Dead on Turn 3? The Top 10 Most Powerful EDH Commander Decks of All Time

New Legendary Creatures are always introduced into MTG, but some Commanders will always be considered as the most powerful and classically popular. Here is our top 10

Dead on Turn 3? The Top 10 Most Powerful EDH Commander Decks of All Time

You’ve played the janky, fluff Commanders like Yusri, Fortune’s Flame, and you’ve grown tired playing cute and fun tribal decks. Now you just want to just start pounding the opponent. The list of powerful generals is increasing with every new set release, especially as Wizards of the Coast designs more format-friendly cards.

From 2021 to the start of 2024, an incredible 500 new Legendary Creatures were created. The selection options are staggering, yet a few have shaken up the Commander scene. Slicer, Hired Muscle has been a surprisingly strong Transformer Commander, while Sheoldred, the Apocalypse always draws collective sighs from around the table.

These new Commanders may be strong, but they aren’t necessarily the best. Those at the top of the food chain are considered almighty for a reason. The most powerful have these in common:

  • Ease of generating infinite combos
  • Consistently playing one or multiple spells for free
  • High interaction capability to stop others from winning

If you’re looking for a classic and timeless powerful Commander to take into the years ahead, you can’t go wrong with any of our top 10:

K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth – Pay Life to Take Life

One of the perennial top Commander decks in Magic: the Gathering has been the self-hurting K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. The mono-black identity is far from being a weakness here, as K’rrik can pay any black Mana symbol with 2 life, and since you start off with supple 40 life in a Commander game, you’re given some free rein before all that life drain comes back to bite you. What makes him so much more formidable is his ability go grow bigger and having Lifelink to replenish some of the health (that you will spend again anyway).

K'rrik is a classic black Commander that has always been one of the strongest in MTG. His ability to pay life for black Mana lets you cheat out spells and oppressive creatures easily. Many consider K'rrik to be one of the top 10 most powerful Commanders in the game.

K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth is such a strong Commander that even famed music artist Post Malone had a version of it made in his likeness. K’rrik essentially only costs 4 Mana to cast, by paying 6 life to get Phyrexian Mana. With enough top-end Mana rocks in the deck, it’s very possible to get K’rrik out on turn 1 with a Mana Crypt and Sol Ring. From there on, it becomes a tricky (but fun) balancing act as you trade life points for big Creatures or spells with huge payoffs.

There are plenty of ways to gain back life while not relying on K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. One particular strategy uses Enchantment and triggered abilities to suck life from other players while you uptick yours. Ill-Gotten Inheritance and Dogged Pursuit are fair cards, but if you want to go for the throat, play cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, Rakazath the Foul Blooded and Vilis, Broker of Blood.

While most of the top 10 Commanders here are multiple colours, with some even 4 or 5 colours, don’t dismiss the mono-black K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth so quickly. By spending its own life force, it can form a very strong grip on the Battlefield if you look away.

Atraxa, Grand Unifier – Draw Engine on a Stick

For a long time, the original Atraxa (Praetors’ Voice) was the go-to Commander for any player that wanted an oppressively powerful leader that was equally as good looking. 2023’s Phyrexia: All Will be One said “let’s make her bigger, but stronger” and that’s how Atraxa, Grand Unifier was born. Featuring the same 4-colour identity and 4 built-in keywords (Flying, Vigilance, Deathtouch and Lifelink), the new Angel Praetor is now a 7/7 that refills your hand with an assortment of nasty spells.

With Atraxa, Grand Unifier, the first goal is to get her on the board as fast as possible. Seven Mana is already the highest costing Commander on this top 10 list, so come stocked with plenty of green and ARtifact ramp cards. A Three Visits or Nature’s Lore does the trick, but expensive rocks such as Mox Diamond and Chrome Mox will help get the job done faster. Once Atraxa hits the Battlefield, you have the luxury of picking out a potential 7 cards to add into your hand.

They key to outvaluing your opponents in a high-powered Commander game is to ‘blink’ Atraxa, Grand Unifier one or more times. There’s plenty of options for that, and cards like Displacer Kitten and Ephemerate can do the dirty multiple times. Armed with counter spells, stax Creatures and powerful Planeswalkers, it will become near impossible for your opponents to break through.

With 4 colours at your disposal, the deck ekes out a confident win through a variety of infinite combos. Its main weakness is the time it takes to bring Atraxa, Grand Unifier into play, but once she is in, you will be golden.

Kenrith, the Returned King – Ruler of Utility

He’s the ruler for a reason. With all 5 colours at his disposal, Kenrith, the Returned King offers plenty of options to win big, even if he is a tad slow to get the engine running. He costs 5, and will require other cards to synergise with his many activated abilities. Even though Kenrith was released as far back 2019, and there have been newer versions, none come as close to Kenrith, the Returned King in terms of power level.

One of the top 10 most powerful commanders in magic EDH

With Kenrith, other key components are cost reducers for activated abilities, such as Biomancer’s Familiar, Zirda, the Dawnwaker, and Heartstone. Once you get those out, there are at least 26 infinite combos to abuse because it costs maybe 1 or 2 Mana to activate his abilities. You could have endless “enter the Battlefield” triggers, draw your whole Library or perhaps gain an insane amount of life for a win through Test of Endurance.

Even without combos, just cards like Fathom Mage, Willbreaker are already providing tremendous value when you place a +1/+1 counter on them. For black, reanimate Spore Frog or Plaguecrafter and you’ll control the board easily. The red ability to give Creatures Trample and Haste isn’t as relevant here as you’re not aiming to overrun the opponent, but rather out value him/her.

Kenrith – Swiss Army Knife decklist.

One of the best things about Kenrith is that he costs no more than $5, a stark contrast to many other Commanders on this list. It’s a mystery, as he’s only had one major printing and is a pretty popular Commander. If you’re on a budget and still going for power, Kenrith is a good option.

Omnath, Locus of Creation – Lands are Your Friends

Omnath has always been about Mother Gaea, reaping the rewards of the Lands you play. But among the many variants – Omnath, Locus of Rage, Omnath, Locus of the Roil, for example – it’s the most recent addition Omnath, Locus of Creation that really stands out in terms of utility, flexibility and power level.

Firstly its 4-colour identity (including the powerful blue) gives this deck lots of options to fill up the 99-cards in your Commander deck. It’s pretty cheap with a 4 Mana casting cost, and with plenty of ramp cards like Lotus Cobra, Rampant Growth, and Azusa, Lost but Seeking, you could even be casting Omnath on turn 2 or 3. It’s best to play your Land for the turn after casting Omnath, so that you’d at least get the first trigger.

Winning is all about overwhelming your opponent with the forces of nature. Cards like Avenger of Zendikar and Scute Swarm can provide you more blockers and attackers than any of these other top Commanders. And there are so many ways to get extra Lands on the Battlefield, like Risen Reef and Sakura Tribe-Elder. If you’re really mean, you can combo Ashaya, Soul of the Wild with cards like Ondu’s Inversion that spares all your Creatures because they are Lands too!

Maximum Landfall triggers. Click for decklist.

If for some reason your Creatures can’t get through, either by cards such as Propaganda or Silent Arbiter, you can always rely on Omnath’s last Landfall trigger to deal 4 damage to each opponent. Just sit back, defend, and let mother nature take its course. There are also some infinite combos that Omnath can pull off, though those that deal infinite damage will require more components.

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds – Ramp to Kill

You might be thinking: big stompy Creatures like Ghalta, Primal Hunger, or insane Mana generation like Marwyn, the Nurturer. You’re right, Selvala, Heart of the Wild is both of these! The goal is to have the biggest Creatures on the board, generating as much Mana as you need using abilities from Staff of Domination etc. to untap Selvala.

Green doesn’t have much protection from board wipes (though Heroic Intervention is one), but it does have lots of sneaky Elves who provide some sort of evasion. Saryth, the Viper’s Fang gives Hexproof, as well as Sylvan Safekeeper that can consistently sacrifice Lands to protect Selvala.

There’s truly no shortage of big power beasts in green. Drop that Phyrexian Dreadnought and generate 12 Mana before it gets sacrificed. You might then want to cast Apex Devastator for 4 Cascade triggers! Did we forget to mention Kogla, Titan Ape and Gigantosaurus too?

Potential deck list.

To get that win, you’ll need the usual steroid spells such as Finale of Devastation or Craterhoof Behemoth to turn all your Mana Dorks (i.e. Llanowar Elves etc) into massive brawlers. As long as they have Trample, there’s not much that can stop them short of a board wipe.

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain – Call on Heroes

Another 5-colour Commander? Well, Sisay, Weatherlight Captain isn’t on this list just because she has all colour in her identity. It’s for her grossly high-powered ability that lets you search for any Legendary Permanent from your Library and put it directly into play. The ability doesn’t even require her to Tap , meaning you can activate multiple times as long as you have Mana available. That’s busted.

So what legendary, powerful cards might one pull out? Firstly, most Planeswalkers are Legendary, and those most often seen are Oko, Thief of Crowns, Teferi, Time Raveler, or Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. While some of these cost less than the 5 Mana needed to activate Sisay, it’s the ability to wish for the card right out of the deck that is incredibly potent. You could even make the deck be solely focused on the Superfriends theme.

Superfriends deck led by Sisay, Weatherlight Captain

Apart from Planeswalkers, there are plenty of outstanding Creatures that can turn the tide of the game. Shalai, Voice of Plenty can protect you from spells, then there’s Kunoros, Hound of Athreos that can prevent opponent’s Creatures from entering the Battlefield from the Graveyard.

The deck also includes key Creatures that make your Planeswalkers all the more scarier. Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice and Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider both drastically speed up the Planeswalker Loyalty counters, and both are legal targets for Sisay to search and put directly onto the Battlefield. With so much removal spells focused on Creatures, Artifacts and Enchantments, Planeswalkers can easily overrun the table with value, making it one of the most powerful decks in Commander.

Urza, Lord High Artificer – Rock On

The famed Planeswalker from the Dominaria plane got his own card in the Modern Horizons set, and its power level certainly lives up his name as an almighty artificer. With so many cheap, 0-costing Artifacts (e.g. Ornithopter and Zuran Orb) in the Commander format, Urza, Lord High Artificer can convert them into Mana rocks, essentially providing Mana ramp that can even surpass green.

The heavy reliance on Artifacts means that Urza gets exceptional value from Stax cards such as Stasis and Winter Orb, since you will not be as reliant on Lands as most other decks. However, this can also backfire if an opponent plays a Collector Ouphre or Null Rod to shut down Artifacts’ activated abilities.

Once you’ve achieved infinite Mana, you can easily draw your entire deck through Urza’s last ability. Often the winning card would be Thassa’s Oracle or perhaps Laboratory Maniac. And with multiple counter spells at your disposal, there’s not much that can stop you.

One of the biggest downside of playing was its high cost on paper. Urza, Lord High Artificer used to cost US$50 just for the Commander but thanks to multiple reprints in Secret Lair and Commander Masters, Urza is a lot more affordable now. Because Urza is also mono blue, there is no need to splurge thousands on an expensive Land base. Dual Lands can be replaced by cheap Islands. However, there are many premium Artifacts such as Mana Crypt and Jeweled Lotus that are must-haves in this deck (especially if you want explosive power).

If you like taking control and dominating your opponents’ moves, this top 10 Commander will fit right into your sinister plans.

Najeela, the Blade Blossom – A Thousand Slashes

While it’s easy to criticise the abundance of 5-colour Commanders on this list, the hard truth is that they provide a lot of flexibility, and in the case of Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, her activated and triggered abilities are just too powerful.

Najeela’s powerful triggered ability lets you create a new Warrior token for each Warrior attacking. She effectively multiples the number of Warriors you have with each attack. That’s going to hit really hard and fast! To add salt to injury, her activated ability gives you additional combat phase, which again can be activated as many times as you have Mana available.

Apart from free Creatures, there’s even an easy 2-card infinite combo. Combined Najeela with Druid’s Repository, ensure you have 5 Warriors ready to attack, and that’s almost a win provided the opponents have no response such as Cyclonic Rift or Settle the Wreckage.

Najeela checks almost all the boxes for a top-level Commander. The chink in her armour would come from early and swift removal, before she can attack. Kill her once and she costs 5 Mana to cast her again, which is a massive hit on her aggro play. But as a 5-color Commander, you’ll need to expect that there will be ways to keep her alive just long enough for her to go off.

A tempo and anti-Artifact decklist for Najeela, the Blade Blossom

Rather than filled your deck with a host of nameless Warriors, a strong Najeela deck would utilise the vast array of protection spells and combat tricks to keep her alive. Let her create the Warrior tokens so slowly snowball into victory.

Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow – Swift and Deadly

Yuriko’s the Tiger’s Shadow has a special place on this list, because it’s the only Commander with Ninjustsu. This special ability allows her to always enter the Battlefield for 2 Mana (negating the Commander tax rule), as long as you have an unblocked Creature.

As if coming onto the Battlefield for only 2 Mana isn’t enough, you even get to draw a card and potentially deal massive loss of life for each opponent. This one-direction value train is why Yuriko is a really powerful Commander, and a good mix between fun and deadly.

If you can keep Yuriko on the board, her ability even triggers for multiple Ninjas. The card advantage and constant life drain quickly adds up, and with some luck of the top of your deck, all or most of your opponents could be dead in a few attack phases.

Your deck will likely be a mix of high-costing cards such as Expropriate and Draco, and a line of small, unblockable Creatures (preferably Ninjas or those with Changeling). Creatures that cannot be blocked (e.g. Changeling Outcast) are going to be key to bringing in Yuriko, but it’s still good to have some Ninjas to trigger her ability multiple times once she’s on the Battlefield.

Kozilek, the Great Distortion – Colourless Hulk

Although all the Eldrazi are powerful, I’ve seen how insane this monster can get, simply because of his two abilities to draw many cards, and counter spells by discarding those extra cards. Kozilek, the Great Distortion costs 10, but a deck fully-armed with Mana rocks like Mana Vault, Mana Crypt and Metal Worker can get this boy out in 3-4 turns.

An ideal start would be to draw a few of those Mana rocks above and cast them as quickly as possible. When you cast Kozilek, you could potentially draw 5-6 cards since you’d have depleted your hand of Artifacts. Don’t forget, it’s a 12/12 with Menace that hits for Commander damage. Kozilek is tough to block, tough to kill, and 2 hits from it means you’re dead.

His disadvantages comes in his colour identity, i.e. none. Hence you can’t be playing green ramp spells like Cultivate, black removal such as Thirst for Blood or any blue protection counter spells. Colourless removal spells are especially hard to find and tend to have high casting cost. Still, he offers some inherent protection by being able to counter spells, and abilities like this are specifically harder to nullify.

Kozilek may be one of the few here that don’t rely on infinite combos but just big, scary Commander damage, and Artifact synergy to draw out maximum value. Cards such Darksteel Forge and All is Dust are perfect inclusions for this deck. Add in a few more backup Eldrazis such as Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and the really overpowered Ugin, the Spirit Dragon that will clear the everything else on the table.

Imagine equipping Commander’s Plate onto Kozilek – it’d have protection from all five colours! Mass removal like Wrath of God and Extinction Event can still get by this (provided Kozilek doesn’t counter them), but other such as Blasphemous Act will do nothing since protection from red means it takes 0 damage from a red source. Kozilek is beatdown in the rawest and most brutal form.

Honourable Mentions

Winota, Joiner of Forces – Rush, Rush

Winota, Joiner of Forces is such a new Commander (released 2019), but brings out the best in explosive Boros (red-white) attacks. She costs a reasonable 4 Mana but does so much if she gets on the field. For every non-Human that attacks, you essentially get a free Human Creature straight from your Library onto the Battlefield. If that weren’t enough, they are also attacking and have Indestructible!

Aren’t humans a little weak in Magic? Well, some have very strong anthem or “Enter the Battlefield” triggers, and when you’re playing them for free, it’s hard to resist the legion of attackers coming your way. Angrath’s Marauders and Blade Historian are two very strong Humans you’d like to see.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of Winota is that you have to split your deck’s Creatures into non-Humans and Humans. You’d want to cast the cheap non-Humans like Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh, Goblin instigator, or Legion Warboss early, but you don’t necessarily want to see them in the late game.

Winota needs to win fast, and you’d need to rely on some white cards to protect your Creatures from board wipes. Teferi’s Protection, Akroma’s Will and Flawless Maneuver can all assist in prolonging your game plan.

How does Winota stack up against Najeela, the Blade Blossom? Najeela has the slight upper hand by easily generating a wider board more quickly and has the option of infinite combos to close out the game. But Winota is very powerful in its own right and a sight to behold as you stack more and more buff triggers when the Humans start popping out from your deck.

Narset, Enlightened Master – It’s Thanksgiving

It would be disrespectful to talk only about Creatures but leave out non-Creature cards. If Winota can cheat out free Humans, Narset, Enlightened Master cheats out free Instants, Sorceries, and Planeswalkers. She costs more at 6 Mana, but adds an additional colour to her identity, and most importantly has Hexproof, which should protect her until she attacks.

Your entire deck would pretty much consist of only non-Creature cards, and this can include strong Enchantments like Omniscience or powerful Planeswalkers like the ubiquitous Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. All the “free turn” spells – Time Warp, Temporal Mastery[/c], and Nexus of Fate are all amazing alongside Narset, as with the extra turn you’ll be attacking for more free spells!

With blue in her colour identity, there shouldn’t be a problem protecting your board through counter spells (think Force of Will, Force of Negation[/c] to tie in with the free spells theme). White also has cards such as Fight as One that can specifically give Narset Indestructible[/c].

Possible decklist for Narset, Enlightened Master.

Narset and the above-mentioned Winota, Joiner of Forces are two sides of the same coin, but Narset has the edge whereby all four Exiled cards can be cast, whereas a Winota player can only pick one Human if multiple show up in that 6 cards.

There are likely two practical ways for Narset to win, either by generating massive value and control using Planeswalkers (ideally some that can also attack or deal damage like Gideon Blackblade), or by drawing out your entire deck like Urza, Lord High Artificer using Enter the Infinite

End Step

While top-10 lists are always subjective, especially in an eternal format like Commander where players can have their choice from a buffet spread, ours is derived from the Tap & Sac team’s collective playing experience. Cheating out free spells or value triggers will very often dominate the board, and these bad-ass Commanders do that job best.

What Commanders are in your most powerful list? Let us know!

After playing from Tempest to Urza's Saga block, Ted took a 20 year break from the game before returning to the classic Plane of Dominaria in 2018. His favourite formats are Commander, Draft, and, grudgingly, Standard.

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