Commander is the most popular MTG format right now. This is largely due to the casual, multiplayer experience the game offers, allowing you to play amongst a group of friends with any cards the game has to offer.
Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to close out a game unless you’re playing at a cEDH level. Infinite combo finishes aren’t to everyone’s liking, and finding ways to win in a more traditional fashion can be more difficult. As such, we are writing this list!
Do note, however, that we will be including common win conditions, even if they are mostly used as a part of combos. Still, we will not be looking at any particular infinite combos (besides maybe the two-card one involving Thassa’s Oracle). Let’s take a look at 10 of the best MTG win conditions in the most popular format!
#11 Jankier Alternate Win Conditions
Magic: the Gathering has a ton of wacky cards that say ‘You Win the Game’ in their text but are pretty hard to pull off. This section is dedicated to some of those cards. A select few, like Hedron Alignment, are impossible to pull off in the Commander format because of the conditions attached. Others, like Simic Ascendency, are needlessly difficult to pull off but feel really good when they work out.
These wacky win conditions are for the unconventional players out there who really want to build something that the rest of their pod isn’t doing. Typically, these win conditions will bog the quality of your deck down if you’re trying to pull them off, but you’re doing it for the style points anyway.
#10 Life Total
Another win condition that generally requires you to power down your deck to meet, life total wins are a lot easier to meet in Commander, but are still challenging to pull off. The weakness of these win conditions is that they give your opponents a lot of time to remove the card before you actually win the game. All of these cards are permanents that want to win on the upkeep, which gives your opponents a whole rotation of the table to either whittle down your life total or remove the offending win condition.
Felidar Sovereign is the most well-known of the alternate win conditions in this category because it can win with your starting life total in Commander. Other cards that fall into this category are Test of Endurance and Celestial Convergence.
#9 Dump All Your Creatures
A new interesting win condition that Wizards of the Coast has been releasing a lot of lately are cards that allow you to dump multiple creatures from your library into play. The World Tree was the first recent example of this, allowing you to cheat all the God cards in your library into play for two mana of each color.
Another one of these cards was released in March of the Machine. Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree allows you to dump all of your Praetor cards into play for ten mana. This is, obviously, a call back to The World Tree. What an amazing, and exciting, piece of flavor!
Finally, with the introduction of Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth comes the wackiest version of this win condition yet: Bilbo, Birthday Celebrant. For five mana, Bilbo offers the opportunity to cheat every creature in your library into play! The catch is that they have to be celebrating Bilbo’s birthday. Oh, and your life total is how old he’s turning. That means you need 111 life. This is much harder to pull off than Felidar Sovereign but, once again, these win conditions tend to be for style points anyway.
#8 Revel in Riches
When Revel in Riches first came out in the Commander, it was a rather difficult win condition to pull off. Fast forward a few years, and Treasure Tokens are everywhere. While this has made winning with Revel in Riches easier than ever, it also means that players will recognize this card as a massive threat.
Dockside Extortionist and Smothering Tithe are some absolutely ludicrous enablers to this win condition. Both of these cards can quickly generate ten treasures on their own. Xorn can accelerate this even further by doubling the amount of Treasure Tokens you create on each instance. This remains true for staples like Doubling Season, Anointed Procession, and Mondrak, Glory Dominus.
The most challenging part of winning with Revel in Riches is not meeting the conditions but instead actually managing to untap with it. Revel of Riches wins on your upkeep, which gives opponents plenty opportunity to blow it up. If they can’t, they will likely resolve to player removal instead.
#7 Field of the Dead/Maze’s End/Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Lands decks are another common theme in the Commander format. There is a ton of Landfall support that can make building and playing these an absolute blast. You have to play lands anyway, so why not win with them?
Field of the Dead is, likely, the most common win condition amongst Land decks. While this one won’t literally win you the game, it can create an endless amount of Zombie tokens that will overrun the rest of the table. Getting seven lands with different names into play is very easy to do in a Singleton format as long as you aren’t running too many Basic Lands.
Maze’s End is a powerful win condition for those interested in trying a Gate-based Commander deck. This archetype got a ton of support from the recently released Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate D&D crossover set. This has made the archetype surprisingly powerful if you’re willing to go all-out.
Valakut, Molten Pinnacle is a pretty common win condition in Modern lands decks. Using an effect that gives your lands all Basic Land types, like Dryad of the Illysian Grove, and Scapeshift, can quickly end the game.
#6 Extra Turns
While this particular win condition is a common one, it’s not one that many players enjoy playing against. While incredibly powerful, decks that abuse these effects can take quite a long time to win in a solitaire-sort of fashion. For many MTG players, this is not the most enjoyable experience for a social format.
Extra Turns, as previously mentioned, allow you to unlock a sort of solitaire style of play where you can ignore your opponents while you try to find your win condition. If your win condition involves copying turns infinitely and attacking with a card like God-Eternal Kefnet, my recommendation would be to resort to an infinite loop. While that may be a more ‘boring’ way to win the game instead of giving yourself a chance of failing, taking a long turn and failing to win is a quick way to annoy other players at your table.
Alternatively, powerful Extra Turn spells like Time Stretch and Expropriate can easily win you the game on the spot. Many will concede as these cards hit the table, but these aren’t a guaranteed wins on their own, either.
Read More: Top 10 Best Mana Dorks in Commander
#5 Torment of Hailfire/Other X Spells
Just like the Channel Fireball strategy of old, one common way to end opponents’ lives is to invest a stupid amount of mana into an X spell and simply blow everyone out. Torment of Hailfire is the most common way to do this, but there are other cards, like Genesis Wave, that can garner a massive advantage or lead to wins on their own.
These win conditions are generally attached to the end of infinite mana combos. If you can cast a Torment of Hailfire large enough, it should theoretically always be capable of ending the game. These are rather common and plentiful in the Commander format, so if this is how you want to win a game of Magic, there should be a ton of ways to do it. Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal generally needs some other mana rocks to support it, but that is a very common example of an infinite combo involving infinite mana.
#4 Craterhoof Behemoth/Overrun Effects
If you want to win by attacking with creatures, like Richard Garfield intended, Overrun effects are your best bet. Unfortunately, creating a board massive enough on its own is rather difficult because of how quickly other win conditions can shut the door. Because of that, many MTG players fall back on buffs that will turn your board of creatures into an instant annihilation machine.
While Craterhoof Behemoth is the most common and debatably strongest win condition that falls into this category, there are a series of cards that achieve the same thing. The new Nissa, Ascended Animist, is a fantastic example of this sort of effect. End-Raze Forerunners, is another great example on a budget.
#3 Empty Deck Win Conditions
Thassa’s Oracle, Jace Wielder of Mysteries, and Laboratory Maniac are all incredibly common win condition in Commander. They’re also pretty anticlimactic, and many Commander players may not be too fond of them.
The power level of these cards can vary greatly. At Commander’s most competitive tables, Thassa’s Oracle and Demonic Consultation is a three-mana two-card combination that can win games on the spot. This combo has risen Thassa’s Oracle to the peak of infamy.
If you want to tone these win conditions down, you should, generally, do so by making the turn you’re aiming to win later. Self-mill decks that win on turns 10-15 can still promote a lot of interactive gameplay, while a turn-three win can cut a lot of games short.
#2 Dockside Extortionist
Some may not think of Dockside Extortionist as a win condition. It’s true that, in a void, Dockside Extortionist won’t do anything much, but it’s straightforward to win the game with the amount of advantage that the card creates. If you start Blinking the Extortionist, the sheer amount of mana it creates can easily become a win condition.
While many decks will include tutors who can search for this card or will simply use it to accelerate their position, Dockside Extortionist’s immediate advantage is powerful enough to be considered a win condition – usually with a bit of build-around. It’s really easy to win the game after resolving this card. Just make sure you have a meaningful way to use the advantage it creates.
#1 Ad Nauseum
Another card that cannot win the game on its own, but Ad Nauseum is, arguably, one of the best cards in the Commander format. If someone actually manages to resolve an Ad Nauseum, its incredibly unlikely that player isn’t winning before their next turn ends. Good cards that don’t have high mana values combined with a life total of 40 allows Ad Nauseum to draw absurdly deep into your Commander deck. Its not uncommon to draw 20 or more cards!
This card is so powerful that an entire archetype is dedicated to it in cEDH. If someone tries to resolve an Ad Nauseum, try your best not to let it resolve. If you’re considering using this to break the newly recognized Oathbreaker format, you may want to check out their ban list.