So the annual Core Set is upon us. Within M15 lies a few rough diamonds ready to help polish our Commander EDH Decks. I really dig a lot of these cards for our favorite 100 card highlander format so I won’t waste any more time with my creative introduction to the article!
Even though my last Top 10 article tried to separate my personal opinions on cards from well thought out analysis with a distinct FOR ME… section, you the readers, still pointed out a noticeable bias in my rankings. Well played. I must admit that I cant help but lean towards the cards I find oober-cool, especially if I can use it in one of my decks or build around it, so this article won’t be much different. Honestly though, aren’t most Top 10 lists a matter of preference/bias mixed in with some true analysis?
Before we begin, and for reference, here is the list of my fourteen (14) EDH/Commander decks:
Wrexial, the Risen Deep
Uril, the Miststalker
Kaalia of the Vast
Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
Chainer, Dementia Master
Oloro, Ageless Ascetic
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Tajic, Blade of the Legion
Lazav, Dimir Mastermind
Sigarda, Host of Herons
I hope you enjoy the article. I welcome all feedback so please comment in the section below! Be sure to check back every once in a while for my other EDH articles and I’ll definitely fit in a Top 10 for Khans of Tarkir in the fall!
A quick reminder that we will not be looking at reprints today only the new stuff, so Let’s Get Started!
First, My Personal Collection of Honorables
The following cards lean more into the category of cards I am looking forward to playing. I’ll share them with ya… here they are:
Indulgent Tormentor: Being able to choose a target opponent should net us some cards with this ability. Otherwise they will need to sac a dude or lose some life. It might not replace Bloodgift Demon in my Chainer deck, but it does fit the sacrifice theme.
Avacyn, Guardian Angel: The second coming of Avacyn has left much to be desired for the average commander player. Not only that, but her triple white casting cost makes her a bit standoffish for multi-colored decks. However, Avacyn is a welcome inclusion in my Eight-and-a-Half-Tails deck that enjoys good times with manipulating protection and colors.
Avarice Amulet Decks with little access to card draw have to reach sometimes and so is the case for the Amulet. Honestly, this will be going into my Tajic Indestructible deck where the chances that my opponents gain control of it are minimal. Oh, by the way, put this on your commander. He doesn’t die, he goes to the Command Zone. You’re welcome. 🙂
Spectra Ward: Just missing the cut for Uril due to the five mana cost. I would prefer to have Holy Mantle on my hexproof beast. I will give this a go in my Sigarda Enchantress and entertain the thought in my Eight-and-a-Half-Tails deck. Bruna players have got to be giddy!
Could Very Easily Be #10 on My List
The following cards could very easily replace #10 on my list.
Jace, the Living Guildpact: So Jace 5.0 will eventually be Jace $5.00 once prices settle on the new core set. Even if you think JtLG is crap, we still need to mention him. Simply because… he’s Jace!
I do believe that the new Jace along with his spiky hair-do and single white glove (glowing hand, whatever) will serve as a niche card in some builds. Honestly, his +1 helps thin your deck or set up for graveyard recursion. Combined with Soothsaying, Lim-Dul’s Vault or Sensei’s Divining Top, this ability may be rather cool. His -3 ability provides a good bounce effect while still keeping him at 2 loyalty if used the turn he comes into play. Finally, his ultimate could be back breaking as it destroys everyone else’s hands while giving us a full grip of seven. He will definitely find his way into my future Specter tribal / Discard EDH deck.
Ajani 5.0? Already? Ajani seems to be getting faster updates than Google Chrome. None-the-less, Cat-Man is back in White and his Ultimate is the shiznit! However, it may just be me, but the +1 and -2 seem boring. No evasion, I think I would rather have Elspeth, Knight-Errant, unless of course, we are playing Super Friends.
Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient: I would love to see a Commander versus video on Muzzio vs Kurkesh. I am glad to see that red gets another worthwhile monocolored Commander. Shenanigans to ensue, I am sure.
Generator Servant: A similar ability to Orcish Lumberjack, the Generator Servant could play a blitzkrieg role in a Voltron EDH deck. Proshh, Skyraider of Kher should like this guy a lot and maybe even Uril, the Miststalker or Maelstrom Wanderer. In fact, I may consider this card for my Uril build in French Rules/Duel Commander to replace Sol Ring.
Genesis Hydra: If there was a reason to continue adding ingredients to my Kruphix, God of Horizons brew, this is it. A semi-cascade effect that gets even juicier with library manipulation. Value town.
Aetherspouts: This funky conditional board wipe has the ability to turn an opponents alpha strike into a heart sinking loss of resources. Do you play in an aggro heavy meta? Do you need a one-sided, conditional wrath that punishes an opponent for swinging for the fences? Troubles with Indestructible armies, tokens, or Hexproof? Turn on the Spouts of Aether and **Poof**. Gone.
Enough of the “honorables”. You came here for a Top 10 List, so let’s get to it!
Top 10 M15 Cards for EDH Commander
#10 – Waste Not
Kicking off my Top 10 list is Waste Not. I really had a hard time settling on the #10 card of my Top M15 EDH list, so this could easily be switched out with Ajani 5.0, Aetherspouts, Genesis Hydra, or one of the others mentioned above. I guess I finally decided on Waste Not because it is 1) Cheap to Cast 2) Triggers on every card an opponent discards and 3) Can go nuts in the right deck and support.
Although discard is not a popular theme in EDH, if you decide to play discard, Waste Not is an auto include. The lack of discard themed commander decks makes Waste Not a niche, but very powerful card. The best part is, no matter what card is discarded, you get an effect. Heck ya. Nath of the Gilt-Leaf and Gwendlyn Di Corci players will want this, Nekusar, the Mindrazer players will need this. In fact, Waste Not is borderline epic brokenness in Nekusar or any deck that runs Wheel of Fortune or Windfall type effects. As if Nekusar wasn’t disgusting enough, now he can send a Zombie horde to do his dirty work while he sits back and draws some cards. Oh my goodness this is going to be so wrong.
FOR ME… I have no intentions to build a Nekusar deck, there are way to many of those already. But I will, however, finish brewing my RBU Specter Tribal Discard/Bounce deck. When this is complete, Waste Not will be there.
#9 – Sliver Hivelord
The hivemind of the Slivers rears its head in the second consecutive core set. With M15 comes the newest Sliver Legend… Sliver Hivelord. It seems that there is a new Reddit or MTGSalvation post everyday with players wanting advice on Sliver EDH decks or which of the four (4) Legendary Slivers they should build around. It is the ruckus and excitement of the new Sliver Legend that thrusts him into my Top 10. Be prepared to see an escalation of sliver EDH decks at your local game store – all thanks to this guy. Whether its a current sliver EDH player or those “putting the (Sliver) Band back together”, there is no doubt that Sliver Hivelord is a much welcomed addition to the hive and will most likely become a member of the 99. The fact that he makes all other slivers you control immune to Wrath of God, Blasphemous Act, Combat Damage and all other forms of destroy or bury (old school terminology), makes him a beast in five color tribal.
The question does remain: Can Sliver Hivelord be the Commander of his own EDH deck? Of course he can! However, I feel that he is better suited as part of the 99, whether that would be assisting Legion’s army or being tutored up by the Overlord, Sliver Hivelord seems more of a roleplayer. With that being said, an army of slivers led by an indestructible commander can be downright brutal to play against. Five color good stuff could also put the Hivelord in the drivers seat of a Voltron deck, since he is Indestructible and all. What are your thoughts on the new Sliver Legend? Please leave them in the comments below!
FOR ME… Hey, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon, I was already a Platinum Member of Club Slivertown. I have been building and tweaking my Sliver EDH deck for well over a year now. As a Magic player that started his career with the release of Tempest, I can truly say that I am digging the attention Wizards has given my favorte tribe in the last two annual core sets. My Sliver deck has been in a state of fluctuation as I have constantly been changing the strategy and decklist. Since this is my fun build, I will not have a Sliver Commander deck without the three original, and now the new, Sliver Legends. Welcome aboard Hivelord!
#8 – Heliod’s Pilgrim
Tutor effects are valued resources in EDH, so why not include an efficiently costed creature that can tutor for auras among M15’s best cards? Although auras may be one of the least played card types in the game due to the possibility of 2 for 1s, Heliod’s Pilgrim is going to be the main hombre for searching them out. Sure, auras have had previous tutor effects with Totem-Guide Hartebeest and Three Dreams but a 1/2 creature with this effect for only 3 converted mana is easy on the mana checkbook. This dude has some value and I would honestly put him on the same playing field (or dare I say “better than”) Trinket Mage. What do you think? Trinket Mage vs Heliod’s Pilgrim?
Heliod’s Pilgrim should be an immediate inclusion in Enchantress and Voltron Aura builds. Uril, Bruna, Sigarda, Geist, Brago, and Zur will probably recruit the Aura Pilgrim for their 99 card deck tech. He will also help White mages find removal auras (such as Prison Term) and Green mages find ramp auras such as Wild Growth.
FOR ME… My 1v1 Uril deck currently runs Three Dreams to tutor for game winning auras. I have often found this spell left wanting as it takes two turns to set up (one to get the auras, the next to cast them). I had cut Hartebeest from my deck before too. Just too slow. With Heliod’s Pilgrim I now get a three mana aura tutor allowing me to cast it the same turn. Furthermore, once his job is done, the Pilgrim serves as fodder for sacrifice effects. More than likely, Heliod’s Pilgrim will also be added to Brago (to search out my cantrip auras like Traveler’s Cloak) and Sigarda (to find Eldrazi Conscription).
One of my favorite storylines in recent history, is the curse that Liliana of the Veil put on Garruk. “Flippy Garruk” from Innistrad remains to this day one of my favorite Planeswalkers. In early Spring 2014 images of M15 Garruk were released as the main character of the upcoming core set, and although the speculation of a monoblack Garruk never came to fruition, the new Green/Black Garruk looks pissed off and ready to swing the giant axe against your opponents.
We will bypass any sort of notion that 7 converted mana cost is too much in a deck running Green… we know better than that. So let’s take a look at the first 4 ability planeswalker since Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
+1: Opposing Planeswalkers getting you down? Send Garruk, Apex Predator onto the battlefield as a headhunter to remove threats with a spark. OR… +1 to put a 3/3 Black Beast with Deathtouch into play – heck yeah, gimme some tokens. Garruk’s -3 ability allows him to destroy a creature and gain us some life, that’s always good. The final dose from the flavor baster is a -8 loyalty that gives an opponent an Emblem. That’s right, an opponent. This emblem is nothing more than a “Curse” that roids up each creature attacking that opponent with a super-duper +5/+5 and trample. Talk about hatin’ a player out.
But let’s compare to other planeswalkers. Garruk’s ability to destroy a creature is clearly outshined by Karn Liberated‘s ability to exile a permanent. And, at only 5 converted mana , Vraska the Unseen is cheaper to cast and can destroy permanents instead of just creatures. Still though, Garruk is pretty good and his cool factor simply brings smiles to the caster with every activation.
FOR ME… Of course I will be playing Garruk, Apex Predator, he is too cool not to include in a deck. Of course my Vhati il-Dal deck is getting a bit full on Golgari planeswalkers with flippy Garruk and Vraska already having roster spots. Hmmm, he may find his way into there or into my 5 Color Sliver deck for a removal source – and because giving my Slivers +5/+5 versus an opponent is epic overkill.
#6 – Hushwing Gryff
Commander is known for its big spells and game changing Enters the Battlefield (ETB) effects. There are players out there that have turned their nose at ETB effects and have pursued the art of “hating” on these with a small gem known as Torpor Orb. Enter M15’s Hushwing Gryff. This hippogriff is blessed with the Torpor Orb’s ability on it’s slender 2/1 flying frame. Hatebear decks such as Gaddock Teeg will enjoy deflating the balloons of an opponents bomb by flashing the Torpor Bird into play, in response. No Fun Allowed!
FOR ME… I don’t currently run Torpor Orb in any of my decks. It’s not because I don’t want to, but for the reason that I try to cram too much other fun stuff into my builds that there is usually no room left for hate bears (I have the same problem with running lite on graveyard hate). But with Torpor Orb now compact on a flying white creature, I may consider sending the Hippogriff onto the front lines. On the otherside of the coin, I am not too excited about having this card enter the battlefield on my opponent’s playmat, as I run quite a few ETB effects in my decks. The most effected by the presence of Torpor Bird is my Brago, blink flicker deck. I would definitely save a counterspell for this dude.
#5 – Nissa, Worldwaker
The “other” Green planeswalker finally gets a makeover, and might I say, that the artwork of Nissa, Worldwaker is gorgeous! I have not seen a foil copy of her but I can only imagine it will be smoking hot. Anyway, unless there is an elf EDH deck in your playgroup, chances are you have never seen Nissa 1.0 – Nissa Revane. I applaud Wizards for a new version of her and am glad Green finally gets an option that is not Garruk. The fact that Nissa, Worldwaker does not include “Elf” abilities adds to her appeal among a wider base of EDH players. While the 3 loyalty is a bit on the low side for 5 mana , Nissa is blessed with the ability to protect herself – a feature that commonly portrays the usefulness of a planeswalker. Albeit, her +1 for protection is putting one of your lands in harms way. What I think is most phenomenal about the Elven Sparktress, is her +1 that allows you to untap up to 4 forests. Oh my goodness, does this ramp make Garruk Wildspeaker look timid. For this ability alone, Nissa becomes the most wanted tree-hugger you could have in your mono green EDH deck.
Nissa’s ultimate allows you to retrieve all basic lands from your library and morph them into 4/4 Elementals that are still lands. Mono green decks that we will most likely see Nissa in are Kamahl, Fist of Krosa overrun decks, Elf decks, and any deck that wants to super ramp or cast extra spells. At her current StarCityGames.com price of $49.99 however, I would definitely wait for this beauty to come down a bit from the top shelf.
FOR ME… While I don’t have a deck to put Nissa Worldwaker in, I have two brews that I am working on. First, her ultimate would blow out my opponents in a Gruul deck I am contemplating. This Xenagos, God of Revels deck will contain cards like Fires of Yavimaya that will allow a lethal swing when we bring our basic lands to life. Second, I think her +1 to untap up to 4 forests will be jaw dropping in a Kruphix, God of Horizons designed to float 100 mana for the Helix Pinnacle or game winning spell. Looking forward to acquiring a couple of these beauties, but again, not at her current price tag.
#4 – Soul of New Phyrexia
There is no doubt that staring down an opponents Avacyn, Angel of Hope can bring sweat to one’s brow, but what if every color had access to Avacyn’s ability to protect all of your permanents. Enter #4 on my Top 10 list Soul of New Phyrexia. Although not as good as Avacyn, the soul’s ability to tap 5 to make all of your permanents indestructible until end of turn is nothing to take lightly. Better yet, it can be used in conjunction with your own slew of “destroy” board wipes such as Oblivion Stone, Supreme Verdict or, dare I say, Jokulhaups. The Soul of New Phyrexia can also be activated once from the graveyard. Talk about versatility. Finally, a 6/6 Trampler can lead the way post board wipe to finish off opponents.
FOR ME… Soul of New Phyrexia will be slotted into my Tajic, Blade of the Legion Indestructible Earthquake deck. This EDH bomb will help protect my non-Indestructible creatures and will seal the deal once I get Worldslayer equipped and laying waste to the board.
In response to you cracking your fetchland, I will activate Quicksilver Amulet flashing in Ob Nixilis, Unshackled. That is 10 points of damage to you and you must sacrifice a creature. Sound dirty? It is! In EDH we love to search our libraries. Fetchlands and land searching spells are key ingredients to our deck’s ability to mana fix and ramp. This rings true for expensive cards like Polluted Delta/Three Visits or budget options like Evolving Wilds/Rampant Growth. Then there is always those pesky tutor cards… Demonic Tutor, Tooth and Nail, Rune-Scarred Demon, etc. that are prominent to obtain the card we need, when we need it. In Commander, we search our library all-the-time, its what we do. The fact that this bad-ass demon-dude punishes an opponent for searching their library by making him/her sacrifice a creature AND lose 10 life is astounding!
Oh crud, I was focusing on Ob Nixi’s first ability so long that I almost forgot about his second ability. Whenever a creature dies he gets a +1/+1 counter? Really? No way!
FOR ME… If Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is on my side of the table – I really, really dig this guy. IF my opponents have summoned Ob Nixilis? Son-of-a-#&%*! At the very minimum I will be running Ob Nixi in my Chainer, Dementia Master EDH deck. The main reason is because he fits my sacrifice theme. The second reason is because I can bring Ob Nixilis from my graveyard to the battlefield in response to an opponents “search your library effect” using Chainer’s ability. I am also contemplating this guy in my Kaalia of the Vast EDH deck, however, the competition is extremely tight at the six drop position. Still though, most players need to tutor for a way to deal with Kaalia, so this guy may prove to be a game clincher.
#2 – Reclamation Sage
This is not going to be a glamourous inclusion on my top 10 list, but when a card should become an EDH staple, you know we have to give it some props. Let’s face it, most EDH players do not play enough artifact and enchantment hate. If you are playing green, there is no reason you should not have a Krosan Grip, Naturalize, or Deglamer to take care of troublesome artifacts or enchantments. While it’s not “fun” to include answers, it is important. That is why I like removal on a stick. Cards like Harmonic Sliver and Acidic Slime are personal favorites that allow me to run enchantment/artifact hate AND have a dude on the battlefield.
If you are playing Green, Reclamation Sage is your new auto-include. It’s splashable, cheap to cast, recurrable, searchable, and tops off with the “may” terminology so you don’t have to blow something up. Decks running recursion, Sun Titan or flicker effects (yes, looking at you Roon of the Hidden Realm) are going to go nuts with the sage. Did I mention that the Sage is an ELF? Pointy-eared green mages have got to be ecstatic!
FOR ME… easy include in all of my EDH decks with Green and my son’s Prosh deck. This is also an easy addition to my 1v1 competitive deck – Uril & Friends. If you have read my Uril, the Miststalker Primer or watched my Uril Deck Tech Video on CMDR Decks you know that Harmonic Sliver is an absolute all-star. I will be obtaining a game day promo of Reclamation Sage and either run it alongside the Sliver or replace it altogether.
#1 – Perilous Vault
Many, many moons ago, when I was introduced to Magic the Gathering™ I opened my very first pack of cards, a 60 card starter deck of 5th Edition. Among my three rares was (and still is) one of my favorite cards of all time Nevinyrral’s Disk. There was just something about the art and the ability of destroying everything that makes me nostalgic for the Disk to this day. Today, my original, black speckled white bordered favorite has been retired to my trade binder (after being signed and altered by Mark Tedin), but I picked up a good handful of these disks and use them in my various EDH decks.
But as all destroy effects can tell you, the keyword “indestructible” has become noticeably more common at the kitchen table these days. Perhaps the most noticeable of the cards resilient to destroy effects are that of the Theros gods or Indestructible Enchantment Creatures. Players are starting to realize and making the shift towards cards that are able to tuck, exile, or force sacrifice as simply being able to “destroy” a troublesome permanent has gotten harder to do.
With this, I introduce you to the #1 Card in my M15 review: Perilous Vault. The fact that this board wipe exiles all non-land permanents is oober-crazy and will turn the tide of several EDH games for years to come. As with Disk and Stone, casting and activating the vault will usually be a two step process (playing it on one turn and then popping it on or after the next turn) but nine colorless mana is not out of the question in an EDH Commander game.
So let’s solidify Perilous Vault as my #1 pick with one last thought. Perilous Vault is so powerful, it can exile the rest of my Top 10 M15 list when activated. A list that includes a nasty enchantment, two indestructible creatures and two troublesome planeswalkers… pretty darn impressive.
Please visit again soon. I am already working on my Magic M15 set review due out in July 2014!
On to the next!