With the release of the Mystery Booster set there has been a ton of great reprints for Commander staples. Whether you’re starting out, or on a budget, now is a great time to pick up those staples you might have been holding out on or had a hard time finding. Many of the cards on this list are the lowest they have been in years.
Thought there is an increase in supply of these cards have made it a lot easier to find and pick up this isn’t your average set. The cards printed are from all over the place which can be a bit overwhelming. So this article today is to go over some a selection of great picks from the set that you should add to your collection, especially if you don’t have them already.
Aura Shard is an amazing addition in any creature heavy deck you can fit it in. Keep your opponents in check by taking away mana rocks. The ability to Naturalize any Sol Rings, Signets, and combo pieces for no extra cost of your creature entering the battlefield is a great utility. Aura Shards tends to fit best in midrange decks and decks that focus on creature token generation.
The Gitrog Monster
The Gitrog Monster does everything! It combos, grinds, and digs for haymakers. This 6/6 Deathtouch monster rewards you for playing lands, something you’re probably already doing. While you will need so sacrifice some of those lands to keep him around he replaces it with draw power and extra land drops, also Drownyard Temple is a thing. If you’ve been looking for one to build as a Commander or perhaps have a Lord Windgrace deck that’s been wanting it, now is a great opportunity to grab this card.
Teferi’s Protection is looking to be the Cyclonic Rift style staple of white. This card is an amazing catch all answer to a variety of problems. It’s been known to even negate said Cyclonic Rifts. It does as it’s named to and protects your board and life total from most things that could harm you. This card is now half the price of what it was during the initial printing but is still as strong as ever.
Mother of Runes
Mother of Runes will pose a challenge for opponents who will desperately need to remove threats. She can be used offensively by make a creature unblockable by a colour with the granted protection. I ind this card fits best in “Voltron” style decks or midrange creature decks but it a solid defence against many threats. While it can’t give protection from colourless as Giver of Runes does it can grant itself protection from any colour. Mother of Runes can be the bane of any mono-coloured deck and is 100% a Commander staple.
Expropriate is an extremely strong card, some say a little unfun and broken. Its power increases by the number of opponents you have and to justify its power it need to exile itself. As a mythic from the Conspiracy: Take the Crown set it was becoming increasingly difficult to find so now is the time to pick it up. You will always choose time with this card and even if your opponents all choose money you will have an extra turn with their stolen permanent. Extra turns and stealing stuff… What more could you ask for?
Mirror Entity is a versatile creature, not only due to the fact it’s a Changeling to fit any tribal theme but it can buff your teams base power and toughness to do massive amounts of damage. It can do several tricks by giving all your creatures all creature types. Turning all your creatures into eggs with Atla Palani, Nest Tender on the field for example or creating a tribal board for Coat of Arms.
Whir of Invention
Whether you’re playing an artifact deck or just want to tutor up mana rocks and artifact win conditions, Whir of Invention is a fantastic card. With improvise you can tap your untapped artifacts to help pay for this spell so any artifact creatures, equipment, or static effect artifacts can all assist in paying for X. This is an artifact version of Chord of Calling and it a great tutor all around so I highly recommend picking some up.
Many two cost ramp spells are limited to basics this one does not, so you could search for Tropical Island, Overgrown Tomb, Canopy vista, or even Gingerbread Cabin. Nature’s Lore also does not tap the land that you are searching for so you could have access to the mana immediately. With the untapped land and access to the mana you will find many players chaining spells together. While it’s not a Three Visits reprint any additional copies of low cost ramp spells are always welcome
Thought Vessel quickly became a staple and Commander at a high price due to the limited supply, however that is no longer an issue. While this 2 cost mana rock can not product colour it grants an unlimited hand size which blue decks in particular love. This additional Reliquary Tower effect allows players to hold more answers and is useful in against an ability like the one on Jin-Gitaxias, Core-Augur.
Whether you’re playing zombie tribal or just a sweet black midrange deck Grave Titan is a great choice. If left unchecked he will create an army or zombie tokens and whether you use it for attacking, blocking, or sacrificing is up to you. The strength of the titan cycle still stands true as the enter the battlefield effect and attack trigger are incredible value.
Crop Rotation allows you to trade one of your lands in play with one in your deck at instant speed. This could be to dodge a Strip Mine or fix your mana base but you might just really want certain land in play. This tutor is great to get high value lands as well, to name some great options Gaea’s Cradle, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Cabal Coffers, Maze’s End, Maze of Ith. Glacial Chasm, Thespian Stage, and Dark Depths. The list goes on and on but need I say more?
There is no better feeling than sniping your opponents creatures with kill spells, exiling them under the Mimic Vat and getting to play with them. It’s going to be hard for your opponents to keep up when you exile a creature with a sweet enter the battlefield effect and get to play it again and again. The haste granted to the token is great if it’s an aggressive creature but make a blocker at instant speed for 3 mana is effective as well. With a good enough blocker you could trade up the creature imprinted though even just a Solemn Simulacrum. For decks that rely on certain creatures dying to combo as well it acts as a bit of graveyard hate to stop them.
Explosive Vegetation is a great card but not every deck is going to want a four mana ramp spell. If you can, chain together mana ramp. Turn two, Nature Lore. Turn three, Explosive Vegetation. Turn four, seven cmc spell!. It wants a higher basic land count to run a spell like this though which is fine for my Arixmethes, the Slumbering Isle deck considering I run Boundless Realms.
Ash Barrens will provide fixing for two/three colour decks too drastically improve consistency. This playing this land in your deck comes at a very low cost and can help you filter your deck and fill your graveyard. The colourless basic landcycling ability fits it in any deck and it’s a wonderful way to break out of a Blood Moon situation.
Animate Dead is a black staple and has archetypes built around it. Putting a 6/7 cmc creature for only two mana is insane especially in the early game. Out of the options available for reanimation enchantments such as Dance of the Dead and Necromancy this one has probably the lowest drawback. It pairs quite nicely with a Sun Titan or even Renegade Rallier too.
Sacrifice outlet’s are a staple within the game and Ashnod’s Altar is one of the best. Whether you need to sacrifice your creatures for death triggers or extra mana, Ashnod’s Altar is a house and a borderline degenerate combo piece. Mana makes this game go round and with it’s combination with Nim Deathmantle it very quickly goes infinite. With a creature that generates 3 bodies including itself such as Breya, Etherium Shaper, Grave Titan, or Wurmcoil Engine is can create infinite colourless mana and tokens.
Deepglow Skate is an interesting card with a unique counter doubling ability. Planeswalker superfriends theme decks will want to jam this in the 99 as this card can get a planeswalker to their game ending ultimate out of nowhere. In any counter doubling strategies as well whether +1/+1 counters on your creatures or -1/-1 counters on your opponents it can change the state of the game drastically. There is a fun infinite combo with Saheeli, the Gifted and Mycosynth Lattice as well.
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Purphoros, God of the Forge is a powerful Commander and if your strategy is making tokens you will want this in your deck. Being indestructible it can be extremely hard for your opponents to deal with and is known to cause a lot of damage. Dealing damage to each opponent with no additional cost and a small attack anthem if needed we forget that this God could also become a creature as well
This staple is a signature black spell, Demonic tutor can retrieve any card and because it only costs two mana it’s useful both early and late may even have the opportunity the same turn to play the card you tutored for. It’s hard to imagine playing a deck that’s running black without this card, at worse it’s been a Sylvan Scrying and sometimes that’s what you need.
If you had to choose one 3 cost mana rock for your 3+ coloured deck you should pick Chromatic Lantern. It provides full colour fixing and ramp those decks and grants a mana ability to lands that may not have one such as fetchland. It can even stop your deck that’s being crippled by a Blood Moon.
Cultivate is at the top of the list of best ramp cards. Not only does it replace itself with a basic land in play but a basic land goes into your hand which could be played for the turn. It’s a great way to improve the consistency of your deck and I recommend playing it’s arcane counterpart Kodama’s Reach as well.
Phyrexian Metamorph is viewed as a wild card and will always have a target. This can become everything from a Sol Ring to Consecrated Sphinx. New Phyrexia brought a lot of powerful cards and this is no exception. .
Bojuka Bog is a black staple and a requirement in many meta’s. As it’s a land it’s a free spot in the deck compared to a Tormod’s Crypt. If your playgroup interacts with graveyards this is a must play. Whether you are stopping reanimation and recursion effects like Living Death or Bloodghast, emptying your opponents grave to slow delve like Dig Through Time,or stop Search for Azcanta all you did was play a tapped land. Their Snapcaster Mage is definitely not as good without any targets.
Misdirection isn’t necessarily a staple but it can have some pretty cool gameplay lines by stealing Time Walk effects that target such as Time Warp or redirecting removal to another player’s permanent. It’s not Force of Will but any spell that doesn’t take mana to cast will have it’s place somewhere.
Mystic Confluence, the swiss army knife of counter spells. It can draw three cards at the end of an opponent’s turn or draw a card, bounce a creature and counter a spell. Every blue mage is going to want access to this spell. If you’re running a Jace’s Ingenuity but not this I would recommend a swap. Modal spells are great!
Called a mistake by wizards of the coast, Skullclamp is considered to be the best equipment in the game. If you’re playing creatures, you will want to make room in your deck for Skullclamp. The complete refill of your nand with Bloodghast and fetchland has been well noted throughout our articles. There is a very good reason this card is only legal in Commander and Vintage.
Exsanguinate is the go to win condition of many mono black decks. With the usual Cabal Coffers + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth combo to create a ton of mana and with Exsanguinate you can end a game. While Torment of Hailfire has also been a popular choice in addition or instead of this the life gain that you can receive in a multiplayer game is a huge asset.
This card has a very simple effect but can lead to very powerful lines of play. Abusing a spell like Flood of Tears to bounce all permanents including Eternal Witness, then put Eternal Witness back into play returning Flood of Tears from the graveyard to hand. Recurring extra turn spells like Temporal Manipulation or just getting back a fetchland, Eternal Witness is an effective Regrowth.
Dictate of Erebos
Due to it’s less restrictive mana cost and that Dictate of Erebos has flash, it has quickly become a staple and is often played before the four mana version Grave Pact. Destructively effective during combat and absolutely busted when you’re piled with tokens and sacrifice outlets, your opponent better have a Tamiyo, Collector of Tales or something or they’re going to run out of creatures. Doesn’t matter if you’re an Blightsteel Colossus or Progenitus, sacrifice it.
Top Commander pickups from the Mystery Booster Set
Aura of Silence
Coat of Arms
Dictate of Erebos
Gonti, Lord of Luxury
Mother of Runes
Purphoros, God of the Forge
The Gitrog Monster
Whir of Invention
If you feel I’ve left a card out, let me know in the comments. I’m very interested to hear any stories about your experiences in the set. Prices are pulled at the time of writing. Selecting a name from the above list of cards will direct you to TCG Player for a current pricing of these cards. If you enjoy our content and wish to support us use our affiliate links to make your TCG Player. Thanks for reading!
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