Posted by Robert

face ninetypix

“It’s playable in limited.”
“It’s a good sideboard card.”
“She makes a decent Voltron Commander.”

Such left-handed compliments are common to hear when discussing new sets, or even when looking through boxes of bulk cards. There’s no shame with being a good card in limited but lackluster elsewhere; Launch Party is a great example. I’m always happy to play it in draft, but I’ll seldom include it in anything else. Cards such as Flashfreeze can also be very powerful when sideboarded in against the right opponent, but are generally considered lackluster or downright bad otherwise.

 

Then there are Voltron Commanders. Now, certainly, some Commanders are in fact intended as build-around Votrons. Bruna, Light of Alabaster is obviously best utilized in a deck full of aggressive Auras; you suit her up and swing, or perhaps swing and suit her up. In the same vein are Uril, the Miststalker and Krond the Dawn-Clad, both of which encourage you to enchant them with Auras and attack. On the other side of the fence, we have cards such as Thrun, the Last Troll or Sigarda, Host of Herons, who may lack any incentive for powering them up but that have inherent protection and/or evasion that makes them well-suited to being Voltron Commanders. Finally, we have cards such as Wrexial, the Risen Deep or Kaalia of the Vast which trigger upon attacking or connecting; it therefore behooves you to make sure they’re as protected and powerful when attacking as powerful.

 

But what happens when you get a card like Adamaro, First to Desire? It’s a good card, and certainly not to be trifled with, but what are you supposed to do with it? Enh, let’s throw a Sword of Light and Shadow onto it and call it a day.

If you know that you want to build a Voltron deck, though, where should you look for interesting and different Commanders? A lot of the tools at your disposal are going to be similar to other Voltrons, so you may as well differentiate from the crowd by using a different leader. What exactly is required to be a Voltron Commander? Literally all that is required is a power and a toughness, and thus today we’ll look at some of the original bad boys and girls from Legends.

 

These Legendary Creatures may not have flashy abilities, but they make up for it with style points. As an added bonus, a lot of people will initially underestimate you because your Commander does…”nothing”. They obviously won’t think that way once your Jasmine Boreal smashes their face with an Eldrazi Conscription, but that’s to be expected!

 

 

Lady Orca

The first Creature I’d like to introduce you to is Lady Orca. The original red-black Demon lady is a fierce melee battler, with a threatening power of 7. Give her double strike and she can take out a player in just two swings worth of commander damage. Her toughness is considerably lower, so you’ll have to give her first strike, flying, or some other sort of evasion, but black and red also have a lot of creature removal, so it should be easyish to have her get through.

 

Sir Shandlar of Eberyn

Sir Shandlar has exactly the opposite stats of Lady Orca, and while a power of 4 isn’t particularly exciting, a toughness of 7 is difficult to deal with. He can also do some nifty things by blocking multiple creatures, assuming you give him the proper equipment or Auras. He’s also a mana cheaper than the Lady, at six CMC, so that’s something.

 

Tobias Andrion

A five-cost 4/4, Tobias isn’t even in particularly aggressive colors, although blue-white does have a lot of nifty things it can do with Auras and Artifacts both. That being said, if you’re playing Mr Andrion you should probably be playing him for his creature type—Human Advisor. Advisor tribal, people! It’s going to be big!

 

The Lady of the Mountain

The Lady of the Mountain also has a good creature type, being a Giant. A reasonably costed 5/5 for only six, she’s actually your prettiest option for Giant tribal, and class goes a long way in my book.

 

Jasmine Boreal

The first vanilla Commander I ever played with, Jasmine’s official creature type is Human, but canonically she is a Mercenary. She’s such a stunning beauty, with that spark of magic in her fingers, that I personally led her down an Enchantress route, especially because of her colors, but you could put her at the head of a Human army, or suit her up with some choice Adventuring Gear or what have you.

 

 

 

As an afterword, I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out some lesser-used equipments that can be surprisingly useful and effective. These are not Swords of Power and Value, but sometimes you don’t need them to be.

 

Banshee’s Blade, for example, gets more powerful every time the equipped creature deals combat damage. You can spend your early game pinging away with a [CARD]Tormented Soul, building up the Blade, and then swing in for lethal when your Commander hits the field.

 

Champion’s Helm is instant credibility. Only Legendary Creatures get the full benefit, and by equipping this, you’re telling your opponents that your Commander is serious business.

 

Explorer’s Scope is awesome. Who doesn’t like more lands?

 

Golem-Skin Gauntlets gets better in an equipment-heavy deck. It’s not the most powerful thing out there, but it can be a cheap way to get your Commander’s power up to scary levels.

 

Trailblazer’s Boots is another awesome card. How many decks play only basic lands? There are some out there, but certainly not most. This is instant unblockability.

 

 

In my continuing effort to push people into diversifying, I hope I’ve pointed out some stylish Commanders that you might consider using. There’s something super satisfying about destroying a table full of Avacyn, Thraximundar, and Arcum Dagsson with a vanilla Commander. It can be done. You can do it.