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MTG: The Maw Descends – Top ‘Warhammer 40K’ Tyranid Commanders

3 Minute Read
May 6 2024

The worlds of MTG are lousy with monsters, but what can they do against a horror from beyond the stars like the Tyranids?

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

The Warhammer 40k universe has many horrors beyond comprehension. Daemons from the warp are a constant threat to human life, while alien species invade planets to subjugate, destroy, or commit other atrocities. However, few threats are as terrifying as the Tyranids. An insectile race from beyond the stars, they have no agenda, they cannot be reasoned with, and they have only one goal: consume.

Like the Xenomorph from Alien lore, they are endlessly adaptable and very deadly. But this is Magic, right? We should be safe. Well, thanks to Universes Beyond, even the mighty Planeswalkers must contend with this deadly threat. If you want a Hydra-style game plan with the alien horrors of your nightmares, then I have three incredible Commanders to introduce to you.

Magus Lucea Kane

We met Magus Kane before in our Hydra Top Five, but the Tyranids are her true home. Several of the Tyranid beasties have an X in their mana cost, and almost all of them care about +1/+1 counters. As such, Magus Kane powers up just about everything they want to do.

I’ll be the first to admit, however, that four mana for a 1/1 is fairly steep, even for a free counter every turn. However, Magus Kane makes up for her high cost by adding mana AND doubling up on spells and permanents. If you can crack off a Finale of Devastation with her on the field, you’ll have an obscene army fully ready to devour the stars. She’s the Magus of a powerful sleeping cult for a reason.

The Swarmlord

Fans of Warhammer 40k will immediately recognize the biggest, baddest Tyranid around. The Swarmlord lives up to his reputation in MTG, hitting the battlefield with a nasty effect. The more times he dies, the stronger he gets, so he’s well worth his escalating mana. Best of all, in a deck that feeds off +1/+1 counters, he’ll provide you with card advantage whenever your opponent offs one of your creatures. Show your opponent how scary evolution can be with this four-armed force of nature.

Animar, Soul of Elements

While not a Tyranid itself, Animar is still a monster in a Tyranid deck. Tyranids are all about creatures, and Animar gets bigger the more creatures you cast. Best of all, it subsequently makes all your creatures cheaper the bigger it gets, giving you free mana to pour into X costs. Watch as your humble Tyranids become planet-breaking monsters in just a few turns.

What do you think of these Commanders?

What is 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, 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.

Author: Clint Lienau
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