During San Diego Comiccon the first of the Khans was shown. It’s Zurgo Helmsmsaher, Khan of the Mardu clan. Mardu is the clan, with a focus on , and represents the Wings of the Dragon, which doesn’t grant flying, weirdly enough but haste and other speed-focused abilities. As a named card, Zurgo is ofcourse legendary, so he might lead a commander deck in the future. So, what does he do? Let’s take a look:
For we get a 7/2 haste creature. That’s allright. As a commander, you probably will see him coming, but the threat of one-third of lethal commander damage makes him dangerous. Especially since it’s in the colours of Boros Charm, Double Cleave and Psychotic Fury.
Zurgo doesn’t trample. But that hardly matters in these colours, because Zurgo is indestructible during your turn while being aligned with the colours that do mass destruction best. It’ll be common for a Wrath effect taking care of armies of chump-blockers, while leaving Zurgo the last man standing.
There are plenty of removal options, so why not just run all of them and keep wiping the board over and over while poking for damage? Boom! It’s not like you’re holding back blockers anyway.
The +1/+1 counter theme doesn’t seem that important, as Zurgo is rather big already and can kill in two or three hits regardless. It does fit the Voltron-style decks he seems to gravitate towards. Despite him not having much in the way of unique abilities, Zurgo does fill his own niche. So far there haven’t been that much legendary creatures, and they’re all very different from Zurgo. In fact, 2 of these originate from the same Commander deck.
Kaalia of the Vast is a popular commander, but plays vastly different from Zurgo, favouring an army of big creatures (Angels, Demons, Dragons) instead of going at it alone. Oros, the Avenger is an oldy, and so not very efficient. The damage clause could help Zurgo for some extra wrathing, even though the timing of it is off. Tariel, Reckoner of Souls is a three-colour Adarkar Valkyrie, although in many ways a little worse.
This is what makes Zurgo a good commander: There simply isn’t much that’s like him available. He’s good enough to go at it alone and make some quick kills with double strike or multiple combat phases, while dodging his own mass removal. Who knows what the Mardu clan has available to complement him? He’s not the most splashy commander, when even indestructibility has become a more mainstream ability, but different enough to warrant a look.