I love playing Commander, a Magic: the Gathering format. It’s just as addictive as any other trading card game format, but much more casual and fun. I’ve played Commander for a long time and when a new Magic set comes out I’m super excited for what I can put in my decks. In this post I list my 10 favorite cards from the new set Rivals of Ixalan in no particular order and explain why I love them so much.
Nice, simple tribal pay-off if you’re going wide. Vigilance is really, really good in Commander. Remember, in a 4 player game you’re attacking one turn, then blocking three turns.
Nezahal, Primal Tide
I never play control. I do however love Simic card draw decks like Edric, Zegana and Tishana. Nezahal is a fantastic threat in those decks that’ll both make sure you get to keep your cards and draws you more. It’s equally awesome in a reanimator strategy where discard is actually good. So juicy!
Dead Man’s Chest
The flavor of this card is just spectacular and that’s why it’s here. It’s lovely in a Dimir “play your stuff” deck. Put it on the biggest threat just before you remove it and you could have an extra hand to work with. Or put it on a creature owned by the player most likely to have a board wipe to mess with their head…
This card is just so good. It’s so, so very good. It is quite frankly disgusting in Commander where spells are very expensive. If it had some protection it would be in literally every deck with black, now it will be in most of them—including my Ghoulcaller Gisa Zombie deck.
Etali, Primal Storm
Best elder dinosaur, no contest. I was 100% sure it was a combat damage trigger but it just needs to attack! You can even Maze of Ith him to be safe and still get the trigger. Oooooh, boy. This is going into the pingosaur deck… or heck, it might just force me to build my first ever mono red Commander deck.
Path of Discovery
I love playing token decks. Token decks tend to put a lot of creatures into play.Compared to cards like Soul of the Harvest, Path of Discovery doesn’t say “nontoken” and that makes all the difference. So if each of token I play grows larger, draws me lands or stock up the graveyard—that is just crazy value. While it looks innocent at first glance, you will learn to respect this card.
I’m building a Naya Pingosaur deck where I just play pingers and cards that reward pinging. Polyraptor is the reason I’m doing that. This card does everything I love in Magic: it’s a big green creature, it makes tokens, it makes copies and it rewards weird strategies. Giant Adephage is one of my favorite cards ever and I think Polyraptor will be too.
My current favorite Commander deck is a Tana, the Bloodsower deck that creates a bunch of tokens by dealing combat damage. It also cares deeply about saprolings. You know who else cares about saprolings? This dryad!
Seriously, this card is just incredible. You get saprolings on your opponents’ turns too which is fantastic in a four player game. Then, once ascended, the +2/+2 pump is a real threat. It also hints there’ll be plenty of saprolings in the upcoming set Dominaria and that makes me very, very happy.
This card made me finally realize I’ll also cast the commander, Gishath, in the Pingosaur deck. Exploration has always been a borderline unfair card. This is much friendlier, coming down later and being easier to remove. That it happens to be a 5/5 dinosaur is just gravy.
This might look unimpressive, but it’s not. In a +1/+1 counter deck (like my Hydra-themed Animar deck) it is incredible value. +1/+1 counter decks always go tall, building up some kind of huge monster with counters. Now doubling that monster’s power is pretty amazing but flying really seals the deal. Hadan’s Climb does itself what usually requires 2-3 cards. I’m definitely playing this.