Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Are Commander Prebuilt Decks Good?
Today we'll explore the best "prebuilt" commander decks Wizards of the Coast has ever made. These guys will cost you more money than 60-card regular decks (usually priced at $45 upon release), but remember, you're getting 100 cards with several rares.
As a whole, I'm impressed with the commander series—you can tell WotC is catering to fans of its popular format. Trust me when I say these fare better than standard's generally-lacking prebuilts and can win EDH games straight out of the box—which reign supreme? These are the ten best prebuilt commander decks in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Mirror Mastery
Commander: Riku of Two Reflections
Despite terrible 2/2 stats, Riku's a cool commander since he blends with many card types; when you cast spells, he can spend two extra mana to duplicate instants/sorceries or to create a token copy of a creature
That said, it can be difficult to clone the deck's units since many are already pretty expensive and some are legendary (which can't have duplicates without sacrificing). You might even want to switch Riku with the included "Animar, Soul of Elements", himself an excellent commander. If you do, replace many of the deck's instants/sorceries with more creatures to capitalize on Animar's ability.
9. Primal Genesis
Commander: Ghired, Conclave Exile
Ghired may look weak at 2/5, but he creates a 4/4 rhino token with trample on arrival, meaning his single casting gives you creatures totaling 6/9 stats. Better yet, when Ghired attacks, you populate, duplicating a creature token you already control (like the rhino) with the added bonus of having the copy enter attacking.
This really piles on the damage, and the rest of the deck offers many other creature tokens for Ghired to potentially copy. The deck doesn't emphasize any one tribe, but it does happen to have the three main dinosaur and cat colors if you want to make them a side theme. This also happens to be today's cheapest pack, costing under $40!
8. Arcane Wizardry
Commander: Inalla, Archmage Ritualist
Inalla has impressive stats and she'll assist even before you cast her; her eminence effect lets you pay one extra mana when you cast a wizard to clone it, give the copy haste, and exile it at the end of the turn.
This works especially well with entrance effects, doubling the arrival abilities your spellcasters provide. The theme also comes with "Kess, Dissident Mage" and (like just about every commander prebuilt) the valuable artifact "Sol Ring". A solid, well-balanced deck, even though its lands skew a bit much towards blue and should spread out more.
Plus, the deck happens to utilize the three colors of infamous villain Nicol Bolas if you'd like to include some of his planeswalkers, which aren't wizard-related but are definitely commander powerhouses.
7. Draconic Domination
Commander: The Ur-Dragon
This ambitious deck juggles all five mana colors, which means you can place any card in the deck, but it can be hard to obtain each mana type. Thankfully, Ur-Dragon utilizes another eminence ability from the command zone, reducing the price of your other dragon spells by one colorless and giving the deck a clear dragon focus.
You've also got "Scion of the Ur-Dragon" included (a strong commander himself) and many powerful dragons to cast. The deck's biggest failing is its inclusion of way too many basic lands; with all five colors, you're gonna want as many multi-color lands as possible. But once replaced with out-of-deck lands, you're good to go.
6. Heavenly Inferno
Commander: Kaalia of the Vast
Despite poor stats, Kaalia's a fun commander who plays an angel, demon, or dragon from your hand (for free!) tapped and attacking when she herself attacks. Kaalia's flying limits the number of units that can block her, hopefully letting her survive her assaults, and Inferno helps protect her with cards like "Mother of Runes".
That said, while the deck does a good job filling its ranks with angels, demons, and dragons to gimmick into play, they're not always ideal units; for instance, "Dread Cacodemon" can't use his field wipe unless traditionally cast, and "Fallen Angel" is simply an underpowered card.
Admittedly, the theme can struggle if Kaalia dies early, but when it works, it works, and you can insta-kill an opponent by using Kaalia to play the not-included "Master of Cruelties".
5. Guided by Nature
Commander: Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury
Nature keeps things simple with mono-green, emphasizing elf-swarming and mana-ramping tactics. Highlights include "Priest of Titania" (who taps for one green per elf on the field) and "Elvish Archdruid" (who has a similar ramp and boosts your elves by +1/+1). A few lackluster artifacts/enchantments should be replaced with more elves, but still an impressive build.
And while I like Freyalise as a card, I recommend using planeswalkers as regular deck members rather than commanders (this opens up the possibility of a commander-damage win). Consider switching Frey with the included "Ezuri, Renegade Leader", or look elsewhere for an elf commander like "Marwyn, the Nurturer".
4. Breed Lethality
Commander: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice
In terms of sheer commander power, Lethality easily takes today's top spot, offering the competitive counter-proliferating powers of Atraxa. Use her to increase the +1/+1 counters of included creatures like "Kalonian Hydra" and "Ghave, Guru of Spores".
Sadly, there's two issues with the deck. One, it doesn't come with any planeswalkers or infect spells, whose loyalty and poison counters you could proliferate to amazing heights. Two, like with Draconic Domination, there's too many basic lands for such a color-heavy deck, and you'll want to replace them with multi-color lands to stabilize your production.
It's also weird to see partner creatures like "Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker" as regular deck members (partners work best as their own commanders). So you've got some tinkering to do, but once optimized, Breed Lethality skyrockets in viability.
3. Devour for Power
Commander: The Mimeoplasm
When Mimeoplasm enters the field, he can exile two creatures from any graveyard(s), becoming a copy of the first while gaining +1/+1 counters equal to the second's power. Meanwhile, the rest of his deck fills graveyards by milling players and incorporates many high-cost creatures for Mimeoplasm to duplicate (like "Artisan of Kozilek"). Plus, with Mimeo's boosted power, he can quickly score the 21-commander damage needed to defeat opponents.
The deck also includes a few extra lands to ensure you don't run out of mana or into color problems, which helps afford its expensive creatures. It also provides a copy of "Skullbriar, the Walking Grave", himself a powerful Golgari commander. And speaking of green/black...
2. Plunder the Graves
Commander: Meren of Clan Nel Toth
Again we see that many of Magic's best prebuilts deal with three or less colors, safeguarding against color failure. In this case, Meren offers a commander who rewards your own creature deaths (once she's out); when one dies, you get an experience counter, and during your end step, Meren returns a creature from your graveyard to either your hand or field based on your number of counters
I like how this triggers at the end step and not your upkeep, so it'll activate the turn you cast Meren (assuming she isn't insta-killed). Throw in a heap of self-sacrificing creatures like "Sakura-Tribe Elder" and "Mycoloth" for a consistent theme that works well as-is. It's also nice that you retain your experience counters even if Meren dies, so once she returns, you're back where you left off.
1. Adaptive Enchantment
Commander: Estrid, the Masked
Like Guided by Nature, the first thing I recommend doing here is swapping Estrid with the included "Tuvasa the Sunlit" to potentially win via commander damage. Either the way, the deck focuses on enchantment synergy, blending standard enchantments with auras and enchantment-creatures.
And the enchantments impress, offering creature boosts and mana ramp from cards like "Bear Umbra" while maintaining card advantage with "Eidolon of Blossoms". Throw in three of my favorite lieutenants ("Loyal Unicorn", "Loyal Guardian", and "Loyal Drake") plus a few field wipes ("Phyrexian Rebirth" and "Winds of Rath") and you see a build so good by default that it's hard to improve. And yes, despite enchantment focus, you still get a "Sol Ring".
I find many themes struggle against Adaptive Enchantment since most emphasize creature removal over enchantment nukes, and it's also one of today's cheaper sets, costing just over $40!
Building a Commander Deck in Magic
Today we examined several decks that have you well on your way to a commander victory, and you can expand their ranks with spells from Commander's Arsenal, which aren't complete commander decks but offer several commander-specializing cards.
To improve on today's multi-color themes, look for better multi-color lands and swap out the occasional misaligned card types, but I'm pleased to see prebuilts offering this much value from the get-go. But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next commander set, vote for your favorite prebuilt and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill
Doctor Vancouver on December 07, 2019:
My 2 favourite precons sitting at 3rd and 1rst.