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Top Ten Classic Commander Permanents You've Forgotten About


Hello awesome MTG players and readers! Today I want to look at some cards that used to get played all over but have fallen off the wayside. I started this list with creatures two weeks ago (find it here) and it included a one-drop Wall, some classic win-cons, and then some ramp options, ETB classics, and loads more. Last week we looked at sorceries and instants and it included three split cards, a classic common burn spell, two great Regrowths, and more. Normally my Top Ten list comes with three honorable mentions, but the last two each had five honorable mentions since this list is so deep, so let's do that.

Today we are counting down artifacts, enchantments, lands and just one planeswalker, since most good ones back then like the iconic Liliana Vess and Karn Liberated are still getting play, for example, Ms. Vess is in 17,230 decks over at EDHREC.com. I used that to make sure that the things that I don't see anymore just aren't played locally, but bigger. Most of these are lands. Ready?

Let's do it do it!

Honorable Mention #1 (#15 Overall) - Mangara's Tome

Mangara's Tome

Just at 244 decks this former classic is very fun at the kitchen table in any Highlander format. You tutor for five cards, shuffle, put them under the Tome, and then spend two mana to replace a card drawn from the top card under the Tome, so that's five replacements. Then if it's stolen, the cards will be exiled, they won't be transferred over, nice way of preventing someone from taking your Tome.

If you need to Tutor for an answer to your foes' Blightsteel Colossus about to win the game, you can just search for Swords to Plowshares and then draw it with your main draw. I mentioned how good this is in Highlander formats. Since Commander has a bunch of redundancy built in, you can grab multiple cards, for example, against said Colossus you could also fetch out Path to Exile, if you had it and then it wouldn't matter which you drew. You could also grab Utter End and have three options, and then just replace your draws as you need to answer things. You could also grab five problem game winners, five card cheap card draw like Opt and Tormenting Voice to draw and trigger Guttersnipes. You could also just grab five counters as general control and then always have one available as you replace your draws with the good stuff. It's also just good in a random, chaotic deck where you just grab five fun cards and then see which ones you draw and make sure you don't draw lands. It's colorless so it fits into any deck. I also want to do a special shout out to classic Green Commander staple Sylvan Library, which is broken together since you can activate it, and then replace these draws with the Tome and you won't have to put any back, so that's a little powerful engine.

Honorable Mention #2 (#14 Overall) - Petrified Field

Petrified Field

This colorless land used to get played all over, but now? Nope! It arrives untapped and ready to be used for mana, so that's strong. It has a self-sacrifice that doesn't require any mana. Regrowth a land to your hand from your graveyard. That's great with lands you self-sacrifice to use like Strip Mine and Wasteland. It's also strong with fetchlands like Polluted Mire and Terramorphic Expanse. It's also great with the cycling lands since you can cycle them again for another card or this time play them, whichever works for the situation. Then you can bring back a destroyed card that was taken out like your destroyed Command Tower for mana. It's also a key backup if you are building a deck around key lands like Cabal Coffers and Urborg to bring back one if it's destroyed. Powerful, and there's no mana needed for the sacrifice, and no tempo loss for arrival and then it fits into any deck. And yet it's just in 5,714 decks out of 2,024,769. How is that possible considering how good it is?

Honorable Mention #3 - (#13 Overall) - Riftstone Portal

Riftstone Portal

This was heavily played, but it is Selesnya so you can understand less play, hence It hitting here in my middle Honorable Mention spot. This arrives untapped, taps for colorless, and then all of your lands tap for Green or White while this is in your graveyard. All you have to do is figure out how to get it there! Here are a few ways:

  • Looting - Blue, draw and then discard, like Merfolk Looter
  • Rummaging - Red, discard and then draw, like Cathartic Reunion. See also Blood tokens.
  • Discard Permanents - Many things are run that are good for other things, but then also discard for effects like Wild Mongrel or Compulsion. See also Trade Routes, where this is broken and shines. It also works well with the previous card as well.
  • Opposing Discard - You can also choose this when your foe uses all discard like Liliana of the Veil or targets you with choosing a card like Ravenous Rats. There is also a card hitting later that is great with this...

Good card! And pretty powerful too. Did you forget that this existed? I got cha!

Honorable Mention #4 - (#12 Overall) - Sword of Vengeance

Sword of Vengeance

This is our token piece of equipment that used to get all of the play but now only 2% of decks run it, and since Equipment is a Top 5 archetype, that's a key place to run it. It used to get run everywhere, but now it's just in those. It's good though. First it costs three and then equips for three. It gives a double power boost and then four abilities - first strike, vigilance, trample, and haste, so it makes the equipped dork an Akroma, Angel of Vengeance.

Then you can swing and keep your dork from tapping with vigilance and that's very strong. Then you get trample which is evasion. First strike is great too. And then the broken haste. That lets you swing on the turn something arrives prior to tapped out or sorcery speed removal, and then you can be the first to attack after removal before someone dies. Both haste and vigilance are better in multiplayer than in duals, and then you get trample, first strike, and a double power boost all on one card. In just a three drop that also is a three equip. It's very strong in any Commander deck dealing with multiple players. Good stuff in the equipmenting circle of life. Nice right?

Honorable Mention #5 (#11 Overall) - Kor Haven AND Prahv, Spires of Order

Kor Haven
Prahv, Spires of Order

This land pair is awesome! The Haven (10549) and Prahv (1396) just don't get the play they used to! Sad, right? The Haven taps for colorless, arrived untapped, and taps with two to prevent combat from a target dork, so it's a Maze of Ith that taps for mana. It's also legendary for those mechanics that care. Then Prahv adds Blue to the White identity, can be tapped for colorless too, taps with six instead of two, and prevents damage too. Not just "combat" damage, but damage from any source dealt to anything. Combat? A Lightning Bolt targeting you or your precious dork? Every piece of damage that Blasphemous Act deals? Or other burn-based removal. On a land? Why aren't you playing this duo?

#10 - Tower of the Magistrate

Tower of the Magistrate

This colorless land is pretty cool and very strong after The Brothers' War where you have even more artifact dorks. This land taps for colorless, arrives untapped, taps with one to give a dork protection from artifacts for the turn. Nasty! You can swing through an artifact defense with your Commander, block a chump block from a Steel Hellkite by your Mulldrifter and survive, stay alive through a tapped Staff of Nin on your Esper Sentinel, and loads more! Nasty, right? So why aren't you running it in just 2198 decks? No clue here!

#9. Sarkhan Vol

Sarkhan Vol

Our token planeswalker is this guy! He's just in 2155 decks as well, but he is in two colors so that's more understandable. Then you get the original Gruul 'walker. Why is this guy so good in multiplayer formats like Commander? Great question! Imagine they printed this variant of Fires of Yavimaya:

Upgraded Fires:



Your creatures have haste, and on your turn they get +1/+1

How powerful would that variant of Fires be? Massive! Well, that's Sarkhan's +1, giving your team both haste and a +1/+1 boost. Nasty stuff! Again, haste is very powerful in multiplayer, and you are giving it to your team en masse here! You can also -2 him to Threaten a dork for a turn, twice with the initial loyalty, in case that kills. You can also -6 him, to make five 6/6 Dragons and that's likely to kill pretty quickly. He's very powerful and you should be playing the first Sarkhan more!

#8. Rainbow Vale

Rainbow Vale

Hitting at around halfway is this powerful land that can tap for all of the colors but it is then given to a foe in your end step. It's just in 1827 decks. This fun thing is very strong the more colors you have, since this is a better Command Tower for mana. Then this is how it plays in a four-player game:

  • Turn X1 - Drop the Vale. Tap it, give it to the player on your left who is going next.
  • Turn X2, Player A - Tap it, give it to their player on the left.
  • Turn X3, Player B - Tap it, repeat
  • Turn X4, Player C - Repeat
  • Turn Y1 - You got the Vale, tap it, make any color of mana, repeat.

That's how the Vale is ideally played, by everyone giving it away each turn to make the mana and then being given back. Note that this way the player who is mana-screwed will always get a land. This is a the friendly, fun, multiplayer way of making the Vale work. There are two side cases where this has enhanced value:

  1. White Lands Grabbing - Ever since Land Tax, players have gotten extra lands from things like it or Tithe that care about a foe having more land. If turn X1 is turn four, then you gave that land away to player A, now they have 5 and you have 3, cast the instant speed Tithe on their turn, and get two Plains.
  2. Zedruu the Greathearted - In your upkeep, Zedruu will draw you a card for each permanent your foes control. If they didn't send it back, just draw another card and gain another life too. This is an essential there, but Zedruu has 3829 decks, more than twice the number of Vales in all decks combined. Why?

It's also strong in Group Hug brews and in most multiplayer decks, especially ones where getting a land that can tap for any color is very strong. Did you know that this thing existed? Welcome it back to the format! This is also the Command Tower and very powerful in my spinoff format of Commander called Commander '95 that only runs cards printed through the end of 1995.

#7. Temporal Aperture

Temporal Aperture

The card I nicknamed "Rat-a-Tat-Tat" since that was a noise a Wheel of Fortune would make. Spin the Wheel! Who knows what you'll get! This two-drop colorless artifact is in just 470 decks. Wow. Not even 500? This is very powerful with anything proactive like creatures, artifacts, planeswalkers, enchantments, lands, and sorceries that aren't answers like Wrath of God like the actual Wheel of Fortune. When you use it, don't play a land from your hand first, in case you randomly shuffle into a land. Then you can play it from the library. Unless you need 5 to get to tap. Free cards every one of your turns is better than just normal card draw! It's fun and you built your own deck, so you are rarely getting something that doesn't fit in. It's very strong in multiple places. Free cards, and get your "Rat-a-Tat-Tat" on!

#6. Arena


Our final card before the Top Five is this iconic land that was printed as a Book Promo and then reprinted in Time Spiral. This colorless land doesn't tap for mana, like Maze of Ith. It's only in 2633 decks. You tap it with three mana and then you can choose a target dork you control, and your foe chooses a target they control. Then they fight each other. Fighting removal in a land form that fits into any brew at the Commander table? See why this thing used to be so iconic? Do note that your foe chooses their target, not you, so if you choose your 3/3 Darksteel Sentinel to head to the Arena, they are likely to send out their 4/6 Consecrated Sphinx which won't die rather than their 2/2 Cloudblazer. Got it? But even with that, there is always someone that will lose something at a multiplayer table. I love this with cards that have deathtouch like Acidic Slime and Hired Poisoner and Insect tokens from Hornet Queen. It's also very strong with Commanders with deathtouch since you know you'll have it. It's also legal in Commander '95 and is pretty strong there as well.

What cards made my Top 5? It's two enchantments, one artifact, one land, and then one cycle of lands. Three uncommons and two rares. Ready?

#5. Ceta Sanctuary and a Shout Out to Other Sanctuaries

Ceta Sanctuary

Number on EDHREC.com? Just 361. This three-drop uncommon enchantment has an upkeep trigger. Do you control a Green or Red permanent? Great! Draw and discard. That's great card flow over time! Do you control both? Awesome! Now draw two and discard one. Discard that extra land you don't need and keep the good stuff. Discard that dork to Zombify on this turn. Discard that flashback or jumpstart and then cast it like Deep Analysis or Think Twice. Discard that way too expensive spell you cannot cast and then keep what you can. Discard that ramp spell you just drew since your land is set and then keep the other stuff.

This obviously needs to be in a Simic or Izzet brew. Then you can get free card flow over time when you control your typical Young Pyromancer or Reclamation Sage or Birds of Paradise or Flametongue Kavu. Nice. Also note that your Commander will always count. Then this is broken in both, Temur. Your Commander counts as both so you can always draw two and discard one in your upkeep when you control it. Nasty. This is part of a cycle of uncommon cards called "X Sanctuary" that also have a minor trigger for one enemy color and a better trigger for both. This is the best. I run this cycle along the Hondens in my five-color Cromat planeswalker deck. When you control Cromat, you get all of the better triggers. Since the Ceta is card flow and then draw, it's the Honden of Seeing Winds of the cycle and the best since it's card advantage. But don't sleep on the others.

#4. Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace

Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace

Our penultimate uncommon and land is this Rakdos one in 6139 decks. This taps for colorless, arrives untapped, and then can be tapped with three mana as a sorcery to have everyone discard. Everyone, yourself included.

Sure, it works in Rakdos hellbent decks where you want to not have a hand to empower your stuff, but it's strong in loads of other places. It's the +1 of Liliana of the Veil. It's a strong card flow at the multiplayer table since it scales up, and you'll discard one and your three foes will discard three, so that's 1:3 card advantage for you. It's even better if you cast your card in your main phase and then tap and use this. Mass repeatable discard like this will force people to play their hands rather than keep them so they'll play aggressively and your game, not theirs.

This is very strong against instant answers like Counterspell. It's also great in decks that need cards in the graveyard like Reanimation, Threshold, Delirium, Incarnations like Anger, Self-Recursive dorks like Skeletons and Phoenixes, Discard triggers like Archfiend of Ifnir, Discard-Matters like Waste Not and Megrim, Madness brews, and loads more. Getting this powerhouse in a recursive land form is pretty strong, don't sleep on it.

And then there were three!

#3. Oversold Cemetery

Oversold Cemetery

This two-drop is our top hitting enchantment, black card, and second-hitting rare. This was a beloved heavyweight in Commander specifically and multiplayer generally. EDHREC.com? It's at just 5015 brews. During your upkeep, if you have at least four dorks in your graveyard, you can Raise Dead one to your hand. It's great card advantage over time, and unlike raw card drawing that might give you a land after your mana is set or the wrong answer for a problem that your foe has played, you can always get the perfect card for the situation from your graveyard. Ramp? Solemn Simulacrum and Birds of Paradise! Removal? Ravenous Chupacabra and Acidic Slime! Card flow? Phyrexian Rager and Mulldrifter! Win cons? Guiltfeeder and Craterhoof Behemoth! I really like this with self-sacrifice things like Sakura-Tribe Elder or Caustic Caterpillar that can be sacked and then count as your 4+ for future turns as well. Nice right? I think so as well! Ready for the top two?

#2. Citanul Flute

Citanul Flute

Just 1876 is registered of our top-scoring artifact, rare and colorless card overall. Ready for the magic of our Flute? This five-drop artifact can be played in any Commander deck. It can be tapped for X, and then Tutor for a dork with X cost or less and put it into your hand. Shuffle. Ideally, use half of your mana for this and half for the dork, so on the turn after you drop this you can tap for three and cast for three any three drop like Reclamation Sage. I love grabbing mana dorks to make this better over time, like two mana tapping Palladium Myr or Priest of Titania if you have a few Elves. It's playable anywhere, but it has enhanced value here:

  • Four or Five Color Decks - You can always use it and cast it no matter your mana and then you have more colors of options to grab, like Karmic Guide and Eternal Witness to recur, Mulldrifter and Cloudblazer to draw, Flametongue Kavu and Ghitu Slinger to burn, Liliana's Specter to discard. That's just midrange things, you can net beaters like Grave Titan, broken card draw engines like Consecrated Sphinx, you got it.
  • X Spells and Abilities Matter - We have a few X-matters legendary dorks like Rosheen Meanderer.
  • Colorless - Want creature tutoring in a repeatable colorless option? I've got you covered!!!
  • Mana Sink for Combos, Ramp and Fire Elves- This is a great win con and mana sink for infinite mana decks since you can tap it for 12, tutor for Blightsteel Colossus, cast it, and then equip with Lightning Greaves and swing and win. None of those had a color, so you can run it with any infinite mana engine, and then use Ashnod's Altar style colorless mana making stuff to win.

It's very strong with the previous card too, by the by.

One slot and cycle left...ready?

#1. The Mirage Fetch Lands

Rocky Tar Pit

Yup! This uncommon cycle from Mirage are the first fetch lands. They are identical to Polluted Mire save they arrive tapped, so you have to take a turn off to untap and then you use them. Take, as an example, Rocky Tar Pit. It's in just 1% of decks! How? This thing can fetch duals and tri lands like Triomes that are heavily printed recently that are all over the block, so what happened here? Did you just forget about the first cycle? How? They are also pretty cheap on the secondary market as well. Nice group!

And there we go! So...what did you think of this slate of cards? Anything I missed? Just let me know and have an amazing day! Oh, and a shout out to #16 Springjack Pasture that taps to make 0/1 Goats to block, sacrifice in Aristocrats and Sacrifice matters brew, and to make any color of mana. Nice!

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