Commander Challenge

Greetings all! This is my first hosted challenge, so your patience is appreciated and your feedback is welcomed.

This challenge is to create a commander card for the Commander format. The card must be able to be a deck's commander. Here's the twist: You must choose exactly 3 of the 5 constraints below (not 2 constraints, not 4... and 5 is right out!) when designing your card, and make sure to let people know which ones you chose when you post your entry. Limit of two entries per person. Cutoff for entries is April 11th at midnight EST, and judging will occur that week. Final rankings and prize distribution can be expected no later than Friday, April 16th.

Constraints (choose 3):
1) The card is not a Creature
2) The card is colorless or monocolored
3) The card emphasizes the "voltron" theme of commander
4) The card utilizes a deprecated mechanic (list here)
5) The card has an effect while in the command zone

Winners will be chosen based on the following criteria:
1) Adherence to guidelines above :smile:
2) Fit & finish - proper layout, spacing, rules templating, artist attribution, grammar, etc.
3) Creativity - you don't have to create an entire plane and set backstory, but share your creative inspiration for the card and maybe a peek behind the curtain about what you were going for, both thematically and mechanically.
4) Playability - make me want to build a commander deck around your card!

1st place - 3 favorites and a follow
2nd place - 2 favorites
3rd place - 1 favorite


  • edited March 15
    An-Maru the Magnificent

    A card for 2, 3, and 4 (with shroud)

  • 2) It's colorless
    3) It's very voltron
    5) It has an effect in the command zone
  • edited March 16

  • Challenges 1,2,3:

  • (2, 4, and 5)
    I've always wanted to re-word the "Banding" rule so it made more sense to a new player, so that's what I did here.  My rules text is my own, not the official. 
    Also, if you want to push a mechanic, make a Krenko Mob Boss out of it, LOL
  • @TerryTags The funny thing is that both your version and the official rules say "Any creatures with banding and up to one without" which won't happen with Alvan, because he gives banding to all your creatures so there's none without it. Also as he gives banding to all your creatures, the activated ability becomes pretty much "TAP: Create X 1/1 Soldiers where X is the number of creatures you control."
    I don't think you've fixed banding that much, the problem about it is what happens with the creatures' abilities - what if one has flying? What if one has trample? Menace? Can't be blocked? Etcetera. Maybe it would be possible to reword banding to make sense, but it would require a lot of rules. And as mutate showed us once again, putting creatures together is not a great idea in terms of rules (unless you're an augment card in Unstable, those work good).
  • @ThePhantomJoker ; that's very true about Alvan giving banding to all creatures.  The rules text for banding would still be the rules text for banding, even if he's one of the cards in your deck, so I thought I'd keep the full wording.  As far as the creatures abilities, if even one of the creatures in the band can be blocked, they're all blocked even if they could normally evade.  That's why you don't always band everything, and you only band when you should.  :wink:

  • Awesome entries so far! One week down, three to go. Feel free to submit a second entry!

  • ahhh the text is all over the place and i had to change the name to fit but:

    constraints 1, 2 and 5

    the kinda creative idea behind her is: she depressed because the king died or something, turned to reanimation but not humans because she dislikes their company, just items and such.

    i swear the wording is wrong on the last ability also
  • edited March 23
    Ok. I have a whole non-commander deck based aroundt he idea of this guy:

    Having a big WUBRG fan club in the form of the 5 original Theros Nymphs with Bestow - who like to be literal hangers on thir adored Mr muscle man, the two fisted fighter with a hero chin fist under his beard Chuck Norris would envy, if Chuck Norris were a being capable of envy.

    On their own, the 5 also make what I consider the the MOST VOLTRON combo ever:

    Of course, the whole thing is useless in commander - one copy each in 100 cards, never going yo happen.  

    Which made me wonder "what if the fan club was the commander rather than it's individual members.   If only there was some way to properly get the band together.  Which leads to:

    Flavor note - groups of a certain animal often have a name kittens: a curiosity, crows: a murder.   Even mythical ones such as Unicorns: a Blessing.   I cannot find what a group of Nymphs is called but I declare "a Flattery of Nymphs" is entirely fitting and ought to be it. 

    C'mon, you know you wanna make the deck It suggests.  It may take a few games for the combo given how wild commander can be, but I think it would be well worth it just to see their faces when you shout "form Voltron"! and lay the quintuplets out centered on black.

    While this was conceived to make the ultimate Voltron Fan Girl deck, it is more generally usable for any WUBRG tribal deck.  A subsequent release with different art and flavor text would be needed.
  • Only 8 days left! This contest closes on Sunday, April 11th. There's still time to submit your sweet Commander card!
  • edited April 6

    [edit: Monocolored, Voltron, Command zone]

  • Thanks for the submission, @TerryTags! Could you edit your post to add which 3 constraints you were aiming for?
  • @JackDraco
    Yep!  Edited :smile:
    1. Monocolored. 
    2. Voltron commanders tend to excel when they have evasion, so pumping her up with artifacts or enchantments will maximize her land-bounce effect.
    3. Command zone.  She's got the Commander Ninjutsu ability.
  • Muashi Oceans Form
    2) Monoblue
    4) Islandwalk
    5) Command zone ability
  • @TalentedTalonflame I think x should be able to be 0 since there 0 cost permanents in mtg.
  • edited April 10
    @Tonysparks I didn't want people to be able to shuffle away lands, as land destruction is really cruel in Commander.  Also, three blue to shuffle away a land as an activated ability is just broken.
  • edited April 10
    Target non-land perhaps?

    Plus it takes less space than "x can't be 0"
  • Ravos Devouring Flame
    2) Monored
    3) Voltron
    5) Command zone effect
  • @Tonysparks Yeah, changing the text to non-land could work.  Personally, I sort of enjoy adding "X can't be 0" because it's sort of underused text, and I don't know if I want Muashi to be able to kill tokens.  But, I also like your suggestion, as it does make Muashi a bit more flexible.
  • Alright, submissions are closed! I'll review all the entries and announce winners within the next couple days.
  • Ok, time for the results! But first, I want to thank everyone for participating. I've tried to give thoughtful feedback for each entry, and I hope you've enjoyed the contest.

    Here is my feedback, in the order of card submission. Scroll to the bottom if you are only looking for the winners!

    An-Maru the Magnificent by @SpellPiper2213
    The bird is the word! This is a great design, and your fit & finish is excellent. My gut is telling me there might be a better way of wording the two parts of the attack trigger, and specifying "other attacking creatures you control" seems unnecessary, but, again, a great design. I'm not sure I would give this card much consideration if I were hunting for a mono-g voltron strategy, as the shroud really limits it. It will keep getting bigger every attack, but the build-up is very slow.

    Ortrin, the Forge-Golem by @ThePhantomJoker
    I love the idea of this mostly-inert golem pumping out living weapons. Your fit & finish is great, though I think the activated ability needs to specify "all Equipment attached to that creature to Ortrin." My bigger concern is that it seems like Ortrin's eminence ability would prevent you from ever casting it from the command zone, as Ortrin is a creature spell. You could probably get around this by saying "you can't cast non-commander creature spells", or "you can't cast creature spells other than Ortrin" or something. Assuming that was re-worded, I would definitely consider this card if I were looking for a colorless voltron strategy.

    Agrus, Contriving Soul by @hhhggr
    That is some sweet art! First issue I see is the omission of the "Legendary" supertype, which obviously means this card can't be a commander. Ignoring that, I like the idea of a "temporary" commander that sticks around longer for a greater mana commitment. The last ability basically removes commander tax, which makes total sense, though I would argue that it barely qualifies for constraint #5 (The card has an effect while in the command zone). I think if WotC wanted to do something like this, they'd say, "This creature costs {2} less to cast for each time you've cast your commander from the command zone this game". Or they'd just give the creature an activated ability that put it directly into play, a la Derevi. I think this guy is lacking a bit in power level, and I can't really think of why I'd want to build around him. If there was some powerful ongoing effect that made me want him on the battlefield, or some ETB that incentivized casting him over and over (or ideally, a balance between the two), then he'd be a cool option.

    Shade of Arkanis by @Tonysparks
    This is a great way to use fear! Some small fit & finish issues: multiple keyword abilities don't all need capitalization, and the period at the end isn't necessary.
    "Haste, Flying, Fear." → "Flying, fear, haste" (I'm basing the keyword order on existing cards that list these abilities, such as Cairn Wanderer). Scaling P/T with your fear creatures is awesome, and very shade-like. I do think the ability would be worded slightly differently: "number of creatures you control with fear" → "number of creatures with fear you control". Also "Spells can't be cast from graveyards" should probably be "Players can't cast spells from graveyards". Technically both work, but the latter is the common templating used these days. Currently, there is no "enters the graveyard", but rather "is put into your graveyard from anywhere". I realize that both of these critiques unfortunately result in a more verbose card. I do like that dark ritual effect, and would definitely consider this as an option for a "fear-tribal" commander deck!

    Lasting Eminence by @AboveAndAbout
    Good on you for going with the non-creature constraint! I will admit my confusion, though... I don't see any way to get this card onto the battlefield from the command zone, as it has no mana cost. I do like the idea of a commander that is only sometimes a creature (kind of like the Theros gods), but I think something is missing here.

    Alvan Rosecot of New Benalia by @TerryTags
    Ok, I did not expect anyone to pull out banding for this challenge! You nailed all the constraints, and the fit & finish is solid, if a bit cramped. To be honest, I couldn't in good conscience run this guy as my commander, simply because I wouldn't want to explain banding every time I sat down at the table. That activated ability could probably be simplified to count all your creatures, as they all do get their banding from him.

    Kyg, Grieving Queen by @Mantis17
    The only planeswalker submission! Things look a little cramped, but I recognize the limitations of our beloved tools. For the +2 ability, I think it could be simplified to "Mill up to ten cards", because the "up to" makes the "may" redundant. Unfortunately, I think the card is totally busted... Being able to activate loyalty abilities from other zones is a near idea, but the card can't have loyalty counters on it while in those zones. And even if it could, once you racked up 8 loyalty in the command zone, you hard cast it, go ultimate, let it go to your graveyard, use its -2, recast itself for free, use its -2 again... you've milled yourself 60 cards on T5. It's also guaranteed T3 infinite storm with any 0 mana noncreature spell. You could have Kyg specify that you can cast other noncreature spells for free with the emblem, and also those spells get exiled after being cast from GY. It would still be busted, though, as you're functionally able to "draw" 10 cards by dumping them into your GY, then cast all the non-creatures for free, every single turn. I do dig the theme and the backstory, but I couldn't build around this card as I don't think it could work per the rules of the game.

  • edited April 12
    Circle of Admireres by @mmm3creator
    You definitely thought outside the box on this one! There are a couple typos (Admireres, cad instead of card, tour instead of your). The idea of turning creatures in the 99 into your commander is neat, though I'm not sure if the rules currently support it, as being a commander is an attribute of the physical card itself (can't be copied, ignores zone changes, etc). I'm not sure which 3 constraints you were going by as you didn't include that in your post, but I'm guessing it's #1 (not a creature), #2 (colorless or monocolored... although your card technically has a WUBRG color identity, my bad for not specifying). I'm not sure what your third constraint would be, as tutoring up a handful of creatures is the opposite of voltron, the card does not use a deprecated mechanic, and the card doesn't have an effect in the command zone. I think another cool thing that could be done with this idea is to make the CMC less... maybe {2}? And you still get to search only for a number of creatures equal to the number of colors spent on it. But the second time you cast it, it costs {4} because of commander tax. It wouldn't be until the third casting that it would cost {6} and you could pay WUBRG and trigger the secondary effect. But anyway, I'm onboard with the term "flattery of nymphs"!

    Hebi Kosho, Mana Sunderer by @TerryTags
    This is an excellent, clean card design. Constraints have obviously been followed and the fit & finish is top notch. From a "build around me" perspective, I don't find the card very exciting, and it doesn't really inspire me to build anything specific. Overall a very solid card, though.

    Muashi, Ocean's Form by @TalentedTalonflame
    What a cool commander! I like the "keeps coming back" ability, which feels very tidal and ocean-y to me. Fit & finish is great, though I think the landwalk ability should be listed first, before the protection ability. The shuffle ability is cool but might be too strong. Maybe only usable at sorcery speed? Or maybe the victim gets to draw a card as a compensation? I would definitely build around this card, but I might feel bad about it!

    Ravos, Devouring Flame by @TalentedTalonflame
    Another great entry, and another "nailed it" on fit & finish! I don't have much to say other than I would not be interested in building around this card. Sacrificing lands feels like too harsh a cost for the payout, especially with no way to refuel your hand or recycle the lost lands in some way. I do like the duality between Ravos and Muashi, but I don't think their power levels are comparable.

    So here it is, the moment you've all been waiting for...

    Third placeAn-Maru the Magnificent! A beautiful card and solid design. Thank you, @SpellPiper2213!
    Second place: Shade of Arkanis! This card really throws some shade! Thank you, @Tonysparks!
    First place: Muashi, Ocean's Form! Of all the entries, this one made me want to build it the most. I think it would need some tweaks were it ever to be printed, but still a stellar card! Congrats @TalentedTalonflame!

    Thanks again to all participants. For the winners, please reply here or message me with the cards you'd like favorited.
  • Fun contest! Congrats to the other @winners! @JackDraco thanks for the feedback on An-Maru, and could you favorite this card:
  • edited April 12
    @JackDraco I really enjoyed the contest, and thank you for your kind words.  You can favorite whichever cards you want. :smile:

    Almost forgot:
  • @JackDraco I always appreciate some good feedback, anything to help improve me as a card-smith is always welcome. I will keep your insight in mind in the future. Congratulations to everyone who entered the contests, there were definitely some entries that could have given me a run for my money. 

    That being said Draco, you can choose any champion you like in my fabled heroes set and like their cards, there are four of them. Conversely you can just like any two cards in the same set. Thanks again!
  • great contest, everyone!  Good job to all contestants :smile:
  • Lol didn't realize I forgot legendary
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