Since the first Commander expansion was announced in December of 2010, we’ve seen several dozen cards designed for multiplayer formats packaged with each new product. Unfortunately, many of these cards quickly fade from memory, hiding card boxes never to be seen again. Now is a good time to revisit my deep analysis of forgotten Commander-specific cards. My focus today is reexamine the list of 200+ cards that have come out in the Commander products to highlight a few more, before broadening my scope for any future installments to find miscellaneous hidden gems scattered throughout all of Magic’s history.

From the Ashes

The lack of play that From the Ashes gets tells me that the Commander community has adheres too strictly to a social contract against land destruction. I dissent from this view. We’ll all fine with Vandalblast blowing up everyone’s mana rocks, and we should also be fine losing lands as well.

Sometimes you need a deck that attacks lands like Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician or Numot, the Devastator around to keep greedier mana bases honest and remind people that they can’t always ramp out a ten drop on turn four and not get punished. I advocate for Armageddon, though I save mine for when I know I can win quickly. From the Ashes wins games in the same way.


Why don’t people play Boompile? Are players too afraid of chaos? Might we be taking the format a little too seriously? While obviously not the most optimal version of Nevinyrral’s Disk or Oblivion Stone, Boompile allows you to threaten the board at a cheap and unique cost. I am guilty of taking Boompile for granted as well; but in the games where I’ve was cast, it made for a hilarious story. Every. Time.

Mass removal can really come at a premium for some decks, so a third or fourth way to fight off big creatures, an enchantress deck’s soft lock, or an alpha strike can be far more important than the risk that you might not win a coin flip. Let’s all be better people and embrace the chaos this card presents to us. Boompile is a card I would like to see get another reprint into a Commander product, just to remind people that it exists.

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave

“Ryan,” you scream out, “if Skullbriar is so underplayed, why haven’t you written about it yet?” I built this deck once, and the only reason I took it apart was because it was that it got hated out every time I shuffled the deck up.

Now, I don’t like piloting aggressive decks, but why aren’t more people out there jammin Skullbriar? In the metagame of 2013 and 2014, a two-drop general that could threaten to take someone out from Commander damage in as little as four turns with the right equipment/counter producers was frightening. The card selection has only improved for the deck in the years since.

The biggest knock against the deck is that it is so linear, ultimately becoming a stock deck. No question, you’re going to play Winding Constrictor, Evolutionary Escalation, and Pir, Imaginative Rascal. There is no reason to really stray too far from that agressive game plan. Even though it might lack some originality, I think more people should research this deck and try it out.

Grave Upheaval

I read through Grave Upheaval a few times trying to figure out what people didn’t like about this card. The most popular of the cards on this list, coming in with over 3000 deck inclusions on EDHrec, still seems underrepresented card for what it can do. The six-mana investment might be a little steep, and you have to be playing black and red; but the ability to cycle for a basic land in Rakos or Mardu far outweighs those factors.

Several key phrases like “your graveyard” and “sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step” are missing from this card. You take any creature from any graveyard and keep it. This is an improvement on Zombify is all respects except mana cost. Any deck in these colors could slot it in with little to no change to its gameplan. Many more should.

Damia, Sage of Stone

When Damia first came out in 2011 it was everywhere. She was very popular, but the limited print run of Commander 2011 meant to that it was harder to see her in the wild in the hands of players at every skill level. Thank Emeria she finally saw a reprint, but I suspect the lack of supply caused Damia to drop off the map.

“Skip your draw step” always sounds worse than it is—a lesson first taught by Necropotence. Commander players tend to have been around the block, but with Damia it can be hard to see the forest through all the trees when you’re looking to build a deck around her. She wants you emptying your hand as much as possible each turn, which changes how you evaluate reactive cards. And blue players love their countermagic.

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant and Muldrotha, the Gravetide make for more appealing generals for most Sultai players seeking to abuse the graveyard and draw tons of cards. But as we dive deeper into the available card pool for cards like Burgeoning and Tomorrow, Azami’s Familiar, there is a different kind of Sultai deck that moves quickly to find combo pieces, threats, or answers to whatever we might be facing. I’ve seen these decks before, they are very fun and underappreciated.


Finally we have Gigantoplasm, a Clone that can be resized at a moment’s notice. While in some ways this is outclassed by Mirror Image or Stunt Double in mana investment or play speed, I think the ability to copy a small utility creature like Marionette Master and make it much bigger before losing a bunch of artifacts can make a huge difference in a game. And making your Clone big isn’t the only use. I have seen Gigantoplasm’s ability being used to get under a Slaughter the Strong or Citywide Bust.

I can understand why this doesn’t get more attention, but I think the fact that the base power and toughness not reverting back on the end step is a quality that too few people really want to capitalize on. We all love Mirror Entity, but we should appreciate its less all-encompassing cousin as well.

Beyond the reveal of each of the decks’ generals, the biggest highlight of preview season for a Commander set for me is the new cards being designed for the format. While not everyone one of them is a home run, it’s often entertaining to see what Wizards thought would lend themselves well to the social politics and slower games overall. Cards like the ones on this list are handicapped by not having as much attention on them as cards that enter the format through Standard, making them easily forgettable if they never take off before the next few Standard-legal sets drown out the hype.

Sites like EDHrec certainly make it much harder for true secret tech to go under the radar anymore. But with the wealth of sets now seeing print, it is completely possible entire suites of cards are being printed only to be discovered in five years. What cards do you think don’t see enough play? Feel free to cast your net wider than I did today.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH, the EDH community, and streams on Twitch in his down time. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks. Join him for a stream at on Tuesday nights.

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