By Garth Holden
Commander started as EDH, Elder Dragon Highlander, and is a format that wasn’t made or endorsed by Wizards of the Coast, even though they were aware of it. Now, Magic: The Gathering has released five pre-constructed decks, all in wedge colours (two paired colours and one opposing colour). This official endorsement of EDH into the MTG fold is an awesome idea, especially for those who haven’t been playing for long periods of time, or who don’t have the vast sums of cards to pull from.
To build a commander deck, you need a general. Your general always has to be a Legendary Creature (and the Legendary rule still applies in this format!) Secondly, all of the cards in your deck have to share a colour with your general. Hence, having a three colour general offers a lot of utility, as it makes your deck a lot more flexible. Secondly, besides basic lands, you are only allowed one of any named card on your deck. Thirdly, your deck has to be exactly 100 cards.
Still with me? Good! [Editor’s note : Noâ€¦no I’m not]
Each Commander deck comes with three generals, printed both in oversized and normal format, for use in your games. The oversized cards, besides being awesome foil versions, are handy to show which guy is your general, and to make the command zone (a place where generals go when not in play, and can be summoned from) a distinct spot on the gaming table.
Devour for Power, a Black Blue Green deck, offers great value for money. This deck costs around $30 in the States (and can be purchased locally for about R300). Building this deck yourself, however, would cost between $120 and $200. Wizards of the Coast didn’t spare anything at making this deck powerful straight out of the box, and some old hard to get favourites, like Sol Ring, make a welcome addition.
The three generals, or commanders as MTG likes to call them, allow you to play your deck slightly differently, allowing for a fresh look at some of the mechanics in the deck.
Mimeoplasm is the â€˜official’ general as this deck. This gelatinous ooze allows you to remove two creatures from any graveyards. Mimeoplasm copies the first creature, and the second creature gets converted into +1/+1 counters equal to the power of the creature. This allows you to get one massive, ability-laden fattie out onto the board, while removing two creatures from the game, preventing them from coming back from the grave.
Unfortunately, this does depend on creatures being in graveyards for you to absorb into your Mimeoplasm, and making sure it doesn’t die, which can be hard to do in a multiplayer game.
Vorosh, the Hunter is an understated general, especially if you have a way to protect him from dying (add umbras to your deck!). This 6/6 flyer allows you to pay a paltry 2G when he deals combat damage to a player to add six +1/+1 counters to him. This can be extremely efficient, as even though the Commander format gives you 40 life, if one general can inflict 21 damage to a player, that player dies. An uncontested Vorosh, the Hunter can reach this by his third attack, if you have the mana! Unfortunately, he is a rather expensive card, and is likely to draw a lot of spot removal.
Damia, Sage of Stone is an awesome general. This 4/4 deathtouch wizard makes sure that your hand is stocked up to seven cards every turn! Hiding this gorgon from harm and casting every spell you can results in some great card advantage, and if something massive comes along, you can always sacrifice her as a blocker and kill their titan or Eldrazi with deathtouch.
Straight out of the box, I noticed some very fun combo cards in this deck. Buried Alive lets you search your library for up to three creature cards, which you then put into your graveyard. The first two cards I put into my graveyard are Wonder and Brawn. With these two in the graveyard, all of my creatures gain flying and trample as long as I keep them dead. Then creature number three is anything that you want to bring back to life with any of the plethora of cards you have that do just that.
Another great card to have is Grave Pact, which forces all other players to sacrifice a creature if one of your creatures dies. It makes blocking with your small creatures enough of a deterrent to prevent most players from attacking you. If they have several creatures out, combine this enchantment with a Triskelavus and sacrifice the little token creatures, which hit the graveyard long enough to trigger Grave Pact.
Last Updated: January 3, 2017