Commander-Centric decks, in contrast to Commander-Agnostic and Commander-Supported decks, are highly reliant upon their commander as a key component of their primary strategy. These decks take advantage of constant access to their commander in the command zone every game to create synergies that pair powerfully with their commander, explicitly using that commander as a means of achieving victory.
Commander-Centric decks make significant use of their commanders during gameplay, often using the commander as a primary win condition or as a powerful form of Card Draw|card advantage. A high number of cards in the deck will exist specifically to provide powerful, complementary synergies to the commander's abilities, and may not provide significant benefit without the commander on the battlefield.
Commander-Centric decks also often incorporate a high number of cards that help protect their commander, to keep it on the battlefield as long as possible. Though commanders can be recast from the command zone, additional command tax can prevent commander-centric decks from recasting their commanders and fully accomplishing their primary game plans.
Archetypes that are commonly commander-centric:
Upsides of Building a Commander-Centric Deck
- Commander-centric decks always have access to their commander in the command zone, which can help streamline the deck's strategy and create consistency, since they do not need to locate other specific cards in the deck to set their gameplan in motion.
- Commander-centric decks can create powerful, unique synergies that other decks may not be able to access as quickly. Decks that rely more heavily on key cards within the 99 may take more time to locate and cast those cards, a problem not shared by commander-centric decks, which may provide commander-centric strategies with enough time to disrupt or defeat their enemies before they have properly set their own plans in motion.
Downsides of Building a Commander-Centric Deck
- Commander-Centric decks are extremely susceptible to removal, as the majority of cards in their deck may only be effective with the commander in play, and provide minimal impact without that commander. Removing their commander may result in an extreme setback that completely prevents a commander-centric deck from winning the game.
- Commander-Centric decks are difficult to reforge into new decks with different commanders, should the pilot wish to build a new deck. Many cards in the 99 provide specific and unique synergies with one specific commander, which makes them less effective in other decks.