These days, every Standard set tends to be filled with legendary creatures as a nod to the “ascendancy” of EDH as one of Magic’s most immensely popular formats. Especially in a three-color set, it’s always worth having a close look at the new potential commanders, to see if any might replace existing format favorites or even spawn new archetypes of their own. New Capenna has plenty of options – let’s have a look at some of them!
10. Evelyn, the Covetous
If you want to play Vampire tribal, it’s difficult to go past Edgar Markov. However, if you want to play Grixis vampire tribal, not Mardu, there are now a whole bunch of new options, and Evelyn is a pretty good one. Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge may be a Vampire, but she doesn’t have all that much tribal synergy, while the brand-new Xander – also a Vampire – similarly lacks these synergies. I don’t think anyone is claiming Evelyn will challenge Edgar for the top spot when it comes to Vampires, but Evelyn is a rock-solid synergistic commander for any vampire deck that wants to play cards like Duskmantle Seer.
9. Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer
Combine Rocco with a bunch of fast mana and you’ve got a commander that is pretty well set-up to support a Birthing Pod-style strategy. For three mana, Rocco is basically a Farhaven Elf thanks to Dryad Arbor, and from there it’s just a matter of making sure each spot on the curve has juicy targets. He does suffer heavily from the commander tax, it’s true, and five-color commanders like Kenrith and Najeela tend to be more popular as pod commanders, but maybe Rocco can be a niche option for dedicated Naya mages.
8. Queza, Augur of Agonies
Could Queza be a rival to Nekusar as the best general for wheel-based decks? Probably not – Nekusar is just that good – but opening the deck up to white cards is a breath of fresh air (despite Wheel of Fortune being, you know, a red card). Smothering Tithe is the obvious inclusion, but even other options like white sweepers or huge beaters such as Drogskol Reaver or Dream Trawler might be welcome. Where Queza falls really short, however, is the fact that she can only hit one opponent at a time, and that might be enough to keep her on the sidelines, to be honest.
7. Ziatora, the Incinerator
Treasure, as a commander deck archetype, is receiving more and more support these days, particularly with the influx of new Treasure-producing cards. Ziatora is a real contender for those looking to add green to their Prosper decks (or perhaps green and black to their Magda decks). Playing the Jund colors opens up everything from Revel in Riches to Old Gnawbone to Xorn, and is also the natural color combination for sacrifice-based shenanigans. Not only does Ziatora want to sacrifice creatures, but using Treasures for mana also triggers things like Mayhem Devil and Juri, Master of the Revue!
6. Jinnie Fay, Jetmir’s Second
You can do some very silly things indeed with Jinnie Fay. Turning all your tokens into 2/2 or 3/1s is pretty huge, particularly when you think of some of the mass-token generators available. With Jinnie Fay, cards like Secure the Wastes pumps out twice or three times the power it was designed to, and it only gets more ridiculous from there. Tireless Provisioner’s landfall ability becomes truly disgusting, and cards like Avenger of Zendikar or Dockside Extortionist can easily create 20+ power of hasty creatures. Then there are all the token doublers on top of that – Jinnie Fay might be a real winner, here.
5. Ognis, the Dragon’s Lash
Ability-based tribal decks are always interesting, and Ognis looks to be a pretty potent “haste tribal” commander. There are a fair few Treasure-producing haste creatures anyway – Goldspan Dragon, Captain Lannery Storm – but then with cards like Urabrask and Anger you can give all your creatures haste so as to trigger Ognis. And as aggressive as Ognis decks will doubtless be, there’s also the backup plan of sacrifice effects, with Disciple of the Vault, Nadier’s Nightblade and – of course – Mayhem Devil. Finally, if you want Ognis’ Treasure to be available immediately, you can put Amulet of Vigor in there for some extra spice!
4. Lord Xander, the Collector
Lord Xander feels like a classic Grixis commander – he does everything and nothing at the same time. Only being able to target individual opponents is definitely a knock against him, but his discard and sacrifice triggers are pretty sick (the mill one is kinda whatever, outside of a dedicated mill deck, and even then it’s not incredible). I like the idea of cloning Xander with Spark Double, Sakashima of a Thousand Faces and Mirror Box – he’s a powerful seven drop with cool abilities that make Phantasmal Image look very good indeed – and he does do things that Grixis mages really love. I won’t be surprised to see Xander around the tables very soon.
3. Raffine, Scheming Seer
Raffine is a great way to fill your graveyard with enormous monsters, and in the perfect colors to then reanimate those enormous monsters. Fill a Raffine deck with things like Elesh Norn, Sun Titan and Razaketh, the Foulblooded, discard them to the connive trigger, then bring ’em back with everything from Reanimate to Unburial Rites. I also like the deck’s potential to run cards that reward you for discarding your own cards: Archfiend of Ifnir, Drake Haven and Bone Miser all seem pretty good alongside Raffine!
2. Giada, Font of Hope
Despite this being a three-color set, there’s a monocolored legend that is right up there with the best of them in terms of Commander. Giada is an incredible early option for Angel lists, and I can’t imagine any angel deck not playing here somewhere. As a commander, however, she’s a terrific two-drop, powering out your four-drops and juicing them all up, while also getting in the air for some early commander damage. Giada looks to be an absolute all-star and I could see her replacing Avacyn and even Lyra Dawnbringer as the go-to Angel commander – particularly if you don’t mind playing a utility-based general.
1. Jetmir, Nexus of Revels
Token decks are very popular in Commander, and right now there’s not a clear-cut “best” Naya token commander. Ghired, perhaps, and as we talked about the new Jinnie Fay is pretty sweet as well. Jetmir, however, takes the cake. Giving your token army a total of +3/+0, vigilance, trample and double strike when you’ve got a big enough board is just ridiculous, and for Selesnya mages that have wanted to try things like Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin, Assemble the Legion or Dragonlair Spider, Jetmir just might be the way to do it. I don’t know if he’ll topple Adrix and Nev or Chatterfang as the most popular token generals, but he’s got a good shot at it!