My Top Five Downshifted Commanders From Commander Masters - Shower Thoughts

Benjamin Levin • September 28, 2023

Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle | Illustrated by Even Amundsen
Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma | Illustrated by Svetlin Velinov

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Shower Thoughts, the budget Commander series that proves that Magic isn't pay-to-win. This week I'll be reviewing and ranking my picks for the top five downshifted commanders from Commander Masters. As always, I'll include a list of key budget cards you should add if you decide to build these commanders. Don't forget to vote for the next deck tech you want to see down below.

#5 - Taigam, Sidisi's Hand

This commander first appeared in the Commander 2017 Wizard precon, and at the time of writing they only helm 310 decks and are only in 2,137 decks, which seems insanely low to me. This commander is an amazing card advantage engine and removal that you have access to from your command zone. I do wish their effect replaced all draws like Underrealm Lich for more value, but you can still abuse this effect with cards like Brainstorm, Taigam's Scheming, and Ponder to manipulate the top of your library. If you want to try this unique commander out, I'd recommend building Dimir reanimator. Even on a budget, there are some incredibly po00000000werful reanimation targets and spells. We have Sphinx of the Second Sun, which will let you repeat the Taigam's effect; Sire of Stagnation, to annoy those pesky Landfall decks; and finally, Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, to turn off other players' hands.

My biggest issue with Taigam is how expensive mana-wise they are. Dimir isn't known for its ability to ramp, so if Taigam gets removed enough, it can be a problem for the deck. However, they're still an interesting commander that provides powerful card advantage and a unique play style, which is why I put them at the number five spot.

Key budget cards to include: Araumi of the Dead Tide, Psychic Possession, Persist, Dread Return, Demon of Dark Schemes

#4 - Akiri, Fearless Voyager

When building Equipment decks, people think of Voltron strategies, but Akiri doesn't want to suit just herself up; instead, she wants an army of equipped creatures to swing in with. While you could still play Equipment like Loxodon Warhammer or Argentum Armor, you should prioritize Equipment with low mana value and a cheap equip cost, and you'll need to have enough creatures to hold these weapons. Personally, I like the idea of having a Goblin sub-theme in the deck to generate tokens, but you can go with any strategy you'd like, just so long as you have enough creatures. Another thing Equipment decks like having are protection spells. Thankfully, Akiri provides that protection; you'll just have to unequip something from the creature to keep it alive, but this is a small price to pay for the card advantage Akiri will provide.

It was a close battle between Akiri and number three on my list. The reason I decided to put her at number four was the lack of a win con from the command zone. Yes, you could try to suit her up and knock people out with commander damage, but I think there are better commanders for that gameplan. I'd still recommend her if you want to try a more unique Equipment commander.

Key budget cards to include: Danitha Capashen, Paragon, Forge Anew, Nahiri, Forged in Fury, Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden, Mask of Memory

#3 - Melek, Izzet Paragon

Izzet commanders are generally known for their ability to sling spells and create massive value, and Melek is no exception to this rule. Melek, while still a general spellslinger commander, has a unique play pattern compared to the likes of Veyran, Voice of Duality or Mizzix of the Izmagnus. Instead of loading your deck with copy spells, which you should also do here, you can easily copy whatever cards are on top of your library, so you get massive benefits from cheap spells like Brainstorm, Ponder, or Preordain that set the top of your library. A quick rules note: whenever you draw any numbe of cards with Melek in play, each of those cards will have to be shown to your opponents since they are technically on the top for a brief period.

Melek just barely beat out Akiri for the number three spot because it's possible to win the game on the turn you cast Melek given the right set-up and the value from copying spells, so give this Weird Wizard a whirl!

Key budget cards to include: Thousand-Year Storm, Galvanoth, Mizzix, Replica Rider, Harmonic Prodigy, Treason of Isengard

#2 - Judith, the Scourge Diva

If you love sacrificing creatures and putting on a fabulous show, I have just the commander for you! Despite this downshift, she's still a powerhouse that can perform at high-powered tables. Her second ability is where she really shines as a commander. Since she's the one dealing the damage, you can infect people out of the game with Tainted Strike or turn her into removal and life gain with Basilisk Collar. In order to use her ability you'll need creatures to sacrifice, specifically nontoken creatures. There are obvious picks, such as Reassembling Skeleton, Bloodsoaked Champion, and Gutterbones, but if you're able to gain enough life Blood Artist effects, give Silversmote Ghoul a try.

Judith earns her number two spot thanks to being a cheap win condition from the command zone. You can choose to play her early as a value card or hold onto her until you assemble a win condition. While she isn't as flashy as other commanders, she does her job well and sometimes that's all you can ask for.

Key budget cards to include: Viscera Seer, Totentanz, Swarm Piper, Mahadi, Emporium Master, Squee, the Immortal, Squee, Goblin Nabob

#1 - Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle

Do you like eggs? No, I don't mean the ones from animals, I mean the artifact eggs. For the uninitiated, eggs are cheap artifacts that can be sacrificed to draw a card. The name comes from the original cycle of eggs from Odyssey. Teshar wants your deck full of Conjurer's Bauble, Candy Trail, and Mishra's Bauble effects. If it's a cheap artifact you can sacrifice, put it in the deck. You'll also want to include creatures that you can recur for value. From the goodest boy, Spirited Companion for card draw to Cathar Commando for repeated removal. Now, you might be thinking: how can we win with strategy? Well, a quick search on Commander Spellbook provides us with a wide range of combos to win. Most of the combos use Blasting Station as a way to deal damage. I also like the idea of winning with infinite copies of Astral Steel. And of course, you can use Approach of the Second Sun, a boring-but-reliable win condition.

Teshar earned the number one spot thanks to their ability to play as a fast combo deck and a mid-range value pile. While they aren't a win condition like Judith or Melek, the repeatable value they provide simply too good to pass up.

Key budget cards to include: Oswald Fiddlebender, Benevolent Bodyguard, Myr Retriever, Circuit Mender, Sevinne's Reclamation

Honorable Mentions

Before we wrap this up, I wanted to go over some honorable mentions. These commanders are still powerful but failed to make it into my top five.

Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma: This Bear is the embodiment of mono-green stompy. It helps ramp you into big threats while giving your board trample when it attacks. While this ability is strong, I find the linear play pattern to be boring after a few games, but if you love playing big stompy things, Goreclaw is a great option.

Padeem, Consul of Innovation: If you want a mono-blue artifact commander that isn't going to get you killed right away, give Padeem a try. They do give your artifacts hexproof, which is nice, but the card draw effect doesn't happen until your upkeep and you need the highest mana value artifact for it. I'd recommend this commander if you don't want to play Urza, Lord High Artificer, but if you're looking for a more interesting commander, Drafna, Founder of Lat-Nam is a good option.

Kemba, Kha Regent: I happen to love mono-white Equipment decks, and Kemba is an interesting commander. My biggest issue with her is that it's an upkeep trigger, so make sure to cast her when you have protection spells ready to go; otherwise, she'll quickly become prohibitively expensive to cast. However, I do love her in the 99 of Akiri, Fearless Voyager to generate tokens.


What are your thoughts on these downshifted commanders? Personally, I think each of them deserves their lower rarity mostly due to power creep. And yes, I know rarity is also considered when creating a Limited format, which I'm sure was a factor in their rarity downshift too. But remember, just because a commander is uncommon doesn't mean it is bad, so next time you want to brew a new deck, give one of these commanders a shot.

Make sure to vote for the next deck tech you want to see.

This has been another installment of BathroomBrews; make sure to check out my YouTube channel, BathroomBrewsMTG, for weekly MTG content and the accompanying video. Also, make sure to check out my Patreon at if you want to take your support further.

Ben has been playing Magic since 2012 and started creating Magic the Gathering content in October of 2022 on YouTube under the name BathroomBrewsMTG ( Primarily focusing on budget EDH content. When he isn't thinking or talking about MTG, he is usually playing video games, spending time with his wife or playing with his two cats. You can find him on Twitter @BathroomMTG.