One-drop commanders

Greetings, my fellow cardsmiths, the smiths of cards, welcome to a pretty self-explanatory contest which I'm gonna talk about more than is necessary. Let's do this!

Have you ever wanted to cast your commander in the first turn? Well, there are not many options. Neither Hope of Ghirapur nor Isamaru are quite interesting choices, Norin is weird, Zurgo banned on 1v1 and Oviya with Rhys quite good but very straight forward.

So - this is where your time comes! The rules are simple.

Your task

- Create a card that is able to be your commander (preferably a creature) and costs exactly one mana
- Submit up to three cards, one of which can be older; commanders with "Partner with..." count as one submission, because I love that mechanic
- Be as creative as you can while keeping your cards balanced
- Please make the cards also LOOK good - pay attention to the design of the text, grammar, wordind etc.


- 1st place gets 5 favorites of their (or my) choice
- 2nd gets 4 faves
- 3rd gets 3 faves
- Any honorable mention is awarded with 1 fave
All cards placed in the top three or HM will also be favorited by myself

Judging will happen around a week from now.


You can also try to create a Zero-drop commander (legendary creature). There are currently none of such in the game. One entry of this bonus per person, old cards allowed (this will not count in your three entries for the actual contest). This might or might not be awarded with some little rewards.

Happy smithing, everyone!


  • edited June 23
    This looks fun, so here goes:

    Marai Peaceful Retainer
    Koya Dark Apostle
    Lesovikk Bloodcaller

    Edit: Deckbuilding strategies

    Marai would probably have a white defender deck, possibly with ways for creatures to attack until end of turn.

    Koya would have a black lifegain deck. Probably with vampires.

    Lesovikk would have a red aggro deck.

    They're all relatively simple and self-explanatory while still having interesting deck themes.
  • Another just for fun bonus - Along with thecards you can also suggest a deck-building strategy for that particular commander. I'm interested to see, what you come up with!
  • Did my best, though I'm not sure if their power level is consistent between all of them.

    Sohka, Arena Sanguimancer:
    Deck-building strategy: The idea behind the commander is to repeatedly sacrifice it/block with it and recast it as many times as possible, leeching more and more life each time. You also want to generate as much mana as possible, which suggests cards like Crypt Ghast, Cabal Coffers, Lilana of the Dark Realm, and other black swamps-matter cards. It's a life-leech deck that also wants to generate as much mana as possible to drain your opponents.

    Jio, Underbrush Empath:
    Deck-building strategy: Suggests itself in the card. You want as many 1-drops as possible, but Jio isn't really important in the late-game: his purpose is to get as many mana-dorks as possible out in the early game, utilizing flash to take advantage of the "each turn" effect and getting ahead of each player in mana. Decks should also have either some X-spells, finishers like Craterhoof Behemoth, or lean into Elf tribal to buff your whole board of 1-drops.

    Leona, Sculptor of Monuments:
    Deck-building Strategy: This, honestly, probably wouldn't see much play as a commander in the current climate. It was inspired by Doomed Artisan's Sculpture creature type, and the idea is to start some support for the archetype. Of course Doomed Artisan isn't spectacular with Leona at first glance, but both cards want to spend more time setting up your horde of Sculptures before going off, so I think Doomed Artisan could see play with Leona. 
  • edited June 14
  • SteampunkDragon Very well done! I especially like Sohka, because the thing with one-drop commanders is most of the time "do I really want to cast it for three the next time?" But with this commander, you sure do. Nice job. Jio is also interesting and some Sculpture tribal sounds very fun too.
  • edited June 14
  • edited June 23
  • My entry

    Forced Spark {X} ({X}: Until the end of the turn this creature becomes a planeswalker. If it's the first activation, put X loyalty counters on it. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.)
  • edited July 5
    • Bonus

    The writing I wanted to put.
    Degradation - Zero Sampling cost one more to cast after the second cast from your command zone.
    Whenever a nontoken creature put your graveyard, its creature power and toughness triggered evolve abilities from creatures you control.
    {1}{u}{r}{g}: Look the top three cards from your library. Put a creature card from converted mana cost less than Zero Sampling power on the battlefield. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.
  • @ThePhantomJoker Thanks for the feedback! One of the main things I wanted to do was to make sure they wouldn't feel too bad to cast with commander tax. Sohka is the most obvious example, but with Jio the idea is that he's not as important in the late game (still a mana/life generator, but not as explosive in the early game), and the idea with Leona is that she can leave a pretty big impact on the battlefield, so casting her again for just 3 mana isn't much of an issue if you get her going. You don't really mind losing the 0/3 body for a little.

    @CassZero, not my contest, but by bonus do you mean 3rd card? Because I think they need to cost exactly one mana, not less.
    But I don't mean to heckle, and I like what you did with evolve too, so I guess it's not really my business.
  • edited June 14
    @SteampunkDragon If you notice in the challenge description, my 0 mana card does not count for judgment.

    And my flip card would be to be considered as one. 
  • @CassZero Cool! Just checking.
  • Gonna join my own contest, just because why not xd

    Well, I'm not really joining the contest, I just wanted to try this myself and see what y'all think.
  • Card theme: When this little goblin commander dies, a target creature becomes a Coward for as long as it is on the battlefield.  Every time Graagdord comes back out, that Coward creature cannot block him anymore, because Graagdord is a Warrior(Good little Graagdord!)

    Deck build: Warrior tribal aggro.  If all your creatures are Warriors, your opponents will be less and less able to block with their Cowards.  Plus, the Coward creature type is not in-addition-to their other creature types, so their creatures lose tribal benefits (bye bye vampire or merfolk decks, etc).

  • @TerryTags
    Awesome card! One problem, the exalted reminder text would be italicized.
  • edited June 23
    Thanks!  Fixed on the actual published card in the link.
  • No prob @TerryTags! You're a great cardsmith!
  • edited June 24

    This was for my friend Matt who goes by PainDoctor on mtgcs. It was a bit challenging making this as a hybrid, but I believe this qualifies in your contest as well.
  • Wow, I've got a lot of cards in my Legendary set and many of them fit the bill...

    I linked his original Disqus page in the comments. I made cards for his family members as well! ;)

  • Art Credit for Kif, Quiet Farmhand:
    Background: LuckyHemlock
    Wooden Post Asset: Jim Hartlage
    Hay Asset: Joe Jones
    Pumpkin Asset: Daniel Peci
    Hat Asset: Van Gogh

    Art Credit for Kif, Shepherd of Star:
    Background: LuckyHemlock
    Scarecrow Asset: Stu Harrington
    Moon Asset: EntiqueIndia

    Card Theme: Scarecrow Tribal! Scarecrow Tribal! As the only other Legendary Scarecrow cares about ETBs with Scarecrows, I thought I would lean into that theme by making a scarecrow that makes more scarecrows.

    Deck Building Strategies: As with the Reaper King, the main thing you would want to be concerned with is Scarecrow ETBs. You want to trigger those ETBs quickly so you can Transform Kif from his very vulnerable and unimpressive base form to his transformed version asap, then you flood the battlefield with the stronger scarecrows.

  • @ThePhantomJoker About the partner thing, if we're submitting partner commanders, do they all need to be one CMC, or just one?
  • First entry:

  • I'm not sure if it's just me, but almost if not all of these entries feel really pushed. The entire idea of getting a good commander on turn one is also pushing the limits of what's fair too...
  • @Ranshi

    Constructive critcism is always appreciated!
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