Top 10 Lieutenants in Magic: The Gathering

Updated on October 8, 2019
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.

What Are Lieutenants in Magic?

A rare set of creature cards, lieutenants activate powerful effects— if (and only if) you control your commander. Naturally, to even have a leader, you'll need to be playing EDH format, meaning lieutenants are only really helpful in that mode. Luckily, it's my favorite format due to its diversified matches (once one card copy per deck), and your second-in-commands make up for their situational abilities with awesome bonuses that often assist your entire army.

As of this writing, there's exactly ten lieutenants to choose from, two from each color. But with their varied abilities, which marshals reign supreme? These are the ten strongest lieutenants to support your commanders in Magic: The Gathering!

Demon of Wailing Agonies
Demon of Wailing Agonies

10. Demon of Wailing Agonies

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5

For five mana, 4/4 offers a solidunit, and this tortured demon also bears flying, letting him soar over ground-based blockers. However, like all assistants, Wailing Agonies really shines while you control your commander, at which point it receives an extra +2/+2 and makes your opponent sacrifice a creature whenever it inflicts combat damage to them.

Forced sacrifices are brutal (circumventing protection and indestructible), but you need to land the damage to activate it. Still, if you can render Agonies unblockable with other effects, you'll have a powerful combo. Use your demon alongside indestructible commanders (like the legendary "Athreos, God of Passage") or partner commanders, as it's easier to maintain them on the field and keep your bonuses active.

Loyal Subordinate
Loyal Subordinate

9. Loyal Subordinate

CMC: 3

Loyal Subordinate needs just three mana to cast, but only arrives as risky 3/1. That said, its menace keyword lets it only be blocked by two or more defenders, and the zombie subtype blends with black's biggest tribe.

Subordinate applies a life-sap alongside your commander: depleting three life from opponents at the start of your combat steps. That's a continuous drain, and since you'll likely field Subordinate (and your commander) in your turn's first main phase, you should be able to activate the trait almost immediately (unlike most upkeep effects). A handy ability, though I wish you gained the life Subordinate takes.

Angelic Field Marshal
Angelic Field Marshal

8. Angelic Field Marshal

CMC: 4

A bit more costly than Subordinate, but not much as Wailing Agonies, Field Marshal needs four mana but joins the fray with a respectable 3/3 and flying. As long as you control your commander, this angel receives +2/+2 (for a fierce 5/5), and she'll grant all of your creatures vigilance!

Vigilance lets your warriors attack without needing to tap, letting them block or use their tap effects, a handy boon that benefits your entire squad. Several of the best white angels, like "Avacyn, Angel of Hope" can also shield your units (and your commander) with indestructible, and angels are slowly gaining more tribal support.

Loyal Apprentice
Loyal Apprentice

7. Loyal Apprentice

CMC: 2

She may be the weakest of today's champions at only 2/1, but Loyal Apprentice is also the cheapest, needing only two mana. She also arrives with haste, letting her avoid summoning sickness and attack immediately, which can slip in an early two damage.

More than that, at the start of your combat phases where you control your commander, Apprentice crafts a colorless 1/1 thopter artifact creature token. Although weak, they come with flying and gain haste for immediate attacks. Additionally, their thopter and artifact statuses strengthen the effects of certain type-dependent cards, so don't overlook these handy machines when building artifact decks.

Tyrant's Familiar
Tyrant's Familiar

6. Tyrant's Familiar

CMC: 7

While it's the most mana-taxing of today's allies, Tyrant's Familiar compensates with great latent powers. Although 5/5 is only decent for its price, this dragon arrives with both flying and haste, acting immediately and soaring past land units. Even better, while you control your commander, Familiar gets +2/+2 and deals seven damage to an opposing unit whenever it attacks!

Seven damage will wipe out nearly anything in one shot, granting you an auto-kill each turn in addition to Familiar's potential 7/7. Clever players will work around Familiar's high cost by gimmicking him to the field with cards like "Kaalia of the Vast", appearing sooner expected.

Stormsurge Kraken
Stormsurge Kraken

5. Stormsurge Kraken

CMC: 5

This aquatic beast demands five mana, but helpfully arrives with 5/5 plus hexproof, preventing your opponent from targeting Kraken with any effects. Beyond that, with your commander out, Kraken gains an additional +2/+2, becoming a daunting 7/7, and lets you draw two cards whenever he becomes blocked.

Overall, Kraken's a strong and resistant ally whose effectiveness is less dependent on his secondary abilities than most lieutenants. Try getting trample onto him to ensure his bulky blows aren't easily guarded.

Thunderfoot Baloth
Thunderfoot Baloth

4. Thunderfoot Baloth

CMC: 6

As the second-most expensive card today, Thunderfoot Baloth can still hit the field early thanks to green's impressive mana ramp, or you could avoid his cost with spells like "Defense of the Heart". Regardless of your casting method, Baloth enters as a 5/5 with trample.

However, as long as you control your commander, both Baloth and your other units gain +2/+2! Not only that, Baloth offers your units trample, ensuring everyone can pierce excess damage through blockers.

Loyal Guardian
Loyal Guardian

3. Loyal Guardian

CMC: 5

Only one of Guardian's mana actually needs to be green, making him an easy fit in multicolor decks. This staunch rhino bears a respectable 4/4 and trample by default.

Additionally, at the start of battle phases with your leader fielded, Guardian places a +1/+1 counter on all creatures you control! Counting himself and your commander, this means you should be getting at least two every turn, a sizable bonus that helpfully endure even if Guardian is later killed. Remember you can activate lieutenant abilities by controlling either of two partner commanders (although they don't double if you control both).

Loyal Drake
Loyal Drake

2. Loyal Drake

CMC: 3

While 2/2 isn't exceptional for a three-cost unit, Drake also bears flying and a flexible cost. Like many lieutenants, his bonus activates at the start of your combat phases, potentially triggering right after a main phase entrance.

At the start of your combat while you control your commander, Drake simply draws you a card. Over the course of the game, this grants incredible card advantage, particularly coveted in EDH. A staple in my own decks, Drake won't break the bank, costing less than a single dollar!

Loyal Unicorn
Loyal Unicorn

1. Loyal Unicorn

CMC: 4

For a moderate cost, this mystical creature enters as a solid 3/4 with vigilance. However, as long as you control your commander, Unicorn bestows two spectacular effects at the start of your combat: he gives vigilance and renders your entire team (including himself) immune to combat damage for the rest of the turn!

With vigilance and protection in combat, you're free to swing with everything you've got; not only will no one tap, they'll be completely barricaded against enemy blockers.

Which creature do you prefer?

See results

How to Use Lieutenants

We've seen the awesome powers these second-in-commands will grant your armies; remember to use defensive measures like "Mother of Runes" to shield your commander from harm, as your lieutenants will lag until you recast them. The gods pair well due to their indestructible nature, partner commanders give two chances for maintaining the bonuses, and simple low-cost generals like "Sram, Senior Edificer" can be quickly recast if defeated.

Useful in any EDH theme, lieutenants grant field-wide bonuses to bolster your battalion. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of commander-supporting creatures, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2018 Jeremy Gill


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)