In this article, we’ll take a look at all five Starter Commander decks, and their decklists. We’ll talk about what these decks are, and why they were made. For each deck, we’ll do a quick overview, so you’ll have an easier time deciding which one you should get. At the end, you’ll find a FAQ section, in which we’ll answer any other question that you might have about this product.
What are the Starter Commander Decks?
Starter Commander decks are a brand-new product for beginners, who want to start playing Magic’s most popular format – Commander. These decks contain only reprints and fewer expensive cards than regular Commander precons. Therefore, they can be cheaper, which is great for players who’re just testing the format. There’s no big price commitment.
There are five decks, each one has two colors:
Although the decks are cheaper, and have fewer valuable cards than the more expensive versions, that doesn’t mean that they don’t contain good cards. You’ll find many powerful cards such as Blasphemous Act, Army of the Damned, True Conviction, and many more. Naturally, Sol Ring and Arcane Signet are also included in each Starter Commander deck.
Starter Commander decks will be released on December 2, 2022, but you can already preorder them on Amazon.
Why Were Starter Commander Decks Created?
Most of the Commander decks nowadays are tied to a specific set, which can make them quite complex, and therefore, not so beginner-friendly. Starter Commander aren’t bound to any specific set or plane, and can thus have more simple themes and cards.
Commander is the most popular Magic format, and it can be somewhat hard to get into, especially for players new to Magic. That’s why it’s great that a product like this exists.
With that said, let’s take a look at the decks.
- Themes: Creatures with flying, control
- Colors: White, Blue
- Main Commander: Isperia, Supreme Judge
- First Flight Upgrade Guide
Creatures With Flying
The main theme of this deck is creatures with flying. That is a bit unexpected, judging just by Isperia, Supreme Judge, who doesn’t do much for that theme, except by having flying itself.
However, 25 out of 26 creatures in the deck have flying, so you don’t have to worry about not having enough flyers. The question is – what are the payoffs?
As it turns out, there are plenty of them. You have multiple anthem effects, such as Thunderclap Wyvern and Favorable Winds. You also have an asymmetrical effect in Gravitational Shift, which can reward you, and punish your opponents.
There are other benefits for having lots of flyers in the deck. Windreader Sphinx will draw you cards, and Warden of Evos Isle will make your flyers cheaper. All of this suggests, that perhaps Isperia isn’t the best commander for this deck. Thankfully, you have a second option.
Secondary Commander: Kangee, Sky Warden
Each deck also has another legendary creature, which you can swap the main commander with. With this deck, it’s probably a good idea to do so. Kangee will act as another buff effect for your flyers. On offence, you’ll get a power boost, and on defense a toughness boost.
Given that your deck has a ton of flyers, Kangee is probably better suited to be a Commander for First Flight.
Nevertheless, Isperia is still a perfectly fine option, as a 6-powered flyer who discourages your opponents from attacking you. It also plays well with the deck’s secondary theme, which is control.
Since you’re playing Blue you’ll have access to various counterspells. You’ll be the player at the table to decide which spells happen and which don’t, with cards like Absorb and Counterspell. You’ll rarely run out of cards, since you have access to lots of cards draw, with Sphinx’s Revelation and Cloudblazer.
White also gives you access to some control tools, such as powerful removal spells, like Swords to Plowshares. Furthermore, if things get out of hand, you’ll be able to have a big reset button with Cleansing Nova and Time Wipe.
There are also a couple of cards that can force opponents to attack (Angler Turtle and Bident of Thassa). Hopefully, Isperia will discourage them from attacking you, and they’ll attack one another. Otherwise, at least you get to draw a card. (Unless, they remove Isperia.)
Who Should Get First Flight Commander Starter Deck?
So, First Flight is a great deck for players who don’t like being attacked. You also don’t want to endanger your creatures, but you’d prefer if they could get over the opposing defenses. You also want to be in control of the game – it should play out in a way that you imagine, and without too much randomness.
If you find yourself in this description, then you should definitely get the First Flight precon, as you’ll very likely enjoy it.
First Flight Decklist
- Theme: Zombies, self-mill
- Colors: Blue, Black
- Main Commander: Gisa and Geralf
- Grave Danger Upgrade Guide
This is simply a great deck for Zombie fans, it’s full of Zombies and support for them. Even though you don’t have a Zombie at the helm (with Gisa and Geralf being your commander), this is certainly a Zombie themed deck.
Only four creatures in the deck aren’t Zombies. The other 26 creatures are Zombies, and will take advantage of various payoffs your deck has to offer. You have a bunch of strong Zombie tribal cards, for example Liliana’s Mastery, Cemetery Reaper, and Gravespawn Sovereign. These are just a few of them, and you’ll certainly find even more hidden synergies when you actually play with this precon.
Gisa and Geralf also enable various graveyard shenanigans. When they enter, you mill four cards, which is very nice for a deck that uses the graveyard as a resource. The second ability even gives you a way to use the graveyard, which is great!
Secondary Commander: Vela the Night-Clad
Your secondary commander option doesn’t have a payoff specifically for Zombies. Nevertheless, your Zombies will still benefit from the intimidate keyword, which will make them harder to block.
While Vela is certainly the worse of the two possible commanders, it can still be interesting to use it, once you get used to playing with Gisa and Geralf. Furthermore, if you do decide to upgrade your deck in a different direction, Vela certainly offers you a nice deckbuilding challenge, although it doesn’t play neither in Zombie tribal theme nor the self-mill one.
These deck also has a small self mill theme. Self-mill means putting cards from your own deck into the graveyard, with the intention of getting some value out of it. There isn’t a ton of self-mill included in the deck, but you do have your commander, as well as some other cards like Mire Triton, and Enter the God-Eternals.
The payoffs for this strategy are, naturally, Gisa and Geralf, which allow you to play Zombies from your graveyards, as well as cards like Deep Analysis and Army of the Damned.
Who Should Get Grave Danger Commander Starter Deck?
You enjoy games where the game play matches the flavor of the game. So, if a game that you’re playing also tells a compelling story, you enjoy it more. You like to use your in-game resources multiple times. You prefer your games that offer you various decisions, while not being too complex.
If that description matches your play style, then you should get the Grave Danger starter deck, especially if you like Zombies.
Grave Danger Decklist
- Themes: Opponents losing life, chaos
- Colors: Black, Red
- Main Commander: Kardur, Doomscourge
Opponents Losing Life
This deck’s theme isn’t that obvious. One thing that ties this deck together is that a vast majority of its cards damage opponents directly. This deck is probably at its best at a multiplayer game, and there are two big reasons for it.
First, Kardur’s ability makes opponents attack other players than you. If you’re the only other player, that can be a bit counterproductive, although certainly not useless.
The other thing is that a lot of cards (Kardor included) deal damage to each opponent. So, the more opponents you have, the more damage these cards will do. Most of the cards don’t deal a massive amount of damage, but they have other uses. (For example, Theater of Horrors gives you card advantage.)
However, the damage can quickly add up, especially once you have something like Dictate of the Twin Gods in play.
Secondary Commander: Kaervek the Merciless
Kaervek the Merciless is your other commander option. It’s very expensive at seven mana, but it sure does deliver a powerful ability, which works nicely with the dealing damage theme. Whenever your opponent cast a spell, you’ll be able to deal some damage.
That’s not just a one time thing! This will go on for as long as you have Kaervek the Merciless in play.
The secondary theme is, as the name suggests, simply chaos. Some cards in the deck, like Sunbird’s Invocation can have effects that vary greatly in power level, depending on your luck.
Your commander Kardur, Doomscourge isn’t the only card that messes up with combat. There’s Geode Rager, which can also force your opponent to make a not so optimal attack.
There isn’t a specific payoff for the deck being chaotic, except for it being fun to play, and a bit annoying to your opponents.
Who Should Get Chaos Incarnate Commander Starter Deck?
If you like to be a bit of an annoyance to your opponents, you’re going to enjoy this deck. When you play, you like to have interesting things to happen, and you especially like cool random events. You don’t mind keeping track of various things happening during the game. You don’t get angry if the odds aren’t in your favor, as long as you’re doing something awesome.
If this description matches you, then you should definitely get the Chaos Incarnate deck.
Chaos Incarnate Decklist
- Theme: Dragons
- Colors: Red, Green
- Main Commander: Atarka, World Render
- Draconic Destruction Upgrade Guide
Do you like big, massive creatures, such as Dragons? Then this deck will be perfect for you. The big stompy is certainly a play style that this precon is going for. Atarka is the most expensive of the five commanders, but for a good reason – it’s arguably the most powerful of the bunch. If you have a Dragon in play, you can get value out of Atarka’s ability immediately by getting a powerful attack in.
Besides, Atarka there are 20 Dragons in the deck, and most of them are very powerful on their own, and also combined with other Dragons. For example, Scourge of Valkas can be responsible for a lot of damage, and Thunderbreak Regent makes your opponents think twice before killing one of your Dragons.
Even the creatures that aren’t Dragons themselves, works toward that theme. Both Dragonkin Berserker and Dragonmaster Outcast are cheap creatures, which can eventually start making Dragon tokens.
Other creatures can help you cast Dragons earlier. These are cards like Dragon Mage, Dragonlord’s Servant, and Drumhunter.
No Secondary Commander
Oddly enough, Draconic Destruction is the only deck which doesn’t have an eligible secondary commander. There are two other legendary creatures in the deck, both neither Drakuseth, Maw of Flames nor Verix Bladewing have Green in on the cards. This means that they can’t be your commanders unless you swap all Green cards in the deck with Red ones.
Who Should Get Draconic Destruction Commander Starter Deck?
You don’t care about making tricky plays, you just want to cast big and powerful spells. You enjoy the game in which you can present the biggest, scariest threat, and force your opponents to deal with it.
If you are like that, and you like Dragons, then you should get Draconic Destruction starter Commander deck, as you’ll surely enjoy it a lot.
Draconic Destruction Decklist
- Theme: Tokens
- Colors: Green, White
- Main Commander: Emmara, Soul of the Accord
- Token Triumph Upgrade Guide
This deck’s main goal is to play a bunch of smaller creatures and overwhelm their opponents with their massive army. As the name Token Triumph suggests, the deck uses tokens to do so. Tokens are creatures that other cards make, for example Emmara, Soul of the Accord makes 1/1 Soliders with lifelink.
Emmara is the cheapest among all five commanders, with only two mana. That means you’ll have plenty of options to tap her by attacking players without available defenders, which will generate tokens. There are other ways to tap creatures, for example cards with convoke, like Nissa’s Expedition.
Furthermore, there are a bunch of other cards that make tokens in the deck, such as White Sun’s Zenith, March of the Multitudes, and Selesnya Guildmage. Besides, there are a couple of cards that make tokens, and can be your commanders. Let’s check them out.
Secondary Commanders: Maja, Bretagard Protector & Trostani, Discordant
This deck has not just one, but two additional commanders, and they are both pretty similar to one another, and they support the same token theme that Emmara does.
Trostani, Discordant buffs your team, and so does Maja, Bretagard Protector. They also both make tokens. Trostani does so when it comes into play, and you get lifelink on the tokens, which can be relevant, especially, since you have ways to buff tokens. Maja gives you vanilla tokens, but you could potentially get more of them, since you get them whenever a land enters the battlefield.
Right out of the box, Trostani is probably a better option. However, if you plan to change the deck, and build with landfall in mind, Maja can certainly do some work.
So, you managed to get a bunch of creatures out. Now what? Even though you might have a lot of them, they can be outclassed by your opponents’ creatures. That’s where the token payoffs come in.
Some payoffs offer you various utility. Voice of Many can draw you cards, and so does Collective Unconscious. Cards with convoke, like Scatter the Seeds get much easier to cast. Champion of Lambholt gets bigger and bigger.
However, the payoffs that actually help you finish the game, are cards that give your creatures a buff. These are cards like Thundefoot Baloth, Dictate of Heliod and Collective Blessing. With their help, you’ll quickly win the game, provided that you acquired enough creatures.
Who Should Get Token Triumph Commander Starter Deck?
Players who like having a big army of creatures, should most likely get Token Triumph Commander Starter deck. Usually, you’ll have the most in-game pieces in play, so if that’s something you like to do in other games, you’ll enjoy it here as well.
Token Triumph Decklist
Starter Commander Decks – FAQ
Here are some of the commonly asked questions about these decks. If you have a question that we didn’t answer, let us know in the comments, and we’ll get back to you.
These are 100-card Commander decks best suited for new players, who are just starting with Commander, or MTG in general.
It’s December 2nd, 2022.
Yes, they’re balanced closely enough. Wizards usually try to design these decks in a way that they are fun to play against one another, and for the most part they succeed. Also, because these are meant for multiplayer play, it’s often hard for one player to get a massive advantage over the others, as then the other players can team up together.
No, all cards in Starter Commander decks are reprints.
Yes, they are great. You’ll get a deck for a cheaper price, and you’ll get to play Commander right away. There are also a lot of universally good Commander cards in this product, so even when you start to improve your deck, you’ll be able to get some value out of this one.
That’s all about the Starter Commander decks. Hopefully, now you know which one is the best one to buy for yourself, or for your friends.
If you’d like to get a more complex deck instead, you can check for the other Commander precons here. However, if you’d like to learn more about Commander, here are some articles that you might like:
- MTG Commander Beginner’s Guide
- How to Build Your First Commander Deck?
- How to Improve Your Commander Deck?
Until next time, enjoy Magic, and have a lot of fun with your new Commander deck.
1 thought on “Starter Commander Decks: Complete Guide”
Great article. Clearly explained en gives a nice overview.