Commander Masters Draft Guide

Hello friend, welcome to another, very special draft guide. Once again, Wizards have combined both Commander and Draft into a single format, with some new twists. In this Commander Masters Draft Guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the format, in order to win more and have more fun.

Since this is an unusual draft format, the structure of this article is also a bit different. First, we’ll discuss the rules of Commander Masters draft, as they’re different from your typical draft format. Then instead of breaking down the best commons, we’ll instead just talk about archetypes. The reason for this is that this draft is very synergistic. You’ll want to draft decks, and not just great cards.

Let’s get to it.

How Does Commander Masters Draft Work?

First thing we have to talk about are the boosters. The difference is that they contain 20 cards each:

  • 1 legendary rare or mythic rare
  • 1 non-legendary rare or mythic rare
  • 2 legendary uncommons
  • 4 non-legendary uncommons (you have a 33% chance of one of those being upgraded into a rare or mythic rare)
  • 11 commons

Each Commander Masters booster box comes with exactly 24 packs. That’s the exact amount you need for an 8-players draft, since each player gets 3 packs per draft.

Commander Masters Draft Booster Box

Since you’re drafting 20 cards per pack, you’ll end up with 60 cards after the draft. (Instead of the usual 45.) It can take a while to draft that many cards, and play Commander-like games. In order to draft move faster, each player picks two cards with each pick.

With so many cards, the minimum deck size is 60.

Contrary to the Commander, the singleton rule DOES NOT apply. If you got lucky and drafted two Sol Rings, you can play both.

How do Commanders Work in Commander Masters Draft?

Commanders work the same way as they do in the Commander format. Your Commander starts in your Command Zone. Don’t forget that all cards in your deck must follow your Commander’s color identity.

Partner Change

Most of these rules are the same as in Commander Legends draft. However, there is one big change. Mono-colored commanders (commanders that are only in one color), and colorless commanders, can be treated as tough they had partner.

This means that you can use both Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Pianna, Nomad Captain as your commanders. Both are legendary creatures, that only have one color each. Although they don’t have partner written in the text box, in Commander Masters draft, you can still use both of them as your commanders.

What if I didn’t Draft a Commander?

There will be at least 72 commanders opened in an 8-player draft pod. That’s why it’s extremely unlikely that you’d end up without a Commander for your deck.

In the rare case when that happens, you can use The Prismatic Piper.

The Prismatic Piper Commander Masters Draft Guide

You can use it as one of your partner commanders, even if you didn’t draft one. You can also use two of them as both of your partner commanders.

This way, it can happen that you end up with a deck without commander. Let’s say you drafted a white-black deck, but only got a mono black commander. In that case, you can use Piper as a white commander.

The Prismatic Piper appears roughly in one per six packs. So that means you’ll usually get around 4 of them in one booster box. This should be more than enough for everyone, since it’s very unlikely that you’ll actually need them.

One last thing about Piper – it is a very weak card. Playing it should be your last resort, and not something you actually want to do.

How Many Players for a Commander Masters Draft?

The ideal number for a draft is 8 players, but anything with at least 4 players also work nicely. If you end up with 6–8 players, it’s best to split into two pods, play out the games, and the switch. If you end up with 4-5, it’s probably best to play with in one pod.

However, there really is no wrong way to play. You can also play 1 versus 1, like you would in a regular draft. You can also go crazy with an eight player free-for-all. In that case, prepare for a long game, that can be boring for the players who get knocked out early on.

(If you want, you can also try drafting the set with two-players. It probably isn’t that amazing, but it can be done. You can find more information in our MTG 2-Player Draft Guide.)

Last but not least, your starting life total is 40, and Commander damage rule does apply. (If a player is dealt 21 or more points of damage by a single Commander, that player loses the game.) Once again, if you’re playing at home, you can change those rules to better fit your playgroup.

How Many Lands to Play in Commander Masters Draft?

In a regular, 40-card draft deck, you’d typically play 17 lands. If you want to keep the same ration, that would give you 25.5 lands.

However, in Commander Masters draft you’ll always have access to your commanders, which makes it much less likely to draw too many lands. Therefore, you really don’t want to be mana screwed, so you’ll probably want to play 26–27 lands, plus some additional mana fixing.

How to Draft Commander Masters – Recap

Before we move to the archetype breakdown, and other details, here’s a quick recap of everything you should know:

  • You draft 3 booster packs of 20 cards each.
  • You pick two cards with each pick.
  • Your deck size is 60.
  • One of the legendary creatures that you draft is your Commander and will start in the Command Zone.
  • You can have two Commanders if they are both mono-colored.
  • All cards in your deck have to follow your Commander’s color identity.
  • You can have multiples of the same card in your deck.
  • If you don’t have appropriate Commander you can use The Prismatic Piper.
  • Usually you’ll play a game in a 4-person pod.
  • Starting life total is 40.
  • Commander damage rule does apply.

Commander Masters Draft Archetypes

There are 10 different archetypes in Commander Masters draft, one for each two-color combination. Each color pair also has a 2-color uncommon legendary creature, which shows what the archetype is trying to do. However, there’s a lot of leeway, particularly since you always have access to your powerful commanders.

Krenko, Mob Boss Commander Masters Draft Archetypes

For example, if you have Krenko, Mob Boss as your commander, you’ll probably want to focus on Goblins, and use the archetype’s direction only as your subtheme.

That’s why you shouldn’t let archetypes’ themes constrain you. Instead, simply use them as a possibility in which you can take your deck. With that said, let’s start exploring the archetypes.

Green-White: +1/+1 Counters & Tokens

Multiple archetypes in Commander Masters draft care about tokens, but each utilizes them differently. The green-white archetype is the most traditional, go-wide tokens deck.

Go-wide strategies want to put a lot of creatures in play. Once you manage to do that, you can then benefit from cards that buff your whole team. For example, with cards that put +1/+1 counters on all of your creatures, such as Supply Runners.

This type of strategy can be quite successful in a multiplayer setting. Since you have a ton of creatures in play, your opponents typically don’t have profitable attacks. Even if you attack a defenseless opponent with a couple of creatures, you’ll still likely have some blockers back. This can be crucial in the set thanks to the presence of the monarch mechanic.

White Token Package

Lots of token synergies are centered in white. I’ll talk about them here, but keep in mind that you can use them in any White-based deck, not just in green-white.

Surprisingly enough, two of the best token makers are both commons. So, if you want to go-wide, use Battle Screech and Ministrant of Obligation. If you have cards like this, then you unlock various payoffs, such as Intangible Virtue and Supply Runners

What About Green?

Green also has quite some token makers. Here are just some examples:

On top of that, there are also many of +1/+1 counter synergies. Loyal Guardian can constantly buff your whole team, while Rishkar, Peema Renegade can provide you with tons of mana. You can also draw a bunch of cards with Armorcraft Judge.

That’s just some synergies that are present on lower rarities. You might even get lucky and pull something like Doubling Season, which would make for really fun games.

Black-White: Token Sacrifice

The next token archetype is black-white. Compared to the previous archetype, there are fewer +1/+1 counters synergies (green), which are now replaced with a small sacrifice subtheme (black).

Both tokens and sacrifice theme play very well together. You typically don’t want to sacrifice a real creature, even if you are getting some value out of it. Therefore, it’s great if you have a random 1/1 token in play, which can be sacrificed instead.

Various Directions

This deck can be taken into many directions, depending on which cards you pick up. Perhaps you want to lean into reanimatior strategy. Both Whisper, Blood Liturgist, and Dread Return can work well in this deck.

On the other hand, you could go for the aforementioned white token package, and only use the black cards for support. The gold uncommon for this archetype, Aryel, Knight of Windgrace will perform well in such a deck.

There’s also a chance that you have something like Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath and Mangara, the Diplomat as your commanders, and just go for a regular midrange deck. Black-white truly offers you a lot of options to choose from.

Black-Green: Slow Tokens

Black-green is another archetype that also cares about tokens, but it’s noticeably slower. With this deck, you ordinarily don’t plan to beat your opponents down.

Instead, you’re playing for the long game. You’re making tokens, and you might sacrifice some for value with cards like Cabal Patriarch. However, you won’t just sac them willy-nilly, as your goal is to gain long-term advantage.

The deck also has access to plenty of mana sinks, so you’ll also want to get your hands onto various ramp spells.

Saprolings

This deck features a secondary theme – Saprolings. Slimefoot, the Stowaway is making a return as the uncommon legend for this archetype. That’s a type of card that certainly plays well in long, drawn-out games.

There are four more cards that fit into this theme:

These all give you stuff to do with your mana, so once again – if you end up playing green-black, make sure you have ways to get extra mana, besides just hitting your land drops.

Blue-White: Artifacts Go-Wide

Blue-white also goes wide. But not just with creatures, but specifically with artifacts. This archetype will reward you if you have lots of artifacts in your deck.

For example, you’ll be able to get tokens from Myrsmith and Efficient Construction. Even if you include expensive artifacts in your deck, Renowned Weaponsmith can help you cast them ahead of the curve. Any artifact can be used to reduce the cost of Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp. On the other hand, if you have multiple artifacts in play, Filigree Attendant gets absolutely massive.

So, there are various rewards, all you need to do is to include plenty of artifacts in your deck. There are plenty of good options to choose from. From mana rocks, such as Arcane Signet to value cards, such as Witching Well.

Then there are artifact creatures. Foundry Inspector, Pilgrim’s Eye, Staunch Throneguard are commons, but all are nice inclusions in this archetype.

As you can see blue-white is a great archetype for anyone who likes artifacts.

Red-White: Equipment

Red-white focuses on equipment. Typically, these kinds of synergies aren’t that strong, but we shall see how well it’ll perform this time around.

One thing that can improve this archetype is are equipment that come with a creature. Thankfully, there are a couple such cards in this set: Ancestral Blade and Dwarven Hammer. Besides, there’s stronger equipment available than usual, with cards like Mace of the Valiant and Fiendlash at uncommon

Furthermore, you have plenty of good payoffs with cards such as Akiri, Fearless Voyager, Kemba, Kha Regent, and Danitha Capashen, Paragon. If you use them as your commanders, you’ll always have access to them.

While this is not your typical tokens deck, it can take advantage of them. When you have a couple of equipment in play, you can attach them to any 1/1 token in order to make it a real threat. If your opponents manage to deal with it, just attach equipment to another token.

Black-Red: Sacrifice

This is another sacrifice archetype. You won’t have as much access to creature tokens, as white-black, but you should probably be able to get some sacrifice fodder anyway.

If you’re a newer player, you might be wondering what we mean by fodder. Well, in a traditional sacrifice decks, you need two group of cards: fodder and outlets. Sometimes, a third group of cards can be added to the mix – additional payoffs.

Let see what options you have for each group.

Fodder

Sacrifice fodder are cards that you don’t mind sacrificing. These typically include tokens, or cards that do something when they die. In Commander Masters draft, you have cards like Carrier Thrall, Reassembling Skeleton, Impulsive Pilferer, and the aptly-named Dragon Fodder.

Similarly, cards that get most of their value from their enters-the-battlefield effects are also good options. (Example: Cadaver Imp)

Outlets

Outlets, on the other hand, are cards that allow you to sacrifice creatures for various benefits. There’s no shortage of them in this format. Here are just some of them:

Payoffs

There are also some additional payoffs – cards that reward you for sacrificing stuff. For example, Havoc Jester can be extremely powerful in this archetype.

Cards that reward you for creatures dying, are also payoffs for this strategy, as you’ll in control when you’ll sacrifice your stuff. There’s Judith, the Scourge Diva, which is obviously strong. Furthermore, you could also use Bastion of Remembrance and Taborax, Hope’s Demise.

So, you’ll want to include a nice mix of fodder and outlets, with some payoffs sprinkled on top as a bonus.

Blue-Black: Graveyard / Reanimator

If you like using your graveyard as a resource, then you’re going to enjoy playing blue-black archetype.

This deck uses cards in the graveyard in various ways. There’s flashback (Deep Analysis), cost reduction (Cryptic Serpent), buying back spells (Shipwreck Dowser).

Additionally, there will be multiple reanimator spells, which allow you to get your creatures back. (Dread Return, Victimize, Body Double). Try to get a big creature into your grave, then bring it back.

Filling Your Graveyard

In order to get the most value from those strategies, you’ll want to get cards in your graveyard.

One option to do so is with self-mill cards. While there aren’t that many of them, the three you have at common, are all perfectly playable. Deranged Assistant can ramp you, while Carrion Grub and Mire Triton come with nice stats for the cost. Since you’re playing with 60 cards, there’s also a lesser chance that you’ll mill yourself, which is certainly a plus.

The other way is by discarding cards. Some good options of doing so include Frantic Search, Looter il-Kor, and Murder of Crows.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll be able to get value from Ghost of Ramirez DePietro, which is at its best in this shell.

Blue-Red: Instants & Sorceries

Blue-red has its traditional theme of instant and sorcery spells. There are a bunch of cards that reward you in one way or another when you cast them. Let’s take a look at them.

Payoffs

On top of that, that’s not even all the payoffs of the lower rarities. This means that you shouldn’t be lacking in the payoff department, if you do decide to draft blue-red.

Enablers

Every instant or sorcery is an enabler for this archetype. Cards that can draw you more cards are particularly useful. (Fact or Fiction, Deep Analysis, Faithless Looting) With them, you can find more instants and sorceries and keep the value train going.

One thing that can be hard with a deck like this is to find the right balance between creatures and instants/sorceries. That’s why cards that can serve both roles, such as Dragon Fodder and Rise from the Tides can be very useful.

Blue-Green: Ramp

Blue-green does its usual thing, and why wouldn’t it? Lots of players like to ramp, playing big spells, and making value plays.

In most regular draft formats, this archetype has a fun theme, but usually does poorly. It just durdles around a bit too much, which doesn’t go well with traditional fast-paced draft environments.

However, in a multiplayer format, full of Commander staples, blue-green is actually poised to shine. I wouldn’t be surprised if this archetype is one of the best ones in the Commander Masters draft.

For this deck to work, you’ll want two things: ramp and powerful, expensive spells.

Ramp

There are plenty of ways of getting ahead on mana in this set. Getting extra lands in play is the safest option, as it can’t be interacted with. Your options include Fertile Footsteps, Kodama’s Reach, Burnished Hart, and Myriad Landscape.

Of course, you can also use card like Elvish Mystic, Ilysian Caryatid, and Rishkar, Peema Renegade, which are all quite good.

Don’t forget the mana rocks, such as Commander’s Sphere and Firemind Vessel. There’s also Sol Ring and Arcane Signet, although these will go in pretty much any deck.

By the looks of it, getting enough ramp spells shouldn’t be a problem.

Powerful Spells

So, you have your ramp cards, on what you’ll spend your extra mana?

Well, there are a ton of powerful rares, so you’re quite likely to pick at least one of them. There’s Sandwurm Convergence, Lorthos, the Tidemaker, Maelstrom Wanderer, and plenty of others. This archetype has the easiest time splashing additional colors, so you can pick some rares from the other colors too.

What if you’re unlucky, and don’t get any strong rares? Thankfully, there are powerful cards on lower rarities as well. You have access to Brinelin, the Moon Kraken, Phyrexian Ingester, and Rampaging Brontodon, Meteor Golem just to name a few.

Of course, the powerful spells, don’t necessary need to cost 7+ mana. You can use Tatyova, Benthic Druid to get value from every land you play, or something like Jade Mage to pump all of your extra mana into. There are plenty of options for you to explore.

Red-Green: Power Matters

The red-green color combination usually has the largest creatures, and that’s also the case in Commander Masters draft. Having big creatures is already good on its own, but this time it comes with additional benefits. The reason for that are cards that get better if you have creatures with high power.

At common, there’s Ilysian Caryatid, which will be able to do a lot of work in this archetype, and Temur Battle Rage, which can take out an opponent out of nowhere.

When you get to the uncommons, you get even better payoffs, such as:

As you can see, if a card cares about a specific power, that number will be four or higher. The rest of the cards just want large power, without specifics.

All in all, this deck will play out like a typical midrange deck for the most part. The biggest difference will be that you’ll have more big creatures than an average deck.

Discover More About Commander Masters!

That’s all about Commander Masters draft. If you agree or disagree with my assessment, or if you have any questions, leave a comment below, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Besides, there is more information available about this set. Here are some articles that you can read to find out more about it:

Until next time, have fun, and have lots of fun drafting Commander Masters.

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