MTG Players Disappointed by Leaked Warhammer Commander Decks

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Since being pushed back from their original August 12th  release date, Wizards of the Coast has kept quiet about the Warhammer 40,000 Commander Decks. This has left Commander players and Warhammer fans with only a solitary spoiled card to enjoy. Thankfully, this card, Abbadon the Despoiler, looks incredibly fun and powerful, setting high expectations for the Commander decks. Unfortunately, however, a new leak suggests that these expectations were wildly inaccurate. 

Leakers of the Coast

Mana Leak | Magic 2011

Unfortunately, once again, Wizards of the Coast has played themselves by leaking cards earlier than desired. Previously, Wizards accidentally released the rules document for Dominaria United, prematurely spoiling every single card in the set. Wizards of the Coast has committed a similar blunder by releasing promotional images for the Warhammer Commander decks early. This has spoiled the commanders for each of the four highly-anticipated decks. 

Before now, everything was running smoothly for Wizards of the Coast and Games Workshop. Or at least as smoothly as possible for a set that had been delayed due to production issues. During Wizards Presents 2022, WotC revealed art and themes for each Commander deck to fuel the hype train evermore. Unfortunately, that hype train has somewhat come off the tracks thanks to this latest leak, as players are seriously disappointed. 

Unlike the initially spoiled Abbadon the Despoiler, each of the other decks’ commanders leaves much to be desired. The Swarmlord, for instance, features an impressive Commander Tax-focused ability. However, it’s far too expensive to be playable. This theme of interesting but ultimately disappointing abilities is, unfortunately, the trend across the other Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks. 

Abaddon the Despoiler 

Abaddon the Despoiler
Abaddon the Despoiler | Warhammer 40,000 Commander Decks

As we’ve mentioned, Abaddon the Despoiler was the first Commander from the Warhammer 40,000 decks to be spoiled. This set the expected tone for the rest of the decks, and they had a high bar to power to match. While at five mana {2UBR} Abaddon the Despoiler isn’t cheap, their ability is incredibly powerful. By giving any spell cast on your turn Cascade X, where X is your opponent’s entire life lost this turn, Abaddon the Despoiler can turn the tide of battle in an instant. 

Inquisitor Greyfax

Inquisitor Greyfax
Inquisitor Greyfax | Warhammer 40,0000 Commander Decks

While interesting thematically, Inquisitor Greyfax leaves much to be desired as a Commander. Primarily providing other creatures with +1/+0 and Vigilance, Inquisitor Greyfax barely suffices to fulfill the Imperium of Man’s doctrine. Unfortunately, Inquisitor Greyfax doesn’t do much else to “control the tide of the battle and overwhelm their enemies with their emperor’s will.” Without any reliable token-generating abilities in its commander, the Forced of the Imperium deck instead must rely on investigating. Once again, this thematic ability is exciting and fitting with Warhammer lore; however, as a Commander card, it’s sorely lacking. 

The Swarmlord

The Swarmlord
The Swarmlord | Warhammer 40,0000 Commander Decks

With a Commander Tax-focused ability, The Swarmlord is somewhat of a rarity. The ability, dubbed Rapid Regeneration, ensures The Swarmlord is always on curve as it receives two +1/+1 counters for each time your commander has been cast from the Command Zone this game. While this ability scales The Swarmlord alongside your game of Commander, it doesn’t come cheap. After all, you will have to keep paying progressively more expensive Commander Tax. Thankfully, The Swarmlord features a second ability to let you draw a card whenever a creature you control dies. Unfortunately, however, this ability only triggers if that creature has a counter on it, which isn’t always a guarantee. 

Szarekh, the Silent King

Szarekh, the Silent King
Szarekh, the Silent King | Warhammer 40,0000 Commander Decks

As a mono black Commander, Szarekh, the Silent King, was already starting on the back foot. Unfortunately, their main ability doesn’t make things much better either. Triggered after attacking, Szarekh, the Silent King’s ability mills three cards, one of which you can return to your hand if it’s an artifact creature or Vehicle. While, mercifully, Szarekh, the Silent King has Flying, this ability is still far from ideal as the selected card only goes into your hand. This means you have to cast it like a regular ol’ schmuck.

Just Who Are These Decks For?

Commander’s Authority
Commander’s Authority | Avacyn Restored

With power levels that appear to be all over the place, it’s clear that Commander fans aren’t happy with what’s on offer. Across Reddit posts highlighting the leaked promotional image, players lamented how “underwhelming” and “disappointing” the decks appeared to be. While some seemed excited about the possibilities of unique decks, enthusiasm was far from unanimous. 

While Commander players understandably have their concerns, these products aren’t entirely for them. Instead, as WotC’s first major Universes Beyond products, these decks will likely be for Warhammer players first and foremost. With the themes and flavor of these decks matching that of Warhammer 40,000’s factions, Wizards appears to have succeeded in this regard. Should these decks convert enough Warhammer players to Magic fans, the dissenting opinions won’t matter, as they likely won’t affect the bottom line. 

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