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The Best Commanders For An Aggro Deck In MTG

Aggro is a powerful strategy in nearly every Magic: The Gathering format. Sets come and go, but the core principle of ‘play small creatures, attack every turn’ remains, a constant, necessary force to prevent every game from descending into Combo chaos or grinding on for turns on end.




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Despite this ubiquity, Aggro decks do tend to struggle somewhat in Commander. As the number of players and their combined health increases, the possibility of rushing them down in the game’s early turns grows more distant. That said, with the right commander at the helm, it’s still very much doable. Here are these commanders, all of whom have the capacity to end the game before your opponents are finished setting up their mana rocks.

Updated on November 29, 2023, by Nathan Ball: The high density of legendary creatures in new Magic sets ensures that contenders for this list arrive essentially every month. This update adds powerful aggressive commanders from the two latest Standard sets, Wilds of Eldraine and The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

18 Alesha, Who Smiles At Death

Breaking Gender Norms And Your Opponent’s Face

Image of the Alesha, Who Smiles at Death card in Magic: The Gathering, with art by Anastasia Ovchinnikova

Introduced in the acclaimed story ‘The Truth of Names’, Alesha is Magic’s first openly trans character. Appropriate, given how efficiently she can help your opponents transition from living to dead. As a 3/2 first strike for three, she’s a solid vanilla threat on her own, but it’s her ability that really shifts things into gear.

For just two mana, Alesha can resurrect a creature from your graveyard with power two or less when she attacks. The key thing to note here is that the ability is restricted based on power, not mana cost, meaning Alesha can cheat expensive creatures like Herald of Leshrac or Abyssal Horror into play for explosive early-game value. She may smile at death, but your opponents certainly won’t be smiling at you once she’s done with them.

17 Feather, The Redeemed

A Master Of Combat Trickery

Image of the Feather, the Redeemed card in Magic: The Gathering, with art by Wayne Reynolds

Combat tricks, or instants and sorceries that grant stat and ability boosts to your creatures for a single turn, are a staple element of Magic that rarely make it into Commander decks. This is because the format favors long-term value over short-term aggression. Feather, the Redeemed changes this, letting you have your cake and eat it too. Provided ‘cake’ is a combat trick, of course.

While Feather is on the battlefield, each instant or sorcery spell you cast on one of your creatures gets ‘stored’ in exile and returned to your hand at the end of your turn. This allows you to go all-in on a single combat step without burning through all your resources in one turn, a common pitfall for Aggro decks to fall into.

16 Yuriko, The Tiger’s Shadow

Big Damage With Little Creatures

MTG: Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow card

Any commander that can circumvent the commander tax mechanic, wherein your commander costs more to cast for each time you’ve cast it previously in a game, tends to court controversy for its sheer power level. Yuriko is a prime example of this, able to come down for just two mana if you get through with just one creature in combat.


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Once Yuriko is in play, things get really scary. Every Ninja that deals damage to a player from now on will trigger an inverse Dark Confidant trigger for you, letting you draw a card and deal damage equal to its cost to all of your opponents. This gets around the ‘multiple players’ issue that often hampers Aggro decks and can end games fast in a deck full of expensive cards.

15 Najeela, The Blade-Blossom

Warriors, Come Out To Play

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom card and artwork in Magic: The Gathering.

One of the most straightforward Aggro commanders ever printed, all you need to do to win with Najeela is attack with Warriors. That’s it. Each time you attack with a Warrior while Najeela is leading the charge, you’ll get an additional 1/1 Warrior token, also attacking.

From here, Najeela’s activated ability takes things even further. For five mana, you can untap all your attacking creatures and attack with them again. Since Najeela’s first ability doesn’t specify ‘nontoken,’ each Warrior token you generated during the first combat phase will generate another, leading to a huge army that can end games out of nowhere.

14 Lathril, Blade Of The Elves

A Win Condition For Fighting Forest Folk

MTG: Lathril, Blade of the Elves card

Despite their serene portrayals in many fantasy worlds, Elves are a surprisingly aggressive creature type in Magic. They favor go-wide strategies that overwhelm opponents with sudden boosts from Overrun-like effects, and Lathril is an ideal commander for such decks.

Not only can she generate Elves herself when dealing damage, but she can also tap ten Elves to deal ten damage to each of your opponents, an ability which neatly circumvents the need to deal with multiple players and gives you a four-turn win if your opponents can’t deal with Lathril in that time.

13 Winota, Joiner Of Forces

Mix Things Up For Huge Value Swings

MTG: Winota, Joiner of Forces card

It’s rare that a legendary creature will perform well in both constructed formats and Commander, but Winota is a prime example of one that does. Banished from Pioneer for her obnoxious power level, her legacy of mana cheating lives on in Magic’s premiere multiplayer format.

Winota lets you cheat a Human into play every time a non-Human attacks, potentially letting you bring out several Humans for free each attack cycle. With the right build, she can quickly build up an overwhelming force that will send your opponent’s life totals tumbling.

12 Edgar Markov

A True Leader, In Play And Out

Image of the Edgar Markov card in Magic: The Gathering, with art by Volkan Baǵa

Six mana looks like a lot for an aggressive commander, but the beauty of Edgar Markov is that you don’t need to cast him at all to use his best ability. He has a passive effect that gives you a 1/1 Vampire token each time you play a Vampire, and thanks to eminence, it works while he’s sitting in the command zone and on the battlefield.


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This lets you double up on Vampires early, creating a mighty swarm that can easily take out an opponent or two given the number of lord effects and mass buffs the creature type has access to. And if your opponents are still alive when you get to six mana, you can drop Edgar himself and give your horde a final, decisive boost to close things out.

11 Jetmir, Nexus Of Revels

Bring The Pain, And Bring The Party

MTG: Jetmir, Nexus of Revels card

A very simple take on an aggressive go-wide commander, Jetmir is perhaps the most gracious host in the Multiverse. For every three creatures you have in play, he provides another boost, resulting in a maximum of +3/+0, vigilance, trample, and double strike, once you have nine or more guests at your party.

This is a very significant buff, particularly when you consider that it’s not all-or-nothing like many similar effects in the game; the effect is tiered, with a fresh boost coming every three creatures, meaning you don’t lose everything to one removal spell. Capable of turning even a board of 1/1 tokens into a lethal threat, Jetmir can end a party just as easily as he can start one.

10 Admiral Beckett Brass

Pillage And Plunder To Your Heart’s Content

MTG: Admiral Beckett Brass card

An incredibly flavourful Pirate commander, Admiral Beckett Brass not only buffs your motley crew by +1/+1, getting them ready to board your opponents’ ships, but she also lets them bring back plunder from each successful raid in the form of any nonland permanent.

The latter ability is incredibly powerful, given the number of cheap, evasive Pirates there are in the game and the range of things you can steal with it. The theft also persists after the Admiral’s death, which is a pleasant surprise given how these effects usually work in Magic. It’s a commander that will give you some swashbuckling good times; after all, as every Pirate knows, the real treasures are the nonland permanents we steal along the way.

9 Torbran, Thane Of Red Fell

The Fury Of Embereth Unleashed

MTG: Torbran, Thane of Red Fell card

The platonic ideal of a red commander, Torbran takes the color’s primary specialty, dealing damage, and gives it a major boost. It looks like a brute-force ability at first glance, but there’s a surprising amount of nuance when considering the range of things it affects.

Not only does it effectively give your red creatures two extra power in combat, but it also boosts the damage of your burn spells and recurring damage from enchantments like Sulfuric Vortex. Combined with cards like Furnace of Rath or Dictate of the Twin Gods, you can turn a board of Goblins into a dangerous rabble or a hand of cheap burn spells into a veritable firestorm, leaving nothing but scorched playmats where your opponents used to be.

8 Karumonix, The Rat King

You’re Toxic, I’m Slipping Under

MTG: Karumonix, the Rat King card

Fresh out of Phyrexia, this furry fiend is as frightening in practice as his twisted art suggests. He gives Rat typal decks, a group not particularly well-known for their high performance in the format, both a win condition and a card advantage engine, rolled up into a tight, three-headed package.


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Karumonix’s passive ability, which grants all of your other Rats toxic 1, turns the huge swarms Rats are so fond of assembling into legitimate threats, capable of recreating the Black Plague with your Commander Pod playing the role of Europe. His other ability can ‘draw’ you up to five cards in a dedicated Rat deck: a likely outcome, given that such decks can pack in Relentless Rats and Rat Colony to their wicked hearts’ content.

Providing both card advantage and pressure, Karumonix is the ideal Aggro commander.

7 Rankle And Torbran

Brains And Brawn In One Perfect Package

MTG: Rankle and Torbran card

One of the many unlikely duos who came together in defiance of Phyrexian tyranny in March of the Machine, Rankle and Torbran is a fantastically flexible choice for the leader of your Aggro armies. Five mana for a 3/4 isn’t great, but flying, first strike, and haste certainly are, all but guaranteeing the pair get in for damage at least once on their debut turn.

Once they do, the real fun can begin. Like the original Rankle, this card has three abilities it can use when it connects for damage, all of which affect all players in the game. If you’re feeling generous, you can give everyone a Treasure token, but if you’re playing to win, you can use a mass Edict effect or boost all your damage for the rest of the turn by two.

Note that the last ability will activate early thanks to Torbran and Rankle’s first strike, meaning any other creatures you have swinging in alongside them will benefit from the boost, unlike your poor opponents.

6 Sarkhan, Soul Aflame

Through The Fire And The Flames, He Carries On

MTG: Sarkhan, Soul Aflame card

Dragons aren’t typically associated with Aggro decks due to their high mana costs and emphasis on slow, lumbering power over time rather than immediate action. It’s amazing how aggressive they can be when you reduce all of their mana costs by one, however, as Sarkhan, Soul Aflame proves with aplomb.

His cost reduction effect, alongside his sturdy 2/4 body for three mana, are the stars of the show here, enabling the rest of your winged wonders to descend at a greatly accelerated rate.

However, Sarkhan also has a triggered ability: one that lets him assume the form of any Dragon you play for a single turn. This effectively grants your bigger Dragons haste, as Sarkhan will inherit their stats but not their summoning sickness, granting an aggressive edge to a traditionally ponderous Magic archetype.

5 Éomer, Marshal of Rohan

Rohirrim! To The King!

MTG: Eomer, Marshal of Rohan card

Legendary creatures typically offer better stats and effects than their non-legendary counterparts in exchange for a one-per-board limit. This limit doesn’t affect Commander, however, since all cards are singleton there anyway, meaning commanders like Éomer, Marshal of Rohan that capitalize on your creatures’ legendary status are well-positioned in the format.

When one of his fellow legends dies while attacking, Éomer untaps your forces and gives you a second combat step to work with. Combined with wide boards full of attack triggers, and Squee, Goblin Nabob, you can consistently get in twice a turn with your Éomer-led armies, bringing your opponents to heel in short order.

4 Syr Ginger, The Meal Ender

MTG: Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender card

A card that’s been in the oven since the trailer for the first Eldraine set back in 2019, Syr Ginger’s debut in Wilds was a welcome surprise for fans, doubly so since she packed some very serious gameplay applications in addition to her whimsical design. Her first ability, which grants her haste, trample, and hexproof if an opponent has a planeswalker in play, was little more than flavor text in Standard, but in Commander it’s a very real threat.


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Since planeswalkers are extremely common in Commander, the chances of this ability being active are high. And once it’s online, it pairs up perfectly with Syr Ginger’s other ability, counter scaling based on artifacts going to the graveyard, to enable some out-of-nowhere kills surprisingly early in the game. Throw in an extremely reasonable mana cost, even considering commander tax, and this biscuity brawler is a serious Aggro all-star.

3 Obyra, Dreaming Duelist

Stick Your Opponents With The Pointy End

MTG: Obyra, Dreaming Duelist card

Though disruption has always been their true calling, the Faeries of Magic have also, by virtue of their low mana costs and inherent evasion, frequently lent themselves towards an aggressive style of play as well. Obyra embodies this idea better than most, providing a table-wide life loss effect every time you put one of her kin into play.

Even played fairly this can add up to a lot of extra damage over the course of a game, but Obyra is the kind of card that just begs to be broken in half. Blue has no shortage of bounce effects, and you can easily put together loops that finish off the entire Pod in one turn, particularly given Obyra’s flash and low mana cost. After a game against this fearsome Faerie, your opponents will be riddled with rapier holes and cursing the color blue for the foreseeable future.

2 Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might//Temple Of Power

Put Your Faith In The Flames

Ojer Axonil was the first of the Ixalan Gods to be revealed, and he immediately set players’ minds racing with possibilities. When all of your noncombat damage sources hit for four damage minimum, it becomes almost trivial to assemble combos that can wipe players out in a single, spectacular round. The card has serious implications for Standard, but Commander is where its blazing blade can truly shine.

With the extra breathing room that the format allows, you can afford to branch out into Auras or Equipment that boost Ojer Axonil’s power, thus ratcheting up his damage boost even more. You can also afford to establish consistent damage over time effects, such as Sulfuric Vortex or Thermo-Alchemist, which suddenly become very scary when they take out ten percent of each player’s life every turn.

The fact that ol’ Ojer flips into a land on death is also a nice way of committing commander tax evasion, freeing up your mana for more destruction down the line.

1 Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon

The Time Of Gnomes Has Begun

One of the most interesting Aggro commanders we’ve seen in recent years, Anim Pakal reads like many of her peers, the Adelines and Squees of the world, at first glance. Dig deeper, however, and you’ll find a number of nuances that make her stand alone, and give her a strong niche within the Aggro archetype.

First among these is the fact that Anim Pakal herself never actually needs to attack to trigger her ability. She certainly can, if you have no other non-Gnomes to trigger it, but in most cases you’ll want to hold her back out of combat, and let her Gnome forces do the work.

She’s a commander that grows harder to remove, and more dangerous, with each passing turn, without having to risk her life in combat to do so. This makes her a great pick for decks that want to go tall or go wide, and a solid target for any kind of +1/+1 counter-placing effects as well.


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