Last updated on August 13, 2021

Welcome to another look at a great pre-con Commander product! After a review of the 2017, 2020, and Zendikar Rising iterations, I figured I couldn’t leave you hanging without a review of Commander 2019, too. If you’re unfamiliar with what Commander is, I’ve got a quick recap for you.

Commander is a singleton format played with 100 cards instead of 60. Your deck is headed by a general, called your “commander.” It must be either a legendary creature or one of a select few planeswalkers. Your commander’s color identity are the only colors you can use to build your deck. For a more in depth look, head on over to the official Commander page.

With the format’s popularity growing each year, Wizards has created at least one annual product for it starting back in 2013. These are usually cool and fun ways to get into the format. There are typically four or five decks with each drop. They’re balanced against each other so you and your friends can pick them up and start battling each other right away.

Commander 2019 is no different. So, without further ado, let’s get into the decks! I’ll run down which cards are the ones to look out for, noteworthy reprints, which deck is the best value for money, and much more! Let’s get commander-ed up.

Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Faceless Menace Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Merciless Rage Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Primal Genesis Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Faceless Menace Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Merciless Rage Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Primal Genesis Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
$30.99
$38.45
$79.95
$33.25
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Faceless Menace Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Faceless Menace Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
$30.99
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Merciless Rage Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Merciless Rage Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
$38.45
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
$79.95
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Primal Genesis Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Primal Genesis Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
$33.25
Greven, Predator Captain

Greven, Predator Captain | Illustration by Zack Stella

Commander Comparisons

Even though each new Commander product follows the same structure (100 cards plus your color-identify-assigning commander), their theme and synergy focus is always different. They’re always exciting products to look forward to because you never know what WotC has come up with this time.

So, how does Commander 2019 compare to its predecessors?

For one, this is the first time there are planeswalkers featured in each deck. This hadn’t been done before aside from creating special planeswalkers to lead you into battle. There’s also a (deliberate?) departure from vastly overpowered spells or commanders for each deck like Teferi’s Protection, Toxic Deluge, or Edgar Markov. There is one card that jumps out in this set, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Another cool piece of trivia for the product is that the land art creates a beautiful panorama. Only if you start with plains, forest, mountain, and island and end with swamp, though. Take a look:

C19 land panorama - Illustrations by Alayna Danner

Illustrations by Alayna Danner

Overall, the decks are inventive and balance well against each other. Each deck offers a few different commanders to put at its helm. They also each have a subtheme that can be called upon when you want or need to. This gives them depth and leaves you feeling like there’s more to discover than you notice at first glance.

I do want to point out, though, that the lack of burst-out spells, Commander 2019 can leave you feeling a bit underwhelmed. Or leave you feeling like you could’ve gotten more value for your money, at least. This is mainly because us Commander players have been spoiled so much with past products.

This could lead you to the question, “Are they worth it?” Conveniently, this is what’s coming up next.

Elsha of the Infinite

Elsha of the Infinite | Illustration by G-host Lee

Is C19 Worth It?

At an average MSRP of $35 per deck when it released on August 23, 2019 and a combined MSRP of around $120 for all four, Commander 2019 was still great value despite the lack of overpowered cards. Even today, you can get each deck for close to that on Amazon. And for a big discount, you can score all four decks together.

When you compare this to around $200 if you tried to buy the individual cards separately, Commander 2019 is definitely worth buying. The price is even lower when you buy all four pre-cons together.

As with the previous pre-cons for Commander, C19 holds its ground when it comes to value. Maybe it’s not such a big splash as, say, C17, but not every product can be a better iteration than its predecessors. Of course, this isn’t for WotC’s lack of trying. C19 doesn’t take away from the fact that, if you’re a fan of the format, these decks provide you with a ton of playing pleasure and are definitely worth getting your hands on. Especially if you’re a new player.

Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Decks | All 4 Decks
  • CARVE YOUR PATH TO VICTORY. Choose from 3 fierce legendary creatures to lead each deck or help build new ones—all printed here for the first time.
  • JOIN THE FRAY. Commander is a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, and grudges are repaid with a vengeance.
  • COLLECT ALL FOUR. Complete your collection of Commander 2019 series.
  • PLAY THE GAME THAT STARTED IT ALL. The original strategy card game, Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has inspired more than 20 million fans over 25 years.

Commander 2019 Decklists

Faceless Menace

The Commanders

This deck has a big morph theme running through it with subthemes to match: manifest and megamorph. With Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer at the helm, it pays off to play into these abilities when she’s on the battlefield. The more face-down creatures you cast, the more cards you draw, boosting your ability to cast face-down creatures.

The first secondary commander is Rayami, First of the Fallen, who plays into the creature-exiling profit whenever the exiled creature has basically any static ability by bestowing said creature’s ability onto the keyword-thirsty vampire.

Volrath, the Shapestealer does exactly what his name suggests: he steals shapes. Those of your opponent’s big, fat, stompy creatures, preferably. Keep in mind that if you have enough -1/-1 counters floating around, you can change his shape at instant speed, making him a very versatile and strategic commander.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Anje Falkenrath

Anje Falkenrath | Illustration by Cynthia Sheppard

Notable reprints in this deck are Seedborn Muse, which also doubles as its money card. An excellent, much-beloved creature to have in your arsenal, may it be this deck or really any that features green.

Then there’s Strionic Resonator. Its ability to copy a triggered ability you control makes it a great addition in many decks.

Thespian’s Stage is another fine reprint. It’s a viable land in a bunch of eternal formats (I’m looking at you, Dark Depths) and everyone should own at least one copy in my opinion. Apart from Seedborn Muse, there aren’t any high pay offs here.

Before we move on, though, I want to bring your attention to Sudden Substitution. The split-second ability makes it just about impossible to counter and renders other players unable to respond as long as it’s on the stack. Exchanging a vanilla 2/2 face-down creature for a spell like Cyclonic Rift seems like a perfectly fair trade, right?

The Verdict

Personally, I’d play this deck with Volrath at the helm. I like shenanigans involving other people’s creatures, especially if I’m the one causing them and I can interact at instant speed. Also, the art of this card is just too sweet to not see all the time.

Sale
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Faceless Menace Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
  • CARVE YOUR PATH TO VICTORY. Choose from 3 fierce legendary creatures to lead your deck or help build new ones—all printed here for the first time.
  • NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS. . . In the Faceless Menace deck, an army of face-down creatures keep your opponents guessing—and keep you in control.
  • JOIN THE FRAY. Commander is a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, and grudges are repaid with a vengeance.
  • COLLECT ALL FOUR. Faceless Menace is one of four decks in the Commander 2019 series.
  • PLAY THE GAME THAT STARTED IT ALL. The original strategy card game, Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has inspired more than 20 million fans over 25 years.

Merciless Rage

The Commanders

Anje Falkenrath enables this deck’s madness theme perfectly. She turns the mechanic into a well-oiled machine. You can get a lot of things done if have her on the battlefield plus enough madness cards in hand. And, what’s even better, Anja can do it all at instant speed, making this a very functional, reactive, fun deck.

In Chainer, Nightmare Adept we find another enabler of the Madness mechanic, but this time you can only activate it only once each turn. Putting another blocker onto the battlefield during an opponent’s attack phase is nothing to be sniffed at. If you’re lucky enough to cast Anja through Chainer than the blood can start flowing really quickly. Did I say blood? I meant fun, of course.

Greven, Predator Captain brings this deck in a different direction. Instead of discarding, he focuses on sacrificing creatures and reaping the rewards. Drawing new cards is never a bad thing. Wield Greven’s power correctly and you’ll be doing plenty of that. Yes, it hurts a little, but no pain without gain.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Notable reprints come in the form of Solemn Simulacrum with cool new art and the same wonderful abilities that make it a staple in almost any Commander deck.

Geth, Lord of the Vault saw its first reprint at the time of C19’s release. It’s a wonderful card that enables a lot of creative play. Get the best of an opponent’s graveyard back onto the battlefield on your side while filling it up with more goodies for you to snipe. Oh, and this can be done at instant speed. You’re welcome.

There are three money cards in this deck, the first of which is K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. Anything to do with Yawgmoth is awesome, and this card is no exception. Making all your swamp symbols payable with two life in any cost makes this a powerhouse. He really calls for a synergistic, mono-black deck revolving around lifelink, sacrifice, and lots of swamps.

Functional lands are always highly praised and useful. Sanctum of Eternity falls into this category. Saving your commander at a critical point and not having to deal with paying two extra mana to recast him each time he’s been put back in the Command Zone becomes better and better as the game progresses, so be sure to make use of it.

Bone Miser is Waste Not turned into a creature and on yourself. It’s easy to see its benefits inn a madness deck. No matter what you discard, there’s some value.

Marisi, Breaker of the Coil | Illustration by Rudy Siswanto

The Verdict

I like this deck. Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for vampires and graveyards. I will say that I’d probably tear it apart pretty quickly to make a mono black K’rrik deck. Plus another one using Bone Miser and Waste Not in some combination of Megrim and Liliana’s Caress with Psychatog as the general.

Sale
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Merciless Rage Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
  • CARVE YOUR PATH TO VICTORY. Choose from 3 fierce legendary creatures to lead your deck or help build new ones—all printed here for the first time.
  • LOSE YOURSELF IN INSANITY. Commander 2019: Merciless Rage uses the “madness” mechanic to help you tear through your deck to find your best cards.
  • JOIN THE FRAY. Commander is a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, and grudges are repaid with a vengeance.
  • COLLECT ALL FOUR. Merciless Rage is one of four decks in the Commander 2019 series.
  • PLAY THE GAME THAT STARTED IT ALL. The original strategy card game, Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has inspired more than 20 million fans over 25 years.

Mystic Intellect

The Commanders

Another creation using Jeskai colors doing typical Jeskai things. It comes down to prowess, flashback, and a lot of non-creature spells to play into the hands of both mechanics. Sevinne, the Chronoclasm and Elsha of the Infinite make the best use of these abilities. It’s too bad they don’t have “partner” written on them, because the two together are even more fun.

This deck really takes another turn when you put Pramikon, Sky Rampart in the hot seat. It becomes a lot more control and cunning. A very interesting route to take.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

This deck sees of the return of Clever Impersonator and Ghostly Prison, with the prior seeing its first ever reprint.

I think we all know how good Ghostly Prison is, especially in control-type matchups. You really benefit when people can’t attack you, but it’s Clever Impersonator I turn to here. It’s an extremely underrated card and can be picked up for just $2. Being able to copy any non-land permanent makes this a powerhouse. The more powerful cards your opponent has, great! Copy them with Imposter and then hide behind Prison and other evasion cards until you’ve won. Pretty simple, really.

The premium money card also shows up in this deck, and it’s none other than Dockside Extortionist. Any spellslinger or big mana-type deck should play this card. It’s easy to see why. You’re basically set mana wise as long as it hits the battlefield. Cast it on the turn you intend to go off and your opponents will have a hard time stopping you from taking the game.

The other money card isn’t as high up there cost-wise, but Sevinne’s Reclamation is still great in your arsenal. Playing as many low mana cost permanent spells as you can obviously plays to this card’s advantage. I’d even try to customize your deck to do it. Cast this on Dockside Extortionist from flashback and, well, let’s just say if there are dry eyes around you at the end of that stunt then you might as well quit MTG.

The Verdict

Even though I’ve built a lot of Jeskai/Izzet/mono-blue Commander decks, I just can’t resist another one when it comes along, and this deck is exactly that. I’d play it with Pramikon, Sky Rampart and play to their strengths.

Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
  • CARVE YOUR PATH TO VICTORY. Choose from 3 fierce legendary creatures to lead your deck or help build new ones—all printed here for the first time.
  • POWER + SYNERGY. Commander 2019: Mystic Intellect is built on intricate synergies that reward you for casting spells from your graveyard.
  • JOIN THE FRAY. Commander is a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, and grudges are repaid with a vengeance.
  • COLLECT ALL FOUR. Merciless Rage is one of four decks in the Commander 2019 series.
  • PLAY THE GAME THAT STARTED IT ALL. The original strategy card game, Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has inspired more than 20 million fans over 25 years.

Primal Genesis

The Commanders

This Naya deck has populate as its main theme. This mechanic doesn’t work without tokens, so generating them is an accompanying theme in this deck. Ghired, Conclave Exile plays the populate game the best. He’s a pretty straightforward commander. Attack, populate, profit, win. Perfect for a beginner who’s new to the game.

Atla Palani, Nest Tender dials things up a notch. She lets you cheat (hopefully) big creatures into play as soon as one of her eggs cracks. Thematically a very fun card and playing this deck with her at the helm should add that invoking temptress chance to the game. Wait until people attack you and see what those eggs turn into.

With Marisi, Breaker of the Coil, this deck truly breaks its coils (pun intended) and shows how tricky these Naya colors can be. Goad is a powerful mechanic and can help you win games quickly when other players are busy attacking each other, because that’s what you’ve saddled them up with.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

The most significant reprint in this deck is Dragonmaster Outcast. One red and it’ll just keep pumping out those dragons. It’s all-around great value with this one.

We’ve also got Lightning Greaves, which is always a great reprint, but serves mostly as a money card in this deck.

Joining Greaves in the money slots are a couple of wonderful creatures: Apex Altisaur and Ohran Frostfang. The first fights (kills) as many creatures as it can upon entering the battlefield. The second gives your creatures deathtouch and draws you cards when they deal combat damage. Useful cards in any creature-based deck.

The Verdict

This deck is perfect for a beginner. Start with Ghired, Conclave Exile until you get the hang of it and then switch over to Atla Palani, Nest Tender. Eventually, you’ll switch over to Marisi, Breaker of the Coil when you’re ready for the real MTG trickery. Creatures are a perfect base to learn Magic and this deck provides plenty of levels to entertain both beginning and seasoned players.

Sale
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Primal Genesis Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
  • CARVE YOUR PATH TO VICTORY. Choose from 3 fierce legendary creatures to lead your deck or help build new ones—all printed here for the first time
  • EMBRACE THE RAGE. Commander 2019: Primal Genesis lets you overrun the table with an army of massive dragons and rhinos
  • JOIN THE FRAY. Commander is a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, and grudges are repaid with a vengeance
  • COLLECT ALL FOUR. Primal Genesis is one of four decks in the Commander 2019 series
  • PLAY THE GAME THAT STARTED IT ALL. The original strategy card game, Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has inspired more than 20 million fans over 25 years

The Best C19 Deck

Curse of Fool's Wisdom

Curse of Fool’s Wisdom | Illustration by Daarken

This is a fun section because I’m gonna break this down in three categories. The best deck for value, for competitive EDH, and for fun. It might not be the most profitable for money cards, but there’s a lot of great cards, lines, and plays put into these decks.

Value

If you want value for your money, then Mystic Intellect is your pick. It’s got Dockside Extortionist in there, and that’s easily the most expensive card to take away from this product.

cEDH

Merciless Rage with Anje Falkenrath at the helm feels like the most easily adapted to a wicked competitive deck. I know green is a great accelerator and is vital in most competitive EDH decks, but the fact that Merciless Rage can utilize madness, card draw, and black makes me feel like you should be able to brew something up that kills quickly. Anything that includes “Yawgmoth” in its name is where I’d start looking.

Fun

Primal Genesis is my pick for the most fun deck. It offers something for everyone, from beginner to advanced players. There’s a fun mix between creatures and other spells to give you a different strategy each game, especially if you switch commanders. It also lends itself well to swapping out cards for better ones, which keeps the deck relevant no matter your expertise level. Enough to tinker with, I think.

Where to Get Them

Volrath, the Shapestealer

Volrath, the Shapestealer | Illustration by Heonhwa Choe

A great place to look for these deck is Amazon. The site offers a large variety of choice not only for C19 but similar products as well.

If you live in Europe or close to it, check out Cardmarket. There’s a great variety of everything you could want on there.

You can also run into them at your LGS if you’re lucky.

Even though it’s deemed an older product, there are still plenty of these decks available. And what’s best is that it doesn’t cost bucketloads! So, why not try your hand at one of these decks?

Final Thoughts

All in all, Commander 2019 is a great product! It offers a lot of fun and the decks are creative and have layers to them. When you thinks in terms of investments or monetary value, C19 are probably at the bottom.

What I feel really gives this product weight is that it’s great for new players to get into the format. I think this is exactly what WotC set out to do, and they succeeded. Most of these generals are great for beginners, something that can’t really be said about, for example, Edgar Markov. There are about a thousand things happening all the time. That’s where the difference lies with C19, and it’s a great one in my opinion.

With that, we’ve come to the end of this review! Go out and get some Commander 19, just in time for Commander Legends so that you’re ready to upgrade your deck.

Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Faceless Menace Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Merciless Rage Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Primal Genesis Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Faceless Menace Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Merciless Rage Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Primal Genesis Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
$30.99
$38.45
$79.95
$33.25
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Faceless Menace Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Faceless Menace Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
$30.99
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Merciless Rage Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Merciless Rage Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
$38.45
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Mystic Intellect Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders | Factory Sealed
$79.95
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Primal Genesis Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
Magic: The Gathering Commander 2019 Primal Genesis Deck | 100-Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 3 Foil Commanders
$33.25

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