Last updated on March 8, 2024

Atla Palani, Nest Tender - Illustration by Ekaterina Burmak

Atla Palani, Nest Tender | Illustration by Ekaterina Burmak

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Commander is a format of choice, and a big part of that is figuring out what color combo you’re building around. But that’s not even the hard part. The real hard part is choosing which commander to actually pick once you’ve picked your color identity.

I’d like to present you with a combo that I see not only as underrated but also underplayed: Naya (). Today I’ll give you the rundown as to why Naya could be the color trio for you, what commanders are great if it is, and even cover a sample EDH decklist to give you an idea of how you may want to build your own.

Let’s get into it!

Why Choose a Naya Commander?

Marath, Will of the Wild - Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

Marath, Will of the Wild | Illustration by Tyler Jacobson

Have you ever thought to yourself, “man, I wish Gruul had the removal and midrange-y aspect of white?” Well, you’re in luck!

Let me introduce you to the color shard, which often runs a heavy creature-based strategy. Naya takes the aggression of red, the ramp and bodies of green, and the removal and protection of white to create a formidable color combination. If playing commanders that cost four mana and enjoy giving your diverse board of creatures a bunch of different keywords sounds appealing, then keep scrolling to check out the best commanders Naya has to offer!

#37. Jacques le Vert

Jacques le Vert

A common theme among many legends from Legends is that they’re over-costed without being impactful. Four mana isn’t a ton for Jacques le Vert, but it also provides relatively little impact to the board. Its buff is a bit too narrow and doesn’t boost power.

The best way to use this commander is by going for a defender or toughness-matters subtheme. Its buff looks much more appealing with an Assault Formation or Huatli, the Sun's Heart in play.

You may also get some use out of red board wipes in this list. Pretty much anything getting the boost serves smaller wraths like Anger of the Gods and Brotherhood's End, and your mid-sized creatures will get boosted out of range of spells like Burn Down the House. Potentially turning these into Plague Wind effects gives this commander some potential.

#36. Johan


Another Legends card, Johan gives you another team-wide boost by basically giving your creatures vigilance so long as it doesn’t attack himself. Notably, the oracle text of this card doesn’t give your creatures vigilance, it just prevents them from tapping when they attack. Tomato, tomato.

The best way to abuse this effect is with creatures that have activated abilities that cause them to tap. With this, you can freely attack and use the abilities of cards like Gideon's Lawkeeper and Giant Killer.

Johan is also a fantastic commander for an exert deck. If a creature you exert doesn’t tap, you get to exert it each turn. Repeatedly using cards like Glorybringer and Champion of Rhonas makes them much stronger. You can even take infinite combats with Combat Celebrant as long as none of your opponents can trade with the 4/1.

#35. Dogmeat, Ever Loyal

Dogmeat, Ever Loyal
Card draw is something aura and equipment EDH decks have gotten much better at over the years, it’s unlikely that Dogmeat, Ever Loyal will be taking the lead on such EDH decks any time soon. Maybe with enough cards that care about Junk tokens or to take advantage of the self-milling, Dogmeat will be a commander, but until we know more about how Fallout fits in with the rest of Magic, it should sit and stay as a great member of 99 for the most part.

#34. Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner

Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner

The newest iteration of a classic commander. Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner has a lot of keywords attached to a fairly large body. This dragon wants to be a Voltron commander above all else with these stats and keywords.

You'll want to suit your dragon with as much armor as possible. Cards like Fireshrieker and Embercleave give you plenty of punching power. These powerful equipment cards are accessible with cards like Stoneforge Mystic and Open the Armory.

Your commander gives itself some limited protection. Losing the hexproof after it deals damage does make it a bit weaker, but gives you plenty of time to build it up. You can reach a point where Palladia-Mors one-shots a player before it needs to deal damage, and protective duties can get taken over by a handy pair of Swiftfoot Boots or Lightning Greaves.

#33. Hazezon Tamar

Hazezon Tamar

Hazezon Tamar wraps up our entries from Legends with a proud member of the Reserved List. This token commander wants you to do nothing but ramp, ramp, and ramp some more as you make as many tokens as possible with its ETB ability.

One thing to note is that Hazezon’s second ability considerably weakens its tokens, but you've got a few ways around this. It only removes Sand Warriors on the battlefield when Hazezon leaves. If you were to sacrifice or otherwise remove Hazezon from the battlefield with its delayed trigger on the stack, then its second ability would go on the stack and resolve, and the tokens would come into play as the delayed trigger resolves and remain indefinitely.

Hazezon’s first ability doesn’t care if it's on the board. This can be great insurance against a wrath; your opponent has to wait another turn before they wrath, or you make a bunch of tokens right after. Likewise, this can be strong with your wraths. If you play Hazezon and cast Wrath of God, you’ll be the only person with any substantial board presence.

Hazeon also needs token support, with cards like Mass Hysteria and Roar of Resistance being useful since your token army is fragile. Typical finishers like Overrun and Craterhoof Behemoth quickly end games with Hazezon’s armies.

#32. Rith, the Awakener

Rith, the Awakener

Rith, the Awakener wants to connect hard with the opponents to make you plenty of tokens. It's a bit slow. 6-mana commanders that require further mana investment and need to deal combat damage have been a bit outpaced, but that doesn’t mean there are no fun things to do with Rith.

First you want to get Rith through your opponent’s defenses. Whispersilk Cloak is a premium choice that gives you evasion and protection, but cards like Rogue's Passage and Key to the City also get Rith through any fliers your might opponents have.

Rith can work as a sneaky token doubler if you’re willing to commit to the bit and make your other token producers make tokens of a single color. At worst Rith can double its tokens each turn by always choosing green. And Painter's Servant is an amazing include if you want to create as many tokens as possible.

#31. Phabine, Boss’s Confidant

Phabine, Boss's Confidant

Phabine, Boss's Confidant mixes a token strategy with some group hug thanks to its parley ability. This has a lot of powerful effects. It’s a token producer that enables your tokens by giving them haste and buffing your team. The main thing holding Phabine back is the lack of consistency; you never know how many tokens you’re getting, or if your buffs will meaningfully affect your combat.

The first step to building Phabine is doing what you can to make that ability more consistent. At the very least you can manipulate the top of your deck with cards like Sensei's Divining Top and Scroll Rack, so at least one of your hits is what you want each turn.

You can also ignore the parley ability and focus on having a haste enabler in the command zone. Giving your tokens haste can be a powerful enough effect to win the game. You'll want big token producers to make the most of this. Cards like Ezuri's Predation and Aeve, Progenitor Ooze can dump a ton of tokens into play for a surprise attack on your unsuspecting opponents.

#30. Rith, Liberated Primeval

Rith, Liberated Primeval

Rith, Liberated Primeval is considerably cheaper than its original counterpart since you don’t need an extra mana investment to make the token. This version of Rith is also very different than its predecessor; it still produces tokens but has advanced from a token commander to a dragon one.

This is an efficient body to have ward 2. Spreading that protection across all your other dragons makes it hard to use spot removal. The first thing you need is plenty of acceleration to get Rith and your other big fliers out early. Dragon typal has several dedicated ramp pieces like Dragonlord's Servant and Dragonspeaker Shaman that help get the job done. Other cost reducers that turbos out your dragons like Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma and Shadow in the Warp basically ensure you'll always be ahead of the mana curve.

You'll also want ways to trigger Rith’s ability. Dragons already have some great options. Terror of the Peaks typically wants to send its damage directly to your opponents, but you can also kill smaller creatures with its ability to produce a 4/4 at the end of the turn and send that damage to the face. Glorybringer zaps smaller creatures to bring in more 4/4s, and Balefire Dragon will often make you a token while leaving your opponents’ boards in shambles.

#29. Rocco, Street Chef

Rocco, Street Chef

March of the Machine: Aftermath gave us another Naya group hug commander in Rocco, Street Chef. This card gives everyone in the pod a little extra card draw while distributing +1/+1 counters across your team and making some Food for extra lifegain.

This works well with the many +1/+1 synergies running around the Naya shard. Cards like Conclave Mentor, Hardened Scales, and Kami of Whispered Hopes increase the number of counters you get as cards like Walking Ballista and Abzan Falconer give you ample pay-offs.

“Cast from exile” is an archetype with plenty of recent support. Exiling cards to play within a turn or two has fast become red’s premiere card draw mechanic, as you see with cards like Wrenn's Resolve, Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and Light Up the Stage.

You can benefit from these draw engines in a variety of ways. Wild-Magic Sorcerer and Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald net you extra cards as you play more of these drawn cards. Passionate Archaeologist turns your commander into a machine gun rattling away at your opponent’s life totals. You can also use Breya's Apprentice for nice synergy that keeps the cards and counters flowing.

#28. Gahiji, Honored One

Gahiji, Honored One

I love Gahiji, Honored One because its presence usually means there’s enough time to shuffle up for another game. The simplicity of this design makes it shine. You want to get your opponents to 0 as quickly as possible, and Gahiji gives you the tools to do that.

This card is a great commander for a token deck, or any strategy looking to go wide. A common line is to hold this back until you cast it to add enough power to take out a player or table in a single swing. It pairs well with cards like Garruk's Uprising, Akroma's Will, and anything else that gives combat-relevant keywords to your team.

Goad finds a natural home in this deck. Gahiji benefits anybody attacking your opponents, including your other opponents. This makes goad a lethal mechanic. Disrupt Decorum can easily take out a player or two by making your opponents attack each other and leaving themselves defenseless to your onslaught. Bloodthirsty Blade is a neat little piece of equipment that keeps damage flowing, and Agitator Ant gives your opponents even more buffs and reasons to attack each other.

#27. Aragorn, Hornburg Hero

aragorn hornburg hero

Aragorn, Hornburg Hero lets you crash in with creatures much safer thanks to first strike and gets ridiculous with double strike. It’s a shame you don’t get first strike on defense and more creatures don’t start with renown. If you can trigger the second triggered ability, which requires two hits in most cases, the doubling of counters is massive, especially in Naya’s colors!

#26. Huatli, Poet of Unity / Roar of the Fifth People

Huatli, Poet of Unity Roar of the Fifth People

There’s helpful fixing right away with Huatli, Poet of Unity. The epic saga that is 

Roar of the Fifth People, does an excellent job of building you up and amassing dinos for an alpha strike that can do a ton of damage. It definitely takes time to naturally play it from the command zone. The dinosaurs like Wakening Sun's Avatar, Quartzwood Crasher, and Ghalta and Mavren are just devastating when you get the mana correct to play these ahead of schedule.

#25. Bright-Palm, Soul Awakener

Bright-Palm, Soul Awakener

Bright-Palm, Soul Awakener gives you a commander with the backup mechanic and some interesting play patterns. This shaman could become a Voltron commander that doubles its counters each turn but enables you to make other big threats.

You'll want Bright-Palm to attack regardless of whether or not you're making them a Voltron commander, so some evasive tricks like Rogue's Passage and Key to the City come in clutch here again. Ways to give flying like Kitesail and On Serra's Wings also come in handy.

Again, you'll want to look towards +1/+1 counter synergies. The counter doublers you looked at before will be fantastic here. There are also plenty of ways to make your big monster almost unbeatable in combat. Abzan Falconer will let it take to the skies, while Ainok Bond-Kin prevents anything from challenging it. Cards like Surrak and Goreclaw and Tuskguard Captain finish things off by making chumping impossible thanks to trample.

The final thing to consider is protection. If you're building a single threat, you need to protect it. White has some excellent protective spells to catch your whole team, like Clever Concealment and Teferi's Protection. There are also several ways to defend one creature. It’s easy to hold up a single mana for Loran's Escape or Tyvar's Stand, with the latter occasionally surprising an opponent with lethal.

#24. Rienne, Angel of Rebirth

Rienne, Angel of Rebirth

Rienne, Angel of Rebirth wants you to take a particular aggressive route with multicolored creatures. They provide a small buff to your team and protect you from spot removal. Your opponents need to kill Rienne before they can get through the rest of your team, and any wraths get all your other creatures back to cast again.

The first step to building this successfully is bulking up your multicolor synergy. General Ferrous Rokiric and Hero of Precinct One flood your board with tokens. The team-wide buffs keep extending with Glass of the Guildpact and Knight of New Alara leading the charge, and you can refill your hand with Tome of the Guildpact.

You also need plenty of good multicolor creatures to fill the ranks on the ground. Assemble the Legion, Pest Infestation, and Grand Crescendo create hordes of multicolor creature tokens. All of the on-color Lieges from Shadowmoor add tons of power to the board, and you can put all that power to good use with Blade Historian giving your team double strike.

#23. Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva

Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva

Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva gives you a token commander with a fairly unique ability that goads creatures every combat. It's especially powerful in decks looking to make a single huge creature to attack with, but it presents plenty of pressure on the board regardless.

Steady token producers are super useful with Kanto. Cards like Assemble the Legion and Skrelv's Hive help supply a steady stream of tokens to tap without losing attacking pressure.

There’s also plenty you can do to keep your creatures untapped. Intangible Virtue gives you the best of both worlds by giving your tokens vigilance, a buff you can extend to all your creatures with Ajani, the Greathearted and Brave the Sands. You could also use Seedborn Muse and Drumbellower to untap all your creatures on your opponents’ turns.

#22. Pantlaza, Sun-Favored

Pantlaza, Sun-Favored

I like big toughness and I cannot lie. The freedom to care about toughness is cool, especially when dinosaurs are generally 3+. Pantlaza, Sun-Favored might be a fair version of discover since it can only be triggered once per turn, but it still makes for a fun Commander deck building experience with creatures of different toughness and cards of varied mana values. Expect fun and value with this sun-favored dinosaur.

#21. Wayta, Trainer Prodigy

Wayta, Trainer Prodigy
Haste is rare to see on commanders, much less on 1/5 creatures. A fight or double enrage effect every turn is pretty powerful, and while you'll surely be attacking in at some point, the ability gives you good interaction outside of combat. It really helps Wayta, Trainer Prodigy that Naya has access to some of Magic's biggest creatures.

#20. Ultra Magnus, Tactician / Ultra Magnus, Armored Carrier

Ultra Magnus, Tactician is a unique commander in the Naya colors because the shard doesn’t care about artifacts. Magnus is the only exception and still hits Naya’s love of big creatures.

We’ve looked at some great evasive options to help get your commander in already, so let’s focus more on what you want to bring in. Blightsteel Colossus is a great choice, and having it come in tapped and attacking basically guarantees a kill. You can also make use of artifact creatures with great ETB abilities like Myr Battlesphere or Meteor Golem.

You can get some redundancy in your commander with Sneak Attack and Ilharg, the Raze-Boar. These effects are handy since Magnus is rather expensive, even if you can cast it converted for a mildly cheaper rate.

Jaxis, the Troublemaker works well in this shell, getting you more ETB triggers off your creatures that care about it while adding pressure. It also works great with artifact creatures that do things when they die, like Wurmcoil Engine and Phyrexian Triniform, which are also useful to cheat in with Magnus since they’re hard to remove effectively.

#19. Samut, Voice of Dissent

Samut, Voice of Dissent

Samut, Voice of Dissent empowers your team to make their voices heard in combat. It's a bit more general as a commander, lending itself well to helm an aggressive midrange strategy looking to hit hard and fast.

A Samut deck can be quite good at ramping. Most mana dorks like Llanowar Elves, Elvish Mystic, and even Faeburrow Elder or Somberwald Sage end up being mana neutral with haste, so you can dump your hand quickly. Bloom Tender can even go mana positive with the right cards in play.

Samut also boosts the power of creatures that can be too slow without haste. Etali, Primal Storm is a prime example; getting a guaranteed trigger off without waiting a turn cycle to see if your opponents can kill Etali is incredibly strong. Other cards that benefit from this boost are the titans, Kogla, the Titan Ape, and Pathbreaker Ibex.

#18. Mazzy, Truesword Paladin

Mazzy, Truesword Paladin

Mazzy, Truesword Paladin cares about using auras and easily becomes a Voltron commander. But it offers much more than a linear strategy based on commander damage since it doesn’t just buff herself.

Mazzy can be a more general aggro commander that doesn’t put all its eggs into a single basket since it can buff any enchanted creature or even several. This helps make use of cards like Kor Spiritdancer and Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice that want to suit themselves up instead of your commander.

Mazzy’s second ability is also a great boon. It helps protect against the 2-for-1 nature of auras that makes them so tricky but can also lead to powerful combo lines. For example, you can easily make infinite mana with Mazzy, Sanctum Weaver, Auratog, and Instill Energy.

#17. Minsc, Beloved Ranger

Minsc, Beloved Ranger

The considerably less broken version of this character, Minsc, Beloved Ranger is another commander that makes a token, but it’s a token-based commander. It's still a powerful commander that offers a strong offense.

One way to use Minsc is as an infinite mana outlet. An infinitely large Boo kills one player, but it’s easy enough for Naya to find three trampling creatures or just enough creatures to overwhelm your opponents and get around their blockers.

#16. Mayael the Anima

Mayael the Anima

Getting to some really strong commanders in my ranking and one of the most popular Naya commanders of all time, Mayael the Anima.

Mayael emphasizes a “big mana” theme in its commander decks with its activated ability which costs a whopping . This ability lets you dig through the top five cards of your deck to pick a creature with power five or greater to put directly onto the battlefield. This can get out of hand pretty quickly when you’re suddenly activating it and cheating out a Terastodon on turn 4.

#15. Jinnie Fay, Jetmir’s Second

Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second

An easy way to build a powerful deck is to consider how a card or a type of card is balanced and find a way to overcome that. For example, lots of token generators like Raise the Alarm are balanced by making multiple smaller bodies. Producing 1/1s is the standard for most token producers.

Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second breaks this wide open by making all your tokens 2/2s. At least, the Cat tokens are what you want. Raise the Alarm is a pretty weak example, but even that looks strong when Jinnie makes it produce four power and toughness instead of two. Now do that math with March of the Multitudes.

This commander also opens the door to powerful synergies. King of the Pride and Pride Sovereign get much stronger when practically everything you do creates Cats. You can also use typal support cards like Radiant Destiny, Adaptive Automaton, and Coat of Arms to spiral out of control and teach your opponents why they should run board wipes.

#14. Uril, the Miststalker

Uril, the Miststalker

Uril, the Mistalker is another aura-matter commander, but Uril is solidly Voltron. It's got everything you want in a Voltron commander; hexproof! It's also pretty reasonably statted and comes with an Ancestral Mask attached before the game begins.

This Voltron commander is all about auras. A lot of the classic Bogles cards come into play here. Cards like Etheral Armor, Ancestral Mask, and All That Glitters make it huge. Auras with totem armor like Bear Umbra and Snake Umbra provide important wrath insulation.

Auras with lifelink are also important. Cards like Armadillo Cloak and Unflinching Courage make it impossible for other decks to race your 20/20 commander, even if they can chump. And those options give trample to help with that. Other evasive auras like Spirit Mantle and On Serra's Wings also help in this regard.

A great strength of Uril is the enchantress package. Cards like Argothian Enchantress, Mesa Enchantress, and Enchantress's Presence, among others, ensure you’ll see a ton of cards while bulking up Uril.

You also get some powerful wraths with this commander. Chandra's Ignition blows everybody away and gains an unbelievable amount of life if it's got lifelink and even kills people outright. Winds of Rath ignores your commander entirely, and you can easily buff him to be large enough to survive Blasphemous Act. Even board wipes like Cataclysmic Gearhulk work since you only care about Uril. Wiping the board once you've got it online lets you delete your opponents as they scramble to rebuild their board.

#13. Jared Carthalion, True Heir

Jared Carthalion, True Heir

One of my favorite mechanics in Commander is monarch. It keeps the game interesting, makes combat happen, and keeps cards flowing around the table. Jared Carthalion, True Heir is one of the most interesting monarch commanders since it gives it to an opponent and makes you fight to get it back.

This deck starts with more cards to get the monarch than just Jared. The easiest way to steal the monarch back is to play another card that gives you the token. Some great choices are Palace Jailer, Custodi Lich, and Dawnglade Regent, as is the Court cycle from Commander Legends.

Once you're the monarch, you'll want ways to exploit Jared’s second ability. Pariah may be the best card to do so. Big red wraths also get the job done. Cards like Star of Extinction, Blasphemous Act, and Chain Reaction destroy everybody else’s board while leaving Jared untouched. Did you stumble into more Voltron?

The last piece of this puzzle will be other cards that work with this effect. Stuffy Doll and Brash Taunter fling incredible amounts of damage at your opponents from these effects. Throw in a Solphim, Mayhem Dominus or City on Fire, and the table gets reduced to a pile of ash.

#12. Marisi, Breaker of the Coil

Marisi, Breaker of the Coil

Naya wants to make things happen, and Marisi, Breaker of the Coil is another commander that does just that. Marisi doesn’t goad one or two creatures but everything your opponent controls, leading to some interesting swings.

You'll want to deal combat damage to as many of your opponents as you can in each combat, so creatures with shadow come in handy here. It’s a mechanic you rarely see in Commander apart from Dauthi Voidwalker, so cards like Soltari Foot Soldier and Soltari Visionary are practically unblockable.

You can reap even more rewards from these difficult to block creatures with other cards that care about dealing combat damage. Professional Face-Breaker can produce multiple Treasures a turn as long as you sing at multiple players. Toski, Bearer of Secrets and Ohran Frostfang generate card draw with every bit of damage.

You can also find some pretty interesting finishers with cards like Gahiji, Honored One and Blast-Furnace Hellkite that give your opponents’ attacking creatures powerful buffs as long as they aren’t attacking you.

#11. Shalai and Hallar

Shalai and Hallar

Fresh from March of the Machine, Shalai and Hallar is one of the most exciting team-up cards to build around. While it can work in a fair +1/+1 counter synergy deck, everybody’s looking at these two as a combo engine that goes off hard.

One of the most notable combos with this commander is The Red Terror. With both in play, you need to use a red source like Lightning Bolt to deal damage to anything. This puts a counter on the Terror, which makes Shalai and Hallar deal one damage to anything. Preferably, an opponent. This puts another counter on the Terror, and you rinse and repeat to pick off your opponents and make an infinitely large Red Terror. This two-card infinite combo wins the game, and you always have access to half of it.

All Will Be One is another great piece of this deck. It also combos with The Red Terror, fulfilling the same role as Shalai and Hallar. You can also pair All Will Be One with Quest for Pure Flame for a similar loop. It also works with the Devoted Druid and Swift Reconfiguration combo to produce infinite damage alongside infinite mana.

Of course, you can still get plenty of value from this commander without combo-ing off. Managorger Hydra and Forgotten Ancient punish your opponents for playing spells, while Felidar Retreat and Renata, Called to the Hunt add tons of damage to the board by buffing your team and pinging your opponents.

#10. Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer

Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer

Putting Chord of Calling into the command zone makes a strong, versatile commander that’s at home in a stax-combo list looking to slow the game down until you win from nowhere.

You'll want plenty of strong stax pieces to build the foundation of the deck. Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer makes finding the perfect piece a breeze, so you can happily run a lot of silver bullet answers like Collector Ouphe, Archon of Emeria, and Soulless Jailer depending on the strategies you need to disrupt.

You can also hit plenty of staples. Loran of the Third Path and Reclamation Sage let you destroy anything. Eternal Witness can buy back any card you want to see again. It’s worth noting that Wirewood Symbiote is a must-have among these cards to avoid the command tax on Rocco.

#9. Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor

Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor

Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor gives you a Naya landfall commander with some Voltron tendencies. You'll want to make it pretty big with his landfall trigger so that your lands hit as hard as possible.

Obuun wants to be surrounded by familiar landfall payoffs. Cards like Scute Swarm, Felidar Retreat, and Omnath, Locus of Rage fill the board with even more tokens. You can generate incredible amounts of mana with cards like Lotus Cobra and Nissa, Resurgent Animist.

Something that can be powerful in land-based strategies like this is a stringent amount of artifact hate. You want landfall triggers, so all your ramp will be cards like Nature's Lore, Cultivate, and Khalni Heart Expedition. You'll be running minimal artifact ramp, so cards like Collector Ouphe, Brotherhood's End, and Bane of Progress will have a minimal impact on your board while majorly impeding opponents who rely on Signets, Talismans, and the like for ramp.

Obuun also works well with creature lands. Needle Spires is especially powerful because it becomes a massive double strike creature when Obuun animates it. Cave of the Frost Dragon and Den of the Bugbear are other lands with strong abilities once animated. You can even use Inkmoth Nexus to one-shot a player if you make Obuun large enough.

#8. Hazezon, Shaper of Sand

Hazezon, Shaper of Sand

You get another lands commander in Hazezon, Shaper of Sand, a far more playable version of the character from earlier on this list. This iteration of Hazezon distinguishes itself from Obuun by caring about deserts and wanting to play lands from the graveyard.

There are less than two dozen playable desert lands, and you'll want all of them. A lot of the deserts put themselves in the graveyard; sacrificing deserts was a subtheme in Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation, as you can see with cards like Ramunap Ruins and Endless Sands. You can also look to sacrifice the deserts to other effects like Elvish Reclaimer and Sylvan Safekeeper to put them in the bin.

There’s also lots of value to be found in discarding lands. Borborygmos Enraged, Pyre of the World Tree, and Seismic Assault fill your graveyard with lands while dealing damage to your opponents. Nahiri's Sacrifice is an especially strong tool for this deck. You can dump a ton of mana into it, sacrifice all your deserts, then replay them from the graveyard with Hazezon.

A little token support ties things up nicely. Cards like Anointed Procession and Parallel Lives make tons of tokens. Cards like Cathars' Crusade and Felidar Retreat help close things out by making your tokens bigger than they have any right to be.

#7. Zacama, Primal Calamity

Zacama, Primal Calamity

Now we have Zacama, Primal Calamity, one of the most important dinosaur commanders ranked today!

While Zacama doesn’t specifically empower dinosaur typal how can you not run dinosaur typal with a 9/9 vigilance-reach-trample monstrosity in the command zone? Especially when that dinosaur pays for itself when you cast it, allowing you to activate each of its abilities at least once. An enter-the-battlefield trigger that blows up an opponent’s mana rock, gains you three life, and deals three damage to some other weakling of a commander seems pretty good.

As for how to build this deck, living a simple life of “big mana, big creatures” is definitely the easiest way to go about it. Green pounds the rest of the color wheel with more access mana than any other color and I recommend going over the average number if you’re running this commander. Your whole game plan revolves around playing huge creatures and doing big mana things, so if you fail to get to the point where you can cast your commander let alone some of the bigger dinosaurs then you’re just a sitting duck waiting for your turn to be killed.

Ranging Raptors, Kinjalli's Caller, Marauding Raptor, and Knight of the Stampede are all must-haves along with the classic acceleration spells like Cultivate or Kodama's Reach. I’d even include more than a few mana dorks (anything from Llanowar Elves to Bloom Tender will do) since hitting that extra mana right away completely changes the pace of the game for the better.

#6. Ghired, Conclave Exile

Ghired, Conclave Exile

In 6th place is Ghired, Conclave Exile, the human shaman from Commander 2019 and the only commander on this list to promote a populate strategy. Populate is a mechanic that creates a token copy of another creature token you control, in this case whenever Ghired attacks. The fun part about populating with Ghired is that the token comes in tapped and attacking with it which presents a tremendous threat to your opponents while also making up for its pitiful two power.

Ghired, Conclave Exile (hopefully) won’t be your only populate engine, especially considering there are so many strong ones in green and white to include. Growing Ranks is undoubtedly the best since you get a populate trigger every turn for just four mana which is difficult to stop once it starts rolling. Sundering Growth is excellent removal on its own with a populate bonus, Selesnya Eulogist extracts additional value from your dead creatures, and Full Flowering can populate as many times as you can pay for it!

If consistent populate triggers is more your style, consider including a copy of Song of the Worldsoul for a few more populates per turn, or Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage to populate two or three times later in the game.

#5. Rin and Seri, Inseparable

Rin and Seri, Inseparable

Next are the dog and cat duo (but not partners!), Rin and Seri, Inseparable. This commander is just too adorable and actually makes for a great cat typal commander. Typal is a very strong strategy in EDH thanks to the large variety of enabling artifacts and enchantments, and also because you have access to every cat ever printed.

As for the artifacts and enchantments there are half a dozen or so “staples” that you have to include if you want your typal deck to succeed and hold its own against other less-specific strategies. Coat of Arms is arguably the most important because each creature you control gets stronger for each other creature you control of that type. Yes, you read that right; it gives +1/+1 for each creature that shares a type with it. This gets out of control incredibly fast and often results in somebody’s death if you’re able to attack with it even once.

There’s also Vanquisher's Banner, which gives you incredible card advantage by making your cats card-neutral to make up for the lesser combat stats buff. And there’s something to say about Eldrazi Monument in cat typal. You’ll typically make a lot of tokens with planeswalkers like Ajani, Strength of the Pride or Ajani, Caller of the Pride that you don’t mind sacrificing in exchange for flying and indestructible.

As for the actual cats you’ll be playing there are more than a few great ones. Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist helps you connect with more damage each swing. Hungry Lynx continuously provides buffs for your creatures while being a cost-effective lightning rod. And Brimaz, King of Oreskos helps fill your board and provides sacrifice fodder for the previously mentioned Eldrazi Monument.

#4. Gishath, Sun's Avatar

Gishath, Sun's Avatar

This is one of the most popular Naya commanders ever. Gishath, Sun’s Avatar leads thousands of decks online and counting.

Gishath’s popularity stems not only from its strength as a commander but the fact it enables dinosaur typal. Dinosaur typal has a simple but effective playstyle that can be almost comforting at times. It can be perfectly summed up by the phrase, “play big dinosaurs, win.”

The biggest part of playing big creatures is getting even bigger mana, so let’s talk about what you need to include if you want to have any shred of consistency in playing your commander or other big dinos on time. A big part of your “ramp” should come from discounts on your dinosaur’s mana costs overall paired with the vast number of mana ramp spells, creatures, and artifacts; Knight of the Stampede, Kinjalli's Caller, Marauding Raptor, and Otepec Huntmaster. These - and -mana discounts will take you far, and they aren’t limited to a once-per-turn use that mana dorks like Llanowar Elves are weakened by.

As for your actual dinosaurs there are quite a few thanks to the multiple dinosaur sets and Commander products WotC has blessed us with. There are of course the obvious huge dinos like The Tarrasque, Bonehoard Dracosaur, Zacama, Primal Calamity, and both Etali, Primal Storm + Etali, Primal Conqueror. But you also have a lot of lesser-known dinosaurs (at least to me) that are worth including in the list. I’m referencing powerful commons and uncommons like Raging Regisaur, Thundering Spineback, Earthshaker Dreadmaw, and Majestic Heliopterus.

There’s also something to be said about including various enchantments to continuously buff your board. I think Unnatural Growth and Mirari's Wake are the best but you can also look at including Colossal Majesty or Warstorm Surge.

#3. Marath, Will of the Wild

Marath, Will of the Wild

This is a classic Naya commander, Marath, Will of the Wild. Despite originally releasing in Commander 2013, Marath can hold its own at any non-cEDH table. It’s a +1/+1 commander at heart and I highly recommend building it this way instead of something like Pod or beast typal.

+1/+1 counters have plenty of support in green and white, and red even has a few good cards for the strategy. The release of Crimson Vow brought quite a few good inclusions for Naya +1/+1 counters with Torens, Fist of the Angels, Hopeful Initiate, and most notably Halana and Alena, Partners.

These kind of +1/+1 zoo decks also benefit from token creation, and your Marath list has a great token generator in the command zone with its last activated ability. Being able to turn your commander into a token with identical combat stats (or many smaller tokens) at instant speed makes it difficult to remove and keep down.

Naya also has excellent token- and zoo-empowering enchantments you should pick up in addition to Marath. Mirari's Wake, Impact Tremors, and Cryptolith Rite all work well in an ordinary zoo list but are especially strong if you include some token elements. And make sure to consider picking up Parallel Lives if you do and you can afford it; it quite literally makes your token generators twice as powerful.

#2. Jetmir, Nexus of Revels

Jetmir, Nexus of Revels

You've seen several commanders from the Caberetti family of New Cappenna, but only the head of the family could take second place on this list. Jetmir, Nexus of Revels is an incredibly powerful commander. This is about as close as you'll get to Craterhoof Behemoth in the commander, with Jetmir adding six power to each creature on board when you have all its abilities online.

Jetmir wants you to go as wide as you can. In a shard so heavily defined by token creation, that’s easy as pie. You want the token generators that go big, cards like March of the Multitudes and Secure the Wastes. Steady token producers like Skrelv's Hive and Assemble the Legion are also quite welcome.

Haste enablers will be a great boon. Roar of Resistance is a fairly recent staple for tokens decks. Samut, Voice of Dissent and Fires of Yavimaya also help with this. You want to be able to swing as soon as Jetmir hits the board to give your opponents as little time to interact as possible.

Because you're going so wide, you'll need board protection. Selfless Spirit and Heroic Intervention are always welcome inclusions. Teferi's Protection and Clever Concealment also get a shout-out, especially as more and more board wipes like Farewell and Sunfall get printed that exile all creatures rather than destroying them.

#1. Atla Palani, Nest Tender

Atla Palani, Nest Tender

Finally in 1st place is Atla Palani, Nest Tender, this list's second human shaman, hailing from Commander 2019.

A general Atla Palani, Nest Tender decklist can be pretty easy to build on your own. You want to focus on ramping out through mostly spell and artifact acceleration so that you don’t flood your deck with dorks that come out of your eggs, and then use your commander and the ramp available to you to cheat out huge creatures in the early game.

In case you still need convincing, just imagine cheating out Zetalpa, Primal Dawn or Ghalta, Primal Hunger on turn 5. Somebody is going to lose half their health as early as that turn if your opponents don’t have hard removal ready immediately.

Decklist: Mayael Big Stuff in Commander

Mayael the Anima - Illustration by Jason Chan

Mayael the Anima | Illustration by Jason Chan

Mayael the Anima leads our sample decklist for a couple reasons. First, I think this commander’s art is just beautiful. It’s great to look at, it’s easily accessible in foil, and it really shows the Naya colors well.

Second is that the skeleton of this decklist, the mana and creatures and such, can easily be stripped off and placed under any other commander. This list is very customizable and can be easily adjusted for dinosaur typal, pod, or any other theme you want to go for. Just make sure to include the mana acceleration, early creatures, and possibly some of the better enchantments in the list.

Your early game plan is simple: get a healthy amount of mana acceleration out with spells like Cultivate, Farseek, and Explosive Vegetation or artifacts like Sol Ring and the Signets. This early mana helps you curve into activating your commander on turn 3 or 4 so that you can cheat your huge creatures out as early as possible.

Notice that you’re not playing any creatures with mana values less than four. This is because you can’t really afford to “miss” with your Mayael the Anima’s activated ability by hitting some loser 1-drop. You want value, and that comes from at worst getting a strong 4-drop like Dragonborn Champion, or a mega-bomb like Worldspine Wurm at best.

The enchantments in this deck are the secret to its success, not the big bodies. Warstorm Surge is an incredibly fun and powerful card to play and it’s terrifying to stare down across the other side of the table. It lets you hit creatures in addition to players which just adds to its strength.

Commanding Conclusion

Gishath, Sun's Avatar - Illustration by Zack Stella

Gishath, Sun's Avatar | Illustration by Zack Stella

That wraps up today's ranking for the best Naya commanders in Magic! I really enjoyed researching and writing this since I got to dive deeper into one of the less popular color shards in MTG. I think that Naya is severely underrated and often gets passed over for Jund.

What did you think of the rankings? Were there any that you’d move around? Let me know in the comments down below or over on our official Draftsim Discord.

Naya not your preferred color trio? Check these out: Abzan, Bant, Esper, Grixis, Jeskai, Jund, Mardu, Sultai, Temur.

Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!

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  • Avatar
    Sully August 12, 2023 2:40 pm

    Elvish piper couldn’t be put onto the battlefield with Mayael as it’s power is not 5 or greater

    • Jake Henderson
      Jake Henderson August 15, 2023 6:25 am

      Corrected, thanks!

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