The 10 best Commander deck builds for beginners in Magic: The Gathering
What builds you should go for when playing Commander for the first time.
Commander is a fun casual format in Magic: The Gathering that allows players to make the most of cards that don’t fit in a competitive setting. It’s also a great way to build decks around a certain theme and explore the possibilities. Deck construction is different from standard play, which gives the format variety and challenge. You must have 100 cards, one of which is a legendary creature acting as your titular Commander. Apart from basic lands, you can only have one copy of each card. The color identity of your deck must match that of your Commander.
Related: The 10 best Mono-Blue commanders in Magic: The Gathering
Commander is usually played with three to five players, and each player has 40 life instead of the usual 20. Players can lose the game by losing all of their cards or life, but taking 21 damage from the Commander also counts as a loss. With more players, special deck construction, and an additional way to lose, it can be difficult to think of a deck to build. If it’s your first time playing Commander, here are some deck ideas that can hold their own in a game, and inspire you to think of the cards you should include.
10) Goblin Decks
If you are looking for aggressive gameplay that doesn’t break the bank, Goblin tribal decks are a good place to start. Goblins aren’t expensive to pick up, and you can easily find a mono-red Goblin Commander that can synergize with other Goblins. Buffing your Goblins with equipment and other spells should give you the edge to quickly threaten other players.
9) Merfolk Decks
Merfolk are a common tribal deck in Commander, as they are easy to pick up and simple to support. Tapping into blue’s penchant for countering spells and drawing cards, you can block your opponent’s strategy while making sure you have what you need. Some merfolk Commanders are also dual-color, allowing you to introduce an additional color if you want to branch out.
8) Token Generator Decks
Commander games are longer than other formats, and making sure you always have creatures on the board is a big priority. White and green decks are known for generating creature tokens that can quickly flood the battlefield. Token generator decks often have creatures that take advantage of the number of creatures you control, strengthening them as you pump out tokens.
7) Landfall Decks
Mana is an important part of any format, especially Commander since players will be trying to disrupt each other’s mana sources. Producing multiple land cards, or having effects that trigger when lands come into play is a good way to produce mana. Some green cards get their power from having many land cards on the field, which turns weak creatures into powerful threats quickly.
6) Life Loss/Gain Decks
Commanders have 40 life to work with, but that doesn’t mean you last twice as long compared to other formats. Black decks can find ways to drain the life out of opponents while keeping you healthy. It’s also a good way to bypass enemy defenses if their creatures are too tough, or if protection abilities are preventing you from hurting other players.
5) Green Stompy Decks
Green stompy decks refer to playing large creatures and having them threaten the battlefield. This is sometimes seen with the Hydra creature type, but it can also refer to a number of other green creatures with high attack power. Use green’s mana ramp ability to bring out large creatures and force your opponents to take action.
4) Aura/Equipment Decks
Aura and/or Equipment cards are a great way to empower creatures and give them abilities that can turn the tide of battle. Equipment cards are almost always colorless artifacts, but Auras can be found in all five colors. White decks are able to take advantage of Auras and often have cards for getting equipment on the field/attached to creatures. This can help strengthen creatures and trigger effects to put opponents in tough positions.
3) Graveyard Decks
Many cards will end up in the graveyard as players use spells, destroy creatures, and remove artifacts/enchantments. Being able to utilize cards in the graveyard is popular with black decks, though it’s also a quality other colors also have. Making use of opponents’ graveyards is a popular strategy, and it ensures you always have something to work with when decks are running low on cards.
2) Sliver Decks
Slivers are a unique creature type in that they all have effects that assist each other when played. While weak at first, Slivers can quickly dominate the battlefield as they appear in greater numbers. All legendary Slivers are multicolored (with all five colors), allowing you to access all Slivers. Some Slivers can be costly, but they are a great way for beginners to jump into the Commander format.
1) Five Color Decks
While five-color decks are often tricky to balance in regular formats, they are great for Commander since they allow you to use whatever you like. Even if you favor one color over the others, it doesn’t stop you from introducing dual-colored or multicolored cards that can make a difference. These decks still require a focus but are perfect for players who don’t like to limit their options.