The Commander’s Chair – The Age of Legends

The full commander spoilers have been released. I do not think I have ever been more excited for a release. We have 51 all new Magic cards. More importantly, we have 15 all new multi-colored legends to add to the list of possible commanders. Today, I will be going over each of the new multi-colored commanders and what archetypes they could accommodate.

Animar is one of the legends you get in the Mirror Mastery deck. There are two basic approaches I see taking with Animar, combo or aggro. For a combo general, you can end up storming Kobolds with Cloudstone Curio or combining Shrieking Drake and Aluren to make Animar infinitely large. The problem I see there, is that creating an infinite storm count with creatures is nothing new. There have always been plenty of ways to win without Animar being around. What makes animar special is his spot as perfect Artifact + Eldrazi agro general. In the past, most artifact decks have been combo decks. However Animar gives a pseudo affinity to many of your creatures and you can chain smaller artifact creatures into the larger eldrazi.

Possible Archetypes: Jurrasic Park, Voltron Combo, Hyper Combo

Basandra comes in the Heavenly Inferno deck. I had to think for a bit to figure out exactly where this Angel fit into commander. As was mention on the latest Commander Cast, a 4/4 flyer with few abilities is hardly impressive for a traditional boros aggro deck. Jor Kadeen appears to be a better 5 drop general in nearly every way. The “players can’t cast spells during combat” seems to only exist to prevent people from getting around the second ability. The question becomes, how can we make her activated ability good? What you can do is put into play a Ghostly Prison, Blazing Archon or Island Sanctuary to prevent people from attacking you. Then, you force combat between other players. You make them attack with all their creatures, lowering all their life totals while removing blockers from your path.

Possible Archetypes: Moat Control, Tribal (Angel)

Damia comes from the Devour for Power deck. This deck is probably my favorite of the 5 decks. Damia is a great late game general. She is not how you will be winning the game, but by the time you cast her you will be grateful for the cards she gives you. She works well with Magus of the Library and Scroll of Origins. If you want to play a good stuff deck in these colors, she is perfect for you.

Possible Archetypes: Good Stuff

Edric comes from the Mirror Mastery deck. I know everyone has just been dying to play Simic Guildmage in your elf tribal decks and just never had a chance. Seriously though, Eldric is a perfect diplomatic Commander. He gives card advantage to everyone who isn’t swinging at you. Elric is begging to be used as a token general. Either that or you have to swing with creatures like Hydra Omnivore. Eldric may breed a new Archetype of commander decks – Mafia Decks. He gives you the ability to reward people for taking out your enemies; you can take out a hit on other players.

Possible Archetypes: Group Hug, Jurrasic Park, Traditional Control, Tribal, Weenie, Mafia?

Ghave can be found in the Counterpunch deck. We finally get a legendary fungus and it doesn’t use spore counters. It is hard for me to hide my disappointment over the idea of the first legendary fungus not being a Thallid. On the plus side, Ghave can creature infinite tokens in a number of ways. You can play him with Juniper Order Ranger and Ashnod’s Altar to creature an infinitely large ranger, an infinite number of tokens and infinite mana. You can also combine with 2 persist creatures to power out come into play effects.

Possible Archetypes: Tribal, Voltron Combo, Weenie

Kalaia is from the Heavenly Inferno deck. She is a great Commander for new players getting into the format. The sneak attack ability is pretty sweet for dealing massive amounts of damage. In addition, you can just fill your deck with big creatures when putting this together. The spikier Commander players I know want to try her out in a mass land destruction deck that clears the board then starts throwing out huge creatures.

Possible Archetypes: Mass LD, Jurassic Park

Karador come from the counterpunch deck. He is one of the less powerful recursion generals. He has the advantage of costing less and less as the game goes on. The problem is, his starting cost is 8 for a 3/4. You will want to play him in a deck that has a lot of creatures that you don’t mind going to the graveyard. Sakura-Tribe Elder, Yavimaya Elder, Solemn Simulacrum and Fleshbag Marauder all come to mind.

Possible Archetypes: Reanimator, Creature Control

Nin is one of the legendary creatures staring in Political Puppets. I honestly do not see her being used as a Commander. She is an interesting piece to add to a political deck, but she lacks the raw power of other legends in her colors. When I think of cards I want to see next to her, they all have black in the casting cost. Can you imagine using Nin to shoot someone for 10+ while Phyrexian Tyranny was in play? You can still use cards like The Rack and Stuffy Doll to power her up, but she would still work much better as a piece in another commander’s deck. Someone will mention this if I don’t; she is very good when Consecrated Sphinx is in play.

Possible Archetypes: Good Stuff, Alternate Win, Traditional Control, Group Hug

Riku is the main legend from the Mirror Mastery deck. This card is incredibly powerful. It may well be the most powerful new Commander printed. Whether you are playing combo, control or aggro this card will win you games. It can do anything you want. You can add extra mana ramp copying things like Sakura-Tribe Elder, Solemn Simulacrum and Primeval Titan. You can create infinite loops with cards like Palinchron. You can get permanent copies of creatures you pay the evoke cost on. The list of powerful things this card can do just go on and on.

Possible Archetypes: Hyper Combo, Voltron Combo, Traditional Control, Mass LD, Jurassic Park, Mass Tokens, Chaos

Ruhan can be found in the Political Puppets deck. Ruhan cuts an impressive figure at 7/7 for a mere 4 mana. This card is better in head’s up games, but it can be good in group games as well. If Ruhan is you Commander, you should probably focus on general damage. Cards like Assault Strobe and Fatal Frenzy will kill people off in a hurry. The alternate way to work this card is to wrath before playing it, then destroying all lands after it hits the field.

Possible Archetypes: Chaos, General Damage, Mass LD


Skullbriar can be found in the Devour for Power deck. I have been having an argument with a friend over how good Skullbriar is. My friend believes he is terrible and that Nath of the Gilt-Leaf is better in every situation. His argument is that a 1/1 with no abilities that doesn’t give any source of card advantage is a bad general. On the other hand, I think Skullbriar is a great commander. He is one of the only commanders that gains value as the game progresses. If you want to play GB and win through commander damage, he is the best choice I can see. He is very well suited for cards like Berserk, Hatred and Strength of the Tajuru.

Possible Archetypes: General Damage, Weenie

Tariel is part of the Heavenly Inferno precon. This card was built for decks that want to run as many Wrath of God effects as you can jam into a single deck. Tariel is basically going to be the head of the Justice League, since you will also be playing your favorite super friends. Tariel is perfectly set up to play Liliana followed by a Jokulhaups.

Possible Archetypes: Reanimator, Mass LD, Creature Control

The Mimeoplasm comes in Devour for Power and happens to be my favorite of the new commanders. “Why?” you ask. Well, it is because Mimeoplasm is made of awesome. Look at him! His right arm is made of a crazy, long tongued, t-rex head. The chubby floating mountains in the background tell us that this is normal in whatever plane he is from. Oh, and let’s go over his ability. How many combinations of infect creature + giant creature just win the game? Just imagine having Triskelion and Krosan Cloudscraper in graveyards, swing for 17 then machine gun someone to the face for 16. Oh, oh, oh and this works with Doubling Season, it could be swinging for 31 and unleashing the Magic equivalent of a howitzer right at the face of your opponent. You do not even have to grab things from your own graveyard, you can just mix and match random creatures. Expect this guy to be featured in an article at some point in the future.

Possible Archetypes: Reanimator, Poison, Hyper Combo, Voltron Combo

Vish Kal is from the Counterpunch deck. Vish Kal looks to be well placed for people who want to play a creature control deck based on Grave Pact effects. With the new white Grave Pact these decks have gained added power. He is a nice bridge between creature control decks and general damage decks. His 5/5 body is large enough that you don’t have to be bashful with killing creatures using his second ability.

Possible Archetypes: Creature Control, General Damage

Zedruu is from the political puppets deck. This looks like a fun group hug card right? That is not how this will be played. The decks may be disguised as group hug decks, until they force you to gain control of Illusions of Grandeur, Delusions of Mediocrity, Form of the Dragon, and Ancestral Knowledge. They will also be playing a bunch of enchantments and artifacts that do not care if you control them, like Oblivion Ring, Arrest, Caverns of Despair and Grand Melee. All in all, this girl can send you running to your nannie.

Possible Archetypes: Group Hug, Snake-in-the-Grass, Moat Control

The release party is the weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited. I hope as many of you as possible can go. If you would like any last minute deck advice for this weekend email me at or message me on twitter @swordstoplow.

Have a great release party!



About SwordsToPlow

I like building and tuning decks to make them more fun and more effective.

Posted on June 14, 2011, in Articles, The Commander's Chair and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Another great article, Sean. However, I don’t know if you discussed the Mafia archetype before. How does that work?

    • I have not discussed the archetype, for fear of my life. A maffia deck is like a selective group hug deck. You make a deck that is capable of helping others, but you only do so in exchange for favors. Favors like taking another player out of the game, protecting you from dying, or grabbing you a soda from the other room. Think cards like Trade Secrets, Bazaar Trader, ect.

  2. I like the article overall, but when thinking of possible archetypes mass LD seems to come up way often. In my opinion that is the one archetype most likely to get a playgroup to stop playing a format. I have seen archetypes that are way more degenerate but LD just seems to make people bristle even more than control…

    • 4 out of the 15 generals can be used for Mass LD. I do not mean to encourage this particular play style. Mass LD was listed any time the general could copy large destructive spells, like plow under or terrastodon. It was also listed for generals that let you play cards for free once they are in play. I do not encourage this style of play for those who want fun games. If you want to win at all cost, the 4 generals listed will let you do that. Mass LD is in a place next to Prison Lock decks for what people hate most in Commander.

      • Yah I think it just jumped out at me for the reasons you said. But I am often the champion of casualness so I bristle pretty easily 🙂

  3. Storming Kobolds.
    If I ever saw such a thing…I don’t know what I’d do. I think my brain would just stop functioning because of the madness that is going on in front of me.

    Awesome combo though. I also like the other uses you found for generals. Lots of sneaky political tricks.

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