Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Do Partner Commanders Work in Magic?
In Magic's EDH format, players usually pick a single legendary creature to serve as commander over their 100-card deck, including only colors their leader bears. However, a rare set of units access the partner ability, letting you use any two partners as commanders. While partners are generally weaker, their varied colors help you tweak your color identity as needed, and having an extra unit available throughout the match can really make a difference.
10 Best Partner Commanders
Most comrades can be paired with any partner, though some specify a particular card to ally with. But with dozens of cooperative legends, which creatures reign supreme? These are the ten best partner commanders in Magic: The Gathering!
- Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix
- Akiri, Line-Slinger
- Okaun, Eye of Chaos/Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom
- Kraum, Ludevic's Opus
- Tana, the Bloodsower
- Reyhan, Last of the Abzan
- Silas Renn, Seeker Adept
- Tymna the Weaver
- Vial Smasher the Fierce
- Thrasios, Triton Hero
10. Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
For a four-cost creature, Kydele's 2/3 (two power and three toughness) aren't great, but considering the general flimsiness of partners, she's far from unusable. Additionally, Kydele belongs to the abundant human and wizard subtypes, granting several synergies, and she can tap to add one colorless mana for each card you've drawn in a turn. Given blue's specialty of bonus draws, this can offer some insane ramping.
Green's big creatures and blue's counter prowess makes a formidable EDH combo; thankfully, they blend well in this terrific teammate.
9. Akiri, Line-Slinger
At just two mana, Akiri makes a reliable turn two play, and she bears both first strike and vigilance. The former lets her deal damage first in combat (and potentially avoid a counterstrike) while the latter lets her swing without tapping.
Why bother with attacks when her stats are 0/3, you ask? Well, Akiri gains +1/+0 for every artifact you control, making her an excellent choice to lead an artifact equipment deck (which white offers several supports for). Pair Akiri with "Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder" if you want to stick with just red and white, or branch out to other colors to increase your options.
8. Okaun, Eye of Chaos/Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom
CMC: 5 (both)
Okaun and Zndrsplt share a slot since they can only partner with each other, and sadly, they both cost five mana, meaning they don't offer the different-resource plays of most pairings. However, their effects work especially well together. At the start of combat on your turn, both flip a coin until you lose a flip, and for every coin flip a player wins, Okaun gains double power/toughness until the end of the turn while Zndrsplt lets you draw a card.
Remember, this takes into account all won coin flips, including those from other cards or even your opponents! With a little luck and the right coin flip supports, Okaun can exponentially multiply his stats and offer a one-shot commander damage win; be sure to grant him trample, double strike, and haste to increase his offense capabilities.
7. Kraum, Ludevic's Opus
At five mana, Kraum costs a fair chunk of resources, but he bears a surprising number of boons for a partner. Not only are his stats a hearty 4/4, he enjoys flying and haste, letting him soar over ground blockers and attack even on the turn he was summoned.
In addition, Kraum lets you draw a card whenever an opponent casts their second spell in a turn, punishing them for wielding consecutive forces in the same round. Kraum's zombie type also pairs well with black, useful since he's typically allied with Vial Smasher—but more on her later.
6. Tana, the Bloodsower
Red and green Tana is rather weak for her price, carrying just 2/2, but she's an excellent candidate to boost with equipment or auras. Not only does she harness trample, piercing excess damage through blockers, whenever she deals combat damage to a player, she creates that many 1/1 sapling tokens.
Boost Tana with the "Sword of" cards to grant extra power and toughness as well as protection against colors, letting her reliably land her combat damage and trigger her token creation. Finally, Tana carries the elf and druid subtypes, comboing well with two of green's most plentiful clans.
5. Reyhan, Last of the Abzan
Reyhan only costs three mana and his abilities make good use of his green and black heritage. Reyhan enters the field with three +1/+1 counters, placing his stats at a solid 3/3, and whenever a creature you control dies or enters the the command zone, if it had any +1/+1 counters on it, you may place those counters on another target creature.
Thus, as long as you can avoid field wipes, your defeated monsters will add their strength to their living allies, minimizing your loss. Use green hydras or enchantments like "Doubling Season" to quickly amass counters and overwhelm foes with your boosted army. Reyhan has won me several matches, and I especially appreciate his comparatively lower price, often costing less than five dollars!
4. Silas Renn, Seeker Adept
Silas only wields 2/2 stats, but his blue and black hues offer two valuable EDH colors. He counts as both an artifact and a creature, qualifying for several supports, and Silas wields deathtouch, discouraging foes from attacking or blocking him.
This will hopefully let his combat damage hit your opponent unblocked (and you can use blue's unblockable aura boosts to guarantee it), and when he does so, you may cast an artifact card from your graveyard that turn. You still have to pay its mana cost, but this works great for reviving self-sacrificing artifacts or artifact creatures like "Burnished Hart" and "Astrolabe."
3. Tymna the Weaver
Tymna's another three-cost creature with 2/2 stats, and she's a nice way to add white and black to your partner scheme. While weak, her lifelink ability recovers health whenever she deals combat damage, giving you plenty of fuel for her next trait: at the beginning of your second main phase (after combat), you can spend X life, where X is the number of opponents who were dealt battle damage this turn, to draw X cards.
Even in 1v1, spending one life for an extra card is an excellent bargain, especially when you'll have extra reservoirs thanks to lifelink, letting you focus on other tactics without having to worry about hand replenishment. As a final bonus, Tymna belongs to the popular human and cleric subtypes, granting several bonuses with corresponding themes.
2. Vial Smasher the Fierce
Vial Smasher's fierce powers have finally gotten her (yep, she's a girl) banned in 1v1 EDH, but she's still a potent force. For just three mana, 2/3 stats aren't bad, and Vial bears the goblin subtype, comboing well with red's best goblins.
Even better, whenever you cast your first spell each turn, you deal damage equal to that spell's CMC to a random opponent. Since 1v1 commander ensures your target (negating her randomness), Vial has since been banned in that format, but she's still accessible in mutliplayer EDH. Remember, you can use the trait on other players' turns with instant or flash spells, striking them with effect damage even on their round. Vial is typically partnered with Kraum, but also works well with Tana.
Another small advantage is Vial's ability to hit foes without them getting too mad; since your target is random, they (hopefully) won't feel like you're targeting them, and thus might still ally with you.
1. Thrasios, Triton Hero
Thasios bears a solid 1/3 stats for his low cost, and like Kydele, he accesses blue and green. Thrasios bears both the abundant merfolk and wizard subtypes, giving him plenty of synergies, and he can spend four mana of any color to scry 1, then reveal the top card of your deck, placing it tapped onto the field if a land and into your hand otherwise.
He's cheap, provides great synergies, offers a great color combo, and scales well into the later stages of the match thanks to his mana effect, making Thrasios the best partner commander we've yet seen. Pair him with Kydele for a potent green/blue wizard duo you won't regret, and reduce the activation cost of his effect with cards like "Training Grounds".
How to Win With EDH Partner Decks
When picking which partners to use, consider both their abilities and the colors you'd like to include; more colors gives additional deck-building options, but runs the risk of drawing the wrong land types. Remember, each partner's commander damage is tracked separately, so you'll need to inflict a total of 21 with a single unit to score a commander damage win, but their recast prices are also independent; losing one won't increase the price of recasting your other from the command zone.
Try to find partners with different CMCs, then fill your deck with cards of other costs, giving you consistent plays that make full use of your available mana. With these formidable allies, you're well on your way to a coalition victory, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next batch of partner commanders, vote for your favorite troop and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill