Last updated on March 31, 2023

Estrid's Invocation - Illustration by Johannes Voss

Estrid's Invocation | Illustration by Johannes Voss

I know what you’re thinking: “It’s 2021, why am I reading about Commander 2018? Shouldn’t we be talking about Commander 2021?”

Well, just because Commander 2018 was released a while ago doesn’t mean it’s an outdated product. Because Commander isn’t subject to rotation, older products never completely lose their relevance. If a Commander product is fun to play or packed with value, it remains a good purchase no matter how old it is.

But not all Commander products are created equal. It’s time to go over all the info you need to determine if buying a Commander 2018 deck is right for you. I’ll even compare each deck so you can find out which one has the most value and which most suits your preferred play style.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at Commander 2018.

Magic: The Gathering Commander 2018 Set
  • Set of all 4 Commander 2018 Decks!

What is Commander 2018?

Treasure Nabber - Illustration by Alex Konstad

Treasure Nabber | Illustration by Alex Konstad

Commander 2018, technically called Commander (2018 Edition), is the seventh installment in Magic’s popular Commander series. Released on August 10, 2018, it consists of four preconstructed decks that can be played right out of the box.

Like all other products in the Commander series, each Commander 2018 deck comes with a foil oversized commander and three regular-sized foil commanders along with 97 other cards. This makes for 100 cards plus an oversized card.

How Does Commander 2018 Compare to Other Commander Products?

Honestly, nothing about Commander 2018 really stands out. For one thing, each deck has a planeswalker commander, but that was already done in Commander 2014. There isn’t any specific color scheme. Three of the decks are tri-colored but the fourth one is dual-colored.

Commander 2017 featured four tribal commander decks, but Commander 2018 has nothing of the sort. This isn’t to say that Commander 2018 is a bad product. It may be thematically weak, but you may not care about that. Chances are you’re only concerned with the power level or the decks’ individual values.

Should I Buy Commander 2018?

Commander 2018 probably isn’t the best Commander set out there, value- or fun-wise. If you and your group of friends are looking for a set of EDH precons that you can purchase, sleeve up, and play with, this product isn’t for you.

But Commander 2018 could be a reasonable purchase if you have a cool deck in mind that shares a lot of overlap with one of the precons. Let’s look at each of the decks separately to see what cool strategies and synergies they offer.

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Exquisite Invention

Saheeli, the Gifted - Illustration by Ryan Pancoast

Saheeli, the Gifted | Illustration by Ryan Pancoast

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

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No products found. is an artifact-centric deck. Besides playing a bunch of artifacts and other cards that synergize with them, there isn’t much strategy to playing this deck. You still have to cast creatures and attack with them to win.

Most of the deck’s power comes from your commander, Saheeli, the Gifted. Her second ability can generate loads of mana which can be used to cast high-cost, high-power cards like Myr Battlesphere and Duplicant.

Exquisite Invention is a powerful deck once it gets going, but that can be said about pretty much any Commander deck.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Retrofitter Foundry

The most expensive card in Exquisite Invention is Retrofitter Foundry. Why is it so expensive? Well, it sees play in both Legacy and Commander and it’s only been printed in Commander 2018, meaning it’s in extremely short supply. Plus it’s a pretty cool card.

For only one mana it can single-handedly create an entire board of artifact creatures if left unchecked. Retrofitter Foundry is an excellent way to spend your excess mana, of which you’ll have plenty once you activate Saheeli, the Gifted’s ability multiple times and cast all your mana rocks.

Treasure Nabber

Next up is Treasure Nabber. Commander decks are always packed with mana rocks, and what better way to take advantage than nabbing them from your opponents whenever they tap them for mana? Like Retrofitter Foundry, the Nabber has only been printed in Commander 2018.

Unwinding Clock

Our final value card for Exquisite Invention is Unwinding Clock. This one’s a reprint, but it’s really powerful, and Commander players love it. The Clock gets better as you add more players to the table, and it’s busted in a deck full of artifacts. If your opponents don’t have an answer to this card when it comes into play, you’ll probably win on the spot. It’s that good.

The Verdict

I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, Exquisite Invention has some really cool artifact synergies and a solid commander to lead them. On the other hand, it’s entirely reliant on combat damage to win, which goes against the spirit of most artifact-themed Commander decks to go off with wacky combos.

If Exquisite Invention had just a few more power cards that could finish off opponents without requiring an army of creatures, I’d find it considerably more appealing. Overall, it seems like a solid deck that could use the help of a few upgrades.

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Subjective Reality

Aminatou, the Fateshifter - Illustration by Seb McKinnon

Aminatou, the Fateshifter | Illustration by Seb McKinnon

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

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No products found. doesn’t have a clear theme at first glance. The deck’s commander, Aminatou, the Fateshifter, doesn’t point towards any particular strategy and the creatures don’t have a lot in common. If your friend told you they were building a sphinx/wizard/zombie tribal EDH deck, it would probably look something like this.

To make up for this lack of creature synergy, Subjective Reality packs more removal than any of the other Commander 2018 precons. In a four-way battle with its three counterparts, Subjective Reality will often find itself playing the control/value role at the table.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Aminatou, the Fateshifter

The most valuable card in Subjective Reality is its commander, Aminatou, the Fateshifter. As I mentioned before, Aminatou doesn’t force you into any specific strategies. Its power lies in its flexibility. Although it’s by no means a staple in all Esper EDH decks, each of its three planeswalker abilities is powerful enough to justify its inclusion in a Commander deck.

Sower of Discord

The other value card to look out for is Sower of Discord. It may be one of the more interesting cards released in Commander 2018. Tired of having your “allies” double-cross you when they think you can no longer help them? Target yourself and your friend so that it’s in their best interest to protect you!

On second thought, don’t do that. But there are so many possibilities for this card and, unless your EDH group is hyper-competitive, Sower of Discord may be the card you need to spice things up at the table.

The Verdict

If I had mixed feelings about Exquisite Invention, then I just straight up don’t like Subjective Reality. It doesn’t have much to offer from a thematic standpoint, it doesn’t seem as fun to play as some of the other decks, and there aren’t as many value cards packed in this one.

Before even talking about the other decks in Commander 2018, I have to say that Subjective Reality is the weakest of the four. It does have a cool planeswalker commander, but if you want to pick up a copy of Aminatou, the Fateshifter, you may as well just buy it as a single.

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Nature’s Vengeance

Lord Windgrace - Illustration by Bram Sels

Lord Windgrace | Illustration by Bram Sels

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

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The goal of No products found. is to ramp up your mana by playing multiple lands each turn in order to play your big, high-cost threats ahead of curve. The deck’s planeswalker commander, Lord Windgrace, is by far the most powerful card in here. His ultimate is a bit disappointing, but the first two abilities are so powerful that they more than make up for it.

While not posing a direct threat to the board, the Lord effectively accelerates all dimensions of your land-based gameplan. Nature’s Vengeance also has a graveyard-centric subtheme, which further synergizes with its commander.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Nesting Dragon

First is Nesting Dragon. Not only is this one of the most expensive cards in the deck, but it’s also one of the coolest. The Dragon’s landfall effect creates 0/2 eggs which create dragons when they die. This provides you with some insurance against most board clears, as all those eggs you’ve generated become dragons if your opponent plays Wrath of God or a similar board wipe. That being said, it isn’t powerful enough to see competitive play, which greatly limits its price potential.

Xantcha, Sleeper Agent

Up next is Xantcha, Sleeper Agent. This is probably one of the more confusing cards I’ve seen in a while. Well, any card that goes under your opponent’s control when you play it is bound to give you a headache when evaluating it. Xantcha is good at pitting your opponents against each other, but it does very little to advance your own gameplan. I’d say its relatively high price is because of its unique ability coupled with its limited printing, having only appeared in Commander 2018.

The Verdict

Nature’s Vengeance looks like a solid EDH deck. Besides its awesome commander, nothing stands out as jaw-dropping, gameplay- or value-wise. It’s simply a well-designed deck with a clear game plan.

What I like about Nature’s Vengeance is that most of its cards synergize with each other, meaning you’re bound to discover new combos and interactions almost every game that you play with it. I’d definitely be willing to give this deck a try.

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Adaptive Enchantment

Estrid, the Masked MTG card art by Johannes Voss

Estrid, the Masked | Illustration by Johannes Voss

Commander, Theme, Strategy

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Just as Exquisite Invention is all about artifacts, No products found. is all about enchantments and auras. Many of these auras provide your creatures with protection or evasion, turning even your smallest creatures into annoying threats.

This deck also includes enchantment creatures from the Theros block, meaning some of your enchantments are threats themselves. The deck’s planeswalker commander, Estrid, the Masked, is particularly effective at protecting your permanents with her second ability. If your lands are enchanted by auras like Wild Growth, Estrid’s first ability can even serve as a mana ramp tool.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Bear Umbra

Our first money card for Adaptive Enchantment is Bear Umbra, a reprint from Rise of the Eldrazi. Its totem armor ability serves as protection against removal while its ability to untap your lands allows you to play even more cards during your second main phase. Bear Umbra may even approach the same power level as Unwinding Clock in the right deck.

Estrid's Invocation

The second card to look out for is Estrid's Invocation, an enchantment that was only printed in Commander 2018. It’s like an enchantment version of Clone except it costs one less mana and can flicker itself at the beginning of every turn.

Obviously it doesn’t work quite well as a stand-alone card, but this Invocation becomes a value engine when you also have Enchantress's Presence or a similar enchantment in play. It may not be as flashy as some of the other value cards featured, but it’s probably the most likely to see play in EDH.

The Verdict

In my opinion, Adaptive Enchantment more closely resembles a competitive EDH deck than any of the other precons in Commander 2018. Typical single-target removal simply doesn’t work against it thanks to all those auras with totem armor. Since most of your creatures also have flying or some other type of evasion, most of your attacks against your opponents will be successful.

Another of this deck’s great features is that it isn’t entirely dependent on its commander unlike the other decks in Commander 2018. If you want to the most bang for your buck, I’d suggest picking up this precon.

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The Best of the Best

Not all Commander 2018 decks are created equal. Let’s look at the best deck for each criteria: value, fun, and competitive potential.

Best Value Deck

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The best value deck in Commander 2018 No products found.. There’s a reason why we featured three value cards instead of two for this deck in particular. Retrofitter Foundry nearly covers the entire MSRP of this precon ($39.99) while the other value cards help justify the purchase from a financial standpoint. Good artifacts are in high demand as it turns out, and this deck has plenty of them.

Most Fun Deck

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No products found. for Commander 2018’s most fun deck. While this is a very subjective category, this precon objectively has the widest range of potential strategies and combos, which is a big plus for me. Commander decks are meant to be played more than once, and if you find yourself executing the exact same strategy over and over again, you probably won’t have much fun.

This isn’t something you need to worry about when playing Nature’s Vengeance. Will you be focusing on the graveyard? Lands? Both? I couldn’t tell you, because every game is a surprise with this deck.

Most Competitive Deck

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As I mentioned already, No products found. resembles a competitive EDH deck more than any other deck in Commander 2018. The more competitive your EDH group, the more likely a player at your table is prepared to deal with your threats. This makes creature protection an important factor in improving your chances of victory. While you can’t create an infinite combo on turn 2 like some of the more fine-tuned EDH lists out there, you can execute a solid midrange strategy without having to worry about losing to a single copy of Wrath of God.

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Where Can I Buy Commander 2018?

Given that Commander 2018 is a slightly older product, chances are your LGS doesn’t have its shelves stacked to the brim with it. In fact, they may not have any copies at all. Commander products as a whole are known for having limited print runs, which is part of what drives up the prices of some of their exclusive cards.

If you want to buy some Commander 2018 precons straight out of the box, packaging and all, you’ll probably have to get it from a seller on Amazon or eBay. Either way, you won’t have much success finding anything for MSRP, so you’re best off getting the Commander 2018 singles that stand out to you and building the rest of your deck the old-fashioned way.

Commanding Conclusion

Sower of Discord - Illustration by Wisnu Tan

Sower of Discord | Illustration by Wisnu Tan

Commander 2018 was a disappointing set of precons to me. Not because they’re inherently bad, but because some of the other Commander products have been truly amazing. WotC set the bar high for themselves when they first released their set of Commander precons in 2013.

Commander 2018, in comparison, lacks originality and thematic depth. I like what they did with the planeswalker commanders, which have powerful and dynamic abilities, but the decks themselves don’t have that “wow factor” that I’m looking for. Do I like Commander products? Absolutely. Do I like Commander 2018? Eh, not really.

If you are planning on picking this one up, you can pick up all four decks together at a significant discount vs. buying them individually:

Magic: The Gathering Commander 2018 Set
  • Set of all 4 Commander 2018 Decks!

This was quite an opinionated piece, so you might disagree with me on some of the judgements I’ve made. If you do, I’d love to hear your take on Commander 2018. You can start a conversation in the comment section down below, or you can talk to us through Twitter, Facebook, or any of our other social media.

Until then, I’ll see you next time!

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