27, Sep, 21

Commander Challenge - Dragon Throne of Tarkir

Winning in weird ways is a big part of Commander, so we're going to lay down some challenges for you.
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While Commander is filled to the brim with extraordinary and overpowered cards, it’s also got its fair share of duds. That’s not hugely surprising given the sheer volume of cards in the format, but it does mean you can have a little bit of fun building around some of these cards.

Now, we’re not going to kick off with an abjectly terrible one, but we do want to start with one that takes a bit of work to make worthwhile. It’s fun to give yourself extra restrictions while deck-building, or even just putting in a weird win condition that people don’t normally see. That’s why we’re going to start with Dragon Throne of Tarkir.

What is Dragon Throne of Tarkir?

Obviously, before we can build around anything we need to know what we’re working with. So, Dragon Throne of Tarkir is a four mana equipment that costs three to equip and gives a creature defender. Along with that, you can pay two mana and tap the creature to give other creatures +X/+X until the end of the turn and trample, where X is the creature it’s attached to’s power.

In essence, it’s akin to Overwhelming Stampede, but it actively takes one creature out of the fight completely. Sure, you can find ways around it having defender, but it’s not always worth doing as the equipped creature sees no real benefit, and would need vigilance in order to both attack and also activate the ability.

Just from this alone, we know that we want a commander that can get big, and the ability to go wide, which means we’re likely looking at commanders that specialise in supporting or generating tokens, or ones that are just obnoxiously large. So, we’ve got ttwo commander suggestions you can try.

Read More: The Best Starter Commander Decks – Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

Shanna of the Dragon Throne

First up is possibly our favorite pick, and it’s Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy. Shanna is a two-mana green and white 0/0 that can’t be the target of abilities your opponents control. They also get +1/+1 for each creature you control.

In essence, the aim here is simple, play Shanna, play a lot of creatures, equip Shanna with Dragon Throne of Tarkir, use the ability, and then just stampede absolutely everything into your opponent and then win. Green and white are both good colors for this strategy too thanks to a wealth of ways to make tokens with spells like Secure the Wastes, and ways to double those tokens like Parallel Lives.

If you do that, every extra creature adds substantially more damage. Say you manage to get ten tokens out, that means Shanna is an 11/11 even if you have no other buffs in effect, and that suddenly turns everything into at least a 12/12 with trample. Nothing survives that, and that’s the dream.

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The Flame of Tarkir

Alright, Valduk, Keeper of Flame has nothing to do with Tarkir, but we’re enjoying the headings here. Valduk is a three-mana 3/2 in red that reads, “At the beginning of combat on your turn, for each Aura and Equipment attached to Valduk, Keeper of the Flame, create a 3/1 red Elemental creature token with trample and haste. Exile those tokens at the beginning of the next end step.”

Because you activate the throne’s effect at instant speed, that means you can put as much equipment as you want onto Valduk to make him absolutely massive, then get an army of tokens, then buff them all, and then win. It’s a really fun twist on equipment strategies because it’s still sort of a Voltron strat, but it’s different enough to keep things entertaining, and it also means you’ve got ways to attack outside of just using Valduk directly.

Both of these are a lot of fun to try out and work in similar ways, but with different set-ups and colors. You can also look for commanders like Ghalta, Primal Hunger if you like, as that’s just a big old dinosaur. The aim here isn’t just to win, but to win with a card most people consider to be bad, which is a fun goal to keep in mind, and makes for some really fun builds. We’ll be back next week with another suggestion, but let us know if you try this out in the meantime.

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