2 Commanders? Howdy, Partner!
The new Commander pre-constructed decks let us finally answer the question: Which colour do we like the least?
The most exciting news about the newest batch of legendaries is that we're now able to build proper, legal, four-colour Commander decks! They've printed five new legendaries, each with a four-colour casting cost for us to brew around, but perhaps the most interesting aspect of the new class of bosses is the new ability keyword: Partner!
For the first time ever, we're allowed to have two distinct commanders sitting together in the command zone as long as they both share the keyword Partner! I've heard other people mistakenly assume you can partner up any of these new gold cards with pre-existing commanders, adding a colour (or two) to your favourite existing deck, but that's just not possible. The printing of Partner implies every other legendary creature is a lone wolf who refuses to share the title. This means no adding green to your Marchesa deck. (Thank goodness!)
But don't worry! There's still plenty of combinations we can use. How many, you ask? I'll tell you! I did the math! (Pretty proud of myself for a non-mathy type!)
They've given us fifteen unique commanders with Partner on them. Each of them have exactly two colours. Five made up of one of each allied colour pair, and ten made up of TWO of each enemy pair, for a grand total of 105 possible partnered-up Commander teams! Breaking things down further, we can make 35 different four-colour decks, 65 different three-colour decks and just five two-colour decks. The coolest part is that because we get two of each enemy colour pair, we get more combos in the Khans wedge colours than we do in the Alara shard colours! Those wedges needed the boost! They're so smart over there at WotC!
In terms of the rules for having two in the command zone, it works out as you might imagine. The rest of your deck will be only 98 cards, still making a total of 100. The commander "tax" of having to pay an additional two mana per cast of your commander applies to the cards separately. Just because one commander falls in battle doesn't mean the other one costs any more to cast! And if you're trying to 21 an opponent with commander damage, you'll need to put all that damage in one commander's basket. They can't share those 21 points of combat damage to an opponent. I mean, they could share the workload but by then you'll have done 42 points of damage which seems inefficient to say the least!
Let's look at a couple of interesting partnerships!
Sometimes I feel like getting my Mardu on and smashing faces, but I'm tired of Zurgo Helmsmasher! Well, now we can team up Vial Smasher the Fierce and Tymna the Weaver to shore up an old Mardu drawback. Card draw! The Vial Smasher gives us an extra damage boost, and as long as we share the combat love with a few different opponents, Tymna draws you a card for your second main! Maybe more if the fighting was good! I suspect it would have been, in those colours!
I've always felt that the Jeskai Khan was a bit lacking in commanders, but now if we team up Azorius Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker with Izzet Kraum, Ludevic's Opus, we put our opponents in a very interesting predicament! Each spell they cast puts a +1/+1 counter on Ishai, and if they cast two spells in a turn, Kraum will draw us an extra card!
Lastly, I want to hilight an obvious Abzan team-up! Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper is a Golgari Partner that earns you life based on the toughness of all creatures you control that get through for combat damage to an opponent. Team her up with Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa to make it so any of your creatures with power two or less can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach. What a combo!
Oh man, I'm excited to try out so many of these partnered combinations! I knew I was going to have to buy a few extra packs of sleeves for these, but it looks like I'll also need to pick up an extra bookshelf to hold all these extra decks!