MTG Countdown: The All-Time Top 5 EDH Cards

With a card pool of 19,177 different cards, Commander is one of the most varied and diverse Magic formats you can play. Despite nearly twenty thousand cards being available, we tend to see the same usual suspects cropping up across the format as the best EDH cards around. Today, just in time for the first-ever CommandFest, we’re counting down the five most iconic, popular and best cards in Commander!

Honorable Mention: Solemn Simulacrum

Solemn Simulacrum

While Solemn Simulacrum doesn’t appear in every Commander deck ever, unless you’re playing all-out aggro or a hugely streamlined combo deck, it’s difficult not to chuck this fella into your 99. It’s colorless, so it goes in every deck; it ramps, draws a card, and chump-blocks like a champion. Here’s to you, Solemn Simulacrum, as one of the unsung heroes of durdley Commander decks everywhere.

5. Cultivate/Kodama’s Reach

CultivateKodama's Reach

It’s difficult to justify not playing both Cultivate and Kodama’s Reach in any green deck. Offering card advantage, ramp, and color-fixing all in one go, these cards are the ideal early play for any Commander deck that isn’t something like Edgar Markov. It’s a deceptively powerful play that doesn’t make you a target like a turn-one Sol Ring or Mana Vault will.

Cultivate and Kodama’s Reach are emblematic of Commander as a format. Most decks cruise through the early turns with cards like this–ramping and fixing their mana, not putting pressure on, setting up for the lategame heavyweights. Speeding you towards your exciting top-end, ensuring you’ll be able to cast all your ridiculous gold cards, as well as helping you cheat on your land count are just some of the reasons these more or less functionally identical cards are both Commander mainstays.

4. Demonic Tutor

Demonic Tutor

In Magic, there aren’t many situations where you can cast Demonic Tutor. You’re either playing Vintage with all the other Magic grandmas and grandpas or making everyone very suspicious by trying to resolve it at the Commander table. For better or worse, tutors are a fundamental part of Commander gameplay, and Demonic Tutor is the very best of them all. While other tutors–Eladamri’s Call, Chord of Calling, Enlightened Tutor–all have strict stipulations, they’re still extremely powerful; Demonic Tutor, however is on a whole other level.

This card is banned in almost every format under the sun, but not in Commander–along with other busted cards like Necropotence and Yawgmoth’s Will, it’s too good even for Legacy. No other tutor comes at such a cheap mana cost; two mana gets you any card from your deck into your hand, no questions asked! If you’re playing black, you better have a very good reason not to include one of the most powerful cards ever printed in the history of the game.

3. Cyclonic Rift

Cyclonic Rift

While Cultivate is emblematic of the spirit Commander and Demonic Tutor is an example of its potential power level, neither card comes close to the in-game impact of Cyclonic Rift. Love it or hate it–and it’s usually “hate it”–Cyclonic Rift has probably ended more games of Commander than any other card in existence. As soon as any blue mage leaves up seven mana, the whole table goes on high alert, thinking about how badly they’re going to get blown out by an end-step Cyclonic Rift.

We’ve all been there. In your end step, overload Cyclonic Rift, untap, attack you all for lethal, GG, easy game, still had all these. Even the threat of the card is enough to warp entire games around whether a player does or doesn’t have it! Even worse, playing around it is an absolute nightmare. Either you sandbag your hand and fail to advance your board, or play cards into it and get blown out. It’s in every blue Commander deck in existence, and somehow, they just always have it. Always.

2. The Signets

Arcane Signet - Brawl Deck ExclusiveSelesnya SignetRakdos SignetDimir SignetSimic SignetAzorius SignetIzzet SignetBoros SignetGruul SignetGolgari SignetOrzhov Signet

Early mana ramp is a defining characteristic of Commander, and it’s not just limited to green decks. First printed in the original Ravnica: City of Guilds, the 10-card cycle of two-color Signets are more or less automatic inclusions in any self-respecting Commander deck. They’re the reason that incidental or recursive Disenchant effects (such as Bane of Progress or Aura Shards) are so powerful in Commander, as with the Signets kicking around, there are always targets.

There are plenty of two-drop mana rocks available–almost forty, as it happens–and they don’t come much better than Signets. Sure, these days there’s Thought Vessel, a full 10-card cycle of Talismans, and the all-new Arcane Signet–but when it comes to iconic, tried-and-tested turn-two plays that kick off good, honest games of Commander, you can’t go past the Signets.

1. Sol Ring

Sol Ring

The most iconic, powerful, and omnipresent card in the entire format is, of course, Sol Ring. It’s a no-brainer as number one on this list, as you’ll find it in the overwhelming majority of every Commander deck in existence. Printed in all the Commander precons, this card is the most powerful enabler of the broken stuff you can do in the format, and is an automatic inclusion in essentially every single Commander deck ever conceptualized, designed, or built.

A turn-one Sol Ring puts you miles ahead–especially in artifact-heavy decks–but the cost of such power is high, as it automatically makes you Public Enemy Number One. If you’re lucky enough to have a Sol Ring in your opener, you better hope it’s enough to power you past the rest of the table gunning for you! In spite of all this, Sol Ring is a defining card of the Commander format, and is almost always locked in as the first card included in each and every newly-built Commander deck.

What are your thoughts? Do you disagree with any of these picks? How badly was Lightning Greaves robbed? Let me know in the comments below!

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