Commander Decks are a mix of staples and cards that will support your decks themes and goals. The following is a list of blue cards that I consider to be the top ten cards in blue. The list is subjective and it will differ from person to person. The main takeaway is that when it is time to construct a deck consider these cards when building your deck list.
Honorable Mention: Deadeye Navigator
No top 10 is complete without at least one card that does not make the cut. Deadeye Navigator can fuel several infinite loops and value engines. It is inexpensive to flicker a creature and once it is soul bonded with open mana it’s almost impossible to remove. The strength of the Navigator is bonded to what it can flicker which is why it did not make the top ten. In order to properly abuse it you need to build your deck with at least seven different enters the battlefield effects you want to abuse. However, it is a card that once on the battlefield opponents need to deal with or it will many times cost them the game.
10: Drawn From Dreams
Card draw is important and in blue there are many ways to do so. What Drawn From Dreams does better than most card draw spells is put the cards you need in your hand. A good rule of thumb is card draw should cost one and a half mana for each card drawn. At two mana per card, Drawn from dreams is a little inefficient. However, this card allows you to dig seven cards deep and grab any two of them. You can still not get the cards you need, if they are not in your top seven. Still, there will be better options to put in your hand than if you just cast divination. One extra mana to look at five extra cards is worth the cost.
Blue does not have the strongest options in removal. Most of the time it is in the form of bounce or counterspells. Counterspells requires you to have the card in hand at the time of casting while bounce just delays the inevitable. Your opponent will still have to cast the card and it will cost him mana, but you will see your opponents cards again. Aetherspouts has grown on me over time. The ability to bounce cards at instant speed is what a blue deck wants. More importantly it puts those cards in your opponent’s library which is a large tempo blowout. It does cost five mana but blue is the color of the Draw-Go strategy so leaving five mana open is possible. If you cast Aetherspouts a couple of times opponents will calculate it into their thinking before they attack you.
8: Consecrated Sphinx
Every deck needs card draw. The Sphinx does that in spades. It is a may ability so you will not deck yourself and you can control how many cards you draw according to your hand size. If players leave the Sphinx on the board for more than a turn cycle around the table that player is put in a good position to win the game. This card would be rated higher but it is on a body which is the easiest type of magic card to remove and it costs six mana. You need to draw four cards in order to get a reasonable rate of return on the card. In a removal heavy meta there is no guarantee you will draw two cards let alone four.
Ixidron is an answer that can pull your bacon from the fire. The ability to turn all nontoken creatures upside down shuts down a lot of shenanigans and degenerate combos. It deals with cards that are indestructible as well as removing troublesome commander abilities.It is not a permanent solution as eventually wily opponents will figure out a way to kill their commander and recast them. It will buy you some time and sometimes that is all a blue player needs.
6 Leyline of Anticipation.
I am a firm believer of the Josh Lee Kwai school of Vedalken Orrery. The ability to cast your cards whenever you want creates an excellent tempo advantage, The ability to hold your mana and react as needed is very powerful in commander. Leyline of Anticipation allows this. The ability to cast spells right before your turn and then follow it up with additional plays allows for explosive plays that can win the game. Like the other Leyline’s if you have it in your opening hand you can play it right away for free. Initiating a Draw-Go strategy for blue is good anytime. Initiating it at the start of the game for free is additional value and pushes this card up to numbe six.
5 Narset’s Reversal.
Sometimes a counterspell is needed to prevent someone from winning the game. Counterspells stop your opponent from winning. Narset’s Reversal does one better by hijacking the spell and then bounces it back to their hand. This card creates a large tempo blowout and there are plenty of targets for this spell in commander. This card can be the play to win you the game for two mana. Mana Drain is limited only by the cards your opponents cast. My own personal preference would want to rank it in the top three. Because it is so opponent dependant to take over a game it just can not be reasonably ranked there.
4 Mana Drain
There are many blue counterspells. There are several different candidates as to which one is the best counterspell. As a counterspell Mana Drain can prevent someone from winning the game. But it also puts mana in your mana pool giving you more options on your main phase. This creates an opportunity to have an explosive turn. This makes Mana Drain and offensive and defensive card. It will not just help save you the game it can help win you the game. Main drain is similar to Narset’s Reversal in power and gets a slight nod as Mana Drain provides more play lines with mana generation than just copying a killer spell.
3 Rhystic Study
If there is a signature draw spell in blue it would be Rhystic Study. Like Consecrated Sphinx it can win you the game if left unchecked. The advantage is that Rhystic Study is on an enchantment and it is one of the most difficult card types to remove. More often than not Rhystic Study will see one or two turn cycles around the table. Opponents can band together to prevent you from drawing cards but this happens more late game than early. If they do deny you early then they are also slowing down the pace of the game and that is often to the blue players advantage.
At worst Expropriate will net you an extra turn and some permanents. One extra turn while stealing each of your opponent’s best permanents should be enough to win most games. And that is the worst case scenario for this card. If players give you multiple turns the probability of winning the game increases significantly. Expropriate flat out wins games.
1 Cyclonic Rift
Cyclonic Rift’s overload ability is why this card is number one. The ability to bounce all opponents nonland permanents changes the game to give the blue player an advantage. Seven mana is not a lot for this instant. It can be cast before your turn so you can swing out freely and win the game. Cyclonic Rift also allows you to use it similar to Aetherspots. It is not the optimal play for the card but if it prevents you from losing. Just the threat of this card can deters opponents from playing cards or attacking you, This card is so versatile and has a scenario for every deck that it wants to have this card in the decklist. Finally, If you can pair it with some effects that let you play it from your graveyard for an infinite loop winning almost becomes inevitable.
Not every deck wants all of these cards. Consider this list more as a buffet when building your decks. Peruse the list and sample from these cards that meets your decks needs.This top ten and others to come help point out some of the most important criteria in deckbuilding. Versatility, powerful effects at a discount, and the ability to build explosive plays are all aspects of a card that increase it’s value in a deck. These aspects of a card will help you have what you need to win the game.