Last updated on June 30, 2022

Shabraz, the Skyshark - Illustration by Paul Scott Canavan

Shabraz, the Skyshark | Card art by Paul Scott Canavan

2020 was a fantastic year for EDH fans. More Commander products were released than ever before, the first of which was Commander 2020, and what an exciting product this was.

For those of you unfamiliar with Commander or these preconstructed deck products, here’s what’s up: the now-yearly set of brand new Commander decks serves as an easy introduction into the format—also called EDH for all you old-school players—with a ready-to-play deck.

These well-balanced decks are designed to give you a fun game experience against the other decks in the set and as well as those that other players have built from scratch. Their purpose is to 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 first. Pretty neat, right?

This year, WotC is starting things off with a bang. You’re being treated to five brand new decks (one more than last year!), which we’ll be covering right here. We’ll also give you all the info on what separates Commander 2020 from the previous precon EDH decks. Hold on to your butts and let’s get going!

Commander 2020 Mashups

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

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

What makes Commander 2020 great right out of the gate is that, for the first time, Wizards has combined the release of a Commander product with the release of their newest set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. In fact, they’ve gone a step further; it’s actually integrated into the story of IKO, something they’ve never done before.

Commander wasn’t really ever related to any set in particular in the past. This is perfectly fine on its own because the products have always been great, but 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 brings something more to the table than just a great product. It makes you feel more involved in what’s going on in the world that is Magic.

Of course, if you don’t care about story and flavor, you can just pick them up for the well-thought-out products that they are. Besides, if the storyline isn’t your game, they’ve given you something else to get excited about: more new cards than ever!

In these five decks, Wizards is giving you 71 brand-spankin-new cards to play with. Let’s be honest, the new cards printed each year are one of the main reasons these decks are so fun to look out for. They’re specifically designed for all Commander enthusiasts and, if you’re reading this article, that certainly includes you.

Now that I’ve given you all the cool new flavor features of C20, let’s take a more in-depth look at what these electrifying decks are all about, shall we?

Deck Facts and Product Overview

Kalamax, the Stormsire MTG card art by Nicholas Gregory

Kalamax, the Stormsire | Card art by Nicholas Gregory

As I mentioned, there are five different decks for you to choose from. You can buy them individually or as a set of all five. They’re all tri-color in line with the newly named “color wedges” of Ikoria. As usual, each has a unique name that alludes to what each deck does. We’ll dive deeper into that in a little bit but first, here’s what you can expect to see on the shelves of your local game store:

Commander 2020 Decks

They look pretty awesome, right? And that’s not all: each one includes a couple of things that ensures you can start playing right out of the box, as per usual. 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

Here’s the lowdown on each deck’s color wedge and featured oversized foil:

Before we get into the decklists and what they’re trying to accomplish, I wanted to talk to you about another important thing: value.

Is Commander 2020 Worth It?

Kathril, Aspect Warper MTG card art by Mathias Kollros

Kathril, Aspect Warper | Card art by Mathias Kollros

When you’re buying any precon, it’s important to ask yourself whether it’s worth buying or not. Commander 2020 is no different, although I do want to mention that they are most definitely worth it with the sheer fun factor. But this section is for all you value players who like to know whether the return on money is worth the investment.

When you compare whether it’s worth spending the money on C20 or not, you can take a look at the older Commander products to get your bearings. At the time of release, each deck had an MSRP of around $35 USD—it’s astounding how much they go for now. You’d easily be spending around $100 to $200 USD per deck nowadays. The price fluctuates with what money cards were printed for that deck and what vendor you’re buying from, of course, but it’s still nothing to balk at.

With this info, you can safely assume that Commander 2020 is definitely worth the investment. This goes for both the individual decks as well as the entire set. Keep in mind that the prices listed above are for unopened, completely sealed decks, though. So, if you’re planning on playing with the deck, don’t expect to fetch those kinds of prices for your cards. There is, of course, the option to buy two of the same deck, one for playing with and one for reselling later on. I’ll leave that decision up to you. But with this wisdom in your back pocket, let’s take a look at the decks!

Commander 2020 Decklists

Gavi, Nest Warden MTG card art by Randy Vargas

Gavi, Nest Warden | MTG card art by Randy Vargas

Each of the new Commander decks has a couple of themes. As with every precon Commander product, these decks offer you a few legendary generals to choose from. This means you can switch to a different strategy depending on what leader you decide to use.

To give you a good idea of what each deck is trying to accomplish and show you other ways to use the deck if the main general isn’t to your liking (or you just like switching things up every now and then), let’s take a closer look at each deck. If you find yourself asking which one has the best value, what my personal favorite is, or if any of them be used to build a competitive Commander deck, then keep reading! I answer all those questions right after this.

Enhanced Evolution

Otrimi, the Ever-Playful

Otrimi is truly the wildest of the bunch. It uses Ikoria’s brand new mutate mechanic to bypass the Commander cost and accumulative two extra mana each time it dies. 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.

Other Generals

Notable reprints from this deck are Arcane Signet and Propaganda.

Money Cards

Symbiotic Swarm

Kathril, Aspect Warper

Kathril uses another new 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 himself huge, and the only thing you need to do is get as many creatures with different static abilities in your graveyard. Obviously, the deck is capable of helping you get there quickly.

Other Generals

Notable reprint here are Karametra, God of the Harvest and Arcane Signet.

Money Cards

Timeless Wisdom

Gavi, Nest Warden
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
Zenith Flare

Sorceries (8)

Dismantling Wave
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
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

Gavi is all about letting you cycle your first cycle spell for the best cost in MTG: zero. Cycling isn’t anything new, but a great Commander for the mechanic is. 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. You’ll have a dangerously well-oiled machine soon enough.

Other Generals

Notable reprints in here are The Locust God and Arcane Signet.

Money Cards

Arcane Maelstrom

Kalamax, the Stormsire

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 him bigger all in one foul 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 cards with the storm mechanic, fast mana, and things like Thousand-Year Storm to get even more value out of Kalamax.

Other Generals

Notable reprints are Arcane Signet and Lightning Greaves.

Money Cards

Ruthless Regiment

Jirina Kudro
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
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)

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

Jirina is the perfect human tribal general, generating more humans each time she’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. She 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.

Other Generals

Notable reprints here are Knight of the White Orchid, Arcane Signet, and Path of Ancestry.

Money Cards

Best of the Best

Best Value

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 such 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.

The reason why you should buy the whole set, you ask? Because this deck alone will set you back almost the price of buying all five, that’s why. Might as well create some more value and give yourself something cool to either play with or stock and put back on the market again in a few years and reap the rewards.

Most Competitive

For those of you who want to dip their 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.

My Personal Pick

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.

Commanding Conclusion

Trynn, Champion of Freedom MTG card art by Jesper Ejsing

Trynn, Champion of Freedom | Card art by Jesper Ejsing

This first Commander product of 2020 is a great way for Wizards to kick things off. It offers a great set of new decks and it’s cool that it’s tied to the Ikoria storyline, proving that Commander is getting a huge push from WotC this year. And there’s even more to come! Very exciting things for both you and all EDH enthusiasts around the globe. I, for one, hope they’ll keep giving Commander great new products going forward and continue 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.

With that, we’ve come to the end of our topic. If you want to continue to see more cool content, you can help support us through Patreon. We truly appreciate your support and want to thank you in advance for providing us 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!

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