Wizards of the Coast had dubbed 2020 as the “year of Commander,” stating that the commander format would be a major priority for Magic: The Gathering this Year. While numerous sets, decks, and other products have had a notable emphasis on Commander, the recently released Commander Legends set is the crown jewel of the aforementioned “Year of Commander.
A full fledged draftable set designed around the Commander Format, Commander Legends adds a plethora of new cards to the format. Of these new cards, a sizable portion are able to be a player’s commander, opening a great deal of new deckbuilding potential. So we’re going to examine the new commanders of Commander Legends and see which are the best!
10 Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh
While there have been numerous one-mana commanders in the past, Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh has the unique distinction of being the first zero-mana commander in Magic’s history. Yes, that means that Rograkh can be played the first turn of every game, even before its owner plays a land. While Rograkh is a diminutive 0/1, it has numerous noteworthy keywords in First Strike, Menace, and Trample. Additionally, Rograkh is one of the many partner commanders in the set, meaning it can be paired with other commanders, opening up a great deal of deck brewing potential.
9 Sakashima Of A Thousand Faces
Another partner commander, Sakashima of a Thousand Faces is a blue creature that enters the battlefield as a copy of any other creature. As Commander is a format rife with incredible and potent creatures under the control of numerous opponents, one is always quite likely to have a solid target for Sakashima.
Most interestingly, no matter what Sakashima becomes a copy of, it gains an ability that nullifies the legend rule. This means that Sakashima’s controller will be able to control numerous copies of the same legendary creature, allowing a player to accrue insane amounts of value with the right creature to copy.
8 Liesa, Shroud Of Dusk
A unique Orzhov commander, Liesa, Shroud of Dusk distinctly possesses an ability that allows its controller to subvert commander tax. While normally when a commander is removed from play, it costs two additional mana for every time it had been cast that game, Liesa instead requires a payment of life. This means that even if Liesa is destroyed, she can consistently be cast again with ease. Additionally, as a 5/5 with lifelink, Liesa is capable of gaining this paid life back for its controller.
As if all of this weren’t enough, Liesa can accelerate a game and quickly dwindle each player’s life total, as each time a player casts a spell, they lose two life.
7 Belbe, Corrupted Observer
While the Golgari color identity is often associated with the manipulation of one’s graveyard, Belbe, Corrupted Observer is a creature that allows players to convert their dealt damage into mana. A 2/2 zombie elf for the low cost of two mana, Belbe allows players two add two colorless mana to their mana pool at the beginning of their postcombat main phase for each opponent who lost life that turn.
When paired with cards such as Pestilence that can reliably deal damage to each player, Belbe can provide its controller with up to six additional mana each turn, allowing them to play splashy and impactful cards early into a game.
6 Hans Eriksson
A character who was first referenced all the way back in Ice Age in 1995, Hans Eriksson has finally received his own card!
A Gruul 1/4 for four mana my not appear to be the best rate, but Hans allows its controller to subvert the mana costs of highly costed creatures. This is because when Hans attacks, its controller reveals the top card of their library. If that card is a creature, it is put into play tapped and attacking! While a creature put into play this way must also fight Hans upon entering the battlefield, if the revealed creature is one such as a massive Eldrazi, the loss of Hans will be well worth it.
5 Jeska, Thrice Reborn
A mono-red Planeswalker with partner, Jeska, Thrice Cursed is a distinct commander option. Uniquely entering the battlefield with an amount of loyalty equal to the number of times its controller cast their commander(s) over the course of the game, Jeska’s two abilities each provide the card with excellent utility. While Jeska’s -X ability can be used to spot remove numerous targets and squeeze in some extra direct damage t0 one’s foes, her 0 ability can deal massive sums of damage. This is because it allows Jeska’s controller to choose a creature, causing that creature to deal not double, but triple the amount of damage it would normally deal to a player.
4 Nevinyrral, Urborg Tyrant
The namesake wielder of the iconic Nevinyrral’s Disk, Nevinyrral, Urborg Tyrant is a stellar commander option for those looking to build a deck with an Esper color identity.
Nevinyrral is a creature that incentivizes wide spread destruction and board wipes. Whenever this creature enters the battlefield, it creates an amount of 2/2 zombie tokens equal to the number of creatures that died that turn. This incentivizes playing Nevinyrral in the wake of a “board wipe.” However, the icing on the cake is that Nevinyrral can function as a board wipe himself, destroying all creatures when he dies if his controller simply pays one mana.
3 Obeka, Brute Chronologist
Perhaps the most interesting new commander in the whole set, Obeka, Brute Chronologist is a Grixis Wizard who when tapped, allows the player whose turn it is to instantly end the turn. While this may not seem powerful on paper, when used on its controller’s turn, a player is capable of pulling some absurd shenanigans.
This is because ending the turn removes all spells and abilities from the stack. Across Magic’s history, there have been numerous cards that have detrimental effects that trigger “at the beginning of the next end step.” With Obeka in play, this card’s controller may play these cards without fear. Once it reaches that player’s end step and those harmful abilities trigger and go on the stack, Obeka can be tapped to nullify them entirely!
2 Tevesh Szat, Doom Of Fools
Like Jeska, Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools is a Planeswalker with partner. Capable of protecting himself with tokens, Tevesh Szat can reliably draw two cards each turn at the expense of a sacrificed creature, drawing an additional card if a commander is sacrificed this way. While Planeswalkers should never be judged solely by their ultimate abilities, Tevesh Szat can notoriously gain control of each other player’s commanders, even if they’re still in the command zone!
1 Kodama Of The East Tree
While many partner commanders appear to be weaker than many non-partner options, seemingly functioning as a “half of a commander,” Kodama of the East Tree is a terrifying commander option in its own right.
A green 6/6 for six mana with reach and partner, whenever a permanent enters the battlefield under this creature’s owner’s control, that player can put any permanent from their hand onto the battlefield as long as it has a lesser converted mana cost than the initial permanent. While this ability can’t trigger off of itself, this let’s its controller cheat countless additional cards into play, even potentially accessing additional land drops.
While this ability is incredibly potent in its own right, the fact that this creature has partner means that a player can have access to an entire second commander and build a deck in a plethora of color identities.
Next: Top 10 Strongest Legendary Goblins In Magic: The Gathering
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Staff Writer, Paul DiSalvo is a writer, comic creator, animation lover, and game design enthusiast currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts. He has studied creative writing at The New Hampshire Institute of Art and Otis College of Art and Design, and currently writes for CBR, ScreenRant, GameRant, and TheGamer. In addition to writing, he directs and produces the podcast, “How Ya Dyin’?”
He enjoys collecting comics, records, and wins in Samurai Shodown.
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