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Top 15 Commanders from 2020!

Welcome back to Into The 99’s year-end review! We got so...damn...many new legendary creatures this year. It’s a monumental task during a normal year to rank our favorite commanders, but 2020 is the Year of Commander. We’ve never gotten more legends in a single year and this list is going to be tough to put together. I’m opening up the list from a top 10 to a top 15, and I hope you’ll join me for this journey!

As always, the disclaimer: I’m aggressively casual and all of my assertions in this list likely will not consider the competitive side of the format or super pushed cards like Omnath or Kinnan. Sorry.

15: Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh - Commander Legends

I mean, come on. We had to put the meme Commander on this list. We’ve never had a Commander cost 0 before, and this little dude comes with first strike, menace, and trample on a completely fearsome 0/1 body. I want to put this guy together with Keleth, Sunmane Familiar for the world’s worst/best Boros Voltron deck. I do not expect this guy to ever be a powerful force in the format, but he's got Partner and you should be able to come up with some unique ideas. Whatever deck you build around him is just going to be a lot of fun.

14: Rin and Seri, Inseparable - Core Set 2021

Who doesn’t love cats and dogs? This is another meme deck that people were asking for, but now that it’s here we’re all just like, “Oh okay.” They’re alright. It’s a fun deck to play that occasionally gets wins, and it’s a great deck for beginners. There are way better Cat commanders out there and there aren’t enough Dogs to really make Dog tribal worth it, but the commander is fun and the art is adorable. I couldn’t not include it. Like Rograkh, don’t expect to see Rin and Seri very often in the wild, but expect a fun time when you do see it.

13: Winota, Joiner of Forces - Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths

I don’t know what to make of Winota except that I’m so intrigued. First, can we talk about how badass this art by Magali Villeneuve is? Winota's out there kicking ass with all these monsters and she's only got one freaking arm! Mad respect. This card is the definition of a glass cannon. When she hits, she hits hard, but when you only draw your big fat Humans, or Winota is removed, or you whiff a few times on your combat trigger, you’ll be in big trouble. I love the design space from both flavor and function standpoint, but I don’t know how much more this deck will grow over the next few years. We will continue to get more Humans and non-Humans to tinker with, but Winota is generally looking for Humans that bring along non-Human friends in the form of tokens, like Captain of the Watch. I fear she will be solved and forgotten. On the bright side, Winota gives us card advantage in Boros in a really exciting fashion, and this is a great avenue that I hope WotC explores in the future. Winota is the second best Boros commander we got this year, and keep reading for the best one!

12: Armix, Filigree Thrasher - Commander Legends

This golem looks cool as hell and opened up a design space that didn’t exist for artifact aggro. When you have removal sitting in your command zone that hits indestructible creatures, it’s hard for your opponents to feel safe committing anything to the board. The removal trigger comes upon attacking, so if things go your way then you blow up their best blocker and suddenly Armix puts your opponents into a pickle. Slap a Cranial Plating on this dude and you’re off to the races. There are a lot of great partners for Armix as well to really flesh out strategy, including Akiri, Line Slinger; Silas Renn, Seeker Adept; Anara, Wolvid Familiar; and Dargo, the Shipwrecker! Armix won't ever be a 10, but I like what WotC brought to the table with him.

11: Neyith of the Dire Hunt - Jumpstart

I love that we finally have a fight club commander. I thought Grothama back in Battlebond was kinda goofy but Neyith is so much better. This Gruul commander is in the exact right colors that care about fighting, and WotC gave us some card draw on Neyith to boot. I feel like this is a deck that will be fun to tinker with over the years as better creatures come out and there will never really be a “solution.” Neyith is just fun, replaces your fighters with cards, and gave us a commander that cares about something we didn’t quite have a commander for. I know folks hate on WotC for designing for commander, but Neyith is exactly the reason why I’m happy they design legends with us in mind.

10: Inniaz, the Gale Force - Jumpstart

As you’re gonna see a lot in this list, I like getting legends for things we’ve not had commanders for. Was anyone asking for a flying tribal commander? No, not really. Is it cool that we have one now? Yes, absolutely. Inniaz gives us an aggro strategy in a color combination that is not terribly well-known for being aggressive, all while stapled to a donation strategy like Zedruu. Inniaz will be a commander that you won’t see terribly often, but when you do you’re not going to be upset about playing against Azorius. She’s a perfect combination of fun, flavorful, and scalable between casual and optimized.

9: Belbe, Corrupted Observer - Commander Legends

I love that Belbe finally got a card after being relegated to flavor text for 20 years. Her card is weird and I love it. She sows chaos with her promise of up to six colorless mana for hurting multiple opponents, and incentivizes everyone to split their forces in order to really optimize the free ramp. We’ve got avenues for Eldrazi tribal, artifact synergy, Pestilence effect decks, and the list goes on. Belbe is very much the opposite of Inniaz and Neylith: no singular direction or strategy immediately jumps at you and she has an ability that’s open to interpretation. I’m excited to see what people come up with for Belbe, because she has an ability that I think will just explode once the right card is printed.

8: Eutropia the Twice-Favored - Theros: Beyond Death

There was not a lot of Theros: Beyond Death that really excited me, but Eutropia manages to do two very exciting things: (1) be deceptively powerful, and (2) be a Simic commander that is perfectly fair. Eutropia is a great and seriously underrated enchantress commander. Between green’s great ramp auras and blue’s removal suite of auras, you have a solid basis of answers that will trigger Eutropia and get you rolling. Mystic Subdual, Deep Freeze, Kasmina’s Transmutation, and Narcolepsy are draft chaff cards you’ll find in your store’s penny bin, and people will laugh at you for running them. However, Eutropia turns garbage auras into tempo swings and critical weapons that your opponents will not see coming. Best yet, you can build this deck for under $50 and still legitimately compete at a casual table. If you decide to scale it up with all the mono-green enchantresses, this deck moves from “holding its own” up to “oh no this is a problem” real quick. Eutropia is the enchantress commander we didn’t know we wanted, and the one you should fear when you see it across the table.

7: Miara, Thorn of the Glade and Numa, Joraga Chieftain - Commander Legends

These two commanders don’t have “Partner With…” so you can technically pair them with any other partner, but I wanted to bunch them together because they’ve given us a new space for a tribe that’s close to my heart: Elves. I play Elves in three different formats (EDH, Pauper, & Modern) but have always been a little sad that there’s no real support for Golgari Elves in EDH, because really I just wanted an excuse to loop Shaman of the Pack over and over again. Sure, I could run Nath or Jarad, but they don't really care about Elves specifically. Miara and Numa give us the support we needed for a true Golgari Elves deck. Numa is a mana sink that grows your army, and Miara is a card draw engine in the command zone that simultaneously opens up real aristocrats support in Elf tribal. As someone who’s lost so many games to board wipes, it’s amazing to have Elf commanders who don’t immediately fold to a Wrath of God since Miara can at least refill your hand with more gas, not to mention giving you access to reanimation spells to get your army right back. If these two aren’t your flavor, swap them out for the literal elfball in Abomination of Llanowar and you still have a GB Elves commander that cares about Elves specifically and still enables aristocrat shenanigans. Elves players are a spoiled lot, but that doesn’t diminish what Miara, Numa, and Abomination of Llanowar have brought to the table. Elves as a tribe continue to be an embarrassment of riches.

6: Obosh, the Preypiercer - Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths

I thought that Burn as an archetype in EDH had finally gotten its long overdue renaissance last year when Torbran, Thane of Red Fell debuted in Throne of Eldraine. I was not expecting to get something better in Ikoria when we met Obosh, the Preypiercer. To be clear, I’m talking about running Obosh as the commander itself, not running it as a companion. Mono red burn is great under Torbran, but adding in black for Obosh gives the deck some much-needed card draw to keep the gas flowing. Doubling damage on odd-CMC cards is far more potent than Torbran's additional 2 damage. Plus, opening up to black also doubles your chances of finding efficient beaters that fit into Obosh’s odd-CMC requirement like Kederekt Parasite, Pestilent Spirit<