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Multicolored cards are among the most popular in Magic’s history, and the tradeoff between adding more colors and losing consistency is a struggle that has plagued most players throughout Magic’s history. Every few years, a substantial payoff combines with just enough mana fixing to break the Rule of Three. War of the Spark provided the perfect environment for four-color decks, Command the Dreadhorde serves as the perfect payoff. With every multicolored card in the deck a powerful play, Command the Dreadhorde ensures a significant swing in board presence, while giving the deck just enough disruption to enable these multicolored cards to grind the opponent out of the game. I’ll be covering a brief history and explanation of the archetype, followed by individual card choices, additional options, before finishing it off with a sideboard guide.

Making the rounds in the hands of notable European professional players like Ivan Floch or Ondrej Stasky, Four-Color Command the Dreadhorde is a deck expanding from the lessons learned by Sultai versions like the one here. Sacrificing conventional interaction to fully capitalize on Command the Dreadhorde, the four color version seeks to establish nearly unbeatable loops with Command the Dreadhorde. While most games are won by reanimating entire graveyards at the end step with Teferi, Time Raveler and Command the Dreadhorde, the combo potential exists for an infinite loop that prevents decking. While unlikely to be necessary, such a loop exists by reanimating multiple explore creatures, Massacre Girl, Tamiyo, and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. The reanimated Tamiyo can then return the Command the Dreadhorde that was cast, while Teferi tucks himself into the library. Massacre Girl sweeps the board, putting explore creatures in the graveyard for another loop the next turn. This midrange crushing combo deck combines the most successful parts of the explore package while using just enough interactive planeswalkers to slow down aggressive decks.

Card Choices

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Command the Dreadhorde | As mentioned previously in our Sultai Midrange article here, Command the Dreadhorde warps the format’s approach to midrange decks. Singlehandedly breaking board stalls and encouraging defensive plays, Command the Dreadhorde lets green decks win with similar inevitability as control decks while enabling continual loops when paired with Tamiyo and Massacre Girl. This engine piece is the cornerstone of this archetype and earns namesake recognition by showing up even in decks without access to easy life gain, like Esper Planeswalkers.

The Explore Package | A defining feature of Standard since the release of Guilds of Ravnica, the explore package acts as the perfect compliment to Command the Dreadhorde. By hitting land drops and filling the graveyard, Jadelight Ranger and Merfolk Branchwalker would be enough to enable Command the Dreadhorde on their own, but Wildgrowth Walker’s life gain sets the stage for a nearly endless loop of Commands.
Paradise Druid | By supplementing the mana fixing of Interplanar Beacon, Paradise Druid serves as an important piece of the planeswalker engine. Early acceleration can enable the deck to quickly go over the top of other midrange decks and smooths out the mana for consistent planeswalker deployment. While the body is weaker than other mana creatures in the format, the Hexproof nature of Paradise Druid ensures at least one use of it against most decks, while making it the best creature to pressure Teferi, Time Raveler.
Massacre Girl | Giving Command the Dreadhorde the ability to sweep the board, Massacre Girl is a unique tool in this archetype, giving it an endless supply of board control — at instant speed thanks to Teferi. Massacre Girl also pairs with Paradise Druid to ensure a board wipe against aggressive strategies.

Teferi, Time Raveler | Taking the recent Standard format by waves, mostly due to his success in the Bant Midrange deck shown here, this War of the Spark addition to the Teferi timeline is the perfect tool for Command the Dreadhorde. Acting as an early tempo play against aggressive strategies, while nullifying opposing removal spells or countermagic, Teferi is a deserving 4-of. Against even slower, grindier matchups, Teferi can draw extra cards or enable end of turn Command the Dreadhordes. There is additional utility in freeing a planeswalker from Prison Realm for a turn, or in exploring additional times by returning your own Jadelight Ranger.
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales | Like Teferi, Tamiyo is a pick up from War of the Spark that is seldom a dead draw. By recurring expended cards, Tamiyo gives the ability to Command the Dreadhorde consistently. The perfect engine piece, Tamiyo can both dig for and enable Command the Dreadhorde, while recurring Massacre Girl or explore creatures to slow down aggressive decks. In sideboard games, Tamiyo shuts off disruption like Angrath’s Rampage or Thought Erasure, while enabling double Duress turns.
Vraska, Golgari Queen | Once a dominant planeswalker in Guilds of Ravnica Standard, this iconic Golgari planeswalker gained additional value with the introduction of War of the Spark. With many new planeswalkers taking over games on Turn 3, Vraska is a maindeckable answer to Teferi and Thief of Sanity, while enabling Command the Dreadhorde with her plus. As demonstrated by the successful Jeskai Planeswalkers list, shown here, managing early planeswalkers is crucial to winning in a tap out heavy format. She also gives the deck an avenue of attack against control decks, as her ultimate makes any explore creature lethal.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria | A defining planeswalker for control strategies since his printing, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria occupies a unique role in Command the Dreadhorde decks.

Other Options

Bond of Flourishing | Not making the cut in this version, Bond of Flourishing has shown up in versions playing Hydroid Krasis. This gives the deck a more favorable Mono Red matchup and enables lands to be cut due to more two mana plays. In a fast format, I would look towards a Bond of Flourishing version.
Ugin, the Ineffable | Often seen alongside Liliana, Dreadhorde General as a top end to this disruptive planeswalker deck, Ugin can function similar to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. By immediately answering a problematic permanent or churning through the deck, Ugin gives Command the Dreadhorde decks a more powerful late game than already present. While I personally find Ugin unnecessary, if you are looking for a more midrange game plan he is the top end of choice.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General | As discussed above with Ugin, Liliana is often seen alongside other late game planeswalkers. She supports midrange plans better than Teferi, as her passive is a real source of card advantage in a deck with this many must remove creatures. However, her low impact minus leads me to relegate her to more midrange focused lists, though she is quite powerful in those shells.

Kaya, Orzhov Usurper | A crucial component to the Red focused metagame I expected at recent MCQs, Kaya acts as an additional sideboard option against Arclight Phoenix and Mono Blue while gaining a little utility against Mono White and Mono Red. Ultimately, there are better options available, but if Mono Blue sees a resurgence then Kaya is a strong choice.
The Wanderer | Earning early hype for its interaction with Command the Dreadhorde, The Wanderer gives these decks the ability to return every possible target with little fear of death. However, this does require a Wanderer already in play, and her fragile nature leads to no more than a single copy in most lists — and often paired alongside Bond of Flourishing when possible. However, The Wanderer is one of the best answers available to Rekindling Phoenix, as she can remove it and protect other planeswalkers from opposing Lightning Strikes.
Unmoored Ego | A sideboard option gaining popularity in recent times, Unmoored Ego gives the deck access to a silver bullet against Nexus and the mirror. In these matchups, there are few cards that ultimately matter in the late game, but Unmoored Ego’s ability to remove Arclight Phoenix gives a justification for broader matchups.

The Sideboard

Duress | A longstanding Standard Staple, Duress strips away most forms of disruption at a cheap cost and can combine with Teferi or Tamiyo to decimate Control opponents. A few copies are mandatory in a planeswalker heavy format.
Cast Down | Command the Dreadhorde is vulnerable to aggressive draws, and Cast Down gives the deck early interaction for opposing creatures. An early removal spell can give the deck enough time to safely deploy larger threats.
Kraul Harpooner | Earning its place in the sideboard of most midrange decks due to the popularity of Mono Blue, Kraul Harpooner also serves as an effective answer to Thief of Sanity or Nicol Bolas, the Ravager. When needed, Kraul Harpooner can combine with Sorin to gain large amounts of life, and can pressure early planeswalkers. A couple copies are standard for Command the Dreadhorde decks.
The Elderspell | A difficult to evaluate addition to the Standard removal suite, The Elderspell is making its way into the main deck of Esper Control due to the power of Interplanar Beacon decks. Three copies are present here, though a fourth copy could be justified in the right metagame.

Cry of the Carnarium | Replacing the Ritual of Soot in most lists, Cry of the Carnarium is an answer to Arclight Phoenix, while serving as a more impactful sweeper against Azorius Aggro. While worse against opposing midrange decks like Bant Midrange or Sultai Midrange, Command the Dreadhorde decks are often favored in those matchups, and the slow nature of them gives Massacre Girl a higher impact.
Narset, Parter of Veils | A silver bullet against Arclight Phoenix decks, Narset serves as disruption against card draw spells while smoothing out the engine of the deck. Acting as a dig spell for Command the Dreadhorde and postboard copies of Duress, Narset is a must answer threat for a variety of decks. Double Blue can be difficult to cast, and as such, she is relegated to only sideboard play, but an adjusted mana base or a Bond of Flourishing version can accommodate more copies.
Thrashing Brontodon | A resonating theme in the sideboard, Thrashing Brontodon is a silver bullet against Simic Nexus while ensuring the deck has outs to The Immortal Sun or on board Prison Realms. Brontodon is also a 3/4 against Mono Red, acting as additional cheap interaction stapled onto a removal spell for Experimental Frenzy. Extra copies can be added as needed.
Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord | The final, and most flexible, addition to the sideboard, Sorin is a life gain spell stapled onto a reanimation spell. This versatile mid game planeswalker gives the deck a more effective back-up plan and can provide crucial life point swings against Mono Red or Izzet Phoenix.

Thanks for checking out our 4 Color Command Deck Tech, and as always, let us know what you think in the comments below. You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/PariahPopular for more Standard content, as well as decklists from my journeys to MCQs and through Mythic on Arena.