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MTG Commander/Elder Dragon Highlander • View topic - Most popular commanders--what links them?

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 Post subject: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-09 9:10 am 

Joined: 2011-Jan-03 4:23 pm
Age: Drake
Somehow, I decided to take a look at which commanders broke the 600 limit on EDHRec (which reads every deck on TappedOut and Deckbox). I thought it might give me a glimpse into what commanders were in demand, and perhaps why.

I wasn't expecting to find forty commanders who fit the bill (my own commanders of choice--Jenara, Yasova, Vorel, and Rashmi--don't really break 400). Nor the sheer number of decks that are headed by the top of that list. Showing the top ten...

10. (951)
9. (954)
8. (969)
7. (986)
6. (1025)
5. (1113)
4. (1150)
3. (1415)
2. (1451)
1. (1603)

I'll admit, I was boggled by Atraxa getting so popular in such a short span of time. What I'm wondering is what these commanders' secret is--particularly Atraxa's.


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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-09 11:18 am 

Joined: 2015-Jan-14 2:58 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Power and flexibility.

All three of the top commanders have strong abilities that go off each of your turns. Those abilities contribute to, but do not define, your game plan. Atraxa is equally at home leading infect, Superfriends, +1/+1 counters, Energy, or value counters. Most of those categories have multiple directions they can go, meaning further variety. I have a reasonably tuned Atraxa Superfriends deck and a fairly janky Atraxa Energy Deck myself. They don't share more than a handful of non-land cards aside from Atraxa (Edit: six - two mana rocks, three wraths, and ), but both are strongly supported by her.


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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-10 2:50 am 
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Joined: 2009-Aug-20 7:49 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: New Hampshire

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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-10 3:48 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-10 4:45 am 
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I find it entertaining that Wizards wanted to avoid the whole "Mind Seize" deck issue and I can't seem to find Atraxa in my immediate area, except for my LGS, which is selling her deck for $50. Woo!


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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-10 2:35 pm 

Joined: 2017-Jan-02 6:17 am
Age: Hatchling
Also with Atraxa, once you get her on the board you don't have to do anything for her ability to work. Just protect her and she does the work for you. Most others, you have to pay a cost or attack with them to do anything special.


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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-10 4:26 pm 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I have an Atraxa, but didn't play it in one my weekly events. My first pod was Atraxa v. Atraxa v. Atraxa v. me.

Just throwing that out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-10 6:08 pm 

Joined: 2015-Apr-23 11:27 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
I think that what makes a general popular, is that he/she/it actually does something interesting for the deck, instead of just being a support card. When you put at the hem of an all Legendary deck, she makes the deck work. doesn't make a deck work, it just bothers opponents. Atraxa obviously can do cool things for many strategies

What I don't understand, is that there. How is this guy popular? Seems to always do what the card shows, big guy in a lazy chair not really bothering to actually do something but pillowforting.


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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-11 12:52 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA

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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-11 12:53 am 

Joined: 2009-Apr-21 3:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Palm Springs Area, CA

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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-11 1:43 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
What links them?

10. Marchesa, the Black Rose uBr
9. Kaalia of the Vast wBr
8. Narset, Enlightened Master wur
7. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (986) uBg
6. Prossh, Skyraider of Kher Brg
5. Breya, Etherium Shaper wuBr
4. Nekusar, the Mindrazer uBr
3. Meren of Clan Nel Toth Bg
2. Oloro, Ageless Ascetic wuB
1. Atraxa, Praetors' Voice wuBg

The exception being the Hexproof first striker that lets you cast spells for free.

Staying in stats for a second, each colour has a maximum of 10 possible instances in the top 10. Here's what it actually looks like
White 5
Blue 7
Black 9
Red 5
Green 4

Blue and Black retaining their dominance, though it's a small sample size. I wonder how those breakdowns would look for the top 100?

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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-11 3:01 am 

Joined: 2008-Jan-25 8:26 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Calgary
I wonder how much those colour stats change when you multiply by the number of decks instead of just the number of appearances in the top 10 ranking.

(a little spreadsheet time later)

Green remains in last place
Red slightly edges out White
Blue is still second
Black is still first

In other words, no real difference.

Also curious how that would change over a larger sample size. I feel like a lot of discussion is had on how overly popular and powerful U/G decks are. These numbers suggest otherwise.

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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-11 4:11 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-12 12:46 am 

Joined: 2016-Feb-13 2:14 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Orlando, Florida


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 Post subject: Re: Most popular commanders--what links them?
AgePosted: 2017-Jan-12 3:39 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-16 5:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
I am unsurprised to find the 2013 commanders among them (Prossh, Nekusar, Oloro), as I consider them the most powerful block of Commander ever printed.

The rest... I think the common aspect is that nearly all of them allow you to cheat some rules in some way. Whether you get something (or many things) for free.

I'll be honest though; I'm not sure what Breya is doing there. I bet her popularity drops off precipitously.

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