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MTG: A Scratching in the Walls – Top Five Rat Commanders

4 Minute Read
Apr 4 2024

With teeth that can chew through steel and a mastery of the dark places, you’ll want to make sure this chittering horde is with you, not against you.

Welcome Planeswalkers and Praetors to our ongoing series about the best casual experience in Magic: Commander.

Rats are often reviled as dirty, plague-ridden creatures that devour all in their path. While that might be a bit unfair in the real world, the MTG Rats fit the bill fairly well. They are almost always found in a horde, and all their best leaders want to unleash more and more of them. If you want to take out your opponent by drowning them in a sea of razor-sharp teeth, these Commanders are for you.

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, 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. is an excellent source for Commander info and can give you ideas on how to build your next Commander deck or tune an existing one.

Karumonix, the Rat King

Starting off the bidding, we have an undead Phyrexian Rat practically dripping with oil. This Cerbe-Rat is a powerful Commander as a 3/3 with Toxic 1 that hands out Toxic 1 to all your other Rats. Since Rats always multiply, your opponent will be hard-pressed to stop all their assaults, and even if they survive the damage, they might not survive the poison. Of course, any wise Rat Commander knows not to leave their army to chance.

When Karumonix enters the battlefield, he calls out the rest of his verminous legions. You get to look at the top five cards of your library, putting any Rats into your hand and the rest on the bottom. Since your deck should be loaded up with these little critters, you’ll have more fighters for Karumonix’s army.


The OG Rat Commander, Marrow-Gnawer is the greatest Nezumi of all time. While he’s a bit expensive for a 2/3 with fear, he does dish out the same buff to all your other Rats. However, no one plays Marrow-Gnawer for fear. His real power is his ability to draw out Rats from every corner of the realm.

You can tap Marrow-Gnawer and sacrifice one of your Rats to double the number of Rats in play. While that’s already amazing, if you have any abilities that allow you to untap when something dies, you can create an unlimited army of Rats. Add in something like Syr Konrad or Blood Artist, and you’ll be draining your opponents whenever your army grows.

Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm

While Ashcoat won’t add to your army the way her predecessors do, she does make all of your Rats much, MUCH nastier. Whenever she attacks or blocks, all your other Rats gain power and toughness equal to the number of Rats you control. In addition, you can burn your deck a little to get some Rats out of your graveyard. Thankfully, it’s a may effect, so you won’t drain your deck if it gets too low.


Totentaz, Swarm Piper

The piper of Haemlin in MTG form, Totentanz, is an interesting Rakdos option for Rat decks. He gives you a non-blocking Rat whenever one of your nontoken creatures dies, and he can give Rats deathtouch. He makes your tiny warriors into big threats for just two mana.

Lord Skitter, Sewer King

Lord Skitter passively adds to your Rat army and chews through your opponent’s graveyard. If you’re playing against a recursion deck, Skitter can shut it down quickly.

What do you think of these Commanders?

Author: Clint Lienau
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