Today on Legion’s Landing, Kristen looks at some cards that are underplayed in Commander. From lands, to artifacts, to removal, there’s something here for everyone. What’s more, these cards are all relatively inexpensive, so worth picking up and trying out.

It’s a known truth that Commander can be an expensive format to buy into. It’s also a favorite excuse of many players who don’t have answers to threats to blame that for their inability to interact with the board.

Whilst it’s true that having Path to Exile or Strip Mine for every deck is a real financial commitment, there are a wealth of cards that don’t see much play at all that can do a lot to help you win games, whether through doing things efficiently, or just disrupting an opponent’s day.

Underplayed: Two Drops

Two drops in Commander need to be super-relevant to warrant meriting inclusion in a deck. Usually, they make the cut as a combo piece, a “lord” effect, or a way to disrupt an opponent’s plan. The classic “hatebear” can do a lot to slow opponents down.

One in particular that doesn’t see enough play is Remorseful Cleric, currently under a dollar. Being able to remove an opponent’s graveyard at instant speed is invaluable in Commander, and this plucky two-drop can do this at no extra cost. The advantage to having this effect on a creature is twofold. First, it can be recurred quite easily to keep up the control. What I like more about it, though, is the ability to wear equipment or get combat damage triggers in the early- to mid-game. A two-drop flyer wears cards like Sword of the Animist really well; and being able to hit land drops, draw cards, or trigger the snowball of value on a Sword of Feast and Famine (or other sword) is very, very good.

Selfless Spirit also fits in this category, and it allows you to protect the investment you’ve made to the board. Again, for two mana the effect is very competitive, and it can perform the same role as Remorseful Cleric before you need to cash it in. This one has come back down lately to around $3, so now’s a good time to pick a few up.

Outside of flyers, I’d like to advocate for the $2 Dire Fleet Daredevil. This plucky pirate is a nice piece of card advantage for Red decks. Being able to take a card from an opponent’s graveyard can give Red decks a dip into effects they don’t usually have access to. The floor on this is copying a cheap cantrip or removal spell, but the possibility to copy Cultivate or other ramp spell is pretty exciting, and the ceiling on this is high. Cards like Dire Fleet Daredevil scale with the game and with your opponent’s decks, making them strong, flexible inclusions.

Once More, unto the Beach

Scavenger Grounds by Steve Belledin

Okay, so maybe a desert is a less pleasant sandy locale than a beach; but I’ll be the first to jump back onto the frontlines to advocate for Scavenger Grounds. A couple of weeks ago, when I planned out this article, Scavenger Grounds was only present in 1% of decks on EDHRec.

Since then, with brewing for Throne of Eldraine beginning in earnest, that number has crept up to 3%, but that’s still not enough! This card is essentially free in every deck, especially given the ability to replace the colored cycling lands with the cycling Deserts. Cards like Desert of the True are currently in fewer decks than cards like Drifting Meadow, which doesn’t make any sense when you can be running Scavenger Grounds. On average, Deserts are played less than the other cyclers, so this suggests people are just not playing Scavenger Grounds when they could be.

Being able to repeatedly exile all graveyards at instant speed from as little as $1.50 is an easy buy in. Just do it! This is probably top of my list for most surprisingly underplayed card.

C-c-c-c-combo Breaker

The next card on the list I’d like to talk about is Summary Dismissal. This is essentially a counterspell on steroids. First off, it doesn’t target anything on the stack, so effects that say “can’t be countered” don’t apply. Second, if your opponent has any cast triggers on the stack, from abilities on creatures or other permanents, the abilities are also removed from the stack. Finally, this card exiles the spell from the stack, so your opponent has virtually no way of retrieving it to try to combo off again. If you receive priority after your opponents, you can really screw with their responses to big spells.

Imagine an opponent across from you casting a global wheel effect. In response, your other opponents decide to put mana into dismantling that player’s board, or cast the spells in their hands. You can wait until those spells go onto the stack, and then exile the lot of them.

In my time playing Commander, I’ve never seen this card cast against me; but I will always try and slot it into a blue deck that likes to play at instant speed. Sure, for four mana it’s a little on the expensive side for a counterspell; but even just countering a key spell and stifling a handful of cast triggers can be a huge tempo swing. It’s not even a dollar to buy into, so go try it out. You’ll love it.

Legion’s Landing

Exploring new horizons is one of the best aspects of the great game of Magic. It’s no surprise that one of the cool Ixalan flip lands was responsible for naming this column (or at least partially—the Boros pun was strong here). Increasingly, lands with powerful effects seem to be on offer with each set; and so the number of “spells” in our manabases keeps going up. From powerful classics like Cabal Coffers, Gaea’s Cradle, and Emeria, the Sky Ruin, to the powerful Ixalan cycle of flip-cards and the new Eldraine lands; there will always be a good target for land destruction at the table.

With all of these new utility lands comes the deck-building challenge of ticking the boxes of colored mana sources, untapped lands, utility lands, and Ghost Quarter effects. I’m at the point now where I value my land destruction stapled to other cards rather than purely in my mana base, and there are two cards I’d like to suggest that can shore up this weakness for you.

First up is Grip of Desolation. At six mana, this might initially put you off. It’s true—in any deck with access to white, this is probably not where you want to be. However, in non-white decks, being able to unconditionally exile a creature at instant speed is very powerful. If you staple on the ability to also exile a land, this thing can really pay off. In mono-black in particular, you often have ways of generating a bunch of extra mana; so this really doesn’t set you back too much. The upside on exiling a land instead of just destroying it is high, particularly with the prevalence of lands-matter decks lately like Omnath, Lord Windgrace, and The Gitrog Monster. Exiling is extremely important in EDH, and sometimes paying a little extra to make sure something stays dead is worth it.

The second card in the category is Volcanic Offering. Volcanic Offering allows you, if you’re good at politics, to choose two lands and two creatures to destroy. Anything over seven toughness won’t die, and if your opponent can’t reach a consensus, it’ll probably be the same targets as you; but for five mana at instant speed, this card does a lot of work. It can also bring someone back down if they get a super fast start, which can help you win games you otherwise don’t have much chance of winning. This card isn’t even listed as a staple for mono-red on EDHRec, which makes zero sense to me, but there you go.

These are just a few cards that don’t see enough love. What about you? Got any spicy recommendations for cheap and nasty effects? Hit me up on Twitter to continue the discussion. Also, for the eager eyed amongst you, Campaign of Vengeance is certainly not underplayed. It’s just really cool art by Igor Kieryluk.

Kristen is a lover of both Limited and Commander, and can most often be found championing the Boros Legion when called upon to sit down and shuffle up. Based in the UK, she works as a software developer, and her love for the Legion is second only to her appreciation for Lord of the Rings and Mass Effect.

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