In Magic: The Gathering's Commander format, players select any legendary creature from across the game's history to be used as their deck's commander. However, a common complaint from many newcomers to the format is that players are not able to use Planeswalkers as the commanders of various decks.
While this is often true, in the format's lifespan, there have been numerous Planeswalkers printed that possess a clause stating that they can be legally used as a player's commander! So today, we're going to delve into which of these Planeswalker commanders are the most powerful and worth running at the helm of a player's deck.
Updated February 7th by Gene Cole: The annual Commander sets used to be the main source of Planeswalker commanders, but there have been tons of underrated ones that often go under the radar due to their unusual sources, and ability to enter as a creature. The past few sets of Standard and the recent premium set Commander Legends have brought tons of better options that Commander players are sure to put higher on their priority list.
10 Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter
The newest and perhaps most-intriguing Planeswalker commander in recent years is Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter, who’s hiding on Kaldheim in the disguise of Valki, God of Lies. While the two-mana creature form isn’t too spiffy in Commander, the 7-mana planeswalker on the back is a much more beautiful leader of your deck.
Very few commanders let you steal your opponent’s cards, and Tibalt does it so much easier than most other options. The turns before you unleash it into play will let you play all the board wipes you need in black and red colors, and within a short few activations to mill your foes or exile permanents, you can quickly cast an opponent’s strongest creatures or combo off with their own deck.
9 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Magic Origins wasn’t massively impactful on the Commander format, but it did have a fairly huge addition in the form of transforming Planeswalkers with the ability to start as a creature. The most powerful of these is likely Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, who starts as a two-mana looting creature that can essentially give your spells Flashback once it flips into a planeswalker.
Being able to play a commander on Turn 2 can make things impossible for your opponents, and by drawing and discarding cards to use later, you’ll almost always be able to craft the perfect hand by leading up to sorceries like Blatant Thievery or Expropriate to take your opponent's permanents and extra turns.
8 Jeska, Thrice Reborn
Jeska is one of the few new Planeswalker commanders from Commander Legends, and is worthwhile for anyone wishing to burn their opponents out with raw damage. Unlike other planeswalkers that rely on their ultimates, this one wants you to cast it repeatedly to burn up to three targets at once or triple the damage of a creature hitting directly.
The key with building around this planeswalker is that you’ll want creatures that can always attack your opponent directly, meaning it’s often better to find evasive threats instead of cheap hitters like Goblin Guide. Finding colorless equipment like Kitesail can give you easier evasion on big red threats while flying artifacts like Steel Hellkite will be reliably hitting for 15 damage each turn.
7 Will Kenrith & Rowan Kenrith
Battleborn was the first limited set to feature Planeswalkers who can be commanders, and this pair of exclusive partners is absolutely no joke. Will & Rowan Kenrith are a pair of blue and red planeswalkers built primarily around defending you from combat. Rowan will force opponents to attack and annihilate creatures with low toughness afterward, disrupting non-aggressive foes.
Meanwhile, Kenrith will deal with aggro decks by removing the abilities and power of your opponent’s creatures, as well as drawing cards and letting you catch up. The two are quite expensive, but give you opportunities to build out your board with enchantments like Keranos that can build you a stream of cards and damage, keeping you up with your faster foes.
6 Tevesh Szat, Doom Of Fools
Tevesh Szat is a monstrosity, being the other Planeswalker from Commander Legends and perhaps far more threatening. Creating two Black creature tokens and gaining an additional two loyalty is ludicrous for defense in a four-player game, and its ability to sacrifice creatures to draw cards without losing loyalty is going to be great in any aristocrats build.
That said, its Partner mechanic is even more important here than it is with Jeska, as sacrificing a cheap commander can give you even more cards with its +1 ability. Inexpensive bears like Ayula will help you build out the board with an army of bears, Daxos can gain you some life, but just grabbing something like Fblthp, the Lost will make every activation of Tevesh Szat draw you four cards by the end of your turn, meaning you can put together an unstoppable hand in just a few turns.
5 Aminatou, The Fateshifter
A very unique option for a control commander, Aminatou's Esper color identity allows for flexible deck construction. With a +1 that draws a card then puts a card on top of her owner's library, a -1 that can flicker a permanent, this commander can set up upcoming turns and squeeze extra value out of cards with "enter the battlefield" effects.
Most uniquely is Aminatou's ultimate ability, that forces each player to exchange control of their permanents with their opponents. This ability can turn the tides of a given game in a matter of seconds and completely change the status quo.
4 Daretti, Scrap Savant
A capable option for players seeking out an interesting option for an artifact-based commander. Capable of utilizing the graveyard, Daretti is able to draw cards for his controller, while dumping unwanted or overly expensive cards into the graveyard.
This is important, as Daretti's -2 allows him to to sacrifice an artifact in order to return an artifact from the graveyard directly into play, letting you get astonishingly expensive and dominant cards in play without needing to pay high mana costs.
3 Nicol Bolas, The Ravage / Nicol Bolas, The Arisen
As a high-costed Planeswalker that starts as a creature, Nicol Bolas, the Arisen comes equipped with all of the devastating abilities one would expect. If a Planeswalker's worst ability is a +2 that draws two cards with no strings attached, that should speak for itself. Bolas also possesses a -3 that can deal ten damage to any creature or Planeswalker, and a -4 that can capable of returning any creature from a graveyard to the battlefield.
Lastly, Bolas's ultimate might as well state "target player loses the game," as it exiles all but the bottom card of a player's library. As long as he's backed up by heavy sums of mana and support, this particular incarnation of Nicol Bolas is a force to be reckoned with.
2 Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury
Like lord Windgrace, Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury is a Planeswalker who is capable of generating large sums of additional mana, though with very few strings attached. Possessing a +2 ability that creates an elf druid token that can be tapped for one green mana, Freyalise is able to simultaneously ramp her controller while creating blockers to protect herself in a pinch.
Freyalise's low costed -6 ultimate allows for her controller to draw an amount of cards equal to the amount of green creature's they control, drawing cards for each token, and also providing an excellent outlet to use the mana they create. Additionally, as an excellent piece of utility, Freyalise's -2 can destroy any artifact or enchantment, dealing with numerous problematic cards opponents may be utilizing.
1 Teferi, Temporal Archmage
Teferi, Temporal Archmage is a Planeswalker capable of providing absurd sums of value and setting up future plays than nearly any other Blue Commander. With a +1 that allows Teferi's controller to look at the top two cards of their library, putting one in their hand and one at the bottom of their library, Teferi selectively ensure's that his controller is not hitting any "dead draws" that could hinder their progress in a game.
Additionally, Teferi's -1 allows him to untap any four permanents. These can be anything from creatures needed for blocking, or even previously tapped lands that can now be utilized again. The open ended nature that this ability provides and the sheer quantity of permanents it can untap should never be underestimated, as it can be useful in any scenario.
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