Atraxa, Praetors' Voice | Illustration by Kev Walker
What a game Magic’s become. We used to smash Craw Wurms into Shivan Dragons, and now we’ve got anthropomorphic elephant planeswalkers sparking up do our dirty work for us. Calm down, you know I love you Quintorius.
Today’s list will test your loyalty. Er… your friends’ loyalties. Er… your superfriend loyalties? Planeswalkers, we’re talking about planeswalkers. Who’s worthy to lead the multiverse’s most powerful beings (plus Lukka)? Let’s find out!
What Are Superfriends Commanders in MTG?
The Chain Veil | Illustration Volkan Baga
“Superfriends” is slang for a planeswalker strategy. Planeswalkers creep into many decks, but a superfriends deck features them as the main theme.
A “superfriends commander” is a legendary creature (or sometimes planeswalker) that interacts favorably with planeswalkers. This includes legends that specifically call out planeswalkers in their rules text as well as cards that can manipulate counters or interact with activated abilities (loyalty abilities are activated abilities).
Quick note: Superfriends decks tend to be either very obnoxious or incredibly fragile. It’s much harder to defend a planeswalker against three opponents at once, and they’re often incentivized to kill ‘walkers since they provide consistent advantage from turn to turn. That means to keep your planeswalkers around, you’ll often have to play a control strategy with tons or removal, countermagic, and board wipes. You can tailor your deck differently of course, just know that there’s a bit of a stigma against superfriends decks.
#15. Mila, Crafty Companion / Lukka, Wayward Bonder
Mila, Crafty Companion says some mumbo jumbo about planeswalkers, but it’s a trite form of planeswalker protection. That card draw ability’s a nice touch though.
Mila’s actually a crafty way to get a planeswalker in your command zone, due to MDFC rules. Unfortunately, that planeswalker is Lukka, Wayward Bonder, which isn’t really a superfriends commander. Aside from being, you know, a planeswalker.
#14. The Peregrine Dynamo
In addition to being the canceled title of the next Mission Impossible film, The Peregrine Dynamo is a fun way to copy loyalty abilities. Most modern-day planeswalkers have passive triggered abilities you can copy too. You’re locked into colorless planeswalkers with Dynamo as the commander, but I hear those Ugin cards tend to do quite well.
#13. Roalesk, Apex Hybrid
I didn’t include every proliferating legend, but I’ve actually seen Roalesk, Apex Hybrid hold its own in a superfriends build. It’s a burly blocker that opponents have to deal with, and it dumps a bunch of extra counters on your ‘walkers if your opponents do kill Roalesk.
#12. Djeru, With Eyes Open
Djeru must have a hard time sleeping.
What Djeru, With Eyes Open lacks in stats, it makes up for by being a Call the Gatewatch stapled to a body. A mono-white planeswalker deck full of Elspeths, Gideons, and Wanderers sounds fun though. Show Teyo some love while you’re at it.
#11. Brago, King Eternal
Brago, King Eternal’s popularity stems from being an open-ended blink commander. It’s mostly used to blink creatures and artifacts, but blinking planeswalkers is a neat trick, too. They’re probably not reaching ultimates this way, but who needs ultimates when you get double loyalty activations every turn?
#10. Lae’zel, Vlaakith’s Champion
Lae'zel, Vlaakith's Champion lets all your ‘walkers start off with an additional loyalty, and they get an extra counter on any plus ability.
Unlike Djeru, whose eyes definitely aren’t closed, “Choose a Background” means you’re not locked into mono-white. You can customize your second color, though few backgrounds specifically synergize with planeswalkers.
#9. Pir, Imaginative Rascal (and Toothy?)
Pir, Imaginative Rascal’s a little worse than Lae’zel, but Toothy, Imaginary Friend is better than most backgrounds. You could totally run Pir solo and hoof it with mono-green, but that means no sweet Simic () planeswalkers like Kasmina, Enigma Sage and Oko, Thief of Crowns.
What’s that? We don’t talk about Oko? Alright then, forget you heard anything.
#8. Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus
Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus says proliferate on it. Then it says it again. Double proliferates get you to ultimates fast. Problem being, Tekuthal needs the help of other cards before it does anything. Enter every planeswalker’s best friend, Thrummingbird.
The blue Dominus plays defense well, and it can even convert spare loyalty counters into an indestructible counter for itself.
#7. Commodore Guff
Commodore Guff headlined Magic’s first superfriends precon, Planeswalker Party from the Commander Masters lineup. Guff does all the things you want from a superfriends commander, it just doesn’t do anything exceptionally well. It creates a fragile token, the passive is marginal, and there’s no ultimate to work up to.
The -3 highlights Guff’s major issue: It’s only great when you control a ton of planeswalkers, which usually means you’re already in a winning position. It’s still fun though, and about as dedicated as a true superfriends commander can get.
#6. Leori, Sparktouched Hunter
Yeah, that’s the thing from Heartless Act. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
As Planeswalker Party’s backup commander, Leori, Sparktouched Hunter wants you to focus on a single named planeswalker. You don’t have to limit yourself to 19 versions of Chandra (not an exaggeration), but the more you lean into a single character, the better Leori gets. Just don’t build around different versions of The Wanderer; they don’t have a planeswalker type.
#5. Teferi, Temporal Archmage
Teferi, Temporal Archmage skates by as a superfriends commander because the -10 lets you activate loyalty abilities at instant speed. In actuality, Teferi’s mostly used to untap mana rocks for a huge advantage each turn. It easily goes infinite with The Chain Veil, but that does incentivize you to have another ‘walker or two floating around.
#4. Esika, God of the Tree / The Prismatic Bridge
Legends like Sisay, Weatherlight Captain and Jodah, the Unifier are mostly just 5-color soup commanders that could play planeswalkers, but they thrive off creatures. The Prismatic Bridge gets a pass because it complements a planeswalker strategy quite well. It can put a planeswalker into play for free each turn, which lets you keep up mana for interaction. The Bridge paints a huge target on your back, so don’t expect things to go too smoothly. I’m evaluating Esika, God of the Tree as if it doesn’t exist.
#3. Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
What if you could put Doubling Season in your command zone and call it a day? With Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, you can! Vorinclex even doubles your loyalty counters on a plus ability, which Doubling Season doesn’t do. It’s also a big mean 6/6 hasty trampler that halves all your opponents’ counter production. Mono-green it is!
#2. Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice
Whenever someone reveals Atraxa, Praetors' Voice as their commander, someone inevitably asks: “Is this infect?” They say no, which always prompts the follow-up: “Is it superfriends?” The Atraxa player diverts their gaze as they shuffle up, drop a planeswalker on turn 2 and 3, then use Atraxa to proliferate them into oblivion.
You wouldn’t think this Phyrexian nightmare would get along with all these different planeswalkers, but it turns out all the Teferis and Ajanis and Jaces of the multiverse are good chums with anything that defends them well and gives them access to easy loyalty counters.
#1. Carth the Lion
While Atraxa’s certainly better in a vacuum, Carth the Lion is the better thematic superfriends commander by a longshot. Hell, it uses the loyalty ability symbol in the text.
Carth makes all walker minus abilities cheaper to activate while boosting plus abilities. Your 0 abilities add loyalty. How cool is that? Carth even lets ‘walkers like Garruk, Cursed Huntsman and Nissa, Vital Force ultimate right away. Even better, you get to dig for a planeswalker on ETB and every planeswalker that dies digs pretty deep for another one.
Best Superfriends Payoffs
Planeswalkers have over 15 years of direct synergy pieces, and there are less explicit payoffs which just so happen to work with the card type. There’s tons to talk about, so let’s do some quick hitters.
Luxior, Giada's Gift turns a planeswalker into a creature, which means it can’t be attacked, but can still activate loyalty abilities. Gatewatch Beacon is a mana rock tailored specifically to planeswalkers.
Forge of Heroes starts a planeswalker commander out with extra loyalty. Great for the Magic Origins flip-walkers, and it works wonders in Oathbreaker, where any ‘walker can be your commander. Jaya's Phoenix is an easily recurrable threat that doubles up a planeswalker activation.
The Elderspell can pop opposing planeswalkers, or it can cannibalize your own to feed another, leading to an easy ultimate. Ichormoon Gauntlet gives all your ‘walkers extra abilities and provides a mini-proliferate effect.
The “Oath” enchantments usually have one or two planeswalker-centric abilities. Oath of Teferi is the standout.
The list goes on, though planeswalker support might slow down now that we’re receiving only one new planeswalker per set.
There are indirect payoffs for superfriends decks, too. Proliferate is an obvious one, letting you build up loyalty counters faster.
All planeswalkers are legendary, so most “legends matter” cards work with them, and they also “turn on” legendary instants and sorceries like Yawgmoth's Vile Offering. Honor-Worn Shaku is a personal favorite, letting you tap your planeswalkers for mana without interfering with how they work.
Loathe as I am to admit it, extra turns also work amazingly with planeswalkers, since every extra turn guarantees another activation of your planeswalkers.
Gatewatch Beacon | Illustration by Deruchenko Alexander
Was this enough to ignite your spark? Some people claim planeswalkers ruined the game, others think they’re one of the driving forces that carried the game through the 2010’s and beyond. Whatever your opinion, they’re here to stay (though maybe in smaller quantities moving forward).
There are several other commanders that could’ve made this list, but I wanted to focus on legends that synergize with a field full of planeswalkers rather than generic value pile legends. Still, if you think I missed a crucial superfriends commander or you’ve got a fun one you’d like to champion, let me know in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.
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