Commander Misconceptions

July 22, 2017

Even though I’m extremely competitive by nature, I do enjoy bashing with gigantic monsters

Alexandre Darras

32, from Brussels, Belgium.
Started playing Magic in 1995
Won GP Manchester 2012
17th GP Praha 2009
2 times Nationals top 4

More Posts (4)

Hi guys,

This week I’m gonna talk about something more casual, namely Commander.

Even though I’m extremely competitive by nature, I do enjoy bashing with gigantic monsters while having a beer from times to time.

But there are a few rules and misconceptions people have with Commander. You cannot “do nothing” for the first few turns and hope the game will go your way later. Even though politics and alliances are important, you still need to advance your game plan relatively fast because you’re playing against not one, but multiple opponents. You should avoid one-for-one and even some two-for-ones as they are not really one-for-one. If you Oblivion Ring an opponent’s creature, the rest of the table is still +1 card against both of you. That’s why Wrath of God effects are better in Commander. They are so good that you should avoid playing low impact creatures which don’t affect the board immediately. You should play Titans, Avenger of Zendikar,… And Haste is really valuable in the format, because if you let 3 or 4 other players have a complete turn before you use your creatures, there’s a big chance they won’t ever attack.

What I usually try to do, is to ramp fast so I can play my high-impact cards before my opponents. There’s a lot of really good ramp available in the format and you should play a lot of it, and a lot of lands. Many commander players don’t play enough lands, thinking they’ll have time to draw them later. Don’t make this mistake: play more lands. In the deck I’ll present today to illustrate this article, I’m playing 39 lands and 20 acceleration cards. The problem with this strategy is that you get a higher chance to flood. You should try to mitigate this problem by playing multiple mana sinks. Another way to help with flooding is to play card filtering and/or card drawing.

The deck I’m currently playing is a Bant Jenara, Asura of War deck:


1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Eternal Witness
1 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Kederekt Leviathan
1 Terastodon
1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
1 Admonition Angel
1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1 Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Craterhoof Behemoth


1 Mana Drain
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Treachery
1 Blatant Thievery
1 Akroma’s Memorial
1 Karn Liberated
1 Bribery
1 Omniscience
1 Rite of Replication
1 Wargate
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Recurring Insight
1 Tidings
1 Mind Spring
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Braingeyser
1 Sphinx’s Revelation
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
1 Opportunity
1 Urban Evolution
1 Nature’s Lore
1 Three Visits
1 Explore
1 Exploration
1 Farseek
1 Cultivate
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Mirari’s Wake
1 Mind Stone
1 Rampant Growth
1 Selesnya Signet
1 Simic Signet
1 Azorius Signet
1 Everflowing Chalice
1 Mox Diamond
1 Chrome Mox
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Coalition Relic
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
1 Grim Monolith
1 Mana Reflection


1 Maze of Ith
1 Strip Mine
1 Wasteland
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Temple of the False God
1 Krosan Verge
1 Command Tower
1 Skycloud Expanse
1 Flooded Strand
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Celestial Colonnade
1 Seachrome Coast
1 Tundra
1 Mystic Gate
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Wooded Bastion
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Temple Garden
1 Windswept Heath
1 Savannah
1 Razorverge Thicket
1 Sungrass Prairie
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Flooded Strand
1 Breeding Pool
1 Tropical Island
1 Hinterland Harbor
1 Yavimaya Coast
3 Island
3 Plains
3 Forest



Some cards could be swapped but the main goal is as described earlier: accelerate early to play huge threats. If your playgroup has not-so-powerful decks, feel free to slowroll the deck. But I do prefer to stand a chance against the more focused and streamlined decks and don’t want to bring a knife to a gunfight.

Some thoughts on some cards choices:

Yavimaya Coast: Enemy colors have a smaller supply of mana fixing historically. Even though some duals have seen their set completed recently, such as fetch and taplands, you still need to play some subpar cards if you want a good mana base.

Mana Reflection and Grim Monolith: This is the only infinite two-cards combo in the deck. Both cards are strong by themselves; the combo wasn’t there on purpose, just discovered by accident. It does happen sometimes, but, except for Wargate I can’t tutor pieces of the combo.

Nature’s Lore and Three Visits: Both are underplayed, but really good as they can fetch a dual and it comes into play untapped. Three Visits might be expensive but Nature’s Lore isn’t.

Karn Liberated:I’ve found planeswalkers to be pretty bad in Commander, as they put a big target on you. It usually goes like this: “I have a creature that can attack but don’t know who I’m gonna bash. Let’s kill this planeswalker”. Karn can at least defend itself, and, as you may have noticed, my list has basically no board management at all. I’m not a big fan of wrath effects. They are good, but they usually put you behind as you cannot replay a threat the same turn, so you don’t want to be the one pulling the trigger on the wrath. Also, wrath effects tend to make the game go longer, and Commander games are already long games by themselves by virtue of the format.

I’ve a few two-card combos, which are not infinite and do not end the game by themselves, but that could be fetched with Wargate and Tooth and Nail

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and Seedborn Muse: If you have a X-draw spell in hand and a lot of mana (which should happen often), you are going to be at pretty good shape on you next turn: you are going to draw X cards at the end of someone’s turn, then play a new X-spell at the end of someone else’s turn, then play a bunch of creatures you’ve got before you turn and fortunately bash with Eldrazi and Preators.

Kederekt Leviathan and Terastodon: The Leviathan is the only reset button of the deck, and combos pretty well with Terastodon, as you can destroy 3 problematic permanents (including lands), then bounce the token you’ve given out. You’ll even be able to replay Terastodon for value.

Avenger of Zendikar and Craterhoof Behemoth This should usually be enough to beat at least one opponent. Don’t forget that the Behemoth doesn’t give haste to other creatures, so you won’t be able to attack with the tokens and the Avenger if you Tooth and Nail the combo, except, of course, if you got Akroma’s Memorial

And last but not least, the general, Jenara, Asura of War: Most people play Rafiq as their Bant Commander, but id do prefer the angel as it’s a good mana sink which can kill by herself pretty fast (21 damage isn’t that much) and has evasion. If you play Rafiq of the Many, you want to play protection and boosts, which are not suited to this deck at all.

This deck is pretty powerful, it might not be what you need for your environment, but this is how I like my Commander decks! Feel free to comment or suggest.

Alexandre Darras.

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