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The Top Ten Aristocrats Commanders!


Hello awesome Commander and Aristocrat fans! I hope that you're having an amazing day today! This Top Ten Archetype (EDHREC.com) is beloved by fans everywhere and named after Vampire Aristocrat. Here's how it works:

Step 1 - You have out a sacrificial for free thing that gives you some value, like Goblin Bombardment for damage or the mana making Ashnod's Altar.

Step 2 - You need a trigger that will smash something all up and down, like Zulaport Cutthroat to drain life from all foes or Pitiless Plunderer to make a Treasure.

Step 3 - You need a body to sacrifice, like tokens or a recursive dork like Reassembling Skeleton to bring back over and over again.

Step 4 - You need enough mana to be made with Steps 1 through 3 to do this over and over again until you win with triggers.

And that's Aristocrats. It's built around sacrificing stuff for value and then building up that daisy chain, so things like Viscera Seer and Mana Echoes are great here.

So, what are the best Commanders for this beloved archetype?

Honorable Mention #1. (#13. Overall)

Garna, Bloodfist of Keld

Let's start this thing off with a fun Rakdos colored uncommon! This four mana 4/3 Berserker will trigger when another dork you control dies. Was it attacking? Great! Draw a card! Otherwise, you'll ping each foe for that precious damage. So, by having the death trigger on your Commander you remove a step in the process. See how strong that is? And by choosing when you sacrifice, you can draw instead of killing everyone if you just need to dig to find the good stuff. Also note that this death trigger will work on token dorks too! You can draw a ton or ting foes with token making dorks like Siege-Gang Commander.

Honorable Mention #2. (#12. Overall)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari

Now let's turn to Golgari! This 4-drop 2/2 dork has two death triggers too, like Garna above, but here, you can combine them! She can turn a sacrifice of a Black dork into paying two life for making everyone else sacrifice like Grave Pact, or if you sacrificed a Green dork, gain two life. Ideally, you'll wanna do both so have both colors on your dorks and tokens. Since you have a Grave Pact in the Command Zone, that's why she is ahead of Garna. Even with a Mono-Black dork and you losing two life in 40 life Commander, that's worth it. Also note that's a may ability so you don't have to pay the life if nothing is left, and if Green too, you'll just gain it instead. See why this awesome thing is next? I hope so!

Honorable Mention #3. (#11. Overall)

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher

Let's combine Rakdos and Golgari into one dork - Jund! This six mana 5/5 flyer will make 0/1 Kobold tokens equal to the mana you spent, so that raises the power as you do more and more Command Taxes. This is also a cast trigger, not an ETB one, so if countered, it'll still resolve. Then you can sac a dork for no mana to pump Prossh by 1 power. Nasty! You can get a Commander Damage pretty quickly, and a mana-free sacrifice in the Command Zone is nasty with the Aristocrats combo. Good stuff! Now let's hit up our Top Ten!

Number Ten

Marchesa, the Black Rose

Our only Blue Aristocrat Commander on today's list (it's rare too) is this Grixis colored 4-drop 3/3 with dethrone. Your other dorks have dethrone too. Then when your dorks die, if they had a +1/+1 counter on them, you can bring them back in your end step to the battlefield. You have to wait, sure, and it requires a +1/+1 counter, but it's all of them. Simic was first about a +1/+1 counter matters, so you can add those blue effects. Dethrone also hands them out to your stuff when they attack the right person, and it's an attack trigger, not a combat damage one, so if they die in combat, they'll come back too. This thing is brilliant with all of the +1/+1 counters good stuff! Love her loads!

Number Nine

Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker

All right, let's turn to Mono-Black next! Shirei is like a slightly better Marchesa. Here, when your small stuff dies, you get it back for free at your EOT. After Shirei was downshifted from rare to uncommon and dropped in value massively a couple of years ago, I built a Budget Commander around it (here - Budget Commander: Hurray Shirei! | Article by Abe Sargent (coolstuffinc.com)). Again, like Marchesa, they'll come back EOT, but they don't need as much work to put counters on them, all 1 or 0 power stuff comes back. Now, it's just Mono-Black, so there aren't any new options which is why I rate it just one better than Marchesa. The best way to build around it is likely Shadowborn Apostles. But they cost a bunch on the Secondary Market. With Aristocrats, remember that most of your key triggers are often 1 or 0 power anyway like Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat, and then your sacrifice engine is Viscera Seer and you'll need recursive dorks with 1 power too and then this will serve as a backup or outlet to keep them all out after removal. Shirei is okay with me!

Number Eight

Elenda, the Dusk Rose

Get ready Orzhov lovers! This archetype and combo is generally considered best in Orzhov, just like Spellslingers in Izzet or Equipment matters in Boros, and we are about to have the Orzhov invasion opening up with this 4-drop 1/1 life linker. When another dork dies? Toss a counter on her of the +1/+1 persuasion. Note that there are no breaks there. Tokens? Counters! Opposing stuff? Counters! Many die at once? Many counters! Give her indestructible and turn into a Wrath Machine. Then you can kill with Commander Damage fast, or gain a ton of life with her lifelink. But, if she is answered, then you'll make a bunch of 1/1 Vampire tokens also with lifelink equal to her power so minimum one with no counters. So even if answered, you can still win. That means you won't go dry by risking a lot of counters on her. Keep a sacrifice for her (such as High Market) if she is targeted for exiling to get that death trigger. We now have all of the colors here!

Number Seven

Carmen, Cruel Skymarcher

Back to back Orzhov dorks! This 5-drop flying smaller bodied 2/2 is next! When someone sacrifices, you toss a +1/+1 counter here like Elenda before, but also gain a life too, to keep you alive. Note that there are two differences here - the first is that said thing must be sacrificed, not killed. Secondly, it can be any permanent not just dorks, like opposing fetch lands or cracking Treasure. So that's a lot more power there and with flying a faster win-con in the red zone with Commander Damage. Then when you swing, you can recur a dork with smaller mana value equal to or smaller than Carmen's power to your battlefield from your graveyard, like an attacking Sun Titan, although just for dorks. Nasty recursion of things that died in your combo, and then you can kill so fast with all of the sacrifice triggers from your foes and you too with flying. See why I rate her higher?

Number Six

Ayara, First of Locthwain

Our top scoring Mono-Black dork is this 3-drop triple Black 2/3 dork. Whenever her or another back dork ETBs, you drain a life from each foe, so she's a reverse Zulaport Cutthroat that works on entry but not death, but that will still work for your loops. Note that ETB works on Black token dorks too, but just Black stuff, so not colorless tokens or artifact dorks like Solemn Simulacrum. Then you can tap her for no mana or other cost to sacrifice a Black dork and draw that card. She is a free sacrifice engine in the Command Zone, although just once/cycle of turns with the tapping, and death triggers too. That combo makes her my favorite Mono-Black Aristocrats leader! And then there were five!

Number Five

Totentanz, Swarm Piper

Our highest scoring Rakdos colored dork and 2nd highest uncommon is this 3-drop 2/3 dork! You can make a free 1/1 Rat that cannot block when another nontoken you control dies. Sure, there is the non-token restriction there, but making free tokens lets you go wide with a Command Zone dork. Then you can spend two mana to make a swinging Rat gain deathtouch for the turn, which if you keep free when you swing, people won't want to trade down into, making it more likely you'll smash more face. Then you can spend your mana in your post-combat main phase. Love this Human Warlock Bard way much!!!!

Number Four

Slimefoot and Squee

This Jund colored dork is our highest Jund thang. It's the cheapest a three-mana Commander can be without hybrid - three mana for an on curve 3/3 body. When this ETBs or attacks, like Grave Titan, it'll make a dork, this time one of the 1/1 Saproling persuasion. Then you can spend four to sacrifice a Saproling to recur both this and another dork for free at sorcery speed from your graveyard to the battlefield. You make a ton of dorks to sacrifice to your stuff, and then you have an engine here to recur two things. Here let me give you a way to break this, if you are not seeing it: Ashnod's Altar gives you four mana and not the Token to sac for four mana to reload your stuff, you get Treasures from the Plunderer or Eldrazi tokens to sacrifice for mana to make the colored mana, or you tap the three new dorks to untap basics with Earthcraft. If what you brought out makes mana like Priest of Gix on ETB or brings tokens like the aforementioned Siege-Gang Commander you are making infinite mana. See why this thing is much better than it seems?

Number Three

Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim

Our final uncommon and 2-drop 2/2 bear is this Orzhov colored deathtoucher to keep back attacks. When another dork ETBs your battlefield, you'll gain a life, like Soul Warden. When a thing you control dies, your foe's will lose a life, and with both, you can gain any amount of life and kill any size foe when you go off. Note these triggers don't care about the tokenality of a card, so you'll trigger this for those too. Because of how cheap and both triggers on one dork, it has to net a high spot on today's countdown!!!

Number Two

Meren of Clan Nel Toth

One of the most broken Commanders ever printed is this powerhouse experience counter dork. When another dork you control dies? Toss a counter. Then in your end step you get one free recur if its cost is less than your experience counter dork. Or draw it if not. That's one free recursion of everything from Sakura-Tribe Elder or Spore Frog to game winners like Craterhoof Behemoth. In an Aristocrats shell you'll collect the counters fast and then break things with a powerhouse beater to win now in the red zone. Might I suggest the Hulk part of Hulk-Flash? Love this things power so way much!

Number One

Teysa Karlov

Teysa take Three! Could there be anything else here in my top spot? I doubt it! This 4-drop 2/4 has two abilities. The latter is that your critter tokens have lifelink and vigilance which few build around. The former is that when your stuff triggers for death stuff, they trigger again, so this is a death Panharmonicon on Command Zone eligible legs! That's clearly enough to make her broken! From Blood Artist to Butcher of Malakir to Solemn Simulacrum's draw, they all will happen again! Love her loads. She has earned this spot by right to fight.

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