The Commander Format

First time deck construction

Making your own deck to play makes enjoying Commander that much more fun!

Worldwide, Commander is one of the most popular formats that Magic: The Gathering players enjoy. One of the most interesting ways to enjoy this format is by creating your very own deck!

Find a favorite card, tribe, theme, or deck idea, and customize it to your liking! If this seems difficult at all, no need to worry, we'll help you! Follow these steps to begin your journey with Commander!

What is Commander?

Commander (Also casually known as EDH) is a multiplayer format where you build and play your deck with one "Commander" card and 99 other cards. As it's a Multiplayer format, bargaining, politics, and negotiation with your opposing players is key to success! Often played with 4 players, these things are what bring the exciting, party-game atmosphere to the format!

For those of you new to the Commander format, there are some great products to get started! We recommend checking out our [Commanders!] set or Commander preconstructed decks.

Jumping right into a game is the best way to start learning! If it's a format that interests you further, try building your own deck!

Deck Building Rules

These are the rules for building your Commander deck

  1. Commander decks are made up of 100 cards. 1 "Commander" Card, and 99 other cards.
  2. The "Commander" of your deck is a single card that is typically a Legendary Creature
  3. Cards that are Legendary creatures, or cards that have the rule "This card can be your Commander" are the only cards allowed to be your deck's commander

  4. No Duplicate cards allowed! (except Basic Lands)
  5. You may only have up to one card with the same name!

  6. Cards in your deck may only have colors that share a color with your Commander's "Color Identity"
  7. The Color Identity of a Commander card is any colored mana symbols in the cost OR the text of the card.

    For example, in this card (Alesha, Smiles at Death), their mana cost is Red, but the text contains Black and White mana symbols for their ability, so their Color Identity is White, Black, Red

    Like many formats in Magic, Commander has a Ban list that specifies which cards should be avoided when playing and building your deck. You can find the list by clicking here.

Tips for Deckbuilding

Here are some useful tips on building your deck. While none of these are hard-and-fast rules, they are great guidelines to help you get started or improve a deck in-progress!

  1. Decide the type of Deck you'd like to build
  2. "What do I want my deck to do?" is the most important question to ask yourself. If you have decided on a specific card you want to use, pay attention to its ability and look for a cards that might synergize with it.

    One popular way is to decide on who your "Commander" will be. If you have a hard time making a choice, check our recommended Cards and Theme page here.

  3. 33-40 Lands are recommended!
  4. The ratio of lands to spells is very imporant in a deck! Be sure not to cut too many lands when building! It can happen easily if you're finding lots of fun cards you want to use!

  5. Having Creatures or Artifacts that can accellerate your mana make casting spells much smoother in the early game
  6. Usually half the deck should be some form of mana (both accelleration and lands!)

    Popular Cards are Birds of Paradise and Sol Ring

  7. Card advantage is very powerful in Commander!
  8. Card Advantage is the process of gaining more resources than opponents by using your spells, primarily by drawing cards. Some good examples are cards like Rhystic Study and Phyrexian Arena

  9. If you include cards that search your library, you can ramp up your power level!
  10. Because your library is so large, finding specific cards might take time. Having effects that search your library can turn your deck into a toolbox to handle any situation.

  11. Commander is very budget friendly! Making changes that fit your desired power-level and budget is totally possible, and you can upgrade small parts over time!
  12. If you feel like you don't want to add a card because it's too expensive, try finding a card with a similar effect!

    For Example: If you want to use Birds of Paradise, why not try Llanowar Elves in it's place?

    The cards are a little different, but it will help keep your budget and power-level where you want it.

The guidelines for deck-power are available to view online here and can be a great resource to make sure games can be a little more fair.

If you ever get lost building a deck, or can't seem to understand the power levels of your deck or others', it's usually best to ask someone who's more experienced with Commander!

Of course, the TokyoMTG staff are always happy to help out with deckbuilding or answer any questions you might have!


Choosing your 100 cards and building a deck can be a bit daunting at first...

But the deck you've built you can always call your own!

We hope you have a ton of fun playing Commander with your new deck!

Recommended Cards

Here you can find some great recommendations for cards that are flexible and can play in many different decks. It's a great starting point!

We're always adding to this lineup so you have the best options for adding to, or starting, a deck!

We've also curated a selection of popular Magic deck Themes! You can find great cards that fit themes to build a deck that really suits your interests. It's a great starting-point for building a new deck!