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In brightest day / In blackest night / No evil shall escape my sight / Let those who worship evil's might / Beware my power--Green Lantern's light!
I have a lot of friends who enjoy Magic, but don't collect the cards or build decks. I like playing Magic in more of a boardgame-style format, where everyone just grabs a deck that's already made and you go at it. Now that there are 10 of them, I wanted to make a quick summary of each deck to make it easier to pick them out in the future.
Below is each of the decks, what colors it contains, its primary and alternate commanders (along with brief summaries of what makes them cool), and a couple strengths for the decks.
Note that for the strengths of the decks, I basically just went off what's written in the strategy guide for each deck. If you're playing one of the alternate commanders for that deck, it might play differently.
Also, for fun, I put the names for each color combination, according to this page
Colors: White, Blue, Green (Bant)
Commander: Derevie, Empyrial Tactician (Cheap and instant-speed, taps and untaps things)
Alt: Roon of the Hidden Realm (Temporarily exiles creatures)
Alt: Rubina Soulsinger (Takes control of creatures)
Strengths: Combat tricks, political options
Colors: Blue, Black, Red (Grixis)
Commander: Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge (Steals other players' spells)
Alt: Nekusar, the Mindrazer (Damages opponents for drawing)
Alt: Thraximundar (Forces sacrifices, gets stronger from sacrifices)
Strengths: Powerful spells, card draw
Colors: Black, Blue, White (Esper)
Commander: Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Gains life, draws cards, and opponents lose life)
Alt: Sydri, Galvanic Genius (Animates artifacts, gives them lifelink and deathtouch)
Alt: Sharuum, the Hegemon (Returns artifacts from graveyard to battlefield)
Strengths: Life gain, triggered abilities
Colors: Red, Black, Green (Jund)
Commander: Prossh, Skyraider of Kher (Creates hordes of creatures, eats them to pump himself)
Alt: Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper (Creates strong, hasty tokens when your creature dies)
Alt: Shattergang Brothers (Forces everyone to sacrifice creatures, artifacts, and enchantments)
Strengths: Token generation and sacrifice, political options
Nature of the Beast
Colors: Green, Red, White (Naya)
Commander: Marath, Will of the Wild (Gets +1/+1 tokens, uses them for utility)
Alt: Gahiji, Honored One (Pumps any creatures attacking your opponents)
Alt: Mayael, the Anima (Puts big creatures into play for free)
Strengths: Mana acceleration, big creatures
Colors: White, Black, Red (Oros / Dega)
Commander: Kaalia of the Vast (Plays angels, demons, and dragons for free)
Alt: Tariel, Reckoner of Souls (Reanimates random creatures from opponents' graveyards)
Alt: Oros, the Avenger (Sweeps non-white creatures when it damages players)
Strengths: Big, powerful angels, demons, and dragons
Colors: Blue, Red, Green (RUG / Ceta)
Commander: Riku of Two Reflections (Copies creatures and spells)
Alt: Animar, Soul of Elements (Gets bigger when you cast creatures, makes creatures cheaper the bigger it is)
Alt: Intet, the Dreamer (Exiles cards when it damages players and may play them free later)
Strengths: Copying creatures and spells
Colors: Black, White, Green (Junk / Necra)
Commander: Ghavu, Guru of Spores (Turns creatures into +1/+1 tokens and vice versa)
Alt: Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Allows casting creature spells from graveyard)
Alt: Teneb, the Harvester (Reanimates creatures when it damages players)
Strengths: Can makes hordes or fatties, won't stay down
Colors: Red, White, Blue (Patriot / Raka)
Commander: Zedruu, the Greathearted (Donates permanents, gaining strong benefits)
Alt: Roshan of the Fomori (Huge and cheap, attacks at random)
Alt: Numot, the Devastator (Destroys lands when it damages players)
Strengths: Excellent defense, excellent political manipulation
Devour for Power
Colors: Green, Blue, Black (BUG / Ana)
Commander: The Mimeoplasm (Combines dead creatures)
Alt: Damia, Sage of Stone (Always draw back up to seven cards)
Alt: Vorosh, the Hunter (Becomes huge when it damages players)
Strengths: Graveyard tricks, reanimating fatties
Please let me know if you see any errors, if you have suggestions for better 'strengths' for any of the decks.
I've also posted this on Reddit
- Last edited Sat Nov 2, 2013 3:58 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Sat Nov 2, 2013 7:40 am
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Nice list. I've played the original Commander sets a lot, and I'm expecting more to arrive today. My favourite commander from the first wave was Tariel, reckoner of soul, that guy is awaesome.
I commented on reddit as well. I really like this list. I do really wish that the 2011 decks were cheaper. Some of them look really fun. They're just too expensive though. I'm hoping to pick up all the new decks.
Is the gentleman with the BroStache invited to this party?
Great little synopsis of the decks. Me and two friends picked up some of the 2013 decks and played our first ever game of Commander last night.
I had Esper, and my friends had Bant and Jund. I liked playing Esper.
It was really fun since we have a three-player group and this was the first time we could all play together. There was a lot of just reading the cards to see what they did, and everyone had to help each other remember all the triggers and everything. There was definitely a lot more bookkeeping than in a regular Magic duel.
The Commander for Esper (Oloro, Ageless Ascetic) seemed overpowered until I reminded the guys that a Pacifism-type card could easily stop him. Then the Bant player looked at his hand and said, "Oh!," and immediately put a Darksteel Mutation on Oloro that stayed on for the remainder of the game.
We ended up ganging up on the Bant player because he was able to get his Commander (Derevie, Empyrial Tactician) out the soonest. Also, the Jund player put a curse on the Bant player (can't remember the card) that gave each creature that attacked the Bant player a +1/+1 counter. Then I played Order of Succession and stole the Bant Commander (Derevie).
The Jund player built up a lot of tokens off of his Commander (Prossh, Skyraider of Kher) and was using sac outlets to get +1/+1 counters on one guy and then removing counters to deal damage. (Again, a lot of bookkeeping to pull of these combos.) Unfortunately, I realized a turn too late that I could've cast Toxic Deluge to clear the board of all his tokens and get the Darksteel Mutation off of my Oloro, and he knocked out the Bant player quick.
The reason I felt bad is because I wanted us all to stay in the game longer, and the Bant player really wanted to play Grixis originally, but they were sold out and he went with Bant (thanks Legacy players). I also felt bad because we split a Theros booster last night and I pulled a Thoughtsieze and a Xenagos, the Jund player pulled an Elspeth and like 3 other $8 - 10 cards, and the Bant player got a bunch of nothing.
Me and the Jund player played for about 5 or 6 more turns before we realized it was going to last a long time and we decided to call the game a stalemate.
In the end, I had a blast. As you mention in your original post, Commander does make Magic seem more like a board game. AND having these pre-constructed Commander decks made it super easy to just open and play.
I'm a casual player, but I still felt like I spent a lot of time trying to deck build 60-card decks. And I'll tell you that when a person who is not good at deck building tries to build a deck, it's not that fun. And when you try to copy online decks, the lack of good cards in your card pool is also not that fun. I have some Duel Deck, which are fun with each other, but these Commander pre-cons actually have some good cards in them.
Which also leads to one of the daunting parts for me about getting in to Commander, and that's building the deck. With 100 cards, all singleton, it's super hard to know what to put in there and what works well together. Not only do these pre-cons come with a good mix of cards, but they also give a good framework for how to build your own Commander deck.
I'm planning to play a lot more Commander now, and I'd recommend anyone playing Casual Magic to pick up one of these deck. You should be able to get them for $30 MSRP at Target and Walmart, so don't pay $50 - 80 or more at a game shop that's price-gouging. But if Commander 2011 is any indication, it would be a good idea not to wait too long.
I have picked up all 10 decks. The new decks look to have better construction than the previous ones, overall. Derevi has been the only general I have tested so far and he is fun out of the box. As I hadn't even looked at the cards...just sleeved and played (against tuned EDH decks)... I can say that his deck will be competitive when it is tuned. There are some pretty bad cards still in the deck but they can easily be replaced by something better. Add some dual-lands and shocks and these new decks are going to be super fast.
Derevie is a chick.