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Magic: the Gathering Rule-Breaking Commanders

MtG Commanders that Break the Rules

Who needs rules anyway?

Most Magic: the Gathering commanders lend themselves to certain playstyles. Whether they help bring out big creatures, buff up your tokens, or let you poke at your enemies’ health pools, commanders are always there to help you win your matches. But what happens when those commanders bend – or sometimes break – conventional Magic rules? Let’s take a look!

The Beamtown Bullies

Beamtown Bullies extended art card

Starting off simple, The Beamtown Bullies allow you to use all those bad creatures piling up with no use. Cards like Leveler, Inverter of Truth, and Ebonblade Reaper aren’t likely to find use in other types of decks. They’re terrible for whoever uses them. Luckily, The Beamtown Bullies specialize in forcing your opponents use those terrible cards.

The Beamtown Bullies are a decent creature already – a 4-drop with vigilance, haste, and decent power and toughness is nothing to scoff at. But the real strength comes from their tap ability; you give your opponent a creature from your graveyard and force them to attack with it.

Some cards work exceptionally well with this ability. Leveler, for instance, exiles the player’s entire library at once. Inverter of Truth replaces the player’s library with their graveyard. Ebonblade Reaper halves your health. These offer a small taste of what you can do to your opponents, and none of them are over.

On top of all this, it’s important to look at the average deck-building cost for this commander. Since most of the creatures a Beamtown Bully deck uses are nearly useless in most other situations, the cards tend to be cheaper than what you’d find looking for another commander.

Grist, the Hunger Tide

Grist, the Hunger Tide appears to be a normal insect-based planeswalker at first glance. More perceptive players will notice Grist lacks the line all other potential planeswalker commander cards have: “[Name] can be your commander.” How does Grist, the Hunger Tide bypass this requirement? According to its first ability, it’s a legendary creature when it isn’t on the battlefield – and this includes your command zone!

Being a 1/1 insect outside of the battlefield sounds interesting, but doesn’t seem to have much use outside of bypassing the rules for having a planeswalker commander at face value. However, looking deeper, this feature also makes Grist, the Hunger Tide immune to many cards that could otherwise destroy a commander.

Negate, for example, is a cheap blue counterspell that can’t target creatures. As Grist, the Hunger Tide is being cast, it remains a creature until it has already entered the battle field. Grist is immune to Negate!

This tiny detail also opens up options for bringing Grist, the Hunger Tide back from the graveyard = a feature extremely common in Black decks. Through this, you can keep your commander tax low and your commander on the battlefield – if you want to risk putting your commander in the graveyard.

Grist, the Hunger Tide planeswalker card

Obeka, Brute Chronologist

Obeka, Brute Chronologist

Obeka, Brute Chronologist is one of the most complicated commanders someone can use. She only has one deceptively simple ability: ending the turn at any time. While she can’t be used to skip your opponents’ turns, she makes her controller nearly invincible during their turn.

Obeka, Brute Chronologist’s ability acts as a reusable, split-second Time Stop. Cards that say “at the beginning of the end step” can be ignored – Obeka can cancel the end step and exile all the effects that would activate. This includes creatures that are exiled at the end of the turn, allowing you to create infinite tokens using Mimic Vat or Rite of the Raging Storm. As long as you skip their exile once, you never have to worry about it again.

If no tokens are being created yet, Obeka can still be used to exile spells your opponents cast on your turn. Before their spell leaves the stack, simply tap Obeka and end your turn early. Their spell or ability never activates, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Obeka is also an easy commander to build. Maestro’s Massacre, a cheap pre-constructed commander deck, is a great fit for Obeka. Simply replace the commander for easy access to Mimic Vat, Rite of the Raging Storm, and so many other cards that synergize with Obeka, Brute Chronologist. 

Jodah, Archmage Eternal

Jodah, Archmage Eternal is a tried-and-true “WUBRG” commander. Changing the cost of any spell to one mana of each color can drastically decrease the cost of some of the most powerful spells available in Magic. While Jodah’s ability does not work for spells with “X” in their mana cost, numerous other spells can be made much more viable by this commander.

Omniscience is one such spell. Under normal circumstances, Omniscience costs a converted total of 10 mana. This spell is typically used to play numerous expensive cards in your hand or start a powerful combo that can win the game. Jodah, Archmage Eternal can halve the number of turns needed to get enough mana to cast this game-changing enchantment. And this is just one of many powerful spells found in most Jodah, Archmage Eternal commander decks.

As a “WUBRG” commander, Jodah gives you access to almost every card and combo in the game. Spells requiring three, four, or even five different types of mana often suffer from their mana requirements. If you want to cast Ruinous Ultimatum or Genesis Ultimatum, you may struggle to get the right combination of mana. This commander lets you bypass all that stress.

Jodah, Archmage Eternal

These commanders are great ways to confuse your opponents and work around the rules the game confines you to. From being able to force your opponents to use your bad creatures to changing the cost of a spell, these cards bend and break the conventional rules that your opponents are stuck with. Try them out, but make sure to keep the rules page open when you do!

About the Author
A resident of southwestern Michigan and casual game hobbyist, they've been engulfed in the fantasy landscape since childhood. While currently delving into the worlds of D&D, MTG, and other social games, they strive to explore and create stories of their own.

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