EDH: The Pros and Cons of Playing a Mono-Color Commander

Choosing a commander for the EDH format can be as simple as making a sandwich, or as complex as quantum physics. Depending on the person, picking what commander to forge a deck around can take from a couple of minutes to an entire day. Some people just stumble across what commanders they desire to use, while others require lots of thought and consideration when choosing a commander. The fact that there are over one hundred creatures to choose from doesn’t really help either. If you’re struggling on what color combination you want your commander to have, especially if you’re new to the game, mono-colored commanders are a great place to turn. Though there can be multiple drawbacks to limiting yourself to a singular color, there are still positives in doing so.


So, what are the positives to limiting yourself into a singular color? For starters, you only have to rely on a singular mana source. If you’re only using red, then you probably won’t have to run any swamps or plains. This allows you to either run more basic lands or allows you to run useful colorless lands that have other abilities, such as Rouge’s Passage and Strip Mine. Due to the fact that all of your lands will produce the same color, you don’t have to worry about drawing a swamp when you really needed a mountain. Also, you won’t need to run artifact cards like Darksteel Ingot and Chromatic Lantern in order to get the mana type that you want, as all of your mana will be a singular color anyways. Mono-color is a great way to keep your deck organized and makes sure that you usually have something that you can play.

Secondly, decks relying on only a singular color can take advantage of certain medallion and monument artifacts. Each medallion and monument artifact allows cards of a specific color to have a lower mana cost. In decks that have more than one color, you have to run multiple medallions and monuments in order to allow all of your cards to gain the advantage that they bring to the table. However, if you’re using a mono-color deck, then you only have to rely on a single medallion or monument to lower the mana cost of your cards. Additionally, since you don’t have to run more than one medallion and/or monument, you can clear up space for other artifact cards.  There’s also Gauntlet of Power and Caged Sun, which only affect one mana type at a time, which means in multi-color decks only some of the cards get the benefit; but in mono-color decks, all of the cards receive the benefit.

Furthermore, there are an enormous amount of different commanders to choose from. If you want to play multi-color (especially when using four and sometimes three colors), you generally have to stick to a single commander or pair of commanders. However, when playing mono-color, you have a whole slew of powerful commanders to choose from. Each commander works differently and there is a commander for just about anyone’s playstyle. Even though mono-color limits what mana you can use, it allows you to have your own personal playstyle instead of being forced to play the same multi-color commander that everyone else uses.

Lastly, even though there a multitude of different commanders to use, mono-color is incredibly simplistic when it comes to deck building. Some players start out with two hundred to three hundred different cards when they construct a deck, removing cards until they only have ninety nine left. However, in mono-color, each color has its own playstyle that is modified to fit whatever commander is being used. For example, green has a large focus on mana creation, while white leans more towards stall tactics. There are a wide array of mono-color decks, but less cards to choose from allows simplicity and easier deck building for players, especially new ones.


There are obviously some negatives to running a mono-color deck. For example, when playing mono color you have less cards to pick from. Yes, this does make deck building easier and less complex, but it also takes away certain combos and cards that you can only play in multi-colored decks. When playing mono-black you don’t have access to Counterspell, but if you switch over to mono-blue you lose out on Vampiric Tutor. The solution to this is simple, play a blue and black deck. Even though you lose out on certain commanders, you gain access to other cards; some of which you can only play in multi-color, like Lim-Dûl’s Vault and Countersquall.

There is also the fact that if a card has “protection from [insert color here]” you could end up losing the game if you don’t have a way around it. The only way to avoid this is to either play colorless cards or to play a multi-color deck. True-Name Nemisis also creates this problem, as it has protection from a specified player; however, both mono-color and multi-color decks struggle with this, so there isn’t much of a reason for you to play multi-color if it’s just to deal with similar cards.

Lastly, mono-color lacks the combos that multi-color can play. There are a few combos that mono-color decks can use, such as Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood; but they lack powerful combos that can completely change the outcome of the game. These combos include, but are not limited to, Time Sieve + Thopter Assembly for infinite turns and Kiki-jiki Mirror Breaker + Restoration Angel for infinite creatures. Due to their accessibility to certain combos, multi-color decks have a powerful force that mono-color decks lack.

In Conclusion

Overall, mono-color decks can be simple and fun for all sorts of players. Most of them lack the complexity of multi-color decks, while also being able to support multiple different commanders. They can take advantage of mana and certain artifacts much better than their multi-color brethren, and when playing them, you never have to worry about drawing the wrong kind of mana. Mono-color decks are simple and can be really fun to use.

What do you think of mono-color decks? Have you ever tried out a mono-color deck? What did you think of it? Do you prefer mono-color or multi-color decks? Leave all of your comments, suggestions, and concerns below. Also, be sure to support us through our patreon so that we can continue to create more articles.


Sylvan Studies Team
"He wished for knowledge, but not for the will to apply it" - Cunning Wish
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