Tribal decks are a big part of EDH, and if you’re considering building one, there are some cards you should probably always just include if you can. In the same way that more or less every Commander deck list starts with 1x Command Tower and 1x Sol Ring, tribal decks also have a list of must-play cards. Today we’re going to go through the top 10 tribal support cards in the format, and I strongly suggest you add these cards to your tribal lists if you haven’t already!
10. Door of Destinies
Boosting the power and toughness of your team is obviously a tried-and-true strategy when it comes to tribal decks, and Door of Destinies is certainly able to get the job done. However, it is a little slow and clunky, and while you can end up with this card giving your team +5/+5 or more, it does nothing the turn it comes down and can be a bit of a liability if the board is developing quickly. In most games of EDH, however, you should have time to play and then charge up your Door of Destinies, so it’s worth thinking about including it in your tribal list.
9. Obelisk of Urd
Unlike some of the cards on this list, Obelisk of Urd isn’t necessarily an auto-include in every single tribal list ever. It’s at its best in smaller tribal decks, things like Vampires, Humans and Zombies. You don’t really want to tap expensive Angels, Demons or Dragons in order to play this card – you want to tap tokens, and double or even triple their power in doing so. If you’re playing a tribal deck that tends to have a lot of cheap creatures on the board (or can generate a lot of tokens), power them up with an Obelisk of Urd: +2/+2 is a ridiculous upgrade when you’d otherwise be playing with 1/1s and 2/2s.
8. Metallic Mimic/Adaptive Automaton
Metallic Mimic and Adaptive Automaton are great inclusions in more or less any tribal deck, with Mimic edging out Automaton on both cost and the fact that the stat boost sticks around for good with +1/+1 counters. Unlike Obelisk of Urd, these cards are terrific in bigger tribal decks, as being able to bridge your way towards your expensive haymakers with relevant and powerful early plays can make all the difference. And as they’re artifacts, of course, they can go in any deck you choose!
7. Kindred Dominance
This card can’t go in any deck you choose, for the simple fact that commanders with a nonblack color identity can’t play it. If you can put it in your deck, however, I cannot recommend this card highly enough. Plague Wind is a ridiculous card, and being able to cast it for just seven mana will often win the game on the spot. It’s a lot like a sorcery-speed Cyclonic Rift, to be honest, except your opponents won’t be able to rebuild quite as effectively with their team in the bin. Build out a board, get in for chip damage where possible, then play Kindred Dominance and clean everyone up in one fell swoop.
6. Reflections of Littjara
Similar to Door of Destinies, Reflections of Littjara is a “do-nothing” card in that the turn you play it; it doesn’t affect the board at all. Given enough time, however, this card can quickly become a monstrous threat, doubling all the creatures you play. If those creatures have enter-the-battlefield effects, all the better – once Reflections of Littjara gets rolling, you’ll be drowning in value and able to impress your authority on the battlefield as you spew out two six-drops for the price of one, turn after turn. If your table is slow enough to let you get away with playing a do-nothing five-drop, Reflections of Littjara is not to be underestimated.
Future Sight is a hell of a card, and Realmwalker gives you a close approximation of it for just three mana – while also synergizing with your other tribal effects! Any tribal-based green deck will want Realmwalker, no question, as it can provide a steady stream of card advantage in addition to triggering tribal effects and benefitting from lord effects such as Obelisk of Urd and the like. There aren’t many changelings that you should throw into your tribal list “just because”, but if there’s one, it’s Realmwalker.
4. Kindred Discovery
Speaking of a steady stream of card advantage, how about Kindred Discovery? Sure, it might look like another five-mana do-nothing enchantment, but if you have any kind of board built up at all, it gets the ball rolling as soon as you head to combat after casting it. Play this, attack with a few creatures, draw some cards and then if you get to untap with it? Forget about it. Every creature you play replaces itself, and your combat steps mean you can throw creatures into blockers to make trades, knowing you won’t run out of resources. This card is ridiculous.
3. Cavern of Souls/Unclaimed Territory/Secluded Courtyard
With the exception of Cavern of Souls’ price tag, there is absolutely no reason not to play these cards in any multicolor tribal deck. These cards offer free fixing that, unlike something such as Ancient Ziggurat, can still help cast non-tribal cards. If you’re dipping into three or more colors, but still want to remain aggressive, you can’t afford things like Triomes and tri-lands – you need to curve out, and these cards will help you do it. Cavern of Souls does cost an arm and a leg, but Unclaimed Territory and Secluded Courtyard are cheap uncommons and should be amongst the first cards you pick up for a multicolor tribal EDH deck.
2. Herald’s Horn
Herald’s Horn also used to be an unreasonably expensive card, but thanks to some recent reprints – including in Battle for Baldur’s Gate – it’s a much more reasonably priced card, and well worth playing in your tribal decks. The combination of mana reduction and card advantage means it’s useful in more or less any situation – particularly in cheaper decks, where you can play two-drops for one mana rather than, say, five-drops for four. Nonetheless, even expensive tribal decks want this card, and I recommend you find room for it in any deck that looks to exploit tribal synergies.
1. Vanquisher’s Banner
One of the most popular tribal cards ever printed, Vanquisher’s Banner is an auto-include in any tribal deck as it does the two things you want the most in any deck like this: buffs your team and draws cards. Immediately juicing up your board with the +1/+1 ability is then joined by a Kindred Discovery-style source of card advantage as you play out more creatures, meaning you won’t be short on action as the game continues. As an artifact, it slots into any deck, and unless you’re playing a Vampires deck that’s so low to the ground you want its curve to stop at four, I can’t think of a reason you wouldn’t put Vanquisher’s Banner into your list.