Rating the Commanders

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Hello,

A friend and I have been playing games of Dungeon Command since it came out and between us have all five sets.

We've played more with some sets than others.  For awhile the drow seemed to be the toughest.  However, we recently played with the orc who allows his group to ignore difficult terrain, and that squad dominated, which was unusaul.  Usually our games come down to the winner winning one turn ahead of when the opponent would win.

We are planning on setting up a tourament of ten squads, using all ten commanders.

I'm curious to hear how others who have played would rank the commanders from 1-10.  Your thoughts?

Thanks.
We are not creating custom warbands for this tournament, just using the commanders with their regular faction.

With our limited experience (none with a few commanders) here is how we would rate them including the fact that they are with their faction pack:

1. Drogar, Eye of Gruumsh (Blood of Gruumsh)
2. Kalteros the Sellsword (Sting of Lolth)
3. Rhynseera the Alarphon (Heart of Cormyr)
4. Valnar Trueblade (Heart of Cormyr)
5. Aliszandra Malistros (Sting of Lolth)
6. Delthin Everet (Curse of Undeath)
7. Snig the Axe (Tyranny of Goblins)
8. (unplayed yet) - Lokar of the Stonelands (Blood of Gruumsh)
9. Tarkon Draal (Tyranny of Goblins)
10. Morgana Valistova (Curse of Undeath)

 I'm very curious to hear from others who have played more about their ratings for the commanders as played with their regular box.

Thanks. 

1. Tarkon Draal - Cowering is the most important thing in this game and the ability to make your opponent think twice about it is by far and away the best commander ability. Plus he has 8 leadership, and five orders.

2. Drogar - Ignoring difficult terrain is almost as gamechanging.

3. Rhynseera - Huge order hand, and can turn orders. Card advantage often means the difference between life and death.

Note that these first three are good regardless of what creatures you are running. Delthin also falls into this category, but he is trash compared to Kalteros. Snig does aswell, but in general he is hindered by his low leadership. Unless I'm going for something tribal like spiders, drow, or orcs, I would generally be picking up one of these three given the option.

I have a difficult time ranking below that because it really depends on what creatures you're running. Out of the box I would say:

4. Kalteros - in general excellent just because of 9 leadership and 4 cards, especially with drow based warbands
5. Lokar - like Kalteros but one less card and an ability that arguably isn't as good.
6. Snig - certainly debateable and I will get flack for putting him below Lokar but I just don't like having a low leadership score. He certainly has a great ability to minimize the effect of losing creatures however (you get to use the leadership that you do have fully since you can replenish those creatures lost on your opponents turn and activate them). 
7. Aliszandra - She can certainly be a star in a spider or dow deck, and her 4 creature hand gives better odds that you'll deploy exactly what you have in mind
8. Morgana - Ok ability for undead warbands but not the best tribal leader out there
9. Valnar - Burn a standard to move, hmm, but only for adventurers. Why would you ever pick this out of the box when you could have Rhynseera?
10. Delthin - 6 leadership to start. Worse than Kalteros/Lokar until you kill more than three creatures - until then, you're fighting with the worst stats out of all the commanders. 3 creatures, 3 orders... and unless your opponent is running lots of low levels, you're not going to kill enough creatures to catch up until it's too late.


I'm not particularly convinced that rating commanders 1-10 makes all that much sense; they're going to vary so hugely based on what you're running.  I think Delthin and Valnar are basically unplayable trash (Delthin's ability is decent but they clearly got scared and overbalanced it; Valnar's doesn't justify his lack of any reasonable stats).  I've also never really found a great use for Morgana, but I've not done a heavy Undead deck, having free Grovels, even if they're a bit weaker, seems reasonable there.  Aliszandra also IMO suffers from the fact that Snig is a better choice in a deck full of spiders (and Drow are mostly garbage).  So I rarely run any of those.  I haven't played enough yet with either of the Orc commanders to be confident talking about them.  Here are some thoughts on the four I use the most:
 
Tarkon Draal
- Generally best if you want to play a board presence game IMO, like a straight-up Str/Con deck might, or if you rely on some smaller hits or cards that have less damage and more weird riders (such that the opponent might want to cower).  Also one of two I play if I have no strong feeling about what I want in the deck.
Rhynseera - The other leader I'll think about if I have a deck I like and don't have much idea who to play, but if I care more about the order deck than creature presence.  Rhynseera's ability is subtly powerful, but gets vastly better if you have some situational orders in your deck.  One of her best features is that you can run a "toolbox" kind of order deck where you have some two-of situational cards.  She covers you both ways here - you can be reasonably confident you can dig to the card when you need it, but also lets you discard your situational stuff if it isn't the right time.  I tend not to run her in decks with their own card draw engines, because there's a risk you run out the deck if you use her ability every turn.
Kalteros - Sadly I think most Drow are pretty bad, but I have a lot of warbands that want Drow Wizards because they're one of the best level 2's in the game, and if I've got a mix of Drow Wizards and expensive creatures, I pretty much want to run this guy.
Snig - Snig owns, but to make the most of him you want predominantly cheap dudes, and either the ability to deploy them where they're needed or the mobility to get them there.  If you're just flooding guys into your start zone you aren't maximizing his ability.  That means that IMO the by-far best way to use him is in a dex-based deck, probably based on the Drow Priestess and/or involving Shadow Mastiffs.  He's ok in Int as well because all your guys have infinite range and you can use Open Portal if you're feeling saucy.  In a deck where he's good, he's got IMO the most straight-up powerful ability hands down.  With Snig as your commander you just flat don't care about most of your dudes on the board, which just changes everything about the flow of the game.  He's pretty beautiful.  Also, his 5 creature hand is super important if you rely on a specific creature - once again, like the Drow Priestess decks which really need to dig to the Priestess quickly to work.  On the other hand, if you just put Snig in some random deck he's pretty bad and you look dumb because your leadership sucks and you can't deploy the guys you want.  Oh well.

BTW for playing out of the box, I think Cormyr is clearly Rhynseera, Goblins are clearly Draal (Snig wants to lead predominantly Lolth stuff), Undead are clearly Morgana (mostly by process of elimination), Lolth mostly comes down to playstyle (I like Aliszandra), and Orcs are probably Drogar, though it's closer than Cormyr, UD, or Goblins. 
Thanks for your replies.  It is very interesting to see what others think about the commanders.  I realize that others are building their own warbands, but we are still enjoying playing out of the box. 

We decided to do a pod system tournament playing out of the box.

We randomly put 1 commander from each box in each pod so we don't play a box against itself during the initial phase.

We select two factions to play and then flip a coin to see who will play each faction.

Game 1 - Lokar defeated Valnar
Game 2 - Aliszandra defeated Snig 
The other commander in this pod is Delthrin.

In the past most of our games come down to winning by a turn, meaning if player A doesn't win this turn, player B is sure to win the next.  Neither of these games were that close. 

We recently decided to have a tournament using the half-sized warbands out of the boxes. We've only played five games so far, using the Drow, Goblins, and Undead. The drow have been underwhelming so far, and the undead seem to be the strongest.

I think Morgana is a very strong leader for the undead. Her ability came in handy lots of times.

I'm also partial to Snig. I've been thinking to use him with an orc warband, utilizing the chieftains to boost his low loyalty. I think that might turn him into a real beast.
I'm also partial to Snig. I've been thinking to use him with an orc warband, utilizing the chieftains to boost his low loyalty. I think that might turn him into a real beast.

Ooh, I like that idea!

Sounds like a straightforward question but really isn't. For one, you also want to consider the opposing commander. 

For example, imagine a match-up between Tarkon and Morgana. Now, in this case, wouldn't Tarkon's commander ability suck? Morgana's undead horde would almost never have to cower! Which of the 2 commanders would you rather play?? Furthermore - I've played with Morgana enough times - her ability coupled with the fact that most undead have lots of hitpoints (minimum 40!) means that they're pretty hard to kill, which is what makes her (even more) formidable.

I agree with the comments regarding Snig leading a low level warband or a priestess and spiders warband. Also, with Snig's ability, you wouldn't be worried if your opponent parks his heavy hitter near your start area, unlike with other commanders.

Drogar with the ability to ignore DT, makes things really hard for the opponent IF your opponent is using maps with plenty of DT.

Delthrin goes to the bottom of the heap, IMHO. The rest should be middling with Rhynseera coming out  as the top non-tribal commander for the MOST starting orders in the game thus far AND to be able to cycle away lots of situational stuff (for just out-of-the-box as opposed to customized warbands). The ability to cycle through your orders means they have a much higher chance of being usable each turn. 

Having said all that, my personal preference is to lean mostly towards the tribal commanders for the straight out of the box battles. My top 5: 1.Morgana, 2.Kalteros, 3.Rhynseera, 4.Aliszandra, 5.Valnar.

- my 2 cents.

As I've gotten more into custom army creation, I've grown to value Rhynseera's ability more and more in those kinds of armies too.  Originally I basically agreed with you that her cycling ability was good in premade decks but kind of pointless in customs.  These days though, there are a lot of order cards that you benefit from running a few of with the ability to discard them if the situation isn't right - cards that are powerful sometimes, but other times you'd rather have something else.  Some good examples are things like Level Up, Tough as Nails, Behind Enemy Lines, Stealth, Dispel Magic, Dimension Door, defense cards vs Magic Short Sword, various movement buffers, etc.  You don't want her in a deck where you're just playing all the most powerful, universally useful cards you can find, but she changes how you have to think about order cards, because you don't have to worry about "what happens if this isn't good?"
@Ultiville:

Yes, sort of like what you said in your previous post before this. Kind of a toolbox. No wasted cards, eh?

However, with regards to a customized warband with Snig, I've posted an up-to-date priestess/spider warband somewhere else in this forum.

I would not put in any Shadow Mastiffs though, since their high level would eat up most of Snig's leadership. But that's just me - maybe someone else could come up with an effective version with War Wizards as well. With a warband like that and the right maptiles, you could deploy near your opponent's weakest point and do some serious damage with order cards like Shadowy Ambush, Fireball, Piercing Strike, Blast of Force, etc. /end hijack Laughing

With regards to the OP, anybody else want to rate the non-tribal commanders for straight out of the box battles?
This thread helped me realize that Rhynseera is a great commander -- I just assumed, because you have to get rid of a card, that in 1/2 box games she would be rather innefective.

It also clarified for me the fact that you must be an adventurer to use a standard action to move again with the other Cormyr hero.

This forum has been qutie beneficial -- now all we need is the Goblin box to have them all.

(here's to hoping they release another to build up momentum for the next D&D edition) 
Thanks to all for adding to the discussion of the commanders.  We have played six games so far in one of our two pods.  Here are the results to date:

Notes: 
Each pod has 5 commanders played with their original full box --- these are results for pod 1 (6 of 10 games completed to date)
Faction listed first went first
W = win
The commanders not included below are in pod 2


W Lokar Orc vs. Valnar Cormyr


W Aliszandra Drow vs. Snig Goblin


W Delthrin Undead vs. Lokar Orc


Valnar Cormyr vs. W Aliszandra Drow


W Delthin Undead vs. Snig Goblin


Lokar Orc & W Aliszandra Drow





Records:
Aliszandra 3-0 (Valnar, Snig, Lokar) 
Delthrin 2-0 (Lokar, Snig) 
Lokar 1-2 (Valnar, Delthrin, Aliszandra)
Valnar 0-2 (Lokar, Aliszandra)
Snig 0-2 (Aliszandra, Delthrin)




Any surprises?  Is this what you would have expected?

Wow, I guess I'm surprised at Delthrin's performance.  On paper at least, he appears to suck, so I've never even used him.  And I think Snig is awesome, but he needs some warband customization to achieve his true potential, imho. The rest of your pod results don't surprise me.  Thanks for sharing, I look forward to seeing your pod 2 results!
Yes. I've played against Delthrin several times and won every game except one. Conversely, I've also played as Delthrin and only won a couple but lost many times. The rest are performing to expectations.

Valnar lost more games - not surprising since he is the weakest of the tribal commanders.

Interesting indeed, though of course it's measuring something quite different than just commander strength.  Delthrin might well be doing so well because Undead are good rather than because he is, for example (in fact, this seems really likely, as he is garbage).  If you really wanted a scientific test you'd run one "commander agnostic" deck with varying leaders and compare the results, but of course that would be boring and would still sell some great commanders (like Snig) short if they needed support from a specific build.
Snig with Undead and the Lich Necromancer sounds like a pretty interested deck, to me.  You can deploy your creatures right into the thick of battle at the beginning of your turn, which can make it very difficult for your opponent to plan his strategy.  Of course, you'll have to carefully protect your Liches, but that's always an issue anyway.
I only have 3 sets so far but the best commander hands down is Drogar of Blood of Gruumsh.  ALL creatures that you control ignore difficult terrain is incredibly powerful; he would be one of the best commanders for a custom war band.  I haven't seen the cormyr or goblin set but I would give this guy a 9.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Update #2 on the games:


Thanks to all for adding to the discussion of the commanders.  We have played seventeen of the twenty games so far (all of pod 1, and 7 of 10 in pod 2).  Here are the results to date:

Notes: 
Each pod has 5 commanders played with their original full box
Faction listed first went first
W = win



Pod 1


W Lokar Orc vs. Valnar Cormyr
W Aliszandra Drow vs. Snig Goblin
W Delthrin Undead vs. Lokar Orc
Valnar Cormyr vs. W Aliszandra Drow
W Delthin Undead vs. Snig Goblin
Lokar Orc vs. W Aliszandra Drow
Snig Goblin vs. W Valnar Cormyr
W Aliszandra Drow vs. Delthrin Undead
Snig Goblin vs. W Lokar Orc
Valnar Cormyr vs. W Delthrin Undead



Records:
Aliszandra 4-0
Delthrin 3-1
Lokar 2-2
Valnar 1-3
Snig 0-4



Pod 2
W Rhyneera Cormyr v Drogar Orc
Tarkon Goblin v W Kalteros Drow
W Morgana Undead v Drogar Orc
Rhyneera Cormyr v W Kalteros Drow
Tarkon Goblin v W Morgana Undead
W Drogar Orc v Kalteros Drow
Tarkon Goblin v W Rhyneera Cormyr
Kalteros Drow v Morgana Undead
Drogar Orc v Tarkon Goblin
Morgana Undead v Rhyneera Cormyr



Records:
Kalteros 2-1 (Tarkon, Rhyneera, Drogar)
Morgana 2-0 (Drogar, Tarkon)
Drogar 1-2 (Rhyneera, Morgana, Kalteros)
Rhyneera 2-1 (Drogar, Kalteros, Tarkon)
Tarkon 0-3 (Kalteros, Morgana, Rhyneera)



Goblins have not won a game yet.  Undead have completely surprised me.  A lucky early card pull in both games with Morgana really helped.
I'm not surprised the goblins didn't win. I think they're the weakest faction among the 5.
It's also the only faction I didn't buy. Of course, this doesn't mean I don't have it....(think proxies)
You know, I've noticed something.  Sometimes, when you use a weak commander, you actually end up playing better and you may win more often compared to using a stronger commander.  The thing is, when resources are limited, you tend to act more wisely and carefully, but when resources are abundant, people tend to waste and act recklessly.  When I was battling my sibling, I gave her a lot of bonus like drawing an extra order card, but I still defeated her Blood of Gruumsh led by Drogar using Delthrin Everett.  Am I just stating the obvious or what do you guys think?

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Both Pods are done.  Now we will play #1 in each pod vs. #2 in the other pod.  Then the winners of each of those games will play each other.

Dungeon Command


Faction Pack 2013


Commanders Tournament


Leader listed first won the coin toss to go first



Pod 1


W Lokar Orc vs. Valnar Cormyr


W Aliszandra Drow vs. Snig Goblin


W Delthrin Undead vs. Lokar Orc


Valnar Cormyr vs. W Aliszandra Drow


W Delthin Undead vs. Snig Goblin


Lokar Orc vs. W Aliszandra Drow


Snig Goblin vs. W Valnar Cormyr


W Aliszandra Drow vs. Delthrin Undead


Snig Goblin vs. W Lokar Orc


Valnar Cormyr vs. W Delthrin Undead




Records:


Aliszandra 4-0 (Valnar, Snig, Lokar, Delthrin)


Delthrin 3-1 (Lokar, Snig, Aliszandra, Valnar)


Lokar 2-2 (Valnar, Delthrin, Aliszandra, Snig)


Valnar 1-3 (Lokar, Aliszandra, Snig, Delthrin)


Snig 0-4 (Aliszandra, Delthrin, Valnar, Lokar)




Pod 2


W Rhyneera Cormyr v Drogar Orc


Tarkon Goblin v W Kalteros Drow


W Morgana Undead v Drogar Orc


Rhyneera Cormyr v W Kalteros Drow


Tarkon Goblin v W Morgana Undead


W Drogar Orc v Kalteros Drow


Tarkon Goblin v W Rhyneera Cormyr


W Morgana Undead v Kalteros Drow


W Drogar Orc v Tarkon Goblin


Morgana Undead v W Rhyneera Cormyr




Records:


Rhyneera 3-1 (Drogar, Kalteros, Tarkon, Morgana)


Morgana 3-1 (Drogar, Tarkon, Kalteros, Rhyneera)


Kalteros 2-2 (Tarkon, Rhyneera, Drogar, Morgana)


Drogar 2-2 (Rhyneera, Morgana, Kalteros, Tarkon)


Tarkon 1-3 (Kalteros, Morgana, Rhyneera, Drogar)




Winners 4 Team Tournament:


Pod 1 #1 Aliszandra v Pod 2 #2 Morgana


Pod 2 #1 Rhyneera 3-1 v Pod 1 #2 Delthrin
Aliszandra & Delthrin won the semifinals.

Aliszandra won the final.


In retrospect, the undead had luckier card draws that helped them qualify for the semifinals, and for Delthrin to make the finals.   Having played enough games, I think my ratings for the commanders playing with their factory sealed box is:

1. Aliszandra
2. Rhynseera
3. Drogar 
4. Kalteros
----- (the top four seem to be fairly close, with some space between #4 and #5)
5. Lokar
----- 
6. Morgana
7. Valnar
8. Delthrin
---- (6-8 are very close)
9. Tarkon Draal
10. Snig 

A lot of this has to do with the warband and not the commander.  I think the Drow are the top box.  Blood of Gruumsh and Cormyr are close behind the Drow.  Undead is fourth, not too far behind, but seem to need great card draws to keep up.  The Goblins are clearly the lowest. 

It was fun playing all of these games.  Thanks for all of your feedback on this thread.  This is a fun game and even more fun to know how others strategize and analyze the game.

I will be playing in a tournament (factory-sealed faction pack) this weekend which should be fun.  Hopefully there will be a good turn out. 
The designers of DC did a great job on the Commanders (mostly). I'm just wondering out loud to myself: "How did Delthrin slip through?" 
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