Commander has skyrocketed recently to become one of the most popular formats in Magic the Gathering. As much as I love this as it helps provide a healthy way to play the game it does have a drawback. I have noticed over the past couple of years skyrocketing prices of staples in the format. This can create a financial barrier for newer players to enter the format. This is a concern because the prices are still rising despite reprints by Wizards of the Coast. We understand often if you want to win you need to use the best cards to make the best deck possible but financially that may not always be an option open to players. Sometimes we will have to substitute cards that are less expensive or target cards we expect will become staples in the format while they are just released to save on cost.
This is where Five for Five comes in. In each set we are going to look at the set and target five cards in each color for newer players to add to their collection. These are cards that Commander Clinic thinks can be usable in the format for those on a budget. Our goal is not to point out the most powerful or popular cards, but instead focus on the commons and uncommons of the set with one highlighted rare to try and acquire early. When a color is weak in playable cards at lower rarities then Five for Five will supplement with additional higher rarity cards.
1 Vanquish The Horde– It can be a board wipe for two mana this card can become a staple in decks that run white for years to come.
2 Cathar Commando– At 3/1 its not durable but a 3/1 flash helps rebuild your board and attack right away if you had some open mana. More importantly it is a way to remove artifacts and enchantments though a little pricey mana-wise. Pair it with a Sun Titan for additional value. This card will fit in most decks that can run white but works especially well in decks that run black and/or Red
3 Loyal Gryff– Flying is a great ability to have on a creature and is very useful. Flash also helps protect it before you attack. This card will help with ETB mischievousness allowing additional reuses of other ETB creatures or protect a major piece on your battlefield when someone casts a board wipe or single target removal effect.
4 Thraben Exorcism– Forget about exiling spirits or disturb creatures. They will rarely come up in most metas. The ability to remove enchantments is critical in commander because players use them to capitalize on value. It’s simple and straightforward and at 25 cents easy to add to your white build options.
5 Flare of Faith– It works best in humans build but many commander decks have humans in them. This card is usable in any deck that has seven or more humans in it because what you want most from the card is the indestructible that it grants. Consider putting it in Feather builds as well.
1 Sludge Monster– Blue sometimes has to get creative with removal. Often it is a bounce effect that disrupts tempo for the opponent. This one neuters a critical creature of your opponent while giving you a 5/5 body. Also depending on the threats that are on the battlefield you can use it politically to make a deal for a free attack to eliminate a shared threat.
2 Geistwave-This card is versatile and can fit into any deck that has blue. It can remove an opponent’s permanent the traditional blue way by bouncing it. It can save a permanent of yours that is critical to your strategy while drawing you a card.
3 Dissipate– It’s a reprint. It is also a very solid counterspell after all the ones that cast for free. Exiling the card is a way to stop recursion that some decks have. It’s worth owning for the decks you want to put a counterspell package into.
4 Consider– I am not a big fan of one mana cantrips in blue for EDH. However, storm decks want them. If you want to play storm or magecraft decks, then this card will be a staple. I also expect other formats will want this card and in a few years this card’s price will rise.
5 Secrets of the Key– This card is primarily for artifact decks but also can find a home in any deck that wants to play at flash speed. It is cheap to cast or to sacrifice a clue and draw a card. This will allow you to hold up mana for shenanigans and if you don’t have to use that mana, then the mana is not wasted.
1 Gisa, Glorious Resurrector– This is a card I see going into the 99 as opposed to being a commander for most people. It is one way to shut down graveyard value strategies while allowing you to capitalize on the game text of your opponents creatures. It can fit in as a miscellaneous card in any black deck but can fits best in reanimator and aristocrat strategy decks.
2 Infernal Grasp– This is just a great removal card for its mana cost. Two mana removal spells in black have drawbacks and this one is just losing 2 life which in commander you have in spades. This card will fit into any removal package for black decks.
3 Bloodpact– Two cards for three mana is the rate you want for card draw. It’s instant speed so you can do it any time you have extra mana. This can fit into any black deck.
4 Siege Zombie– This is an extort effect on a body that is tied to tapping three creatures. Zombie decks will want this card but so will token decks. It is repeatable so if you can find a way to untap your creatures it becomes devastating. Golgari decks could use this card with Selvala Heart of the Wilds, and a Sword of the Paruns untap effect and win the game.
5 Necrosynthisis– Aura’s are not great in commander but this one gives you a card when the creature attached to it dies. This lets you dig deep and can be a card you use in Aristocrat decks. Deathtouch tribal decks will like this card as well, helping one of your creatures grow tall.
1 Burn Down the House– Board wipes in red deal damage. While not the best red board wipe it will handle most of the troublesome creatures that are on the battlefield for their special effects. There is additional utility by creating three devil tokens as well. This card can go in mono red and gruul decks.
2 Raze the Effigy– There is nothing wrong with having spot removal for artifacts and Raze the Effigy is efficient at it. It has additional utility as a combat trick if there happen to be no good artifacts to be destroyed. This card slots into most decks that use red as removal. Gruul decks have many better artifact removal options.
3 Electric Revelation– Red’s card draw is always sketchy but this card can be useful. You are getting as many cards back as you used to cast this spell. Two mana is an excellent rate for drawing cards. If your hand is less than optimal, then this card is useful. This card is best used in flashback and any deck that wants to use it’s graveyard for value.
4 Ardent Elementalist– Red decks often contain several instant and sorcery cards you would like to reuse. This card lets you do that at the same rate as Archaeomancer. In Izzet colors, it can be good to double up on this effect. The card works best in blink or flicker strategies and finds great value in decks that include Kiki-Jiki
5 Geistflame Reservoir– Red is a little short on useful commons and uncommons. The initial investment is a little high, but this is still card draw in red even if you have to use it this turn. It also doubles as removal in decks that load up on instants and sorceries which is something red decks often do. It is useful in any red deck that runs more than ten card draw cards.
1 Augur if Autumn– This card will clear lands off of the top of your deck allowing you to draw more gas. If you can activate coven then you get a little more value. Any green deck can use this card.
2 Clear Shot– This is instant speed removal in green. It also doesn’t utilize the fight mechanic ensuring your creature will not die. This is a good choice for any mono green deck.
3 Return to Nature– This is a reprint and already affordable. However you can not deny the versatility of this card as it targets artifacts, enchantments, and graveyards at your discretion. If you don’t have a couple copies already, then add a couple of these. This solid piece of single target removal works well in any green deck.
4 Dryad’s Revival– Eternal Witness is in 28% of decks that can run it. This card is an Eternal Witness but not on a body and it has flashback. If a deck is running Eternal Witness but does not have a way to abuse it’s ETB effect then Dryad’s Revival should be strongly considered to replace it
5 Briarbridge Tracker– This human is a 4/3 with vigilance for three mana. This is an excellent rate of return for mana plus it can draw you a card in a pinch. This card will work great in human or token decks. Nontoken decks that utilize treasure are another home for this card.
1 The Celestus– It does a little bit of everything as you need it to. It will slot into your mana ramp package but will provide other utility. It works best in graveyard decks.
2 Moonsilver Key– It’s an inefficient ramp card, but it is also a tutor for artifacts. White decks will want this card. Green and red decks may want the artifact tutor as well.
3 Field of Ruin– Some lands are so devastating that they must be removed. This card is useful in all but the most casual metas of commander.
4 Crossroads Candleguide– The color fixing can be used in decks that do not contain green in them. It also is a small amount of graveyard hate. Blink decks or decks that utilize Cloudstone Curio will want this card. Especially if there is a lot of graveyard mischievousness in your meta. .
5 Pithing Needle– This card can shut off activated abilities of commanders which can be very useful. It’s a reprint. Staxx and Control decks will utilize this card.