MTG Commander Warhammer 40K previews begin, highlight precon deck themes

Enter the grimdark future.

Image via WotC

Perpetual preview season rolls on in Magic: The Gathering with the start of Warhammer 40,000 Commander preconstructed deck spoilers this week.

Four decks are set to release on Oct. 7 focusing on different factions from the Warhammer universe. This is a continuation of Magic‘s Universes Beyond initiative, bringing different IPs to the tabletop game.

Through Friday, a different precon will be revealed. The first day of preview season was dedicated to showing off the secondary commanders for each deck and providing a deeper look at each list’s theme.

The four precon names and face commanders are:

  • Necron Dynasty – Szarekh, the Silent King
  • Forces of the Imperium – Inquisitor Greyfax
  • Tyranid Swarm – The Swarmlord
  • The Ruinous Powers – Abaddon the Despoiler

These four new legendary Creature cards are significant characters in Warhammer and are accompanied by other legendary Creatures in the decklist. The additional legendaries will be able to be run as the commander right out of the box.

Marneus Calgar

Marneus Calgar
  • Mana value: 2WUB
  • Type: Legendary Creature Astartes Warrior
  • Rarity: Mythic Rare
  • Stats: 3/5
  • Keyword: Double strike
  • First ability: Master Tactician – Whenever one or more tokens enter the battlefield under your control, draw a card.
  • Second ability: Chapter Master – Pay six mana: Create two 2/2 White Astartes Warrior Creature tokens with vigilance.

Clue tokens are at the center of the Imperium’s strategy. Marneus Calgar is an excellent engine that will provide value through turns. The precon will likely create multiple tokens each turn, supporting Marneus’ card draw ability. Notably, this ability triggers whenever any token enters the battlefield. This includes anything from Creature tokens to clue tokens.

Marneus feeds his own ability with his token generation. It’s a solid mana sink that leads to card draw. This will be a sneaky win condition for players interested in running Thassa’s Oracle combos. With infinite mana, Marneus Calgar can effectively draw your deck.

Imotekh the Stormlord

Image via WotC
  • Mana value: 2BB
  • Type: Legendary Artifact Creature Necron
  • Rarity: Mythic Rare
  • Stats: 3/3
  • First ability: Phaeron – Whenever one or more Artifact cards leave your graveyard, create two 2/2 Black Necron Warrior Artifact Creature tokens.
  • Second ability: Grand Strategist – At the beginning of combat on your turn, another target Artifact Creature you control gets +2/+2 and gains menace until end of turn.

The Necron tribe is all about Artifact synergies. This is great because Artifact decks are a well-supported archetype throughout Magic. This precon will be great to upgrade and will likely have powerful support cards that will fit in a variety of other lists.

Imotekh is a solid four-mana Creature that rewards the player for using the graveyard. Artifacts can leave the graveyard in a variety of ways, from being exiled to being played from it. The second ability is decent, giving a Creature menace will make it hard to block, however, Artifact decks generally win outside of combat. It seems like the Necron deck will look to attack with an army of Artifact Creatures.

Be’lakor, the Dark Master

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  • Mana value: 3UBR
  • Type: Legendary Creature Demon Noble
  • Rarity: Mythic Rare
  • Stats: 6/5
  • Keyword: Flying
  • First ability: Prince of Chaos – When Be’lakor, the Dark Master enters the battlefield, you draw X cards and you lose X life, where X is the number of Demons you control.
  • Second ability: Lord of Torment – Whenever another Demon enters the battlefield under your control, it deals damage equal to its power to any target.

Be’lakor is likely the best Demon-tribal commander in the format. This hulking 6/5 evasive threat provides card draw and is a finisher if it’s allowed to stick on the battlefield. The damage ability is similar to Terror of the Peaks, but for Demons. This will quickly win the game as Demon Creatures generally have high power stats.

At five mana, Be’lakor is expensive but this shouldn’t be a major problem because of the big-mana generators found in both Red and Black. Blue will also help support this Commander by adding card draw and disruption to protect Be’lakor once he’s on the battlefield.

Magus Lucea Kane

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  • Mana value: 1GUR
  • Type: Legendary Creature Human Tyranid Wizard
  • Rarity: Mythic Rare
  • Stats: 1/1
  • First ability: Spiritual Leader – At the beginning of combat on your turn, put a +1/+1 counter on target Creature.
  • Second ability: Psychic Stimulus – Tap: Add two colorless mana. When you next cast a spell with X in its mana cost or activate an ability with X in its activation cost this turn, copy that spell or ability. You may choose new targets for the copy.

The Tyranid swarm is all about +1/+1 counters and big spells, which should be familiar to any longtime Temur players. Magus Lucea Kane is a fragile 1/1 utility Creature that can snowball if given enough time. The consistent +1/+1 counter generation is a great way to get the deck started. It will help fuel the general strategy of the deck and turn on any proliferate spells you have.

The second ability is a big-mana payoff that increases the potency of X spells. This will help copy any big X-cost Creature cards or other spells. This will likely find a home in many different Magic decks and could be an effective commander for a Hydra-tribal list.


All images via WotC.