Today, I’ll talk about what should a new Commander player buy, since Commander is one of the most popular ways to play Magic. Tons of new players are trying out the game for the first time. Sometimes, when you take your new Commander deck to your LGS, you see people decked out with tons of fancy gear.
If you start thinking about how much this all costs, it can get overwhelming. Fortunately for you, this article is going to go over the most essential Commander accessories that a new player might want.
First things first, you can’t play Commander without a hundred card deck led by a commander. You can build one of these yourself, or find one of countless pre-constructed decks for sale online or at your local game store. Here’s an exhaustive list of all Commander precons. You can usually get your hands on one of the more recent decks for under 50 bucks.
Building your own deck can be really satisfying. Nothing is quite as fun as researching the perfect cards to go into your deck to make it all work right. Plus, the budget range of building your own deck is almost limitless. You can build hyper-budget decks for as little as a dollar, or really go to town and spend thousands.
If you want, you can read my Commander Beginner’s Guide, in which you’ll learn how to build your first Commander deck and more useful stuff about the format.
This next one is a close second as far as how important it is. Magic can be an expensive game. If you spend a lot of money on good cards, you want to keep them nice and in good condition. Some people even like to double or triple sleeve their decks. One layer is probably enough, but I would say that sleeves are necessary for playing Commander.
You can get some wonderful sleeves under 20 dollars. You can find more about the best MTG sleeves here.
Equipped with a sleeved deck, you are pretty much good to go. You can get away with just these things at a local game store, but I’d also recommend getting a good deck box. However, here are a few more things that might make your life as a Commander player a little easier.
Life Counter (Paper, Dice or App)
One of the simplest things you might want to add to your accessory toolbox is a life counter. You can use just about anything to keep track of your life total. Many people use spin-down dice. You can get them pre-release packs or bundles. Others might use a simple pen and paper (or a notebook) to write down everyone’s life totals. This is great, because if someone bumps the table, whatever you write down can’t roll away or change like a die can.
Lastly, there are countless mobile apps that you can download to your phone that will keep track of your life total, as well as your opponents’ in many cases.
These are pretty important game pieces, so consider getting your hands on at least one thing to keep track of your life with. Most of them are free, which is a plus.
Similarly to sleeves, a playmat helps protect your cards from whatever surface you are playing on. Many game stores have table-length mats, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own. However, it can be nice to know that you can play pretty much wherever you go with your own playmat. Plus, a lot of players really love to customize their own battlefield with cool art on the mats.
Depending on where you buy them, playmats have a wide range of prices, with the cheapest going for around fifteen dollars, and the more expensive ones up to fifty or more. Generally, the more you spend, the nicer quality mat you will get. However, spending $25 on a playmat can work really well for a long period of time. You can find some of the best MTG playmats here.
We mentioned dice previously in the section about life counters, but there are a lot more things in the game that you might have to keep track of. Dice end up being extremely valuable in ways that you don’t even think of.
A big stack of six-sided dice can roll for turn order, as well as keep track of +1/+1 counters, loyalty counters, commander damage and more. Multiple twenty-sided spin down dice can keep track of your life, some of those counters that get out of control, Suspend counters, or any of the previously mentioned things.
These are the least important thing I’ve mentioned so far, but they make your life so much easier. Here are some suggestions for best dice for Magic players. Anyone who has ever bought dice knows that they can get pretty expensive. However, you can probably get your hands on a decent set under twenty dollars.
One thing that players sometimes forget about is that a lot of the cards in their decks might create tokens. While you can represent tokens with any number of objects, Magic has printed a handful of official tokens with art that matches the flavor. It always feels great to have the tokens that your deck needs at any given time.
On the other hand, there are tons of different kinds of tokens out there. If you collected every kind of token your deck makes, you might be spending as much as you spent on your deck just to get them all. Fortunately, InfiniTokens helps solve that problem. They are a brand of dry-erase tokens that are the same size as Magic cards. You can draw what the token looks like, its power/toughness, name, or whatever else you want to draw on it. Then, when the game is over or the token dies, just erase it.
You can also get small, circular InfiniTokens that can help you keep track of the counters on your cards. These are especially helpful when you use a bunch of counters with weird names. These are a fantastic accessory that I have really loved using in my Commander games.
One set of twenty-five InfiniTokens costs a little over 10 dollars. They can even ship internationally.
The last thing I want to mention in this article, is that more and more people have been playing Commander online via SpellTable.com. This is a website similar to Zoom or Microsoft Teams designed specifically for people to play Magic on. Up to four players can set up a camera in the comfort of their own homes and play remotely. The site has a card identification system, life/commander damage/infect counter, and many more features that make remote Magic easy and accessible.
There is, however, a bit of setup that you as the player have to do before you can use this site. You need to find a place in your home where you can make a stand that can perch a camera above your play space. People have lots of homemade solutions to this problem, but you can also just buy a camera stand. Additionally, you would need to buy a camera, except that SpellTable can also use your smartphone as a camera if you have one of those.
SpellTable eliminates the need for a playgroup (another “accessory” a new Commander player would need to find). You can join players from all over the world to play Commander with.
What Should a New Commander Player Buy – Conclusion
There you have it. Getting into Commander doesn’t have to be a big hassle. You can spend as little or as much as you are comfortable spending, in terms of time or money. Hopefully these tips get you excited to jump head-first into this amazing format.
If you want to dive into more Commander content, CardGameBase has your back. Check out these great articles about how to upgrade the new Kamigawa precons:
And if you want to get a hold of me about any of these articles or anything else, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram. Plus, I have a weekly Magic podcast called Gathering: My Thoughts. You can check that out on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for more fun Magic content.