Eternal Masters Commanders

Eternal Masters has more than just competitive format chase cards! There are a whole lot of Commander staples that are begging for recognition! Bennie is just the man to do it!

This weekend I’ve got some Magic good times lined up.

For Friday Night Magic I’ll be drafting Eternal Masters and hoping to crack open the sweetness – along with the goodness. Playing Magic is already a win, cracking open the sweetness would make it a win-win, and if I also open the goodness to win some prizes, it’ll be a win-win-win! We’ll see how my luck holds. On Saturday I’m playing in a local Modern Win-a-Box tournament and finally getting to put my updated Doran Zur deck through its (actual DCI-sanctioned) paces. With any luck, I’ll have some fun stories to report back to you next week.

This week I thought I’d take another look at Eternal Masters with an eye towards Commander. Last week I built an Elemental Tribal deck around Maelstrom Wanderer and its awesome new artwork! But Maelstrom Wanderer is far from the only legend you could find lurking in your Eternal Masters packs, so this week I’ll provide you with some build-around idea nuggets to help you on your way to a sweet 100-card deck.

Hello there, Rorix Bladewing. When I look at you, I see a fierce Dragon made for killing people with Commander damage. Flying gives you decent evasion and haste means you get to attack right away. Unfortunately, with just six power, you need four hits to knock out someone with Commander damage, but if we can boost that power by a point, we can exactsies for 21 in just three hits.

The haste means we’d want something to boost Rorix’s power, so I’m looking at Shuko, Power Matrix, Sai of the Shinobi, Hero’s Blade, Stormrider Rig, Ronin Warclub, Crucible of Fire, and Hall of Triumph. Dragon Breath is a pretty resilient option to boost its power too, if not on that first attack, but you can make up for it on subsequent attacks. It’s also a flavor win to give your Dragon the Firebreathing effect. If you want to emphasize the “Dragon” side of Rorix – and why wouldn’t you? – we can include Dragonlord’s Servant, Dragonspeaker Shaman, Sarkhan’s Triumph, and Utvara Hellkite. And a bunch of Dragons!

Hello there, Silvos, Rogue Elemental. When I look at you, I see another potent threat to kill with Commander damage. Silvos has pseudo-evasion with trample and has high enough power to kill in three hits with some points to spare. In fact, for just three points more, it can kill with just two hits, so let’s look at cards like O-Naginata, Hero’s Blade, and Moldervine Cloak. Deathtouch is a combo with trample, so let’s not leave home without Basilisk Collar. Even with a bunch of chump blockers, Silvos is bound to punch through at least some damage, so we can take advantage of cards like Hunter’s Prowess and Sword of Light and Shadow. We can also take advantage of the cheap regeneration with cards like Nevinyrral’s Disk, Oblivion Stone, Worldslayer, and Berserk!

Hello there, Eight-and-a-Half-Tails! When I look at you, I see so many hyphens, I get dizzy. Seriously, though, you suggest a very cool deck doing interesting things with color and protecting your permanents. I want a lot of mana from the usual suspects: Sol Ring, Mind Stone, Coldsteel Heart, Darksteel Ingot, and Caged Sun. To take advantage of the color-changing, we can go with things like Circle of Protection: White and Story Circle. Pentarch Paladin and Eight-and-a-Half-Tails can destroy just about any permanent. With enough mana, we can save any artifact creatures from Mass Calcify. Sword of Light and Shadow and Sword of War and Peace are potent weapons when you can make spells or creatures white on demand.

Hello there, Visara the Dreadful! When I look at you, I’m reminded that the recent Theros block brought us a fair number of Gorgons to the mix, and though we might not be able to go full-on Gorgon tribal, especially in mono-black, we can run a strong Gorgon theme. In particular, Keepsake Gorgon, Archetype of Finality, and Hythonia the Cruel look delightfully destructive. The mondo combo with Visara the Dreadful is Thornbite Staff. Even though she’s not a Shaman, it’s still worth four mana to equip and destroy every other creature on the battlefield. With all the death going around, we’ll want Black Market, Deathgreeter, Blood Artist, Shadows of the Past, Falkenrath Noble, and Sangromancer. And how about Mimic Vat! Oh, and we’ll want Visara to have haste, so dust off Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, and Thousand-Year Elixir!

Hello there, Jareth, Leonine Titan! When I look at you, I think of that stupid diamond commercial, “He went to Jared’s.” I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes; no telling how many times you’ve heard that before. Seriously, though, Jareth certainly discourages people from attacking you on the ground, and that’s quite a massive bonus! People will try to pierce your defenses through the air, so let’s close that hole with cards like Gryff’s Boon, Spidersilk Net, Fleetfeather Sandals, and Angelic Destiny. Serra’s Embrace gives a power and toughness boost, flying, and vigilance, which is just about perfect. For three mana more, we’ve got Akroma’s Memorial. Okay, so we’ve got someone to defend us from both ground and air attacks. What if no one attacks us? Maybe we can encourage it with Arcum’s Whistle, Bullwhip, or Gideon Jura. Casting Luminarch Ascension is a pretty good incentive to attack too!

Hello there, Arcanis the Omnipotent! When I look at you, I think of a mean card that represents all that is bad at Magic. Or maybe I’m letting my anti-blue bias show too much? I kid, I kid… I’m actually quite fond of creature cards that do cool things, no matter what their color, and drawing cards certainly qualifies.

I’m pretty sure that, if you don’t store Arcanis the Omnipotent with Thousand-Year Elixir in your Commander card stash, you’re doing it wrong, and you probably want the other haste cards I mentioned above under Visara the Dreadful. If you can get Arcanis to stick and draw cards, it probably doesn’t matter what else you pair with it; you’re likely winning anyway. Still, we might as well have some fun with Chasm Skulker, Sphinx’s Tutelage, and Psychosis Crawler. Maybe we could even do some shenanigans with Words of Wind. And once your hand is stuffed with cards, you might as well equip Arcanis with Empyrial Plate and smash! Training Grounds would be decent to make it cheaper to return Arcanis to your hand to get out of a sticky situation.

Hello, Brago, King Eternal! When I look at you, I’m reminded of how much fun I have with you as one of my current crop of Commander decks. It’s completely busted and fun, and it looks like this:

It’s just stuffed with enters-the-battlefield value cards, along with mana sources that Brago lets you use twice a turn. There are lots of ways to ensure Brago can attack unimpeded. The craziest cards are Lightform and Cloudform; Brago can blink both the manifested creatures (assuming they are permanents) and the Auras to manifest another card. Mastery of the Unseen works similarly but is more mana-intensive. I also really like the “rule=setting” cards like Declaration of Naught, Runed Halo, Nevermore, Voidstone Gargoyle, and Exclusion Ritual, since you can easily reset them as the game goes on.

Eldrazi Displacer obviously fits right in here, but my playset is currently quite busy in my Standard decks. If I get an extra copy, it’ll slide right in, or else I’ll have to wait until Eldrazi Displacer rotates.

Hello, Braids, Cabal Minion! When I look at you, I’m reminded that you’re on the Commander ban list, and for good reason. Your spirit lives on in Smokestack for all the griefers out there. I did have fun with you back when you were Standard-legal!

So what are you plans for Eternal Masters release weekend? Do you have any other ideas for the legends you might open in the booster packs? Wish me luck in the Modern tournament tomorrow!

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):

Zurgo Bellstriker (Bellstriking Like a Boss)

Dragonlord Ojutai (Troll Shroud)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Dragons, Megamorphs, and Dragons)

Dromoka, the Eternal (One Flying Bolster Basket)

Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (Tempests and Teapots)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Hatching Evil Sultai Plots)

Scion of the Ur-Dragon (Dragon Triggers for Everyone)

• Nahiri, The Lithomancer (Lithomancing for Fun and Profit)

Titania, Protector of Argoth (Titania’s Land and Elemental Exchange)

Reaper King (All About VILLAINOUS WEALTH)

Feldon of the Third Path (She Will Come Back to Me)

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Calling Up Ghouls with Sidisi)

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Two Times the Smashing)

Anafenza, the Foremost (Anafenza and Your Restless Dead)

Narset, Enlightened Master (The New Voltron Overlord)

Surrak Dragonclaw (The Art of Punching Bears)

Avacyn, Guardian Angel; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled; Sliver Hivelord (Commander Catchup, Part 3)

Keranos, God of Storms; Marchesa, the Black Rose; Muzzio, Visonary Architect (Commander Catchup, Part 2)

Athreos, God of Passage; Kruphix, God of Horizons; Iroas, God of Victory (Commander Catchup, Journey into Nyx Edition)

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)

Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Possibility Storm Shenanigans)

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (Tribal Birds)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius ( new player-friendly)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)