Last updated on March 22, 2024

Thrasios, Triton Hero - Illustration by Josu Hernaiz

Thrasios, Triton Hero | Illustration by Josu Hernaiz

Ah, Commander. Commander, or Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH) as it was called before Wizards decided to develop for it directly, is probably the most popular casual MTG format available. For a deck builder, it is one of the best formats to build for.

“Partner” is a keyword that was introduced in Commander 2016 that allows you to have two commanders if they both have the keyword. Allow me to take you through everything you need to know when it comes to choosing partner commanders!

Table of Contents show

What Are Partner Commanders?

Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix

Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix | Illustration by Bastien L. Deharme

A partner commander is a legendary creature that can go in the command zone alongside any other legendary creature with partner.

The first choice for building a Commander deck is generally the commander, this is where your color identity comes from, and you add both partner commanders together to get the color identity.

For example, you can play Tymna the Weaver with Akiri, Line-Slinger in your command zone, but not Adriana, Captain of the Guard. Since you have two cards in your command zone, you’ll only have 98 cards in your library.

Partners With Specific Cards

Pir, Imaginative Rascal Toothy, Imaginary Friend

With all of that said, I'm skipping the commanders found in sets like Doctor Who, Battlebond and Commander 2020 that only allow you to partner with specific cards. For example: Pir, Imaginative Rascal and Toothy, Imaginary Friend can both be your commanders, but they can only partner with each other so it’s both of them or just the one. On this note, you could put a partner commander in the main deck, it might be a smart move even if feels sub-optimal.

#58. The Prismatic Piper

The Prismatic Piper

Play The Prismatic Piper if you need to. It is any color you need and nothing more. 

Are there any Internet fanatics that go Storm Crow on a 5-mana 3/3? I know it's early in the ranking – feel free to comment your best argument.

#57. Glacian, Powerstone Engineer

Glacian, Powerstone Engineer

Glacian, Powerstone Engineer is an expensive card drawer, but a good graveyard filler. You choose how much to send to your graveyard so there are definitely good tricks to be done here. I stumble too much with self-mill and end up hitting my good stuff, so if you're like me, spring for the good reanimation spells and go to town!

#56. Radiant, Serra Archangel

Radiant, Serra Archangel

A whopping seven for Radiant, Serra Archangel is a lot. In white alone there are plenty of ways to make this angel a good threat for commander damage. The protection ability turns any of your fliers into a sort of Mother of Runes, which is a great card. 

#55. Livio, Oathsworn Sentinel

Livio, Oathsworn Sentinel

Livio, Oathsworn Sentinel is a strange slow and expensive blink. I like that the first activated ability doesn't require tapping, and both abilities are instant speed. Good ETB effects are rampant in EDH so those activated abilities make this a good skill testing commander, because Livio is much more dangerous in the hands of an experienced player than in a newcomer.

#54. Alharu, Solemn Ritualist

Alharu, Solemn Ritualist

Alharu, Solemn Ritualist is definitely on the high costed side for what it gives you. The death trigger to give you spirits is cool, but limited since it only triggers on nontoken creatures. If only there were ways to help your tokens like battle cry on Signal Pest and Intangible Virtue.

#53. Siani, Eye of the Storm

Siani, Eye of the Storm

Siani, Eye of the Storm has a home with Eligeth, Crossroads Augur and powerful scrying. Look for effects that build your army of birds and keep your hand refined to only the best cards. Odd to see a blue commander so aggro-minded, but at the same time refreshing.

#52. Francisco, Fowl Marauder

Francisco, Fowl Marauder

Francisco, Fowl Marauder is printed to be with a pirate commander like Breeches, Brazen Plunderer, and exploring every turn is a very good thing. Look to fill out your pirate deck with landlubbin' landfall cards, which also do well with exploring.

#51. Ghost of Ramirez DePietro

Ghost of Ramirez DePietro

I love the evasive clause on this pirate, but it must be a wayward soul. Ghost of Ramirez DePietro is a tricky one to benefit from since your option is to give your opponent one of their cards back, or not. You do get an attacker that can trigger saboteur abilities with consistency. Leave it to blue to access cards like Curiosity to maintain card advantage.

#50. Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix

Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix

Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix wants card draw to give you more ramp, but in practice you often need the reverse, ramp first, then card draw. What keeps this from a better ranking is the high cost for the commander, and that there are better options in Simic to do similar ramp.

#49. Tana, the Bloodsower

Tana, the Bloodsower

Tana, the Bloodsower suffers from needing a lot of help to really be super dangerous. The traits are there with trample and potentially creating a bunch of tokens. If Tana, were in a leaked spoiler, I would guess it costs two less at . Let's go the other way, if we add one mana to Tana's cost, do we get a creature similar to Quartzwood Crasher? Some good tricks to consider are the bloodrush cards, which channel a creature in your hand into a pump spell, Ghor-Clan Rampager, and Rubblehulk are good examples, and cards like Balduvian Rage, Tyvar's Stand, and Downhill Charge.

#48. Numa, Joraga Chieftain

Numa, Joraga Chieftain

If you didn't catch on that elves do well in decks with other elves, here's an elf commander that spells it out for you, Numa, Joraga Chieftain turns your Sol Ring into a +1/+1 counter, and if you tap out, you take about half your mana and turn it into permanent pumps. While this is undoubtedly powerful, Llanowar Elves and elf mana dorks like it would really like to attack, but if they tap for mana, it becomes more like outlast, which is OK, but not very powerful the later it gets in an EDH game.

#47. Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor

Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor

Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor knows how to fill a graveyard.

If your deck would like Altar's Reap, Keskit can do a similar job every turn. Sacrificing three permanents is quite a cost though so make sure you look for some powerful cards with the text that says “whenever a creature dies” like Fecundity, Vein Ripper, and Lifeline.

#46. Silas Renn, Seeker Adept

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept

Deathtouch sometimes says your creature is unblockable, but not always, especially when your opponents know you'll be re-casting an artifact. Silas Renn, Seeker Adept is good as long as you can consistently get damage in.

#45. Slurrk, All-Ingesting

Slurrk, All-Ingesting

Slurrk, All-Ingesting fits in that odd deck that wants one tall creature and a wide board of tokens at the same time. If you've got the creature token generator, you're in great shape. Just make sure you are able to put at least one +1/+1 counter on each of your creatures and you're golden. Then, if that creature selflessly dies chump blocking, or you sacrifice it, you benefit from a permanent anthem to your other creatures.

To ensure you get those counters, look for folks like Renata, Called to the Hunt, Grumgully, the Generous, and Master Biomancer.

#44. Eligeth, Crossroads Augur

Eligeth, Crossroads Augur

Eligeth, Crossroads Augur is a card that gives me a big smile, because I've read many a card with scry tacked on, and I knew the bigger the scry number the better, but this helped me look at it with a fresh perspective and hope. 

Foresee becomes draw six. Urza Assembles the Titans becomes one of white's biggest chunks of card draw, then green has Nissa's Revelation. My favorite mentions go to the consistent scry cards: Sphinx of Foresight, Spellbook Vendor, and Prognostic Sphinx.

#43. Sengir, the Dark Baron

Sengir, the Dark Baron

Sengir, the Dark Baron does the vampire thing of preying on those that are killed, and it is good to get two counters, though on a 6-cost creature is simply harder to use. Havengul Vampire did this for less back in 2012, and it was good, so maybe there is enough creature sacrificing late in the game to make it work.

To be honest on the second triggered ability, it is so rare for that last bit of lifegain to matter. This coming from one that loves Defiant Bloodlord, Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, and Sanguine Bond, so while it can make for a cool story, don't count on it.

#42. Alena, Kessig Trapper

Alena, Kessig Trapper

The first knock on Alena, Kessig Trapper is a high cost, especially with a primary ability that ramps you. The second knock is that Alena relies on either a steady flow of creature token generation, or a big turn with a flurry of cards for which some of your best cards are Ball Lightning, Bonecrusher Giant has more power than mana cost, and Cosmic Larva has a real drawback. Too bad Infinity Elemental is not legal in Commander.

#41. Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa

Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa

Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa puts flanking back on the battlefield. This rare ability is like a reverse bushido for any fools set up to block, it is for the diehard fans of combat trickery. It's easy to misread the second ability, which for my brain translates as “my small ground attackers can get in unblocked unless fliers swoop down to block.” One important note there is that the blocking restriction applies when other players attack your opponents. Sounds like a job for goad on cards like Predatory Impetus, Take the Bait, and Marisi, Breaker of the Coil.

#40. Nadier, Agent of the Duskenel

Nadier, Agent of the Duskenel

Nadier, Agent of the Duskenel is part of many powerful infinite combos, many include a way to use creatures to create mana, (Pitiless Plunderer, Ashnod's Altar), or repeatable flickering on Emiel the Blessed to use the tokens left behind by Nadier. Tricky, and certainly possible to break up, but this agent has high potential.

#39. Akiri, Line-Slinger

Akiri, Line-Slinger

First strike fans rejoice with Akiri, Line-Slinger who stacks with Cranial Plating. Some decks have fits when they're up against a vigilant, high-powered first striker.

When paired with Silas Renn, Seeker Adept you get consistent access to artifacts. Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist is another lay up of a partner leading to a deck with lots of artifacts and power-boosting equipment. Since you don't get many chances before opponents catch on to your strategy, Fiendlash is one of your better ways to deter removal. Consider it a win if you have a combat trick that helps Akiri survive and do the enrage damage back to the player.  

Other top card options may require a certain colored partner are, Loxodon Warhammer, Scepter of Celebration, Vorpal Sword, and Sunforger.

#38. Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer

Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer

Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer is much like Slurrk, All-Ingesting, but the Salvage Splicer can be played a bit earlier, golem typal payoffs could mean upside, and putting artifacts into the graveyard often happens far more than creatures going to the graveyard. The golem support is real from splicers: Master Splicer, Wing Splicer, and Darksteel Splicer.

#37. Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper

Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper

Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper is featured in a deck below, but before you scroll down there, you should know that gaining life equal to a creature's toughness is big game, even if it's a small reward for getting through to an opponent. This triggered ability stacks on top of lifelink, and to round off this wonderful interaction is the nice power-toughness ratio adding up to 10 on a 5-mana value commander.  

To complement Leyline Prowler and Cavalier of Night as good natural lifelinkers Ikra has access to, black has several others, but don't bother looking to add red or blue – white is your best bet and can add Mangara, the Diplomat, Radiant Solar, and Rhox Faithmender.

#36. Dargo, the Shipwrecker

Dargo, the Shipwrecker

I'm not sure Dargo, the Shipwrecker realizes how special seven power is in commander. Thankfully you do, and commander damage should be a real consideration as your win condition if you put the Shipwrecker in your command zone. Play your cards right and you only need three hits on one player to remove that player from the game.

Now for the cost reduction portion, say you have two Treasures, you sacrifice both as part of the additional cost and Dargo needs just more to be cast. If you cracked one Treasure to Shock an opponent, and sacrificed nothing additional to cast Dargo, the remaining cost would be .

Sorry, that's lots of text to say: it is easy for Dargo to cost as little as and to make it a great threat to your opponents.

#35. Halana, Kessig Ranger

Halana, Kessig Ranger

Halana, Kessig Ranger might have a bow and arrow in its art, but you usually hear of the one-sided fight effect as a bite or punch. However you imagine it, the effect is strictly better than the fight mechanic because your creature receives no damage. So evaluate Halana as a commander that gives you access to removal.

Alena, Kessig Trapper is the intended partner and does care about creatures with high power, but I can't help but want to jam some dinosaurs with enrage and get some extra triggers on Ranging Raptors, Urban Daggertooth, and Silverclad Ferocidons.

#34. Kraum, Ludevic's Opus

Kraum, Ludevic's Opus

With Kraum, Ludevic's Opus‘s triggered ability, note that you draw your card before that second spell resolves, and that's regardless of whether the spell is countered. So it might feel mean, but you could draw into a counter, and Cancel that second spell. Archmage Emeritus is card advantage on your side and a great compliment to Kraum. Hypersonic Dragon is a fun way to encourage opponents to play on their turn.

Consider your partner's colors and how nice it is to have card draw payoffs like Diviner's Wand, Horizon Chimera, and Dream Trawler.

#33. Keleth, Sunmane Familiar

Keleth, Sunmane Familiar

Keleth, Sunmane Familiar has the Boros condition that requires it to attack, so embrace it and conserve the counters with Reyhan, Last of the Abzan, protect your attacking commander with Ollenbock Escort, and reward the attack with Lae'zel, Vlaakith's Champion.

#32. Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood

Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood

Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood simply reads ramp and card draw. These two aspects are key in any game, and Commander really rewards you for it. 

Green knows its big creatures well, but don't be afraid to branch out for something like Scour from Existence, Magma Opus, and Into the Story.

#31. Rebbec, Architect of Ascension

Rebbec, Architect of Ascension

Rebbec, Architect of Ascension is an artificer that loves to build decks. Building with Rebbec is like you get a companion payoff and are not penalized if you don't follow the rule completely. 

Commander players the world over enjoy artifacts that cost 0, 1, and so on at every mana cost. If you have to prioritize, many single target removal spells have a mana value of 1, 2, or 3 so estimate the removal in your playgroup and skew your mana curve toward that value.

#30. Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith

Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith

The landfall on Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith gives you rocks but not the kind that give you mana, they are more like a Blazing Torch which was pretty useful while Innistrad was in Standard. Toggo just gives them to you for every land drop, so you don't need to be a dedicated landfall deck, but slipping in some artifact or permanent sacrifice payoffs is a really good idea.

#29. Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar

Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar

Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar is a meowing two-for-one thanks to the mean combination of menace and deathtouch. This cat makes it a nightmare to block a commander, so many opponents just take the damage. Punish them for doing so with Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar, Tana, the Bloodsower, and Breeches, Brazen Plunderer.

#28. Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker

Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker

Simple yet powerful. Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker gets better the more opponents you play with. Protect it, pump it, and power this bird monk through opposing reachers or flying blockers. Commander 2016 has some popular leaders and Ishai is up there.

#27. Reyhan, Last of the Abzan

Reyhan, Last of the Abzan

Reyhan, Last of the Abzan is a commander-conscious version of modular and an excellent way to keep power on the battlefield. Hydras are great, especially Heroes' Bane, and there is Endless One and Banquet Guests. Best of all, you can pull out all the stops and optimize many counter doublers in the +1/+1 counter strategies.

#26. Miara, Thorn of the Glade

Miara, Thorn of the Glade

Miara, Thorn of the Glade needs elves to turn into card advantage, and when it does, is very effective. Nadier, Agent of the Duskenel is the most practical partner while Elderfang Ritualist, Deathknell Berserker, and Skemfar Avenger simply await combat, or a sacrifice outlet to do their thing. If you didn't collect Kaldheim maybe you have these two synergistic cards on hand: Pelt Collector and Viridian Emissary.

#25. Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist

Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist

Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist liked the goad mechanic before it came to be. Ludevic encourages your opponents to battle amongst themselves. Definitely a nice compliment to pingers and cards like Collapsing Borders or Sulfuric Vortex.

#24. Vial Smasher the Fierce

Vial Smasher the Fierce

Vial Smasher the Fierce does some fun things at a Commander table, and the problem is that it makes you a big target, and you can't direct your response. Go for the chaos win and own it. Slam some big black instants and watch the world burn, Dictate of the Twin Gods, City on Fire, and Kaervek the Merciless really make it hurt.

#23. Brinelin, the Moon Kraken

Brinelin, the Moon Kraken

Brinelin, the Moon Kraken fights alongside the biggest of threats and you might not always get to target your opponent's Blightsteel Colossus or creature stolen with Grafted Identity. You can set yourself up for recycling Kapsho Kitefins, Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep, and Torrential Gearhulk.

#22. Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, aside from the Magic 2011 titans is one of the early creatures to have an effect upon both ETB and attacking, and what an aggressive effect it is. Yes Bruse is two mana away from True Conviction, but giving the two keywords to one attacker is often plenty, especially if you have payoffs for every instance of lifegain.

#21. Esior, Wardwing Familiar

Esior, Wardwing Familiar

Esior, Wardwing Familiar is mana-positive right away and has a sizable impact even if it or one of your other partner commanders are never targeted. Of the ways to protect your commanders, ward is a fair and good one.

#20. Ravos, Soultender

Ravos, Soultender

For five mana, I would love to be play Mirari's Wake, and hey, we're only a green partner away with Ravos, Soultender. A repeating Raise Dead creates a lot of value for creatures that want to ETB, die, or leave the graveyard like with Tormod, the Desecrator. The Glorious Anthem, on Ravos grants you another whole round of value from persist creatures like Kitchen Finks, Kithkin Spellduster, and Heartmender.

#19. Anara, Wolvid Familiar

Anara, Wolvid Familiar

Anara, Wolvid Familiar keeps you four paws up when you need to board wipe or want to attack safely. Sometimes you just need a bit of extra protection and Anara does a fine impression of Aegis Angel from the command zone. You get a really good collection of keyword abilities with Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar or Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh, pump them up and go for commander damage.

#18. Armix, Filigree Thrasher

Armix, Filigree Thrasher

Armix, Filigree Thrasher is a machine for pulling the trap door on indestructible creatures. If they thought they had a good blocker, enjoy some simple math and capitalize on madness cards, Cranial Plating and Phyrexian Triniform.

#17. Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful

Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful

Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful might have been an even better flavor win if it added loyalty counters to planeswalkers. As it stands you should erect a statue of Yoshimaru on your side of the field while +1/+1 counter strategies pump it up to be a super strong creature. Just make sure you visit Hachikō at Shibuya Crossing in Japan to see this art minus the throne.

#16. Breeches, Brazen Plunderer

Breeches, Brazen Plunderer

Breeches, Brazen Plunderer might be the most fun way to play cards, off the top of your opponent's library. Plunk this legendary goblin pirate down with some treasure and you're practically guaranteed to have a good time.

#15. Tymna the Weaver

Tymna the Weaver

Tymna the Weaver might be one of the most famous partner commanders, and that could be due to playing in the popular lifegain space as well as any base deck that wants to draw extra cards. Don't forget about paying life for effects like Font of Agonies. Let's come back to the text: “postcombat main phase” isn't this main phase where you want to play many of your spells anyway?

#14. Akroma, Vision of Ixidor

Akroma, Vision of Ixidor

Akroma, Vision of Ixidor gives body to what is often a complex flavor from the likes of Vampire Nighthawk, Aerial Responder, and Angelic Skirmisher. That last keyword feels like a pretty clear call out to Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh, but let's keep that secret to those who read into the middle of this ranking.

#13. Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator offers handsome rewards for pirates that do your bidding. Having evasion of its own doesn't hurt, and if you don't mind a partner that wants to hit the same saboteur effect, go for Francisco, Fowl Marauder. It's not a crazy inventive strategy with infinite or broken combos, but if you focus on the goal of bringing your opponent's life to 0, what's that the captain says? “Now, bring me that horizon.”

#12. Jeska, Thrice Reborn

Jeska, Thrice Reborn

Jeska, Thrice Reborn can do incredible things with Dargo, the Shipwrecker, and certainly other voltron commanders. Jeska deserves an important plug for trample, as only the damage done to the opponent gets tripled, and the real kicker is if you can bring in an ability doubler to make the math exponential. If you can target a creature twice with the 0 loyalty ability courtesy of Rings of Brighthearth you could hit for nine times the combat damage.

#11. Tormod, the Desecrator

Tormod, the Desecrator

The two primary ways cards leave the graveyard are exile and reanimation, though Gravedigger would say otherwise. Tormod, the Desecrator is rather elegant for not stepping on the toes of most other zombie combos and strategies like Cemetery Reaper, most of which want to send creatures to the graveyard with sacrifice effects. There's also extra value delving into other colors, and in flexible collect evidence spells like Urgent Necropsy.

#10. Kamahl, Heart of Krosa

Kamahl, Heart of Krosa

You don't need to go mono green to maximize Kamahl, Heart of Krosa. It's activated ability is great for giving you those extra attackers you need to finish off an opponent.

Partner Kamahl with a color that'll bring you tokens or consistent creatures like white, and by the time you can pay it should feel like an Overrun every turn.

#9. Krark, the Thumbless

Krark, the Thumbless

I've been burned before by coin flipping in Pokémon, but you got to love not requiring any extra cost to flip the coin, and as long as you benefit from casting the spell, you won't be countering yourself half the time. Look to put Academy Wall, Guttersnipe, and Case of the Ransacked Lab on the battlefield with Krark, the Thumbless.

#8. Thrasios, Triton Hero

Thrasios, Triton Hero

Thrasios, Triton Hero is simply one of the best Commanders ever, not as the 2-drop 1/3, but as an incredible mana sink that does not require tapping, or colored mana. Extra untapped mana on an opponent's turn? Want landfall triggers or care about scrying? This wizard merfolk commander does so much, comes down early, and has been relevant on Commander tables from its debut.

The ability is always useful, name a time you wouldn't want to put an extra land down, scry, or draw a card. Seriously, if you think of a time outside of decking yourself, leave us a comment. 

#7. Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh

Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh

Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh makes me want a mom who is a partner commander, but in any event, it works surprisingly well in a few types of build, often specializing with great equipment or taking advantage of zero-cost artifacts.

When you want some fast attacks, Bone Saw, Bonesplitter, and Taste for Mayhem come to mind.

#6. Prava of the Steel Legion

Prava of the Steel Legion

Prava of the Steel Legion provides a conditionally massive boost in toughness to your tokens, rivaled by Daru Warchief

With the correct colored partner to add + or + you gain access to effects that let you assign damage based on toughness, you can turn Prava into a permanent that provides your tokens +4/+4. It brings a lot more weight to cards like Timely Reinforcements, Nomads' Assembly, and Captain of the Watch.

#5. Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools

Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools

Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools is such a good sacrifice outlet, yes the planeswalker commander‘s +1 ability is once per turn, otherwise, it is a Skullclamp that can also create tokens. Tevesh is a smooth engine with Ravos, Soultender and any cheap creatures, and an incredible tool for aristocrat commander decks. 

#4. Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist

Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist

Bypass that whole equip cost-meant to balance cards like Colossal Hammer or Demonmail Hauberk. Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist also says you can eliminate the best blocker with Pacifism, and you can save sweet auras like Staggering Insight that are attached to a creature you need to sacrifice. Surprising amount of uses right?

#3. Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar

Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar

Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar loves a little combat, and partnered with some of the Voltrony partner commanders is a huge help to the strategy since one of the drawbacks is usually being able to attack only one player. Now you get to choose the player that has the least means to block you and still spread around the damage. Kediss will have a political impact story to make an ally or be prepared to fight on multiple fronts.

#2. Sakashima of a Thousand Faces

Sakashima of a Thousand Faces

Sakashima of a Thousand Faces lets you pick from the best creatures in blue and in your partner's color(s) and double them up. Your cost starts at a reasonable , take Myojin of Cryptic Dreams for example, you save a bunch of mana and you turn your board into a Xerox machine. 

#1. Kodama of the East Tree

Kodama of the East Tree

Cheating cards into play significantly increases the power of tutors and card draw, and if you have the mana to cast Kodama of the East Tree, you'll be putting down two cards on a turn you should have been able to afford only one. The floor on Kodama is being able to put an additional land into play, so I think you're going to get lots of value out of this card.

The Best Partner Commander Combinations

“Best” is subjective and depends on the game and who you’re playing against. That being said, I’ve compiled my own list of what I feel to be the best based on ability and card synergies. Let’s do this.

#11. Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor + Armix, Filigree Thrasher

I’m honestly surprised that no one seems to know about the one-two punch that is Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor and Armix, Filigree Thrasher. The mono-black artifacts theme has been eclipsed by the Necron cards from the Universes Beyond: Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks, but these two are the original evil artifacts build.

Start out with Armix after dropping cheap protection in the form of Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots or (my favorite) Welding Jar. Suddenly, you have the run of the board from turn three onward with one of the best removal effects in the game: Armix gets around indestructible and there’s no reason you won’t have six or more artifacts on the field or in the grave at any time. Once you’ve run out of artifacts to discard, drop Keskit and refill your hand while pitching more cards into your graveyard to keep Armix’s -X/-X ability strong. With such a tight lock on the board state, you’re just one Massacre Wurm or Blightsteel Colossus away from victory.

#10. Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful + Reyhan, Last of the Abzan

Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful pairs well with just about any other partner since you’ll be building around having consistent access to legendary permanents. Reyhan, Last of the Abzan makes an incredible +1/+1 counter commander as a partner for Yoshimaru and the colors it gives Yoshi access to. Notably Doubling Season and Corpsejack Menace, while black gives you access to a wide range of sacrifice effects; it’s always useful to keep a Village Rites up your sleeve, or a Viscera Seer on the field.

Besides being able to run Kethis, the Hidden Hand, a number of other Abzan legends use +1/+1 counters to really double-down on Reyhan’s ability. Ghave, Guru of Spores, Anafenza, the Foremost and Daghatar the Adamant are all auto-includes in this partner deck.

#9. Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh + Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar

Wizards made aggro viable in a multiplayer format like EDH with the mono-red combo or Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh and Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar. Most Rograkh/Kediss decks work in roughly the same way: play Rograkh on turn 1, buff it up on turn 2 with a Dragon's Mantle-adjacent effect, drop Kediss on turn 3, and then dump all your mana into buffing Rograkh’s attacks. Keep wailing on that one unlucky player without any blockers and still burn the entire table at once!

#8. Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder + Tana, the Bloodsower

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder Tana, the Bloodsower

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder’s ability makes Tana, the Bloodsower a self-replicating army. If Tana swings in for full damage, you get four 1/1 Saprolings and four life right away. The more you pump it the better it gets. With cards that use saprolings as resources and quite a bit of pump and beaters available in Naya colors, these two won’t take long to finish out a game.

If Naya isn't your thing, on check the Jund commanders list or try Tana with Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools.

#7. Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa + Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper

Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper

The combination of Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa and Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper on the battlefield with a field of weenies or low-power non-defender walls with Doran, the Siege Tower on board means that, not only will everything be practically unblockable, but you’ll be getting a ton of life each time they swing through. This allows you to use life willy-nilly on things like Aetherflux Reservoir and Necropotence. White and green have lots of things to help with that and black has lots of things to use it on.

#6. Vial Smasher the Fierce + Kraum, Ludevic's Opus

Vial Smasher the Fierce Kraum, Ludevic's Opus

I know. These look weird together. Vial Smasher the Fierce seems like it would work better with Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist (and I honestly thought about pairing those two together at first), but hear me out. The whole point of this pairing is a bit of color identity trickery since it doesn’t really sit well in Grixis: hand hate. Kraum, Ludevic's Opus’s ability puts pressure on your opponents in two different ways: play more spells each round since the more they hold onto them to play later the more cards you get, OR: hold off on playing more than one spell a turn to keep from giving you any card advantage. While you have a restriction like this, you get the added benefit of some free damage courtesy of Vial Smasher. Throw in some additional hand-hate like Mindslicer and Sire of Insanity plus some additional free damage like Guttersnipe and you probably won’t be the most liked at your table.

#5. Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator + Breeches, Brazen Plunderer

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator Breeches, Brazen Plunderer

Who doesn’t love a good ol’ tribal theme? Partner commanders support a couple, but none so powerful or fun as this duo. As with many tribal decks, it comes down to synergies between the shared types and turning your cards sideways. A lot.

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator and Breeches, Brazen Plunderer are really no different, but this one is perfect for all you pirate-loving people out there. The visits to the plane of Ixalan gave us a lot of modern pirate options and subsequent set releases have added plenty more swash-buckling, one-eyed, hat-wearing goodies to the seas they roam and villages they plunder. Malcolm and Breeches meet in the middle to give you both the plunder and the Treasure. Take the treasures from Breeches to fule Malcolm.

To make sure you connect with your crew, put in things like Disrupt Decorum and Geode Rager. You can combine this with menace and even bring in the previously mentioned Break Through the Line to ensure your rum-guzzling team connects.

With plenty of pirates to choose from, many of which are both fun and really good, this theme should be able to form a fun deck to both pilot and play against. Am I the only one who’s got the Pirates of the Caribbean tune stuck in my head now?

#4. Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist + Rebbec, Architect of Ascension

Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist Rebbec, Architect of Ascension

Mono white is the perfect color to get going with equipment cards. Yes, Boros is the classic version, but it’s an upside you can’t get away from with Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist and Rebbec, Architect of Ascension working so nicely together. Protection is powerful and protection from everything is just plain ridiculous, pun intended.

You want to build this deck with a strong equipment theme and multiple equipments at each CMC slot to ensure they all have protection from everything. Combine this with white’s ability to search equipments from your deck with cards like Stoneforge Mystic and Steelshaper Apprentice to find the pieces you’re missing. Include a classic Death and Taxes theme to make things difficult for your opponents, and you should be able to get the most out of Ardenn and Rebbec very quickly.

#3. Tymna the Weaver + Jeska, Thrice Born

You want to make sure you do one of two things when it comes to partner commanders: stack them on one another or make sure they complement each other. Stacking is true with these two deadly legends. I’m a big fan when black and white combine lifelink with paying life, because it balances out so nicely and fits Tymna the Weaver and Jeska, Thrice Reborn‘s color pairing perfectly.

Tymna does this wonderfully. You want to make sure you can use its ability as securely as possible to help it along. And what better way than to have a partner in the command zone who can do so anytime you have the mana? They say third time’s the charm. Enter Jeska.

You can either build a pillow fort-type deck with enchantments that hold off your opponents and ones that give you life when creatures die, or you can stuff your deck full of lifelink creatures and swing away. The extort ability works with either route. It really brings home the ping-and-prick flavor that both Jeska and Tymna have taken to heart.

#2. Kodama of the East Tree + Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith

Kodama of the East Tree Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith

This combination is bound to give your friends at the table a headache because it goes infinite. Quickly. If your friends are a little like mine, they’ll have more than one EDH deck. It might be a good idea to talk beforehand and decide that everyone brings out their proverbial guns for that particular game. Enter Kodama of the East Tree and Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith.

To combo off, you’ll need just one other card. Gruul Turf, easily findable with one of green’s many land search spells. Now the fun begins. With both Kodama and Toggo out, put Turf into play and all three will trigger. Stack the triggers so Turf goes off first, then Toggo, and last Kodama. Turf bounces itself, Toggo makes a Rock equipment. This triggers Kodama again, put Turf back into play. Rinse and repeat.

The result is an endless supply of Rock equipment artifacts. What to do with all these landfall triggers and endless supply of artifact equipments? Oh, I don’t know, Krark-Clan Ironworks perhaps? That way you can equip and use the rest of your infinite Rock for good measure. All credit goes to The Professor for this combo:

#1. Sakashima of a Thousand Faces + Vial Smasher the Fierce

Sakashima of a Thousand Faces Vial Smasher the Fierce

Now these two are just busted. The fact that Sakashima of a Thousand Faces nullifies the “legend rule,” means you can copy Vial Smasher the Fierce a bunch. Throw in all the clone cards and a couple of copy-worthy targets (Clever Impersonator copying Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, anyone?) with some artifacts to get to your big spells faster and you’ve got a beast of a deck.

Imagine copying the Smasher four or five times and then dropping Ugin. Possibly one opponent dead and a selective board wipe, plus you keep your artifact mana and lands to power your stuff out again quickly. Sign me up!

Do You Pay Commander Tax Separately for Each Partner?

Yes, the commander tax is applied separately to partner commanders. If you have Silas Renn, Seeker Adept in the command zone and Slurrk, All-Ingesting has already been sent back to the command zone once, Silas Renn would not cost more to cast, while Slurrk would.

Can Partner Commanders Combine Their Combat Damage?

No, commander damage is tracked separately per commander.

Is Friends Forever the Same Thing as Partner?

In Secret Lair x Stranger Things, we got a mechanic called “friends forever”. Friends forever and partner are exactly the same thing, only they aren't compatible with one another. In other words, you can't have Eleven, the Mage and Tymna the Weaver as your two commanders. Here are all the cards with friends forever:

Is Background the Same Thing as Partner?

No, background is a different mechanic that was introduced in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate that allows for an enchantment card to influence your deck's color identity. Both partner and background employ multiple cards to influence your deck, but they're not the same mechanic.

Gallery and List of Partner Commanders

Decklist: Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa + Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper

Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper (Commander 2016) | Illustration by Josu Hernaiz

Commanders (2)

Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper
Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa

Creatures (32)

Archangel of Thune
Auriok Champion
Avacyn's Pilgrim
Blood Artist
Cliffhaven Vampire
Courser of Kruphix
Crested Sunmare
Crypt Ghast
Defiant Bloodlord
Epicure of Blood
Essence Warden
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
Knight of Autumn
Krav, the Unredeemed
Regna, the Redeemer
Resplendent Angel
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Selvala, Explorer Returned
Serra Ascendant
Soul Warden
Soul's Attendant
Speaker of the Heavens
Sunscorch Regent
Suture Priest
Tendershoot Dryad
Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
Twilight Prophet
Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose
Vizkopa Guildmage
Wood Elves

Planeswalker (1)

Ajani, Strength of the Pride

Instants (3)

Anguished Unmaking
Assassin's Trophy
Dire Tactics

Sorceries (9)

Kodama's Reach
Merciless Eviction
Nature's Lore
Night's Whisper
Rampant Growth
Search for Tomorrow
Toxic Deluge

Artifacts (4)

Aetherflux Reservoir
Bolas's Citadel
Pristine Talisman
Well of Lost Dreams

Enchantments (13)

Angelic Accord
Authority of the Consuls
Blind Obedience
Boon Reflection
Dark Tutelage
Dawn of Hope
Griffin Aerie
Guardian Project
Phyrexian Arena
Privileged Position
Sanctum of Stone Fangs
Sanguine Bond

Lands (36)

Bountiful Promenade
Concealed Courtyard
Exotic Orchard
Forest x5
Ghost Quarter
Godless Shrine
High Market
Indatha Triome
Isolated Chapel
Krosan Verge
Llanowar Wastes
Overgrown Tomb
Path of Ancestry
Plains x6
Silent Clearing
Sungrass Prairie
Swamp x5
Temple Garden
Temple of Malady
Temple of Plenty
Temple of Silence
Temple of the False God
Twilight Mire

The abilities on Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper start us off with gaining chunks of life, then you use black's life draining abilities to turn that into big problems for you opponent's life. Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa lets you get attacks in while token generators fill your board of small tokens that will pelt away at opponents.

The extra life can be put towards game enders like Aetherflux Reservoir and Bolas's Citadel, and trigger powerful effects like on Griffin Aerie, Crested Sunmare, and Resplendent Angel. These partners are a resilient pair that can withstand more than one opponent, and pivot from life draining to wide alpha strikes as needed.

Wrap Up

Tymna the Weaver - Illustration by Winona Nelson

Tymna the Weaver | Illustration by Winona Nelson

Commander is by far one of the most fun formats in the game right now, period. The possibilities for decks are endless and with several dozen partners, 30,000+ cards in the MTG library, you can create a deck that no one else has ever done before. The amount of partner cards has greatly expanded and make a staggering number of thousands of different possible partner combinations. Plenty to explore, so start pairing them up and give it a shot!

I hope our talk today was informative and you found some use in it. If you enjoy articles like this, keep an eye on our blog for more. If you also play on MTG Arena and looking for help in draft, give Arena Tutor a try. If you want to share any other interesting partner combinations and deck lists, I welcome them in our Discord or in the comments below!

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  • Avatar
    Diego October 29, 2020 7:31 am

    Can you have a Creature/PW partner combination?

    • Avatar
      Dan Troha October 29, 2020 9:34 am

      Technically I don’t think there’s any reason why not. In practicality — as far as I’m aware — the only planeswalkers with partner have a specific requirement that their partner be a certain card, which is always a planeswalker. So in reality, this isn’t possible. Unless there is a card you’re thinking of that I’m not?

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