The New Commander decks have given us 51 new cards spread across five different Commander decks with 3 different 3-color commanders. These decks also had one new 2-color legendary creature each with some cool new abilities. These creatures can make great commanders if you take the time to make a deck that only includes their two colors. Here are some suggestions on how to create a fun deck using some of these new commanders.
Basandra, Battle Seraph – White and red, order and chaos, always make some really neat combos. Basandra is the latest card to show just how cool these colors can be when you put them together. As soon as you play Basandra she starts to lay down the law. There won’t be any tricks in battle to worry about as long as you have Basandra out, and as a commander, you can rely on having that ability as well as her ability that forces creatures to attack. If you can make creatures attack then a proper Basandra deck should punish those creatures that are attacking.
A great card that has the potential to wipe the board of your opponent’s creatures is Lightmine Field or even Powerstone Minefield.. They won’t want to attack with a lot of creatures but with Basandra and a bit of mana they won’t have a choice! I’ve used this card myself with Gideon Jura forcing all of the opponent’s creatures to attack at once. As an added bonus you can add Mark of Asylum, making it safe for your creatures to attack.
This deck can be all about punishing opponents that attack, with cards like Wing Shards and Soul Parry which, as an enchantment, can be used during combat with Basandra out. Some cards that seem like good ideas would be cards like Norn’s Annex, that add costs to opponents that attack you. This, however, would very often defeat the purpose of the deck. Basandra forces creatures only if they are able to do so. With Norn’s Annex out your opponent now have to choose whether to pay the costs for their creatures to attack. If they do not pay then the creatures are unable to attack and forcing them to do so would have been wasted.
With that in mind, it is also important to be able to deal damage rather than sit behind your walls and mines laughing at your opponent’s feeble attempts to attack you. The most fun creature for a deck like this would probably be Avatar of Slaughter. He is yet another creature that forces attacks, this time for everyone, with double strike! As an 8/8 he is already pretty huge, but the addition of other classic W/R commanders such as Agrus Kos and Jor Kadeen can make him as well as all your other creatures even bigger. Figure of Destiny and Nobilis of War are some great W/R cards that can find a place in any Boros deck. With just a few of the largest dragons or angels on the field you can easily finish a battle with Master Warcraft, allowing you to control the combat for the turn. If Basandra is on the field then your opponents will be forced to use any tricks they have before you make your combat decisions.
Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter – While Vish Kal’s commander deck can’t decide whether it wants cards in the graveyard or exiled, he knows that creatures just need to hit the field for a tasty meal, then they can just go wherever. With Vish Kal’s ability that gives him counters, he would be a great commander to beat your opponent with 21 points of commander damage. For a deck like this, you are going to want plenty of creatures that would make good sacrifices for Vish Kal.
Cards that can Reanimate creatures would be a good choice to bring creatures back as sacrifices or simply to use against your opponent. Creatures with Unearth can be used another time for an attack then sacrificed to Vish Kal for some extra pain. With Vish Kal, Reassembling Skeleton can be used as a quick way to add some counters for only 2 mana. Bloodghast is normally a bit small for a commander deck even if it does come back every turn but Vish Kal can use it for some more counters at least once every turn if you have the land for it. To get the most out of your creatures you can use Dawn of the Dead to get a creature back every turn. As long as you sacrifice your new creature before the end of the turn they will be put back in the graveyard for you to reanimate again rather than exiled. The loss of life from this card is certainly no problem for Vish Kal with lifelink and a bunch of counters from sacrificed creatures.
Vish Kal would also feel right at home with some vampire cards in the deck. Many of the classic vampires such as Sengir Vampire will get counters themselves for killing other creatures. Perhaps the most appropriate for this deck is Repentant Vampire which turns white once you have 7 or more cards in your graveyard and also gains a cool ability that destroys black creatures. If you have some non-vampire creatures you can add Mephidross Vampire to give all of them the benefits of being a vampire. Then these creatures can be used with Captivating Vampire to turn some of your opponent’s creatures too! He will provide bonuses to all your vampires as well as provide some nice sacrifices for Vish Kal. If Vish Kal can’t get the job done alone, an army of pumped up vampires can easily take down any opponent.
Nin, The Pain Artist – Nin is a pretty particular commander to build around. She trades damage for cards, which means you don’t usually want to use it against opponent’s creatures. Her colors correspond to Izzet from Ravnica, but they are focused on copying spells and while they would be cool to add, very few would work well with Nin. Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind would certainly be a great addition though, being able to deal tons of damage with Nin drawing you tons of cards.
There is one card that should be used in any deck with Nin: Stuffy Doll. It is a great indestructible creature so it is a useful blocker at the least. However the best part is that it makes a great doll for Nin to play with, drawing you cards while dealing damage to an opponent. While it isn’t as controlled as Niv-Mizzet, it is a great outlet for Nin’s ability. Really any indestructible creature would be pretty useful in a deck with Nin as the commander, and there are plenty of huge indestructible creatures you can draw to win you the game. Darksteel Colossus and Blightsteel Colossus are probably standard for many commander decks anyway. Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre can also add an eldrazi spin to your deck while also preventing you from milling yourself drawing so many cards!
Cards like Darksteel Plate and Shield of Kaldra can also make any creature indestructible, and there are a few creatures with neat abilities when they are dealt damage. Mogg Maniac and Coalhauler Swine will be dealing damage to your opponents whenever they take damage and if they’re indestructible then you can just repeat that ability as much as you need. Deep-Slumber Titan is a pretty big creature for only 4 mana and with Nin out you can wake him up and draw some cards.
For those that want to be more aggressive and use Nin against opponent’s creatures, there are a couple options. Repercussion will turn damage to opponent’s creatures into damage for them as well. If you really just want to get rid of creatures, there are plenty of options for that too. Dominus of Fealty or any cards like Act of Treason will allow you to take their creatures. Then you can safely use Nin’s ability to take them out and you get to draw the cards! Nin will make sure you always have card advantage against your opponent giving you more options to achieve victory.