We are back with another article about the best commanders within a three color combination. Today we’ll take a look at the best Mardu Commanders.
Many players enjoy and build a Mardu (White-Black-Red) Commander deck. However, I still think it’s not as popular as it should be. It has all the best components of aggressive decks with the benefit of having support in the life gain department, as well as having good removal.
Mardu is certainly a fun color combo to build around, as it has some unique Commander options. There are plenty of themes to choose from. You can go for a tribal deck, sacrifice, tempo, or aggro. It certainly offers a lot of variety.
In this article, I will give my opinion about what the best Mardu Commanders out there are. As well as give some other options with more fun and spice. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Let’s start with some honorable mentions — there are just so many cards you can fit on a Top 10 list.
Tribal Mardu Commanders
A pretty recurring theme amongst Mardu Commanders is tribal. The colors do lend themselves pretty well to aggressive play styles and tribes. These two generals are good examples.
Jirina is all about Humans. Her first ability fills the board with them, taking into consideration the times you have cast a commander from the Command zone. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean she has to be a commander. You can use it as a part of the 99 easily, since she is still pretty good on her own. If you have a big board of Humans +2/+0 effect can do a lot of work.
Kaalia, Zenith Seeker
Kaalia, on the other hand, focuses not on one, but on three creature types. Angels, Demons, and Dragons are her thing. She can be built with the three creature types in mind, with some of them, or with only one. It is good having options.
While this version of Kaalia has better art than the original, her ability is underwhelming. She is better suited as a companion to the original version of this character. Nevertheless, she is still a good option if you find yourself wanting to experiment.
Synergistic Mardu Commanders
Mardu is also known for having lifegain synergies, thanks to White and Black. With these two colors, there are also a lot of graveyard themed cards which bring extra options. Then there’s also Red, which adds that extra needed punch.
The following three cards are a few Commanders that are good at these three aspects of the color combo.
Licia, Sanguine Tribune
A Roman vampire is a really cool concept, and the art is very nice. Her card is great for the lifegain theme. She costs 1 less for each life gain on a turn. Pretty easy to cast if you build the right deck.
Her stats are also solid. 4/4 with first strike and lifelink for potentially three mana. And then the ability to pump her is also good. Nothing too special, but pretty solid.
Tariel, Reckoner of Souls
Tariel is one of the most chaotic and cheeky cards out there. The ability to choose a creature at random from an opponent’s graveyard is great. You can either pull a meaningless card, which will help you have board presence, or you can still be an impactful creature. You never know what you will get.
This card with a removal and control structure has lots of potential, and as a part of the 99 is a great addition.
Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt
Snapdax is one powerful kitty. It introduces the mutate mechanic into Mardu colors. Its ability when it mutates is classic Mardu. It deals 4 damage to the target creature or planeswalker, and you gain 4 life. It is also a 3/5 for four mana and has double strike. Its mutate cost is also not expensive, which makes this card have a lot of value.
Casual Mardu Commanders
There are some Commanders in Mardu with unconventional abilities. Comparing them to others, they are not quite good. But they are fun builds for casual play.
Piru, the Volatile
Piru is a versatile card. Although it has a really high cost to cast, having a 7/7 with lifelink and flying is worth it. It is an excellent defensive card. Players will think twice before attacking you when you have Piru in play.
If it dies, it deals 7 damage to all nonlegendary creatures. Good way to combat removal, and gain a ton of life. Yes, it is a downer having to pay Mardu mana each upkeep, but that can also be an upside. You can simply let Piru die when you need a board wipe.
Oros, the Avenger
Oros is another semi-boardwipe card. It is an old-school dragon. That sadly means it is not that good. It is a part of a series of multicolored dragons with triggered abilities when dealing damage. If you pay 2 colorless and 1 white, it deals 3 damage to each nonwhite creature. Helpful? Maybe. Different and unusual? Definitely.
Politics Mardu Commanders
Lastly, we have two cards that are definitely worth building. They involve politics, which is one of my favorite aspects about Commander.
Mathas, Fiend Seeker
Mathas is one of the best politics-based cards out there. It provides incentive to other players for dealing with a creature you target. It even gives the owner a chance to sacrifice it to gain life and card draw.
The only drawback is the fact that you don’t draw a card or gain life. Nevertheless, it’s always fun messing with your opponent’s stuff.
Negan, the Cold-Blooded
Negan is a part of one of the most controversial products from Wizards of the Coast. It is a part of the crossover between the universes of Magic and The Walking Dead. Apart from the controversy, it is a decent card.
It provides suspense and interaction between you and another opponent. It has the potential to deal with two creatures with one card. Furthermore, it also matches the character. So, it is, in general, a cool design. If you can manage to get your hands on one, I’d 100% recommend to build around it.
Top 10 Best Mardu Commanders
That’s it for the honorable mentions. Now we’re moving to the actual list of Top 10 Best Mardu Commanders.
#10 Zurgo Helmsmasher
If there is a creature that makes a great Voltron commander, it is this one. Although that deck type has slowly fallen out of favor, Zurgo manages to pull it off.
The mana cost makes it possible to set up with good attachments. It gives you time to plan out your attack. It also gives you a chance to ramp. As soon as you are ready to cast it, it is for sure dealing some damage.
The high power and haste combo is superb. Yes, it has just two toughness, but with good attachment that can be fixed. Plus, it’ll surely get bigger over time.
#9 Kelsien, the Plague
Experience counters as a mechanic was kinda underwhelming. But Kelsien makes it fascinating. It has good stats. 2/2 for three with vigilance and haste. Wow. Plus, it gets +1/+1 for each experience counter you have. When it taps, it deals 1 damage to a creature you don’t control — if it dies, you get an experience counter. Great way to deal with pesky 1-toughness creatures.
#8 Ghen, Arcanum Weaver
Enchantment based Mardu? Yes indeed. This deck type exists. The main Mardu feature of being related somehow to the graveyard is still present with this Commander.
His stats are fine. Three mana for a 2/3 with an accessible ability is really nice. Paying Mardu for a tapping ability that sacs an enchantment to bring back an enchantment has fascinating interactions and potential.
One time use enchantments can be sacrificed and brought back efficiently. Enchantments that have no use can also be given a new life. Ghen certainly provides a fascinating potential dynamic.
#7 Silvar, Devourer of the Free & Trynn, Champion of Freedom
This pairing is fantastic. I am a sucker for partner cards that compliment each other perfectly. I am even more of a sucker for cards which ability is not hard to attain. Silvar’s purpose is to be the attacking threat. It has menace, and it’s a 4/2. It also gains +1/+1 and is indestructible whenever you sacrifice a Human.
Trynn, on the other hand, is there to solely generate tokens to feed Silvar with. I believe that the biggest drawback to make this combo work is their combined mana cost.
#6 Extus, Oriq Overlord // Awaken the Blood
This is one of the double side cards that came in the recent Strixhaven set. The whole set was Harry Potter inspired. So fittingly, they had a lot of spell based abilities.
One of the coolest card types that came from this set were the ones which had a creature on one side and a sorcery or instant on the other. This made the ability to cast the card as one or the other. Versatility is always needed in a good deck. And this card is an example of this.
#5 Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
This is the best Aggro commander for this color combination. Alesha is a really fast and powerful commander. It has powerful stats. 3/2 for 3 mana with first strike. This makes Alesha a great attacker. The special ability of bringing back creatures is also useful.
#4 Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale
Following the trend of tribal Commanders in Mardu, Syr Gwyn is an excellent way to play with Knights. Syr Gwyn itself has great stats. It’s a 5/5 for six mana with vigilance and menace. It’s also a great way to play equipment, as you can attach them to her as well as other Knights for zero mana. Besides, she also has the great ability to draw a card whenever you attack.
#3 Kaalia of the Vast
Another tribal Commander, Kaalia cares about Angels, Demons, and Dragons. She certainly likes creatures with wings. Mardu colors lend themselves to these three tribes.
Kaalia does need some other help to make her an efficient attacker. However, once you manage to do so, her ability is crazy. You can put any Angel, Demon, or Dragon from your hand into play without paying any mana. You know that whatever you play will be big and expensive.
The cool thing about her is that you can choose to build her with the three, two, or only one of the tribes in mind. And you know I like versatility.
#2 Queen Marchesa
The monarch mechanic is really fun. You get to draw a card at the end of your turn if you are the monarch, which is great. And if someone else becomes the monarch, they automatically become a target, so the mechanic promotes attacking.
Queen Marchesa makes excellent use of this mechanic. She not only introduces it to the game, but she also makes you the monarch immediately. She also generates tokens whenever you are not the monarch. These tokens are not only great defenders to protect from attacks when you are the monarch, but they are also great attackers for when you are not.
Her stats are also great, 3/3 with deathtouch and haste for 4 mana. All in all, it’s certainly one of the best Mardu commanders of all time.
#1 Edgar Markov
Another card with a simple name but a complex ability. Edgar Markov is an excellent commander, in the sense that you don’t even have to play him to get good use out of the card. Eminence is the best Commander ability by far. The fact that this makes you generate a Vampire every time you cast another Vampire is great and in-theme.
Plus, if you do decide to cast him, his stats are solid. 4/4 for five with first strike and haste. Additionally, when Edgar attacks, he puts a +1/+1 counter on each of your Vampires.
Edgar is not just the best Mardu commander, but possibly the best tribal commander in the whole game. The only thing that might be missing is card draw. But that would make Edgar even more broken. If you decide to build around it, you can also check the best Vampire tribal cards.
In conclusion, Mardu is one of my favorite combos. It has a bit of everything. It can be played aggressively or with control elements. There are has graveyard themes as well as sacrifice. Mardu color combination certainly brings the three colors and their respective qualities together nicely.
There are also multiple tribal decks that are assembled using these three colors. These tribes aren’t similar to each other, which is what makes Mardu exciting. You can find variety within all its cards.
As always, please let us know in the comments what cards we missed, as well as general opinions on the list. I know this one is a bit wild, but let me know your opinions.
If you’re looking for more Commander articles, you can read some of the following ones:
- Top 10 Fun Commanders
- List of Commander Precons
- Best Deck Box for Commander
- Top 10 Best Temur Commanders
Have fun, stay safe, and win a lot of games with your Mardu deck!