How to Play Commander MTG (EXPLAINED)

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

How to Play Commander MTG

Commander MTG is a popular playing style for Magic: The Gathering that was both developed and spread by fans of MTG. The Commander version of the game includes both two-player mode and Free For All mode with multiple players.

If you’re new to Magic: the Gathering completely, or just new to playing Commander, in this article, we teach you all about this exciting “new” MTG mode.

Read on below and learn exactly how to get started with playing Commander MTG!

How to Play Commander MTG?

One of the first differences between standard MTG and Commander MTG is that each player starts with 40 life-points, rather than 20. In addition, each deck has a designated legendary creature as the “commander”. The commander each player chooses determines what color and type of cards may be in their deck. Another critical difference in commander, compared to any other mode, is that each card in the game must have a unique name (except for your basic land cards). 

The commander card itself is obviously one of the most important cards in the entire deck and mode. When it dies or is exiled, you may return it to the command zone (a special zone for the commander) and its abilities will continue working. 

There are several additional differences that you should be aware of as well, such as that each player may start at 40 life points, but if they are dealt 21 damage points from an individual commander (over the course of the game) it’s an automatic game over for said player that took said damage.

If you’re interested in getting started with playing Commander, get your hands on something like the Reap The Tides, Magic: The Gathering Commander Legends Commander Deck for example:

Magic: The Gathering Commander Legends Commander Deck – Reap The Tides | 100 Card Ready-to-Play Deck | 1 Foil Commander | Blue-Green

This set comes with a 100-card deck and a multi-colored blue and green foil-card commander. The deck is perfectly balanced and ready to play right out of the box.

Learn More on Amazon...

Related Questions:

How Many Players Does it Take to Play MTG Commander?

Commander mode may be played by as little as two people and up to as many as you can fit in a room (or at the table). The default mode for commander is Free-for-All, and the amount of opponents is limitless (so long as you can keep track of everything going on). There is also a two-player version of commander that is popular.

What Sort of Card’s Are Legal to Use as Commanders?

The type of cards that are legal to use as commanders are strictly legendary creatures and planeswalkers. The only exception is that you may have two commanders if a legendary creature or planeswalker has “partner” ability. That said, additional legendary creatures and planeswalkers are perfectly legal to have in your deck in addition to the commander(s).

How Many Cards Go in a Commander MTG Deck?

The amount of cards that go in a commander deck is a bit higher than standard decks. Commander decks require 100 cards, this number is both the minimum amount of cards allowed in a deck as well as the maximum number. This includes the commander(s).

How Many Copies of a Single Card Are Legal in MTG Commander?

Only one copy of any given card may be used in a legal commander deck. The only exception to this rule is basic land cards. Basic land cards have no limit of how many copies may be included in your deck for this game mode.

Are Sideboards Legal in Commander MTG?

When it comes to the correct way of how to play commander MTG, sideboards are not legal. These (sideboards) are typically allowed in most game modes. Typically, after each game, players can switch cards out from their deck and sideboards (but not in commander).

Is MTG Commander and MTG Brawl the Same Game?

Brawl and commander are not the same exact game, rather brawl is an adaptation of commander. It is a variant of the mode, following most of the same rules with a few adjustments. Differences in brawl and commander include the structure of decks and that planeswalkers are used as commanders more often than legendary creatures. The number of cards in the deck must also equal 60, rather than 100.