Five for Five: Crimson Vow
Crushing Canopy is one of several common and uncommon reprints in this set.

Commander or EDH has exploded over the last several years to be one of the top formats for Magic the Gathering. With it prices of cards have skyrocketed making it more expensive to enter the format. Five for Five targets five cards in each color and artifacts to add to your collection when you are just entering the format. These cards can form a cornerstone of deck building until you can add more expensive staples to your collection.

Do You Play Draft?

Hopefully game shops have opened up in your area. If so, then draft is a format that often will happen in your local game store. Normally you will grab the rare in the pack first. After the rares are gone, look to draft these cards as they are passed to you. It’s a quick and easy way to build an early collection that is inexpensive. For a few dollars you gain a few hours of entertainment while growing your collection. 

The Mendoza Line 

Five for Five first looks for cards that can be used in most commander decks. Card draw, mana ramp and removal are a priority. Card protection is a consideration as well. Then it looks for cards that can be solid in some of the basic deck archetypes to finish out the list. There will not always be five cards that fit this criteria. Just like in baseball there is a level of performance that a batter or a card should achieve. This is the Mendoza line. In each list the mendoza line will be clearly delineated to where to add cards to your collection and maybe where you should stop. The choice is up to you.  


In this set the white commons and uncommons are geared a little more towards protection of your board. There’s some removal for two mana at the top with Valorous Stance being flexible for what it does. If you have incidental lifegain in a deck Heron of Hope can see some play as well. Ollenbock Escort may be a little too specific to see much use and hovers right at the Mendoza line. 


Blue is full of useful cards. As normal there are several card draw spells in the list. These cards while they have some drawbacks will let you look deeper in your deck than normal card draw and the selection is worth it. In addition, Wash Away tops the list as this sets counterspell. It has corner uses in a larger counterspell package as well as a budget option. Finally, Witness the Future and Cruel Witness did not make the list but are worth owning, making blue very deep in usable cards for Crimson Vow. 


Hero’s Downfall gets a reprint and is usable removal. While three mana each, Pointed Discussion and Fell Stinger are a little more expensive variants of the cheap mana card draw black is known for. Undead Butler will see some use in some reanimator decks or zombie tribes. Unfortunately, Edgar’s Awakening is probably too slow and expensive for reanimator decks and falls below The Mendoza Line. 


This set is packed with solid red cards at the common and uncommon level. Abrade is a solid flexible reprint. Reckless Impulse is red’s Sign in Blood, Yes please! Then, Rending Flame has additional value versus super friends deck. Into the Night rummages, but also replaces itself. Finally, Vampire’s Vengeance can clear the board of non-vampire weenies just make sure you time it right versus token decks. Runebound Wolf did not make the list although it is impressive for werewolf decks.  


For all that green is supposed to be strong, the commons and uncommons are underwhelming. Retrieve will get you cards at the 1.5 mana per card rate decks are looking for. Crushing Canopy is removal in a reprint and Infestation Expert is a slow token generator. Lackluster is Reclusive Taxidermist as a two mana value mana dork when there are many options out there. At least it generates mana of any color, because the power buff is not much in EDH. Packsong Pup wants just the right werewolf deck and is worth acquiring if you want to play werewolves. In addition, Dormant Grove didn’t make the list because it’s quite slow to give counters but granting vigilance and thus protecting you from a crack back when you attack makes it an honorable mention in green. 


Artifacts are few and far between in the common and uncommon level. They can go in any deck though few are worth the card slot. Honored Heirloom and Lantern of the Lost are graveyard hate for decks that need it. The Heirloom doubles as a mana rock and has some extra utility. Wedding Invitation is a one-time evasion cantrip. It could be useful in Voltron strategies. Finally, Ceremonial knife and Foreboding Statue are just cards that fill out the list and probably not impactful enough to consider using in most decks. 

We want to know your thoughts

As always Commander Clinic wants to hear form you. While opinions vary we would like to know what are your favorite commons and uncommons from the set. Make a comment below. If this was an enjoyable read you can help get the word out by tweeting this link or sending it out on Instagram. As always thank you for your time.

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