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Top 10 Best Zero-Mana Cards in MTG – Riley Ranks

Free spells are always dangerous. Anything that costs zero mana has the potential to be busted in half, and more than a few cards on today’s list are exactly that. It’s interesting to see the breakdown of zero-cost cards: they’re either extremely bad, like Herbal Poultice, or extremely good, like… well, like all the cards on this list. Read on to find out which are the best – you won’t believe which one comes in at number one! (Actually, yes, you very much will.)

 

 

10. Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh

Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh

We don’t see zero-cost commanders all that much in EDH (for very good reason, apart from Rograkh the only legendary creature with a mana value of zero is Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar), but with a juicy little combination of keyword abilities, Rograkh punches well above his weight. Combine with partners such as Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist or Akroma, Vision of Ixidor to buff his power and toughness and turn him into a respectably-statted creature. If you want to get a quick 21 commander damage in, juicing up a turn-one Rograkh is a great way to do it. 

9. Everflowing Chalice

Everflowing Chalice

An old and reliable piece of mana ramp, Everflowing Chalice has been putting in work as a dependable EDH workhorse for well over a decade. Most at home in decks that reward you for kicking spells – Hallar, the Firefletcher or Verazol, the Split Current – Everflowing Chalice is also extremely useful in colorless big mana decks, usually with an Eldrazi titan of some description in charge. Outside of these decks, it still sees plenty of play in any deck that doesn’t mind having extra mana to dump into spells and abilities, such as those led by Urza, Lord High Artificer. It’s not hugely exciting, but Everflowing Chalice is nonetheless a rock-solid inclusion in many Commander decks. 

8. Ornithopter & Memnite

OrnithopterMemnite

There aren’t all that many zero-cost creatures, and these two are of particular importance as they’re both artifacts. Before Affinity was banned out of Modern, these cards were critical in those ridiculous starts the deck was capable of, where it would have five permanents in play on turn one – and before you knew it, the humble Ornithopter had not only been tapped for mana with Springleaf Drum, but was now being suited up with a Cranial Plating and attacking for six on turn two. They might not look like much, but these cards got into all sorts of mischief, back before the banning of…

7. Mox Opal

Mox Opal

Mox Opal was the centerpiece of Modern Affinity, and its banning from Modern resulted in the archetype going from a consistent Tier 1 staple across many years to being a lower-tier, fringe-playable strategy. Affinity still kicks around, with Frogmite and Thought Monitor instead of Mox Opal and Arcbound Ravager, but it’s nowhere near as powerful as it was. The simple reason for its power was that it got to play an actual factual Mox – cards so powerful, they’re restricted in Vintage. Having metalcraft active was never an obstacle for Modern Affinity, so Mox Opal really was at its best there – but no longer, after being crushed under the banhammer back in 2020. Rest in pieces. 

6. Pact of Negation

Pact of Negation

You’ve been carefully maneuvering yourself into position to win, they’ve finally tapped out, one card in hand, you’ve absolutely got them here, just one spell needs to resolve for you to seize victory… and then they casually toss a Pact of Negation out in response to your game-winning spell, and it all comes undone. Alternatively, you think you’re safe from their combo, you’re ready to counter their key spell or kill their key creature as they go off, and… same story, zero mana, dash target hopes and dreams. It doesn’t matter how many times I lose to this card, I always forget to play around it, and always get punished for forgetting that they always have an out.

5. Jeweled Lotus

Jeweled Lotus

To the surprise of approximately no one, Jeweled Lotus immediately became a cEDH mainstay, and has maintained its price of around $100 since it was printed in Commander Legends. Whether you’re playing Thrasios or Tymna or Armix or Kraum – or a combination of the above – Jeweled Lotus is one of the busted bits of fast mana that enables you to power out commanders way ahead of schedule and take control of a game as early as turn one. cEDH decks are absolutely absurd in just how quickly they can dump threats onto the table, and Jeweled Lotus is a key piece of their overall architecture. 

4. Mishra’s Bauble

Mishra's Bauble

An unassuming card, on the face of things, Mishra’s Bauble was once a $60 uncommon, and even today commands a price of around $15. Why? Surely there are better cantrips out there? Well, yes, there might be, but this one has a few things going for it: it’s free, first of all, and second, it’s an artifact. In formats like Modern, where the contents of your graveyard have always mattered for things like Tarmogoyf and Dragon’s Rage Channeler, having a free artifact that replaces itself before pumping ‘Goyfs and enabling delirium isn’t a bad deal at all – not to mention the free information that comes with looking at an opponent’s top card!

3. Mana Crypt

Mana Crypt

Fast mana is an inescapable part of Commander. I choose not to play with cards like Sol Ring, as I think they tend to make games less fun, rather than more fun, and Mana Crypt falls squarely into that category as well, in my view (this is also a handy excuse so as to avoid shelling out $200 or per copy). My personal perspectives aside, this card is monumentally popular in Commander, and any deck that is looking to get things going quickly is always happy to include a copy – much like Jeweled Lotus, expect to see a lot of this card if you ever get into cEDH.  

2. The Moxen

Mox PearlMox SapphireMox JetMox RubyMox Emerald

Some of the most powerful and iconic cards in Magic’s history, the five Moxen make up more than half of the legendary “Power Nine” – eight of the absolute best cards ever printed in Magic’s entire history, plus Timetwister. I don’t know if you’ve ever played with a Mox, but let me tell you this, it feels completely unfair. Being able to dump extra mana sources into play on turn one and use them to power out a threat before your opponent has even played a land… Vintage is a whole different ball game, where so many of the normal rules and expectations of Magic don’t apply, and much of that is because thanks to the Moxen you can routinely generate three mana on turn one.

1. Black Lotus

Black Lotus

Of all the cards ever printed in this game we all love, there are none that are so famous, so instantly-recognizable, so culturally pervasive and so expensive than Black Lotus. This is the Magic card, and despite being banned in every format and restricted in Vintage, despite seeing the smallest amount of play possible, it nonetheless resonates as the most iconic Magic card ever made. Its power is unmatched too, generating three mana for nothing and enabling you to readily play a four-drop on turn one. Island, Lotus, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, your go? That’s the sort of reality made possible by Magic’s more famous card: Black Lotus. 

 

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