Commander is a fun and fairly randomized format. Anyone who’s played Planechase Commander knows that sometimes it’s nice to add another element to the already-hectic Commander format. Well, I’d like to go on a journey with you all. I’d like us to explore Star Commander.

There’s a great article on the mothership that explains the Star format in detail, but in brief there are five players, one for each color (you could also do allied color pairs, shards, enemy color pairs, wedges, or Nephilim, but the simplest is monocolor). You sit in a pentagon, in the order of the colors. You have your allied colors next to you, and they operate as your allies. Similarly, your enemies sit across from you, and their job is to kill you.

Obviously, this is all made more complicated by the fact that while you’re playing white and the blue and green players are trying to help you, they’re also trying to kill each other. Similarly, the black an red players are allies with no only each other but also the blue and green players, respectively, who are your allies! This is politics to a whole new level!

The first problem is where to draw the line on color hosers. I personally feel that cards such as Acid Rain or Flashfires are probably out; however, Celestial Purge or Pyroblast seem like they would be fine. Deathgrip, Karma, and some others certainly fall into a grey area, so it would be best to discuss this with your group prior to playing.

There are several options as far as selecting the actual Commanders involved. Certainly you can just let people bring whichever Commander of their color they prefer. Alternatively, there are a lot of really cool cycles of Legendary Creatures that you could use to make the whole thing thematically cohesive.

 

New Phyrexia. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite; Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur; Sheoldred, Whispering One; Urabrask the Hidden; and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. Each of these creatures embodies their colors’ strengths and weaknesses well, and have abilities that affect each opponent. This means that your Jin-Gitaxias, for example, won’t make your allies discard their hands, while still being a must-answer threat for your opponents.

 

Champions of Kamigawa. Yosei, the Morning Star; Keiga, the Tide Star; Kokusho, the Evening Star; Ryusei, the Falling Star; and Jugan, the Rising Star. Fondly known in my playgroup as whores that get around, the dragons from Kamigawa are all super awesome. While they technically don’t interface well with the Command Zone, their abilities can still be used if you’re willing to let them go to your Graveyard. Certainly this would present an advantage to the Yosei, Kokusho, and Jugan players; perhaps a house rule would be in order. Also, they’re literal stars! Ahahaha!

 

Onslaught. Jareth, Leonine Titan; Arcanis the Omnipotent; Visara the Dreadful; Rorix Bladewing; Silvos, Rogue Elemental. The pit fighters of Otaria have a major power balance issue, but I still think it would be epic to have them all duking it out. Arcanis and Vraska would theoretically dominate the table, but it’s not impossible that the combined efforts of their enemies would be enough to keep things under control.

 

Saviors of Kamigawa. Kiyomaro, First to Stand; Soramaro, First to Dream; Kagemaro, First to Suffer; Adamaro, First to Desire; and Masumaro, First to Live. The Maros all base their power and toughness off of cards in hand. Some of them have additional abilities. These are just sort of wonky and cool an it would be interesting to see them play out against each other.

 

M13. Odric, Master Tactician; Talrand, Sky Summoner; Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis; Krenko, Mob Boss; and Yeva, Nature’s Herald. A Battle Royale to determine, once and for all, which of the M13 Legends reigns supreme!

 

Other cycles, not monocolored, that would be interesting, would be the creatures from the Commander precons, the dragons from Invasion and/or Planar Chaos, the original Elder Dragon Legends, guild leaders and/or champions, the Spellshapers from Prophecy, any one of several cycles from Legends, Coldsnap, or the Time Spiral Block…the possibilities are myriad!

I highly recommend trying out the Star format with your playgroup. It can add a new, fresh take on political multiplayer, and will allow you to explore the relationships between colors more intimately. More importantly, it provides a moderately even way for everyone to play monocolored commanders without feeling outgunned by the rest of the table; it also enables you to play commanders that frequently are considered undesirable, because you don’t have the entire table against you, just two players.

 

Has anyone tried this before? Or did you try this out after reading it? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!