INFOGRAPHIC: The Most Popular Commander by State – Summer 2023

Most Popular Commander by State

We can argue all day about what the song of the summer is (though there is only one correct answer), but a much more challenging endeavor is to understand who the Magic: the Gathering commander of the summer would be. Which legendary is the monarch of casual tables while sipping mai tais on the beach? Which creature is so overplayed that every Swords to Plowshares is saved for the moment it his the play mat? We’re here to find out!

For the less initiated, Commander, also known as Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH), is the most popular way to play Magic: the Gathering in 2023 according to the game’s creator and distributor, Wizards of the Coast. Each player has a singleton 100 card deck with one of them, generally a legendary creature, to serve as the deck’s leader both thematically and philosophically, the deck’s general, its “commander.”

Magic players love to love their own commanders and hate on their friends’. So which cards are most-frequently being built for summer play? The team at Cardboard by the Numbers used Google Trends to create a state-by-state map of the United States of America to find the answer, which you can see here:

Most Searched Commanders By State; June - August, 2023; Source: Google Trends
The Most Popular Commander by State – Summer 2023

As is the case whenever a new set releases (particularly when it’s on track to be the best-selling expansion of all time), the trendiest commanders will be the new hotness: in this case, the likes of Sauron, Aragorn, and Tom Bombadil join all-time favorites like Atraxa and Yurkio. So just as drafts on Arena are dominated by the Fellowship and the forces of Sauron this summer, so too are Commander tables across the country. 

There are not so many geographical trends so to speak as one would anticipate from similar maps using Google Trends data, but this is likely due to the sample size we’re working with here. With 30 million active players, the volume of people searching on Google is not representative in the least: the top cards listed here had at most 20,000 associated searches over the last few months across the whole of the United States according to Google Ads Manager.

However, the fact that these results line up fairly well with the top commanders of the past month (according to the most-visited Commander aggregation site EDHRec) shows that this effort was not entirely without merit. What’s more compelling here are actually the exclusions: Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit is ranked third in terms of new decks on EDHRec this month, but does not make a single appearance here — as the face commander of the strongest pre-constructed deck, the people who are interested in playing with him may be less compelled to look up strategies or new cards to add when the deck suits their pilots just fine out of the box. In the same vein, Lord of the Nazgûl is the 6th most popular general on the same site without a blip of representation in the chart. How much Googling do you really need to do if you’re making a Nazgûl-centric deck?

If this were a Presidential election using the electoral college, there would be no clear winner. With 270 electoral votes needed to cinch the presidency, Sauron would be the closest at 204, benefitting from populous states like California, Texas, and New York, but Atraxa wouldn’t be far behind with 179 electors. The decision would then go to the House of Representatives, who would make the right choice and make Guile our president.

Guile from Street Fighter in front of an American Flag
President Guile

Why Guile, you say? He’s one of only six – maybe seven – legendary creatures depicted on a Magic card who meet the other qualifications for the Oval Office: namely being of age 35 or greater and having been born in these United States. Rightfully ignoring the Walking Dead bunch (Rick, Negan, Michonne, and Daryl) leaves us only with Ken )who may or may not be 35 at the time of his depiction), Chief Jim Hopper, and Guile. And I for one, salute you, President Guile.

Only six – maybe seven – legendary creatures depicted on a Magic card meet the qualifications for the Oval Office.

Cardboard by the Numbers

Thanks so much for reading! We’ve got new Magic: the Gathering infographics and analysis every week, so if you’ve enjoyed this article, please sign up for our newsletter to find out first and make sure to follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and now, Threads!!

StateTop Commander, via Google Trends 90 Days (Aug 14)
AlabamaYuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow
AlaskaNot enough data
ArizonaAragorn, the Uniter
ArkansasAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
CaliforniaSauron, the Dark Lord
ColoradoAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
ConnecticutYuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow
DelawareNot enough data
District of ColumbiaNot enough data
FloridaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
GeorgiaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
HawaiiYuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow
IdahoAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
IllinoisAragorn, the Uniter
IndianaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
IowaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
KansasAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
KentuckyAragorn, the Uniter
LouisianaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
MaineAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
MarylandYuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow
MassachusettsSauron, the Dark Lord
MichiganSauron, the Dark Lord
MinnesotaSauron, the Dark Lord
MississippiAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
MissouriMiirym, Sentinel Wyrm
MontanaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
NebraskaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
NevadaYuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow
New HampshireAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
New JerseyAragorn, the Uniter
New MexicoAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
New YorkSauron, the Dark Lord
North CarolinaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
North DakotaNot enough data
OhioMiirym, Sentinel Wyrm
OklahomaTom Bombadil
OregonAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
PennsylvaniaSauron, the Dark Lord
Rhode IslandNot enough data
South CarolinaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
South DakotaNot enough data
TennesseeAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
TexasSauron, the Dark Lord
UtahMiirym, Sentinel Wyrm
VermontNot enough data
VirginiaSauron, the Dark Lord
WashingtonSauron, the Dark Lord
West VirginiaAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
WisconsinAtraxa, Praetors’ Voice
WyomingNot enough data

Leave a Reply