The Win Condition

A lot of players I’ve met who have been playing commander for under 6 months tell me they struggle winning their games or even getting their deck working the way they want. I’ve noticed the issue time and time again, when I get a weird look from them when I ask them, “What is your win condition?”.

Commander is a fun format, but to get better, you have to figure out how you want to win. This is when you have to plan out the way your going to win.

  • What is your deck’s goal?
  • What is it trying to achieve?

In Commander, decks can have multiple ways to win, but you should focus on your main one first and worry about including others later as you see fit.

Combo Wins

Some decks focus on powerful combos involving 2 or more cards interacting in a certain way, usually winning them the game. Your whole deck can be built around forming this combo as fast as possible and even adding ways to protect it.

An example of one of these combos includes Thassa’s Oracle and Demonic Consultation.

When Thassa’s Oracle enters the battlefield, the player holds priority, then casts Demonic Consultation, naming a card not in their deck. This then exiles every card left in their deck at instant speed. After that spell has resolved, the Oracle’s enter the battlefield trigger resolves, causes that player to win the game.

Abusing Your Strategy

Focusing your deck to do one thing and one thing well can be used to your advantage. One of my favourite commanders, Edric, Spymaster of Trest gives you the ability to draw a lot of cards by allowing each one of your creatures that hits one of your opponents to draw a card.

So I want to draw as many cards for as little mana as possible, so each mana I spend on a creature should be as little as possible. To maximise on this idea, I have a number of unblockable and flying creatures and, with Edric, draw a card for each one that can land a direct hit.

To multiply the draw power, I added extra turn spells into the deck. This allows me to reset my turns, attack again, filling up the board with more evasive creatures. I can effectively have 5+ turns with 30+ creatures out, and that’s more than enough to kill my opponents. So I turned my strategy of drawing cards for as little mana as possible into a win condition.

Overpowering the Enemy

Sheer power is another way to win a game. A favourite commander among a lot of players is the sheer power of Kaalia of the Vast. She is meant to be played aggressively, hindering your opponent’s by destroying their resources and cheating out massive threats.

Unlike other commanders, if Kaalia is not playing as aggressive as possible, she usually will fall behind her opponents. Her main focus should big heavy hitting angels, dragons, and demons with powerful effects that overwhelm your opponents, taking out the most threatening player first.

Wrapping Up

There are many ways to win a game of Commander. The ways we have discussed are just the common strategies players implement to help define their deck’s strategy and come up with their win conditions.

If you are having trouble winning, try giving one of these strategies ago, even try throwing your own spin on it.

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