Myth Realized - What if Any Planeswalker Could Be Your Commander? (Green)

(Planwide Celebration | Art by Wisnu Tan)

Is the Grass Always Greener on the Other Side?

The question of planeswalkers as commanders has been brought up in the Magic discourse an infinite number of times. People say it would kill EDH as a format, and others say it will do nothing but give more options to an endless pool of commanders. I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. My name is Nick, and the fifth installment of Myth Realized will cover the color green, the planeswalkers found therein, and how they would each ruin (or not ruin) your favorite 100-card singleton format.

A quick disclaimer for this article. We have finally reached the point where we can talk about the biggest boon to planeswalkers on this side of the Planar Bridge: Doubling Season. The quick and dirty thing with this card is that if you have it and your planeswalker enters with enough counters to ultimate right away, the 'walker instantly gets a whole lot better.

This is also the color with the most Proliferate cards, as well as the color of Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider. In other words, this is the single best color for planeswalkers as commanders, and the extra loyalty these things can acquire is a significant thing to acknowledge compared to the other colors and planeswalkers we've discussed so far in this series. So with that out of the way, let's dive in.

Everyone who's read my articles to this point knows what I'm going to say: "Another War of the Spark problem, and too high of a mana cost." No ult to build to means it's unexciting. It does give extra +1/+1 counters, which is nice, but not worth the mana cost.

This card will only get better as the years go on. Wizards has shown that they're happy to push the power level on the Dungeon mechanic (looking at you, Initiative). With the ever-increasing availability of legendary creatures, the -2 of this card has more potential to gain life with every set, which is cute. Honestly I think this deck would just end up being a lot of fun, especially if you commit to venturing thorugh multiple types of dungeons. Even with Doubling Season on the field, the ultimate still needs more setup, so it's not broken, it's just a nice thing to build toward. I enjoy a hypothetical world where Ellywick could lead a Commander deck. Overall, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms will never stop surprising players.

Big, mean green! You want every 6+ mana creature and more, as well as a way to get to this ultimate ASAP. This card will still mess up the other side of the table if it's not kept in check, and it might even cheat in a few Worldspine Wurms with that -3! This deck would be straightforward creature beatdown in a fresh way. Nothing unfair, just relentless baddies, and that's a good time.

Honestly the biggest appeal here is having a Return of the Wildspeaker in the command zone. It protects itself with a great token, and has a great ultimate to build towards. Raw card advantage is huge for green decks, so this would be a popular option, I think, and would make facilitate a great Populate deck, too.

This card just does not do enough. Every ability is just a bit lackluster, which makes sense for a planeswalker deck or intro deck 'walker. The ultimate isn't too bad, I suppose, but that one perk isn't worth the other shackles.

Now we're talking. I think this card at the head of a deck would get people to respect 'walkers. It can come down early, has an exciting way of protecting itself with a -2 that will often act as a -1, and has a win-the-game ultimate that is achievable by many means. I think this Garruk is much better than it looks, and I'd let him lead a deck in a heartbeat.

If you've ever played Cube, you know how good this card is. This card will often only cost you two mana after untapping those lands, and it might even net you mana if you have Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, or Gaea's Cradle at your disposal. Plus, it sets you up to have upwards of seven mana on the very next turn, so mono-green ramp players are happy. Also, since it ultimates at -4, it only needs to survive one round at the table to get you a nice Overrun effect. If planeswalkers could be commanders, it's possible that the OG Garruk's pedigree would make him one of if not the most popular mono-green planeswalker commander options.

A card most people have not seen due to the product it was released in. The only reason I would play this would be for the ultimate. Other 'walkers on this list do the same thing, but better.

This card is amazing as a commander. It comes down early to act as a better Cryptolith Rite, and it can put counters on any of your creatures. Basically, it's an attackable Rishkar, Peema Renegade, so it's not really reinventing the wheel here, but it'd be a fine enough option, and I like that it wouldn't feel all that bad when you have to recast this guy a couple times.

If you can get good enough hits off an immediate Doubling Season-fueled ultimate of this card, then it's worth casting for seven mana. If you cannot, then this card does nothing that you want to spend seven mana on.

One of the first instances where even with a Doubling Season, you cannot ultimate this 'walker immediately. That and the combination of lackluster abilities and a high cost make this not worth looking at.

One of the "worst" Nissa planeswalkers of the bunch. It makes a passable impression of Wellwisher, but that's not enough to run this as an Elf commander. It searches for a bad creature, and the ultimate still turns away even with the loyalty doubled. We already have Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury as a playable Elf planeswalker commander, and this card wouldn't change that.

Immediate protection with a giant creature, Regrowth on the downtick, and one of the most absurd ultimates for how easy it is to achieve. This is one of the best Nissas of the bunch, basically giving us mono-green Tatyova, Benthic Druid vibes. Recasting it to get multiple versions of that emblem is especially absurd. If this could be a commander, we'd have another mono-green Landfall deck to watch out for, and it would be very good.

This card is not doing anything flashy, and that's okay. This would be a good role-player, I think, especially since it could come down so early. Would make for a great Proliferate deck to slowly build up some extra power, or just a nice go-wide tokens deck in general, with the option to give some incidental pump whenever necessary. I think this gives us almost exactly what we'd want from planeswalker as commanders. A little defense, an ult that takes time to get to, and some light utility your strategy is likely to want anyway.

This card is already seeing play for its passive. Much like the lifetime of this card in Standard, it is mainly used to double the mana from Forests. The other abilities are cute - untapping a land is never bad, and the ultimate can be relevant - but the name of the game is mana. Power out every huge green creature in the multiverse and play tons of X spells with all your doubled mana. This Nissa in the command zone would feel like a nightmare to play against, and would be a big priority to take down ASAP.

I think Nissa, Who Shakes the World is more obvious with the power she provides, which might allow this version of Nissa to fly under the radar, despite the fact that she's also exceptionally good at basically the exact same thing. Untapping four forests means you even get to play a follow-up card the first turn she hits play! Enchanting those lands with Overgrowth effects means you'll net even more mana. Make no mistake, the mana-doubling Nissa is more splashy and obvious, but this Nissa would also be absurd.

Sadly, the ultimate on this card doesn't work with current Commander rules, so this would fall to the bottom of the heap. The rest of this card's abilities makes it a better contender in the deck rather than leading it.

As strange as it sounds, War of the Spark might have been the best for the mono-green 'walkers. Giving all your creatures flash is very cool and can lead to some significant blowouts. Giving your creatures vigilance is one of the best ways to protect a planeswalker, and the -2 will let you cast a creature spell even if your Vivien bites the dust. This card as a commander gives me strong Yeva, Nature's Herald vibes, which is a perfectly good spot for a commander to be.

A Future Sight effect for your creatures mixed in with ability counters and a dash of free creatures right out of the deck makes this a very nice value commander to lead a deck. Or you could use the -2 to tutor out some kind of combo in mono-green, I suppose.

Too. Much. Mana. The ultimate only giving one creature the buff is very bad, and the rest of the card is not much better.

Honestly, this would suffers heavily from being the leader of its own deck, since it would lock you into mono-green, and that tutor ability also looks like it wants to find combo things. I kinda feel like this would default to being a tutor-out-your-combo commander, because outside of that, it doesn't offer a whole lot that other 'walkers can't already do better.

A green planeswalker that doesn't make a token is unusual! This Vivien can do so many things. She can answer pesky permanents, find your creatures, and the ultimate is the definition of game-winning. Card advantage, removal, and an exciting ult. This is yet another planeswalker-as-commander I'd be very excited to play and to play against, because unlike plenty of others, the abilities feel like they'd scale nicely when she's in the command zone.

This walker clearly demands a lands-focused deck, which we all know green is good at. This is also possibly the best planeswalker at protecting itself, since the token it makes scales up with every land you play. I think this would compete a bit with Nissa, Vital Force as the de facto green Landfall planeswalker commander, but I kind of prefer Wrenn's multitude of options over Nissa's raw emblem output. Nissa might be more powerful, but Wrenn looks more fun. There are even some graveyard-y self-mill strategies to look into here, which is a very exciting direction for mono-green. Plus, that ultimate is just sheer value. Oh, and don't forget the ultimate perk: you'd always be able to truthfully say, "My deck is a Seven."

Wrap Up

If you had asked me before I started this series, I would have labeled green as the #1 culprit that would ruin the format if planeswalkers could be commanders. I'm pleasantly surprised that this doesn't seem to be the case. While Doubling Season would of course be an issue, for the most part, green would really just keep doing what it's always been doing. It would ramp and play big creatures. In my opinion, nothing here, other than the existence of Doubling Season itself, scares me about this hypothetical planeswalkers-as-commanders world.

Next, we'll move on to the colorful world of colorless commanders, and readers: it's a short list.

Player and lover of all Magic the Gathering formats. Forged in the fires of Oath of the Gatewatch expeditions. Always down to jam games with anyone and everyone. When not playing Magic I am doing something else equally, if not more nerdy.

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