Last updated on August 11, 2022
Gavi, Nest Warden | Illustration by Randy Vargas
Commander is the format of creativity and choice. The freedom to express your own playstyle, aesthetic, and strategy is heavily encouraged, and part of that comes from the commander and colors you chose to play.
But just choosing a single color or color combination can be a daunting task. Today I have a simple guide for you on the best commanders in the Jeskai () wedge.
Let’s get into it!
Why Go with a Jeskai Commander?
Zedruu the Greathearted | Illustration by Mark Zug
Don’t you wish you could combine the card advantage and proactive play of blue with the tempo and direct removal of Boros ? Luckily for you we have one of the most powerful tempo-oriented color combinations ever, the Jeskai way!
The Jeskai pride themselves on their cunning strategy and wisdom and they perfectly represent these characteristics through their strategies and playstyle. If drawing tons of cards, blowing up enemy permanents, and exiling your opponent’s critical combo pieces sounds like fun, then it’s time to start mulling over your options for a commander.
#8. Sevinne, the Chronoclasm
First in the rankings today is Sevinne, the Chronoclas, the 2019 precon commander that promotes a fast-paced spellslinger playstyle. Sevinne is a very fun and interactive commander to have leading your deck. It helps create a healthy spellslinger build by generating more value out of your flashback mechanics.
Doubling a card that’s cast from your graveyard means you’re getting triple the value of just playing it once. It turns simple cantrips like Ponder into pseudo-Ancestral Recalls when played with Snapcaster Mage or Torrential Gearhulk.
Your commander won’t be the only thing giving you benefits when you cast from the graveyard; there are a bunch of other creatures and enchantments you want to run to maximize value. Vega, the Watcher draws tons of cards, Veyran, Voice of Duality gives you an additional cast with your commander’s ability, Murmuring Mystic and Thalia’s Geistcaller give you 1/1 flyers, and Talrand, Sky Summoner bolsters your air force with more 2/2s.
#7. Vadrok, Apex of Thunder
Most efficient spells that kill things, give you card advantage, or do both are all generally three mana or less. The benefit with this commander is that you get a second cast of these cards for free just by doing something that’s already productive, which in this case is mutating your commander or other cards onto it.
While mutate finds its strongest cards in black and green, Jeskai’s colors have powerful mutate cards. Pouncing Shoreshark and Sea-Dasher Octopus both have flash, which allows you to use a lot of your powerful instants on your opponent’s turn where they’ll be most effective. Dreamtail Heron, Lore Drakkis, and Cloudpiercer help you keep your hand full while you play from the graveyard, and Cubwarden and Regal Leosaur can turn your cantrip chain into a huge damage swing to knock out weaker adversaries.
#6. Pramikon, Sky Rampart
In 6th place is Pramikon, Sky Rampart who shakes things up a bit and breaks parity by forcing players to attack the opponent to their left or right. This passive ability lets you narrow your defensive focus to the weakest player next to you and creates a significant layer of defense for your planeswalkers. That’s right, this is a superfriends commander!
Since your planeswalkers will be extra safe from the most common threat you’re able to use them in a much more threatening and game-finishing way. While you’d normally rarely get to a planeswalker’s ultimate ability in a game, your likelihood of exiling an opponent’s graveyard with Jace, the Mind Sculptor is greatly increased with your commander and an Oath of Teferi.
I recommend building Pramikon, Sky Rampart in a much more defensive-oriented style where you’re pillow-forting against a specific enemy of your choice. This is very easy to do in Commander where you have access to so many walls and single-target removal. Planeswalkers’ weakness comes from the fact that they pose a threat to three different potential attackers, but that weakness is now nullified.
#5. Zedruu the Greathearted
5th place goes to everyone’s favorite minotaur monk, Zedruu the Greathearted! Zedruu is a chaos commander, which means its goal isn’t to win as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s to create as chaotic and confusing a game state as possible and then capitalize off your opponent’s inability to navigate that game state.
Part of this strategy revolves around donating permanents that seriously hinder other players at the table with your commander’s activated ability and then benefiting by drawing multiple additional cards per turn. You want to exchange control of permanents between everyone and through as many game plans off as possible. This means you want to include cards like Puca’s Mischief and Vedalken Plotter to continue shifting things around.
Winning is difficult as far as conventional win conditions go, but you have the advantage that your games go fairly long thanks to the heavily disruptive playstyle. Cards like Nine Lives or Triskaidekaphile are much easier to pull off in your list so they’re your primary mode of victory outside of somehow coming out on top in combat.
#4. Gavi, Nest Warden
In 4th place is Gavi, Nest Warden, a cycling-based commander that gives you free cycles and extra benefits for doing it in the first place. Cycling is a mechanic that’s incredibly difficult to play around since you can’t counter or do anything to stop the ability other than parity-breaking stax pieces like Narset, Parter of Veils. This works to your advantage since it means your cycling delinquency goes mostly uninhibited and you’ll be able to carry out your game plan more reliably than a Storm or combat-based deck.
Some major players in a cycling deck are any permanent that give you some minor bonus for cycling. Cards like Astral Drift, Curator of Mysteries, and Valiant Rescuer come to mind. These cards aren’t game winners just from cycling on their own (well, maybe Astral Drift), but their minor bonuses add up as you cycle a dozen cards or so, especially when you have multiple bonuses in play. Your plan is to use these small bonuses to create huge advantages in cards or mana and out-value your opponents in the long game.
#3. Narset, Enlightened Master
If seeing your opponents’ smiles wipe off their faces as you take your fourth turn in a row sounds like fun then I present to you: Narset, Enlightened Master. Narset lets you cast noncreature spells for free, which means you can stack your deck with powerful instants and sorceries like Omniscience and Temporal Mastery to play incredible cards quickly and consistently.
Part of what makes Narset great is blue’s ability to tutor cards to the top of your deck and stack the top four so you can continuously hit your target spells. Mystical Tutor puts cards on top at instant speed which means you can essentially cast any noncreature spell in your deck for once you successfully attack with Narset. Long-Term Plans does the same thing for , which isn’t much worse considering that’s a 3-mana Enter the Infinite. Personal Tutor is sorcery speed and can only find sorceries but adds consistency to your deck that you can’t pass up.
But don’t get too caught up in taking extra turns. Approach of the Second Sun can be a much more threatening win condition when you can cast it twice in a single turn. Just drawing your entire deck and casting it for free Enter the Infinite and Omniscience almost always results in a scoop from the other players at the table.
#2. Elsha of the Infinite
If constantly being looked at for permission to resolve a spell by your opponents while you spellsling five of your own every turn sounds like fun, then you should take a look at Elsha of the Infinite as your commander. Elsha gives you permanent card advantage by letting you cast noncreature spells off the top of your library with flash.
This presents an epic opportunity for you to chain cards off the top of your library while having more consistent answers for your opponent’s threats. Cards that let you scry and stack the top of your deck become much more valuable and generate bigger leads in the long run.
Since you’re casting a lot more instants and sorceries throughout the game, creatures that give you extra benefits for doing so are of the utmost importance in your decklist. I’m talking about Talrand, Sky Summoner, Baral, Chief of Compliance, and Archmage Emeritus specifically. This deck wins by hedging minor advantages over a large volume of spells, which adds up to significant leads over your opponents in multiple ways.
#1. Kykar, Wind’s Fury
In the #1 spot for Jeskai commanders is Kykar, Wind’s Fury. Kykar gives you creature fodder whenever you cast a noncreature spell as well as an outlet to use those creatures for mana advantage. This creates significant tempo opportunities for you and often helps promote a Polymorph strategy to win games.
Polymorph works as a 100%-accuracy tutor by only having one creature in your Kykar deck, which is Hullbreaker Horror. With Horror in play you can use your extra mana to chain spells to bounce your opponent’s permanents and spells of their own. Successfully resolving a Polymorph usually results in you winning on the spot since the ability to bounce anything basically for free is an insurmountable mountain to get over.
Unfortunately this can result in you putting all of your eggs in one basket, which is something you want to avoid. This can be done with an alternate win conditions and combos. Some examples are decking yourself and then casting Thassa’s Oracle, or adding consistency by including Proteus Staff to act as a second Polymorph.
Decklist: Narset Jeskai in Commander
Narset, Enlightened Master | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve
Force of Will
Nexus of Fate
Pact of Negation
Path to Exile
Response // Resurgence
Swords to Plowshares
Wear // Tear
Approach of the Second Sun
Beacon of Tomorrows
Enter the Infinite
Fury of the Horde
Karn’s Temporal Sundering
Part the Waterveil
Seize the Day
Walk the Aeons
Waves of Aggression
World at War
Sensei’s Divining Top
Talisman of Conviction
Talisman of Creativity
Spire of Industry
Temple of Enlightenment
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Triumph
I’ve had a soft spot for Narset, Enlightened Master since it came out and my friend repeatedly combo-killed me with it. Something about seeing a Time Warp get exiled by Narset creates a pit of absolute despair in your stomach, and that’s something I’m interested in not being on the receiving end of for once.
Your plan early on is to get some fast mana in one of your Signets or other mana rocks (of which there are 15!) while controlling the early game. Cards like Counterspell, Path to Exile, Swan Song, Wear // Tear, and other cheap interaction help keep your opponents in check and stop potential one-shot combos from firing up.
The deck plays exactly how Narset should, which is by taking a million extra turns and having game-winning finishers like Omniscience and Enter the Infinite. You might notice that this deck basically has no creatures, and that’s just because you don’t need any. You want to focus on out-tempo-ing your opponents until you can start casting your huge game-enders.
Approach of the Second Sun is an absolute sleeper card that’s heavily underrated. You can win in one turn with as little as eight mana and a Mystical Tutor if you also have Narset in play, ready to attack. It comes out of nowhere and players usually assume they have at least another chance to combat an Approach while here they don’t. Expropriate is probably the most fun card in the deck and always results in groans from the other three players at the table.
Elsha of the Infinite | Illustration by G-host Lee
That concludes the ranking and sample decklist for Jeskai! This was incredibly fun to go through because this combo is one of my favorite color wedges. It brings a wonderful balance of control and aggression that somehow fits together to form a cohesive game plan. And the cards are simply gorgeous.
What did you think about my rankings? Would you have swapped any of the commanders around, or was there anyone I left out that should’ve been included? Let me know down in the comments down below or over in the official Draftsim Discord.
Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: