:
Got some extra land in the late game? No problem! Copy your favorite friends.
It's no wrath, but it's what we have, and it's likely we'll have the biggest Fractal when the dust settles.
Volo's going to be a target once people see how powerful he is, so this card is a must.
In a deck focused on ETB triggers, how could we not play this?
Even though this is a bad draw early, it's so sweet in the late game that I just had to give it a shot. We'll see how good it actually ends up being.
Well, I've reached the end of my guide to my new favorite guide. Here's the full deck list – enjoy!
Commander: Volo, Guide to Monsters
1 Abominable Treefolk
1 Acidic Slime
1 Alchemist's Refuge
1 Arcane Signet
1 Bala Ged Recovery
1 Barkchannel Pathway
1 Beast Within
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Bramble Sovereign
1 Breeding Pool
1 Brutalizer Exarch
1 Cloudstone Curio
1 Command Beacon
1 Command Tower
1 Conjurer's Closet
1 Crystal Shard
1 Diluvian Primordial
1 End-Raze Forerunners
1 Erratic Portal
1 Farhaven Elf
1 Fblthp, the Lost
1 Fierce Guardianship
1 Filigree Familiar
1 Flooded Grove
1 Force of Vigor
1 Frost Titan
1 Generous Stray
1 Ghostly Flicker
1 Heroic Intervention
1 Hinterland Harbor
1 Icebreaker Kraken
1 Icefall Regent
1 Ice-Fang Coatl
1 Into the North
1 Junk Winder
1 Krosan Grip
1 Lifecrafter's Bestiary
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Littjara Mirrorlake
1 Loaming Shaman
1 Mirage Mirror
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Myriad Landscape
1 Myth Unbound
1 Nature's Lore
1 Pelakka Wurm
1 Pilgrim's Eye
1 Prosperous Innkeeper
1 Reality Shift
1 Rejuvenating Springs
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Rimewood Falls
1 Scavenger Grounds
1 Simic Signet
15 Snow-Covered Forest
8 Snow-Covered Island
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Soul of the Harvest
1 Spark Double
1 Spitting Image
1 Stingerfling Spider
1 Swan Song
1 Thassa, Deep-Dwelling
1 The Great Henge
1 Thieving Skydiver
1 Three Visits
1 Ulvenwald Hydra
1 Wall of Blossoms
1 Waterlogged Grove
1 Yavimaya Coast
1 Zendikar Resurgent
Technically Playable - Jolrael, Voice of Zhalfir
Paul turns explosive Simic card draw into 40/40 birds, all with a commander with less than 800 decks on EDHREC.
#Duggan Private Detective , #earth surge , #finale of revelation , #greater good , #Jolrael Voice of Zhalfir , #lumbering falls , #rhystic study , #sea gate restoration , #sylvan awakening , #tatyova benthic druid , #technically playable , #well of ideas Read More »
Orvar - The Single Life
Interested in an Orvar, the All-Form deck which is casual enough for your playgroup? Lenny's got you covered.
#Orvar the All-Form , #power sink Read More »
Recross the Paths - Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer
Cook up a storm with Streets of New Capenna commander Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer.
#circle of dreams druid , #elvish mystic , #gilt-leaf archdruid , #llanowar elves , #Rocco Cabaretti Caterer , #territorial dispute , #vanquisher's banner Read More »
Mental Misplay - cEDH at Magic Summit
What were people playing at Magic Summit 2023? Watch live interviews with cEDH players and Alan from Mental Misplay, including the top 4!
#cedh , #Event coverage , #Interview , #mental misplay Read More »
Preview Review: The Halloween Special!
Scare your opponents to 0 life with these spine-tingling cards!
#Cut of the Profits , #not dead after all , #Shadow Kin , #Swooping Lookout , #you are already dead Read More »
Wombo Combo - Mono-White Edition
Ethan showcases control, Stax, lifegain combos and more with mono-white EDH all-stars.
#Abdel Adrian Gorion's Ward , #anointed procession , #bishop of wings , #combo , #commander , #Commander Spellbook , #darien king of kjeldor , #edh , #eldrazi displacer , #enduring renewal , #famished paladin , #felidar guardian , #karmic guide , #luminous broodmoth , #Mondrak Glory Dominus , #mono white , #wombo combo Read More »
Singleton Shmingleton - Fleshbag Marauder
Spooky, scary...Fleshbags? Jesse takes us on a mono-black trip to the graveyard and back with some Zombie friends.
#chain devil , #Demon's Disciple , #doomsday confluence , #endrek sahr master breeder , #fleshbag marauder , #gravelighter , #illness in the ranks , #merciless executioner , #mono black , #orc sureshot , #plaguecrafter , #singleton shmingleton , #slum reaper , #soul exchange , #Vat of Rebirth Read More »
Too-Specific Top 10 - Aggro Advisors
Get advised on the best ways to run mono-blue counter proliferation strategies without Proliferate itself courtesy of the latest Too-Specific Top 10.
#+1/+1 counters , #advisor , #Advisors , #bloodline pretender , #contagion clasp , #contagion engine , #contentious plan , #cytoplast manipulator , #Danny Pink , #drillworks mole , #Experimental Augury , #flux channeler , #Geology Enthusiast , #Human , #humans , #inexorable tide , #karns bastion , #knights of dol amroth , #ledger shredder , #littjara kinseekers , #persistent petitioners , #power conduit , #proliferate , #reject imperfection , #serum snare , #staff of compleation , #sword of truth and justice , #tezzerets gambit , #thrummingbird , #typal , #wingspan mentor , #Zephyr Singer Read More »
Pet Project - Wild Pair
Martin shows us a Wild Pair of of twists and turns on traditional Stompy decks that will leave your opponents in the dust.
#aggro , #greenbelt rampager , #pet project , #phyrexian dreadnought , #phyrexian soulgorger , #Samut , #samut voice of dissent , #sheltering ancient , #stompy , #tutor , #wild pair Read More »
Masters of Evil - Precon Upgrade Guide
Looking to upgrade your copy of the Masters of Evil Doctor Who precon? Beth's got you covered here with some fantastic suggestions.
#commander , #cybermen , #dalek , #doctor who , #grixis , #magic , #masters of evil , #Precon , #Upgrade Read More »
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- Commander Spellbook
- Card Database
Doctor who™ commander decks.
Join your favorite Doctor and their companions or side with the Doctor’s greatest foes with all 4 Doctor Who-themed Commander Decks! Each ready-to-play 100-card deck introduces 50 new cards with Doctor Who-themed art and mechanics.
YOUR LOCAL STORE
Why play this format.
- Multi-player games
- Great to play with friends
- Cards don't rotate
Different Ways to Play
This format is for four players per game and deck sizes are 99 cards + 1 commander card. The game duration for this format should be about 20 minutes per player.
The Commander format is all about picking your hero and building a deck around them. In this casual, multiplayer format, you choose a legendary creature to serve as your commander and build the rest of your deck around their color identity and unique abilities. Players are only allowed one of each card in their deck, with the exception of basic lands, but they can use cards from throughout Magic's history.
A card's color identity can come from any part of that card, including its casting cost and any mana symbols in its text. Every card in your Commander deck must only use mana symbols that also appear on your commander. Colorless cards are allowed as well.
This is where your commander resides during the game when they are not in play. At the start of the game, each player puts their commander face up into the command zone. A commander can be cast from the command zone for its normal costs, plus an additional two mana for each previous time it's been cast from the command zone this game. If your commander would be put into your library, hand, graveyard or exile from anywhere, you may return it to your command zone instead.
A player that's been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same commander over the course of the game loses the game. The commander is tracked across zone changes for this purpose (for example, if one player takes control of another player's commander, any damage that commander already dealt is still counted).
PLAY FREE-FOR-ALL MULTIPLAYER
If you're playing a game of Commander with three or more people, you play against each other in a free-for-all multiplayer format.
Each player starts with 40 life, places their commander face-up in their command zone, and draws a hand of seven cards. Players are seated randomly in a circle and turns progress one player at a time in clockwise order around the table.
During gameplay, a player may choose to attack any other player, regardless of their position on the table, and can also choose to attack multiple different players during their attack phase. Permanents, spells, and abilities can also target any player around the table (as long as they don't explicitly say they must be used on "you").
No matter the outcome, Commander gives players the tools to express themselves through strategy, skill, and a whole lot of deck building fun.
For more information about the Commander format, visit https://mtgcommander.net/
Discover More MTG
Latest products, the lost caverns of ixalan.
Dig into Magic’s Mesoamerican inspired set with untold treasures beyond anything you’ve ever seen before. With massive dinosaurs, mysterious secrets, and adventure around every corner it's an adventure worth braving!
Wilds of Eldraine
Wilds of Eldraine returns to the fan-favorite plane filled with fairy tales like you’ve never seen before. In this storybook world, Sleeping Beauty sword fights in her sleep, Little Red Riding Hood wields a crossbow, and there’s a giant eight-headed goose waiting atop the beanstalk. That’s Magic meets fairy tales.
Get ultimate power right out of the box! Upgrade your favorite decks or build something new with all the power and collectability players expect from the Masters name. This is the set Commander players and collectors have been dreaming about.
March of the Machine: The Aftermath
The battle may be won, but the Multiverse will never be the same again. Many surviving heroes have lost their powers. Lead the rebuilding effort with regular and Showcase versions of all 50 cards in March of the Machine: The Aftermath.
March of the Machine
It takes a Multiverse to battle the forces of evil! Band together with legendary heroes for an epic team-up in March of the Machine!