CommanderCast 4-color commander contest.

In yesterday’s commander cast, Andy announced a new contest! Here’s a link to the rules. In short, he asked for a full cycle of 4-Color Commanders.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. I wanted to share with everyone to inspire other people to make some awesome Commanders because there aren’t any 4-color ones right now. I’m not hellbent on winning, so feel free to build off of my ideas (just don’t copy them exactly, obviously).


(My friend already pointed out to me that Fugazi is the name of band, it was unintentional and I haven’t gotten around to changing it yet.)

Here are some notes on my design process:

I really like cards that strongly feel like they’re part of a cycle. The Kamigawa dragons are a really good example of this. It’s pretty blatant that they’re a cycle, but I like it that way for some reason, maybe has something to do with the color pie, or maybe I just like to have all my ducks in a row.

I wanted them to be super powerful, but hopefully not game breaking. I tried to make them a little under-costed and have some powerful effects, but not be as absurd as, say, our friend Zur the Enchanter. Another thing that I tried to do is make them playable in a 5C deck, but also be a whole heck of a lot better when used as a Commander. I really like the “when you cast this” abilities that are on the mythic Eldrazi, so I decided to add less powerful versions of those on. I was able to combine the goal of making them better as Commanders and giving them “when you cast this” abilities by adding the “if you cast it from your command zone” clause. This had the fortunate side effect of making it so that you can’t abuse them by bouncing them to your hand and casting them over and over.

I didn’t want them to be cast repeatedly from the hand because I wanted to encourage use of the attack trigger. The reason for having an attack trigger was to encourage players to attack with their Commander. I tend to think games are more exciting when the Commanders get all mad and start attacking, rather than sitting at home and cheating out artifacts or copying spells.

What I’m most excited about with these cards is the fact that I gave their attack trigger a symmetric effect that can be unbalanced by using their first ability well. I was somewhat inspired by the m11 titans’ abilities that trigger when you play them and when they attack, but I thought a Commander who had two abilities that interacted would be interesting. I made sure to have all of them have abilities that interacted with all of the players to encourage interesting multiplayer dynamics.

One of the things I did to increase the cycle cohesion was to give each of them two keyworded abilities that were linked to two of their colors. Each of the four abilities on each card is linked to one of its colors, in the order that it appears in its mana cost. So the two keyworded abilities are linked to the middle two colors in the mana cost. I chose lifelink for white, flying for blue, deathtouch for black, first strike for red, and trample for green. While there could have been more variety, I decided to go for a more cohesive cycle and keep them consistent. (For a while I thought about using haste instead of first strike for red, but I ended up deciding that it made those two commanders too much more powerful that the others because of the attack trigger.)

One final thing that I considered while designing these cards was that I wanted them to have a mild “build around me theme”. I wanted to reward players for helping out their commander in deck construction, but not to make it as blatant as with Commanders like Zedruu, Arcum, or Zur. For example, Krillia works a whole lot better for you if you’re playing a lot of artifacts, but you could also not play artifacts and use her ability for a discard outlet for reanimate effects or madness cards.

Which one would you play? Should I include these in my Commander Cube? (I think so :D)

I hope you enter the contest, the results should be fun to see!


(a special thanks to the wonderful artists on whose art I borrowed without asking, I swear that its for personal use and I wont try to sell them or anything)

13 responses to “CommanderCast 4-color commander contest.”

  1. With a sac outlet and one of the NUMEROUS infinite mana combos, you can still keep casting them from the command zone.

    It’s funny because I had the same exact idea you did but I decided not to go through with it because of infinite mana combos and how abundant they were.

  2. I’m not too worried about it because anyone who is doing infinite mana can always just fireball everyone 😀

  3. I also wanted to go with attack abilities, mostly inspired by the awesomeness that is Kaalia of the Vast. Making people attack with their commanders is, after all, how it is done.

  4. These are very cool. I like the cast from command zone mechanic. On the two with trample it’d be nice to have a built in pump to make them more threatening than four power. Maybe one of them says whenever this creature attacks put a +1/+1 counter on this creature and target creature an opponent controls.

    • ooooh I like that idea. I’ll be making more commanders in the future. Maybe I can incorporate something like that

  5. Who did the artwork for these cards, or how did you create the images for these? I’m very impressed with how they look, especially the artwork.

    • Each of the cards has appropriate artist credit at the bottom of the card where it normally is. They were all borrowed from

  6. I like your ideas and the direction that you are going with these. But one thing I noticed that kind of bothered me is they are all (well 4/5) traditionally black creature types. I would suggest taking the creature that is the strong representitive of the color that is missing and make the creatures enemies of that creature type (which could be seens as using the 2 colors opposite I guess).

    If I were to do this I would focus on what color the card isnt.
    For example looking over Aeli by herself:
    While I see why everything on the creature was picked for the color represented, I feel like this could be a green creature without being much of a stretch. She destroys and enchantment when she is cast, a land when she attacks, and she has deathtouch. Flying is the only thing I feel isnt green about her.
    For creature type I would go with Zombie or Vampire, as she is the opposite of nature, so this one works very well.
    Green has trouble dealing with creatures. I think I would make the cast ability do something to a creature and benifite her somehow (exile it & gain counters = to toughness).
    For the keyword abilities:
    U&W are represented in Flying. I would like the 2nd to represent B&R. Intimidate came to mind first, but it has become kinda disassociated from any color (and being 4 color kinda weak). Not sure where to go for a black red keyword.
    I also feel that she should extend her keywords to the rest of the army she is commanding, so it doesn’t feel like an added on ability.
    For the attack ability I think punishing them for having whatever was removed feels more symetrical than for not having any more of them. so for this one each player takes 1 damage for each non flying creature they control (assuming giving flying to all your creatures). Another option is each player takes 1 damage for each creature in their exiled zone?

  7. These are really great, but I’m having a heck of a time trying to find worthwhile images on DevArt. Any suggestions on how to search there more efficiently or other places to look?

    • uhmmm, honestly, I just sorta looked through dozens of pages to find those. Keep your search parameters vague and DIG 😀

      • Hehe okay, thanks. I’ve gotten some passable ones, and it only took fifteen thousand images or so!

  8. Wow, these are great! The whole cycle theme really works in their favor. Although (as mentioned before), 4/5 of them are traditionally black creature types.
    Here’s hoping Return to Ravnica will have legendary Nephilim… drool…