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Top Ten Cards from Commander 2019




Those two words shake the foundation of our gamer souls.

New. Cards.

They are just a handful of squiggles and symbols. A simple eight letters, and the punctuation of your preference. The letters and lines are ephemeral. But their concept? Timeless.

The ongoing ritual of new cards is something that drives us to the core of who we are. Stretched out over weeks and months of a given year, new cards are causes of celebration among the rest of us. They are soul-rending and soul-inspiring in equal measure.

And it's that time again!

Time for the next onslaught of cards and the deck-form they will use to arrive at our kitchen tables.

Are you ready? Great!

Today I want to take a quick little look see at the full Commander 2019spoiler, and discuss my choices for the top ten cards from the set. These cards are going to be analyzed only from a casual perspective. That may be obvious to most readers of my column or in any review of a Commander series set of cards, but I want to make sure that I won't be talking about these cards for Legacy or Vintage tournaments or anything similar.


Let's dance!

Honorable Mention #1 - Tectonic Hellion

Tectonic Hellion

How Red is this?!?!?

10. Leadership Vacuum

Leadership Vacuum

What makes this card fun is the cantrip part - it's free! So free! And it suits the modern metagame for answering a lot of problematic stuff!

Want examples? Sure thing!

You can bounce your foe's Commanders back without targeting them, so you can get past Voltron Commanders like:

Bruna, Light of Alabaster
Uril, the Miststalker

Bruna and Uril. The first will usually get a bunch of auras, at least one of which will give her shroud or hexproof so you can't stop her. Uril has that already built in.

Narset, Enlightened Master

Narset is also a good temporary slow-down, as you can bounce her and they have to rack up another two mana for future re-casts. Now it won't stop some things like experience counters and Commander with enters-the-battlefield tor cast triggers may want to be bounced so they can be reloaded. It's a strong answer though! Also note that it will bounce all leaders controlled by the player, including yours if it was stolen, or if they control two with partners, so that's nice as well.

9. Sanctum of Eternity

Sanctum of Eternity

The Sanctum does something very useful. It allows you to break EDH rules by self-bouncing your leader to your hand, rather than to the Command Zone so it's tax won't increase. It's a repeatable effect on a harder-to-answer land. There are many dorks that I can imagine you'd really want this for:

Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Pia and Kiran Nalaar

Gonti as a powerful enters-the-battlefield ability that really wants to keep slim on the cost to cast and recast it, so that you can leave your mana up to cast your Gonti Gotten cards. And Gonti isn't the only God of the Sanctum of Eternity either. Pia and Kiran Nalaar? Prime Speaker Zegana? Omnath, Locus of the Roil?

The First Sliver

The cast triggers of cascade or some other cards are also powerful leading out of a Sanctum of Eternity as well. Also, did you note a key point in the above land's ability? It bounces something you own, not control. If someone steals your guy, you can bring it back to your hand for another go. You can also bounce something you gave away too, hint hint.

8. Dockside Extortionist

Dockside Extortionist

I really like this card, because it looks at all of your opponents, not just one! Maybe it's me, but it feels like it'd have had a stronger home in the artifact matter Izzet deck from last year. But it's still fun! Two mana for a dork that will give you some fun Treasure on arrival to fill the hearts of many a red-blooded Pirate! Arrrrrgh!!!!!!!!!!!

7. Selesnya Eulogist

Selesnya Eulogist

Three mana for a 3/3? Check! Useful exiling stuff from graveyards? Double Check! Populate craziness to help yourself out while you attack and exile? Triple Check! There's just so much value here in this cheap package. It's all good! Selesnya Eulogist is a fun tool that you can lean into moving forward.

6. Tahngarth, First Mate

Tahngarth, First Mate

As you certainly noted, recently the entire Weatherlight crew and key dorks in that saga are either being printed for the first time (Urza, Yawgmoth) or are getting a newer coat of usefulness in the sun (Sisay, Gerrard, Tahngarth, Greven, etc) for those that may care. We have new Squees, and new Multanis, and new Jhoiras, and new Karns all over the place. Tahngarth cares about punching people's face on your behalf. Here you have a 5/5 for four mana and a light iteration of evasiveness.

Now let's dig down into Tahngarth's latter ability and assume a four player game and that the Fist Mate (that was initially a typo, but I love the idea of an angry minotaur who punches all of your enemies as you direct. I'm keeping it).

  1. Attack Player 4 with Tahngarth. Punch them for five damage, that's also Commander damage.
  2. Player 2 attacks Player 4 with Tahngarth, and punches them for five damage, that's also...hint hint...Commander damage
  3. Player 3...well, I'm sure you can see where I am going with this.

That's up to 15 damage that you could deal to someone pretty quickly with a Tahngarth. Two rounds of attacking Is all you'd need to deal 30 damage and kill someone. Now this would require the group ganging up and taking someone out, which requires a violation of the social contract or a player that's way up on the board state and about to win. It's nice to know that you could.

P.S. - The Fist Mate also wants to punch your foes while wearing a Whispersilk Cloak...

5. Road of Return

Road of Return

Three simple things. I enjoy that this little number can rock three things! It's like a Green two mana charm spell. Three things!

Nature's Spiral

The first thing you can do with it is a slightly-harder-to-cast Nature's Spiral, which has already been a useful Regrowth for Green. It's made the cut in many a kitchen table build and Commander deck. The next is the self-move of a Commander from your Command Zone to your hand. You could have a really high Commander tax, or you may need it in your hand for various effects like amplify. Maybe you just want to trigger an enters-the-battlefield trigger that requires you to have cast it from your hand. No matter what, there's value here for your Road of Return needs. Finally, you can do both with a little entwine spice. Let's Return some Roads post-haste.

4. K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

K'rrik is a powerful option at the kitchen table, particularly in Commander where you start with 40 life and in Black you have a lot of deep Black cards that have a high number of Black mana symbols in order to prevent them from being abused overly much. They have a number of ways of getting a powerful card out early. Also, Black has a lot of life stealing, so you could keep up with K'rrik all day long. This is going to be an amazing shell for Gray Merchant of Asphodel. I enjoy cards like Necropotence, Phyrexian Obliterator, Beseech the Queen, and such.

But none hold a candle to...

BFM is now 30 life!

3. Greven, Predator Captain

Greven, Predator Captain

New Greven Doesn't Suck! Much akin to Tahngarth above, you get a solid 5/5 body with a evasive ability for an on-curve cost. I love the life-lost into a Howl from Beyond effect. That's not bad too, when twinned with the menace. But what I really like is that sweet, sexy, final ability.

Rakdos does a few things right. It tends to have some dorks with a high power but a low toughness. It tends to churn through stuff quickly. But you'll need a way to reload your Rakdos builds - enter New Greven, who conveniently doesn't suck.

The Rage Monster here will also get bigger as you sacrificed a larger dork or lost life to other effects, like Phyrexian Arena or some such (which is on flavor for this deck too, by the by.) Rakdos has a lot of options for sacrificing, and you can toss in classics like Solemn Simulacrum alongside Mogg War Marshal or something similar. Greven is a powerful of useful abilities for a color that he perfectly suits. Enjoy him!

2. Sudden Substitution

Sudden Substitution

This is a fun and unique card. I think it has an interesting bout of potential as you can swap a non-dork spell and a dork. You can swap either with another. Someone casts a valuable card drawing spell, and you can give them your 1/1 Silver Myr for their card drawing. You can also chance the targets, so you can target yourself or one of their own things if they were trying to destroy something.

What really gets me going is that there are a number of spells in EDH that are commonly played that this will answer quite nicely:

Cyclonic Rift
Consecrated Sphinx

The Rift is a great way to start this conversation. If your foe has overloaded their Rift, then drop your Sudden Substitution, and give them a dork for it. It'll bounce everything save for your stuff, and you'll even get your given away creature back to your hand as well. You can also do the latter, swapping minor spells for game changing dorks. Imagine that you cast something like Brainstorm when your foe controls a Consecrated Sphinx. Run a Substitution, and swap them. Your foe Brainstorms, and you get six cards while they have to reload two to their library.

In addition to these powers you also have the split second, which means that this powerful intoxicant is rough to answer! Ready? Aim... FIRE!

1. Sevinne's Reclamation

Sevinne's Reclamation

Ah yes. Welcome to my pick for the best card in Commander 2019. I hope you enjoyed your trip up the list, and I hope that you will not be disappointed with my selection. After the banned Primeval Titan, Sun Titan has been the best and most played Titan of the cycle by far. Tons of decks run Sun Titan at the kitchen table, and it's a virtual staple. This will be too, as you get three Titan effects for three and five mana. The power is strong with this card. Enjoy it!

There we are! Another slate of cards are soon to arrival, and with them, a new injection of our lifeblood. What did you think of my list? Anything I missed? Thanks for reading!!!