If you’ve ever felt a little bored of Commander, then why not challenge yourself to running a random commander? If you are the sort of player to have six
or ten Commander decks, then a random challenge like this seems like a great way to push your decks, have something a little different, and to have fun! I
love these random challenges because I have no idea what I’ll flip up. But I know that I have to build around it. And I try hard to be fair to the card
itself, you know?
Are you ready? Let’s get this thing started!
I flip over a few minor cards, including Shield Barrier and Shield Sphere back-to-back. That’s a little odd. Anyways, about eight cards later, my first
commander flips. Alright, here we go.
Alrighty folks. Did you know that Tividar of Thorn is one of only two mono-white legendary creatures that are a Knight? If you want a mono-white Knight
deck, then your only options are Tividar or Sidar Jabari. You might have thought that another character here or there would have made the cut, but nope.
That’s not the case. So we have a good reason to run a Knight deck here. Let’s get it on!
- 1 Kongming, "Sleeping Dragon"
- 1 Knight of Dawn
- 1 Benalish Knight
- 1 Glory
- 1 Auriok Steelshaper
- 1 Knights of Thorn
- 1 Steelshaper Apprentice
- 1 Gold Myr
- 1 Aysen Crusader
- 1 Zhalfirin Commander
- 1 Sidar Jabari
- 1 Soltari Crusader
- 1 Zhalfirin Crusader
- 1 Paladin en-Vec
- 1 Crusading Knight
- 1 Celestial Crusader
- 1 Pentarch Paladin
- 1 Tivadar of Thorn
- 1 Crovax, Ascendant Hero
- 1 Kinsbaile Cavalier
- 1 Knight of the White Orchid
- 1 Knight-Captain of Eos
- 1 Lightwielder Paladin
- 1 Kabira Vindicator
- 1 Student of Warfare
- 1 Knight Exemplar
- 1 Mirran Crusader
- 1 Hero of Bladehold
- 1 Adaptive Automaton
- 1 Silverblade Paladin
- 1 Riders of Gavony
- 1 Heliod, God of the Sun
- 1 Crusade
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Konda's Banner
- 1 Hold the Line
- 1 Helm of Kaldra
- 1 Shield of Kaldra
- 1 Sword of Kaldra
- 1 Harsh Mercy
- 1 Marble Diamond
- 1 Jabari's Influence
- 1 Jabari's Banner
- 1 Tithe
- 1 Faith's Fetters
- 1 Return to Dust
- 1 Door of Destinies
- 1 Swell of Courage
- 1 Armored Ascension
- 1 Mass Calcify
- 1 Path to Exile
- 1 Sword of Vengeance
- 1 True Conviction
- 1 Sword of War and Peace
- 1 Dictate of Heliod
- 1 Obelisk of Urd
- 1 Gideon's Phalanx
And that’s a deck! Who doesn’t like Knights? They are a fun tribe in part because the many lords that help your tribe aren’t overly powerful or annoying to
deal with, while the creatures themselves tend to be small and combat oriented. A 2/2 first strike isn’t going to put the fear of your deck into a lot of
folks, and that can enable you to fly under the radar with a strong amount of value.
One of my key goals with this project was to push flavor. Take the lands, for example. Other than the requisite Plains and cycling lands, what else fits?
The only other non-lands I ran were Castles, Towers, and such. The sorts of places Knights guard or rest between adventures scouring the countryside for
There were a lot of places where I really pushed this theme. Our stuff has to make sense in a Knight- themed reality. Let’s take removal as an example. A
card like Swords to Plowshares certainly doesn’t fit that theme. Neither does Crib Swap. But Path to Exile was sufficiently generic in flavor to make the
cut. You could see a Knight banishing a foe or a traitor.
My other spells follow this theme as well. Tithe certainly makes sense on theme, and the ability to grab a Plains (or two) certainly suffices. From Return
to Dust to Mass Calcify, there are a variety of effects here that work.
We have Tividar as our leader, and I had to toss in the aforementioned Sidar Jabari as well. Both of them are strong co-leaders that stamp out evil
where’re it may lurk.
So Knights! Let’s start with some of our leaders, such as Knight Exemplar or Kinsbaile Cavalier. There may not be a lot of true lords, but both of these
are pretty strong. Giving your horde double strike is a powerful combat option, while the indestructible of the Exemplar means you can attack with
impunity. It’s a lot nicer than something like Avacyn, Angel of Hope, because it’s really more about allowing your 2/2 Tividar of Thorn to be on more of an
equal footing with dark monsters and foul forces.
While it might be pricey to use, you can churn extra mana into Zhalfirin Commander to pump up one of your Knights. Having that threat on the board changes
combat math without the need to actually use it.
I also included a few creatures that will pump your team. Every good army needs a tactician to plan their battles. No one will do a better job of that then
Kongming, who is a strong Glorious Anthem on a stick for your team. Flash out Celestial Crusader to surprise someone while pumping white creatures, and
then get that bonus permanently. From Hero of Bladehold to Adaptive Automaton, you can see a few creatures here and there that will help the whole team.
Shoot, don’t forget to level up that Kabira Vindicator!
Now with the leaders set, what Knights do I want to run? Well, I like the sheer resiliency of a lot of Knights. Ever since White Knight was printed, this
tribe has tended to have a lot of protection-based ways to live. I want to emphasize that. The first two that enter are Paladin en-Vec and Mirran Crusader.
Both of these guys have protection from two colors. The next place I mined was Knight of Dawn, which I can make have protection from any color that
I thought about cards like Northern Paladin and Southern Paladin, but I felt they could be a bit too limiting. I enjoy the flavor of just destroying
something chaotic or evil (or both) flat out. But they are weak against a lot of decks and really bad beats against others. I felt Lightwielder
Paladin was a better choice because it’s nicer. I tossed in Pentarch Paladin instead to give us flexibility along this concept as well.
From Crusading Knight’s evocation of Angry Mob to Soltari Crusader sneaking past with shadow, there are some interesting Knights out there that can amp up
your team while also giving you some interesting routes of attack.
Our Knights have some leaders and allies as well. They worship Heliod, God of the Sun and receive his blessings. Often, their devotion to Heliod is so
strong that Heliod will arrive to the battlefield to help them out with his physical presence. At other times, Heliod’s Dictate will be granted as a boon
to those who appeal for aid.
One of Heliod’s great servants (and a key ally of our good Knights) is Elspeth. The Sun’s Champion can arrive to help lead your team in battle, and the
Knight-Errant provides a strong presence as well. Both of these incarnations of the great hero are ones that can turn the tides of battle. Meanwhile,
Gideon leads the frontline, moving everyone into battle position, using his shields and weapons to prevent some harm to your Knights. Gideon has proven to
be another strong ally, especially if he brings Gideon’s Phalanx along with its numerous Knights.
Gideon isn’t the only one that has allies and others to assist. Tividar of Thorn brings his Knights of Thorn to the battle as well, while Sidar Jabari has
a great Banner as a powerful influence on the battlefield. Giving flanking to one of your crew with Jabari’s Banner is great, as is using the unusual
Jabari’s Influence to steal a creature that is attacking you. Sidar Jabari can help convert an opponent to the just cause.
Alright, so should I run Tividar’s Crusade? Because it doesn’t do much in a modern Commander game, I instead went with Crusade and Celestial Crusader. I
would prefer a card like Glorious Anthem and Spear of Heliod that doesn’t pump opposing creatures too, but here, flavor trumps, and I used Crusade instead.
The same concept of Knight-tastic flavor ruling the deck extends to our equipment. I wanted stuff that a Knight could take into battle like a shield or
sword; no odd staffs or Whispersilk Cloaks or anything like that. This is about Knights heading into battle with swords held high!
I began with some blades. Sword of Vengeance is great because it gives your Knight so many abilities, and one of those is haste, ensuring that you can
swing right away. Meanwhile, we have the Sword of War and Peace (to do mostly War), but with the eventual goal of slaying all evil. Peace by the sword.
We also have the trifecta of Kaldra pieces, with her Sword, Shield, and Helm providing a useful slate of abilities. The Helm gives you haste for one mana,
(plus trample and first strike), a very useful option here. The Sword of Kaldra turns any Knight onto a nasty threat, and with the large amount of first
strike or double strike running in this deck, anything you don’t kill with combat damage will be exiled from the Sword’s ability. The Shield obviously
protects the team as well. And perhaps you can summon the champion of Kaldra to assist your Knights in their hour of need?
You could mine similarly flavorful equipment, such as Godsend, Argentum Armor, or Empyrial Plate.
I tossed in Armored Ascension as well as a nice way to give a Knight a powerful board presence for a while.
Most Knights are Humans. So take a look at Riders of Gavony. First of all, you get another Knight for your deck with it, a nice 3/3 vigilance dork. When
they enter the battlefield, choose a creature type that seems to be common among your foes. Elves? Dragons? Spirits? Zombies? Whatever works for the board
position! All of your Humans now have protection from that tribe. It’s pretty interesting stuff because you now win combat against any of those nasty
armies. If you like Riders of Gavony, you could tie into that theme a bit more with something like Angel of Glory’s Rise or Gallows of Willow Hill.
I made sure to include some very powerful tricks as well. Here’s an old school one that can really push someone over the edge:
It gives all of your blocking creatures a Righteousness effect. +7/+7 for your whole team translates into you winning combat. If your foe is bringing some
strong beaters, your teams first and double strike can be used to kill anything that would otherwise have traded with your team, things like Eldrazi or big
green tramplers. Hold the Line is also a great answer to cards like Overrun or Craterhoof Behemoth.
Another sweet option is Swell of Courage. You can play it as a pseudo-Overrun effect of your own. Since it’s an instant, you can play it whenever you need
and get a nice boost for your bodies. Again, combining these boosts with your combat abilities is a really keen way to take out a bunch of creatures from a
And don’t forget that you can channel the Swell! You can turn a powerful creature into a game winner. I’ve channeled Swell later in the game to give a
creature eight or ten +1/+1 counters. It plays like a permanent instant Howl from Beyond. It can make Tividar a major threat with Commander damage or turn
a simple Gold Myr into a beast.
While this deck doesn’t have a major equipment theme, you could certainly add cards like Puresteel Paladin or any of the many equipment fetchers. I chose
to run Steelshaper Apprentice for this purpose. It’s not a dead-on-arrival equipment threat like Stonehewer Giant, and I find the Apprentice and its
Soldier a better fit thematically for this deck than the Giant Warrior.
You want to know what else works thematically? True Conviction certainly does! These Knights certainly don’t lack for conviction! You can drop that to give
all of your stuff double strike and lifelink!
And there is a huge variety of these sorts of fun cards that I squeezed into the deck. Auriok Steelshaper and its ability to pump your Knights (and
Soliders)? In! Obelisk of Urd and Door of Destinies to help your Knights? In! Harsh Mercy to kill all non-Knights? In!
This deck won’t be running stuff like Kor Haven, Maze of Ith, or any of that junk. Crusaders, Paladins, and Knights of all stripes are the requirements of
the day. This is not a deck that wants to ease back and let others play the game and then jump out and win. This is not a deck that wants to have an answer
to all of the various woes that opponents might play. Do you like playing creatures? Do you like attacking with them? Do you like winning in the red zone?
Then this deck is for you! Play some Knights and some Allies, swing, and then win. Commander can be that easy.
I hope that you liked our deck today. What did you think? Did you find anything in here that appeals to you? Because Jabari’s Influence would be a zany
card to unveil at your next Magic night, right?
Random Commander Appendix:
Here are all of the previous random Commanders that we’ve done:
1). Grimgrin, Corpse-Born – The random machine pulled out a fun little Dimir sacrifice deck all laden with lovely
2). Yomiji, Who Bars the Way – We flipped over a mono-white legendary creature from Kamigawa who has a serious legendary permanent theme. Let’s let the good times roll!
3). Thriss, Nantuko Primus – Our good legendary leader inspires the
use of the fight mechanic to defeat
foes with aplomb. And to have fun, too!
4). Lady Caleria – What happens when I flip over one of the least exciting legendary creatures of all time? One of my favorite decks, that’s what!
5). Balthor the Stout – Sometimes you flip over a tribal legendary creature, and I love when it’s an odd, less obvious tribe like Barbarians that is being built around.
6). Verdeloth the Ancient – Man, speaking of tribes, how do you deal with this Saproling and Treefolk enabling leader ? By hitting both themes right out of the park.
7). Mirri, Cat Warrior – Here come the Forests. Let’s make a deck that Gaea’s Liege is proud to call home.
8). Iroas, God of Victory – It’s God Time on the Random Commander Challenge. Let’s craft a red zone inspired deck that’ll make Ares downright proud.
9). Selenia, Dark Angel – I built this fun deck around cards like Lich,
Worship, and Platinum Angel. Are you ready for the fun to roll?
10). The Mimeoplasm – Ooze into your next Commander match with this graveyard-based fun deck.
11). This Knightfall deck is built around Tivadar of Thorn! Who likes Knights?