MTG saw a huge number of new legendary cards printed in 2022. A grand total of 347 new legendary creatures debuted in the year, and that figure rises to 389 if you include digital Alchemy exclusive legends. These legendary creatures came in all shapes and sizes, across all manner of color identities. 128 of these 347 new Commanders are mono-color.
Running a mono-color deck in commander can be tricky but rewarding as well. Red is terrible at destroying enchantments outside of Chaos Warp. Blue can counter and bounce cards for days but struggles with direct removal, and the less said about White’s card draw, the better. These limitations make deck building more challenging but also more enjoyable. You need to learn to enhance your color’s strengths while playing around its weaknesses.
Let’s explore the five mono-color Commanders from 2022, which rose to the top, and became the most popular choices.
To do this, we will use EDHREC, an online database dedicated to monitoring the Commander format. EDHREC gathers deck lists from sites such as Moxfield and Aetherhub and records how many decks each Commander has to their name.
According to the data EDHREC has gathered, these are the most popular commanders from 2022 for each color. They’re Ranked in order of their popularity, based on the number of decks they lead as of 08/01/2023.
5. Jaxis, the Troublemaker – 974 decks
A boxer from the rough streets of New Capenna, Jaxis, the Troublemaker is a mono-red cloning commander. For four mana, Jaxis is a 2/3 human warrior who allows you to discard a card in order to create a token copy of one of your creatures. This token is sacrificed during your end step, but you get to draw a card when it dies. Although Jaxis does have Blitz, it’s probably best not to use this effect when playing her from the command zone. The commander tax still applies, and you’ll only get her for a single turn.
When building a Jaxis deck, you’ll want to grab cards with powerful enter the battlefield abilities and powerful death triggers. You can clone Atsushi, the Blazing Sky to get three treasures every turn or a card like Fanatic of Mogis to get a repeatable source of direct damage.Solemn Simulacrum, already a commander staple, is even more effective in Jaxis decks because you’ll be able to get its ramp and its draw effect on the same time.
4. Kosei, Penitent Warlord -1084 decks
Kosei is a classic Voltron-style commander. Give him a Blackblade Reforged and a Forced Adaptation and send him out to fight. Make sure you keep some protective cards like Swiftfoot Boots and Spider Umbra around to protect Kosei from removal spells. Finally, make sure that you’ve got lots of ways to grant Kosei trample like Rancor and Ring of Kalonia to ensure that his damage always gets through, even when he’s blocked.
3. Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant – 1308 decks
This Phyrexian Praetor is a mean, mean card. Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant copies the first artifact, instant, or sorcery spell, which you cast each turn and counters the first instant, sorcery, or artifact each one of your opponents casts. Fair warning that playing Jin-Gitaxias, or even just showing up with the card in your command zone, may immediately turn you into the arch-enemy of your playgroup.
Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant is powerful because he’s frustrating to remove. Any opponent who wants to kill the praetor will likely need to waste a spell before they can target him. He also prevents the first counterspell each opponent attempts to cast in a turn from working, which is a nice bonus.
As a Commander, Jin-Gitaxias is quite freeform and versatile. His doubling effect works equally well in a spellslinger deck, an artifact deck, or some combination of the two themes. Doubling effects allow you to do some absolutely devastating late-game plays, like cloning a Blightsteel Colossus or infuriating everybody by casting two Expropriates at once.
2. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse – 3117 decks
The second Phyrexian Praetor on our list, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, debuted in Dominaria United and is a force to be reckoned with. A 4/5 for four mana, Sheoldred has Deathtouch, alongside two powerful effects. Whilst Sheoldred is in play, whenever you draw a card, you gain two life, and whenever an opponent draws a card, they lose two life.
Sheoldred has two incredibly powerful combos with other cards. Combining Sheoldred with Peer into the Abyss is essentially a guaranteed instant kill on an opponent of your choice. Using Sheoldred in conjunction with Lich’s Mastery allows you to draw your entire deck the next time you draw a card. This doesn’t cause you to lose due to self-mill because Lich’s Mastery prevents you from losing the game.
Whether you exploit these combos or not, Sheoldred makes for a formidable commander.
1. Giada, Font of Hope – 5717 decks
Anybody who has ever called mono-white weak in Commander has never played against Giada, Font of Hope. An Angel tribal commander from Streets of New Capenna, Giada is a two-mana 2/2 with vigilance and flying. Giada acts as a mana dork for your other Angels and gives them +1/+1 counters when they enter play for each Angel you already control.
Giada’s game plan is simple but effective. Load your deck with powerful Angels from Magic’s history like Lyra, Dawnbringer and Avacyn, Angel of Hope, swarm the skies, and win the game.
Read More: Top 6 Best MTG cards of 2022