Magic: the Gathering


Top 5 Best Commanders for Group Hug

, updated , Comment regular icon0 comments

In this article, we discuss the five best commanders for Group Hug, a fun strategy which has been rising in popularity on Commander.

Writer image

translated by Romeu

Edit Article

What's up guys, how's it going? Lots of fun with your colorful cardboards? Yes, fun, a keyword in the Magic-playing experience that many forget in favor of winning. Even when we elaborate on completely casual formats, such as EDH at friends' houses, this concept is often forgotten in search of the imaginary podium of the best cardboard player at the kitchen table.

Fortunately, there are some players who remember this and in their decks they carry cards capable of overflowing joy and fun across the field, bringing smiles to players. As long as those players are themselves.


What is Group Hug?

Group Hug is a strategy that involves bringing global effects to the field with properties that generate a false symmetry. For example, let's look at Tidal Barracuda, a card that allows spells of all players to have Flash. At first glance it seems beneficial to everyone, making spells, creatures, and others even more deadly. However, the fish has a second effect, which is that no player can cast spells during your turn, giving you immunity.

Using cards that seek to maintain this type of effect, we can create interesting policies at the table and situations that last during the game, allowing us to use advantageous situations for everyone, but even more so for us.

In this article, we'll look at the best options for creating decks that deal with this feeling of being a Good Samaritan, with the biggest beneficiary behind it being you. As Lao-Tzu said, we must keep our friends close and our enemies closer.

Honorable Mention - Zedruu the Greathearted

Loading icon

The very name of Zedruu the Greathearted already shows the philosophy we should follow. To be sincere in kindness and prodigal in resources, with a great heart. Unfortunately, this Minotaur is at the bottom of our list, as despite being a card with good options to build on the Group Hug strategy, this is not exactly his strong point.

Still, with its unique ability to give control of our cards to our opponents, we can find ways to utilize it in strategy, even among the other ninety-nine cards in the deck. With Zedruu, the best idea is to always put your cards to work for others, but even more for you.

Honorable Mention - Phelddagrif

Loading icon

Phelddagrif is a card that has one of the favorite illustrations of many players, but unfortunately, it won't formally make the list due to its lack of higher impact abilities on the battlefield and with the deck.

Even having the best colors for strategy and giving small tips to the opponent, the hippopotamus alone doesn't sustain itself on the battlefield, being at best mediocre. If you want to use the Bant combo for your Group Hug EDH Estrid, the Masked is much more advisable, as it defends your enchantments, card types that are normally the foundation of your deck.

Fifth place - Xyris, the Writhing Storm

Loading icon

How I like this one! Temur is my favorite color combination. No wonder my happiness to be able to play with my favorite colors in my favorite archetype.

Xyris, the Writhing Storm interact little with the board, instead we will look for 1v1 interactions with other players, through negotiation and diplomacy, while using powerful cards like Propaganda, Rites of Flourishing and Rite of the Raging Storm, powerful strategy tools to strengthen our board.

With strong draw acceleration, coupled with a generous Token engine, it's possible to waste a few hours with this commander, to create an elixir of friendship in the form of a deck of 100 cards ready to be played with your friends.


Fourth Place - Breena, the Demagogue

Loading icon

Evolving the Xyris, the Writhing Storm concept of making diplomatic exchanges between you and another player, Breena, the Demagogue allows everyone to interact at the same time, with conversations and exchanges that allow everyone to benefit and focus on the strongest at the table.

Being able to defend yourself with cards like Inkshield and Ghostly Prison, and promote an abundance of resources on the board with cards like Master of Ceremonies and Duelist's Heritage, it's pretty easy to use this owl to help people on their plans.

Not only does Breena allow your friends to draw multiple cards when they attack the right person, who we'll guarantee isn't you, but it also allows you to draw these cards when you're the attacker, as well as adding +1/+1 counters to your creatures. All this makes her, if there is dedication in the decklist, grow up and have a huge presence in the board.

Loading icon

Third Place - Mathas, Fiend Seeker

Loading icon

Here we have the most distinctive choice on our list, with an even more peculiar color scheme than the last position. Amazingly, Mardu is a very versatile selection of colors with which I've even built a Stax, and now I'm looking to build a Group Hug.

First, Mathas, Fiend Seeker's ability of placing bounty counters synergizes directly with the Bounty Hunter card. From there, it's easy to use this commander's abilities to distribute draws to your opponents, and you, to make a good impression at the table. With this, you can use cards like Life of the Party to fill your opponents' boards, and Orzhov Advokist to help their creatures grow, while you gain certain immunities. Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant also helps you and target players draw cards.

Mathas is arguably the least orthodox on this list, and the one with the most room for speculation, ideas, and machinations. In the end, we'll see that this group-hugging vampire should really be called "Mathas, Friend Seeker."

Second Place - Gluntch, the Bestower

Loading icon

After thinking it through and talking about several possible experiments, we returned to the traditional and more obvious Group Hug, which gives several global buffs.

At first glance, Gluntch, the Bestower might look a lot like Phelddagrif thanks to its abilities that give resources directly to the opponent. The difference between both is that while the hippo gave resources individually, for a fee and only to opponents, compensating the activation of one of the abilities that grew and protected only it, Gluntch simply gives them all at once at the end of the turn. . On top of that, they are much more significant and if you want to be the receptacle of whichever one you want.

From there, we build a very linear, but still solid, Group Hug. Promise of Loyalty, Shizuko, Caller of Autumn and Flumph, all go well with this deck. Gluntch's big takeaway is that your opponents will want its bonuses at the end of their turn, and will avoid interacting negatively with you to do so.


With Gluntch, the Bestower, you will be in a position of provider and social center at the table and, in the long run, all plays will go through your decision with a wait for approval from other players if the deck is well-played.

Loading icon

First Place - Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis

Loading icon

At no time, since I decided to write this article, did I intend to put another card in the first place of this Top 5. In addition to enjoying the position of using four excellent colors for the Group Hug strategy, it has an effect similar to that of Gluntch, the Bestower, which triggers at the end of turn.

The main difference is that this effect affects all players, not just the ones you choose, making your stay even more welcome by everyone at the table. In addition, this wonderful couple has a much higher toughness, and a bit of power too, which makes it very interesting as a blocker.

After that, it's time to put cards in the deck, something that's not a problem when you have four colors to build. Want to put Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist, a very interesting draw engine in blue and red colors? You can! How about Oath of Lieges that makes everyone ramp? Of course yes! Pir's Whim, a green card that you can aggregate for your teammates and screw those who oppose you? Put it on the deck!

Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis are the most powerful commanders for this strategy. Both for the range of cards they cover, for their globally powerful effect, their ability to defend themselves and as icing on the cake, they are also a symbol used by many players in the LGBTQIA+ community in Magic. A powerful card and, undoubtedly, the best Group Hug commander!

Loading icon

I want to try it out!

Loading icon

A good friend of mine showed up with a Thantis, the Warweaver commander on the table once. It was a fun game, but I couldn't help but wonder how much it could be used for more nefarious purposes, like a Group Hug deck, maybe mixing it with a Goad sub-theme.

Some Group Hug cards present in the unnamed colors that fit well are Frenzied Saddlebrute to encourage your opponents to attack each other. Revenge of Ravens works as a brake for opponents with numerous little creatures, since we don't have Propaganda or Ghostly Prison. And if the opponent doesn't have any small threats, Varchild, Betrayer of Kjeldor, Goblin Spymaster and Grismold, the Dreadsower are perfect for giving tokens to your opponents, who will think twice before attacking you with them.

I'm going to work on my future Thantis, the Warweaver deck for Group Hug, and maybe one day I'll talk more about it.