MTG: Counter Magic – Top 5 Witch-Maw Commanders
Without Red mana, you have to turn to some interesting tactics. Poison, for example.
Welcome Planeswalkers and Praetors to our ongoing series about the best casual experience in Magic: Commander. For the uninitiated, Commander is a semi-casual format for Magic: the Gathering. You use a deck of 100 cards led by a legendary creature, aka, your Commander.
Aside from basic lands, you are only allowed one copy of each card in the deck. Moreover, you can only include cards in your Commander’s “color identity” or artifacts. Each color and color combo has a unique playstyle and a wealth of mighty generals to lead your deck to victory. EDHRec.com is an excellent source for Commander info and can give you ideas to build your next Commander deck or tune an existing one.
My favorite four-color combo, Witch-Maw, is the poster combination of Phyrexia. While it’s true New Phyrexia was TECHNICALLY all five colors, Urabrask was always his own thing, and the other four were a bit more united. This combo of colors primarily rotates around card advantage and creature buffs, so don’t expect a lot of indirect damage. However, it also makes good use of one of the deadliest secret weapons Magic has: Poison.
Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice
The Queen of Counters, Atraxa was one of the first box Commanders back in the day, and she still sits at the top of the charts. Not only does she have a nasty suite of keywords, but she also proliferates for free at the end of your turn. Whether that means your Planeswalkers get better, your creatures get bigger, or that tiny cut you gave your opponent starts to fester, this is amazing. Most Atraxa decks focus on the Poison mechanic, but that’s far from all she can do. She has sat in the Top 10 since her creation and continues earning it at every turn.
Atraxa, Grand Unifier
Atraxa came back with a vengeance in All Will Be One, and while she is physically stronger and has a nasty secondary effect, I think she loses a little from her previous incarnation. However, I think that makes her a better face Commander for Witch-Maw since you won’t give away the trick as quickly as her predecessor. Are you playing Infect, Phyrexian typal, or card advantage? That’s for you to know and your opponent to find out. If you can blink her, you can curate your hand however you’d like.
Thrasios, Triton Hero & Tymna the Weaver
The top tier Commander team, Thrasios and Tymna were my first introduction to cEDH, and for a good reason. Giving Thrasios access to White and Black gives you some of the strongest enablers in the game and can let you dig through your entire deck in no time. If you need your wincon, you can find it.
Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker & Reyhan, Last of the Abzan
This is counter power at its purest form. Ishai can pump itself up whenever your opponent casts a spell, and Reyhan can make sure those counters stick around. Throw in just a few more counter doublers, and you’ll have a massive face-stomper army in no time.
Elmar, Ulvenwald Informant & Hargilde, Kindly Runechanter
Instead of counters, this combo focuses on drawing cards, getting mana, and then drawing more cards. Life is a wonderful resource, and using Tymna’s effect to draw up your cards before throwing out some mana with Kydele is a fun ability. From there, you can cast an X spell, play a big beater, or activate a new ability.
What do you think of these commanders?