MTG Keywords Explained: Partner

Card Kingdom Strategy

Commander Legends is coming soon, with brand-new legendary creatures that Commander players can build around. Many of these legendary creatures include the partner mechanic, which allows them to work together to command your deck. If you’re new to Magic or just unfamiliar with partner, we’re here to help you understand how it works.

What is Partner?

Unlike other Magic mechanics that we’ve covered in this series, partner doesn’t affect Commander gameplay. Rather, like the companion mechanic in Ikoria, it affects the way you build your deck.

In Commander, you’re normally limited to one legendary creature as your commander, and you must build a 99-card deck that matches that commander’s color identity. Partner allows you to choose two commanders for your deck instead of one. Both commanders are part of your deck, so you’d need to play just 98 additional cards instead of 99, and the cards in your deck must conform to your commanders’ combined color identity.

During a game of Commander, your partners function just like a single commander would. They both use the command zone, they’re each subject to commander tax, and they keep separate tallies for commander damage. If a card of effect refers to “your Commander,” you get to choose which partner it applies to.

In previous sets, like Commander 2016, only legendary creatures had the partner ability. However, in Commander Legends, a number of planeswalker cards have partner as well, and each is eligible to serve as a partner commander.

One other thing to note is that cards with partner can only partner with other cards with the partner ability; you can’t pair Tevesh Szat up with just any other legend. Some cards with the “partner with” variant can only partner with one other specific card. But, in Commander Legends, the partner permutations are numerous — we’ve put together a handful of suggested partner pairings, and we encourage you to try your own!

LEARN MORE!

Check out the rest of our keyword ability primers:

Banding
Companion
Cycling
Deathtouch
Enchant
Equip
First Strike & Double Strike
Flash
Flying & Reach
Haste
Hexproof
Indestructible
Kicker
Lifelink
Menace
Mill
Mutate
Phasing
Prowess
Prowl
Trample
Vigilance