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Rotating Zendikar Rising MTG Cards to Grab For Commander

Orah, Skyclave Hierophant

It’s that time again. Standard is rotating, leaving a large gap where four sets previously impacted the format. Zendikar Rising, Kaldheim, Strixhaven, and Adventures in the Forgotten Realms are all leaving standard, and while the rotation doesn’t guarantee a shift in prices, now is the time to start thinking about what you should be picking up. I’ve selected a few key pieces that you should add to your commander collection, including stellar commanders, format staples, and a handful of sleepers that are deserving of more play than they’re getting.

Zendikari Commanders

Omnath, Locus of CreationOrah, Skyclave HierophantAshaya, Soul of the Wild

Zendikar is home to one of the most ubiquitous commanders ever printed in the form of the newest Omnath. He’s one of the only options for a four-color deck that’s missing black, and he is the unquestioned king of landfall decks. Just behind Omnath, however, we have Orah, who serves as one of the best, if not the best current option for Cleric tribal. While the tribe didn’t get much love in standard, it is positioned well in Commander. Finally, Ashaya is a powerful mono green option that is packed full of ridiculous synergies between lands and creatures. Karametra may ultimately be better if you’re trying to combine lands and creatures, but Ashaya is the best game in town if you don’t want to deal with a second color.

The Path to Staples

Clearwater Pathway // Murkwater PathwayNeedleverge Pathway // Pillarverge PathwayBranchloft Pathway // Boulderloft PathwayBrightclimb Pathway // Grimclimb PathwayBranchloft Pathway // Boulderloft PathwayRiverglide Pathway // Lavaglide Pathway

Most land cycles are an exceptionally safe option when it comes to finding good cards to pull from a set, and the Pathways are no different. I personally don’t like the extra fiddly nature of flipping these cards, but for two-color decks and some three-color options, the Pathways are among some of the best lands available. Their flexibility, combined with always being untapped, means you should strongly consider them if you’re looking to improve your mana bases.

Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged SanctuaryShatterskull Smashing // Shatterskull, the Hammer PassHagra Mauling // Hagra BroodpitSejiri Shelter // Sejiri GlacierGlasspool Mimic // Glasspool Shore

Every modal dual faced land card printed in Zendikar Rising is spectacular. The front of each card is already perfectly playable (if some of them featuring slightly too high mana values, you’re paying for the flexibility!), but having the option to play them out as lands when you need them is great. These cards let you embrace greedy land counts in certain decks, dipping down to fewer lands as long as you have enough of these dual-faced options to fill in the gaps, and smoothing out your plays regardless of your land count.

Hidden Inscriptions

Inscription of AbundanceInscription of InsightInscription of Ruin

There are a lot of solid cards that don’t see enough play out of Zendikar Rising, but my favorite has to be the incomplete cycle of inscriptions. While I’ll always be a little mad that we don’t have a red or white version of these cards, what we do have are some powerful, flexible kicker cards that could improve a lot of decks. Abundance does almost everything a green deck wants, Insight provides powerful payoffs for just doing what blue does, and Ruin picks off and recurs key low CMC creatures (with some added discard as a bonus). Abundance is the clear winner at instant speed, but you shouldn’t sleep on the power of flexibility.

Rotational Value

Zendikar Rising should be given a second look as it rotates, as it’s helping to pump a lot of interesting cards into the commander ecosystem. While all the above cards are worth picking up and playing, there are a lot of powerful pieces that you safely have land in your deck. Let me know if there are any cards you’re excited to pick up from the set as standard players sell them off.

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