The Best 5 Commanders in 2022
My top five commanders
Finding New Leaders in the Commander Format
Author: David Merker-Schwendinger
After starting with the Commander format, I realised that I had previously paid little attention to many legendary creatures, purely due to a lack of interest or my playstyle. However, this format gave me the opportunity to try out many different decks, strategies and colours to broaden my field of vision.
After a few wins, a lot of losses and some tweaking of decks, I want to present to you my top five Commanders for 2022, around which I will build several more decks in the future.
1. With Bruvac in search of Fblthp
For some time, I had the idea of building a small decklore around the homunculus Fblthp.
After a short time of research on the internet, I found out that it was mostly used as a commander in “no-creature”-decks to generate combinations of the same in combination with the Isochron Scepter and the Proteus Staff. Many of these decks held up the opponent with counterspells or creature bouncing until that one combo could be played.
However, I wanted to implement an idea that was linked to a “search for Fblthp”. This was reinforced by the appearance of the new Secret Lair set, which was in the style of the old WHERE’S WALDO books and whose focus was on the lost homunculus.
Ever since Ravnica and Dimir’s Guild, I’ve liked the Mill mechanic and decided to use it to search for Fblthp in the contracting decks, while in my own searching for him by drawing cards so that the little lost creature can be guided back to home safety.
Who would be a good commander for this deck?
As a good commander for this Card-Mill-Homunculus-Tribe deck seemed Bruvac the Grandiloquent to me.
For 2U, the human advisor is very cheap and can be put on the field in early turns. His ability to make any opponent put double the amount into the graveyard as soon as they mill cards plays well into the deck. Combined with some enchantments like Drowned Secrets, Psychic Corrosion, Patient Rebuilding, Court of Cunning or Sphinx’s Tutelage, this effect is quickly powered.
According to the deck’s own lore, the other Homunculi in the deck are searching for their missing cousin and, like the Riddlekeeper, help us protect our own cards and passively drive the Mill effect.
Our way to win: Mill!
With this commander, of course, it should be noted that there is usually only one strategy left to play the deck. Bruvac doesn’t give us many other effects, so ultimately you have to rely on milling to use it effectively.
2. Back to the Future
With the new Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty edition coming out soon, Kamis, Ninjas and Shrines have come back into my focus. I had previously some success in private games with Shrine-Zubera decks, so only a five-coloured deck comes into question.
Tearing down borders
To tear down the borders between the spirit world and the local world, you actually need the creature that holds the borders there: O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami, also called “The Old Serpent”.
But since this deity is very cost-intensive for 1WUBRG and its actual effect is not very strong, an alternative is needed.
Who’s our hero?
So, we need a hero who dares to explore unknown areas, at best supports legendary cards and offers us multiple mana colours.
Here, Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, is the right choice.
For 2W, she’s cheap to play, buffed by legendary permanents, and incidentally allows us to seek out legendary cards from the deck based on her strength. Keeping in mind that all shrines are legendary, you can get them into play quickly with a matching mana base.
If you now want to go in the direction of a deck consisting mostly of legendary cards, Captain Sisay must not be missing either, through her, we can look for a legend or legendary card from the library and put it into our hand.
Some gems from the old Kamigawa
Already the old Kamigawa edition offers legendary creatures that can be helpful for the deck, such as Azusa, Dosan or Reki, the History of Kamigawa, in addition to the already mentioned enchantments. In the future, we are sure to find the unexpected as we look at the new dynasty and explore its world.
If the spoilers are true, cards like Kami of Transience, Eiganjo or Light-Paws will be useful to the strategy of the Enchantment Aura deck and give us hope for more.
The five-colour allows you to build the deck in all possible directions depending on your preferences, and with the help of the Commander you can decide whether you want to play an aggressive push-to-win, a control or a combo deck.
A first attempt: Shrines
In a first attempt, I will create a deck based on the shrines of the old Kamigawa, reinforced by newer versions like the Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest or Sanctum of Tranquil Light. Along with Captain Sisay, the Sanctum of All helps get the hones out of the library and into play quickly. Other legendary creatures like Kethis, Kestia, Zur or Hanna, Ship’s Navigator support the enchantment-based mechanics of this deck idea.
3. Pull to Win
Sticking with immortal, divine or godlike creatures, another commander I’ll be using more in 2022 is The Locust God. For 4UR, the flying 4/4 creature offers three good effects.
A swarm of insects is coming
The 1/1 blue-red insect tokens with flying and haste created for each card drawn fall upon the opponent as an unyielding swarm and can be used as cannon fodder when blocking.
For 2UR we can draw and discard a card, last but not least the deity goes back to our own hand at the end of the next End Step when it dies. In this way, similar to the Ninjutsu Commander cards, you can cancel out the increasing costs of your own leader time and time again.
And these are our payoffs
Through the Commander, one should rely on some card pulls that quickly build up a supply of tokens, or find us the right cards from the deck. For the former, you can use Coastal Piracy to have tokens available for defence after each unblocked attack, any card drawn can be combined with Mystic Redaction, Sphinx’s Tutelage or Psychic Corrosion, the Mystical Tutor and Solve the Equation help us find the right cards for any strategy, for example Time Warp, Pyromancer’s Goggles or Swarm Intelligence (matching the Commander).
Blue-red cards that copy cast sorceries and spontaneous spells (such as Thousand-Year Storm and Veyran, Voice of Duality) form good synergies with the Locust God‘s abilities when card draw triggers time after time.
Temporal Cascade or Reminisce, for example, are important in order not to perish due to a missing library.
We want to end things quickly
You can see that with this god I always try to drive the game quickly, to indirectly invite the opponent to sweep the creatures off the board with a Board Wipe, when constant pressure is built up.
A passive playstyle is also possible, but often led to defeat in the first game attempts, especially against combo decks.
Some good finds in Strixhaven
In my opinion, the blue-red colour combination has gained some good cards with the Strixhaven edition, which support the mechanics, such as Practical Research, [card]Prismari Command or the Archmage Emeritus.
If you want to play a bit more aggressively and reduce your opponent’s deck, enchantments that trigger a mill in your opponent with every card drawn, such as the already mentioned cards Sphinx’s Tutelage and Psychic Corrosion, fit in well.
Puzzling? Yes, please!
One card I have in the deck for the chaos I associate with Prismari School is Teferi’s Puzzle Box. This makes it harder for all players to plan their own turn when many new cards are drawn each time. If you play mainly in opponents’ turns, it has less effect(s) on you.
4. The origin of the immortals
With the new Innistrad editions that have recently been published, vampires and werewolves are coming back into focus.
One commander that should therefore not be forgotten is Edgar Markov.
Since its release, it has risen strongly in value and can be considered the best commander for Vampire tribe decks, as it also provides us with tokens from the Command Zone.
For 3RWB, the first-strike and haste-equipped Vampire offers a three-colour mana base that we can use for a wide range of destruction, damage output and health generation.
Thanks to the token ability, each player has the possibility to choose how to become active. A sacrifice mechanic of the tokens offers itself next to aggressive pushing, or a good board control, supported by white, red and black wipes.
We want them vampires for cheap
If many inexpensive vampires are packed into the deck, a protective wall can be built up in the early rounds thanks to the additionally generated tokens, until more expensive creatures like Malakir Bloodwitch or Olivia Voldaren can be brought into play later on to shift the balance of power in one’s own favour.
Planeswalkers? Why not!
As a planeswalker, Sorin is a good addition, which also fits almost seamlessly into the deck due to his own lore, after he was made a vampire by his ancestor Edgar, which triggered his worldwalker abilities.
Personally, I play Edgar Markov mainly because I have a wide range of options with the three mana colours red, black and white and I like vampires in their lore and card design, especially since the new Innistrad Edition.
5. Sac‘ me Baby one more time
The fifth commander I will use more often in 2022 is Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician.
Why isn’t he played more?
So far, I have never come across him as a commander in Goblin tribe decks I have played against. However, since Goblins have been one of my favourite races along with Zombies since my Magic beginnings, I can’t disregard him.
I personally see the little creatures as very suicidal and rely on a sacrifice mechanic in goblin decks, as evident in my Squeemortals.
Ib supports this perfectly at a low cost of 3R, as any blocked Goblin is automatically sacrificed, dealing damage to any blocking creature.
Small creatures, large numbers
Since the small creatures appear in large numbers due to low mana costs, and they are quick to sacrifice, there is no need to worry about supplies. Ib’s ability to sacrifice two Mountains to generate two 1/1 Goblin Tokens also creates creatures in a pinch. Crucible of Worlds ensures that we don’t lose these lands.
The focus with Ib as Commander should be, in my opinion, to perform sacrifices while others create enchantments and creatures and a supply of cannon fodder, also in combination with further sacrifices, like Pashalik Mons or Goblin Warrens.
Buff me baby one more time
To buff his ability even more, we are helped by Torbran, through which red damage sources deal an additional two points of damage. When we burn tokens and other goblins, the tribal enchantment Boggart Shenanigans causes additional damage.
As you can see, in such pure red decks, in which the Goblin Tactician is our commander, aggressive tactics should be used. It may be only useful for pure Goblin tribe decks, another idea, inspired by Dragon Fodder, would be to create a Dragon deck where the Goblins serve in parallel as prey and maintain a steady onslaught while the flying Lizards cause chaos and damage. But in doing so, Ib might not unleash its full potential, as there are fewer goblins in play.
Summing up, it becomes obvious with these commanders that I personally often aim for a sacrifice mechanic, or prefer to mill cards.
It is also important to me to have a nice lore in the deck to be able to tell a little story to the opponent during the games. I also like to use creatures that are not frequently played in the format as a commander to see if they have potential and can be combined well.
About the Author
David Merker-Schwendinger started playing Magic: The Gathering as a teenager. His first Deck was a Mirrodin Preconstructed Deck.
Over the years, he developed an interest in role-playing games, which was sparked during his Archeological studies at university.
The Magic card collection kept growing during his Master studies of Austrian history. Some topics he studied, like heraldic, came in handy for his role-playing storytelling.
He is the host of a YouTube channel (NerdNavigator) where he features the Austrian D&D community and Dungeons’ and Dragons in general.
Booster Drafting with friends and exploring Ravnica with his Dungeon and Dragons party are among his favorite things to do in his free time.
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