Commander Masters Reprint Commanders that have aged well

Commander Masters Reprint Commanders That Have Aged Well

Jacob LacknerCommander

Commander Masters releases on Aug. 4 and is filled to the brim with amazing reprints for Commander players. This, of course, includes a whole lot of legendary creatures that have been great Commanders for years. Today, I wanted to focus on some of those cards — specifically the ones that have aged well — and talk about complementary newer cards that weren’t around during their original release.

Nekusar, the Mindrazer

Nekusar originally made his debut in Commander 2013, which was only the second time Wizards of the Coast released precons for the format. This means he was designed with Commander in mind, and for a long time he was a pretty popular choice. However, he has fallen off in recent years, which I think is a shame.

He makes for a really interesting Commander because he loves it when your opponent draws cards (he does one damage to them for each card they draw). Normally, you don’t want to help your opponent out by giving them extra cards, but if you play Nekusar in a deck filled with symmetrical card draw, he can very quickly lower your opponent’s life to zero. 

Wheel effects tend to be the most powerful way to abuse Nekusar. This type of effect gets its name from Wheel of Fortune, a card that makes both players discard their hand and draw seven new cards. 

A wheel effect is not only going to rapidly damage the opponent, but it also means you get to reload your hand. Sometimes, you can just chain wheel effects together for a particularly potent turn.

There are also some newer cards that punish the opponent for drawing cards, and those do a great job of complementing Nekusar. Two of them happen to be incredibly powerful cards that are being played in every 60-card format they are legal in. 

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse will amplify the damage your opponents’ take while also gaining you a ton of life. Nekusar and Sheoldred alone will make any wheel effect into an absolutely devastating turn. Orcish Bowmasters, meanwhile, not only damages your opponent for drawing extra cards, it also adds power to the board. Finally, Faerie Mastermind makes sure you’ll get to draw some extra cards with all the symmetrical effects.

If you’re really looking to pile on the damage quickly, there are some other cards you’re going to want to consider. Solphim, Mayhem Dominus and Harmonic Prodigy both double the amount of damage Nekusar’s ability can do and Peer into the Abyss can usually one-shot an opponent if you have just one of your draw-punishing cards in play.

Godo, Bandit Warlord

Godo is the kind of Commander that just keeps getting better with time. This is because his enter the battlefield ability lets you tutor up any Equipment and put it directly into play. So, each time a new and powerful Equipment gets printed, Godo gets a little bit better. 

That’s saying something, too, because Godo is already so powerful that he sees significant play in cEDH decks that can usually win the game in one or two swings. This deck has also become easier to make thanks to reprints like Deflecting Swat, Warrior’s Oath and Ruby Medallion

Going back to new equipment, Kaldra Compleat is one of the best things you can tutor up these days. It has Living Weapon, so it will just straight up give you a 5/5 with first strike, trample, indestructible and haste. That’s a pretty absurd body to add to the board alongside Godo. 

Similarly, Dragonwing Glider gives you a body up front. And there’s also Argentum Armor, though for it to really work out you’re also going to need to have some ways to make it easier to equip. Luckily there are enough of those in mono-Red to make this card worth running.

Because Godo will get to attack twice on most turns, including Equipment that gives you extra effects for attacking or doing combat damage can be particularly spicy. This of course includes all the cards in the Sword of X and X cycle. The Reaver Cleaver and Umezawa’s Jitte are also going to generate a ton of additional value if your Equipped creature is attacking more than once per turn. 

Godo does also have a typal payoff for samurai, too, since only Godo and your Samurai will untap for the second combat phase. That said, there aren’t really enough good mono-Red Samurai out there to be a big theme in the deck. 

The one exception to this is probably Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei, who has two abilities Godo is very interested in. Giving Haste to Godo tends to be a pretty big deal, and you’re going to have enough Modified creatures around for Goro-Goro to crank out dragons.

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

Selvala is a really great mono-Green commander because she does two things Green decks usually want all the time.

First, she loves high power creatures. Any time a creature enters the battlefield, its controller gets to draw a card if it has the highest power of any creature on the battlefield. Second, she is incredibly good at ramping your mana, and that effect also happens to be tied to having high power creatures in play. 

One of the great things about her is she can help you ramp into bigger creatures in the first place, which can result in truly absurd amounts of mana. Even if she’s on her own, she can get Zopandrel into play pretty early, at which point she will be capable of tapping for insane amounts of mana thanks to the fact that Zopandrel drastically increases the power of your creatures. Unnatural Growth can also have a similar effect on your mana. 

There have also been some new, high-power payoffs that are a great fit for Selvala. For example, Entish Restoration will often grab you three lands in this deck, even in the very early stages of the game. You’ll also be able to easily access the hideaway card from Fight Rigging, and you’ll almost always be able to draw extra cards with Bonders’ Enclave.

Queen Marchesa

Queen Marchesa made her debut in Conspiracy: Take the Crown, the set that introduced The Monarch. Being the Monarch is a pretty powerful thing, since it lets you draw extra cards. But the one downside is that your opponent can become the monarch when one of their creatures does combat damage to you. 

Fortunately for Marchesa players, she helps cancel out this downside. If you’re not the Monarch, she gives you a 1/1 token with deathtouch and haste. Because of deathtouch, that token can trade with anything, so it is usually worth a card. And because it has Haste, you can also potentially get the Monarch back right away. 

Since she made her debut, there have been two additional sets to prominently feature the mechanic; 2020’s Commander Legends and The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth, which just released last month.

Éomer, King of Rohan is unique in that he can allow you to choose another player to be the Monarch. This plays particularly well with Marchesa, because sometimes you’d rather have the token than a card. You do probably need to have a human sub-theme to take full advantage of him, but even with just Marchesa in play, you’re going to get a pretty good deal.

Court of Grace is a great fit because it works quite well if you’re interested in tokens and the monarch, and obviously that’s what Marchesa is all about. Generating extra bodies is always powerful, and Court of Grace gives you a huge payoff if you can hold onto the crown for a turn cycle.

Emberwilde Captain is another card you’re going to want to consider in a Marchesa deck. Not only does it make you the monarch, but its effect punishes the opponent for having extra cards in hand — something they are likely to have if they have been the Monarch.

The Ur-Dragon

The Ur-Dragon is one of the most exciting reprints in Commander Masters. Before this reprint, the only way to get your hands on the dragon has been by purchasing a Commander 2017 precon or a specific Secret Lair, so there haven’t been a whole lot of them out there. Despite that, The Ur-Dragon is still the fourth most popular Commander on EDHRec. This is partly because dragons are cool, but The Ur-Dragon also happens to be incredibly powerful.

Eminence is an insane mechanic because it lets your Commander have an effect on the game even when it is stuck in the Command Zone. And, because The Ur-Dragon costs so much mana, it will often be in the zone. 

Reducing the cost of all of your dragon spells is no small thing, either. It makes it feel like you start every game with Llanowar Elves in play, except in this case there’s no way your opponent is going to take the mana boost away from you. 

So, even if you never cast your Ur-Dragon, he’s going to give you a big advantage. Then if you ever do manage to cast this massive flier, it can end the game in a hurry between its massive body, the extra cards it draws you and the permanents it can cheat into play. 

The Ur-Dragon has gotten even better in recent years as more and more dragon payoffs have been printed. Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, specifically, features several cards you’re going to want to consider. 

The Orb of Dragonkind cycle allows you to accelerate into bigger dragons more quickly while also giving you a bonus effect. Korlessa, Scale Singer can allow you to cast dragons directly from your library.  Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm generates token copies of every nontoken dragon that enters the battlefield under your control.

There are also a couple of really powerful dragons you’re going to want to include. One of these is Hellkite Courser, which can come down a turn early and cheat The Ur-Dragon into play for one round of combat. When you manage to pull that off, it’s going to be very difficult for your opponents to keep up with your value.

You’re also going to want to find space for Tiamat. This gives you another incredibly powerful 5-color creature, because when it enters the battlefield you get to tutor up five dragons. Basically, if you get to the point that you can cast Tiamat, it’s going to be all but impossible for you to lose.

End Step

Overall, Commander Masters features a ton of really great legendary creatures. It’s a great time to dig into classic Commanders and revisit what makes them so fun. While these five Commanders are some of my favorites to be featured in the set, there are many more that might interest you. And if you’re ready to commit to a new deck with an old face (or just some upgrades), Card Kingdom’s Commander Masters presale is live!