Last updated on August 29, 2023

Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale - Illustration by Lie Setiawan

Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale | Illustration by Lie Setiawan

If there’s one figure that’s particularly prevalent in most fantasy fiction, it’s that of the European medieval knight. I’d safely bet most of us get the same mental image when thinking of what a knight is: a mounted warrior clad in heavy armor (more often than not inspired by late Medieval armor designs), probably wearing a cape and other symbols of status and riches. You probably also expect these knights to be doing one of two things: either they’re loyal defenders of their kingdom or they’re off on a quest for glory, riches, or both.

Magic is no stranger to knights. They’ve been around since Alpha and feature regularly in most sets. March of the Machine featured some strong support for the knight tribe, and we can absolutely expect Wilds of Eldraine to have some huge support for knights too.

I could honestly write an entire article looking at the different ways knights have been portrayed throughout Magic’s history (Varchild’s crusaders being morally complex even if they’re presented as villains, or the Askari and their depiction of North African knights) but that’s not what we’re here for.

With knights being such a prevalent and supported tribe (there are over 400 cards with the knight subtype), it has more than earned its place as a viable archetype. So let’s look at the best knight commanders!

What Are Knight Commanders in MTG?

Edgar Markov - Illustration by Volkan Baga

Edgar Markov | Illustration by Volkan Baga

Knight commanders are creatures that can serve as commanders in knight tribal decks. Pretty self-explanatory. For this I’m not only gonna be looking at creatures with the knight subtype because there are a few legendary creatures that can be more than decent as commanders for this tribe in terms of gameplay. And there are some others that are fun from a thematic viewpoint.

Most of the best knights can be found in black and white, with some additional good ones in red. Green and blue only started getting some real knight support with Throne of Eldraine, and they’re still a ways from catching up with the other three.

#27. Vona, Butcher of Magan

Vona, Butcher of Magan

At this point, I’m honestly including Vona, Butcher of Magan as a form of respect to it for being a viable knights commander when there weren’t that many. This card can prove useful if you have plenty of knights with lifelink or decent ways to grant your knights lifelink.

Vona, Butcher of Magan sports the knight subtype and is in black and white, the two best colors for a commander deck, so it became a way to enable knight decks, even if the commander itself didn’t see all that much play.

#26. Balan, Wandering Knight

Balan, Wandering Knight

Balan, Wandering Knight is a great card and a great commander, but it’s only a relatively decent commander when it comes to knight tribal decks.

The equipment sub-theme it enables can benefit your other knights by giving them gear to overpower your opponents, while always keeping the option open to go full Voltron once your commander hits the field. It’s not a bad strategy, but there are definitely better ways to build both a knight tribal edh deck and a deck focused around Balan, Wandering Knight.

#25. Josu Vess, Lich Knight

Josu Vess, Lich Knight

I really like Josu Vess, Lich Knight from an aesthetic and thematic side. The idea of your commander entering the field with a whole entourage of knights, almost as a bodyguard order, feels really cool and flavorful. And that’s essentially what this card does. Except you need 10 mana to do that, which can be taxing to say the least.

Monoblack knights is far from the strongest deck you can build, but if you want a fun deck on a budget, you can make it work.

#24. Adeline, Resplendent Cathar

Adeline, Resplendent Cathar

Adeline, Resplendent Cathar works as a nice commander for a knights deck with two subthemes: humans, and attacking all your opponents. You can use cards like Skyhunter Strike Force to give all your creatures melee which would benefit from your commander creating human tokens attacking all your opponents.

#23. Tori D’Avenant, Fury Rider

Tori D'Avenant, Fury Rider

Tori D'Avenant, Fury Rider can be a fun Boros aggro commander. As we know, aggro is a pretty hard archetype to play in EDH because you have to consider that there are multiple opponents, and being too aggro leaves you open to tons of damage.

That said, if you want to go for a knight tribal that’s very attack-heavy with a focus on playing multicolored knights, this card can give your attacks a huge boost, especially by making your white knights untap so you can protect yourself after attacking.

#22. Danitha Capashen, Paragon

Danitha Capashen, Paragon

There are quite a few knight creatures that have nice synergies with enchantments and equipment. This also works thematically, considering the fact that things like enchanted swords are pretty common in knight stories.

Danitha Capashen, Paragon can work as a more than decent commander for a knight deck with a strong aura and enchantment subtheme. You can also make it go in a more Voltron direction if you truly need to.

#21. Syr Konrad, the Grim

Syr Konrad, the Grim

It could be argued that if you’re going to build a Syr Konrad, the Grim deck, you could probably build it in some more effective ways than a monoblack knight. But not everything has to be a hyperfocused deck, either.

This card allows you to build a knights deck with a focus on letting your own knights die and having ways for bringing them back, while also being able to destroy your opponents’ creatures or mill them away.

#20. Adun Oakenshield

Adun Oakenshield

This may be a controversial entry because of its colors. Adun Oakenshield is a weird commander for a knight tribal deck considering it doesn’t have access to white, which is the color in which knights have the most support.

That said, it does have access to black and red which are the next two best colors for knights. That plus green allows you to have a pretty aggressive build while your commander keeps bringing your creatures back.

#19. Rafiq of the Many

Rafiq of the Many

Rafiq of the Many has had its fair share of popularity in Commander’s history. It’s a pretty great card to build an exalted deck around, whether you’re using your commander to attack or other powerful creatures.

This can also benefit knights. There’s plenty of ways to build a deck that can empower a single chosen knight to attack for a massive hit.

#18. Kwende, Pride of Femeref

Kwende, Pride of Femeref

There are around 48 white knight creatures with first strike. Kwende, Pride of Femeref is a very simple card in its design, and it works perfectly for a very straightforward and aggro knight deck.

#17. Haakon, Stromgald Scourge

Haakon, Stromgald Scourge

Haakon, Stromgald Scourge is a controversial card for some players. On the one hand, it’s a great commander to have on the field for a monoblack knight deck. There are a few ways to even make it so that you have infinite LTB and ETB triggers with the right cards in play.

This card’s greatest weakness is its first ability. You can’t play it from anywhere other than your graveyard, and that’s kind of a problem. There are almost no ways to get your commander out of the command zone without casting it, which makes playing Haakon, Stromgald Scourge kinda hard. It’s definitely a must have in any knight deck that runs black, especially monoblack ones.

#16. Edgar Markov

Edgar Markov

I’ve already stated that Mardu is basically the ideal color combination for knight tribal. Thing is, for a long time there weren’t any particularly great commanders for the tribe. Some people played Zurgo Helmsmasher, but it doesn’t necessarily bring any real benefits to a tribal deck. Eventually, some chose to settle for Edgar Markov.

I like this card for a couple reasons. Nowadays there are around 30 vampire knight creatures, which means you can build a very thematic deck around that. There’s also some useful vampires that can support the deck even if they’re not knights, and some knights that can be turned into vampires through other cards.

#15. Mazzy, Truesword Paladin

Mazzy, Truesword Paladin

Mazzy, Truesword Paladin is focused on attacking with enchanted creatures. This is a theme that works perfectly with knights. There are a few knights that benefit aura enchantments, like Danitha Capashen, Paragon, and most knights are definitely good at attacking.

#14. Elenda, the Dusk Rose

Elenda, the Dusk Rose

Elenda, the Dusk Rose is a great commander for decks that either sacrifice a lot of creatures or destroy a lot of their opponents’ creatures. It’s not necessarily a very knight-focused commander, but it can work if you build a nice removal-heavy deck around it.

#13. Alesha, Who Smiles at Death

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this commander. I placed it this high on the list because I’ve seen a ton of people push Alesha, Who Smiles at Death as a knight tribal commander.

It definitely fits the colors you need to build a good knight tribal. My issue is that the card’s ability itself isn’t entirely great for knights, considering most of them have power two or higher. I may be missing something, so I’ll be democratic and trust the popular opinion. Personally, I’d go for another commander.

#12. Adriana, Captain of the Guard

Adriana, Captain of the Guard

Knights are a very attack-happy tribe, arguably for obvious reasons. Adriana, Captain of the Guard benefits this tendency by making your creatures stronger for each opponent you attacked this turn.

#11. Morophon, the Boundless

Morophon, the Boundless

I don’t think I even need to explain why Morophon, the Boundless is on this list. It honestly has a place in every list for the best commanders for any tribe because that’s exactly what it’s designed to do.

I personally don’t love this card because it feels a bit boring at some point, like it’s too generic of a good commander for any tribe. But that doesn’t make it any less useful or viable, so here it is.

#10. Galea, Kindler of Hope

Galea, Kindler of Hope

Galea, Kindler of Hope brings a ton of support for equipment and auras. I’ve already made it relatively clear that both work pretty great with knights, so being able to play them from the top of your library directly attached onto your knights is definitely great.

The only problem with this card for a knights deck is its color identity. It has white which is definitely great, but green and blue aren’t exactly ideal. There are a few knights in these colors, but you might feel some frustration that you don’t have access to at least black.

#9. The Council of Four

The Council of Four

This card is definitely a very Azorius card in how it works. Azorius knights have had some support over time, so The Council of Four gives pretty decent access to enough cards to build a great tribal deck. It also has the additional advantage of creating knight tokens with some regularity.

#8. Sylvia Brightspear + Khorvath Brightflame

I absolutely adore these partners for an EDH deck. Mixing up knights and dragons for a fun and silly mixed tribal deck is a great idea. Yet again, these commanders have a huge focus on combat which fits into their colors, but if you’re building a deck around knights and dragons, that definitely makes sense.

Sylvia Brightspear and Khorvath Brightflame are fun and original, but also relatively strong.

#7. Shanid, Sleepers’ Scourge

Shanid, Sleepers' Scourge

There are several legendary knights, so Shanid, Sleepers' Scourge is far from a bad build. It can drift into less strong builds, but they can definitely be a lot of fun when you combine all your legendary knights.

It also has the already mentioned advantage of being in pretty great colors for a knight tribal.

#6. Queen Marchesa

Queen Marchesa

I really, really like theme decks. I think they’re fun to build, they’re usually really imaginative and original, and you sometimes end up having to use some unconventional and interesting cards.

Queen Marchesa is no stranger to theme decks. I personally run a pillowfort deck that’s built around the idea of most creatures making some relative sense as members of a fantasy court. This also opens the possibility for a theme deck around an order of knights that serve and protect their queen. And having monarch gives some great card advantage so that’s also great.

#5. Elenda and Azor

Elenda and Azor

Elenda and Azor may not have such straightforward support for knights, but it can create a ton of Vampire Knight tokens each turn. Having cards that support a knight strategy wouldn’t be a bad idea, and if you’re already supporting knights, might as well go into a knight theme.

#4. Aryel, Knight of Windgrace

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace is a very solid commander for knights. It can slowly but surely fill up your field with Knight tokens until you have enough to start taking out your opponents’ creatures.

This card obviously benefits from a strong knight tribal strategy and can make great use of other knights being on the field.

#3. Kenrith, the Returned King

Kenrith, the Returned King

If Queen Marchesa is a good commander for a theme deck around knights, then Kenrith, the Returned King is the perfect commander for it. You can make a great “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table” themed deck with this card at the helm.

Additionally, Kenrith, the Returned King is a really solid commander with great potential for political gameplay but abilities that would also benefit a knight tribal.

#2. Sidar Jabari of Zhalfir

Sidar Jabari of Zhalfir

Eminence finally made a return after the Commander 2017 precon decks in March of the Machine Commander’s Sidar Jabari of Zhalfir. It’s an amazing support for the tribe and arguably one of the best knight commanders out there.

Even without its eminence ability, this card is a perfectly solid legendary knight. Its ability, combined with the two keywords it has, makes it a great way to keep reviving your knights, keeping a solid and strong battlefield.

#1. Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale

Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale

Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale is by far my personal favorite knight tribal commander. It’s perfectly solid as a creature, and its two abilities make it a fun and aggressive commander. It can definitely be used for an equipment build without any knights, but that’d be no fun.

This card’s second ability lets you arm your knights while its first ability rewards you for sending them to battle. It’s thematic, it’s a perfectly viable strategy, and it’s fun to play.

Best Knight Commander Payoffs

There’s plenty of support for any kind of tribal deck in EDH. There’s some of the obvious options like Vanquisher's Banner, Door of Destinies, or Herald's Horn.

There are also a few cards that can benefit knights directly. The Circle of Loyalty is the obvious one to mention here, considering it’s even a reference to the Round Table. There’s also Sigiled Sword of Valeron which’ll dub any creature a knight and will allow it to consistently put Knight tokens onto the battlefield.

Another thing to consider is that quite a few of the possible decks enabled by these commanders care a lot about equipment and aura. The Embercleave can make for a wonderful finisher. Sword of the Animist, Colossus Hammer, Blackblade Reforged, Mantle of the Ancients, Bear Umbra all make for a pretty solid way to strengthen your knights.

Commanding Conclusion

Queen Marchesa - Illustration by Kieran Yanner

Queen Marchesa | Illustration by Kieran Yanner

Knights can be a super thematic tribe to build. All the support for equipment and enchantment strategies make them feel really Arthurian with their prophecies, their magical quests, and their magic swords. They’ve also gotten quite a lot of support over time, which is also nice since not too long ago they were a relatively weak tribe.

But enough about what I think. Do you think I missed any fundamental knight commanders? What’s your favorite one? Will you be building a knight tribal deck? Feel free to let me know down in the comments! And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our Discord server! There you’ll find an amazing community of MTG fans that share your love for this game.

That’s all from me for now. Have a good one, and I’ll see you next time!

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