The 2024 Commander Wishlist

The 2024 Commander Wishlist

Kristen GregoryCommander

2024 is almost here, and I’m here to manifest what I’d like to see for the format going forward. This wishlist is in some ways personal, but it also stems from my observations of the format and what dials could do with tweaking.


I’ve genuinely had enough of Goad, and I would be less cold on it if we had a dedicated hatebear. Most strategies in Magic have a hatebear available to curb them, whether it’s having creatures or artifacts enter tapped, spells cost more, stopping creatures entering that weren’t cast… the list goes on. 

Right now, a little goad – much like a clutch fog – can be a lot of fun. I don’t mind it, genuinely. I think it makes for fun and interesting games. But all good things in moderation. It’s possible to really lean into Goad, whether in the Command Zone, or on cards like Gloin, with an easily repeatable activation cost. 

We’ve seen cards like Taunt the Ramparts added to the format, too, and while I’m always stoked to see Boros get new toys, we have reached a critical mass of Goad cards to the point I’d like to see a hatebear of sorts that can provide some counterplay. Maybe on a creature that also stops damage being prevented, in red or RW? Lets you attack as if not goaded? I’d like that.

Aurelia, the Law Above

The Murders at Karlov Manor Commander decks are the perfect place to drop this hatebear, but I really hope it’s not in green, which there’s a reasonable chance of considering it’s the Boros deck that has a Goad theme. Even putting Goad in Boros and printing Aurelia, the Law Above won’t convert me, Wizards. Rein it in. 


There was a time when I could empathize with the desire to run fewer wraths, but that time was a bubble between 2019 and 2021 when Commander was played increasingly on Spelltable and a deluge of content creators burst onto the scene with the desire to make snappy content that didn’t outstay its welcome. 

If you’re making content and want games to end quicker, then more power to you. Commander has changed since that time period, though, with decks able to turn the corner and win from a minimal board state faster than ever. Decks bounce back and rarely run out of cards. This shift, as more cards have entered the format, has given us speedier games with more must-answer threats.

A lot of value comes on three-drops these days; take Braids. When someone drops this when there’s also another powerful 3-drop in play, and the real threats are Commander damage or combo kills? Well, it can tend to stick around and draw its controller a lot of cards, or chunk a lot of life. The answer, of course, is to play more wraths.

I’ve been enjoying Brotherhood’s End recently, and I’d like to see people play the three-mana ones more to punish players who greedily rush toward emptying their hands. 

I think the issue is that board wipes can be a huge tempo loss in a format where snowballing value is so easy. Unless the whole table agrees to a change in philosophy, it becomes a prisoner’s dilemma; why be the table-cop when it’ll just pave the way for another player to win?

This I believe is the current “issue” with casual Commander, and beyond regular playgroups, the one that can affect untrusted play the most. This kind of arms race results in decks just trying to go faster, as playing stax or control is frowned upon by the average player as “boring”. I disagree, and think the best pods to play in are ones where there is at least one control deck and at least one aggro deck. 

Not everyone can curate such an experience every time, and so really there needs to be more incentive to actually play wraths. I do believe there are now enough asymmetrical, cheap, or modal wraths for every deck, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see new wraths printed that give something back. Shatter the Sky from Theros Beyond Death was the canary in the coal mine. 


I think it’s safe to say that white has been fixed. We’ve had some exceedingly pushed white cards in 2023 that feel like the color is starting to get on par with green’s stranglehold on power. Mondrak, Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, Skrelv, Boromir, Clever Concealment, Galadriel’s Dismissal, Chivalric Alliance and Moonshaker Cavalry? That’s just a few, and all very powerful cards that feel more than fair in 2023. 

I think the next color that needs some attention is actually blue. Blue, as it stands, has arguably the biggest hurdle to being fun in Commander: it’s the color of “no”. It counters spells, it bounces things back to hand, and it loves to play in a reactionary way. There are two burning issues that are keeping blue from leaning into its identity and also from being as “fun” as it could be:

  • Counterspells are card disadvantage, and there’s not really a good way to scale them to Commander.
  • Blue primarily wins through combos and bouncing everyone else’s stuff to prevent other people winning

Both of these are core aspects of blue that don’t fit into the current casual zeitgeist, and I think Blue could use a little help. It needs removal and ways to interact, but free counterspells and exiling permanents in too efficient a manner is deemed too strong. 

I don’t think blue is alone, though; Red has also been “fixed”, and gets a lot of fun cards and strategies, where I think Black needs some more interesting win-cons and Commanders. I go deeper on this in my article about Wizards Fixing Dimir in Commander and in my Defense of Dictate of Erebos.

Ultimately, though, I think there’s a danger of every color and archetype devolving into midrange piles or drag-racing to the finish line in a pseudo-cEDH style if we don’t re-embrace the color pie and let colors play to their strengths. Doing so doesn’t necessarily add time to games; if anything, it’ll help reduce game actions per-turn so we’re not all taking 15-minute turns and not winning.


Ah, Roaming Throne. A card everyone is excited to put in their decks. And now it’s not just creatures-matter builds, either. It can double up all manner of Commander triggers from 4-color Aragorn’s cast triggers to Aurelia the Warleader’s extra combat (provided you have vigilant creatures, you can take advantage of it). 

I’m generally against cards that are this universal and easy to splash, which in this case, a colorless artifact is. It’s better in a lot of ways than a Panharmonicon or Yarok, because while it’s restricted to creatures, it cares about Attack triggers (hello Etali!), cast triggers (Talrand, anyone?), damage triggers (like Yuriko needed the help) and dies triggers too, which I’m sure can be leveraged in any number of powerful ways, too. 

I like to label cards like this with the Smuggler’s Copter effect, after the warping effect that card had on Standard. It just went in every deck, because why wouldn’t you play it?

Now, Roaming Throne is hardly bannable, even in the name of format diversity. I don’t think it’s powerful enough. But Ward {2} on a 4/4 for four? That is really pushed, and I don’t like how cards like this reduce the quantity of unique card slots in decks. 


If cards like this are going to be printed? Well, I’d like them to be reprinted sooner than other cards. This card should be in Commander precons. It should be on whatever form the “List” takes now (Special Guests?). It should be readily available, and not over $10-15 for a copy. It’s worth that, but given the demand, it’s going to need plenty of reprints going forward.


I’ve made it no secret that I’m bored of treasure and how it can accelerate us past the mid-game straight to end-game. The mid-game is where the fun power struggles are, and I enjoy that part of the game a lot. The cat is very much out of the bag, and the genie cannot be put back in the bottle; treasures are here to stay.

I would, however, appreciate it if every second card to enter the format didn’t incidentally make a treasure. We don’t need any more ways to churn out treasure for every game action. Remember how obnoxious Landfall decks are, because they get rewarded for every game action with value? Well, that’s all decks now, making Lotus Petals for breathing. 

While it does level the playing field to some degree, I think scaling back on adding new effects to the format so often is advisable.


But we also need more ways to interact with treasure. And we’re getting some. Charismatic Conqueror is perfect, and the kind of stax-lite that the format needs. It’s not a hard no, and puts the onus on the player popping off to decide if they want to let the white player gain advantage. 

We also got some more “comes in tapped” in Dauntless Dismantler, that also can blow treasures up with ease. I like this attention being paid to treasure, and I think it’s sorely needed. More, please. 


Finally, I’d just like fewer Commander decks. I know this one is unlikely to happen, but getting decks every Standard Set, plus flagship decks once-a-year, plus decks for side products, and Secret Lair decks too? There are just so. Many. 

Cards need time and space to breathe. I’d like to play with cards for longer before having them on the potential-cut-pile when new ones come out. Admittedly that one is personally within my control, but still.

I’d also love to see Commander decks in the vein of older yearly entries, where we get to revisit parts of the multiverse not in Standard. We did get that for Commander Masters, I guess.


That’s my Commander wishlist for 2024. Agree? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts on X