Welcome, Commander players! This primer is on the basics of playing Simic in Commander, and is part of a ten-part series that covers all of Magic’s two-color pairs. In this series, we go through the strengths and weaknesses of each color pair, as well as common play styles. You can read our other primers so far: Boros, Izzet, Golgari, Rakdos, Selesnya.

The Simic Combine is Ravnica’s steward of nature and the wild. Taking the sheer power of the creatures in green and supporting them with the thoughtful and controlling magic of blue. In my research of this topic, I found that Simic decks are not lacking powerful tools for their players, and harness a suite of cards that cover just about all bases you’d want to in Commander.


Ramp: Whenever you have a color pair green in it, you’re going to have a strong suite of ramp spells. These allow Simic to cast massive spells faster than the rest of the table, making the color combination a great example of what casual and social Commander is best known for. For the longest time, Coiling Oracle and Sakura-Tribe Elder have been a strong draws to playing Simic. Which is funny considering the color combination already had access to fantastic ramp spells like Cultivate, Kodama’s Reach, and Birds of Paradise. Add to that the recent printings of Risen Reef and Evolution Sage, Simic has more staple-worthy ramp spells than they might have slots to play them.

Card draw: Just as green will almost always mean ramp is in the cards, blue means that card draw is going to be equally accessible. Simic really loves to draw and finds ways of doing it in as many ways as possible. When it comes to generals, Edric, Spymaster of Trest encourages infighting amongst your opponents and Tatyova, Benthic Druid optimizes land drops into life gain and card draw. But not every deck is going to have a general built exclusively for card advantage at the helm; this is where an enchantment like Kindred Discovery can help play into your tribal decks, like merfolk or snakes. Bident of Thassa and Coastal Piracy are for those token decks that go wide. And Mystic Remora and Rhystic Study allow Simic to slow down, building a big hand while taxing the opponents.

Control: Simic gets to have a really interesting twist on control as well. Whereas a mono blue deck could just bulk up with counter magic and require permission at every chance, spells like Heroic Intervention, Veil of Summer, and Simic Charm can contorts an opponent’s perspective on just where the spell denial is going to come from. This can be taken a step further when indestructible comes into the mix with Inspiring Call and Stonehoof Chieftain, seriously changing how you can use Polymorph and Pongify.

Copy effects: One of the unique traits of blue/green is the variety of copy effects that can often mean that with anything their opponents can do, they can do as well. Everyone loves Rite of Replication, but some people just want more of it. Players will often prioritize this color combination so that they can have access to spells like Altered Ego, Progenitor Mimic, and Spitting Image. Because of the ramp that green offers, an expensive spell like Clone Legion can see play as well.


Finding a defacto weakness for in Simic’s game plan wasn’t an easy task, as the color combination leads itself to adapting very well as a midrange strategy. I would say that mass removal is always going to be a bit of a problem both when used by and against you. You have access to Cyclonic Rift, but statistically, so does at least one other person at the table. With all the high-cost permanents Simic often plays or the buffed up teams using +1/+1 counters or auras, it can be an uphill battle to stabilize. And for your opponents, players can come back from a Rift in ways they just can’t with Terminus or Blasphemous Act.

Lands matter: Sometimes you know something’s fun, even when it’s not very good. Lands matter decks were very unsupported archetype for Simic for a good while. All the way back at the format hitting the mainstream, in the wake of Zendikar block, players were slotting Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Avenger of Zendikar, and Roil Elemental into decks and turning their land drops into spells. Tatyova, Benthic Druid and Thrasios, Triton Hero have become much needed poster children for this idea in recent years and welcome anytime I can get a use out of Harrow, Patron of the Moon, and Constant Mists during a night of Commander.

Clones: A special nod to should given to the clone archetype as a whole that is available in Simic. It could be debated that Dimir is where that deck could most easily thrive, but Bramble Sovereign, Rite of Replication, and Second Harvest lay the foundation for a fun tokens Clone strategy. One day they’ll print a legendary Progenitor Mimic and the whole archetype will finally make it big.

Card Draw: The last major pillar of Simic is possibly the most generic, their affinity for card draw. My earliest memories of this deck came in the form of Kruphix, God of Horizons, where spells and hand size were allowed to quickly grow out of control. In a deck like Tatyova, Benthic Druid, this comes into the form of keeping a constant flow of cards and life coming in with every land drop. But there is Edric, Spymaster of Trest, who makes the card draw a political tool.

Final Take

One of the more mid-ranged color combinations you can use, Simic is not lacking in powerful tools for their players to harness a suite of cards that cover just about all bases you’d want to in Commander. While I have already covered a few of the blind spots, the guild is a pretty fantastic one if you want to focus on what makes Commander great. A great base of spells, allowing you to play reactive on the stack when you want to, while also packing the more tricky spells like Reality Shift, Kenrith’s Transformation, and Lignify.

As someone who likes to play pretty fast and loose with mana sometimes, Simic allows you to do exciting things. While I don’t want to stake my reputation on it, I’m willing to say that Simic exemplifies what makes Commander great. You get to ramp, cast dumb big spells, and still use counter magic. Besides of course, direct damage, I don’t really know if there’s anything that a Magic player could ask for more of.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH and the EDH community. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.

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