Memory Jar: 40k Commander Decks

Given the flurry of new product releases we thought it would be useful to do a follow-up to each set with a list of the top cards that would seem to have an impact on the format. This week’s Memory Jar is taking us back to the release of the crossover Universes Beyond: Warhammer 40,000 decks to talk about cards that will become staples, or combo pieces, or have a lot of value in niche decks with an eye toward Commander.



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Magus Lucea Kane

Kane is a strong Temur Commander – the ability to automatically copy X spells is really good, hydra tribal, X-spell tribal, big mana decks. You can create some truly absurd amounts of mana if you use Kane to double the untap effect of Magus of the Candelabra or gain mad card advantage through draw X spells. Potentially you could also stack up copies by untapping Kane with things like Freed from the Real. Fun.


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Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph

This is another solid Commander, plays really well with Curiosity effects but also can go nuts with things like Pyrohemia or Tims (Prodigal Sorcerer).


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Shadow in the Warp

This is a really solid group slug effect.


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This is a really solid Red Green X spell, the potential to replace itself and fight something, and exile it, is just all around good value.


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Atalan Jackal

Just extremely solid ramp, especially on a 2/2 with trample and haste.


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Acolyte Hybrid

The trigger is on this attacking, rather than dealing combat damage, which means if you need to sacrifice it you can throw it away to destroy a critical target. You can also play table politics, attacking player A and destroying an artifact of Player B. You can also use it to destroy your own artifacts for card draw (say Treasures, Clues, or Food).


The Ruinous Powers


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Keeper of Secrets

Casting your Commander from the Command Zone is not your hand, as well as all the ways to exile and cast or exile and cast later, or cast from graveyard, so while 6 mana is a lot, this is a potential win condition.


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Pink Horror

This is pretty solid, it’s expensive but you can cheat it out, and it rewards you for dying, so sneaking it onto the field to create its tokens then reanimating it and sacrificing again could be a whole thing. Damage based cast triggers mean if you can set up a spellslinger scenario it can go fairly crazy.


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Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch

Solid cast trigger combined with spell recursion for Izzet spellslingers.


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Potentially a combo enabler, if you can keep exiling then you can keep returning, and then you can keep sacrificing it, or else just a win condition.


Necron Dynasties


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Imotekh the Stormlord

Phaeron as a trigger is pretty strong. There’s plenty of recursion loops with artifacts, Unearth, and other ways to get them out of your yard, so this can be a mono-black combo Commander or a big piece enabler.


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Making every creature an artifact has potentially huge upsides. There’s lots and lots of cards that trigger off artifacts, Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain for example will then draw a card off each creature. But recursion and tutors are the real value here, as well as dumb stuff like Darksteel Forge. There’s just quite a bit you can do with creatures being artifacts.


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Out of the Tombs

This is powerful self mill, and there’s always a way to use it to take infinite turns with Magosi, the Waterveil, though it’s a lot of steps. I also really like that it can be used to mill yourself out and then return say a Thassa’s Oracle to play to win the game.


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Returning “up to” X mana value of anything from the yard to the battlefield is always potentially powerful because of the number of cards with 0 casting cost. So Technomancer can be an enabler for some kind of pile that wins you the game, there are 4 artifact creatures with 0 casting cost, 4 Kobolds that cost 0, and that weird land, and now plenty of ways to make creatures also artifacts.


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Trazyn the Infinite

There’s ways to get powerful artifacts into your graveyard, unfortunately most of them aren’t in black or don’t synergize well with black, but milling and dumping stuff to your grave is always in fashion, and for example, you could generate infinite mana via Staff of Domination and any artifact that taps for 2 or more.


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Seems intended to be part of a loop to end the game, but also just really strong in attrition type decks.


Forces of the Imperium


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Marneus Calgar

So this trigger alone is pretty nuts with things like Smothering Tithe and Smuggler’s Share, not to mention his own ability to make tokens, just a solid, but pricy Esper commander. But for a stax control deck he seems quite good. Also just generally good. Really pretty good.


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And They Shall Know No Fear

Conditional indestructible is pretty solid, good see this for things like Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, also general tribal support is nice.


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Commissar Severina Raine

Really solid Orzhov aristocrats Commander, because were lacking enough of those. Built in sacrifice on top of her triggered attack ability though is really good.


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Awesome name and the effect is so devastating that I can see playing it even though it’s so expensive, because of course you have to give your permanents indestructible just to rub salt into the wound.


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Sanguinary Priest

Usually this effect is linked to opponent life loss, and to have it be damage which can be dealt to creatures (or even planeswalkers) is really something. It’s also a Cleric, which is a pretty useful type.


Sicarian Infiltrator

So flexible, Flash, Squad, and drawing cards per squad. I think this will show up a lot.


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Sister Hospitaller

Reanimation that gains you life is unusual, and there are loops that involve haste you could do with this, and just flat out reanimating it to grab something else can get a chain going.


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The Flesh Is Weak

This is a neato card. I like how it can be double edged, but it also turns things into artifacts, it just, in general, does a lot. Really solid for a weird kind of toughness stax deck.


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Ultramarines Honour Guard

Cool for stackable anthems.


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Vexilus Praetor

This is a strong card potentially, flashing out to protect a Commander. It has unintended consequences written all over since it’s pro everything. It does make your Commanders completely unblockable, which is huge potential upside for some Commanders.


If there are cards from Warhammer 40,000 that you think should be added to the list, that you’ll be putting in lots of decks, please leave a comment below.

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