Commander Strategies without a Commander

I've, on more than one occasion, have wanted to build a commander deck and had to settle for a less than perfect commander, since there isn't one.  For instance, I have a Abzan life gain matters deck (because green and white are the best at gaining life but black and white are best at taking advantage of it).  I played for years with Daghatar, the Adamant as my commander, since I wasn't expecting to play my commander anyways.  Then I made Gyniva, Obsessed Life Giver:

Since then, I've had the option of running her when I'm with players that haven't had a problem with custom cards.  It's been great and I want to give everyone the same opportunity.

Share your favorite custom commanders that fill that niche you've been looking for, or, if you have an idea for a deck and need a tailor made commander, ask here, and I (and hopefully others) will try to make one that fits the bill.


  • For Sagas, Wizards has gone from Satsuki, the Lving Lore (interesting, but not enough cards to choose from yet) straight to Tom Bombadil (5c value town). I came up with Myriel a few months ago, but they support all enchantress strategies, so I'm interested in seeing other takes on Saga commanders.
    Myriel Epic Enthusiast

    For something even more niche, I love Charms (Commands, Confluences, etc. as well, but especially Charms). Currently, the only commander that has any meaningful interaction with charms is Ramos, Dragon Engine, so I'd love to see ideas for a modal-spells-matters commander.
  • Here's a simple idea for a modal spells matters commander.  I made it 5 colors, to allow for all the charms, but if I were to make it more flavorful, the B/R hybrid would just be R and the U/G hybrid would just be U.  I don't know what colors you're wanting to focus on with your modal cards, though, so I decided to play it safe and make it WUBRG.

    (Also, I know it shouldn't be common.  I meant to make it rare, but am too lazy to go back once I hit publish.)

    Revraal Scheming Magistrate
  • edited March 2023
    @cadstar369 I made this with TenebrisNemo's custom mechanic a while back for a contest.  It's a Saga-focused commander, even without the second commander synergy.

  • @cadstar369 Modal commander challenge accepted.  I had to fight hard to resist including every single colour, but I couldn't justify the green, even though it's red that lacks any monocoloured Faeries.  The name is a nod to the "modalstorm" strategy that it enables.

  • @StuffnSuch ;@Jadefire ;it's been a hot minute, but I wanted to thank you both for these commanders. :)

    In particular, I've been working on a commander deck for Zufina over here if it might interest anyone.
  • @cadstar369 You're welcome.  Thanks for the challenge to make a modal commander, Zufina wouldn't have happened without it.  Your commander deck looks good, it seems there are many powerful effects to go around without green, especially when you can start doubling or tripling up on modes that were never meant to be received in multiples, so that's good to know.
  • I really think it's a cool challenge to build a deck that features all 8 creatures that give experience counter to players.  The obvious commander would probably be Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, since she can tutor for each of your experience counter making creatures, but I made this as another way it could play out:

    Braun Kinesthetic Mentor

    Still, I think it would be even more awesome to see a commander that is in all five colors and give some kind of pay off to as many of the various unique experience counter strategies as possible.  Anyone want to take a whack at making something awesome for experience counter tribal?
  • @StuffnSuch here you go! I tried to make something that could come down early like the other experience counter commanders and also support the "little bit of everything" structure this sort of deck would likely be prone to.

    Keji Sage Mentor
  • I really like how you made the experience counters a resource, which makes it so you can actually go down in experience counters, which is something I don't think has really been possible before.
  • Mannichi, the Fever Dream is one of my favorite weird legends from original Kamigawa block. I've tried to build a deck around power-toughness swapping, but it always ends up either turning into a combo deck with a P/T swapping subtheme or something that just gets run over (especially since most of the relevant effects aren't in red). I'd love to see takes on this theme.
  • @StuffnSuch Late to the party, but better that than not showing up.  Rather than being a commander that's specific to an experience counter strategy, Azotul is an accelerant to counter-building strategies in general.  The mana generation/colour fixing should help with playing any of the experience legendaries you draw.  Now you only have to focus your deck on triggering a few of your experience counter builders, but you'll get the benefit of each one that you play out.

  • @cadstar369 You said most relevant effects aren't in red.  Can you let us know what sort of effects you're wanting to work into the deck?  Are there specific cards you'd like to make work?
  • @StuffnSuch effects that swap power and toughness like Mannichi and these cards. Sorry if I was unclear.
  • edited April 2023
    @cadstar369 Switching power and toughness between different creatures hasn't really been a thing in Magic, so I thought it'd be interesting to try it.  While we're doing that, we might as well give it a "super commander damage" ability with a demonic twist that makes you want to use the ability on itself and attack, rather than just sit back and change the toughness of all your opponent's creatures to 0.  I only realized late in the design how perfect a partner Tree of Perdition is to Skinsling, oh well.

    EDIT: Lowered the additional cost to swap the P/T of creatures with different controllers.
  • edited April 2023
    @cadstar369 Okay, I've considered a lot of options on how to run with this, but, the cards you showed were all enablers, and I wasn't really sure what the payoff would be to build P/T switching tribal, unless I designed a commander that is a pay off.  Unfortunately, the game is designed so that once the switch happens, the creature just has that power and toughness, so I couldn't really interact with it the same way as if, for instance, it was just assigning damage based on toughness, which is a thing that can trigger differently than normal damage.  I eventually designed two cards, one that is a payoff to actually switching, the other just turns your switching into some versatility.

    Palladia and Arcades

    Qilla Enforcer of Strengths
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