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Top Ten Spellslinger Commanders of All Time


Hello awesome Commander fans, do I have something fun for you! Today I want to look at the best Spellslinger Commanders to lead your deck no matter the color combo you might be looking at! Spellslingers are a deck archetype where you cast instants and sorceries and trigger cards like Young Pyromancer and Monastery Mentor and Guttersnipe. Sometimes these are worded as working with non-creature spells like prowess. Historically this was Mono-Blue, Izzet, Boros and Jeskai, but we've had some recent colors get added too, and I wanted to knock out my list of the best of the best! This is a beloved archetype.

So...what are my favorites here?

Honorable Mention #1. (#13. Overall) - Kalamax, the Stormsire

Kalamax, the Stormsire

Hello awesome Green and Temur fans, I've got your Green loving four-drop Dinosaur here! This is the only creature with that color identity hitting today's list! Your 4 mana nets you an on-curve 4/4. Kalamax has two abilities. When she is tapped, you can copy your first instant spell in each turn. Sure, you'll have to do just once per turn, but it's instants so you can do it on opposing turns too. Then when you copy an instant, you'll grow her permanently with a +1/+1 counter. Nasty!

Note that unlike other Spellslingers, she only triggers for instants, not sorceries too, but Red has instant speed burn, card flow like Big Score, and removal like Chaos Warp, Blue has counters, cantrips, actual card draw, and creature removal in Pongify and bounce like Cyclonic Rift, and then Green adds in more removal like Beast Within. You might even find the occasional recursion or ramp spell that's an instant too, so it's not much of a brake to only copy instants. You can attack the open player, and with haste in Red like Anger or equipment like Lightning Greaves, you can swing one turn early to get in key swings to tap her for her forks to stop. Kalamax will build up quickly into a game winning machine unlike many of these and get a Commander Damage kill pretty quickly unlike many of these effects. Also note copies will trigger magecraft twice, like Archmage Emeritus to draw twice per instant you cast. You can also run equipment that'll tap her for free like Paradise Mantle or tap with Earthcraft to ensure even when she cannot attack since there is no evasion and you don't want to lose her.

Honorable Mention #2. (#12. Overall) - Urabrask // The Great Work

Urabrask // The Great Work

The first good thing here is the very on curve with first strike. Then you get two abilities, one triggered like Guttersnipe and one activated. The triggered one shoots one player for damage like Blood Artist, not all and just one, just like Blood Artist vs Zulaport Cutthroat. But you'll make that precious mana to keep up with the castings. You can transform it with 1 mana if you've cast three of your spells - easily done with your extra mana. Then the Saga will start at Bolting one foe and their stuff. Nice control, again, just one. Then the next Chapter will make a trio of Treasures for ramping. Then you can cast instants/sorceries from all graveyards and they'll get exiled with your Treasures and mana and then you flip it back over to keep it up! It's here for a few reasons. First, making mana with your triggers is sweet! Then it flips and helps keep you alive, unlike others and lets you recast your and other stuff too that you built around.

Honorable Mention #3. (#11. Overall) - Ovika, Enigma Goliath

Ovika, Enigma Goliath

Hello fans of fat spells on fat dorks! I got you right here! This seven-drop 6/6 body with flying and ward 3 and 3 life to protect them a bit. This has the ability to turn the casts of X-sized noncreature spells into X sized 1/1 bodies with haste to swing. Ovika just blows out previously hitting token makers like Young Pyromancer in this color combo. By scaling up with the size to make and then making them with haste Ovika can win fast, and has a nasty game winning Commander Damage 6/6 flying as a backup. With a non-creature you could also build around, artifact, enchantments or planeswalkers too (I did the latter here). I love how flexible and powerful Ovika is, but she is expensive. Blue is the only non-ramp color, so you have to lean on Red's mass Treasure making to get you that time to cast it, but then you'll have to protect with more than ward since you don't want to recast this multiple times.

#10. Kess, Dissident Mage

Kess, Dissident Mage

Hello Grixis fans, I have one of the first Spellslinger leaders printed in your color combo! Kess's 4 mana nets you a slightly smaller 3/4 flyer. You can cast instants and sorceries from your graveyard on your turn and then exile them later. So, you only get one go around the bidet. She loves things like self-mill, discard stuff, cycling, and more. She's great leading a Spellslinger build to get twice the triggers for your stuff without the normal flashback costs for your stuff and then she adds in Black for more spell/trigger leaders.

#9. Talrand, Sky Summoner

Talrand, Sky Summoner

One of the first Spellslinger Commanders ever printed was this Core Set 4 mana 2/2 Merfolk Wizard that turns instants and sorceries into 2/2 flying Drakes. He dominated Commander when played and I build a Budget Commander deck around him here. He may not be as powerful today since he's just one color, but I still have a soft spot for him since he makes flyers with a strong 2/2 size with no additional costs like mana. You can cast an instant to block or EOT to make a bunch and then attack back.

#8. Judith, Carnage Connoisseur

Judith, Carnage Connoisseur

Ah yes, the new Judith I built around recently from Murders I call Newdith (she's here). She is the only Rakdos colored Spellslinger I know of. Newdith costs five for a smaller 3/4 body but has a Spellslinger trigger with two options - make a 2/2 Imp which when dies you'll shoot each foe for two, or give said spell deathtouch and lifelink, so she can be used to kill all up and down with burn like Lightning Bolt to gain three life, kill any sized dork. She's broken with damaged based sweepers like Blasphemous Act. Then making win-con dorks to block, swing, sacrifice to kill and have an ability too are all brilliant since she's win con and board control all matched together! I also love her in lifegain decks too, by the by.

#7. Gandalf of the Secret Fire

Gandalf of the Secret Fire

Jeskai for the win-kai! Gandalf has a four cost 3/4, again a bit small. He has just one triggered ability which happens just during opposing turns not yours. Your cast instant/sorcery from your hand (not copies, or cast from your graveyard like flashback) will be exiled on resolution and gain suspend and three time counters. So, it'll be cast normally, and then every third turn for the rest of the game! Only if it's countered will it stop being cast. Nasty! And since suspend counts as casts they will trigger all of the three colors you gained with this fun powerhouse like Talrand. The power here cannot be denied!

#6. Veyran, Voice of Duality

Veyran, Voice of Duality

Our final hit before the Top Five begins proper! This three-drop cheap 2/2 Wizard has magecraft to grow with a temporary boost of +1/+1 per turn. You can load him up fast, unlike Kalamax this is just temporary, but here it's also for sorceries and copies. When a cast/copy permanent trigger fires, you'll do it again, so that Guttersnipe or +1/+1 boost or token makers are all copied. Nasty!

#5. Zevlor, Elturel Exile

Zevlor, Elturel Exile

Another Grixis colored Spellslinger is next! This four-drop 4/2 with haste has a tap ability with 2 mana for when you cast that next instant/sorcery that targets just one opposing thing or player. Now it targets them in copy form, but just one each. For example, if you cast Lightning Bolt on an opposing Flametongue Kavu to kill it, you'll now Bolt one thing/player per other opponent you have! That's nasty! I also love this getting copied with card draw that targets an opponent like Fact or Fiction for all of the cards.

#4. Niv-Mizzet, Parun

Niv-Mizzet, Parun

One of favorite Izzet powerhouses is this 6 mana 5/5 uncounterable flying powerhouse that costs all of the mana. Did you draw? Shoot something like creature, planeswalker or player for all of the control. Then when any player costs that precious instant or sorcery you draw the card, and then ting them for one if it's them or a foe you can gang up on your mass card drawing too. With Archmage Emeritus this is just silly good. It's in my Commander Cube as a draftable Izzet legendary leader that everyone loves! Note the creature types for those types too.

#3 Anhelo, the Painter

Anhelo, the Painter

Our final scoring (sorta) Grixis leader is this three-drop mega cheap 1/3 deathtouch to kill attackers when he blocks and keep them back. This nasty Vampire Assassin has one Spellslinger trigger, but just once per turn. You can sacrifice a 2/2 dork or bigger. Then you can copy your first instant/sorcery you cast every turn, not just your turn, but every one! That's just mega strong with their powerhousing fun times. Loads of brews love all the copies here!

#2. Mizzix of the Izmagnus

MIzzix of the Izmagnus

Our top-scoring (sorta) Izzet leader is this four-drop 2/2 that plays into the broken experience counter slate where they get better over time and when answered they still remain at that power level when they head back. Here you'll snag that hot counter when you cast a spell of our concern with mana higher than the counter total. Then your instants and sorceries are all reduced by your counter count. Permanently! That level of permanent reduction for everything from Fact or Fiction to Comet Storm. Nasty stuff.

#1. Codie, Vociferous Codex

Codie, Vociferous Codex

I don't care how controversial it is. This is my top choice for the best Spellslinger Commander ever printed. This three-drop 1/4 artifact won't let you ever cast permanents spells. Then you can tap it for 4 mana the turn after you tap it to make 5 mana, one of each color and then when you cast your next spell this turn you cascade a cheaper instant/sorcery only. Getting a free cascade after ramping 5 mana? And then you unlock every color but have a three-drop you can always cast? I hope you can see why this is my top card!

There we are! I hope that you enjoyed my look at the top of deep Commander options for the Spellslinger archetype!

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