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Jun 04 2015

A Casual Guide to Generals: Part 2 – Mono White Commanders

In this second part of this series, I will continue our journey through the mono-white generals that are available to use as a general in EDH/Commander. This is a pretty big list, and the first part of this series covered a little over a 1/3 of all the available mono-white generals. As before, I will offer my opinion on the card as a general and some thoughts on how it might be played, then will sum up the card with a letter grade ranging from A-E.

Kataki, War’s Wage

Well this card offers a very powerful effect against artifacts, meaning that it can become very difficult to keep many artifacts on the board. As a lot of artifacts tend to get played in EDH, this can be a very desirable effect. But do i want this effect as my general? I don’t think so; I think this is probably far too narrow an effect to build around, and without that effect this is just a 2/1 for 2 CMC, which really isn’t good in EDH> This could make a really sweet addition to the 99 in some metas, but as the general this is bad.

General Grade D-

Kemba, Kha Regent EDH Deck

Kemba, Kha Regent

This Cat Cleric is a pretty decent package straight off the bat, with a 2/4 body for 3 CMC that has a very cool build around effect attached to her that gives 2/2 Cat tokens for every piece of equipment attached to Kemba every turn! If you like running equipment, or you are looking for a token generating general then Kemba looks a really good bet. With all the good equipment that can be played in EDH I would certainly be happy to add some to a deck to get free tokens. Good as part of the 99, good as a general, a very cool card.

General Grade A-

Kentaro, the Smiling Cat

A 2/1 body for 2 CMC is not a good deal to start off with as your general. Sure this guy has Bushido 1 (making him a 3/2 when blocked or blocking…. wow), but this still doesn’t lift him from the doldrums. Finally he has an ability to play Samurai for rather than paying their coloured mana…. which has so little effect in EDH, due to the colour restrictions. He could make the 99 in a Samurai themed deck, especially one that uses , but there is no Samurai general that isn’t mono coloured. All in all Kentaro is a terrible general, and a rather narrow inclusion in the 99. Cool art though!

General Grade D-

Kiyomaro, First to Stand

Oh dear, this is a pretty bad card and I am not afraid to put my marker down early on it. To get the Vigilance you need 4 cards in hand, and to get the Lifegain you need seven. If you are playing this as your general you will be mono-white and thus will struggle to draw enough cards to activate these abilities, and even if you do, it hardly seems worth it. Might be useful as a Lifegain general, but I think even in those decks there are much better choices. Give this one a miss.

General Grade E

Konda, Lord of Eiganjo

Now this guy is a serious barrier. Whilst he is very expensive at , he comes in as a 3/3 with Vigilance that is Indestructible. On top of that he becomes an 8/8 when blocked or blocking, which is huge! Using Konda might not be the most interesting choice for a general, as he doesn’t do anything radical, but what he does do, he does very well. A big beater, tough to remove without spending a card, and can help stabilize you to do other, more interesting things. Seems like a pretty decent deal to me.

General Grade B-

Kongming, “Sleeping Dragon”

A pretty straightforward choice as a general. A 2/2 body for 4 CMC isn’t great, but it comes with a Glorious Anthem stapled onto it. This isn’t the biggest effect ever but it is certainly a respectable boss and definitely affects the board. Is this enough for Kongming to be my general? Honestly, no it’s not. There are creatures that give me more than this, but I certainly would turn my nose up if I saw this across the table from me. Kongming certainly makes a decent choice as one of the 99 in any creature strategy mono-white deck, and he is a pretty cool if straightforward card.

General Grade C

Lieutenant Kirtar

This one could be an interesting choice. As a Bird Soldier, Kirtar has great tribal choice and he is a 2/2 flyer for only so he has a good cost attached to him. What really makes him interesting is the ability to spend and sacrifice Kirtar to exile target attacking creature. With Kirtar as your general you would have a repeatable, if increasingly expensive, way to exile a creature as long as it attacks you. What is more, this threat is always available to you, and the ever present threat of it gives you a pretty handy defensive nuclear option. If you have some strategy that requires time to build up, then Kirtar is a pretty cool general as he gives you a real defensive threat. Once again he makes a useful addition to the 99, but for once he is much better as a general than a normal 99 card.

General Grade B

Lin Sivvi EDH Deck

Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero

Full disclosure time: I love Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero, and I have an EDH deck where she is the general. I will try not to let this colour my view!

Lin’s 1/3 body for 3 CMC is definitely below average, you never want to play her just for her body. However she has two activated abilities that you certainly do play her for. The first ability is and tap to tutor out up a Rebel that has a CMC of , which can be very powerful in EDH, allowing you to find the creature or Tribal spell you need. The second ability is to put target Rebel from your graveyard on the bottom of your library. It is fairly obvious that Lin Sivvi is very much a general for Rebel tribal, and in this role she can be powerful, limited only by the pool of available Rebels (which honestly aren’t amazing). Rebels is very much a White Weenie strategy, and Lin lends this some resilience and the ability to answer certain threats in a timely manner. She is less good in the 99 as she loses her own resilience, although if you only have a contingent of Rebels as part of another strategy then she makes a great addition. All in all i think she is a good general.

General Grade B

Linvala, Keeper of Silence

Four mana for 3/4 flyer is certainly a pretty good start for this mythic Angel, and then you see that she hates out your opponent’s activated abilities. Wow, that’s a pretty damned good package if you ask me. She would certainly make a good general if your meta is heavy with activated abilities on creatures, and as she is an Angel there are obvious tribal reasons to include her in some decks. Her static ability is good enough to make her an inclusion in a lot of decks, so all in all she is a pretty cool card.

General Grade B

Liu Bei, Lord of Shu

Another legend from Portal Three Kingdoms, this one is a Human Soldier with Horsemanship with a 2/4 body all for . In addition to this he gets +2/+2 if you have Guan Yu, Sainted Warrior or Zhang Fei, Fierce Warrior under your control. Do these things make Liu Bei a worthy general? No, I don’t think they do. They are far too narrow to make a general, and without either of the other cards he is a pretty vanilla creature, which is not good for your general. There is an argument for having him in the 99, but it isn’t a strong one, so all in all, avoid.

General Grade D-

Mageta the Lion EDH Deck

Mageta the Lion

Mageta offers something quite different from the generals we have seen so far: for the cost of , tap and discarding two cards (a hefty cost), Mageta destroys all other creatures; this is attached to a 3/3 body, which is not to be sniffed at. The effect is very much worth building around and so Mageta offers an interesting deck building challenge that may well reward you for pulling it off. However, the issue is the cost: discarding two cards each time you want to Wrath is pretty expensive, and without an ability to return cards to your hand or draw extra cards it can be difficult to pull off. If you can pull it off, Mageta is a cool looking potential general.

General Grade B-

Major Teroh

Another Bird Soldier, Teroh is a 2/3 with Flying for with one activated ability: for the cost of and sacrificing Major Teroh you get to exile all black creatures… ouch! It is fairly obvious that this is a very powerful ability, but it has two major drawbacks: the first is that it is very situational. it has no use at all against 80% of the cards in Magic. the second drawback is that it is an on board threat; your opponents can see that it is there and so can try to play around it. This card could be a really useful card in the 99, or it could be a sweet general if your meta is heavy black, but other than that he isn’t a great general.

General Grade C+

Mangara of Corondor

Normally a 3 CMC 1/1 body is not what I would call a good choice, but Mangara has the ability to tap and remove itself plus target creature from the game. This is cool enough, but with Mangara returning to the Command Zone if he is your general, then you get to reuse him again… and again… and again (although it’s getting mighty expensive now). This is a really handy defensive general, much like Lieutenant Kirtar, but is somewhat more vulnerable to removal before you get chance to use him due to his 1/1 body. In the 99 Mangara is a pretty cool removal spell, and so would be worth the inclusion there in a lot of white decks. Mangara is an interesting creature, but could be difficult to use effectivly as a general.

General Grade C+

Masako the Humorless

A Flash 2/1 Human Advisor for 3 CMC, Masako grants all your creatures pseudo-Vigilance. This sounds like it could have some niche uses, if it wasn’t for the fact that your opponents can see her in the Command Zone so she is no surprise. I honestly don’t think she is much cop as a general, despite being quite cheap to cast, but she might make a handy creature based combat trick in the 99. I wouldn’t chose her as my general.

General Grade D

Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker

One of the best “Leave me alone” generals I can think of, Michiko is a 2/2 for 4 CMC that forces your opponents to sacrifice a permanent whenever a source they control damages you. This really is a big red sign that says “attack someone else”. The worry here is that Michiko is rather fragile, and it might just be easy enough to remove her then finish you off. That being said, the effect is very cool, and once again gives you a defensive general that gives you time to assemble your win condition. With the right support cards you can mitigate her weakness, making her a mighty fine choice.

General Grade B+

Mikaeus, the Lunarch EDH Deck

Mikaeus, the Lunarch

Oh now we have a monster! Living Micky is one of the best generals in mono-white for a whole bunch of strategies, but first, what is he? Well a Human Cleric for who comes into play with +1/+1 counters on him, he also has two activated abilities: tap him to put a +1/+1 counter on him, or tap him and remove a +1/+1 counter from him to put a +1/+1 counter on each other creature you control. That right there has terrifying potential. Play him in a Token deck or a White Weenie deck and he buffs your whole team; play him in a Cleric tribal and he fits your tribe and buffs your whole team. Play some kind of mono-white control and he can become his own finisher. He is a card with a whole ton of potential, and even as one of the 99 is a real bomb. A contender for the best choice of general in white.

General Grade A

Myojin of Cleansing Fire

So here we have a 4/6 non-Flying Spirit for , with a whole bunch of text on it that… oh, wait I have to play this from my hand to be relevant… right. Ok, nothing to see here really then! Due to the clause of having to play this from your hand to get a divinity counter on it, playing it from the Command Zone is a waste, and gives you a hugely overcosted vanilla 4/6. In the 99 this can be a repeatable boardwipe if you play it right, but as it is the white Myojin is an awful general choice.

General Grade E

Nagao, Bound by Honor

Unusually an Uncommon Legendary Human Samurai, Nagao makes a very respectable choice if you want to play a mono-white Samurai deck as he is a 3/3 for 4 CMC with Bushido 1, that grants +1/+1 to all of your Samurai until the end of the turn, whenever he attacks. The issue here is the shallow pool of mono-white Samurai, making this a less than optimal choice of deck and a general who is really too narrow to be used for much else. Like many of the other Samurai, he is probably better in the 99.

General Grade C-

Nahiri, the Lithomancer

Nahiri represents the first white Planeswalker that can also be your general, which is something of a double edged sword in some respects. You lose the ability to win via Commander damage but you do have a Planeswalker you can summon at will. Nahiri herself is very much focused around equipment, and all 3 of her abilities tie into that theme in one way or another. If your deck is built around equipment and using it to great effect then she could well be a great choice of general, as long as you have ways of delivering the necessary damage to win the game; Nahiri is an interesting choice and one I would give a go to building around.

General Grade B+

Odric, Master Tactician EDH Deck

Odric, Master Tactician

A Human Soldier 3/4 with First Strike for 4 CMC is not a bad body to have, but when combined with the ability to dictate how blocking is assigned and what blocks, as long as at least 3 other creatures attacks is a nice package. Odric automatically suggests a strategy that at least goes wide to some extent, and for Tokens or general Weenies he looks to be a really good choice, the same goes for his inclusion in the 99. his useful tribal associations are just gravy on top here. A good choice.

General Grade B+

Opal-Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo

Hmmm this is an unusual one. It is a 1/4 for that has Bushido 1 and Defender, marking this out as a very defensive card, but only for use against ground-based creatures. However it’s two other abilities allow it to tap to channel damage from one source to Opal-Eye, and then to spend mana to prevent damage to Opal-Eye. For me this is too narrow and has too little effect to be considered as a general, and what it does do costs you too much. I wouldn’t pick this to lead my deck and I doubt i would include in my 99 either.

General Grade D-

Orim, Samite Healer

Another defensive choice but this time an overcosted one for sure. A 1/3 for 3 CMC, Orim can tap to prevent 3 damage to a target creature or player. This is far too narrow and has far too little effect to see play as a general and really doesn’t warrant a place in any deck I want to be playing. I could claim it as the victim of power creep over the years, but honestly, damage prevention at the cost of tapping was always a bad deal. This is a general, and a card, to avoid.

General Grade E

Phew, that brings us to the end of Part 2 of this review. Wow, I did not realise there were so many mono white legends when I first thought about this series, but this will require a 3rd and final part for white before we can wrap up and move onto blue. Hopefully you think my grades aren’t too far off, but let me know your opinions on these. Have I over rated any? Have I hated on a pet general? Give me your thoughts in the comments.

6 comments

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  1. cailtis

    Another great overview, Gareth! Excited to see your reviews as you move into the other colors. I’m not much of a fan of mono-white commanders (mono-colored generals overall it seems, too) so I can’t say I disagreed with much of any review on this part of the guide. Hopefully this little series doesn’t run out of steam before then!

    1. Gareth Hughes

      Thanks very much! Glad that you are enjoying them, I must admit I am finding them fun and interesting to write. I am intending to keep going, there is nothing more frustrating than finding a series, enjoying it and then it stopping before it’s finished. One more should finish mono-white, and then i can crack on with blue, etc. I am looking forward to getting to the gold cards, that is where the real fun stuff is i think.

  2. Wally D.

    Quick follow up on your first evaluation… Good to see!

    Now then, some thoughts…

    Holy cow, there are a ton of janky Legendary Mono White Commanders.

    Mageta the Lion Vigilance Voltron could be a thing – Forgot about this dude.

    Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker is underplayed, both as a General and in the 99. From my experience, she draws a good chunk of attention when players look my way. With Eight-and-a-Half-Tails on the field she is hard to remove and frustrates the opposing forces. Plus, she totally hoses Purphoros, God of the Forge.

    I have yet to see a White Mike deck. I’m not sure of the A grade, but I definitely could be proven wrong.

    I’ve played Odric, Master Tactician before, and he was terrible! Tore that deck down. He has super-Battalion to trigger his ability. Maybe I didn’t play him correctly. But my playgroup really caps the amount of creatures on the battlefield with tons of removal.

    For me, Orim, Samite Healer is a nostalgic Tempest card. She was in one of the first 60 card casual decks I ever played. Unfortunately, I have to agree whole-heartedly with you, she sucks in EDH. I did, however, manage to build her for Tiny Leaders… she wasn’t that bad!

    Will definitely be looking forward to your Lin Sivvi EDH Primer!

    Strong work Gareth!

    1. Gareth Hughes

      I thought Mageta, the Lion looked like he could have some interesting possibilities, so a Voltron deck around him might be interesting. Perhaps fuel for a future article there?

      I am gutted to hear Odric, Master Tactician performed so poorly, but thinking on it I suspect you hit the nail on the head regarding removal. I know I certainly have a good number of decks with sweepers in and I tend to face them quite often,so his ability is probably worth less on the board than it is on paper. this of course says nothing to a well timed piece of spot remoavl, which really destroys his fun.

      Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero and i go backa long way, to a time before I knew anything about building decent decks, before EDH was a thing. She was my sweet bomb card in a fun Rebels tribal deck, so naturally, when i got into EDH I had to make a deck around her. I will try and get that article written up in the near future because I am always happy to share the love for her!

  3. Kuchisama

    Yeah, Odric really sucks. If you must be playing something along his lines, try Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer. I know, metalcraft works a bit differently, but he also requires other permanents to get going but isn’t as bad on his own.

    Whoa, did Kentaro actually score better than Kiyomaro? Both aren’t good commanders, but Kentaro is the worst! 😉

    Other than that, I really enjoy reading this series! Keep up the good work!

    1. Gareth Hughes

      You know, now that I look at it, they are probably both an E! I am not sure why I was feeling quite so kind to [[Kentaro, the Smiling Cat]]. Must be because he reminded me of a Game of Thrones characters!

      Thanks for the kind words, I am really glad you are enjoying reading these 😀

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