Last updated on September 30, 2022

Bane of Progress (Commander Collection Green) - Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski

Bane of Progress (Commander Collection: Green) | Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski

The Commander format is by far the most popular way to play Magic, and recent years have seen WotC focus on it by releasing more and more Commander-specific products. We’ve seen Commander Collection: Black, Commander Legends, and a pair of Commander precons with every Standard set in just the past two years.

But it wasn’t always like this. The hottest MTG news back in the fall of 2013 was the first-ever Modern Masters, eclipsing the excitement from the previous year’s Commander set. Then Commander 2013 dropped, marking the genesis of Commander’s hostile takeover of Magic.

Let’s take a closer look at these classic Commander decks!

Most Fun and Most Competitive
Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck – Power Hungry
Magic the Gathering – Commander 2013 – Nature of the Beast Deck
Magic the Gathering Commander 2013 Deck – Mind Seize by Magic Madhouse
Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck - Power Hungry
Magic the Gathering - Commander 2013 - Nature of the Beast Deck
Magic the Gathering Commander 2013 Deck - Mind Seize by Magic Madhouse
$176.98
$108.98
$159.44
Most Fun and Most Competitive
Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck – Power Hungry
Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck - Power Hungry
$176.98
Magic the Gathering – Commander 2013 – Nature of the Beast Deck
Magic the Gathering - Commander 2013 - Nature of the Beast Deck
$108.98
Magic the Gathering Commander 2013 Deck – Mind Seize by Magic Madhouse
Magic the Gathering Commander 2013 Deck - Mind Seize by Magic Madhouse
$159.44

All About Commander 2013

What is Commander 2013?

Ophiomancer (Commander Collection Black) - Illustration by Caroline Gariba

Ophiomancer (Commander Collection: Black) | Illustration by Caroline Gariba

Commander 2013 refers to the set of five shard-colored Commander decks released in the fall of 2013. The decks were designed with a multiplayer game in mind and, more importantly, were the first to include mechanics that interacted with the command zone.

The product introduced 51 new cards designed for Commander including 10 new legendary creatures, five new Curses, and five new “tempting offer” sorceries. Each deck also included an Opal Palace new to the set and introduced three new Curse cards of their respective colors, plus a host of powerful new spells and reprints. We also got Darksteel Mutation in every white deck, one of the earliest ways to shut down a commander without returning it to the command zone. Finally, the oversized face cards returned in 2013 with one each for each precon’s face commander.

Interestingly, none of the tokens each deck needed were printed with the set. This means Sek’Kuar, Deathkeeper’s Graveborn tokens still don’t exist, and we only just got Ophiomancer’s Snake token in Commander Collection: Black. The Kobolds of Kher Keep token, generated by Prossh, Skyraider of Kher and Kher Keep, made an appearance in Masters 25 as well as a reprint in Time Spiral Remastered. Before that players just used the Legends card Kobolds of Kher Keep to represent them.

How Does Commander 2013 Compare to Other Commander Precons?

Primal Vigor - Illustration by Matt Stewart

Primal Vigor | Illustration by Matt Stewart

The 2013 precons were a powerful stimulus to the format in those early days of Commander. The most powerful legendary creatures were mainly from the original Commander precons. Kaalia of the Vast, Animar, Soul of Elements, and Riku of Two Reflections were menaces in their own ways at tables around the world. 2013 put a stop to that by introducing cards intentionally designed to level the playing field.

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher became one of the best Jund commanders ever. It still sees a lot of play in sacrifice and aristocrats-themed decks despite being outclassed by Korvold, Fae-Cursed King. Derevi, Empyrial Tactician is an excellent choice for any Bant combo deck that needs an untap trigger, and Oloro, Ageless Ascetic can be such a strong pillow fort it’s been called a mistake in some circles.

Each deck had an MSRP of $29.99, the average price for a Commander precon at the time. The price for the regularly-scheduled Commander precons steadily increased in the coming years before falling as they started releasing alongside Standard sets. A sealed Commander 2013 precon goes for $90 to $100 nowadays, or around $500 for the set of five.

Should You Buy Commander 2013?

Tempt with Vengeance - Illustration by Ryan Barger

Tempt with Vengeance | Illustration by Ryan Barger

The 2013 precon decklists are fun and they’re built as an easy introduction to the Commander format and Magic as a whole. But they’re not optimized. They’re synergistic and consistent in their themes, but not all that powerful by today’s (or even 2013’s) standards.

Because of this, I don’t recommend seeking them out to use as an intro product. That said I do recommend picking them up if you and your playgroup are looking for a taste of what “old” Magic feels like. Wait, oh no, am I old??

If against all odds you find a sealed Commander 2013 deck priced around the original MSRP, you should absolutely buy it. Each deck has at least $60 worth of singles, some staples with retained utility, some neat reprints and original printings of classic EDH bombs, and 15 of early Commander’s most popular legendary creatures.

Evasive Maneuvers

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician - Illustration by Michael Komarck

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician | Illustration by Michael Komarck

Commander, Themes, and Strategy

Commander 2013 Evasive Maneuvers precon

Evasive Maneuvers is the Bant () deck headed by Derevi, Empyrial Tactician with your choice of Rubinia Soulsinger (a Legends classic!) or Roon of the Hidden Realm as alternate commanders.

This precon is themed around tapping and untapping your creatures and blinking your permanents, and it does these very well. The natural synergy between Derevi and Roon makes this deck one of the most playable out of the box. Combined with some great tap abilities like Djinn of Infinite Deceits, Rubinia Soulsinger, and Skyward Eye Prophets, you’ll generate a threatening board state in no time.

As any Yarok, the Desecrated player will tell you, abusing enters-the-battlefield effects can become incredibly valuable for a comparatively small investment. Conjurer’s Closet and Flickerwisp can get you cheap and repeatable flicker effects every turn to control the battlefield.

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician’s second ability means it can be played from the command zone at instant speed while ignoring any commander tax accrued. You’ll never put Derevi on the field for more than four mana, and that’s a steal!

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Evasive Maneuvers lost most of its value since its release which I think speaks to the ubiquity of the cards included rather than their performance. Bane of Progress saw its first printing in Commander 2013 and has since become a staple in green decks. It’s the second most valuable card in the deck behind Conjurer’s Closet.

The Verdict

The Bant deck is “just fine.” It does what it does and it does it well. But it lacks a specific goal to work towards.

New players often find themselves dawdling about, tapping and untapping, blinking and flickering to no major effect except maybe pulling the rest of the basic lands out of your deck with Farhaven Elf. Evasive Maneuvers is a good basis for a Bant combo deck, but it needs to trim its theme down a smidge.

Eternal Bargain

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic - Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic | Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Commander, Themes, and Strategy

Commander 2013 Eternal Bargain precon

The Esper () Eternal Bargain stars Oloro, Ageless Ascetic supported by Sydri, Galvanic Genius and Sharuum the Hegemon returning from Shards of Alara.

This deck is a little more scatter-brained than the other four. Oloro, Ageless Ascetic has an ability that triggers while it’s in the command zone or on the field. This may have been R&D’s biggest mistake in this set. Passively gaining two life each upkeep from turn 1 onwards doesn’t sound like much, but the free lifegain trigger means your Ajani’s Pridemate grows every turn and life outlets like Greed and the incredibly strong Toxic Deluge always have resources available.

But with only 10 noncreature artifacts, Sydri, Galvanic Genius and Sharuum the Hegemon are whiffs in this deck’s unaltered form. There are a few powerful artifact creatures with ETB effects like Filigree Angel or Myr Battlesphere, but the deck is clearly meant for a lifegain theme.

WotC teases us with half the required cards for the two classic Esper combos. You have a Sharuum but no Phyrexian Metamorph, a Thopter Foundry with no Sword of the Meek, and no Disciple of the Vault to complete either combo.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

First and foremost, Eternal Bargain featured the first-ever printing of Toxic Deluge. This board wipe has become an essential card in all black decks and sits around $30 even after multiple reprints in 2021. The deck also included the first reprint of Crawlspace, an artifact from Urza’s Legacy. It hasn’t seen another reprint since 2013 which is evident by its $15-or-so market price. As an added bonus, Oloro, Ageless Ascetic is the most expensive face commander at around $10!

The Verdict

Eternal Bargain is a solid, well, bargain. It includes three of the top 10 most expensive cards in the set but plays an unfocused lifegain strategy that needs some work if you actually want to have fun with it. Sydri, Galvanic Genius and Sharuum the Hegemon are favorite commanders for Esper combo decks, but this precon won’t get you all the way there.

Mind Seize

Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge - Illustration by Cynthia Sheppard

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge | Illustration by Cynthia Sheppard

Commander, Themes, and Strategy

Commander 2013 Mind Seize precon

The Grixis () Mind Seize features Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge plastered across the front, all but ignoring the presence of the much more exciting Nekusar, the Mindrazer and Thraximundar.

This deck wants to play a control game, politically maneuvering itself in the early game by countering or killing opponents’ threats with instants and sorceries and then casting Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge to dig through their libraries for a way to end the game. It can also feature Nekusar, the Mindrazer, at which point the deck runs by wheeling and forcing draws on your opponent with Prosperity, Jace’s Archivist, and Spiteful Visions.

It’s a slow deck without any single huge threats that prefers to spread its damage out with cards like Starstorm and Army of the Damned.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Mind Seize is the third most expensive of the Commander 2013 precons and represents a steep drop in price compared to the top two. The all-new True-Name Nemesis was a hot card at the time but has since been reprinted in Battlebond and Time Spiral Remastered, nuking its formerly restrictive price tag. Besides that, Jace’s Archivist and Nekusar, the Mindrazer both hover around $5, not nearly enough on their own to justify buying the deck new-in-box.

The Verdict

Mind Seize might be the weakest of the Commander 2013 precons. Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge’s ability triggers by casting it from the command zone multiple times for more and more mana each time. I might be old-fashioned, but I thought green decks made lots of mana, not Grixis ones?

Recasting your commander over and over has never been the best play considering you have 99 other cards you’re also interested in playing. On top of all that you’re relying on your opponents’ top-decks to come up with a game ender and that’s almost never reliable.

Magic the Gathering Commander 2013 Deck – Mind Seize by Magic Madhouse
  • Includes a 100-card deck and 3 oversize legend cards

Power Hungry

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher - Illustration by Todd Lockwood

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher | Illustration by Todd Lockwood

Commander, Themes, and Strategy

Commander 2013 Power Hungry precon

Power Hungry is the Jund () deck that features Prossh, Skyraider of Kher as it’s face commander. Its alternate commanders are the new (at the time) Shattergang Brothers and Sek’Kuar, Deathkeeper which was reprinted from Coldsnap with new art.

This precon is a sacrifice-themed deck. It plays cheap creatures or creates tokens and then swallows them whole to buff your Prossh or ping your opponents with Goblin Sharpshooter. The sought-after Ophiomancer was also included in this deck.

This card has been an insanely valuable token generator in black decks since it was printed. Many cards make use of “free” sacrifice effects, and Viscera Seer and Goblin Bombardment became staples in the format soon after Power Hungry’s release.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Ophiomancer, Goblin Sharpshooter, and Primal Vigor were the big draws in this deck. Honestly, they were the big draws from the whole set.

Primal Vigor doubles +1/+1 counters and token generation and was an instant hit upon release. We’d only seen this ability separately on Parallel Lives and Corpsejack Menace until then. All the new Ghave, Guru of Spores players rejoiced; they sang and danced in the streets and thanked the generous gods at R&D.

Tempt with Vengeance

And then there’s Tempt with Vengeance, the only tempting offer card to keep a notable amount of value.

The Verdict

Power Hungry is my favorite of the 2013 precons. It captures the classic Jund strategy with big creatures, sacrifice effects, and destructive spells.

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher is still one of the most competitive Jund commanders and this deck is easy to play right out of the box. You can take this deck from merely themed to focused with some upgrades like Meathook Massacre and the essential Blood Artist.

Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck – Power Hungry
  • Power Hungry is a 100 card Commander preconstructed deck.
  • It is a black/red/green deck.

Nature of the Beast

Marath, Will of the Wild - Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

Marath, Will of the Wild | Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

Commander, Themes, and Strategy

Commander 2013 Nature of the Beast precon

Finally we come to the Nature of the Beast. The Naya () deck is run by Marath, Will of the Wild and supported by Gahiji, Honored One and Mayael the Anima.

Another commander that cares about how many times you’ve recast it from the commander zone, Marath, Will of the Wild has the potential to be a threat in the early, mid, and late game. An undeniably Timmy deck, Nature of the Beast wins games by unleashing Marath’s fireballs or beating face with Gahiji, Honored One or any other number of huge creatures. Believe it or not, Spellbreaker Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar used to be real threats you absolutely had to deal with.

A slightly different Timmy strategy revolves around Mayael the Anima. Mayael digs through the top of your library for some big creatures but “misses” more than a few creatures in the deck’s unedited form. Nothing feels worse than whiffing on its 6-mana ability, but you can easily swap in a few more power 5+ creatures to double-down on it.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Poor Nature of the Beast. Not a single card breaks $5 anymore, other than Homeward Path. While this Naya deck included some neat reprints (namely Fiery Justice and Magus of the Arena), it hasn’t been nearly exciting enough to maintain much monetary value.

The Verdict

You know I have a soft spot for Timmy decks if you’ve been around for a bit. But even accounting for my own bias I can’t rate Nature of the Beast very highly. Its “big mana, big creatures” theme isn’t focused as well as Power Hungry’s sacrifice theme, or even Mind Seize’s spellslinger theme.

Magic the Gathering – Commander 2013 – Nature of the Beast Deck
  • Includes a 100-card deck and 3 oversize legend cards

The Best of the Best Commander 2013 Decks

Best Value

Commander 2013 Eternal Bargain precon

Eternal Bargain beats out Power Hungry for most valuable deck, but only because it includes Toxic Deluge and Crawlspace. Each deck has one card around $20 and two or three other rares ranging from $5 to $10. It really just depends on if you want Toxic Deluge or Primal Vigor since the difference in price is only about $1.

The Most Competitive

Commander 2013 Power Hungry precon

Power Hungry is the most powerful of the five 2013 precons. It plays the most optimized version of its respective theme; generating tokens and stacking death triggers to get lots of value out of Prossh, Skyraider of Kher.

It also doesn’t rely on your opponent’s cards like Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge or Rubinia Soulsinger, and it doesn’t sit around and twiddle it’s thumbs like Roon of the Hidden Realm, Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, and Oloro, Ageless Ascetic.

Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck – Power Hungry
  • Power Hungry is a 100 card Commander preconstructed deck.
  • It is a black/red/green deck.

The Most Fun

Commander 2013 Power Hungry precon

Repeat readers will note by now that I like to win, and I like to win with combat damage. It was true in 2013 and it’s true now: when given the opportunity to swing in with a huge dragon, I’ll take it. Power Hungry wins the award for “The Most Fun You Can Have in 2013 Playing Jund.”

Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck – Power Hungry
  • Power Hungry is a 100 card Commander preconstructed deck.
  • It is a black/red/green deck.

Where to Buy Commander 2013

Now that I’ve got you all worked up and excited to play some serious EDH, I’m sure you’re practically foaming at the mouth to know where to find these decks. Well, you’re in luck!

Each precon is relatively cheap to purchase in singles through any online retailer, with Power Hungry and Eternal Bargain costing around $35 more on account of Primal Vigor and Toxic Deluge respectively.

But sealed 2013 decks are a bit rarer. A set of five runs from $450 to $500 on TCGPlayer or Amazon, and individual decks can easily cost twice as much as their singles price.

Wrap Up

Toxic Deluge - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Toxic Deluge | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

The Commander 2013 precons aren’t very powerful by today’s standards. They’ll hold their own at an average table in their unaltered forms but they’re  not likely to win many pods against the likes of an optimized Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice or Muldrotha, the Gravetide deck. But they’re still interesting peaks into the format’s history and will always hold a special place in my heart.

I think WotC could learn from the 2013 precons and find new ways to interact with the command zone without printing broken mechanics. 2014 saw the release of planeswalker commanders, and by 2022 we saw tons of other products with new (and arguably still broken) command zone cards. Eminence brought legendary creatures that functioned without being cast and it continues to scourge commander pods to this day.

Most Fun and Most Competitive
Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck – Power Hungry
Magic the Gathering – Commander 2013 – Nature of the Beast Deck
Magic the Gathering Commander 2013 Deck – Mind Seize by Magic Madhouse
Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck - Power Hungry
Magic the Gathering - Commander 2013 - Nature of the Beast Deck
Magic the Gathering Commander 2013 Deck - Mind Seize by Magic Madhouse
$176.98
$108.98
$159.44
Most Fun and Most Competitive
Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck – Power Hungry
Magic The Gathering MTG Commander 2013 Deck - Power Hungry
$176.98
Magic the Gathering – Commander 2013 – Nature of the Beast Deck
Magic the Gathering - Commander 2013 - Nature of the Beast Deck
$108.98
Magic the Gathering Commander 2013 Deck – Mind Seize by Magic Madhouse
Magic the Gathering Commander 2013 Deck - Mind Seize by Magic Madhouse
$159.44

What do you think? Is Power Hungry the best 2013 Commander precon, or does Oloro, Ageless Ascetic deserve the top spot? Does Korvold, Fae-cursed King deserve its place as top Jund dragon, or is Prossh, Skyraider of Kher still #1? Tell us about your experience with the Commander 2013 decks in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s official Twitter or Reddit.

Thanks for reading, and may your commander never be countered!

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