Top Commanders of 2019

2019 Goes Off To The Races

As we have all seen from Episode 88 “Off to the Data Races” on our own EDHRECast’s YouTube channel, it can be fun to turn big spreadsheets of numbers into animated colorful shapes and watch them wiggle. In this case, the big spreadsheet is the total of number of decks uploaded during 2019 to the various deckbuilding sites we partner with. Shall we take a look at what happened with the popular commanders that year?

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January

In the first month, Muldrotha, the Gravetide takes a strong lead and mostly holds on to it throughout the year. Teysa Karlov rockets into second place and doesn’t leave the top four. Edgar Markov is in third but doesn’t get any higher in 2019, jostling for position among the top seven. Perennial favorite Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice starts out in fourth place and slowly gains ground. Lord Windgrace is in fifth place and firmly stays in that area.

For set representation, Muldrotha is joined in the top 15 by other Dominaria pals Jodah, Archmage Eternal at #6 and Tatyova, Benthic Druid #11. Teysa from Ravnica Allegiance is with Nikya of the Old Ways at #9. Edgar is joined by Commander 2017 face card The Ur-Dragon at #7, and Windgrace has a Commander 2018 buddy Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer at #14.

Previous Commander set face cards include 2015’s Meren of Clan Nel Toth at #8, 2011’s Animar, Soul of Elements at #12, and 2013’s Oloro, Ageless Ascetic at #15. Guilds of Ravnica‘s Niv-Mizzet, Parun starts at #10 and Ixalan star Gishath, Sun’s Avatar starts at #13.


February

Teysa Karlov takes first place for a few months, knocking Muldrotha the Gravetide off of a 2019 shutout. Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice takes third place away from Edgar Markov and doesn’t let go, as Lord Windgrace starts to eye Edgar’s new spot.

Some new faces jump into the top 15, with Core 2019‘s Arcades, the Strategist jumping in at #8 and Commander 2018‘s Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow and Aminatou, the Fateshifter at #11 and at #12, respectively. Niv-Mizzet, Parun jumps from #10 to #7 and stays there for a while. Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer drops out of the top 15 and does not return.


March

Lord Windgrace claws fourth place away from Edgar Markov and doesn’t give it back. Meren of Clan Nel Toth and Nikya of the Old Ways fight for ninth place while the next five slots churn amongst themselves. Ramos, Dragon Engine knocks Oloro, Ageless Ascetic out of the top 15 for good.


April

No change at the top, as slots 1 though 9 stay the same as March. Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow and Aminatou, the Fateshifter climb to the #10 and #11 spots, respectively. Nikya of the Old Ways gets pushed out of the top 15, and Animar, Soul of Elements, The Ur-Dragon, and Tatyova, Benthic Druid enjoy their last month on the leaderboard.


May

Muldrotha the Gravetide takes first place from Teysa Karlov and keeps it. War of the Spark newcomer Feather, the Redeemed surges right into sixth place, knocking Jodah, Archmage Eternal and Niv-Mizzet, Parun each down a peg.

Meren of Clan Nel Toth holds steady and passes Arcades the Strategist as he gradually starts to fade. Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, Aminatou, the Fateshifter, and Gishath, Sun’s Avatar take the next few ranks, while Kess, Dissident Mage and Breya, Etherium Shaper pop into the #14 and #15 spots, respectively.


June

The top four ranks stay solid with Muldrotha, the Gravetide, Teysa Karlov, Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, and Lord Windgrace leading the pack. Feather the Redeemed snags Edgar Markov‘s #5 spot, and they fight back and forth between themselves for the rest of the year.

Jodah hangs on at #7 for now, but he starts to fall behind and ultimately does not recover, dropping out of the top #15 in a few months. Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow and Kess, Dissident Mage make the biggest gains this month, jumping three ranks each to #7 and #10, respectively. No new faces appear in the top 15 as the same characters push and shove each other in the mosh pit.


July

The top six stay the same while Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow and Niv-Mizzet, Parun push past Jodah, Archmage Eternal for seventh and eighth place, respectively. Kess, Dissident Mage passes Meren of Clan Nel Toth for #10, while Aminatou, the Fateshifter falls behind Gishath, Sun’s Avatar and Breya, Etherium Shaper to linger at #15.


August

Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice pulls ahead of Teysa Karlov. Muldrotha, the Gravetide and Atraxa are locked into first and second place, and that doesn’t change for the rest of the year. Jodah, Archmage Eternal falls further behind as Kess, Dissident Mage and Meren of Clan Nel Toth pull ahead. Core 2020 starts to show its influence as Yarok, the Desecrated slides in at #14, pushing Breya off the list.


September

The top ten spots look the same, except for Edgar Markov and Feather the Redeemed sparring for fifth and sixth. Yarok the Desecrated has brought his Core 2020 friends Golos, Tireless Pilgrim at #11 and Kykar, Wind’s Fury at #15. Aminatou, the Fateshifter leaves the leader board and does not return.


October

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim continues to climb, pushing past Kess, Dissident Mage and Niv-Mizzet, Parun to take eighth. Yarok the Desecrated and Kykar, Wind’s Fury both pull ahead of Meren of Clan Nel Toth and Gishath, Sun’s Avatar.


November

Aside from a minor spat between Edgar Markov and Feather the Redeemed, this month looks the same as the previous. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim starts to pull ahead of Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow for #7. Jodah, Archmage Eternal and Arcades, the Strategist both desperately try to hang on to the same #15 spot.


December

In a last-minute surprise, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim jumps from seventh to third, finally knocking Teysa Karlov out of the top three. Yarok the Desecrated rises past Kess, Dissident Mage, and Gishath, Sun’s Avatar and Meren of Clan Nel Toth fight for the undercard spots. Arcades, the Strategist finally leaves the top 15 as Korvold, Fae-Cursed King starts to show us what Throne of Eldraine Brawl Decks can do for Commander.


Final Standings

  1. Muldrotha, the Gravetide
  2. Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice
  3. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
  4. Teysa Karlov
  5. Lord Windgrace
  6. Feather, the Redeemed
  7. Edgar Markov
  8. Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow
  9. Yarok, the Desecrated
  10. Kess, Dissident Mage
  11. Niv-Mizzet, Parun
  12. Kykar, Wind’s Fury
  13. Gishath, Sun’s Avatar
  14. Meren of Clan Nel Toth
  15. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

Interestingly, we see Core Set 2020 and Throne of Eldraine represented in the final standings, but none of the Commander 2019 legends that were released in between those two sets.

Some commanders, such as Lord Windgrace, Niv-Mizzet, Parun, and Gishath, Sun’s Avatar stayed near their original posts throughout the year while the rest churned around them. Others, such as Animar, Soul of Elements, Aminatou, the Fateshifter, and Arcades the Strategist have strong starts but faded behind as new commanders pushed them out.

What do you think? When were your favorite moments? Who were you rooting for? Why am I asking so many questions? Where do you comment your answers? (Below. Scroll down and write your comments there. That one was easy.)

Nate is a game developer, programmer, and writer from San Francisco. He is a co-host of the Commander Time! podcast, a former co-host of the Commanderin’ MTG Podcast, and does occasional programming with EDHREC's database making piles of theme pages. Nate can be found @commandtime and/or @misterplorg, and as a frequent guest streamer at MTG Lexicon.