Last updated on February 19, 2024

Shabraz, the Skyshark | Card art by Paul Scott Canavan

If it feels fantastic to be a Commander fan today, you owe a lot to the year 2020, a year in which more Commander products were released than ever before. The well-balanced preconstructed decks in Commander 2020 or Commander Ikoria as some kids say, give you the chance to jump right into a game with your friends without having to worry about building a deck from the ground up.

Today we're checking out these decks that include supersized copies of their face commander. Read on to see what separates Commander 2020 from previous precon EDH decks. Hold on to your butts and let’s get going!

Commander 2020 Decks
Magic The Gathering Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Commander Decks | All 5 Decks | 20 Foil Legendary Creatures (C74210000)
  • Choose from 15 fierce Commanders from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO) to lead your decks to victory—10 legendary creatures and 5 Commander and monster pairs that share a magical bond.
  • Commander is a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, and grudges are repaid with a vengeance.
  • Dive right in to MTG Commander with these ready-to-play decks, desiged to be fun and powerful, with 71 cards printed here for the first time.
  • Start a game night right out of the box. Grab your friends, try out the decks, then swap for round two—play them all to find your favorite!
  • Collect all five Commander Decks from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO) in this bundle—Arcane Maelstrom, Enhanced Evolution, Ruthless Regiment, Symbiotic Swarm, and TImeless Wisdom.

What Are the Commander 2020 Decks?

Otrimi, the Ever-Playful MTG card art by Victor Adame Minguez

Otrimi, the Ever-Playful | Card art by Victor Adame Minguez

One thing that separates Commander 2020 right out of the gate is that, for the first time, Wizards combined the release of a Commander product with the release of a set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. In fact, they integrated into the story of IKO, something they had not done before.

There’s a lot more depth and flavor story-wise if the decks are connected to what’s going on in the sets. This is exactly what they’ve incorporated into Commander 2020 and I, for one, am a fan. It makes you feel more involved in what’s going on in the world that is Magic.

This release brought 71 new cards specifically designed for Commander enthusiasts who have fun with EDH decks.

Each one ensures you can start playing right out of the box. Each deck comes with:

  • 17 new cards
  • 100-card deck
  • 1 oversized foil card
  • 10 double-sided token cards
  • 4 legendary foils
  • 1 deck box

Now that I’ve given you some cool features of C20, Ikoria's commander set, let’s take a more in-depth look at these electrifying decks, shall we?

Arcane Maelstrom

Arcane Maelstrom

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

Kalamax loves a good storm, and what better way to create a storm than with instants? Kalamax helps you copy the spell, which gives you value and grows it bigger all in one fell swoop. All you have to do is attack, pass the turn, and sit back until the opportune moment to trap your opponent or their creatures. Personally, I would mold this deck by including more cards with the storm mechanic, fast mana, and things like Thousand-Year Storm to get even more value out of Kalamax.

Kalamax, the Stormsire

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

You better believe there are some great cards in this deck bursting with instants. A timely Curious Herd is an incredible token generator, and the Twinning Staff helps turn your deck into a Xerox for instants.

Pick up the popular commander card, Lightning Greaves. You buy a ton of value in Deflecting Swat, these two alone provide a big chunk of your money's worth in getting this deck!

Xyris, the Writhing Storm: uses card draw to create value and balls of snakes to throw at your opponent. Haldan, Avid Arcanist partnered with Pako, Arcane Retriever: uses exiled cards from all players with fetch counters on them to create an Arcane feast for one.

The Verdict

You really need some good politics and smart early play until you can let loose your storm of instants and copied spells. Make sure you've got a card draw engine to ensure you don't run low on instants and baiting people into action might make this deck one of the better fits for the impetus cycle which calls upon opponent's creatures to attack your opponents. Copying spells inherently has one of the highest ceilings a deck can have, however there will be games in which your instant won't do much even if it is doubled up. I'd call this a mid to lower-power-level deck with great potential.

Sale
Magic: The Gathering Arcane Maelstrom Ikoria Commander Deck | 100 Card Deck | 4 Foil Legendary Creatures
  • Choose from three fierce Commanders from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths (IKO) to lead your deck to victory—four legendary creatures including two that share a magical bond and can command your deck together
  • Commander is a Magic The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed friends are betrayed and grudges are repaid with a vengeance
  • Turn the tide of any battle with the Arcane Maelstrom deck—copy spells with Kalamax the Stormsire draw cards when you do damage with Xyris the Writhing Storm or exile your opponents’ resources and cast them yourself with Haldan Avid Arcanist and Pako Arcane Retriever
  • Arcane Maelstrom is one of five Commander Decks from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths (IKO) Each includes exclusive cards tailored to that deck—pick your favorite mechanics and dive in to battle!
  • Battle your way through the plane of Ikoria with monster-themed mechanics that grow your creatures build your bond and crush your opponents

Enhanced Evolution

Enchanced Evolution

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

Otrimi is truly the wildest of the bunch. It uses the mutate mechanic to bypass the Commander cost and commander tax. This is a major bonus and legitimately busted. The mutate ability allows you to further utilize Otrimi: because it can be mutated sooner than you could cast it otherwise, it can also attack sooner. This puts other creature cards with mutate from your graveyard back in your hand. Keep in mind that you can deploy this again and again, as creatures that die aren’t exiled.

Otrimi, the Ever-Playful

Zaxara, the Exemplary uses the hydra subtheme of the deck which is powerful on its own, and helps the deck knock out opponents with cheer card quality. Ukkima, Stalking Shadow partnered with Cazur, Ruthless Stalker uses ramp and attacking with evasive creatures, a tried and true method of ending games.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Notable reprints from this deck are the ever-useful Arcane Signet and Propaganda. Tidal Barracuda brings a healthy amount of chaos by dictating when spells can be played and it consistently causes quite an impact. You get Deadly Rollick from the cycle of free commander spells.

The Verdict

Mutate is a really strong mechanic and dangerous for Commander games. It is limited since there are so few cards with mutate, that you almost don't have enough creatures to draw into. You want to be good at navigating your opponent's removal and making use of your graveyard, so I consider this middle-of-the-road in terms of EDH power level.

Magic: The Gathering Enhanced Evolution Ikoria Commander Deck | 100 Card Deck | 4 Foil Legendary Creatures
  • Choose from three fierce Commanders from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO) to lead your deck to victory—four legendary creatures, including two that share a magical bond and can command your deck together.
  • Commander is a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, and grudges are repaid with a vengeance.
  • Grow and develop your creatures' powers to new heights with the Enhanced Evolution deck—bring your mutated monsters back from the dead with Otrimi, the Ever-Playful; build an army of hydras with Zaxara, the Exemplary; or gain life and strength as you take down your enemies with Cazur, Ruthless Stalker and Ukkima, Stalking Shadow.
  • Enhanced Evolution is one of five Commander Decks from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO). Each includes exclusive cards tailored to that deck—pick your favorite mechanics and dive in to battle!
  • Battle your way through the plane of Ikoria with monster-themed mechanics that grow your creatures, build your bond, and crush your opponents..Contents: one (1) foil oversized Commander card, one hundred (100) card deck, ten (10) double-sided tokens, one (1) deck box, one (1) Life Wheel, one (1) punchout keyword counter card

Ruthless Regiment

Ruthless Regiment
Commander (1)

Jirina Kudro

Planeswalker (1)

Nahiri, the Harbinger

Creatures (32)

Bounty Agent
Cavalry Pegasus
General's Enforcer
Humble Defector
Knight of the White Orchid
Thalia's Lieutenant
Zulaport Cutthroat
Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
Banisher Priest
Devout Chaplain
Frontline Medic
Kelsien, the Plague
Magus of the Wheel
Thraben Doomsayer
Verge Rangers
Xathrid Necromancer
Captivating Crew
Disciple of Bolas
Fireflux Squad
Frontier Warmonger
Fumiko the Lowblood
Magus of the Disk
Odric, Master Tactician
Riders of Gavony
Species Specialist
Trynn, Champion of Freedom
Adriana, Captain of the Guard
Garna, the Bloodflame
Silvar, Devourer of the Free
Titan Hunter
Dearly Departed
Titan of Eternal Fire

Instants (6)

Call the Coppercoats
Crackling Doom
Dire Tactics
Flawless Maneuver
Terminate
Unexpectedly Absent

Sorceries (5)

Citywide Bust
Painful Truths
Ambition's Cost
Cleansing Nova
Increasing Devotion

Enchantments (9)

Bastion of Remembrance
Martial Impetus
Parasitic Impetus
Sanctuary Lockdown
Shared Animosity
Shiny Impetus
Molten Echoes
Outpost Siege
Vigilante Justice

Artifacts (10)

Skullclamp
Sol Ring
Arcane Signet
Boros Signet
Orzhov Signet
Rakdos Signet
Sanctuary Blade
Bonder's Ornament
Commander's Sphere
Heirloom Blade

Lands (36)

Battlefield Forge
Bloodfell Caves
Bojuka Bog
Boros Garrison
Command Tower
Evolving Wilds
Exotic Orchard
Myriad Landscape
Nomad Outpost
Orzhov Basilica
Path of Ancestry
Rakdos Carnarium
Scoured Barrens
Shadowblood Ridge
Smoldering Marsh
Spinerock Knoll
Temple of the False God
Unclaimed Territory
Wind-Scarred Crag
Windbrisk Heights
Mountain x4
Plains x8
Swamp x4

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

Jirina is the perfect human tribal general, generating more humans each time it's cast. It’s no surprise that this is a deck that casts or creates lots of humans. The fact that Jirina also boosts other humans you control makes her even more loveable. It just wants humans to join together and collectively defeat evil (something we as a species should practice more often). But enough of the life lessons, you’re here to read about the decks and, if tribal is your thing, this one is definitely worth checking out.

Jirina Kudro

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

The Flawless Maneuver is a great way to protect your creatures and can be a blowout while on offense or defense. Xathrid Necromancer loves it when your humans mix it up in combat, and frankly many will come back tougher as zombies. The combat trick master, Odric, Master Tactician rewards you for playing lots of humans, and can simply make all your creatures unblockable.

The Verdict

The regiment has to keep a watchful eye for board wipes, know when to hold back a token generator, and ensure it has a way of producing creatures otherwise this deck goes so wide, that it falls flat. The limited number of ways to interact with opponents is concerning, even if you're flooding the board with a crowd of humans. For such a linear strategy, and reliance on small, often lower-power level cards, I give this a low-power level ranking.

Magic: The Gathering Ruthless Regiment Ikoria Commander Deck | 100 Card Deck | 4 Foil Legendary Creatures
  • Choose from three fierce Commanders from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths (IKO) to lead your deck to victory—four legendary creatures including two that share a magical bond and can command your deck together
  • Commander is a Magic The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed friends are betrayed and grudges are repaid with a vengeance
  • Recruit a fierce and diciplined Human army to battle against the behemoths of Ikoria with the Ruthless Regiment deck—inspire more soldiers to join your ranks with Jirina Kudro grow stronger every time you defeat an enemy with Kelsien the Plague or sacrifice your growing army in exchange for an indestructable nightmare creature with Trynn Champion of Freedom and Silvar Devourer of the Free
  • Ruthless Regiment is one of five Commander Decks from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths (IKO) Each includes exclusive cards tailored to that deck—pick your favorite mechanics and dive in to battle!
  • Battle your way through the plane of Ikoria with monster-themed mechanics that grow your creatures build your bond and crush your opponents

Symbiotic Swarm

Symbiotic Swarm

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

Kathril uses a feature introduced in Ikoria: placing keyword counters on creatures. It’s an improved Concerted Effort jammed onto a creature. Kathril abuses these counters to make itself huge, and the only thing you need to do is get as many creatures with different static abilities in your graveyard. The deck is capable of helping you get there quickly.

Kathril, Aspect Warper

After Kathril, Aspect Warper enters the battlefield Tayam, Luminous Enigma: uses counters to get good stuff back on the battlefield from your graveyard.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

This deck comes with the land ramping god Karametra, God of Harvests, and the counter-movers, Slippery Bogbonder, and Nesting Grounds. Who better to carry counters or maximum graveyard value for Kathril than Akroma, Angel of Wrath?

The Verdict

Kathril is a step in the direction of both a Voltron and reanimator deck. That however leaves the deck a little unfocused with a planeswalker that does nothing to help you put cards in the bin. The ideal is getting use out of your ability-laden creatures first from Odric, Lunarch Marshal, trigger Kathril, then use Soulflayer, but where's the card draw to help you get there? As much as I like the cards and concepts here, it is below average for Commander.

Magic: The Gathering Symbiotic Swarm Ikoria Commander Deck | 100 Card Deck | 4 Foil Legendary Creatures
  • Choose from three fierce Commanders from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths (IKO) to lead your deck to victory—four legendary creatures including two that share a magical bond and can command your deck together
  • Commander is a Magic The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed friends are betrayed and grudges are repaid with a vengeance
  • The Symbiotic Swarm deck leverages your creatures’ many abilities—give your living creatures the abilities in your graveyard with Kathril Aspect Warper reanimate a swarm of small creatures with Tayam Luminous Enigma and draw cards when your buffed creatures leave the battlefield with Nikara Lair Scavenger and Yannik Scavenging Sentinel
  • Symbiotic Swarm is one of five Commander Decks from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths (IKO) Each includes exclusive cards tailored to that deck—pick your favorite mechanics and dive in to battle.
  • Battle your way through the plane of Ikoria with monster-themed mechanics that grow your creatures build your bond and crush your opponents

Timeless Wisdom

Timeless Wisdom
Commander (1)

Gavi, Nest Warden

Planeswalker (1)

Chandra, Flamecaller

Creatures (23)

Cryptic Trilobite
Savai Thundermane
Valiant Rescuer
Agitator Ant
Nimble Obstructionist
Portal Mage
Vizier of Tumbling Sands
Brallin, Skyshark Rider
Curator of Mysteries
Surly Badgersaur
Akim, the Soaring Wind
Mercurial Chemister
Psychosis Crawler
Rooting Moloch
Shabraz, the Skyshark
Spellpyre Phoenix
Ethereal Forager
Isperia, Supreme Judge
Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Sun Titan
The Locust God
Eternal Dragon
Herald of the Forgotten

Instants (4)

Fierce Guardianship
Hieroglyphic Illumination
Neutralize
Zenith Flare

Sorceries (8)

Dismantling Wave
Windfall
Decree of Justice
Migratory Route
Akroma's Vengeance
Boon of the Wish-Giver
Descend upon the Sinful
Slice and Dice

Enchantments (14)

Hoofprints of the Stag
Lightning Rift
Ominous Seas
Tectonic Reformation
Astral Drift
Crystalline Resonance
Drake Haven
Martial Impetus
Psychic Impetus
Shiny Impetus
Spirit Cairn
Cast Out
Reconnaissance Mission
New Perspectives

Artifacts (10)

Sol Ring
Arcane Signet
Azorius Signet
Boros Signet
Fluctuator
Izzet Signet
Abandoned Sarcophagus
Bonder's Ornament
Commander's Sphere
Raugrin Crystal

Lands (38)

Ash Barrens
Azorius Chancery
Boros Garrison
Command Tower
Desert of the Fervent
Desert of the Mindful
Desert of the True
Drifting Meadow
Exotic Orchard
Forgotten Cave
Hostile Desert
Irrigated Farmland
Izzet Boilerworks
Lonely Sandbar
Myriad Landscape
Mystic Monastery
Prairie Stream
Reliquary Tower
Remote Isle
Secluded Steppe
Shivan Reef
Skycloud Expanse
Smoldering Crater
Temple of the False God
Island x5
Mountain x5
Plains x4

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

Gavi is all about cycling for the best cost in MTG: zero. Cycling isn’t anything new, but the great cycling Commanders are very few. This deck lets you get familiar with cycling and how to abuse it. Once you’re ready, dive into other amazing cards out there that have cycling to optimize your deck even further. With your first cycle free, you have a consistent way to see new cards each turn, and make use of high-cost cyclers that other decks balk at. You’ll have a dangerously well-oiled machine soon enough.

Gavi, Nest Warden

Ikoria's Standard meant you had to constantly be aware of cycling with a Zenith Flare about to go off. That's just one card you have a chance to maximize with Gavi. Many cards support the “draw your second card” theme, but we're not going into upgrades in this article.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

The Locust God is just amazing and doesn't need to say cycling to be great with it. The board wipes like Decree of Justice and Windfall have had some famous moments in Magic and remain every bit as powerful. A card that is not central to the deck, but key in investors' eyes is Fierce Guardianship which represents a huge portion of the value in the deck.

The Verdict

When this deck does its thing, you get value out of each cycle, let others over commit creatures to the table, blow up the board, and rebuild better than anyone. The deck plays well on other players turns and has a bunch of ways to accrue value. Call this one just above subpar, still with plenty of room for upgrades.

Magic: The Gathering Timeless Wisdom Ikoria Commander Deck | 100 Card Deck | 4 Foil Legendary Creatures
  • READY TO PLAY This pack contains a complete 100 card Commander deck including 1 oversized foil card, 4 foil legendary creature cards from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths a deck strategy guide 10 double sided token cards and a deck box
  • GAVI NEST WARDEN This eccentric Human lives in the wilds nurturing and protecting her adopted litter of Cat Dinosaurs She excels at finding resources to support her family Use the power of cycling to sift through your deck and set up the perfect turn creating lots of helpful Cat Dinosaur tokens as you go
  • PARTNER BRALLIN & SHABRAZ: This cloud-swimming daredevil duo rewards you for drawing and discarding cards—which just so happens to be what cycling is all about!
  • CHOOSE YOUR DECK Play with one of the 5 decks available Ruthless Regiment Arcane Maelstrom Enhanced Evolution Symbiotic Swarm and Timeless Wisdom Decks
  • FREE-FOR-ALL FORMAT Commander is an exciting unique multiplayer experience where alliances are formed friends are betrayed and grudges are repaid with a vengeance!

The Best Commander 2020 Deck

For Value

Timeless Wisdom

If you value money above all else, then the Timeless Wisdom deck helmed by Gavi, Nest Warden is the deck you want to invest in. Fierce Guardianship is the break-out card from the free-to-play cycle in C20 and is the reason this deck is in high demand. The best way to go about it is to buy all five decks in one go and save Gavi for a later date to re-sell.

Magic: The Gathering Timeless Wisdom Ikoria Commander Deck | 100 Card Deck | 4 Foil Legendary Creatures
  • READY TO PLAY This pack contains a complete 100 card Commander deck including 1 oversized foil card, 4 foil legendary creature cards from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths a deck strategy guide 10 double sided token cards and a deck box
  • GAVI NEST WARDEN This eccentric Human lives in the wilds nurturing and protecting her adopted litter of Cat Dinosaurs She excels at finding resources to support her family Use the power of cycling to sift through your deck and set up the perfect turn creating lots of helpful Cat Dinosaur tokens as you go
  • PARTNER BRALLIN & SHABRAZ: This cloud-swimming daredevil duo rewards you for drawing and discarding cards—which just so happens to be what cycling is all about!
  • CHOOSE YOUR DECK Play with one of the 5 decks available Ruthless Regiment Arcane Maelstrom Enhanced Evolution Symbiotic Swarm and Timeless Wisdom Decks
  • FREE-FOR-ALL FORMAT Commander is an exciting unique multiplayer experience where alliances are formed friends are betrayed and grudges are repaid with a vengeance!

For Competitive EDH

Arcane Maelstrom

For those of you who want to dip your hands into competitive Commander, I recommend either Enhanced Evolution led by Otrimi, the Ever-Playful or Arcane Maelstrom featuring Kalamax, the Stormsire. Neither deck will get you there by themselves, but they both offer a good base and color wedge to start building your competitive Commander deck around.

Sale
Magic: The Gathering Arcane Maelstrom Ikoria Commander Deck | 100 Card Deck | 4 Foil Legendary Creatures
  • Choose from three fierce Commanders from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths (IKO) to lead your deck to victory—four legendary creatures including two that share a magical bond and can command your deck together
  • Commander is a Magic The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed friends are betrayed and grudges are repaid with a vengeance
  • Turn the tide of any battle with the Arcane Maelstrom deck—copy spells with Kalamax the Stormsire draw cards when you do damage with Xyris the Writhing Storm or exile your opponents’ resources and cast them yourself with Haldan Avid Arcanist and Pako Arcane Retriever
  • Arcane Maelstrom is one of five Commander Decks from Ikoria Lair of Behemoths (IKO) Each includes exclusive cards tailored to that deck—pick your favorite mechanics and dive in to battle!
  • Battle your way through the plane of Ikoria with monster-themed mechanics that grow your creatures build your bond and crush your opponents

For Fun

Enhanced Evolution

My personal favorite is a tough pick because I like something about what each deck has to offer. But if I had to choose just one, I’d go with Otrimi’s Enhanced Evolution. I already own quite a few EDH decks and I want a new one to bring something, well, new to the table. That’s exactly what Enhanced Evolution does. It offers me a new way to think about deck building and how to optimize the mutate mechanic. Something exciting and challenging, which is a winning combination for this curious cat.

Magic: The Gathering Enhanced Evolution Ikoria Commander Deck | 100 Card Deck | 4 Foil Legendary Creatures
  • Choose from three fierce Commanders from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO) to lead your deck to victory—four legendary creatures, including two that share a magical bond and can command your deck together.
  • Commander is a Magic: The Gathering (MTG) multiplayer format where alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, and grudges are repaid with a vengeance.
  • Grow and develop your creatures' powers to new heights with the Enhanced Evolution deck—bring your mutated monsters back from the dead with Otrimi, the Ever-Playful; build an army of hydras with Zaxara, the Exemplary; or gain life and strength as you take down your enemies with Cazur, Ruthless Stalker and Ukkima, Stalking Shadow.
  • Enhanced Evolution is one of five Commander Decks from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO). Each includes exclusive cards tailored to that deck—pick your favorite mechanics and dive in to battle!
  • Battle your way through the plane of Ikoria with monster-themed mechanics that grow your creatures, build your bond, and crush your opponents..Contents: one (1) foil oversized Commander card, one hundred (100) card deck, ten (10) double-sided tokens, one (1) deck box, one (1) Life Wheel, one (1) punchout keyword counter card

Commanding Conclusion

Trynn, Champion of Freedom MTG card art by Jesper Ejsing

Trynn, Champion of Freedom | Card art by Jesper Ejsing

It’s cool that this Commander product is tied to the Ikoria storyline. I hope Wizards continues to broaden not only this awesome format but all eternal formats with it.

If you're not into these decks and want to check out something older, I recommend the Commander 2017 precons.

If you want to continue to see more cool content go to another of our Draftsim articles, there is tons of information on Commander, Arena, and Limited, you can help support us through Patreon. We truly appreciate your support and want to thank you in advance for providing us with the platform to entertain and inform you of all the great things MTG has to offer. That’s all for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and see you next time!

Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, you’ll help Draftsim continue to provide awesome free articles and apps.

Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates:

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *