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The newest set of Magic the Gathering is almost here and with it comes some sweet additions for Commander players. From powerful dinosaurs to the return of a very familiar face, Rivals of Ixalan is shaping up to be a great set. When looking to the Commander format it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone plays competitively. Some simply see this as a way to enjoy ridiculous cards that might not see play in other formats. However, others do take this game type quite seriously and see it as an intricate game full of unique synergies and strategies.
Because of this, we are going to look for a solid middle ground that can work with various levels of players. We will be including potential Commanders in this list and normal spells that will help you conquer your foes. However, before we continue here are some honorable mentions:
- Tomb Robber
- Vona’s Hunger
- Ghalta, Primal Hunger
- Tetzimoc, Primal Death (Not as a Commander)
- Glorious Destiny
- Silent Gravestone
- Journey to Eternity
Here are our top 10 choices for the best Commander / EDH cards in Rivals of Ixalan:
(This list is in no particular order)
1. Azor, the Lawbringer
Let’s start off with one of the spiciest cards in the entire set. Azor, the Lawbringer is not only a great card, but it’s a wonderful commander. Beginning from the top, his cost might be a bit high, but six mana isn’t the end of the world. The Lawbringer also has a good body at 6/6 and he even possesses some evasion with Flying. His first ability lets him deny each of his opponents from casting instants and sorcery spells until their next turn. Finally, when Azor attacks you can pay XWUU to draw that many cards and gain that much life.
This card is insane and absolutely will see play in the format either one of the 99 or a Commander. While the Silence is a nice addition, it’s his second ability that makes him dangerous. Being able to draw a ton of cards and gain life is a great way to keep ahead, especially in control decks. Since it triggers on the attack you have a chance to draw into an answer or counterspell if your opponent has combat tricks.
2. Nezahal, Primal Tide
While all of the Elder Dinosaurs are strong we are picking Nezahal as our favorite. This 7/7 creature has a rather high cost of two UU and five colorless to cast. Despite the large price tag, Nezahal can’t be countered and he grants players with no maximum hand size. This alone makes him potent, but Nezahal also lets us draw a card whenever an opponent casts a non-creature spell and we can discard three cards to flicker this massive dino.
This is a very powerful card that can easily win you the game thanks to the card advantage it grants and ability to stick around indefinitely. It not being able to be countered is great given its high host and the removal of a maximum hand size is simply value. Nezahal is a creature that screams reanimation target and could also prove to be a potent finisher for a control deck.
3. The Immortal Sun
The Immortal Sun is going to end up being a staple of the format thanks to the sheer value it brings. For six mana you’ll get an artifact that does four different things at once. These include drawing an extra card, pumping your board, reducing the cost of spells, and denying users the ability to activate their planewalkers’ loyalty abilities.
While this item lacks a linear direction, the general advantages it offers is quite useful. This is especially true for red and white decks which can struggle with card or board advantage sometimes. This is just a solid card that offers a strong incremental advantage for almost every aspect of the game. Plus, being able to shut down Superfriend decks is quite satisfying.
4. Path of Discovery
Explore has always been an intriguing mechanic, but Path of Discovery might be one of the best cards with it for Commander. Being able to either draw a card or pump your creature just by playing it is always useful, especially in green which lacks draw power. The addition of throwing that card into the graveyard opens up more versatility for discard and reanimation focused decks. What makes this card so powerful is it triggers when a creature enters the battlefield, not when you cast it. This means token generators will activate multiple times and potentially draw you a lot of cards.
5. Zacama, Primal Calamity
Nothing says terrifying like a giant, three-headed dinosaur with trample, vigilance, and reach. Zacama, Primal Calamity is one of the most powerful monsters in this entire set. While the 9/9 body for 9 mana is okay, the collection of abilities on this dino makes him quite potent. Being able to cast Zacama, untap all your lands, and then use his three abilities is fantastic. Yes, three mana for a Lightning Bolt is a lot, but it’s nice to have a piece of removal on a creature. In addition, the other two abilities are useful for both sustainability and clearing our troublesome permanents on your opponent’s field. This dino may not make the best general, but he is a fantastic creature to put into your deck.
6. Storm the Vault
There have been quite a few flip cards in the Ixalan block, so picking out the best for this format can be tricky. One of the earliest and most notable cards spoiled is Storm the Vault, which allows players to quickly ramp out of control. The base enchantment itself is okay for most artifact decks despite the aggro focused design. However, all you need to do to flip it is have five artifacts which is extremely easy to do in Commander.
Flipping this card to the Vault of Catlacan will push you ahead of all your opponents and make you a formidable threat. This will let you ramp out of control and cast a lot of your higher costing artifacts like Darksteel Forge with little effort. If you are running an artifact themed deck then Storm the Vault is a must-have inclusion.
7. Huatli, Radiant Champion
Huatli is probably, if not the best token based planeswalker for Commander currently in the game. While her first ability might seem strange, dropping her and being able to obtain tons of loyalty counters can make her a serious threat. Being able to have enough loyalty counters to instantly use her ultimate ability the turn after you play her can change the entire game.
Drawing a card per creature that enters the battlefield is a potent ability and the draw is even optional so you won’t deck yourself. This champion’s second ability is also quite strong, but we recommend going for her ultimate first if you’re running a token-based strategy. Huatli is also useful in enchantress and basic aggro Commander decks, so make sure to pick up a copy of this card.
8. World Shaper
Do you want to play Crucible of Worlds, but can’t afford the price of the card? Then make sure to grab this budget and potentially more dangerous option, World Shaper. Fitting into almost any reanimation, self-mill, or discard shell, World Shaper is a potent powerhouse. Being able to mill yourself when he attacks is nice, especially in the early game. However, the ability to return all of your lands int he graveyard when he dies is not only extremely useful but abusable. Plus, World Shaper works wonders with most of the popular reanimation commanders like Meren, Sidisi, and Gitrog.
9. Twilight Prophet
In a set full of powerful vampires, the Twilight Prophet is certainly one of the most intriguing. While it does require Ascend to trigger, the card advantage it offers is quite useful. Not only do you obtain an additional card each turn, but you get to drain your foes of their life. This is a strong creature that will offer you sustainability and tap into the siphon effects that vampire’s synergize with. The best part of Twilight Prophet is that the card isn’t bound to strictly vampires and can fit into any deck running black mana. Just make sure your deck can trigger Ascend as quickly as possible to ensure that you can take advantage of this card.
10. Blood Sun
At first glance, Blood Sun might appear to be a poor man’s Blood Moon, but this card is so much more. Blood Sun can act both as a hate card and one that grants the user a tremendous amount of advantage if used correctly. Cards such as the bounce lands will have all of their drawbacks completely removed, letting you drop a land that produces two mana with no issue. It can also remove the punishment of being hit for 2 life when using a shock land. Players can also disrupt those using fetch lands like Polluted Delta or troublesome land cards like Cabal Coffers or Academy Ruins. Make no mistake, this card will see play in Commander – especially with those using five color decks.