You Don’t Need Power to be Powerful

Power. It’s one thing that commander players both want and fear. There are specific cards that the commander community believe are extremely powerful and there is nothing better.

Unfortunately, a lot of these cards are usually expensive. This is the main problem that commander players find when trying to obtain these cards for their deck. Because of this, they may think their deck is not powerful enough.

The truth is these cards may increase a deck’s power, but a majority of the time it’s only by a small percentage. Real power comes from strategy, critical thinking and skill.


Strategy is a strong tool in your arsenal. The power-defining cards people look towards are usually great by themselves, which is why they are so sought after. If you look to cards that interact with your strategy, you may find they are more powerful.

As an example, take a look at the commander: Balia de’Arnise. A commonly sort after and powerful card most players would like to add to this deck would be Demonic Tutor. However, there is a card that works even better with the strategy the commander provides, Coveted Prize

Coveted Prize becomes cheaper for each creature type you have in your party, possibly becoming 1-drop spell. It also allows the player to cast a spell for free from their hand if they have a full party. When built around a sound party strategy, this spell runs circles around Demonic Tutor.

Remember coming up with a strategy is more powerful than any one card.

Critical Thinking

Sometimes players think their deck needs a powerful card. The truth is that’s not always the case. Depending on how you build and play your deck, sometimes a card is useless. Let’s take a look at Fierce Guardianship.

A very powerful and sort after card with the ability to counter non-creatures spells for free if you have your commander on the battlefield. However a lot players add it to decks that a majority of the time will even be able to use it’s free costing ability. Let’s have a look at a couple of commanders.

Inalla, Archmage Ritualist is quite a powerful commander, but based on the way her eminence ability works, most players will never bring her out of the commander zone. This means Fierce Guardianship is just a 3-mana counterspell for non-creature spells, and there are other cards that do the same effect but cost less in both mana and money.

Breya, Etherium Shaper is a great artifact commander. At first it looks like Fierce Guardianship is great for this commander, but it depends on the strategy. Some players will want Breya out on the field as a control piece, but others choose to create infinite mana and cast, sacrifice, and re-cast Breya to win the game. With the later strategy, Fierce Guardianship is quite useless as the commander never stays on the field for long.

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom is known as a very powerful commander, usually seen as commander that must be removed as the deck relies on her staying out on the field. This is where Fierce Guardianship is very useful and most games it will be cast for free protecting her. This justifies it’s use in Najeela’s strategy.

Let’s take a look at another card: Force of Will. It’s a strong counterspell that can be cast for free if you pay 1 life and exile a blue card, very useful for countering spells when your out of mana.

If we take a look at Inalla again, Force of Will can easily fit in as free counterspell since we play blue so we’re bound to have more than 1 blue spell in hand. The same goes for Breya as there are a lot artifact synergies in blue..

The one that makes Force of Will a mediocre card is actually Najeela. Most of the time Force of Will would be a 5 mana counterspell because Najeela is an aggressive 5-colour combat deck, so there is little chance of having a 2nd blue spell in hand.


Experience with a deck is just as important as power. There is a saying:

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

The same goes for Magic the Gathering. The more you’ve practiced with a deck, the more powerful you will become with it. The same goes for practicing with specific cards. The more you use them, the better you can utilize them.

We can even apply these to budget cards. If we know how to best use and abuse a card, we can push it into the correct situation to make it powerful. A card you know the ins-and-outs of is more powerful than a card you have just started playing it.

Commander is a format where even an intro deck can come out on top, given enough practice.

Final Thoughts

A lot of players seek out powerful cards to make their commander decks more powerful, although that is not always what is best. Commander, because of the chaotic and multiplayer aspect, is a format where even an intro deck can come out on top.

Before you invest into an expensive card, you should look to see if there are better cards for your strategy or do some critical thinking on the card to see if it will benefit your strategy. As long as you practice with your cards, you will usually find yourself getting better at the game more than what an expensive card would.

Just remember, sometimes the best way to obtain power isn’t from an expensive card.

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