The plan is in motion.

Birthing Pod has always been one of my favorite cards, but I rarely got the chance to truly play a Pod deck the way I like. When it was in Standard, it was kind of overshadowed by better decks. When it was in Modern, I was definitely not good enough to build or play it, even when Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker builds were the wave.

That changes today.

Commander is the perfect format for jamming this strategy. Your angles are endless, and you can quite literally customize it to your liking, without losing power. Today, I will attempt to go through the options that I deem fit, specifically for commanders.

What I’m Looking For

For this particular build, I want to build something as aggressive as possible. I don’t need it to be an aggro deck per-se, but once I establish a board, I want to hit, and hit hard. Because of this, I almost certainly want red and green. White is a strong contender, but black might work better due to how good the Golgari creatures can be, as well as the additional removal. With that, I’m going to aggressively look for cards that give me an advantage in combat, via pumping, removal, additional combat phases, or getting rid of blockers.

I’m unsure if I want any sort of hatebear effects outside of the absolutely busted ones, as going further down that route would lean me more towards white. I would like to use my graveyard as a resource. In tandem, any effect that would allow me to gain value from losing a creature via Birthing Pod would be very nice.

I don’t care much for infinite combos, but I’m sure I’ll have one or two of them in there just in case the table decides to just let me do my thing. I am still a firm believer that you should be allowed to win the game as hard as you want if all three of your opponents just let you. This includes deckbuilding decisions and intentionally holding spells. While things like two-card combos are probably not ideal in most environments that aren’t agreed upon, three or four carders are super fair game to me, especially if they’re inherently unprotected.

With that said, here is the short list of commanders I’m eyeing:

Prime Speaker Vannifar

I am a big fan of Vannifar, but I do not think she would be too fitting for a commander. While she does fulfill the pod effect to the exact, she isn’t actually doing anything more than that. While redundancy is great, there are better options for that, while allowing for more color options in the commander slot.

Riku of Two Reflections

Riku might be the most powerful choice in a vacuum. Temur colors are great, it allows double ETB triggers very easily, while also giving some value to the few instants and sorceries you would play, and it’s pretty easy to have it spiral out of control extremely quickly. I don’t have very many bad things to say about it, truly. Being a 2/2 is a bit low for my liking, but it isn’t a dealbreaker as it’s more of a standout roleplayer, as opposed to the star of the show.

Tymna the Weaver / Kodama of the East Tree

These two commanders seem very powerful together in a Pod deck. Tymna is infamous for how much value she generates in high powered Commander and cEDH, and that would not change here, especially with how many mana dorks and low cost enablers I plan on running. Kodama is the slam dunk that I feel that Pod decks lack when combos aren’t being put together. Being able to utilize the early ramp, early card draw, and pay off, all wrapped nicely into two cards, puts this duo very high up on my list, with my only complaint being the lack of red.

Slimefoot and Squee

This commander is kind of whatever to me. Jund commanders aren’t exactly the most exciting for Birthing Pod decks, and this one may be the most powerful, but it just doesn’t do enough for me. I’m sure there are a ton of value plays you can make quite frequently, but I’m just not seeing the light on this one.

Karador, Ghost Chieftain

This one is a lot more my speed! While it can be expensive, a general flow of a game would often make this cost four or five. Doubling up on its value on the back end, or even in the same turn, is a nice kicker, and Abzan is one of the best colors for Pod as well!

I’m unsure what I may end up doing, but I certainly have no shortage of options to choose from. I’m going to give this a very long and hard thought, as what you choose as your commander is just as important to Pod decks as what you’re doing with Pod itself!

Anthony Lowry (they/he) is a seasoned TCG, MMORPG, and FPS veteran. They are extensively knowledgeable on the intricacies of many competitive outlets, and are always looking for a new challenge in the gaming sphere.

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