One of the joys of being a Commander player is that every set, regardless of the intended format, has been designed with you—at least partially—in mind. Like its predecessor, Modern Horizons 2 is no exception and it seems like we’ve been given even more goodies than we were back in 2019.
Today we’ll be diving into the best cards to find room for in your Commander decks, but you’ll notice there aren’t any Legendary creatures, only because we’re saving that for next week!
10. Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth
Does Yavimaya remind you of anything? What we’re looking at here is a colour-shifted Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, a long running Commander staple responsible for outrageous mana explosions when paired with Cabal Coffers. Sadly, Green lacks a Coffers equivalent, but that doesn’t mean we can’t abuse Yavimaya synergies to our heart’s content.
In making every land a Forest, you’re suddenly able to use cards like Arbor Elf to untap any land. You can keep it simple and untap Karoo lands or Ancient Tomb, or you can get really silly and untap powerhouses like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, or god forbid, Gaea’s Cradle.
Not too fussed with Arbor Elf? Just go for anything that cares about Forests. Dungrove Elder, Kalonian Twingrove and Patron of the Orochi are some of the finest, but the queen of them all is Nissa, Who Shakes The World. Double the mana production of every single land you control!
It seems like WotC have heard the baying calls of rabid White players in Commander that keep complaining their favourite colour lacks card advantage. At long last, White has efficient and persistent card advantage, and its name is Esper Sentinel.
If Rhystic Study is anything to go by, most Commander players are loath to “pay the one”, and it’s exactly this attitude that cards like Esper Sentinel thrive on. Sentinel is reminiscent of Mystic Remora in both cost and non-creature clause, and if you haven’t felt the wrath of a turn 1 Fish, I envy you. Card advantage like this wins games.
However, bear in mind Sentinel scales in much the same way Mystic Remora does. The more powerful the pod, the more mana rocks, the more free spells, and the faster everyone is trying to win; the better Sentinel is. In a typical Battlecruiser game, your opponents are likely to have more creatures and more mana to pay the tax, tempering Sentinel’s potential. Unless of course you’re able to buff his power, in which case you’ll be getting more cards than a White mage would know what to do with.
At a criminally undercosted mana value of 2, Harmonic Prodigy doubles the impact of every single Wizard and Shaman trigger in your deck. Have a look at your favourite Red Commander deck right now, and count the amount of cards Harmonic Prodigy interacts with. I’d be surprised if the answer is anything short of “a lot”.
In Kykar, Wind’s Fury, you’ll be getting two spirits for every non-creature spell. In Atla Palani, Nest Tender, every broken egg will be a double yolk. You can cage two cards at once with Mairsil, the Pretender. You’ll get two experience counters for every spell in Mizzix of the Izmagnus. You’ll double your draws in Rielle. I could make a list of a hundred powerful creatures that Harmonic Prodigy improves, but it would be easier to think of Red decks that this little Wizard doesn’t improve.
It even has Prowess and can become a threat in its own right, so I’d recommend picking up a copy of Harmonic Prodigy before everyone else notices just how powerful it is. This is going to be an absolute staple.
7. Out of Time
The hits keep on coming for White with Out of Time (OOT) being the best boardwipe since Doomskar. Okay, that was only earlier this year, but there’s no reason you can’t run both!
Anyone familiar with Blasphemous Act will understand OOT is one of those cards that improves with every additional player. While it is middling at best in Modern, in Commander you’re likely to wipe the entire board of creatures for so long they may as well be gone forever. Yes, your opponents can get everything back with Enchantment removal, but the sort of decks that want OOT are going to be on a control plan to begin with and should have either counter magic or Enchantment protection spells ready for that exact situation.
Crucially, OOT phases, which is much, much more powerful than exiling or destroying as it won’t trigger leave or enter the battlefield effects, a handy solution to decks with mass reanimation spells. But even better, as a Phased permanent never actually changes zones, your opponents aren’t given the opportunity to return their Commander to the Command Zone. This makes OOT one of the most efficient answers to pesky Commanders that are otherwise borderline impossible to keep off the board, like Derevi, Empirical Tactician and Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow.
6. Sanctum Weaver
Being an Enchantment herself, Sanctum Weaver’s floor is a two mana creature that taps for one mana of any colour. Not great, but certainly not terrible. Add a single Enchantment in play, and suddenly it’s producing two mana of any one colour. Now we’re talking, and it only gets better from there.
Enchantress decks are almost always rooted in Green given the sheer amount of Enchantment payoffs available like Enchantress’s Presence, and Eidolon of Blossoms, and Sanctum Weaver is a clear staple in those decks.
It’s not only guaranteed to make an ever increasing amount of mana, by virtue of being an Enchantment itself, it’s going to trigger every single synergy piece you’ve chosen to run. In a deck like Tuvasa or Estrid, the Masked, Sanctum Weaver is a more affordable and more powerful Bloom Tender. And much like Bloom Tender, Sanctum Weaver is a guaranteed source of infinite mana with Pemmin’s Aura of Freed from the Real!
5. Dauthi Voidwalker
One of the most pushed cards in recent memory, Dauthi Voidwalker almost looks like a mistake. For just two black mana, you’ll be getting a 3/2 Rogue with Shadow. That alone is a good rate and would give Voidwalker a home in Tymna, the Weaver or Anowon, the Ruin Thief but wait, there’s more.
Voidwalker carries one of the most powerful forms of interaction in the game: asymmetrical rule setting. As long as it is in play, every single card that would otherwise reach an opponent’s graveyard will be exiled, while your own graveyard remains completely unperturbed. This means that not only can it completely shut down a reanimation deck like Meren, that same deck is free to run a copy of their own. Compare it to Rest in Peace, which can only really be run in a deck that has no interest in its own graveyard.
And still, there’s more. Voidwalker not only sends opponents’ cards to exile, it sends them there with a void counter, which leaves them to be cast for FREE once Voidwalker loses summoning sickness. If there’s one thing that proves obnoxiously powerful time and time again in Magic, it’s being able to cheat on costs. Voidwalker doesn’t even care how a card gets a void counter, only that it has one. If you’ve ever wanted to cast someone else’s Ulamog for free, Dauthi Voidwalker can make that dream come true.
This card will warp every game it resolves in, and may well warp the entire format around it as a result.
4. Kaldra Compleat
Kaldra Compleat is what happens when Memnarch and the rest of the Phyrexian gang gets a hold of you, and suffice to say, it ain’t pretty. Thankfully though, it is extremely powerful. Magic’s equivalent of a pseudo-Exodia, the Kaldra equipment trio required a lot of tutoring to be reliable. But Kaldra Compleat takes care of that, arriving pre-assembled and already attached to a creature courtesy of the Living Weapon mechanic.
With First Strike, Trample, Indestructible and Haste, Kaldra Compleat is going to be a threat from the moment it hits the board. It is almost guaranteed to do damage every single turn as it can trample over chump blockers and any big creatures it runs into will be exiled. It feels like we’re talking about a creature here, but as a piece of equipment, it hangs around even if the germ is removed!
And if you’re ever able to equip the Sword, Shield, and Helm combo to the Kaldra Compleat germ? Congratulations, you’ve just unlocked a secret Commander achievement known as Kaldra-ception.
This card takes its name from the first word out of everyone’s mouth when they first saw it spoiled: “damn…”
Magic is littered with targeted removal and backbreaking boardwipes, but we’ve never before seen the two welded together on the same card. Usually a card with modal features will have both halves designed a little weaker than they would be by themselves in order to keep the power level in check. But this is not the case with Damn. Paying two black mana to destroy any creature is a perfectly fair rate even at sorcery speed, and paying four mana to wipe the whole board is par for the course with boardwipes, making Damn the best all rounder removal spell we may have ever seen.
It’s useful early if someone is able to rush out a big threat, it’s useful late when everyone has big threats and wide boards. It’s strong against decks that rely on regeneration, and it’s strong on decks that rely on protection from colours.
Whether your opponents are going tall or going wide, whether it’s turn two or turn twelve, Damn is the perfect tool for the job. I keep looking at this card trying to figure out what downside it has but I keep coming up empty. It’s just that damn good!
The antepenultimate Sword! Starting back in Darksteel with Fire and Ice and Light and Shadow, the Sword cycle is what Wizards refer to as a mega-mega cycle; a series of thematically and mechanically linked cards released not just across multiple sets, but across multiple decades.
Modern Horizons 1 provided us with the Rakdos sword and the Azorius sword and while we’re only receiving the Selesnya one in MH2, it absolutely leaves the rest of them in the dust for the sake of Commander.
One need only look at the ubiquity of Sword of the Animist throughout Commander to realise just how powerful ramping out a land every turn can be. And while Animist brings them in tapped, Hearth has no such downside, meaning you’re free to use it the same turn. The blink effect also allows you to double dip on any enter the battlefield effect you already have in play. Yes, you do need to connect with your opponent to trigger these abilities, but with +2/+2 and protection from the two best creature colours, it shouldn’t be hard.
If your deck already wants Sword of the Animist, it absolutely needs Sword of Hearth and Home. This is far and away the best Sword of X and Y in Commander, and I say that without a shadow of doubt.
1. Urza’s Saga
I never thought I would be this excited about a colourless land.
One of only eight cards in the history of Magic that happens to share its name with an entire set, and the very first Enchantment Land ever printed, saying that Urza’s Saga is weird would be an understatement. To say it’s powerful would be a far graver understatement. Good gracious, this card is just bonkers in almost every deck in Commander!
The turn you play it, it produces Colourless mana. Okay, no big deal. The turn after, it produces mana or it creates a Construct token that scales with the amount of artifacts you control. Pretty cool! The third turn, it sacrifices itself and tutors to the battlefield ANY artifact in your deck with mana cost 1 or less. And because you don’t need to tap for this effect, you can even activate it in your upkeep to create another Construct or produce more mana.
So for a single land drop, we can get mana, two constructs, and a free tutor. I still can’t believe this is a real card! Missed out on getting an early Sol Ring? Fetch it out now. Pesky graveyard deck at the table? Fetch out a Tormod’s Crypt. Commander Tax getting a bit much? Grab a Jeweled Lotus. Need some cards? Grab Skullclamp.
What doesn’t this card do?
There are dozens of goodies throughout MH2 and it’s bound to have a big impact on Commander, but let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anything amazing. This set is jam-packed with powerful cards! And if you’re not looking for upgrades and would rather start a new deck from scratch, come back next week for a list of all the brand new Legendary creatures!