In today’s edition of Legion’s Landing, Kristen takes you through five of the best lieutenants your Commander could ask for. These solid options are the Gabrielle to your Xena; the Garrus to your Commander Shepard; the Robin to your Batman. Art by ArlMuffin.

No great hero (or villain!) has gotten anywhere without a trusty sidekick or two. Whilst your deck might revolve around your Commander, it’s the 99 that do most of the heavy lifting. There are always cards that you secretly wish to draw into more than others, though, and it’s these cards that help to shape a deck and give it more of an identity.

Today, I’d like to take a break from the release cycle to look back at a mechanic that I’d love to see more of in future releases. Lieutenant is an ability that grants an effect as long as you control both your Commander and the creature granting the Lieutenant ability. There’s no Shepard without Vakarian, after all.

Honorable Mentions


Before we get into it good and proper, there are two loyal subordinates that merit a mention. Bastion Protector ($7) and Bloodsworn Steward ($1) don’t have the ability we’re looking for, but they do serve as great partners in crime if your Commander has access to Red or White.

Indestructible and Haste are two of the most exciting keywords you can have on a Commander, and granting them to yours if they don’t have it built-in is a strong play. What’s more, you’ll also get +2/+2 for your troubles. The colors that can play these cards will really enjoy the extra damage. These two do a lot of work for me in decks that center around Commander damage—think Sylvia Brightspear & Khorvath Brightflame or Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale. The indestructible works well in decks that have Commanders that enable lockdowns, like in a Captain Sisay or Shalai, Voice of Plenty Stax-based build.

5. Stormsurge Kraken, $3.00

Stormsurge Kraken feels at home in Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle, but has definitely earned a place in a lot of other stompy decks that want to have their Commander in play. This thing swings for a chunk of damage, and is hard to remove to boot. A 7/7 blocker already does good work, but it attacks very well—if your opponent wants to put a blocker in the way, most of the time they’ll be throwing something under the kraken-shaped bus as well as giving you the two cards you asked for.

4. Loyal Apprentice, $0.50

Look at this guy—he wants to make you happy! Made famous on Game Knights by the great DJ in his Akiri, Line Slinger & Tymna the Weaver Mardu artifacts deck, the Loyal Apprentice fits best in decks wanting to abuse artifacts with a low cost Commander. The 1/1 flyers are some of the best tokens around—they block for days, get snapped up by Skullclamp, and in this case, give you artifacts to fuel anything from Metalcraft to extra turns from Time Sieve. Definitely an underrated card.

3. Tyrant’s Familiar, $0.70


Nothing gets me quite so hot under the collar as a seven drop with Flying and Haste; guaranteeing that we at least get to try to go to combat before our opponents have a chance to dismantle our board is something I can get behind. Tyrant’s Familiar, provided we control our Commander, is Glorybringer‘s scarier older broodmate. Swinging in for seven and removing all but the sturdiest of defences with a massive seven damage fireball is nutty, but you do get what you pay for.

If this didn’t have Haste, it wouldn’t be on my radar. Tyrant’s Familiar is perfect for Gruul stompy builds, Dragon tribal, or mono-red if you have a Commander that’s likely to stay on the table. My favorite places to put this are in Xenagos, God of Revels, The Ur-Dragon, and Sylvia & Khorvath.

2. Loyal Drake, $0.30


What’s better than drawing cards? Not much. Loyal Drake is a great investment. For three mana, even if you get two cards out of it, you’re happy. Chances are that your Commander will eat removal before this little guy, but as you’re in the right colors, you might be able to prevent that from happening anyway.

There isn’t much out there that’ll give you a free second card per turn for only three mana, so for that reason, I love Loyal Drake. I’ve found it’s worked great in Geist of Saint Traft, but honestly? It can go pretty much anywhere and give you some value.

1. Thunderfoot Baloth, $3.00


Crashing in to the top spot is another one of Green’s mini-Craterhoof Behemoth effects—though to call this thing miniature would be a mistake. Overrun effects are always great, and being able to share the love for as long as this thing is on the battlefield is potent. At worst, Thunderfoot Baloth is a six-mana 5/5 trampler that eats removal so your Commander doesn’t have to.

The tales of your mighty battles might live on in your playgroup, but where will they be recorded for eternity?


One final card worth mentioning is Tome of Legends. It was featured in the Throne of Eldraine Wild Bounty Brawl deck, and can be currently ordered for around $5. It’s a great pickup for any deck with Partner Commanders, or any deck with a cheap Commander that wants to be attacking every turn, that doesn’t already have access to strong reliable card draw. I think this is better than it looks.

Mechanically speaking, the Lieutenant ability is open to a wealth of design space, particularly for introducing slightly more powerful effects to colors that need them—jumping through a few extra hoops might be what White needs to draw more cards, for instance. More than that, though, I think Lieutenant opens itself up to great flavor exploration. Printing uncommon versions of Legendary Creatures that compliment Commanders, for example, would be an excellent way of exploring this space. I’m really hoping to see this ability make a return one day!

That’s it for today. What decks do you play these cards in? Have I inspired you to try one of them out? Who are the best squadmates of all time? Hit me up on Twitter to continue the discussion.

Kristen is a lover of both Limited and Commander, and can most often be found championing the Boros Legion when called upon to sit down and shuffle up. Based in the UK, she works as a software developer, and her love for the Legion is second only to her appreciation for Lord of the Rings and Mass Effect.

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