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MTG: Crawling Sensation – Top Five Insect Commanders

4 Minute Read
Apr 8 2024

They outnumber you a million to you, and that’s just ants. If you want to survive, you’ll definitely want these MTG creepy crawlies on your side.

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

Even more so than Rats, a lot of people have a negative opinion of Insects. Whether it’s their multitude of limbs, the fact that they ALWAYS find your face when they’re flying around, or some other reason, Insects are a big ick for folks. Some people love them, of course, but that’s the way of all things. In MTG, Insects act much the same way they do in the real world: they multiply fast and can gain strength from the death of others. These five Commanders take all that and dial it right past 11.

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.

Grist, the Hunger Tide

A Planeswalker? He’s not an Insect! Well…technically, he’s LOTS of Insects. Grist is the consummate Golgari Commander with all the graveyard shenanigans, and he’s a lot easier to manipulate, thanks to his passive. While he IS a Planeswalker on the battlefield, while he’s in your deck, your graveyard, or your command zone, he’s a creature. That makes him much easier to reanimate, or count as a creature in the graveyard.

Grist’s ‘walker abilities are pretty incredible if you don’t mind filling your graveyard. His primary gives you an Insect token in exchange for milling a card. If you turn over an Insect, Grist gets an extra counter, and you repeat the process. For the price of two counters, you can turn one of your creatures into a missile, sacrificing it to take down an enemy creature or Planeswalker. Then, once you’ve filled up your graveyard, you pop Grist’s ult and devour your opponents’ life totals. Once you’ve done that, pop a Living Death or Patriarch’s Bidding and finish the job with your insect army.

Zask, Skittering Swarmlord

Another graveyard Commander, Zask is an incredible recursion piece. He’s a 5/5 for five, which is already great, but he also allows you to play lands and Insects from your graveyard. In Golgari, you’ll be losing a lot of cards, so the ability to pull them out of the graveyard is amazing. Then, whenever an Insect dies, it goes to the bottom of your library, and you mill two cards, potentially giving you more fodder for your casts. Best of all, for two mana, you can give one of your Insects a small boost and deathtouch, turning into a deadly blocker. Even better, that means the Insect will most definitely die, triggering Zask’s second ability. It’s a fun cycle.

Vrestin, Menoptra Leader

The queen of giant insects, Vrestin brings her own army with her that just keeps getting bigger. When she enters the battlefield, she gets a bunch of counters and makes that many flying Insects. Then, whenever an Insect attacks, it gets a +1/+1 counter. Watch your brood grow out of control with this Alien menace.

Xira, the Golden Sting

A surprisingly nasty Insect, Xira turns your opponent’s creatures (and your own) into incubators. She can attack the turn she shows up, and when she does, you get to put an egg counter on another creature. When said creature dies, you get a card AND an Insect. In Jund, you can just throw that egg on something you plan to sac yourself, getting nothing but value.


Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest

Insects do love death, and Mazirek is the king. Whenever another permanent is sacrificed anywhere on the board, all your creatures get bigger. Not much else needs to be said; just blow up your own stuff.

What do you think of these Commanders?

Author: Clint Lienau
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