Beloved by many Magic: the Gathering players, Commander features a whole range of variants, ranging from reconfiguration of most of the format's rules to combinations of it with other forms of play, such as Emperor and Tribal Wars (Or Typal Wars as some wizards of the coast staff have called it).
Yes, Tribal Wars exists/existed as a self-constructed, casual format, originally comprising a 60-card deck that follows the same deck-building rules as Standard, Modern, Legacy, or Vintage, requiring at least one-third of the deck is of a single creature type. Also, the rules vary by locale, as does the banned card list.
Now, when combined with Commander, Tribal Wars assumes its deck building rules and the other rules tend to vary according to the game group, and some of these variations, as well as explanations about reasons for them and the variant rules, have already been discussed right here at Cards Realm, in the article Understanding Commander Tribal Wars: Rules and How It Works.
However, in this and future articles, as well as for the decks presented here, the rules adopted by the EDH Tribal Spelltable group will be considered, namely:
Tribal Wars' Rules
1 - The commander must be from the chosen type or mention the creature type in the card text.
2 – Legendary Changelings will be legal as commanders only for the changeling tribe.
3 – To be configured as tribal/typal, the deck must contain at least 25 creatures that share the same type as the chosen type, not counting the commander. Tribal cards such as instants, sorceries, and other types don't add up to this minimum amount.
4 – Changelings will only be allowed moderately, for those tribes that don't have the necessary support to reach the minimum amount, such as, for example, the Atogs, which have only 12.
5 – Reaching the minimum number of the tribe, it is possible to place other creatures that don't correspond to the same; however, they can never have a higher amount than the chosen type.
6 – Decks can have combos, and 50% (always rounded up) of the combo pieces must be linked to the chosen creature type.
That said, let's see some decks to play this wonderful variant!
Top 10 Decks for Commander Tribal Wars
Considerations and Honorable Mentions
When we talk about “tribal” or "typal" in Magic: The Gathering, it is impossible not to remember the types that are iconic in the game, such as goblins, elves, merfolks or zombies and, considering the obvious choice of decks aimed at them, I preferred to leave them off this list to prioritize creature types that might not be as automatically remembered.
However, this does not mean that such types aren't good, and I leave here the honorable mention to Krenko, Mob Boss as a traditional commander of goblin decks, to Ezuri, Renegade Leader as a Mono Green commander for elves and Lathril, Blade of the Elves as the best elf commander, while Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver and Svyelun of Sea and Sky can be considered excellent commanders for Zombies and Mono Blue for the Merfolks, respectively.
10 – Sethron, Hurloon General: Minotaurs
Here's a deck that doesn't have any big secrets, having a relatively simple game line: make volume and hit, and if all goes well, it will build a good board and hit in almost infinite combat phases, provided by Moraug, Fury of Akoum.
Finally, if you'd like, you can add at least one combo to the deck, with Magar of the Magic Strings.
09 – Immard, The Stormcleaver: Soldiers
It can be said that, along with goblins, elves, merfolks and zombies, soldiers are one of the traditional creature types in the game, being much more associated with the white color. Precisely for that reason and unlike the four other tribes mentioned, we brought a deck from it to our list that is not focused only on that color.
Optional: the tribe currently has another excellent commander, which could be included here in the article, and that is Mono White, in this case, the Myrel, Shield of Argive. Even in the deck presented here, it is found in the 99 cards commanded by Immard, the Stormcleaver, who is also known as Guile, Sonic Soldier.
08 – Edgar, Charmed Groom: Vampires
Yes, Edgar Markov is the main name for commander when we think of vampires, however, he ends up falling into the same obviousness criteria as other commanders.
With that in mind, Edgar, Charmed Groom is a good choice to build something different and that is very consistent, without running the risk of having serious problems with a three-color mana base.
07 - Gishath, Sun's Avatar: Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs! Who doesn't love them? In the case of this list, instead of Zacama, Primal Calamity – which contains the same colors and is much more combo-oriented, the commander Gishath, Sun's Avatar is much more suitable for the theme, a since it allows us to make a much larger volume on the board.
06 – Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist: Cats
Here we have a traditional cat-themed token deck focused on hitting hard.
The commander contributes to generating both a defensive stax on the board, since each opponent can only attack you with one creature in each combat, and an offensive one, reducing the amount of possible blockers of your opponents to just one each combat.
05 – Giada, Font of Hope: Angels
Angels have about 50 commander options, between multicolored and monocolored, but Giada, Font of Hope can be simply absurd!
Entering the board guaranteed on the second turn and potentially the first, not only does she act as ramp, she makes each other angel you control enter the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it for each other angel that you already control. This means that each new angel that lands on the board under your control will enter greater than the last.
In addition, the deck doesn't have trouble with mana colors and has access to at least one other wincondition, such as Aetherflux Reservoir, in addition to having interesting interactions, such as Platinum Angel and Avacyn, Angel of Hope.
04 – Brimaz, Blight of Oreskos: Phyrexians
As Magic's largest creature type, the Phyrexians have a wide variety of possible commanders in all five colors.
With the Phyrexian lord, Grafted Butcher, released in 2023, being black, and with Phyrexian Censor making it possible to hold the board a bit for those without Phyrexian spells, we have the combination as the best choice and Brimaz, Blight of Oreskos as the ideal commander, as it not only allows us to generate plenty of Incubator tokens, but also allows them to grow.
03 – Aegar, the Freezing Flame: Giants
Although we have Giants in every color, and we can build different decks, the Boros versions, with the commander Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas, and Izzet, with Aegar, the Freezing Flame, emerge like the best.
However, while the deck depends a lot on the commander being on the battlefield for something to be done, the same doesn't occur with the version, which, in addition, has an absurd generation of card advantage, hardly running out of cards in the hand and being able to seek the appropriate answers to the situations that arise at the board.
Furthermore, the deck commanded by Aegar, the Freezing Flame has several available paths to victory and can be easily adapted to other environments.
02 – Hamza, Guardian of Arashin: Elephants
This list here not only has the +1/+1 counter theme that is characteristic of the combination, but the commander, Hamza, Guardian of Arashin, takes absurd advantage of this to be cast for only two mana, also making its fellows elephant come into play much easier and faster, so that very heavy creatures such as Terastodon, Sandsteppe Mastodon and Thorn Mammoth now cost only two green mana.
In addition, the deck also manages to protect its creatures from any eventual sweeper, and has the possibility of itself performing a board wiping without losing the creatures themselves – as long as they have at least one counter.
01 – Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm: Dragons
As tempting as it may be to put together a deck commanded by Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm that is more focused on clones and aimed at combing with it, a tribal version is, undoubtedly, very potent and that due to the access to ramp access, counterspells and sweepers, among other protections, such as Cyclonic Rift and Heroic Intervention.
Also, it's always perfectly possible to include in the deck the good old Niv-Mizzet, Parun, Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius accompanied by Curiosity, Ophidian Eye and Tandem Lookout.
Any questions or comments, I'm available in the comments below!