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Top 6 Red Commanders in Magic: The Gathering (MTG)

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

Commanders in Magic: The Gathering

I absolutely love playing Commander format! When doing so, players pick one legendary creature (some Planeswalkers work as well) to serve as their commander, a card available throughout the match. Additionally, decks consist of a whopping 100 cards, but only one copy of each card (besides basic lands) is allowed, and only the colors of your commander may be used in your deck.

I enjoy commander because its one-per-deck condition diversifies matches, ensuring there's always something new with each draw. Today we'll examine six awesome mono-red Commanders for anyone looking to harness the powers of forge and fire!

Zada, Hedron Grinder

Zada, Hedron Grinder

6. Zada, Hedron Grinder

Zada's an interesting one. He requires a total of four mana to cast, and enters the fray with 3 Power and 3 Toughness. Zada's ability allows you to copy and duplicate instant and sorcery spells you target him with, allowing you to buff multiple monsters instead of just one. In decks that focus on such cards, Zada's effect essentially doubles the strength of these tactics.

He's also a Goblin creature and eligible to benefit from many Goblin-related cards. Give Zada a chance if you love boosting your creatures!

Urabrask the Hidden

Urabrask the Hidden

5. Urabrask the Hidden

Urabrask is a simple yet effective commander. You'll fuel his summoning with 5 mana, and he joins as 4/4 creature. Urabrask grants all creatures you control Haste, allowing them to attack the turn they're cast. Additionally, he forces all opposing monsters to enter tapped, temporarily preventing them from blocking (or attacking, if they have haste).

Because Urabrask works well with any creatures, I'd especially recommend him for beginning players.

Daretti, Scrap Savant

Daretti, Scrap Savant

4. Daretti, Scrap Savant

Daretti is a planeswalker, meaning he can use weaker abilities while accumulating loyalty to activate his strongest effects. Daretti's first effect increases his loyalty by 2 and lets you draw 2 cards, then discard 2. This helps you get what you need and junk what you don't. His next effect costs 2 loyalty and allows you to sacrifice an artifact to bring one back from the Graveyard, perfect for reclaiming your strongest tool.

His final ability costs a whopping 10 loyalty but grants an emblem that will reforge any artifact sent to the Graveyard. With his drawing and artifact-saving abilities, use the Scrap Savant's unique strengths for any artifact-based deck.

Godo, Bandit Warlord

Godo, Bandit Warlord

3. Godo, Bandit Warlord

Every Commander can be recast from the command zone if they perish once summoned, but it costs an extra 2 mana each time you do so. However, Godo's first ability, which lets you activate an equipment card from your deck, functions each time you play him! The more he falls, the more you can search for and use free equipment.

Plus, his second ability allows Godo and all samurai to attack an extra time every turn. Use Godo to conjure powerful equipment, then ravage foes with an army of boosted samurai.

Purphoros, God of the Forge

Purphoros, God of the Forge

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2. Purphoros, God of the Forge

Purphoros costs a mere 4 mana, a great bargain considering his useful abilities. First, he's indestructible, making him infuriatingly hard to eliminate. Second, he inflicts 2 damage to your opponent whenever you cast another creature. Last, you can spend 3 mana to give all your creatures 1 extra Power when you need some added oomph (and you can do this multiple times per turn if you have the mana).

Purphoros comes with a variety of benefits, and with 6 base power, can overwhelm most foes with sheer strength.

Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh

Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh

1. Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh

Chandra may not be the strongest creature, being a 2/2, but she has the potential to transform into an impressive planeswalker. To do so, she has to deal a total of 3 damage in a single turn.

Thankfully, this is easy with her abilities. She can tap to deal 1 to your opponent, and she untaps whenever you cast a red spell. Three red spells in a single turn will meet your quota; any combat damage Chandra inflicts also counts. Once she's dealt three, she morphs into Chandra, Roaring Flame (see below).

Chandra, Roaring Flame

Chandra, Roaring Flame

Chandra, Roaring Flame

Chandra's transformed Planeswalker state arrives with 4 loyalty and 3 abilities. Adding 1 loyalty allows her to deal 2 damage to any player. Subtracting 2 inflicts 2 damage to any creature. Subtracting 7 deals 6 damage to each opponent, and they receive emblems that deal them 3 damage at the beginning of their upkeeps.

Save up for Chandra's most powerful effect, and watch as your opponents rapidly run out of life!

Red Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. In lore, what does red symbolize?
    • Anger
    • Impulse
    • Isolation
    • Pride
  2. In gameplay, what does red excel with?
    • Drawing cards
    • Recovering life
    • Destroying enchantments
    • Dealing damage
  3. How much red mana does the spell Lightning Bolt require?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  4. In lore, red opposes which two colors?
    • Blue and Green
    • Blue and White
    • Green and White
    • Green and Black

Answer Key

  1. Impulse
  2. Dealing damage
  3. 1
  4. Blue and White

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 1 correct answer: Whoops.

If you got 2 correct answers: Keep trying!

If you got 3 correct answers: Not bad at all!

If you got 4 correct answers: Awesome, you know your Magic!

Your Vote

While we've reviewed some formidable monsters, Magic seems to lack potent mono-red Commanders when compared to other colors, and I hope more options are added in the future. In the meantime, feel free to vote for your favorite of today's bunch, and I'll see you at our next countdown!

© 2016 Jeremy Gill

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