June 11, 2020

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The Defining Wedge Commanders

Previously, we had talked about some pillars of various colour combinations in Commander focusing primarily on the three colour Shards. This week, let’s cover some of the defining options in the Wedges (or Khans) of the colour combinations. Each of these cards is not necessarily the most powerful of each combination, but are some of the most common Commanders you’ll see at the table.

Abzan: Karador, Ghost Chieftain

Honorable Mention: Anafenza, the Foremost

Abzan is very often treated as a Golgari deck that splashes white so when you have a Commander printed like Karador that efficiently supports that plan, you’ll see a lot of players converge on it as a viable commander. As a result, you’ll also see a healthy amount of Abzan decks have Anafenza, the Foremost in their command zone to deal with the Karador players and their huge graveyard. If you haven’t played against a Karador deck before, for starters that’s shocking but also they’re just highly efficient decks. Fill the graveyard with your library and treat it as a second hand while never paying commander tax because of the mana reduction they carry on them. An evergreen card in the format that demands removal and graveyard hate more so than many commander decks.


Jeskai: Narset, Enlightened Master

Honorable Mention: Zedruu the Greathearted

Jeskai is a colour combination defined by some high-quality value Commanders. However, it's also full of broken ones that can quickly lock opponents out of the game. Narset, Enlightened Master is often part of the latter. A deck filled with ramp, extra turn spells and extra combat phase spells is considered very oppressive by many. That doesn’t stop players from constantly playing it or just swapping out some game-winning cards with some more value cards like Planeswalkers or big card draw spells. The card is absurdly powerful and for newer cards to become prevalent in this colour combination, they have to either offer an extremely unique effect (Pramikon, Sky Rampart) or offer new and potentially broken interactions (Elsha of the Infinite with Sensei’s Divining Top or Gavi, Nest Warden with Decree of Annihilation). Jeskai is one of the more tightly wound for Commander selection due to the high power level of options that already exist. As a result, the colour combination is pushed towards oppressive decks that combo off without requiring high amounts of mana in order to stay relevant in the format.


Sultai: Muldrotha, the Gravetide

Honorable Mention: Yarok, the Desecrated

Sultai is the colour combination of graveyard recursion and greed. Ramping into more mana than any player would need so that you can try and do something ridiculous. Muldrotha is the love of many players by supporting both of those plans efficiently with Yarok covering the latter exceptionally well. The value that one can ascertain from running these cards is absurd from Kokusho in Muldrotha to Mulldrifter in either deck, these cards just scream insane value. The decks are generally exceptionally greedy in their mana curves or their reliance on specific cards. As a result, they can be shut down rather easily by proper hate. However, when these decks can do their thing they are exceptionally fun and are some of the most popular Commanders in the format. Muldrotha gets the edge for now as it has been in the format for longer thus you’ll find more players having the deck in their collection while players are still flocking to Yarok.


Mardu: Queen Marchesa

Honorable Mention: Kaalia of the Vast

Mardu runs into a similar issue as Jeskai does wherein lacking access to green. It has to make up for this by either cheating out expensive threats or gaining card advantage and maintaining control. As far as colour combinations go in Commander, this is, unfortunately, one of the least popular ones but when you do, you’ll generally see it as Queen Marchesa control or Kaalia of the Vast midrange. More often than not you’ll see the former due to the fact that she gains card advantage and supports the control strategy that the colour combo has a high number of efficient options and wincons for well, but Kaalia has been in the format for a while and her ability is one of an absurdly high power level. Being able to cheat in an Avacyn on Kaalia’s attack trigger is insane and will often just win games on its own but the support cards available to Queen Marchesa, as well as the overall price of the deck, wins most Mardu players over.


Temur: Riku of Two Reflections

Honorable Mention: Maelstrom Wanderer

Riku is an absurdly popular card in the colour combo that is built all-around value. Every popular Commander in this colour combination either gains card advantage, copies spells or reduces the cost of cards. No matter how you look at it, Temur players want value in their Command Zone which has been made apparent with the recent addition of Kalamax, the Stormsire to this colour combination. Riku is one of the more common choices because it gives you the best of value creatures and value spells making just every card in your 99 even better. Doubling on your ramp, draw and kill spells or your biggest creatures (that also don’t leave the battlefield at the end of your turn). By supporting so many strategies, but also supporting pretty much any pet card that players may have, Riku will often be the most common commander you see across tables (unless it’s cEDH then you’re more likely to see Animar).


Well, that’s all the Wedges of Magic covered with that! What do you think? Do you have any commanders you think are more representative of each colour combination in your local playgroup? Drop a comment and let me know!