Posted in Feature on December 20, 2012

By Staff

The Commander format acts as a perfect example of the interaction of Magic fans and Wizards of the Coast. Originally created by fans (and still maintained by an external group), Commander was adopted by Wizards as a fully supported format both in paper Magic and on Magic Online. Commander is a popular, high-powered, casual multiplayer format where huge creatures battle against powerful spells from throughout Magic's history.

Deck Construction Rules

The basic points of deck construction for Commander are:

  • 100-card deck (absolute)
  • 1-copy limit (except basic lands)
  • No sideboard
  • 1 legendary creature in the command zone

A Commander deck is like no other. Instead of "at least sixty cards" (the norm for Constructed formats) you build a deck of exactly one hundred cards (no more, no less). Instead of being able to have "up to four copies" of any card (except basic lands) you may only have exactly one copy of each. One of those hundred cards must be a legendary creature (your commander), which defines your deck's color identity—i.e., the colors you can include in your deck (this isn't limited to just casting cost, but includes anywhere mana colors appear on a card).

Building a Commander deck on Magic Online is a slightly different experience as you build the deck by putting your deck's commander in the sideboard and the other 99 cards go in your main deck.

Finding Commander on Magic Online Wide Beta


  1. Choose Game Type
  2. Choose tournament style or skill level
  3. Choose your deck (Magic Online will auto-select the correct format)
  4. Choose any additional options (such as "Multiplayer")
  5. Click Next Game in Open Play or choose your tournament from the results and join

Details and B&R List

Your commander resides in the command zone (where things like Planeswalker emblems also live), and may be cast at any time you have the mana. Whenever your commander would die or be exiled, you can send it to the command zone instead, but each time your commander returns to that zone its casting cost increases by .

Commander follows both the Vintage banned list and its own banned list.

The following cards are legal for use in decks, but can't be used as commanders:

The following cards are banned in Commander:

Recent Top Decks

We asked around Wizards of the Coast HQ for decks our friends have online they particularly enjoy. Here are some of our favorites. Enjoy!

WotC_Charles's Kresh the Savage Beatings

Download Arena Decklist
99 Cards


smlarabee's Rakdos and his Vampires

Download Arena Decklist
Instant (1)
1 Rakdos Charm
100 Cards



Monty_A's Kaalia

Download Arena Decklist
100 Cards



WotC_Trick's Odric and His Rebels

Download Arena Decklist



John_St Eternal Dragon

Download Arena Decklist
Instant (2)
1 Mystical Tutor 1 Hero's Demise
99 Cards