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The Top Ten Non-Legendary Dragons for Commander

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2024 is the Year of the Dragon so it seems appropriate to take a moment to look at the top 10 non-Legendary Dragons in Magic's most popular format, Commander.

Last May, Abe Sargent took a look at the top 10 Elder Dragons for Commander. You can read that column here.

In the interest of minimizing overlap between our columns, I'm excluding Elder Dragons from the conversation. I'm also going to exclude Legendary Dragons from this column, not because I don't love a good Dragon Commander, but because they're going to get their own Top 10 list in the coming days.

Honorable Mentions

It would feel wrong to write a Top 10 list without including a few honorable mentions.

Two-Headed Hellkite
Hellkite Tyrant
Utvara Hellkite

As a longtime fan of Ramos, Dragon Engine, I nearly put Two-Headed Hellkite on this list. I love when card draw is tacked onto a creature and this 5/5 comes with flying, menace and haste. The problem is that wubrg in its casting cost. It only fits into a few decks well, but I'll never be sad to draw into it when I'm playing Ramos.

Hellkite Tyrant is another near miss. A 6/5 flying trample ("flample") Dragon is nice, but when this bad boy does combat damage to a player you get to steal all of their artifacts. If you have 20 or more artifacts under your control on your upkeep, you win the game! I love its potential, but in my experience Hellkite Tyrant just eats a removal spell before it can win me the game.

My last Honorable Mention suffers from being an overcosted "win more" Dragon. Utvara Hellkite will have you create a 6/6 Red Dragon creature token with flying whenever a Dragon you control attacks. You need to be on Dragons and you need the game to go long enough that you can cast and attack with this guy on the battlefield. These days most games of Commander don't give you that much time, but when they do it's a lot of fun to see your board just explode with 6/6 Dragon tokens.

Top 10 Non-Legendary Dragons for Commander

I'm skipping over Elder Dragons in today's list, as they were covered by Abe Sargent just last year. I'm also leaving out Legendary Dragons, so remember that these are what I consider to be the best of the best of the Dragons you can only run in the 99 of your EDH deck. I'd love to see a Legendary version of some of them, but these scaly fellows can't be the general of any legal Commander deck.

10. Sunscorch Regent

There aren't a lot of great Dragons in White but I couldn't leave my first pick off the list. If you're a fan of cards like Managorger Hydra and Taurean Mauler, you'll love Sunscorch Regent.

Sunscorch Regent

This 4/3 flying Dragon will get a +1/+1 counter whenever an opponent casts a spell and you'll also gain 1 life. With a way to proliferate, add extra counters, double counters, or even just with a table full of players casting spells, this guy can grow into a big problem for your opponents pretty quickly. The life gain might not seem like much, but if you're not dealing with combos, infect or commander damage it can end up making a difference.

9. Scourge of Valkas

While there aren't a lot of White Dragons, there are an awful lot of Red Dragons. This next pick earned its spot as one of the more problematic Dragons you'd see hit the table in the early days of Commander.

Scourge of Valkas

Scourge of Valkas was first printed in 2013 and immediately found a role in any Dragon deck that was able to handle the three Red pips in its casting cost. This 4/4 flyer has a great party trick. Whenever it or another Dragon enters the battlefield under your control, it deals X damage to target creature or player where X is the number of Dragons you control. That means it can help clear away a pesky reach blocker or a flyer that stands in the way of hitting someone with combat damage. It can also ping a player directly, and in the right deck that effect can be turned into a wincon.

8. Savage Ventmaw

Two short years after Scourge of Valkas was printed, Wizards gave us a fantastic Gruul (rg) Dragon that costs 6 mana and can give you that mana back every time it attacks.

Savage Ventmaw

As a 4/4 flyer, Savage Ventmaw might not seem like a big deal, but any creature with evasion that can give you six mana for your second main phase for the small price of sending it into combat is pretty good, even by today's standards. Pair it up with the enchantment Aggravated Assault, which lets you pay five mana to get an additional combat step and main phase, and you should have the win. If nobody has removal or blockers you'll just swing until they're all dead.

7. Hellkite Charger

If you can't pull into Aggravated Assault, this next Red Dragon can help you out. He'll charge you more, but he's got haste and can join in the attack.

Hellkite Charger

Hellkite Charger is a 5/5 with flying and haste and a great attack trigger. Whenever it attacks you may pay 5rr. If you do, you'll untap all attacking creatures and after this phase you'll get an additional combat phase. Note that you have to pay this when Hellkite Charger attacks. That works nicely with Savage Ventmaw except for the fact that you'll be one mana short. This still goes infinite if you've got Wulfgar of Icewind Dale on the battlefield, as he'll double Savage Ventmaw's attack trigger, giving you 12 mana - more than enough to play for Hellkite Charger's activated ability.

6. Shimmer Dragon

Dragons in commander aren't all Red creatures and combat triggers. We saw a White Dragon earlier and my next pick is a Blue Dragon that I dearly wish was a Legend.

Shimmer Dragon

Blue is the color of lots of things, and this six mana Dragon cares about a lot of them. Flying? Check. Artifacts? Check. Hexproof? Check. Card draw? You better believe it! Shimmer Dragon wants to head up a deck full of artifacts so that it has hexproof and you're regularly tapping those artifacts - two at a time - to draw cards. Sadly, it can only live in the 99, but for any artifact heavy list in Blue you should at least consider running Shimmer Dragon.

5. Bonehoard Dracosaur

We're back to Red, but that's hardly a surprise. This next entry is actually a Dinosaur Dragon with flying, first strike, and a pretty great impulse draw upkeep trigger.

Bonehoard Dracosaur

Bonehoard Dracosaur will have you exile the top two cards of your library at the beginning of your upkeep. You get to play them that turn. If you exiled a land you'll get a 3/1 Red Dinosaur creature token. If you exiled a nonland, you create a Treasure token. Red isn't the best color for card draw, but Bonehoard Dracosaur can go a long way to help you hit your land drops and dig deeper into your library.

4. Terror of the Peaks

If Scourge of Valkas was one of the best Dragons for pushing out noncombat damage in the early days of Commander, this next Dragon is an improvement in a lot of ways.

Terror of the Peaks

Instead of caring about the number of Dragons you control, Terror of the Peaks will deal damage when another creature enters the battlefield under your control equal to that creature's power. You can choose any target, so Planeswalkers and Battles are on the menu. You also get to push out damage for any creature, not just Dragons. Play a Malignus, which has a power and toughness equal to half of the highest life total among your opponents, rounded up, and you might just be able to kill someone if their life total is low enough. Loop a creature onto the battlefield infinitely and Terror of the Peaks should just let you kill the table.

3. Goldspan Dragon

Dragons famously love hoarding Treasure nearly as much as players love spending it. My number three pick not only gives you Treasure but helps you get more for your money when you spend it.

Goldspan Dragon

Goldspan Dragon is a 4/4 flyer with haste and you'll probably want to attack with it as soon as it hits the battlefield. When it attacks or becomes the target of a spell, you'll create a Treasure token. You might want to be playing this in a deck that focuses on Treasures because your Treasure tokens are going to tap and sacrifice to make two mana instead of one mana with this cute little guy under your control.

2. Worldgorger Dragon

Everyone has their own journey through Magic and this next pick is a card that I've never actually played in a game. It was first printed over twenty years ago, in the Judgement expansion set. I've had it played against me, and I can tell you from experience that this Nightmare Dragon is indeed the stuff of nightmares.

Worldgorger Dragon

Worldgorger Dragon is a 7/7 with flying and trample, but you probably won't play it like any other Dragon you're going to come across. That's because when it enters the battlefield you exile all other permanents you control. That means everything, including lands! When it leaves the battlefield, you'll return the exiled cards to the battlefield under their owners' control.

This card is predominantly used as a combo piece. You set up a loop where you tap all your lands and create a loop of Worldgorger Dragon, or copies of Worldgorger Dragon, entering and leaving the battlefield. Each time you tap your lands to bank a bunch of mana and if the loop is infinite, you create infinite mana and infinite enter the battlefield and leave the battlefield triggers. Add a Scourge of Valkas, Terror of the Peaks, or any of a number of other payoffs into the mix and that should win you the game.

One example of a Worldgorger loop is accomplished with the Black enchantment Animate Dead. With Worldgorger Dragon in the bin you cast Animate Dead to bring the Dragon back into play. That causes all of your permanents to go into exile, including Animate Dead. That in turn causes Worldgorger Dragon to be put into the graveyard, returning everything to play. Animate Dead lets you bring Worldgorger Dragon back, and as long as you're tapping your mana-producing permanents at the right time you'll be able to make a ton of mana. You can stop the loop by having Animate Dead target a different creature other than Worldgorger Dragon.

If you think that's a bunch of nonsense, let me introduce you to my number one pick for my top 10 non-Legendary Dragons in Commander.

1. Astral Dragon

This 4/4 Blue Dragon comes costs a whopping eight mana, two of which must be Blue. For all that, you get a flying Dragon with Project Image. This ability, so special it gets a name, will happen when Astral Dragon enters the battlefield. You'll create two tokens that are copies of target noncreature permanent, except they're flying 3/3 Dragons.

Astral Dragon

Anytime you have a new card that lets you copy interesting things in interesting ways, you know there's a lot of potential for... interesting results. In this case you can very easily create an enormous or even infinite number of copies with the right combination of noncreature permanents. This card is insane in Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm decks, but it can go crazy with a lot of cards.

One easy example is Cursed Mirror, an artifact that enters as a copy of any creature on the battlefield until end of turn, with haste. Once Cursed Mirror is no longer a creature, it's ready for shenanigans - and not shenanigans in the form of artifact removal. You have Astral Dragon create two copies of your noncreature artifact Cursed Mirror. You have those Cursed Mirror tokens enter as copies of Astral Dragon. You then create more copies of Cursed Mirror. Those copies enter the battlefield and you have them become copies of Astral Dragon, making more tokens, and so on, and so on. These token copies all have haste and you can eventually start making some of your tokens into as copies of something other than Cursed Mirror if you need extra help to close out the game.

If you want to look at some of the many combos involving Astral Dragon or any of the other cards in my list, you can go to EDHRec.com, look up the card, and then look for the little button marked "Combos." From there you'll be able to look at Top Combos, along with More Combos both on EDHRec.com and on the Commander Spellbook website.

That's all I've got for today, but in the coming days I'll have another Top 10 column that dives into my Top 10 Legendary Dragons in Commander. I'll be skipping over Elder Dragons in that column, as they were covered by Abe Sargent last year, but I still expect to have trouble paring my list down to 10.

If you enjoy my writing you can find my "Commanderruminations" column here on CoolStuffInc.com every Monday. I explore new and old commanders and share my experiences playing this amazing format.

Thanks for reading!

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