As the set release of Midnight Hunt looms, it’s time for another top 10 picks for Commander. As it turns out, there are some goodies lurking in those woods. As with previous top 10s, this review will exclude the Commander specific cards in the accompanying Commander decks which can now also be found in set boosters. The plane of Innistrad is known for its strong tribal emphasis, so much that Wizards split this third trip into two sets with the first focusing on Werewolves and the second focusing on Vampires; two tribes that the plane is known most for. These Werewolves and Vampires need some prey though, so there is also a heavy emphasis on Humans, including some siblings that are fascinated with Zombies. What terrors lurk in the moonlight, and is there any hope for the Humans of Innistrad? Let’s dive in to see what our first step into Innistrad has in store!
Pay no attention to Outland Liberator, Cathar Commando is the one you want to pick up. While it’s no Reclamation Sage, having an ability to destroy Artifacts or Enchantments on a Creature opens up some new avenues. Yes, you will need to activate the sacrifice separately, but with Flash you can sneak this Soldier in to block an attack and get rid of another problem simultaneously. You could also just have them in play and use the open information to garner some deals. A stellar card I’m excited to try out.
Blasphemous Act is a red staple in Commander for a reason. You’re almost always able to cast it for one, clearing the board and giving you some leftover mana to rebuild before your opponents. While it does cost one more (it is a White card after all), I think the almost always low cost will still be good enough to let you do the same. It’s a hard trade off between this and a higher cost modal wrath such as Austere Command, but in the right deck this one will really shine.
Our next pick up is a replicated effect I’m happy to have - more unconditional cheap Creature removal. Traditionally, many Commander players would have turned to Go For the Throat in a Black deck to increase creature removal since it would hit almost anything (except for pesky artifact creatures). Needless to say you may run both if your meta is Creature heavy or you find you just want a little bit more interaction. I’ll be picking up a few copies.
Well, do we have a fun one here! Now you can live out your dreams with this build-a-Griselbrand (which is banned in Commander). Now yes, this is hyperbole as Griselbrand is way more powerful, but none-the-less, Mask of Griselbrand will lead to some memorable plays. If you can manage to swing in first or block, the life you need to pay to draw is readily available, and you can keep swinging in with different Creatures to keep gaining life and drawing cards. Sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun to me!
Destroying Creatures by reducing toughness to trigger a state based action is a fantastic way to get around Indestructibility. In fact, it’s so great, Toxic Deluge sees regular play at varying power levels (but consistently seen at cEDH tables). The Meathook Massacre requires you to pay mana instead of life, making you work a little bit harder for that catch-all effect; so it’s likely to be more of a casual all star. If you’re facing down a hoard of tokens or you have a bunch of Creatures yourself you could gain a bunch of life or possibly end the game. To make it even better, it’s an Enchantment so you can continue to gain life or burn down your opponent’s life totals.
Drawing two cards in Black can come more efficiently in either Sign in Blood or Night’s Whisper, but neither of those are Instant speed. You may have caught one important similarity to Sign in Blood, Blood Pact can target our opponents. At worst you’ll draw some cards on an opponent’s end step and at best you’ll get to kill one of your opponents who flirts with death, and that’s going to make for a great story.
Collected Company hasn’t quite had the same punch it does in other constructed formats, but Storm the Festival may be able to deliver. Selection may be limited only looking at the top five, but being able to hit any permanent adds a lot of flexibility. If you’re somehow behind on Lands in Green you can get them if you’re in a pinch, but maybe you’ll land some handy or even-game winning Artifact or Enchantment. What’s the best two card combination you can come up with?
Stealing tutors can sometimes be unfun to be on the receiving end, but in a game where everyone has discussed expectations and agree that it’s cool; this could be a good piece of removal or interaction to disrupt a combo. On the other hand, you could even use it politically to cast a tutored answer a few turns earlier to slow down an archenemy. Looking beyond the tutors it could even be used to disrupt some Sylvan Library or Sensei’s Divining Top shenanigans; and with a relatively cheap Flashback cost you'll likely get to cast this twice!
At first glance Dire-Strain Rampage is fairly unassuming, removing some of our opponent’s threats similar to Assassin’s Trophy. But when you consider using this as a ramp spell on your own permanents it’s more akin to a Harrow. Add in Flashback and you’ve got a single card with up to four interchangeable functions. I’m a huge fan of modal cards as they open up more slots for cards that fit your deck’s theme. I’d recommend trying this one in decks that can run it.
Do you hate it when one player comes roaring out of the gates and drops a Sol Ring on turn one? While it’s a quite a bit slower, it’s still faster than a Sol Talisman and it has the upside of getting any mana producing Artifact. Yes you could get a Chromatic Lantern or Iron Myr, but the more exciting targets are going to be akin to The Great Henge, Chromatic Orrery and Phyrexian Altar. I think the added flexibility warrants giving this Artifact tutor a shot.
There we have it, the top 10 picks from Midnight Hunt. Looking at the full list, there were a lot of black cards in this list. At the very least, it’s no longer Green that’s getting all of the love for Commander, but hopefully we’ll see some more interesting designs for Red, and Blue in Crimson Vow. Which cards will you be picking up? Do you think I missed any hidden gems from this set? Leave your comments below or you can find me on Twitter, hanging out in #Commander channel of Chimera Discord, or playing in-person (following health guidelines) on Tuesdays at Chimera. Happy brewing!