Sunday, 10 Dec 2023

Top Ten Token Commanders in Magic: The Gathering

For Magic: The Gathering players seeking to create massive armies over the course of a game, the use of tokens is often a no-brainer. Effectively hypothetical placeholder cards that are created by effects of spells and abilities, tokens can be created in mass quantities and overwhelm players with through the quantity of creatures present rather than their quality.

Token decks are rather popular within the diverse Commander format. However, there are numerous options of commanders that players can pick from when constructing a token deck. Today we’re going to delve into the best of the best when it comes to token based commanders!

10 Thromok The Insatiable

While the vast majority of token commanders seek to overwhelm opponents with an immense army of small creatures, Thromok the Insatiable seeks to retool these tokens, literally feeding them to Thromok itself.

Possessing the devour ability, as Thromok enters the battlefield, any amount of creatures can be sacrificed. X +1/+1 counters are then put on Thromok for each sacrificed creature where X is the amount of creatures sacrificed this way. This means that if five tokens are sacrificed, Thromok will enter the battlefield as a 25/25, and if ten are sacrificed, Thromok will appear as a whopping 100/100. Thromok pairs amazingly with tokens as a great deal can be accumulated quickly, allowing for a Thromok player to cash in their creatures to create a catastrophic threat.

9 Emmara, Soul Of The Accord

An interesting option for a green and white Selesnya token commander, Emmara, Soul of the Accord creates a 1/1 token with lifelink every time that she becomes tapped. The wording of this ability is important, as she is not required to attack to create these tokens, only that she’d become tapped.

This allows for artifacts such as vehicles to be utilized in intriguing ways, creating armies of tokens as a byproduct. When paired with cards that can untap creatures, Emmara is capable of creating Rube Goldberg machines of token generation.

8 Rhys The Redeemed

Costing only a single mana, Rhys the Redeemed is a reliable token-based commander who can consistently be cast on the first turn of every game. This consistent access to one’s commander often makes games an up hill battle for a Rhys player’s opponents.

For three mana, Rhys is capable of producing a 1/1 elf token, meaning that even under the circumstances that his controller’s hand has run out of means to grow their army, Rhys always can ensure that the number of tokens is increasing.

Later in games, Rhys can serve as a win condition for the deck, allowing his controller to pay six mana to create a copy of each token they control. This can turn moderately sized armies into an overwhelming offense in a matter of seconds.

7 God-Eternal Oketra

One of the few token-based commanders who seeks to create tokens that are both powerful as well as many, God-Eternal Oketra creates a 4/4 zombie token with vigilance every time its controller casts a creature spell. This is an incredibly easy ability to trigger, as all players need to do to activate it is continue to cast creatures. Unfortunately, being mono-white increases the chances that an Oketra deck will run out of cards to cast. Luckily, there is an easy and consistent means to avoid such a fate.

Within white, there are numerous cards such as “Whitemane Lion” that require a card to be returned to the battlefield once they enter play. When using these cards, the cast card itself can be targeted as the creature to be returned to its owner’s hand. This means a card such as the two-mana “Whitemane Lion” can be repeatedly cast and bounced to it’s owner’s hand, netting a 4/4 zombie token with viglance each time the spell is cast.

6 The Locust God

Like Oketra, The Locust God is a commander who can accrue large amounts of tokens over the course of a game as a byproduct of casting spells one would already want to be playing.

Specifically, The Locust God creates a 1/1 insect token with flying and haste each time that they draw a card. This means that by simply casting cards like “Windfall,” numerous fast and evasive tokens can be created that can immediately attack opponents. This ability is absolutely terrifying when paired with the equipment, “Skullclamp,” which effectively allows insects to be sacrificed in order to draw two cards, in turn creating two more insects and mitigating any and all loss.

5 Darien, King Of Kjeldor

A strong mono-white option for a token commander, Darien King of Kjeldor converts all damage sustained by Darien’s controller into 1/1 soldier tokens. This allows for an interesting dynamic to be established, as players will be disincentivized to attack a Darien player, as doing so will cause them to create massive amounts of tokens.

When paired with cards like “Soul Warden” that gain its controller life whenever a creature enters the battlefield, Darien can mitigate all damage that would be dealt to its controller through the power of tokens.

4 Krenko, Mob Boss

While technically a goblin-tribal commander, few cards are capable of creating as many tokens as Krenko, Mob Boss.

Tapping to create an amount of 1/1 goblin tokens equal to the amount of goblins controlled by Krenko’s owner, essentially doubles the size of its owner’s army each turn. When left out of check, this can get out of hand incredibly quickly, as Krenko creates an unparalleled horde of goblin tokens.

3 Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

An especially unique Commander, Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer is one of the few cards in Magic that can interact with tokens in such an uncommon way. While there are numerous cards that are capable of buffing and copying tokens, Brudiclad is capable of targeting one particular token, and turning all tokens its owner controls into copies of that token.

This allows for goblins to be given flying by turning them into flying tokens such as thopters or drakes, or larger tokens like octopi. Brudiclad synergizes in particularly strong fashion with cards that create token copies of any creature, as all tokens could then becomes  copies of the aforementioned token, all of its abilities included.

2 Purphoros, God Of The Forge

While every strategy in Commander comes alongside its own strengths and weaknesses, a common trait that can be abused in order to overcome a token deck is their reliance on combat, as tokens are often require to attack in order be useful.

Purphoros, God of the Forge circumvents this apparent weakness by causing all creatures entering the battlefield under its owner’s control to deal two damage to each opponent. In decks that are popping out countless tokens at an incredible rate, Purphoros is capable of dealing massive amounts of damage seemingly out of nowhere. For decks seeking to utilize their tokens to deal immediate damage as quickly as possible, Purphoros is likely the commander for you!

1 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice

One of the most iconic token-based commanders in the entire format, it’s hard to have a conversation about “whose the best commander for a token deck” without bringing up Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice.

A more “pillow fort” oriented variant of a strategy like one found in a Purphoros deck, instead of creatures deal damage to players when they enter the battlefield, Trostani provides its controller with an amount of life equal to that creature’s toughness. This ability on its own makes a Trostani player difficult to deal with, as their life total ascends beyond what is often considered “killable.”

Additionally, for three mana, Trostani can populate, creating a copy of any token controlled by its owner, meaning a Trostani deck well never run the risk of running out of creatures and means of gaining life.

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