Throne of Eldraine is a set that is packed with cards that will impact commander. Some will fill corner case niches. Others are broad enough that they will make it into many decks. So which cards are going to be good. Often it is in the eye of the beholder. Still, let’s put on our divination caps and discuss to top cards from the set and why they will make an inpact..
Honorable Mention” Alela, Artful Provocateur
This card has the potential to be the top commander built from the Throne of Eldraine set. Esper provides a solid color base for a control build and it encourages diversity with bonuses to playing artifacts or enchantments. It has some solid keywords to allow you to be aggressive if that is your play style and it has a built-in win condition by making a bajillion faeries. Speaking of which many EDH players can use her to build a faerie tribal deck something Oona, Queen of the Fae can do although Alela can do better. While flexible for three colors her abilities on her own are not enough to take over a game and will take building around her to make it happen. She also does not fit into the 99 easily. For these reasons she missed the top fifteen.
15 Syr Konrad the Grim
Aristocrats gets some love in this set with Syr Konrad. He helps knight tribal and he has enough ways to cause loss of life that it is almost inevitable for your opponents not to take some damage. The card also contains the words Commander Clinic MTG loves in “each opponent” and I am salivating for a time I get to watch someone target their own graveyard for exile with a Tormod’s Crypt or a Bojuka Bog to drain out the final life points from their opponents. Syr Konrad is better as a commander than in the 99 but is usable in both situations. EDHREC has shown there seems to be one commander who will catch on with the EDH community, I don’t think it will be this one because he is in mono-black.
14 Forever Young
EDH plays with some of the most powerful creatures in the game. The ability to play them again after they are removed is an advantage. The card would be much stronger if the creatures went to the battlefield for a few more mana. Still, this card deserves a mention because it is so cheap to cast and you can set up your next couple of draws in the game. Late game this card is a beast. You should be able to cast the card and follow up with additional plays for an explosive turn. Black has the mana doublers to make it happen.
13 Murderous Rider
Black received more help than it needed in Throne of Eldraine. There are a few cards in the game that can outright destroy a planeswalker. This card is one of them. Three mana is the average rate for the ability when you compare the mana costs of Never to Return and Hero’s Downfall. Two life is negligible in commander and if a planeswalker is about to use its ultimate ability you will trade the life loss for the planeswalker in a heartbeat. That alone is enough to grant the card consideration in the top ten. Because the planeswalker destruction ability is an adventure card you get added value with a 2 / 3 lifelink creature. That allows the card to crack the top 15. There is limited space for removal. I can see decks with decks packing all three cards in their removal packages because of their planeswalker targeting versatility.
12 Oko Thief of Crowns
Currently, Oko is the most expensive card in the set and it is very sought after. It may seem surprising that he is so low on this list. His +1 ability will shut down commanders and indestructible creature mischievousness. But his other two abilities are limited in EDH. He is in the wrong colors for Brudiclad to abuse making food tokens and you can trade a food token only for a creature of power 3 or less. This will grant you access to some utility creatures but you will not be able to capitalize on the most powerful creatures in commander. Until I see him in real-time EDH action to convince me otherwise I think his use is minimal outside of the +1 ability. He’s also limited with the decks he can go in being Simic in colors. Simic has three other options to shut down difficult creatures. Two of them turn creatures into lands which is more difficult to deal with. Oko loses some value compared to other cards on this list.
11 Syr Carah, the Bold
Carah is a limited card draw in red. She has a built-in tap ability to trigger it. Syr Carah synergizes well with deathtouch for creature removal. Otherwise, her damage impact is minimal. She also is great tech with Experimental Frenzy to remove any extra land that is on the top of your deck so you can keep casting spells. While not my first choice as a red commander I can see her both as a commander and viable in the 99. I think her home is primarily in mono-red decks that can be short on card draw and are already using Experimental Frenzy but she might branch out into Boros and maybe Gruul builds. Syr, Carah has just enough versatility to place her at number eleven.
10 Realm Cloaked Giant
Realm Cloaked Giant if the first card to crack the top ten. Mass removal at five mana is not the most efficient but it is efficient enough. It is the best mass removal in the set. The Cast Off adventure on the card doesn’t affect giants although there should be few giants in commander making this a full board wipe most of the time. Just like Murderous Rider, the fact it doubles as a creature increases its versatility and makes it worth considering among the many board wipes white has to offer.
9 Ayara, First of Lochtwain
Technically not an aristocrat it fits well in an aristocrat deck. Ayara will deal damage when black creatures enter the battlefield and then sacrifice them so that the death triggers occur. The fact she also draws cards just increases her value. Thornbite Staff will untap her as creatures die allowing you to spam the sac outlet/card draw. She also contains the two words Commander Clinic loves, “each opponent.” Ayara’s abilities are efficiently bundled providing a wide range of value. I like her leading an aristocrats build because her damage hits right away and you have a sacrifice outlet in your command zone. Then you can pack the Aristocrats in the 99. This is why she cracked the top ten and Syr Konrad did not.
White gets some more help in this set with redundancy against ETB effects. It doesn’t have flash like Hushwing Gryff but it is one mana cheaper. It is an additional bear by shutting down death triggers as well and there is a major deck archetype (Aristocrats) built around death triggers. Aristocrats also received several cards to help it out in this set. This makes Hushbringer a timely include for white.
7 Return of the Wildspeaker
Card draw is necessary if you want to win in commander. Sometimes a consistent card a turn will assist you but being able to dig deep and draw a lot of cards at once will often provide the gas you need to finish out a game or provide a timely answer. This is what Return of the Wildspeaker does. Green decks are naturally stompy in most builds. You should draw four or more cards off of it making the card value in mana cost. The +3/+3 potential boost does not figure in the value of the card because if you don’t have trample on your creatures it will not help you win the game. Return of Wildspeaker is the same mana cost as Garruk, Primal Hunter. Others may play Garruk differently, although I am more than satisfied to spend the mana and use the -3 right away to draw a bunch of cards and let Garruk go to the graveyard. Both cards provide different functions and I am willing to play both in a deck.
6 Faeburrow Elder
This is a hard card to rate. It is very strong. I can see it as a mana dork that you can tap for three or five mana depending on the deck. The problems are twofold. First, it is a mana dork which means it will be easy to remove. Thus you will not have access to it the entire game. Someone will cast a board wipe or they will use targeted removal to get rid of it. This is a vulnerable part of your mana base. The other difficulty is the amount of decks that will want to play the card. While it’s only Selesnya colors, I doubt it will be put in Green White Decks only. Bant, Naya, and Five color decks are what I am anticipating for the card to see the most play in commander. There it will have to compete with many other cards that mana ramp and fixing. The mana The Elder will generate in those decks makes it a strong option which is why it made the top ten. I can see this card being two to three spots lower on this list. Early on I am giving it the benefit of the doubt.
5 Kenrith’s Transformation
Part of Oko dropping to number twelve in the rankings is that Kenrith’s Transformation is in the set. The strength of Oko is exactly what Kenrith’s Transformation does. While not repeatable this card costs one mana less than Oko and it only requires green so it can go into more decks. Any card that can shut down a commander and disrupts your opponent’s game plan is strong. If it keeps your opponent from casting him again it is even better. Usually, this sort of single target removal would be near the top of this sort of list because all decks want removal that deals with troublesome cards. This set is deep in strong cards though. Unfortunately, this card barely breaks the top five and not the top three.
4 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
This card is very specific. It may not go in many decks. It will be considered a staple of the decks that want it. Artifact decks want this card. The mill ability allows you to dig three cards deep for any artifacts you may want and is another viable option to cards such as Fabricate or Tezzeret the Seeker. Both cards are significantly stronger but as a secondary engine for artifacts, it works. Emry’s strength lies in recurring artifacts. Artifact decks synergize very well and there are key artifacts that must be removed or the deck will have the inside track to win the game. Emry allows you to recur those artifacts at the rate of one per turn. Although it may be slightly slow the ability is repeatable and that makes this card a force to be reckoned with.
3 The Great Henge
The Great Henge starts the top three of the Throne of Eldraine. This card is versatile and that is part of its strength. It does the two things every deck wants to do. They are mana ramp and draw cards. As a secondary ability, it will also buff a creature. Its mana cost is prohibitive at 9 mana. The Wizards of the Coast design team created this card with a built-in discount. The discount is based on your creature with the greatest power on your battlefield. Its a green card and creatures with high power abound. This makes the casting cost of the card very obtainable. As long as there is a creature with four or more power on your battlefield The Great Henge is a value for what it does and will be considered in many green decks.
2 Chulane, Teller of Tales
Every deck wants to mana ramp and card draw. Simic decks can do these things easily. Chulane actually is in bant colors and his abilities excel in these categories as well. White adds diversity to the deck adding a better removal package when Chulane is used as a commander. A Chulane deck can get out of hand fast and its card draw will give it staying power even if the board is wiped multiple times. I would not be surprised if Chulane (or Alela) is the top built commander deck from Throne of Eldraine. Normally Chulane contains the power to be the top card in the set. Unfortunately, its Bant requirement keeps it out of the number one spot.
1 Arcane Signet
Every deck wants mana ramp that is cheap. Arcane Signet is this. It will ramp you for two mana. It is easily an early turn play. If you draw it in the late game it is cheap enough that you can cast it and still play other cards. It fixes your mana and most importantly it is an artifact. It can fit in any deck. These three things cheap mana ramp that can go in any deck is what solidifies Arcane Signet as the number one card for commander in Throne of Eldraine. Every deck can use it and every deck should want it.
These are my picks for the top fifteen cards from Throne of Eldraine and why I placed them where I did. Now I am curious about what you would rank where. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start a conversation.