After a whirlwind week of previews, we finally know all the contents of Commander 2019. This new quartet of preconstructed decks feature fan-favorite mechanics morph, flashback, populate, and madness, and all four come packed with both exciting new cards and beloved Commander staples.
Each of these decks contains four legendary creatures, which we’ll be referring to as primary, secondary, and tertiary commanders. The primary commander is the default commander for the deck — they each promote the deck’s signature mechanic, and they’re the first card you see when you pick up a box. The secondary commanders are the two other legendary creatures that share the primary commander’s color identity; either of these creatures could be the commander of your deck, but you might need to make a few tweaks to optimize the deck for them. Finally, the tertiary commander is a fourth legendary creature in one of the primary commander’s colors; if you wanted to build an entirely new commander deck, these creatures might provide some inspiration.
All four Commander 2019 decks are ready-to-play right out of the box — but which one will you choose? To make your decision a little easier, we’re providing a run-down of each deck, including its themes and key cards.
(Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this post with additional Commander 2019 links and resources over the next few weeks.)
Our first Commander 2019 deck is a Sultai morph deck helmed by Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer. Kadena hails from the plane of Tarkir, and her deck includes some of the most powerful morph creatures from Khans of Tarkir block: the surprise hexproof Sagu Mauler, the board-clearing Thousand Winds, and the dynamic duo of Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor. “Faceless Menace” also includes plenty of cards that work well with morphs: Trail of Mystery and Secret Plans buff your face-down creatures’ stats and generate card advantage, while Seedborn Muse‘s untap ability gives you more opportunities to pay morph costs.
Kadena herself is an excellent commander for a morph deck. She reduces the cost of playing a face-down creature each turn, and if you have a critical mass of morphs, you’ll be drawing tons of cards. The alternate commanders for this deck aren’t quite as on-theme, but Rayami and Volrath are both useful if you enjoy stealing other creatures’ abilities. Grismold is also an interesting tool for creature token decks, or any decks that care about opponents’ creatures dying.
Tertiary Commander: Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero
Blue, White, and Red are the primary “spells matter” colors in Magic, which make them the perfect colors for a flashback-focused deck. More than a third of “Mystic Intellect” is made up of non-creature spells, most of which you can cast from your graveyard. It also includes creatures (such as Talrand and Guttersnipe) and enchantments (such as Jace’s Sanctum and Burning Vengeance) that reward you for casting instants and sorceries. Besides spells with flashback, you’ll also find spells with the retrace, aftermath, and jumpstart mechanics, so you can get maximum value out of your graveyard.
Like a lot of “spells matter” creatures, Sevinne is small but mighty: he protects himself in combat and allows you to copy instants and sorceries that you cast from your graveyard. But, if you’re looking for a different commander for your spells deck, “Mystic Intellect” comes with options. Elsha is another great commander for a spell-heavy deck, and our friends at the Command Zone podcast have some recommendations for how to build around her.
Tertiary Commander: Tahngarth, First Mate
If you’d rather attack with creatures than cast spells, than “Primal Genesis” is the deck for you. This deck revolves around the populate mechanic, which allows you to create copies of creature tokens. Its primary commander is Ghired, who can create 4/4 Rhino tokens, if you don’t have a token on the battlefield already.
“Primal Genesis” includes plenty of creatures and ways to make creature tokens; the trick will be keeping them on the battlefield. Fortunately, this deck includes some instant-speed ways to create tokens, such as Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage, Trostani’s Judgment, and Sundering Growth. You can also protect your creatures from board-wipes with Rootborn Defenses, and the deck includes a surprising amount of card-draw, so you can rebuild after a Wrath.
Tertiary Commander: K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth
Finally, we have the lone two-color deck in Commander 2019: “Merciless Rage.” This deck’s primary commander is Anje Falkenrath, a vampire from Innistrad who cares about spells with madness. “Merciless Rage” features 23 spells with the madness mechanic, so you can use Anje‘s ability several times in a turn.
Of course, this deck doesn’t just want to discard cards for the fun of it. “Merciless Rage” also includes cards that care about creatures in graveyards. Greven prompts you to sacrifice creatures to draw cards, and Chainer allows you to cast creatures from your graveyard. The deck also contains spells like The Eldest Reborn and Beacon and Unrest, which can reanimate creatures from any graveyard.
Commander 2019 is out August 23rd, but stick around — we’ll have more Commander content for you in the meantime.