Top 10 (+5) Commander Cards from Wilds of Eldraine
Hey all and welcome back. Wilds of Eldraine hits the main phase today and there are so, so many good to great cards in the set that will be awesome in many formats. Of course, I like to play Commander so my eyes are drawn to the cards that might interest me in that format of legendary 100 card free for alls.
In this article I’m going to do that normal thing and pick my top 10 faves from the set proper not including any legendary creatures (other legendary cards are fair game), but I’d be remiss if we also didn’t talk about the Enchanted Tales sheet of fantastic reprints. Therefore, I’m going to also list my picks for the top 5 of those.
Wildness of Eldraine
Beseech the Mirror
My first pick for a great commander card is not really a surprise at all and has already made many a talking point. It is the already very popular Beseech the Mirror, a new tutor effect from the set that seems like it will see play across many formats. Saying this card is excellent might be an understatement, and the fact that it has bargain, a new mechanic in Wilds of Eldraine, on it is just nuts. Bargain itself seems at first blush like a small drawback kind of mechanic where you trade something you have for some extra power. Even if this is the case with some other cards, in Black you are probably wanting stuff sacrificed anyway and probably have an extra zombie token shambling around. This is despite the set introducing a number of enchantment tokens, which almost any Black/x Commander deck wont need to make this work regardless. The only real downside for Black commander decks is that bargain can’t just sacrifice any old creature. It has to be a token. Again, not much of a drawback.
If you do bargain, you may cast the card tutored with Beseech the Mirror if it costs 4 or less mana from exile, which could notably trigger other effects as well if a card on your field cares about stuff being cast from other zones.
Even if you don’t or can’t bargain, it’s still a tutor. It just won’t be as efficient as others if you don’t.
All hail the Black Sunforger.
This card also already has some fanfare around it. This regal looking reptile is a fairly splashable creature that can go in many kinds of decks but really wants you to be all in on the land matters strategy, especially if you want more of them in your graveyard like Soul of Windgrace or the Gitrog Monster.
Flower turtle here also makes activated abilities of lands you have cheaper, which is not something I think we’ve seen specifically from a card before. In this set there is a new cycle of lands you can animate to make them a creature for a turn, and this card directly helps those cards be better by making it easy to ‘awaken’ them. In the larger world of commander, this also means easier activations on land like Cabal Stronghold, Kessig Wolf Run, Rogue’s Passage, Gavony Township and the Kamigawa Neon Dynasty channel lands like Boseiju, Who Endures on top of their reductions already, just to name a few.
This card is fairly efficient for everything it does. An extra card drawn and a way to self recur is always handy. What I think makes this card great is what it helps support and manipulate alongside it.
This card has longevity, and that will work in a control and midrange deck’s favor. The ability to recast the adventure side once it dies as a creature from the graveyard is very good, and also keeps the creature coming back for various triggers, like leaving the graveyard, anything that cares about instants and sorceries being cast like Professor Onyx or Sedgemoor Witch, or when you cast creatures or they come into play.
Basically, this card on its own is good. Being able to be interacted with on every side of its use with other effects though? That makes this card great and a value engine piece.
Just give it some infinite mana and a sacrifice outlet to get a lot of draw and triggers from other sources.
Here we have the White version of Craterhoof Behemoth. This card is very straight forward. Pump your team up, give them an evasion keyword, and likely swing. It works well in White, which often has a go wide strategy that this card directly supports and is probably a welcome finisher for deck that don’t rely on Angels or other flyers to finish the game.
One thing that the Cavalry has over Craterhoof, at least in a vacuum of single color identity, is that White does get a smattering of blink and flicker effects, making this card far less survivable in the long term if it can be used again and again. Of course pairing either the Cavalry or the Behemoth with Blue does the trick, but I think it’s a valid point for mono-White decks to consider.
Virtue of Courage
An enchantment that provides a type of card advantage or selection is always a good thing, but is especially good when it comes in the form that supports a deck that needs to keep going. While that can fit a lot more decks these days, Virtue of Courage brings me back to the problem burn decks, and red decks in general, always used to have: running out of gas.
This one gives you some burn right up front you can use for removal, or just to smack a planeswalker in the loyalty. The enchantment side of the card is where we can get out advantages for card selection, and the fact that it is a may trigger also means if you cast a Star of Extinction with a Toralf God of Fury out, you don’t have to exile your whole deck.
This will likely work best with small damage to trigger the enchantment, like Fiery Inscription, Urabrask or Pyrohemia. That way you can pace out the exiled cards and play around that.
Virtue of Knowledge
My next pick is another virtue. This one starts off on the adventure side letting us copy a ability we control. It’s a little narrow, but there are plenty of things to target with this in the right deck. Of course the real reason I picked this card, even if the adventure side on this Virtue is better than the prior Virtue, is the enchantment itself. This doubles the ETB effects of any permanent coming into play, without a card type restriction. A more narrow one, like Panharmonicon or Harmonic Prodigy are already very good in their niches. Having this ability just be for everything is going to be better.
Agatha’s Soul Cauldron
A focus on activated abilities isn’t something we’ve seen too much of as far as having direct support outside of cards every so often, like Training Grounds or Zirda the Dawnwaker. This is one of those every-so-often cards and it’s quite a doozy.
The card itself is an easily castable artifact that fixes your mana specifically for activated abilities. In this way it is kind of a mana filter. Many decks would love this ability alone, but the most to benefit would probably be commanders along the lines of Sisay, Weatherlight Captain or Kenrith, Returned King.
Speaking of Kenrith, the next line of text allows your creatures to have the activated abilities of creatures exiled with this card. Kenrith himself can spread those counters, but the Cauldron’s next ability can do that as well when you exile a creature card from a graveyard. It then puts a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control if you exiled a creature with the ability.
I think the use for this card is largely in its first ability, but I think the ceiling for the card lies in the second. There are definitely combos possible here as long as the cauldron stays in play for its static effect and you can build your deck to take advantage of this card and have opponents just be a bonus.
Eriette’s Tempting Apple
This is one of very, very few colorless stealing effects in the game, which is cool. Otherwise you can gain some life or have someone lose life. All good. None of this is why the card made my list however.
The reason this card is here is only because of its card type: artifact. This means it is an easily repeatable, abusable card that can ruin your opponents’ entire game plan if you get the opportunity. Red can cycle this in and out of the graveyard and White and Blue can blink this for effect or also cycle it through their graveyard or hand for effect. Doing this can create a lopsided board state creature wise, drain an opponent out, or make you nigh unkillable. The ability to loop this card with a very relevant card type is why it makes my list.
Another Banisher Priest creature? Please! Being a lover of blink decks, I do love me a good ETB, and this card has a good one by exiling a non-fox creature until it leaves the battlefield with is notable and I’ll get to in a second (though that might be more narrow when Bloomburrow gets released).
Alright, I admit that part is nothing novel. Banisher Priest and many other cards do that, but its the other abilities that make this card mostly superior to those. Having Flash is a huge bonus for timing and interaction, letting you get something out of the way when your opponent might need it most to affect you. Playing things at instant speed is usually, if not always, better to have available.
The other ability also lets you control when you are done with exiling the creature you did exile. This lets you make sure something isn’t saved by a board wipe your opponents control, OR conversely, does save something from a board wipe. Another thing that makes this card superior to many others of the same type of effect is that it can target you OWN creatures. Blink combo players rejoice!
Of course, being 3 mane for White’s various kinds of recursion is also nothing to forget. Never leave your Sun Titan at home.
This was actually the first card I thought of including on this list when I began writing, but wrote it off as being generally too ineffectual because of what you have to sacrifice in a big exchange. When I select these cards, I try to appeal to the most deck where they could fit as a requirement to make the list, among other criteria I arbitrarily and capriciously decide on.
However, the more I thought about this card and kept rereading it, the more I liked it and the more places I found it fit thanks to thinking about it from the floor rather than the ceiling. Five mana for a recurring a creature is the baseline in Black for such an effect, even if this one has a mandatory “bargain” on it. Still, a random shambling Zombie token hanging around will help this work. If you have artifacts or enchantments, maybe some extra treasure tokens lying around or a random Hopeless Nightmare that isn’t as needed anymore in addition to your zombie, you can scale up quickly on discounts recurring your dead creatures.
Honorable Mention: The Courts
The court cycle is being cheated into play here because I love these kinds of cycles, and they are largely very good cards with decent effects and increasing some politics at a table. Each lets you become the Monarch, with an additional ability that gets better when you wear the hat.
Court of Ardenvale gives you some static recursion on your upkeep ala Sun Titan, but it goes to your hand if you aren’t the Monarch. If you are, the permanent is put onto the battlefield. Good for all kinds of utility, from fetch lands to combo pieces.
Court of Vantress clones an enchantment or artifact on the field, or becomes a copy of it itself if you aren’t the monarch. Pretty strong and can lead into many win conditions. Notice though it doesn’t remove legendary specialness.
Court of Locthwain lets you steal a card off the top of an opponent’s deck, and cast it with any color of mana. If you’re the monarch, you can cast a card exile with this court for free. Black has gotten a lot of abilities like this in recent years, attacking the deck versus the field for steal effects.
Court of Emebreth might be the weakest if you aren’t the monarch since you only get a token, though it is a knight. However, if you are the Monarch you can deal a lot of damage with awide board, and with the recent focus on non-creature damage, it is a very relevant ability for some interesting bonuses with other cards.
Finally Court of Garenbrig is nothing too novel either, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. +1/+1 counter synergies are very well tread. Even without monarch, you get some free counters. If you are the monarch on your upkeep, you get all the counters as long as they already have some on your creatures.
Besides the main set there are some absolutely great reprints in the Enchanted Tales bonus sheet in this set. I’ve picked five general use ones, though there are certainly other more specific cards that could double the size of this selection.
This card still seeing reprints is nice to see. While it’s not as rare as some other cards in the White section of the list, it is probably the most useful to the most decks. The more accessible this card is for people at this point due to the mass of printings, the better.
Seeing its first reprinting since Core Set 2021, this card can end games very, very quickly. While we did get the recently printed similar card in City on Fire, it’s always good to have access to the original effect if you aren’t in the business of wanting to convoke. Besides, the art on this card combined with the flavor text is amazing.
Another card that needed to be made more available, Land Tax is a classic White land fetching enchantment that still has yet to be outclassed in the early game for the color. Unlike many of its more contemporary cards, this one also gets you any kind of basic land, not just a plains. While it can’t get nonbasics, the ability to fix your colors through this card helps keep many decks from stalling.
Love or hate this card, for those that want to own one it is still very expensive. Besides costs, this annoying card can single handedly turn a game around for the user, which probably doesn’t help its reputation for irritating some players. Still, there is little more efficient at drawing cards in Commander, even if you always have to ask if they pay the one.
Not as broken as Doubling Season or risky as Primal Vigor (both of which are also on the Enchanted Tales sheet), this card very much needed a reprint to bring its price down. While we have yet to see how many of this card will make it to market, the extra oomph it provides to token decks is undeniable and many, many strategies will benefit from just passive use of the card in deck.
That’s it for my review. I really like to dig into the cards that go into the 99 and see what cards might make a good upgrade to decks in general. I’ve already purchased some Werefoxes for my Feather Blink and Burn deck and I slid in an Enchanted Tales Impact Tremors because of the art. There are other cards I’m keeping my eye on too, even though I may have all the Rhystic Studies I need.
So, what cards are worthy to retell to others? Did you have a card that didn’t make the list here? Let me know below.
Until next time, walk carefully in the wilds.