AI Brewed Me Two Commander Decklists

Chase Carroll asked ChatGPT to make them the perfect Commander deck… and the worst one ever. Is it time to welcome our 100-card robotic overlords?

The Grand Calcutron
The Grand Calcutron, illustrated by Sean Murray

Commander is often called the format of limitless creativity. You can do anything in Commander, with your only limitations being your knowledge of the card pool (and thankfully we have Scryfall to fix that). Commander decklists are often creative extensions of the deckbuilder; in fact, you can learn a lot about a person by looking at their decklist. So what happens when you ask AI to make you the perfect Commander deck?

Well, this week I got a little bored and thought, why not test this out? For this little experiment, I asked ChatGPT to create two Commander decklists for me: the perfect decklist and the worst decklist. Can a computer truly make something perfect? Can it make something dreadful? Let’s see. 

The Perfect Decklist

When I prompted the AI to make me the perfect Commander decklist, I was given a brief explanation of this deck and why it should be considered perfect.

This deck focuses on controlling the board with powerful enchantments, instants, and creatures while utilizing Zur the Enchanter’s ability to tutor for key cards. You have a strong suite of counterspells, board wipes, and removal spells to keep the game under control. The deck also has card draw engines like Rhystic Study, Mystic Remora, and Necropotence to ensure a steady flow of resources. With a variety of win conditions and a solid mana base, this deck offers a versatile and powerful experience. Remember to adjust the deck according to your preferences and the specific metagame you’re playing in.

As far as I can tell, this seems like a great decklist description. Decks want card draw, win conditions, powerful plays, and a suite of interaction. My hopes were starting to get high. Let’s see if the AI met the mark, shall we?

Human Analysis

The commander the AI chose was Zur the Enchanter, a popular enchantment-based commander known for its power and often oppressive gameplay. When I saw this, I genuinely had high hopes. I’d expected something with five colors, but Esper enchantments wasn’t bad either. Then I saw the list and realized just how flawed it was going to be.

First off, the deck only has 83 cards. It’s not even complete. Heck, the AI generated list even included doubles of cards like Mystic Remora, Vanishing, Smothering Tithe, and Aura of Silence, counting them as both “Spells” and “Enchantments”. In fact, when we remove all the doubles, the decklists clocks in at 76 cards, which is far from perfect or complete.

Even if we look past this, I have to say it plainly: this deck sucks. The creatures in this list have virtually zero synergy with Zur. The creatures are more focused around instants and sorceries with pieces like Archaeomancer, Snapcaster Mage, and Torrential Gearhulk. The instant and sorceries themselves are standard, run-of-the-mill Esper good stuff. They’re nice spells but ultimately generic and don’t really support the commander or the theme of the deck.

The artifacts are also generic, and the enchantments are a bit of a mess. Sure, there are some good ones there, but they ultimately don’t really do much past provide you value. Most Zur decks fiddle around with Auras in some shape or form. This list has none. No Ethereal Armor, no All That Glitters, no Steel of the Godhead. While EDHREC isn’t always the end all be all for commander decklists, there is little to no crossover between the average EDHREC Zur list and the one the AI made. It didn’t even pull data from the #1 Commander deckbuilding website. And to top it all off, this incomplete decklist (at its cheapest) is $2099.07….that is far from perfect.

The Worst Decklist

For funsies, I decided to see if an AI could make a terrible Commander decklist. I was unsure of what to expect, but I knew it was going to be bad. This time around, I was definitely not disappointed. The AI gave the following description about the deck before showing the final list:

This deck intentionally includes underwhelming creatures, inefficient spells, and unconventional strategies to create a humorous and intentionally weak deck. It’s designed to emphasize fun and unexpected interactions rather than competitive play. Enjoy the whimsical gameplay experience!

Human Analysis

What in God’s good name is this deck? It definitely follows the prompt. It certainly is awful. The deck doesn’t use a legendary creature for the commander. Of course, Pauper Commander exists, and so do Rule 0 decks, but wow… Chimney Imp? Really? The decklist is once again incomplete, capping out at 49 cards. The list doesn’t even follow the color identity rule. The commander is black, but the list is all five colors. Did I mention that this list also runs three copies of Sorrow’s Path? Three! 

The creatures leave a lot to be desired. Grizzly Bears, Clockwork Beast, and Moss Monster are bad…which technically does fit the criteria I asked for. To be fair, the AI was actually pretty good at choosing wacky and bad spells. Anarchy, Worst Fears, One with Nothing, Time Stop, Delusions of Mediocrity, and Stasis are hilarious and definitely bad. While I do believe that there is no such thing as a bad card, these definitely do not shine here. There is no win condition, and no clear path or direction. This decklist is absolutely insane and bad…which means the AI succeeded.

Experiment’s End

So what did we learn? Well, AI is absolutely trash at making cohesive Commander decklists. Both lists were very jumbled, with no clear win conditions or synergies. Both decks also didn’t hit the 100-card criterion for a Commander deck. The lists also included multiple copies of cards, which also violates the rules of Commander (unless stated otherwise, of course). The only good thing the AI did was make a horrible Chimney Imp deck, which I find hysterical.

All in all, when it comes to deckbuilding, it’s clear to see that the uniqueness and ingenuity of humans beat out the AI by a mile. Happy generating, deckbuilders.