Well hello readers, welcome back to MTGCasualPlay.com and my Top 10 Commander 2015 Cards for EDH! As always, my rankings take into account new cards (no reprints) and playability with regards to fitting into a wide range of decks as opposed to niche, corner-case goodness. For each card I will include a FOR ME… section to indicate how I would personally use the card in my existing or future decklists.
I would like to warn you in advance that there is a large portion of the legendary commanders that will not even get a mention in this article. I’m sure this will make someone want to push me into oncoming traffic, but give me a quick chance to explain. In my humble, average MTG player opinion, I just found that most enemy legends in the set were extremely niche. Most of them can be great as a commander but fail in the 99 (or vice-versa). However, there are a couple that catch my eye, and we will talk about them soon. As always, please comment below and tell me what card makes your Top 10 list. What would you rank higher (or lower)?
Has the Commander 2015 set encouraged you to build around one of the 10 new Legendary Creatures? FOR ME… I have replaced Vorel of the Hull Clade with Ezuri, Claw of Progress and the results have been far better than I could have imagined so far. I have also created two Orzhov budget builds and will be playing both Daxos the Returned AND Karlov of the Ghost Council for a while until I decide which one will stay in my collection and which one will be reassigned to the trade binders.
Be sure to check back every once in a while for my other Commander articles. I am trying to catch up on my writing and hope to have my Top 10 list for Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch next month!
Illusory Ambusher: Zip this dude out there to block a beefy Eldrazi barreling down on you or in response to a Blasphemous Act and draw all the cards! Flash makes him fun and playable. The lack of flying kept it out of my top 10.
Thought Vessel: A two mana rock with Reliquary Tower etched into the side? What is there to think about? Beats that old Spellbook that Grandpa used to have. If you plan on having more than a full grip of seven during a commander game, put the Vessel in your deck!
Verdant Confluence: I really dig the confluence cycle in Commander 2015. Sure, the green one is the most expensive and suffers at sorcery speed, but when are you not happy to get at least one of these effects, let alone a buffet selection between the three?
Aethersnatch: Fans of cards like Desertion and Spelljack get another way to use your opponents weapons against them. A solid choice for the kleptomaniac blue player. Honestly, I think this is the best of the three as it combines the goodness of both. This will definitely see play! Gimme that!
Kaseto, Orochi Archmage: Aside from making snake tribal a valid possibility in Blue/Green, Kaseto also provides redundancy behind Thassa, God of the Sea and Rogue’s Passage to sneak behind enemy lines.
Enough of the “honorables”. You came here for a Top 10 List, so let’s get to it!
Top 10 Commander 2015 Cards for EDH
#10 – Bloodspore Thrinax
It took me a few attempts, but I was finally able to push Bloodspore Thrinax through my imaginary Evaluation Committee for Top 10 inclusion. Thrinax’s ability sets up an assembly line that juices up each creature that enters the battlefield under our control with an amount of +1/+1 counters equal to what is on the Bloodspore. The ability is reminiscent of Master Biomancer but has the potential to become much more powerful. Organically, this lizard does not automatically enter the battlefield with +1/+1 counters. These can only be obtained through the Devour 1 ability. The obvious play here is in a deck that generates gobs of tokens and is just fine with sacrificing a few insects or plants to fill this dude up. Once we bloat this guy with counters, we pop some more tokens onto the battlefield and all of a sudden we have a nuclear abundance of mutant monsters. Devour becomes even more powerful when merged into a black deck that takes advantage of the additional sacrifices. If our deck is looking for sac outlets, then feeding them to a predatory reptile could be appetizing.
While it’s obvious that Bloodspore Thrinax plays well with token decks such as Prossh and Rhys it can also be abused in simic builds such as Vorel of the Hull Clade and the new Ezuri that can add additional counters when it is already on the battlefield. Hunting Triad, Give // Take and just about any Bolster mechanic are synergetic and allow the lizard to continue to grow in size and effectiveness.
One more thing. Doubling Season. (Drops the mic. Walks off Stage)
FOR ME… This would have been an auto include in my Vorel deck, but now that I have rebuilt vorel into Ezuri, Claw of Progress it will have to sit in the Maybeboard until further testing has been conducted. I could also entertain an inclusion into Prossh where this guy could devour kobolds (and Prossh himself) and then recast Prossh bringing eight kobolds into play with approximately seven (7) +1/+1 counters each. I have a copy in my binder, so we’ll have to wait and see where I want to abuse the Bloodspore Thrinax.
If you have had the opportunity to play with or against the Commander 2015 Plunder the Graves deck then you know why the Lady of Golgari Synergy, Meren of Clan Nel Toth makes this list. My son and I played some one-on-one games where I played the Daxos Call the Spirits deck against Meren and he wiped the floor with my black/white mud puddle. If you don’t deal with Meren, she will get out of control. As a commander, she reminds me of Karador, Ghost Chieftain in regards to play style and deck build. In a nutshell, her ability brings a creature card from your graveyard back to your hand at the end of your turn. OR, if you have enough experience counters you get to put it directly onto the battlefield. It is quite evident that with sufficient sacrifice outlets and a strategic game plan, Meren should be able to use her graveyard as a toolbox and control kitchen tables for years to come.
So, how is she as one of the 99? As I mentioned earlier, I try to keep my top 10 lists relevant with wide range playability being greater than niche. With that being said, Meren should have no trouble fitting into B/G/x EDH decks that need some extra recursion. At the very worst, she can be cast second main phase and put on a Gravedigger-like performance. However, if she sticks on the board unanswered or is protected with a pair of Lightning Greaves she can add high-octane recursion fuel to the game plan. I am sure that decks like Prossh, Karador, and other Golgari Graveyard mixes will be able to fully exploit her ability and the experience counters that come with it.
FOR ME… While my Prossh list is a bit too tight to include Meren, I can see where she could come in handy for those with an extra seat in the Kher senate. I’m sure I will use her someday. Meanwhile, it has been fun watching my son enjoying the synergy and playability of the Meren deck. He continues to upgrade the deck to withstand the rigors of our EDH nights by building around ETB creatures and Grave Pact type effects.
#8 – Arachnogenesis
Next to sac outlets and graveyard hate, Fog-effects may very well be the next biggest thing deck builders seem to shove aside when building their pile of 99 card strategy. So much in fact that EDH co-creator Sheldon Menery preaches the under-utilization of fog effects in several of his Star City Games articles stating: “stay in school and play your Fogs.” Heck, who am I to say anything. I am just as guilty as the next spellslinger when it comes to exploiting this ancient combat trick. I guess the main question is why don’t we run more fog effects in our EDH Decks? I have lost count on how many times I have seen games end with Craterhoof Behemoth or a roided out voltron commander doming someone in the face for a bazillion. The ratio of game ending alpha strikes to fog resources, in my opinion, is a lopsided gaggle.
Getting to the point, if Commander 2015’s Arachnogenesis doesn’t get you excited to thwart an enemy attack, then I can’t say that any fog effect ever will. The key to embracing the spider mist is further utilization after the fog has cleared. Using the tokens to fuel other engines, trigger comes into play abilities or simply serve as future chump blockers are all great reasons to include this card in your deck. Obvious awesomeness comes from having Purphoros, God of the Forge on the field or swinging next turn with your own Craterhoof or Beastmaster Ascension.
FOR ME… I think only three EDH decks out of my entire collection of 24+ utilize a fog effect. Constant Mists in Jolrael, Spike Weaver in Ezuri, and Dawn Charm in Kaalia. I have already added this card to Jolrael and the itsy-bitsy spider token saved me from death at the hands of Jenara’s commander damage. I am also considering this for Ezuri, Prossh and other future builds.
#7 – Bastion Protector
Okay. According to internet reviews, it looks like I have some explaining to do on why I think this guy is top ten worthy. Bastion Protector is a 3/3 creature that makes our Commander indestructible and gives him/her a decent modifier of +2/+2. For three mana, this is a heck of a bargain and helps create an obstacle when our opponents are trying to put our commander out of commission. Sure, we all know that exile is the king of removal when it comes to EDH. In fact, there are going to be plenty of times when we start to feel safe having our head-honcho on the board with Bastion Protector just to see him exiled with Swords to Plowshares or glare at us from our hand after a Cyclonic Rift, but there are still many decks that use destroy effects for removal. With the Protector on the field, EDH favorites such as Nevinyrral’s Disk, Blasphemous Act, Wrath of God, and Damnation will allow our commander to remain “king of the hill” post-boardwipe. In fact, with Bastion Protector “protecting” our general, we can feel a little more at ease when we decide to cast our own Day of Judgment to clear the board.
Bastion Protector could best be compared to as a living, walking Totem Armor. Like the auras, the Protector stands in the way of the bullet and allows our commander to keep living. Now, instead of popping our commander with Beast Within, Terminate, Shriekmaw or Rapid Hybridization, our opponents must first deal with the human soldier pledging to die for our cause.
Voltron decks gain the most from Bastion Protector’s services, especially hexproof commanders like Uril and Sigarda. Board wipes are one of the few ways to deal with these type of commanders and Bastion Protector further reduces removal options. Other popular commanders also have a lot to gain by having this dude on the field. Decks like Kaalia, Rafiq or Narset who make their living in the red-zone can now swing with a little more confidence in survival and get the +2/+2 modifier for extra combat juice.
- Being a Human Soldier is relevant to tribal decks
- Provides a body (where Totem Armor does not) that can be used as the sacrifice in the face of Fleshbag Marauder-like abilities
- Friends with Sun Titan
- Great early turn play at only three mana
- Splashable into any deck containing white
- Now Equipment decks can have a “Totem Armor” effect
FOR ME… I believe in this card enough that I have slated it into my competitive 1v1 Uril the Miststalker deck as a utility creature to help the big guy survive wrath and edict effects. I have ordered six of these online. Immediate inclusions for Eight-and-a-Half-Tails, Aurelia, Kaalia, Brago, Uril and Sigarda.
#6 – Mizzix’s Mastery
Feel free to comment on whether or not this card is ranked too low in my Top 10 list, but I’m going to be honest with you up front, I don’t think I can fully visualize what this card can do. Of all the color combinations, the spell slinging Izzet archetypes are the hardest for me to get a full brain grip on. I have seen what they can do, in fact, I have a buddy that went into full evil laugh mode as I watched him explode spells and cantrips all over my kitchen table with Melek. With all of that being said, there is no denying that Mizzix’s Mastery belongs here, somewhere, if not just for the pure potential of it’s power.
Let me take a stab at this. So, Mizzix’s Mastery exiles an instant or sorcery in my graveyard, exiling both it and the card I targeted. Then, I get to cast that card without paying it’s mana cost. Well damn. Ok. It’s pretty much to “flashback” a spell in my graveyard and cast it for free. That sounds good. Obviously counterspells are not what we will want since the Mastery is a sorcery, however, my initial thought goes right to cards like Bribery. Oh, and the new card from this set, Mystic Confluence, that’s juicy. I need to clear the board so Blasphemous Act would be a good one too. Hey, I think I’m getting the hang of this. How about one more. Cast Frantic Search discarding Insurrection or Rise of the Dark Realms, then cast Mizzix’s Mastery? Great card!
So on to the next card in my list… What’s that? I missed something? Overload? Oh, wow. no kidding? So you are telling me that I could cast Mizzix’s Mastery for it’s Overload cost of and Bribery, Confluence, Rise, Insurrect, and have all the fun? Tell me more. I’ll be listening in the comments below. Oh, but whatever you do, do NOT tell Nekusar, the Mindrazer. Last thing I need is that dude overloading and slingin’ Wheel of Fortunes and Windfalls all over the place.
FOR ME… My initial reaction to Mizzix’s Mastery was that it is an Izzet card, however, upon careful inspection with my near sightedness, I can verify that this is a Red card. While I am sure Izzet spell slinging decks will get the most mileage from a spell like this, I can see it being played in just about any deck with a decent amount of potential targets. Heck, why not? I’ll be thinking about this for my Lyzolda, Purphoros or Jhoira Chaos decks.
Sometimes players just need to read the fine print and I guarantee that’s exactly what our opponent’s will want to do when Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest starts to get his hands dirty. With Mazirek on the battlefield, anytime a player sacrifices a permanent our squad of face punchers begin to swell with +1/+1 counters. Note the words “player” and “permanent”. Yes, Mazirek triggers off of any sacrificed permanent. The look on our opponents face should be priceless when he/she cracks a fetchland and we roll the dice up a notch on our readied militia.
While Mazirek could be found at the head of his own deck, I believe he is more useful as one of the 99. One of the reasons being the unavoidable number of deaths he will incur and with his five converted mana cost , the commander tax will get cumbersome. Throw Mazirek into a deck that wants to win with an army and sacrifice shenanigans for maximum efficiency. Imagine a four player game where we cast Fleshbag Marauder with Grave Pact in play. If my solar powered calculator’s math is correct, that could equal seven +1/+1 counters for Mazirek and the home team. Decks such as Prossh, Anafenza, Karador and Meren will benefit from the flying Insect Shaman and he will probably catch the aim of your opponent’s spot removal.
FOR ME… Did I mention Prossh? Yes, I believe I did. While my Prossh deck is a super tight list I would definitely be amiss if I didn’t invite Mazirek over for an interview. Let’s roid up those kobolds, shall we!?
#4 – Command Beacon
Epic Commander games can be taxing. Yes, I will take that as a pun and lead-in to why I have chosen Command Beacon as a landmark in my Commander 2015 top 10 list. In a long drawn out game of EDH it is inevitable that commanders will die or become exiled and sent back to the Command Zone. When this happens, the “Commander Tax” is applied. A simple rule meaning that our General now costs two more to cast for each time it has been sent back to sanctuary. The commander tax can start to add up through a long drawn out chess match to the point where it costs a ridiculous amount of mana to get our deck’s centerpiece back on the field.
By sacrificing Command Beacon, we can put our commander into our hand allowing us to bypass whatever tax rate our deck is at and cast him or her for the price printed on the card.
It is also comforting to see that Command Beacon does not enter the battlfield tapped so we can tap it right away if we just need to add a colorless mana to our mana pool. If your deck is reliant on it’s commander and has room for a few extra utility lands, then the Command Beacon should be high up on the list for consideration.
FOR ME… If I can squeeze this in a deck, I’m gonna do it.. Of course, I’ll need to be mindful that I do not disrupt my ability to mana fix. I can see this going into Aurelia right away since she can be a bit expensive to cast after her first demise.
#3 – Mystic Confluence
Blue gets the best toys in Magic. I believe their is a pie chart somewhere that supports this theory, or, it’s just the common complaint when comparing a new set and a cycle of cards. Regardless on the color’s win/loss ratio in previous cycles there is little doubt in my mind that Mystic Confluence takes home the gold among the C15 Confluences. This cream of the crop’s three modes are all viable and tantalizing when the mana is open to cast it. At the very worst, the card performs as a Jace’s Ingenuity, but being able to cast (or supercharge a) Mana Leak and/or Unsummon along with drawing cards is a ton of value wrapped up in one card.
We cannot end our conversation without comparing Mystic Confluence to it’s all-star Uncle, Cryptic Command. Ounce for ounce, yes, Cryptic is still the better card. It is a hard counter versus a mana leak and can still bounce a creature, nab a card in hand or tap down an army. However, Mystic Confluence doesn’t get shut out in this comparison. Mystic outshines its predecessor in two obvious areas. With the two blue in its cost versus Cryptic’s triple Island requirements , the spell becomes easier to cast in two, three or even a five color deck. Secondly, look at that price tag. After three printings and a promo, Cryptic Command is still at $25. I believe it is only low right now because Modern Masters 2015 is still available at your LGS. Within a year or so this should easily be back in the $30s or beyond. With the mass production of commander decks, Mystic Confluence should be a budget option for years to come.
FOR ME… If you want to know the nitty gritty of what I’ll be doing with Mystic Confluence, I’ll clue you in. I will probably move my lone copy of Cryptic Command from my Wrexial (Black/Blue) to Muzzio (mono blue) and replace it with Mystic Confluence. Not only do I like the easier casting cost, but the ability to bounce three creatures gives me a great opportunity to reset clones. Other than that, I could see myself acquiring more copies of Mystic for strong consideration in several of my other decks requiring Islands as a resource.
#2 – Blade of Selves
Well friends, let me introduce you to a sword that is sure to send your commander games spiraling out of control, the Blade of Selves. This weapon’s only ability is to grant the wielding creature Myriad. Myriad is a unique Commander 2015 ability that puts copies of the equipped creature onto the battlefield tapped and attacking each other opponent. Let’s begin with examining the most obvious goodness of the Blade, combat value. Gone is the political decision on who to attack. The only decision now is the tactical choice of who to attack with the original creature so that it survives combat. Since the tokens are exiled after combat we could really care less about what happens to them on the battlefield. In a nutshell, our 7/7 trampler gets to attack each opponent rather than having to just pick one to swing at.
Combat is fun and all but let’s get to the juicy value of Blade of Selves. When Myriad triggers and our tokens are put into play tapped and attacking, we get the enters the battlefield effect for each token. In a
four five player pod, if we swing with an equipped Rune-Scarred Demon the ability allows us to search our library for three cards, Mulldrifter draws us six cards, with Sun Titan we return three items from our graveyard to the battlefield, Solemn Simulacrum nets us three lands, Siege-Gang Commander gives us 12 Goblins, and Craterhoof Behemoth, omg, Craterhoof! Those are just simple examples for each color off the top of my head. As you can see the Myriad ability can give us the nitrogen turbo boost to propel us way ahead in the race to victory.
With Myriad, we need to be up to snuff on our MTG combat rules. Since the equipped creature is declared as an attacker to trigger Myriad, we do not get abilities that trigger “on attack”. Copies of cards such as Pathbreaker Ibex and Hero of Bladehold that are put into play with Myriad simply become vanilla attackers since they missed the declare attackers step.
So why isn’t the Blade of Selves #1 on this list? It can’t go without being said that while Blade of Selves WILL win multiplayer games, it is completely worthless if you sit down and shuffle your deck up for a friendly game of 1v1. It is equally irrelevant as player pods whittle down to two and gets weaker as opponents are eliminated. Don’t get me wrong. the Blade should be able to outright win games with only a handful of combat phases, but there is just one card I like a smidge more.
READER QUESTION: What creature are you most looking forward to abusing with Blade of Selves?
FOR ME… My immediate thought on this card was an inclusion in my Brago Flicker deck. Brago is chalk-full of small ETB dudes and getting triple to quadruple value in combat from my Man-o’-War, Mulldrifter and Angel of Serenity has me drooling on my pillow at night. I may also consider this in my Purphoros deck in conjunction with Myr Battlesphere and Beetleback Chief.
#1 – Pathbreaker Ibex
It cannot be a coincidence that we get a C15 goat spoiler within the same time vicinity of The Walking Dead, Season 6 Episode 4. Not a Walking Dead fan? No worries, all you need to know is that this 2015 episode centered around the main character Morgan and another survivor who did their best to protect their goat from becoming zombie food. Goat’s name? Tabitha. While the outreach of my article is not likely to tag Pathbreaker Ibex as “Tabitha” in the same nostalgic fashion that Sakura-Tribe Elder is “Steve”, I will do my best to get the word out, #tabitha.
With naming conventions out of the way, let’s discuss how MTG’s newest barnyard animal will lead a stampede of attackers at our kitchen table. When Pathbreaker Ibex attacks, creatures we control get +X/+X and trample until end of turn where “X” is the greatest power among creatures we control. At the very least, Tabitha will trigger an Overrun effect every time we swing with her. Having a creature on the battlefield with beefier power will set a higher value of X.
Sure, Tabitha is not Craterhoof Behemoth. She is, however, just as dangerous and can be slotted in as wincon 1b in relation to Craterhoof being 1a. There is a difference in setting up the win condition. Craterhoof will need to enter the battlefield for the win where Ibex needs haste or to make it around the table.
Like Craterhoof, Pathbreaker Ibex will be a valid Tooth and Nail target especially with the help of a haste enabler such as Lightning Greaves or Anger. The number of green decks she slots into are endless. Simply put, Pathbreaker Ibex is a juicy Timmy card and a solid choice for every green deck utilizing the combat step for their win condition. I see a ton of Craterhoof wins in my area and I expect to see just as many Pathbreaker Ibex wins in the near future making it the number one card on my top 10 list.
FOR ME… Here is a strong fact. This goat is gonna end games. I am most excited about the boost Pathbreaker Ibex will give my 3/3 Forests in Jolrael, Empress of Beasts. I’m also looking at her for my Sliver Queen and Prossh token builds.
So there you have it folks, my Top 10 Commander 2015 Cards for EDH/Commander. What do you agree with? What didn’t you like? Please comment in the section below!
Ah, Before I go, here are a few other cards that I will be playtesting/adding to my existing EDH decks. These cards did not make the Top 10, but I thought I would note that I may give them a try.
OTHER CARDS I MAY PLAYTEST
Anya, Merciless Angel: A lot of folks online don’t like her. I am not one of them. I have already sent her into the red zone swinging for 10 with my angel commander, Aurelia, the Warleader and it was epic. The five mana cost is golden. A second copy will find its way into my Indestructible EDH deck too. Love her!
Illusory Ambusher: Going into Surrak for card draw.
Arjun, the Shifting Flame: The wackiness of Arjun will get him a tryout for Jhoia Chaos.
Righteous Confluence: Gets to stay in Karlov.
Scourge of Nel Toth: Being able to get the zombie dragon in your graveyard is the hardest part. After that, it’s an oober awesome sacrifice outlet. Chainer will love him.
Banshee of the Dread Choir: Solid lock for my Gwendlyn Discard deck. Multi-opponent discard is hard to come by.
Herald of the Host: Might give it a go in my Aurelia Angel Tribal deck, but probably for a limited time only.
Wretched Confluence: The -2/-2 card draw and Raise Dead are all valuable tools to my Vhati -1/-1 counter deck. Hope I have room!
Thief of Blood: If I keep Celestial Convergence[/cardd] in Oloro and add Dark Depths, then maybe I’ll play this here. Maybe.
Shielded by Faith: A definite inclusion for Aurelia Angel deck… simply for the name. May also find a home in my Sigarda Enchantress and my future Bruna decks. Damn, I love auras!
Grasp of Fate: Gets to stay in Daxos the Returned… for now…
Deadly Tempest: More wrath effects are always welcome in Oloro. Put this card on your plate if the playgroup’s buffet line is chalk full of tokens and swarm aggro strategies.
Aethersnatch: For consideration in my Wrexial Steal/Copy deck as well as Jhoira Switcheroo Chaos. Heck, it is under consideration for every other blue deck I own. It all depends on my mana curves.
Daxos’ Torment: If I keep Daxos, I’ll keep this in here.
Ezuri’s Predation: Slotting into Jolrael. It will be easy to cast and I could use the tokens!
Mirror Match: As with all clone and copy effects this card is only as good as our opponent’s side of the board. Not sure if it will make it into Wrexial Copy deck, but I can’t deny a chance in Oloro or Jhoira.
Dread Summons: Lazav is super-stoked. Bring on the zombies and the goes to graveyard triggers!
Skullwinder: Political E-Witness. Deathtouch makes it oober-doober cool for me. Going in my budget Dromoka and in my Vhati Deathtouch -1/-1 Counter decks.
On to the next!