Bang for Your Buck: Green

Here we go—back at it again with another Bang for Your Buck! Today’s topic is green cards in EDH—which cards are top inclusions and are they worth their price tag? Today, I’m examining one of my favorite colors in EDH to help you decide if the spells are worth the hit to your wallet.

For statistics on usage I am referring to EDHrec.com. For pricing, I will be looking right here on ChannelFireball.com. As always, power level preferences and budgets vary, but this article will discuss cards in the $5+ price range.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are my own. Just because I dislike a card doesn’t mean it may not be great for you. Experiences will vary, and my goal here is to save you money while improving your deck’s quality.

Don’t miss the Forest for the trees. Green’s strengths include:

  • Mana ramp
  • Artifact, enchantment, and land destruction
  • Large threats
  • Hard-to-remove permanents

Green is an outstanding primary color in Commander and is capable of out-speeding many other decks. Because you will always have access to your general, there is more incentive to run abundant mana acceleration as you will be less prone to flooding. Green can also be added to decks solely for the powerful ramping aspect it provides even if the deck’s focus isn’t green. Additionally, if your deck is more than 2 colors and you are on a budget, green offers excellent mana fixing at a low financial cost. Personally, I would rank green as the second-best color in Commander. Bet you can’t guess what number 1 is.

Green’s weaknesses include:

  • Lack of creature removal
  • Lack of permission and discard
  • Lack of card drawing (and let’s be honest—that’s real bad)
  • Lack of interaction

Just like most colors, green’s weaknesses can be shored up by recognizing them and adding other colors. There are a plethora of popular blue-green EDH decks that use green’s mana ramp in tandem with blue’s insane card drawing potential. Combined, these decks can be quite fast and aggressive, as well as contain ways to refuel later. When I play green in EDH, I’m doing it for these mana ramping abilities. Moxen may be banned in Commander, but Llanowar Elves is the next best thing.

Let’s jump right into these green cards and find out if the dents they make in your opponents are worth the dent they make in your wallet.

Eternal Witness

Price: $6.99

Green deck usage: 44%

This is the most played green card in EDH. That is a crazy statistic. But does the Witness warrant her inclusion? Answer: Yes. Eternal Witness is absolutely an EDH staple and no green deck should be without one. There are dozens of ways to abuse her enters-the-battlefield trigger along with ways to break her ability. Even if she just returns a fetchland to your hand or a simple Nature’s Lore, she has provided value. Decks like Meren of Clan Nel Toth and Roon of the Hidden Realm enjoy the warm body that goes with the effect as well.

Verdict: $7 very well spent.

Birds of Paradise

Price: $5.49

Green deck usage: 24%

Another top 10 card by usage, Birds of Paradise has been doing its job since 1993. And these mana birds have been doing their job well. There is little reason not to run the ubiquitous mana producer that simultaneously fixes and ramps your mana. The card has over 25 printings. Twenty-five. It’ll be hard for you not to find one to pick up for your EDH decks. “Bolt the Bird” is a phrase that still rings true to this day, although in EDH it’s more often “wrath the Bird” or “pyroclasm the Bird.”

Verdict: You can’t put $6 toward anything better.

Sylvan Library

Price: $15.99

Green deck usage: 23%

Anybody who watches Vintage Super League should know my obsession and love for this card. One of green’s largest weaknesses as a standalone color is its lack of access to card draw. What good is all the mana acceleration in the world if you don’t have something meaningful to ramp into? Enter Sylvan Library, a card that has been saving green’s behind for years. Even in the early years of Magic, Sylvan Library’s power level was never questioned. Trading life for cards with the Library is all the better in a format where you start at 40 life. In fact, the correct play if you untap with Sylvan Library is just to snap-pay 8 life regardless of what’s sitting on top of your deck. You don’t want the Library to be destroyed before you’ve gotten your card’s worth.

Despite a reprint in Eternal Masters, Sylvan Library still commands a reasonably high price tag. I think that it warrants inclusion in almost any green EDH deck, especially those without access to blue. That being said, $16 can be a bit to swallow for a single card.

Verdict: It’s doubtful that even with another reprint the price would drop significantly, so I’d say now is as good a time as any to snag one. It’s a worthy inclusion and will serve you well over the years.

Avenger of Zendikar

Price: $5.99

Green deck usage: 21%

I was surprised to see Avenger of Zendikar so high up on the usage list, but there it is. A reprinting in a Duel Decks helped stabilize this once-$15+ card, so now you can pick one up for barely more than the price of a booster pack. Avenger will never be the most powerful card in your deck, but it will often be one of the most synergistic and fun ones. I could populate an entire article with just cards that work well with Avenger (Skullclamp, Craterhoof Behemoth, Gaea’s Cradle, Rite of Replication) but I’m sure that just removes some of the personal creativity and exploration that makes EDH so much fun. This card has the potential to end games out of nowhere and may have your playgroup looking to include a few extra sweepers.

Verdict: If you have a green general that would love to shoe in this excellent late-game finisher, you can do worse than Avenger of Zendikar for $6.

Green Sun’s Zenith

Price: $4.99

Green deck usage: 20%

One of green’s strongest suits is its tutoring package. The ability to grab toolbox and utility creatures to either advance or end a game is what makes green attractive to many players. Green Sun’s Zenith is one of the most versatile and inexpensive tutors in the format and sees play in Legacy for this reason. Being able to grab mana dorks like Birds of Paradise and Lotus Cobra all the way to win conditions like Protean Hulk and Craterhoof Behemoth make GSZ for $5 a steal.

Verdict: Go get one!

Oracle of Mul Daya

Price: $24.99

Green deck usage: 18%

“I’ll take EDH cards in desperate need of a reprint for 100.”

Alex Trebek: “This 4-drop green creature both accelerates your mana, as well as provides virtual card advantage by allowing you to put cards directly from the top of your deck into play.”

“What is Oracle of Mul Daya?”

“Correct! You have won enough money to buy 3 Oracles of Mul Daya after tax and shipping.”

Oracle is a green card that has slowly climbed up in price year after year. Without receiving a reprint in quite some time I can only imagine this would be an excellent inclusion for the inevitable Commander Masters set to be released at some point. Although I love this card and can confirm its power, I can’t suggest that $25 is a fair price to pay for one. If you have a land-themed super ramp deck, like Azusa, Lost but Seeking or Titania, Protector of Argoth, perhaps you can justify shelling out the cash. But for the generic green Commander deck, there are better places to plant your money.

Verdict: A bit too pricey, and not particularly multipurpose.

Worldly Tutor

Price: $12.99

Green deck usage: 16%

“I’ll take EDH cards in desperate need of a reprint for 100 again.”

You see where I’m going with this? Aside from needing a sweet new foil version to match its counterparts, Worldly Tutor has been creeping up in price over the last year. Upon writing this article, I was still under the assumption this card was selling for $6-8, but in fact the price is closer to $13. I want to recommend this card because it is powerful and versatile in dozens of EDH decks, but I do believe a reprint is looming. Upon reprinting, this card should drop to around $5, at which time it would offer much more bang for its buck.

Verdict: Powerful card—hopefully cheaper in the future.

Chord of Calling

Price: $10.99

Green deck usage: 13%

Modern staple and EDH all-star Chord of Calling clocks in at 13% deck usage. As you can see, green Commander enthusiasts really embrace the color’s strong suite of creature tutoring. Completing a combo or finding a Craterhoof Behemoth is my favorite way to use this spell. It can also tutor up a hatebear in a pinch and isn’t color restrictive like Green Sun’s Zenith. Its price tag isn’t exorbitant, so if you are in the market for powerful green tutors, I’ve found Chord of Calling to be worth its price.

Verdict: A solid and fun inclusion for the price.


Price: $16.99

Green deck usage: 13%

I remember before the reprint in Conspiracy, Exploration was pushing close to $40. Before that, it was always hovering around $20 before EDH really hit the scene. The reprint caused the price to collapse to around $6-8 before today’s current price of $16.99, which seems to have stuck. Basically, this card’s price has been all over the place over the last five years, but I believe it has settled to a stable sub-$20 price tag. Only certain EDH decks should run it—ones that rely on a land-based engine or combine well with multiple land drops per turn. I wouldn’t throw Exploration into any old green deck and it is certainly up there on the list of cards that I see overused in EDH. If you don’t have a steady stream of card advantage (something like Tishana, Voice of Thunder, The Gitrog Monster, or Damia, Sage of Stone) it can be hard to take advantage of multiple land drops per turn. You always want this spell to be worth the card slot you drew that game, and doing that requires particular deck building. As for its price, its worth it in such land-engine decks, but not even close to it outside of them.

Verdict: Narrow and pricey, but it will be a top performer in some decks.

Craterhoof Behemoth

Price: $15.99

Green deck usage: 13%

Okay, so if you want an unbiased opinion on this card, go elsewhere.

Craterhoof Behemoth is BAE.
Craterhoof Behemoth makes all the bad go away.
Craterhoof Behemoth is life and love, happiness and joy.
Craterhoof Behemoth is the bestest boi.

If we are discussing bang for your buck, this card is a thunderous shotgun blast of a bang for your buck. I play this card in most of my green decks and it is the number 1 finisher in the format. Okay, maybe Protean Hulk is the real MVP there, but Craterhoof is just the people’s champ. I cannot sing this card enough praise and if you have to acquire this card by saving up $1 at a time, do it. You’ll love calculating the massive game overs this card awards you.

Verdict: Like it. Love it. Gotta have it.

Doubling Season

Price: $59.99

Green deck usage: 12%

Aptly named, Doubling Season seems to double in price every time I check in on it. In fact, I sold my foil Japanese Ravnica copy for $70 last year, and I thought I was getting solid value for it. Oops. Doubling Season is a great card in super friends decks (decks that use tons of planeswalkers) because it is the only green card that abuses planeswalkers over and over. Ideally, you won’t even have to play a long game with it. I find that the card is absolutely worth an investment for super friends decks over any particular planeswalker like Karn Liberated, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, or Liliana of the Veil. When it comes to token decks, $60 is a tough pill to swallow. Really tough. If you aren’t aiming to do something completely broken that usually ends the game almost on the spot, I don’t recommend purchasing this card. Stick to the next card on this list or Anointed Procession instead.

Verdict: A super friends pickup for sure. Otherwise, stick to cheaper options.

Parallel Lives

Price: $10.99

Green deck usage: 12%

Doubling Season is everything this card wishes it could be in a parallel life. I would use it in decks that want to do crazy things with tokens and that’s about it. It can be hard to get value from this card—one you have to draw, cast, and still abuse to justify its inclusion. But still, Parallel Lives can be fun and interesting in addition to Doubling Season. If this card tickles your fancy, I suggest picking up an Anointed Procession after it rotates from Standard, but before it spikes one day like Parallel Lives did. It was, after all, just a bulk rare when Innistrad was released.

Verdict: Fun, but pretty casual. Your mileage may vary.

Birthing Pod

Price: $7.99

Green deck usage: 11%

I disliked Birthing Pod when it was legal in Modern and I dislike it in Cube. But Birthing Pod makes quite the impact in a 100-card format like EDH. With so many silver bullets to tutor up as well as combos to assemble, if your deck is in the market to do unfair but fun things, Birthing Pod is worth its price.

Verdict: Not too pricey, but oh so saucy.


Price: $12.99

Green deck usage: 11%

Asceticism is over-played in EDH. It really is extremely casual and win-more, and not the kind of card I find to be worth over $10. Add in the fact that a reprint is likely for this card in the near future, and you have a recipe for meh.

Verdict: Pass from me.

Seedborn Muse

Price: $24.99

Green deck usage: 11%

This card’s price skyrocketed within 24 hours of Prophet of Kruphix’s ban. Many people thought this card’s price would stabilize closer to its original $8-10 after the panic died down but that never happened. Combine a relatively short supply of Seedborn Muses in the world with its extremely overpowered ability and you have the makings of a $20+ card. Though the Muse is only really played in casual, multiplayer EDH, the effect is far from friendly. The price is also somewhat cutthroat. This one is really player and budget dependent so I would use your own personal intuition before pulling the trigger on this pricey card.

Verdict: It depends, but I will usually lean “no” on this card since it is annoying and expensive but technically not terribly competitive.

Tooth and Nail

Price: $17.99

Green deck usage: 10%

One of the most recognizable cards on the green EDH list, Tooth and Nail has been a mainstay of the format since its inception. You can tell a lot about a player by what they Tooth and Nail for. Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger and Avacyn, Angel of Hope? Yikes, somebody likes to bring the beats. Craterhoof Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar? Hoof, there is it! Eternal Witness and Mulldrifter? Who doesn’t love some value? Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Pestermite? Well… Hokori, Dust Drinker and Seedborn Muse? Yeah, they just want everyone to suffer.

Naturally, the possibilities are endless for this powerful card that embodies what green is in Commander. Whatever suits your style if you think of yourself as the archetypal green player, you need to pick up a Tooth and Nail for your collection. It would be a slam-dunk include in a Commander Masters set because $20 is a lot to shell out for such a ubiquitous card.

Verdict: Quintessential green card in EDH. I do suggest owning a copy.

Garruk Wildspeaker

Price: $7.99

Green deck usage: 10%

This is one of the best designed planeswalkers of all time. Garruk is ridiculously powerful if left unchecked and the only knock against him is his vulnerability. If you are playing at a table where players will correctly identify him for the threat he is and attack him before you can untap with him, his utility goes way down.

Verdict: You are better off with an Explosive Vegetation or Skyshroud Claim as far as 4-mana ramping is concerned. And while you’re at it, can we please bring back Garruk, WotC?

Life from the Loam

Price: $14.99

Green deck usage: 8%

As much as I love Life from the Loam in Legacy, I think the card only has a few homes in Commander. If you aren’t playing a land-centric engine deck then I would just save yourself the $15 for other upgrades. Decks like The Gitrog Monster, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, and Omnath, Locus of Rage are all excellent places to add this card. Outside of these type of decks, I’d pass.

Verdict: Surprisingly narrow because of its speed. Outside of dedicated decks, unnecessary.

Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger

Price: $13.99

Green deck usage: 8%

This card has already seen a sharp decline in its price tag upon being announced for a reprint in Iconic Masters. Keep in mind, Vorinclex will be a mythic rare so don’t expect the price to drop much. I would expect $10 to be about the right price to pick one of these up. Vorinclex is an excellent target for Natural Order and devastates any board he lands on. If nobody wants to bite the bullet and take one for the table by spending the mana to remove him, well that makes you, the controller, a happy Praetor. Be prepared to be hated for playing him, but at the same time, live your life!

Verdict: If your joy comes through the suffering of others, what a small price $13.99 is.

Fauna Shaman

Price: $11.99

Green deck usage: 8%

Fauna Shaman has been hovering over $10 for a while now and with good reason. Survival of the Fittest is the stronger card, but being a Reserved List goodie makes it expensive. Fauna Shaman is an excellent substitute for not having a Survival and many decks want to play both.

Verdict: I would recommend spending the $12 for most creature-based green EDH decks.

Survival of the Fittest

Price: $49.99

Green deck usage: 7%

Speak of the devil—here is the most powerful creature tutor in all of EDH. Survival of the Fittest proved too powerful for a format as powerful as Legacy and it takes no prisoners in EDH either. Whether you are combo’ing off or just searching up creatures for value, Survival of the Fittest does overtime in any creature deck for just 1 green mana per activation.

Verdict: With no hope of a reprint, my suggestion would be to pick one up as soon as you can if you think of yourself as someone who wants to upgrade their decks in the future. Otherwise, green decks can absolutely make due without this $50 card.

Woodfall Primus

Price: $7.99

Green deck usage: 7%

Woodfall Primus is a lot of fun. I don’t think it is as powerful as Terastodon but it still earns a spot in many ramp decks as solid removal. Combined with copying effects or graveyard recursion, you have quite the Timmy card.

Verdict: The price is fine for the effect. I don’t foresee a reprint anytime soon so the price will persist.

And that concludes green cards for Bang for Your Buck. Green is such a deep and popular color, so naturally there will be cards I missed. Let me know which cards I missed and which cards you are excited for in the future. I would love to hear feedback in the comments. Thanks so much for reading and until next time, may your Tooth and Nails always be entwined.

(Prices subject to change, check your local listings)


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