I'll keep this very brief since this is gonna be quite a read already. I'm BPRadiant and I've been really invested in Brawl since it's inception. With Historic Brawl being one of the most fun formats on Arena I wanted to create some more resources for people trying to get into the format. So with this article I have gathered all the best cards with an explanation on why they are good. This list will take a while to read so I recommend taking some time with it. I'll also be working on an exportable couple of versions that I'll backlink to this so you can import it directly to Arena and craft from there rather than have to look it all up.
You can find more of my content here on Aetherhub on my Twitch channel or at my YouTube channel for more content around Historic Brawl. Under this paragraph is where I'll backlog the lists you can export in the future. If you have any cards you think belong on the staples list leave a comment below with your reasoning and if its strong enough we'll add it. I'll see if I'm able to keep this updated in the future.
Fun Fact: The card art for the article is a card called
How the List is Organized
So you'll notice we go in WUBRG order then Colorless Multicolored then Lands last. Within these categories it is organized Common,Uncommon,Rare,Mythic. After that it is CMC and after that it is Alphebetized. A few of the cards wouldn't load on the card viewer due to the '. Hope ya'll enjoy and as always Be Radiant!
- 1 Drop in white that can get you to draw a card is phenomenal in the color with very weak card draw. Has a ton of synergies as it is a human with an ETB trigger. Can also be a valuable blocker in the early games that can trade with more aggressive decks.
Alseid of Lifes Bounty - This card is very good at what it does. Protect your board. Sure, it costs 1 mana, but it can give protection to a creature or enchantment which means that it is working double duty. The fact that it has lifelink and can get some decent chip damage in early is great. Synergizes with Enchantress, Weenies, and Aristocrats.
- You’ve seen this card a lot for good reason. Protecting a creature at instant speed for 1 mana is good. Synergizes with aristocrats and white weenies and can even protect combo pieces.
- This card won’t make it to all decks, but it allows you to hit consistent land drops by effectively drawing you a card. It can flip in the midgame to help stabilize and give you a body on board to block up. Synergizes with Humans, ETB, and decks that don’t have the best ways to consistently hit their mana.
/ - These cards read the same and are going to be premium removal in white. Hitting any target gives them a lot of flexibility, and against certain decks they turn into permanent removal. Synergizes with Enchantress based decks and Control Strategies.
- This card effectively reads, “your opponent’s commander costs 2 more” to cast. Against a lot of decks, you don’t even want to take the draw clause when they cast it since you can just keep it on the field to continue to tax them. Against decks that rely on having a commander out like Yawgmoth this can be backbreaking against them. And at 1 mana its generally coming out as early as you draw it. Best against decks where you can tax your opponent’s commander.
- Another fantastic way to generate card draw in white. This card will serve a great purpose of forcing your opponent to play behind the curve or giving you card advantage. All at 1 mana. Synergizes with Artifacts and Decks that need draw power. Probably goes in any deck you have in White.
- One of the best removal spells ever printed in white. One mana gets rid of something for good and all they gain is life. Which generally means if it's a utility creature they don’t get that much or if it's a bomb they no longer have a bomb for 1 mana. It's efficient. Probably is in every deck you have in White.
- Removal with the downside of letting them get a clue is usually not too bad since they must pay mana at some point to come out ahead. Exiling permanently though is quite good and at 2 mana it more than makes up for it. The fringe case where this can be used to wipe a massive army of tokens should also be accounted for. Best for decks who want cheap permanent removal.
- Declaration in Stone without exile or value against tokens/clones but with value against planeswalkers is a very strong shift in power. Still gives your opponent a clue but the flexibility it offers means that this will almost always have a target to hit. Probably going to find a home in most decks that include white.
- If there is one thing that any commander player could tell you it's that every pod will have someone doing something with the graveyard and trying to win with it. This is true with probably the same 33% for Brawl. Your opponents are going to try to get value from their yard or with death triggers. Sometimes even both. This card puts a stop to that. Best for decks that can slot in tech cards against the meta and don’t utilize their own graveyard.
Teferi’s Protection - This card is usually going to be a way that you don’t lose the game for a turn. Usually in practice it allows you to either avoid a wrath effect or take a lethal damage effect and survive. Probably going to find a home in most decks that can include it.
- So permanent exile removal that can be repeated by flicker effects. Sign me up! Sure, it gives them a token when they remove it but usually you are exiling something much stronger so it’s a good trade. Synergy with flicker effects and any other recursion effects. Should still make most lists that use white.
- This card does most of what you want it can draw you cards or put bodies on the board. Then after three turns becomes an anthem. Just a solid card whether ahead or behind.
- Not nearly as good as it is in Commander but it’s an incredibly strong card. Getting to tax your opponent or ramp yourself. This card is also got a must target on it so it can be used to bait out removal. Good in slower white decks like control and midrange. Can be a liability in aggro shells.
- The first sweeper with some flexibility depending on if you have more creatures or not. You can take advantage of that fact and it gets around indestructible. Works well with go wide strategies.
- Low-cost interaction will always be premium and a 1 mana conditional counterspell can be strong tempo play. Especially when most decks will tap out for a non-creature spell in the first 6 turns. Answering for 1 mana is strong. Good in most blue decks that aren’t looking to tap out every turn.
- This card is nuts. It’s a cancel at worst and a U counter your opponent’s commander at best. This card is potentially oppressive and can be include in most blue decks for little to no cost to them since you’ll always have a target.
- This card is really good answer for U not being great at removal. This lets you keep strong commanders from getting to do much while also not letting them hit you for a ton. Most importantly you can make commanders that rely on abilities like Sythis require removal to start generating value. Overall, just a good answer even if it’s only temporary. Synergy for Enchantress and Tempo shells.
- The important thing with this card is that it not only gives your permanents hexproof to answer removal it also gives you removal to protect your hand and anything else that can target you. It also gives you a 1/1 to boot. Pretty great value. This will see play in most blue decks.
- So you know how I said Frogify was good? This is better in most cases since it has flash. Your opponent casts a Winota? Well, hit it with Subdual before combat. Blow out your opponent. This hits a lot of popular decks like Illuna Combo, Winona, and Sythis hard. This should find a place in most blue decks that don’t have a better removal color.
- Tutors are great they add consistency to a deck, and this lets you basically have 2 of an instant or sorcery that you need in your deck. This makes combo decks more viable. Allows you to also find answers if you need them. It just adds a wave of consistency to the deck. Should find a slot in any deck that runs a fair number of spells.
- Shuts off your opponent’s ability to draw out of a situation and lets you dig a bit. Sure, she may not stick around forever but if you stall your opponent’s draws for even a few turns it can really slow down their ability to get back into the game. This is amazing in tempo and control lists and lets it win the mirror matchup.
- Sure paying 5 mana for it the turn after it comes down is tough for a counter spell, but it comes out at 0 mana and if you are trying to win the turn you cast it what does it matter if you aren’t paying for it cause the game is over. Heavily synergizes with lists that are wanting a counter up the turn they try to win. This is something closer to protecting your win con than a draw goes counter.
- Its less good without a ton a fetch lands in the format but it still gives you the option to setup card selection to sequence your turn better. It also lets you try to dig for an answer for just 1 blue mana. It gets better if you have more ways to shuffle your library. Has strong synergies with decks that are trying to smooth out their curves.
- Another 1 mana counterspell. It’s a lot more limited in what it can target but it can’t be got around by having open mana. This is better at protecting your board and cards and works best in a deck that is trying to be proactive. The swan is not very relevant.
- This is like the king of tempo plays. Depending on the game state it basically reads like a time walk. You know what your opponent is going to draw as well. It is like counterspell, but it does fill a slightly different niche.
- This card gives you card selection on a 2 drop that you can transform into a land that can draw a noncreature off the top. This card really lets you generate value. And that’s all you really need it to be. This card goes in any deck that is a bit slower and wants to generate consistent value. Will see play in control and midrange strategies.
Tale’s End - This card is nutty. Let’s you have a counter that at worst lets you counter your opponent’s commander while giving you flexibility for other legendries and giving the ability to hit triggered and activated abilities. It has a decent floor but a high ceiling.
- The mother of all counterspells it is right there in the name. Its main downside is that it is UU but its unconditional counter at 2 mana so it’s exactly what you want. Works best in decks where the UU won’t be too hard to leave open. So, it will be less good in aggro or midrange lists. But it would be quite good for control and combo lists.
- One of the few pieces of U ramp and it has a strong upside with giving you a wheel effect after 6 turns that can be sped up. This will go in most blue decks since ramp with upside in the 3-mana rock side of things is strong. The trigger can also help you regain tempo and card advantage.
- The hardest part of this card is the 3-mana cost that it starts with to put it into play. But paying one mana lets you get a random card and it’ll generally have some form of use to it. Personally, the RNG effect makes it less desirable but every time I’ve seen this card it has generated some really good value. This one just barely makes the list.
- Do you like your opponent having to spend two spells to remove a creature? Well, I do too. For 3 mana you get a wind drake with upside which is awesome. This card does work better in creature lists but even Baral would like this card to make it harder to answer your board.
- Indestructible enchantment means that this card isn’t going anywhere most games. You also get the ability the same turn. It gives you value off ETB effects which are everywhere on creatures these days. You will almost always find a use for this deity unless you are not relying on creatures at all. It really shines in Tempo and Creature based strategies.
- Great board control piece that I’m sure has blown everyone out at some point. Your opponent drops some fatties with good abilities and then boop they are yours now and it’s just seconds from your opponent conceding. 6 mana to permanently steal a creature isn’t a bad rate and it just gets better at 8 and 10 mana. This shines in midrange and control lists.
- Sure extra turns are good and they are even better when you can recur them from the graveyard. You can really abuse this in a lot of decks. But a 5-mana extra turn is usually going to be pretty good. Does work best in Tempo and Combo decks that may just need that extra turn to seal the deal.
- This card does it all. It draws, it makes a blocker, and it is a win condition by making every spell give you a creature. This card saw play all through its life in standard for a reason. It’s good in tempo, control, combo, and midrange lists. This will go in most blue decks you’ll build.
River’s Rebuke - This card is one of the few board wipes in blue and it is even one sided. I think that this card is great at sealing the deal against your opponent. This will go in pretty much every blue deck you build since it hits everything but lands. You’d be surprised at how back breaking this can be to a deck. Sure, they can recast but it slows them down immensely.
- This is a divisive card within the community for a reason. It also allows you to do a lot to make your opponent’s life miserable. You can steal any permanent you want and it’s on ETB. So, it has great synergy with flicker effects. It also has added synergy with more theft effects. Great in midrange and control shells but has a home in a lot of other decks as well.
Alrund’s Epiphany - Extra turn that you can get out of your hand to a zone that is uninteractable. It also gives you attackers or blockers. Card has a high ceiling of play. It will go into most control, combo, and midrange shells. This will go in a lot of blue decks since it has a lot of flexibility.
- This card is startlingly good. Getting the sac a creature destroy a creature is usually pretty iffy but having the flexibility to discard a card as well and it also targets planeswalkers makes it a step above the others. This card is so flexible I’ve played it outside of sac-based decks. Sure, it occasionally will give you card disadvantage, but it is great for those turns that you want to develop your board while hindering your opponent.
- We’ve seen this card all over standard and historic cause it’s just a solid card. 1 mana to match an opponent's removal to draw 2 is great. Usually this means you stay on parity and your opponent is down a card. What’s not to love here. This has synergy with any decks that have creatures that must answer as you can bait removal out and outvalue your opponent.
- Black has very very limited abilities to deal with enchantments. As do a lot of color pairs with black. And enchantments are everywhere in Brawl. This having not only an answer to enchantments but also the flexibility to hit creatures all for 2 mana is great. Usually, you’re only losing 2 to 4 life which isn’t that big of a downside anyways.
Pharika’s Libation - This card is just like Feed the Swarm in that it can allow you to get rid of Enchantments in Black. This alone makes it valuable to craft and have in your collection for Mono B, Dimir, and Rakdos lists. The only downside is knowing when to play it. You need to pick your timing right here since it is non targeted removal. The main reason this makes the list is that it is in Brawl and at Common so it’s not a big resource to have to use.
- This generally is going to read 1 mana kill their mana dork or utility piece. Which is already amazing at stabilizing you and disrupting your opponent. The faster the format the better this gets. In the best case you pair this with something else and it is unlocked as an even better removal. But honestly, it’s so good it doesn’t even need to be. High synergy in decks that are a little more reactive in the early games.
- This card is a 2 mana kill spell in most cases. Which at instant speed is exactly what we want. Sure, its conditional but it’s also a condition that most decks ignore. The added flexibility of getting to remove some counters can work in some matchups so it gets a bonus for that. Again, high synergy in reactive decks.
Elspeth’s Nightmare - Usually turn 3 I don’t just want to be killing my opponents turn 2 or turn 1 utility creature but this card has the added benefit of usually casting Duress on the opponent next turn which makes them change their play pattern. Then it also works to exile from the graveyard. Its slow but at what point does casting 3 useful spells in Brawl over 3 turns for 3 mana become bad. Not often. This is going to fit in nicely with its synergy with control shells though I’ve seen it in some midrange shells as well as a tech card against combo decks.
- I didn’t include all these effects since there are a lot in arena now. And usually if your deck has synergy like in Recursion or Aristocrats style decks than you want them all. However, this one is def the best. At 3 mana they have to sac a creature or a Planeswalker. Which already gives you an added threat against decks that do not play a lot of creatures. But then in addition to that it also has the bonus of if they can’t they discard a card. So basically, this card has very few bad times to play it. It never is a dead draw and that is a powerful tool.
- This card is pure gas at letting you get ahead of your opponent. Letting you play a 4 drop on turn 2 is amazing even in a two-color deck. This can let you start overwhelming your opponent very early in the game. Even though it can be a dead draw late into the game it is so powerful early that you mostly put this in for the games where you start with it early. I’d guess the win percentage of those games is higher than the games it costs you when you are in top deck mode since you’re already behind in those. High synergy in 1 to 2 color decks and gets much worse in 3 color decks since it only gives black mana. Though still an incredible tempo play.
- It’s no Thoughtseize but it’s still good at dismantling your opponent’s combos or removal from their hand. Very strong at stopping an opponent before they even get started. Even though it is so limited you’d be surprised at how often it hits something big for just 1 mana.
- The big papa of hand hates the 1 drop that has gotten me so many scoops in historic its insane. This card rips whatever you want (that isn’t a land) from the enemy that you are going to want this at any point in the game. Early you can hit interaction, mana, or creatures to advance your gameplan. Late you can hit the board wipes or answers they are holding. It's probably a must have in any deck that can run black purely on the value it generates.
- Draw 2 for 2 mana and 2 life is scary good. This card fits most black decks to generate value quickly since we don’t have a ton of better options in Brawl. The added benefit of occasionally killing an opponent with it is also not to be overlooked into the long game. High synergy with decks that need to maintain card advantage to be relevant.
- One of the better ways to close out games in Black. Sure, they are allowed to discard cards or permanents to negate the damage but then you’re getting a good return on 1 card of value. Dumping even 6 mana into the x usually puts your opponent away for good as you end up with an overwhelming advantage. Be aware though that good players will almost always choose to lose the life so be aware when giving them the option to do that.
- Creature based strategies with black want to draw cards. It’s as easy as that. This card lets you draw cards when your creatures die. You can even be an aggro deck and still benefit from this. Sure, it may not go in your Esper Control shell, but it will find a home in most aggro, midrange, and aristocrats’ decks that it is worth picking up a copy.
- Take your opponent’s highest costed creature or planeswalker for 3 mana and get around pesky things like hexproof or indestructible. That makes this card an absolute house of a card. Sure, you can’t target but how often are you not aiming to take out the higher cmc card anyways? It’s not unheard of but rare enough that this card is usually one of your best removal options.
- It’s a free sacrifice effect that brings a token to sac and has built in recursion. What’s not to love. Sure, again its mostly focused with the creature-based strategies but its good enough to go in most of them if not all.
- I find removal that can also give you a body to be very good. Unconditional ones that hit planeswalkers as well are just great. And if you need it also has a 2/3 lifelinker staples on that can make up for the life lost on cast or stabilize after you cast it.
- Get this I love drawing cards. Drawing an extra card every turn is exactly what I want to do in most games of magic. Sure, it costs you life but when you are doubling your opponent’s primary resource each turn the value really adds up over time. Dropping this card early into the game is generally the right call. It has high synergy with almost every type of deck. Cannot recommend enough. S Tier Even
- One of the BEST board wipe options in Black. You get to get around indestructible and -4-4 is generally enough to wipe the board and all for 4 mana. There are other variants at -2 and -3 but this is good enough to make them all secondary. Would recommend unless you end up in colors like white who are going to have better options.
- People in Brawl generally use their graveyard in some way. And quite a few decks use it in a lot of ways. So, graveyard removal is key. This isn’t quite rest in peace level of good at doing it but it can come into play for free and only effects opponents so you can still do your own graveyard shenanigans.
- Reasons to run snow lands in black are almost exclusively this card. A board wipe that gives you something back from your graveyard is phenomenal. It doesn’t just equalize the playing field it puts you at an advantage and that cannot be overstated enough how stressful that is for an opponent. Be careful how many snow lands you are running and your average CMC.
Bolas’s Citadel - This card is like a must kill on sight card. You’d think that your opponent having to pay life to cast cards off the top would make this not the best. You’d be wrong. Life totals are their own resource and this plays with that expertly. Most decks that run it have a way to take advantage of it to put you in the dirt. It takes a little extra building around, but this can just bury your opponent after you get it out if you aren’t too hurt.
- Beyond having one of my favorite names for a board wipe ever this card does it all for you. Wipes the board and then drains your opponent and gains you life. It’s almost like having a Bastion of Remembrance that board wipes but not quite. There is a reason the price for this card is so high right now. This card has high synergy with aristocrats and control decks but is still good enough for most other decks.
Dragon’s Rage Channeler - so a scry 1 is generally seen as worse than a draw and I totally agree. But getting to consistently scry 1 is great and card selection becomes more powerful the more you use it. Like search for Azcanta this card is one of those hidden power cards. The fact that it can eventually start to beat face as an evasive threat is just gravy on the side.
- This card is a house. It’s an uncommon bolt or destroy an artifact for 3 mana. It just saw a reprint and I’d guess at some point it’ll make for a good red deck. The card’s flexibility is even better in a Bo1 scenario like Brawl.
- This card offers you everything you need in red. You have card draw at instant speed and it isn’t like you must play it that turn like a lot of red draws.
- Sure I’m a fan of light ponza strategies but with how many strong lands are in the format having something that can easily deal with them or cause decks with greedy mana bases to miss color options is huge. This card also has great synergies with decks that can recur to hand or cast from the graveyard like Chainer.
- If you are playing a red deck, it is most likely going to be aggressive. And Light up the Stage is perfect for that. It becomes cheaper if you deal damage to the opponent and then you get access to 2 cards for a full turn cycle. This is one of the premium draw options in red.
- If you had to craft 1 red rare right now it would be this one. Sure, you aren’t coming out ahead in this deal and your still down a card. But you get to dig 2 cards deep to do it and get to loot instead of discard first like most current red draw. This gives you a lot of information to work with. The fact you can do it again is amazing. This card has synergies with decks that can use the graveyard.
- It’s banned in Historic for a reason. This becomes a 1 mana stat check on your opponent’s creatures. Mana Dork? Lightning Bolt. Hate Bear? Lightning Bolt Opponent low on life but has stabilized? Believe it or not Lightning Bolt. This will certainly have a use almost every time you draw it. It does just about everything you could possibly want for 1 red mana other than pay your taxes.
- by this point we know that red treasure is one of the best ways to ramp. We also know that having a way to use that treasure if you have stockpiled enough is pretty good. Sure, we’re missing some of the dragons that will be impactful, but chances are your running at least a goldspan in the deck. Magda will generally get through for one or two swings if you can keep blockers off the field or if your opponent is playing slow. But even if you trade with an early creature and get a treasure to ramp you a turn that tempo can really get you an early stranglehold on the game.
Bonecrusher Giant/Stomp - So sure having a creature and removal stapled to one is good. There is a reason that it was called getting eldrained for a while with the power level. This will almost always be a hyper efficient slot in any deck. It also can help get around fog effects and creatures blocking with protection.
- This might be one of the best removal tools in the game and I hardly see it. This lets you hit everything that can be targeted. Losing to that Field of the Dead? Send it to the deck and buy yourself some time. A lot of the permanents that are game over can just be popped back in and chances are that your opponent will hit a land or a spell that they don’t draw off this. I mean you will have a little bit of variance but no more than say something like Dark Ritual.
- At first glance you’d think this deck is just there to stop removal and to some degree you’d be right. There are a lot of spells that target permanents right now. And as an aggressive deck or a slower deck you want ways to punish that. Getting it out turn 0 for free is a great way to do that. Since this taxes your opponent for even creature abilities it really adds a lot of pressure to decisions they make. And the higher the pressure the more likely they misplay.
Storm’s Wrath - Best Board wipe in red hands down. 4 mana for 4 damage to creatures and planeswalkers will generally be a board clear or close to it. If you are behind on board this is strong. Generally, this will have more synergy with midrange, big red, or control lists but sometimes even in an aggro mirror you just don’t have as big of a board as your opponent and so sandbagging into this becomes a legitimate option.
- This card is the pocketknife of Chandra’s. She can help you to draw, damage your opponent, damage their creatures, or mana ramp. All in one 4 drop package. The only time I’ve cut this card from a list is if the double red was too hard to cast or I was trying to tone down the power.
- So I ended up only picking one of our hasty dragons to put on this list. And it was easy too. It had to be Goldspan Dragon. What other dragon comes down with evasion and ramps you that same turn whether it is answered or not? The fact that certain decks can incorporate this into their treasure ramp package or combo strategies is even better. This card is all over standard right now for a reason. It’s very very strong.
- So this card is unassuming but, in most cases, it’s a 6 damage to the face for 6 mana uncounterable. This will close out games in a hurry. Sure, sometimes it’ll get removed but sometimes you’ll be able to pump more into it and hit even harder. It just is one of those finishers that is a lot better than it looks at first glance.
- a one mana dork is something I generally try to slot into every one of my decks. It’s not Birds of Paradise but it does the trick in most decks allowing you to go from turn 1 to 3 in the blink of an eye and since the first 5 turns are probably the most important in the game this can really give you a leg up on your opponent. It does synergize with decks that have a turn 3 play a lot like if you have a t 3 commander but it’s still good outside of that as well.
- This protects your creatures for 1 mana while also growing them to double as a combat trick. Probably the best or close to it of the hexproof effects in green. It’s one of those cards that will generally come out ahead in mana for being reactive and for a lot of creature strategies leaving open 1 green can become doable early and enable you to win the play.
- This is the closest to rampant growth we have in the set and snow lands are unpunishable right now except with about 1 card I haven’t seen played since Kaldheim wasn’t the newest set anymore. The upside to this as well is that if you are in more than one color for the price of a tap land with basic land types you can also search for the snow duals which gives this even more of way to fix your mana. I’ve rarely found a reason not to include this in my green decks and you will probably be hard pressed not to use it.
- Sure by now you know I like lands and a way to ramp at instant speed is even something control lists should be interested in. This also gives you a way to activate landfall at instant speed as well. This card has insane synergies with Lands matter decks in that it triggers land to graveyard and land etb at instant speed. Though even being able to hold up interaction then use this at the end of opponent's turn is a strong play.
- Speaking of Snow payoffs we have another that is probably an auto include in creature-based strategies in a card that for 1 mana gives indestructible and doubles as removal. Sure, it’s sorcery speed and requires 3 snow permanents but it’s so flexible in what it does that it is without a doubt the best in its class. MP1, letting you kill a blocker and swing with indestructible means you are going 2 for 1 if they block or getting damage pushed through which is exactly what you want to be doing.
- Arguably better and worse than the previous veil this can make a spell uncounterable or give you and your permanents hexproof but only if your opponent cast a blue or black spell this turn. Competitively this card is an absolute house as those colors are going to be everywhere and this works as a great tech card. In ladder you might see uses for it less but again like Dark Ritual we’re banking on the potential upside being way higher than the downside of it being useless.
Kenrith’s Transformation - This card isn’t as good as some of the options available to Commander players but being able to take care of your opponent’s commander semi permanently can be backbreaking for some lists. This can make decks like Winota or Kinnan struggle to get a foothold while against other lists blanking a big threat. Cantripping is just icing on the already good cake.
- Effectively a hexproof mana rock that can tap for any color this is good. It allows you to turn t3 into t4 which is always something we want when looking for ramp in the 2-mana slot. It also gives color fixing which we don’t have a lot of and protects itself which is important for avoiding tempo losses.
- Like above this is a 2-mana play that even if removed has allowed you a treasure to ramp with. Not surprisingly having half a Soul Warden stabled on to that effect can generate a lot of value over the game. This card is more about adding consistency to your t4 play and I really advocate its use as a ramp card that also techs as a bit of anti aggro with the lifegain.
- This card is one of the better land ramp spells in the game right now. It nets you two cards for 1 which is always a plus. So basically, think of it as if it is rampant growth and a green opt that makes sure you hit your land drops. Which is far more powerful of an option than you might think.
- This card is so good. ETB for 3 mana that destroys an artifact, or an Enchantment is strong. This lets you answer stuff on the board and leave a body behind at a really good rate for the effects. Has synergy with elves, reanimation, and blink decks and is a decent slot for targeted interaction as well.
- Turn one ramp even if it must remake its resource is good. I value this very highly for early turns, but it also has amazing food synergies for the decks that can make it work.
Shaper’s Sanctuary - Probably one of my favorite 1 drop in the game right now. This card will just give you card advantage when your opponent’s trying to do anything to your creatures except block. In any creature-based strategy this is just too good to pass up. This is a set em and forget em enchantment and I am here for it. So, either they let you gain card advantage, or they lose tempo to deal with the enchantment so it’s generally a good deal. This card is criminally underplayed.
- So casting a spell for free is usually good. Getting to pick whether you need a creature, or a land is good. Getting both is even better and even at 2 mana if you do have to pay this card is not that bad even at its worst but is good at its best. This is one of those you hope it’s in the early hand but you’re alright if it isn’t.
Growing Rites of Itlamoc - This is for sure a pet card for me. I will try to jam it everywhere. In doing so I found that it is just a strong card in creature-based lists. Who knew Gaea’s Cradle was a good card? Sure, your opponent can play around the condition or even destroy it before it becomes a land. But honestly, it’s so strong that you can try to play around that. There are plenty of decks that would love to even just get an additional 1 to 2 mana out of this. Synergizes well with creature strategies that can consistently flip it. Also synergizes with decks that have something to do with all that mana.
- 3 mana destroy an artifact or enchantment that is uncounterable and they can’t even do anything in response to save it or use it. This card can be so infuriating if used correctly. Most importantly it puts a stop to most paradox engine shenanigans. It can also be used to protect your graveyard from the artifacts that would remove it. Just a good card that has so few ways to outplay it. Would put this in just about every deck that has green as there isn’t much that beats this.
- Sure we’ve all seen the big stacks of mutated on SS. However, that is usually just extra since if you don’t have an answer after this is resolved it will just run away with the game. This makes it potent even in decks where you aren’t playing a bunch of lands and are only running coincidental ramp. Sure, its synergies lie with lands matter decks, but you don’t need them to make this a win con.
- So I think that hitting lands every turn will win you more games than any other action in magic so things that let you do that more consistently are a blessing in my book. This lets you do just that. It’s a human Courser of Kruphix that will let you hit lands off the top thus giving you card advantage and hopefully smoothing your draws to playable. It can then later in the game cast creatures off the top, but I wouldn’t count on that part most games.
- Another win con that can get big and scary or even just be like a 4/4 and let your hole board through. This card has one real job and that’s to not let your stuff get chumped. Sure, it works well in token decks where it gets to like a 50/50 but just getting this a few counters will let most of your creatures attack through for victory. It does a lot with very little. If you doubt me check the average power in decks and you’ll notice that due to curve restrictions things stay low.
- Draw a card when a non-token creature enters the battlefield. That’s what this card reads as in a singleton format. Sure, it’s a four mana do nothing enchantment the turn it comes down but if you are aware of what games you can and can’t drop this in early it can really let you out value your opponent. It is up there with the best of card draw in green. And you’ll be seeing a lot of that from here on.
- For the same reasons as Augur of Autumn with the main difference being that for 1 more mana you can play 1 more land a turn. This card is used in a lot of Commander decks for a reason. Has synergies with Elves and Lands matter but isn’t necessary.
- Another 4-mana draw engine in green. Novel idea I know but this one benefits from even tokens hitting your opponent and can’t be countered. The squirrel is quite strong at turning an early board advantage into card advantage and that’s what you need to be aware of with him. Since he’s indestructible the attack every turn clause isn’t really a downside.
- To round out 4 mana draw engines we have one that draws whenever you cast a spell which means that it doesn't even have to resolve to cantrip. This body being removable is a bit of a problem but usually if this sticks around too long you’ve already been to value town and back.
- This card might as well read; do you have 5 different lands? Grab Field of the Dead and another Utility Land and put them into play make 2 2/2 zombies. You rarely will get the deserts out of this but eh maybe if you are running them, it’s another upside. Really this is just there to grab the win con Field of the Dead and maybe something else to help. Really a good rate since 2 basics is 4 mana. I think that most green decks except maybe mono g can afford to run enough lands to make this and field happen even though it’s not exciting it does win games.
Rishkar’s Expertise - This card can draw you a bunch of cards or just a few cards. The best part is that it will generally end up mana positive since it lets you cast a 5-cost spell for free. This spell is absolutely nuts value. Another card that I think needs to see more play. It’s expensive, yes but it has such amazing upsides to it that the only real reason not to run it is if you aren’t a creature-based strategy.
- Probably one of my favorite creatures in existence. He comes in and he is creature removal. He attacks and he hits artifacts and enchantments. He can protect your humans by bouncing them and he can protect himself with indestructible. He’s even used in some combos in Commander who I’d be surprised if we never get things like it in Commander.
Allosaurus Shepard - Really a creature that can make all my green spells uncounterable for 1 mana is enough to win the eff u players award of the year. However, the fact that even if you don’t have any other elves(unlikely) it can still also beat face as a 5/5 on its own later into the game. This card is a tech card but a good one at that.
- Another great card that fetches Field of the Dead/Field of Ruin and then leaves us a solid body to fight with after. This card is efficient mana wise and since it has an etb it has great synergies with decks that can reanimate it or blink it or benefit from doubling the etb. It’s a good card that fetches a win con and can be its own win con.
- The HOOF. Has haste, buffs all your creatures, wins games. It does all three things for just 8 mana. Sure, it works better with more creatures and tokens to RKO out of nowhere but honestly it also works great with a few big creatures to trample as well. I remember fondly this in many decks. This card is so expensive in paper because it’s just that good. End Raze Forerunners is a pale imitation at best. One of the best creature finishers in green.
- You thought I couldn’t end green with a card advantage card? This card gains life, draws cards, and buffs your creatures. At 9 mana that would probably be seen as only ok. But it also gets cheaper based on the highest power you have. Getting this out after having a decent size body on the board is great but even just getting a 1 to 2 mana cut on the card can really set you up for success.
- Best Mana Rock in the format. Comes in untapped, fixes colors, and is cheap. Craft this and run it in almost every deck.
- Second best mana rock and a common. Get it and learn to love it.
- Not as good as its green cousin this card is still great at that it has 2 toughness to potentially block and fixes mana colors in colorless. Not my favorite since it can be answered but at 2 mana usually, you’ll get at least one tap out of it. Unless they bolt the bird.
- I’m really hype on this card. A mana rock that can double as graveyard hate gives it a lot of flexibility from the rest and is often something I’m looking to put in as a flex piece in most decks to deal with graveyards.
Tormod’s Crypt - One of the best catch all graveyard hate cards since it’s free to cast. Just going to do solid and gets better if you know your meta.
- Thanks to forgotten realms even colors that lack in draw have a great option at two mana to loot a card and potentially get that card back later in the game.
- Third best artifact ramp right now and only because it enters tapped. Can still color fix and has snow synergies.
- Probably the 2-mana rock I run the least but has uses. Comes in tapped and is colorless but can become a body to push damage or block within a pinch. Useful in its own right.
- This buffing all units of a color by one power while being a mana rock is great. Really strongly synergizes with creature-based builds and cards that care about their power like Pack Tactics or the new Helena and Alena. One of my favorite mana rocks on a budget.
Grafdigger’s Cage - More graveyards hate in colorless, and it keeps creatures and spells from being cast or entering from the deck as well stopping things like Finale of Devastation and the like. This broadens its uses to a surprising amount. Is more for decks with tech card slots based on the meta at the time.
- This is everything a deck is wanting. Gives an aggressive creature trample, gives a creature lifelink if behind, can be used to unheroic intervention a sweeper. This card has plenty of uses and will see play in most creature-based decks.
- Card draw in colorless is strong especially when it only costs 2. Sure, you lose some life but think of it as a way to generate value on turns where you may not be doing much.
- This card is so good for decks that are looking to stabilize in the midgame. They can help you dig with scry and draw and then they will gain you a chunk of life after 4 uses as well. Perfect for decks that maybe don’t start off as quick.
- Strategies that use their commander to attack will love this card since 1 mana to draw one every time you cast your commander or attack is going to generate a fair number of cards. I’ve even played this in my Kasmina deck knowing I was going to have to cast her a bunch. Optimal not always but I love drawing some cards.
- My favorite of the rare mana rocks. This is indestructible and can come in with friends in the late game to really add to your mana. You can investigate others for more specific uses but this one is rarely bad in a deck.
- 4 mana is steep for a 2/2 but he also ramps you on ETB and then lets you draw when he dies. Overall, a very great value for 4 mana in colorless. Maybe he doesn’t see play in green decks but he’s phenomenal in the colors that find it harder to ramp in and has synergies with Aristocrats, Flicker, and Reanimator decks.
- This card plays some great roles at 6 mana. Can stop an opponent’s planeswalkers, generates card advantage, makes your stuff cheaper, and makes your creatures hit the gym. This card does a lot and will generally find a use even just as card advantage.
- Eugene himself will win you a lot of games. Wipe the board and reset with a planeswalker casting lightning bolts or watch your opponent scoop on the spot. Regardless of how you feel about him you must admit he’s a solid card and a really great way to close out games.
Multicolor - I tried to only put the best of the best in this slot that don’t rely on a certain archetype to function. Most feel obvious so I’m going to rapid fire through them.
- This card does double duty by having flashback to remove enchantments and there are a lot of them that need removing.
- This card does double duty by having flashback to remove artifacts and there are a lot of them that need removing.
- This card makes most of the cards of the deck he’s in cheaper. Which means that he could ramp you 1+ mana a turn which is good for a two drop.
- Ramp that also cantrips is great even if the land must come from hand. Having Seb McKinnon art is just a bonus.
- This gives you the option to either be removal or dig for a creature. Usually, I’d use it for removal as these colors don’t have a lot and even better its instant speed and exile.
Dovin’s Veto - Win any and all counter wars before they even start with this.
- Faithless lootings cousin this color pair loves the instant speed and the two life. Really lets them dig while still being reactive.
- It’s conditional but exile removal of a threat for 2 mana is generally a good card.
- When played t3 or greater this lets you hit land drops and dig 3 deep for 2 mana. That’s good in my book.
Angrath’s Rampage - Hits a plethora of targets early and is a flexible removal in the color pair. Less good when more things are on the board but still strong.
- Lightning Helix Light with Disenchant tacked on gives this a home into almost any deck with the flexibility it has.
- Counters a spell or fights. This lets you have a great time since it can be used in so many circumstances.
- Standard 3 mana kill an enchantment or a creature. Really good stuff.
Binding of the Old Gods - Kills a creature and ramps you the next turn. This is everything this color pair wants out of removal. Basically, better Deathsprout in most cases.
- This card lets you have card selection to card advantage and is unblockable. This lets this color pair get off to a great start.
- Removal that doubles to destroy lands is always going to be useful early or late.
Assassin’s Trophy - Kill anything but give them a land at 2 mana isn’t that big of a downside especially late game.
Find//Finality - Usually a board wipe sometimes it gets you back combo pieces. Another flexible spell that will have a use.
- Hit a creature or face and gain life. Strong and fits either control or aggro type decks very well.
Dromoka’s Command - Can negate certain sweepers, deals with enchantments, and can deal with creatures for only 2 mana. This card is one of the better commands in general for sure.
- Limited in what decks use it but 3 mana unconditional kill anything is good.
- Counter a spell and stabilize your life total.
- Evasive attacker that generates card advantage and outrage.
- Option to ramp, draw, or remove all seem very relevant at 3 mana.
Kolaghan’s Command - Very similar to Prismari Command in all the right ways at 3 mana.
- Mana cost can be prohibitive but it’s a great way to deal with a lot of threat types.
Maelstorm Pulse - 3 mana to hit one is great. The upside of destroy copies or tokens kicks it up a notch.
Putrify - Creature or Artifact at 3 mana with now downside puts this just equal with Maelstrom Pulse since its instant.
Domri Anarch of Bolas - keeps your stuff uncounterable and can be ramp or removal exactly what this color pair wants to do.
- Same reasons as Oracle and the Witch is that it lets you hit your land drops and can become a beater late game.
- can copy anything from creatures to lands. Weirdly good for all the edge cases it fills.
- even if you cannot see the cards that are facedown you know what is in your deck and hand. This will almost always be a win for you.
- This card will always cause outrage and can put your opponent in a real sticky situation if used right.
- Draws you cards in the pair with the worst draws and then proceeds to grow your creatures for two turns for just playing the game. Bonkers card.
- Ramps and Card Draw
- Send your opponent back to the stone age by targeting multiple things at once. Expensive sure. But great.
- Ramps or Damages while also providing incidental graveyard hate. Also has a decent body when a creature.
- Your opponent will almost always discard their hand last. Plan for that.
- They generally have one turn to deal with Koma or he will run away with the game. Remember to tap lands during upkeep at times to cripple your opponent.
Lands - While not the most glamorous or fun thing to talk about a solid mana base will create fewer non games and really power up a deck.
- Craft it and put it in everything. Its mana fixes and is untapped.
These cards are all generally pretty good to put in a few of since they can help smooth your land count and increase the number of spells in your deck. Generally, I treat them like ⅔ of a land for the purposes of counting but you’ll want to get the ones that interest you and they come in all rarity. I personally use the mythics the most but even just having a few at common and uncommon will increase the number of games that end up happening.
The common one mana cycle lands are all good due to their flexibility as well. They may not go in any three-color decks but depending on how you do your mana base they are amazing in one to two color decks to pitch a dead card in the late game to try to draw gas. Their main downside is that they come in tapped.
The Eldraine castles are an excellent source of utility lands. They all have a relevant ability that isn’t too terrible in cost and can even come into play untapped if you have a land of their type. I recommend these once you’ve either gotten your duals for the deck or before when you are playing more mono colored.
Forgotten Realms Man Lands
These are good lands to pick up in decks that may run creature light or like some of the utility effects on them. Personally, I prioritize UBG over the WR ones just due to the decks that want them more often want those three, but they make a great cycle to increase threat density.
The 10 best rare wildcards you can ever spend. You’ll get your use out of these in every format they are ever in. They are both land types and can come in untapped. Its everything you want from a land.
These work well with shocks as they check to see if you have one of the two lands when they enter to come in untapped. Weaker than shocks they are a good team player land in the fact that they can still come in untapped and tap for both colors.
Not quite as flexible as the above 2 these do come into play untapped but only on one side, so they only tap for 1 kind of mana. Still very flexible based on your hand and as you learn to play them more, you’re less likely to mess up which type you need.
The newest slow lands from Innistrad do a great job of fixing if you don’t need them early as they’ll come in untapped after turn 3. No basic land types but really for most decks that don’t need it early or have other lands to play this is a slam dunk.
The Ikoria Triomes are only for 5 color combinations of 3 color pairs but honestly, they have each land type and can be cycled if you need it. This means that they are usually an auto include in those color pairs.
Same as above that they only work with 5 color decks, but they keep you from being stuck on the wrong color mana after a while and is generally seen as a powerful pick in that combination.
- Mana fixes but comes in tapped good budget option or for landfall triggers
- Evolving Wilds big brother that can come in untapped after 4 lands.
- Gets rid of an opponent’s land most often Field of the Dead
- This card can just give you zombies every time you play a land from the land slot. Very hard to interact with. Sure, it isn’t like the most unique thing you can do but it is very strong.
- Gets rid of an opponent’s land most often Field of the Dead
- A lot of decks have graveyard synergies, and this lets you answer it all from the land slot. Pretty good for a utility land and it comes into play untapped.