Commander Decks are a mix of staples and cards that will support your decks themes and goals. The following is a list of Black cards that I consider to be the top ten cards in their color. The list is subjective and it will differ from person to person. When it is time to construct a deck consider these cards when building your deck list.
Honorable Mention: Triumph of the Hordes
Decks with green in them often are creature based. In these situations they are either Big Stompy Creatures or swarm tactics. Adding trample to just a couple of stompy creatures and this card will take somebody out. If you are playing Token swarm it might just take out the whole table. Infect is strong because it essentially puts your opponent’s life total to ten. Unfortunately in a multiplayer format the table tends to self police against poison. Triumph while poison is a one of card and you are more likely able to avoid the self policing aspect against poison as long as you do not add several more poison cards to your deck. This card is not top ten only because I have seen this card where it fails to win the game. This makes sense because most decks do not contain poison and you will not be able to use this card to piggy back onto the damage other players have done. Triumph of the Hordes is very strong, just not always game ending.
Bonus Honorable Mention: Craterhoof Behemoth
This card does what our honorable mention does but instead of working off of poison counters it attacks the life total. This will allow you to capitalize on the life loss to your opponents. Because of this, The Behemoth will be far more likely to end games. What keeps this card from making the top ten is that not every deck wants Craterhoof. Green Stompy will not benefit as much if there are just a few big creatures on the board making this card prefered in decks that are tribal or token based on their strategies.
10 Beast Whisperer
This card is a win for Elf tribal. It also is universal enough to include in most green decks. Every deck needs card draw and this card does it in a very “green” way giving you cards for each creature you cast. A cast trigger is important as you will get the card draw whether the spell makes it to the battlefield or not. It’s 4 CMC means if you are patient you can draw a card off of it the turn you play it. It often is not the target of single target removal as those cards are held to deal with cards that will win the game outright. But at 4 mana he becomes a play option when board wipes begin to come online making him very vulnerable.
9 Beast Within
For targeted removal this card has two criteria we are looking for. The first is that it is an instant. This allows you to hold the card and cast it only when you need it. The second reason is the words “target permanent.” This will allow you to destroy any permanent including hard to destroy enchantments, utility lands, and troublesome planeswalkers. Your opponent does get a 3/3 beast token. This is not much of a drawback when it comes to commander. EDH is a game of large creatures and in almost all scenarios the single token will not make much of an impact on the board.
8 Skyshroud Claim
This card meets the mana efficiency we want in our ramp. Over the next two turns it pays for itself. This is because the lands you search for come into play untapped. The downside is that you can only search your deck only for a forest. The good news is that the text does not say basic forest. There are 18 different cards that are forests in Magic’s History. You can grab any two of them. This card not only ramps you but it mana fixes you as well. This efficient blend of effects allows Skyshroud Claim to sneak in at number eight on our list.
7 Nissa, Who Shakes the World
This card doubles green mana generation while being on a planeswalker. Wizards of the Coast has begun to print some removal cards for planeswalkers. Still, there are precious few of them. This means she must be attacked in order to be removed making her a valuable ramp piece in commander. She gets worse in Superfriends decks as she will often be a tertiary target after more immediate planeswalker threats. Her biggest drawback as a card is that her loyalty abilities are not ones that a commander player wants to use. You must animate lands in order to get to her ultimate and that puts them at risk to be removed. Her mana ramp is so strong you want her at above her ultimate cost to make lands indestructible. This is painstakingly slow taking five turns without any sort of proliferate or Doubling Season mischievousness.
6 Heroic Intervention
It is rare where you will be in a game and not want this card at some point. Everytime there’s a board wipe or someone targets your creature for Exile, Heroic Intervention does work. There are not a lot of cards that provide protection like this card. A well timed Heroic Intervention will cause blowouts that allow you to have a significant advantage. This is a card worthy of being on this list.
5 Zendikar Resurgent
Every Deck wants card draw and mana ramp. This card does it on a hard to remove enchantment. If you are allowed to untap with this card in play you have a significant advantage over the rest of the table. If the card was just mana ramp it would not be nearly as scary as with mega mana you can eventually run out of cards to play. Zendikar allows you to draw a card every time you cast a creature spell fuelling the explosive turns we preach here at Commander Clinic. Yes it costs seven mana. The good news is that you are in green, the color of mana ramp, odds are you will be able to ramp into this card quicker than you think.
4 Tooth and Nail
The Timmy’s of the world like big and splashy. This card is for Timmy. At nine mana this card can end games if you plan correctly. It is this nine mana cost that prevents it from cracking our top three. Most of the time you will cast both parts of the card entwined. Despite this cost it will let you fetch any two creatures. This can vary from game to game or it can be the same two game enders each time. Tooth and Nail is flexible and it is very rare that it successfully resolves and its owner does not win the game.
3 Back to Nature
There is a case that Back to Nature could be the top green card and not just top three. It is a two cost instant that destroys all enchantments. There are precious few pieces of enchantment removal in a deck and being able to remove several of them for just two mana is incredibly powerful. This will allow you to remove what is necessary while still developing your board. It’s flat out powerful and a value both in mana and cost. Every green deck needs to consider running this card in their removal package.
2 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
While there is some debate over which card is number one or three, there never was a doubt about the number two slot. Commander Clinic likes doubling mana generation for the possibilities of the explosive turn. Vorinclex does that on a stick. He is removable and he will be targeted quickly. This is because he also shuts down your opponents mana. In order to remove him someone is going to have to bite the bullet and spend the mana to remove him and when they do they will not have access to that mana their following turn. That is powerful enough but Vorinclex is also a 7/6 with trample and provides some punch on top of his mana advantage he provides. If Vorinclex was just two mana cheaper so he could come out a little faster there would be no debate. He would hold the top spot. Unfortunately he still costs eight mana and thus is relegated to number two.
1 Rishkar’s Expertise
While six mana to cast the card and start the chain is a little expensive, the overall cost of the card and its mana cost per card drawn is flexible. Green is the color of big stompy and if you are drawing cards equal to your highest power it is reasonable that you can be drawing five to seven cards which exceeds the benchmark of 1.5 mana per card. After you draw the card you get to cast a card for free if it’s mana cost is five or less. When you are drawing that many cards the probability is high you will have a card in hand that you wish to cast. This effectively reduces the mana cost of Rishkar’s increasing the rate of return per card. While it will not outright win you the game, Rishkar’s Expertise can give you the fuel you need to get there while allowing you to build your board without taking a turn off. This is why it is our number one card in green.
Green is an excellent color and provides several deck building options and experiences. It does not lack for card draw or mana ramp and is one of the best ways to remove enchantments. There are a lot of cards that are in consideration for top ten. Craterhoof Behemoth is a perfect example of just how deep green is as it did not make the top ten. Everyone has their favorite cards. Feel free to post them below I am interested in your opinion. As always feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments or just want to chat anything commander. You can find me at email@example.com