In casual Commander, there are a lot of cards which can rub people the wrong way. One of the newest cards setting off alarm bells is Orcish Bowmasters, which many are claiming needs to be banned. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about the Bowmasters. Instead, I’m here to discuss some of the top contenders for the saltiest cards in the format. From Thassa’s Oracle to Armageddon, there’s a lot to talk about. Welcome back to the Commander Corner.

I’m intrigued by what makes a card salty according to most Commander players, and for the first time in a long time I checked out the Top 100 Saltiest Cards on EDHREC as voted by community members. Some things surprised me, some didn’t, and that’s what I’m here to talk about. In short, I’m going to discuss a few noteworthy placements on the list. I’m not going to beat around the bush much, so let’s get into the cards.


Stasis sits atop the list at #1, peering downwards at the other cards that also interfere with mana, of which the top ten are primarily composed. I’ve played against Stasis only a handful of times, but those times weren’t especially memorable. Much like #3, Static Orb, it usually ends up in decks that can take advantage of it, but even there it’s got much more to do with the commander than the card itself.

Somehow, the much easier to use Winter Orb is wedged into the #2 slot between two much more restrictive options. Of course, this is hardly the strangest inclusion in the list, so we’ll move on.

Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger

We’re finally hitting the interesting stuff with #4, Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. Many of the top ten saltiest cards all share a fundamental quality, with Vorinclex in that they hurt your mana in some way. Strangely, only one other creature makes it into the top ten, and it does something way different, but we’ll get there later.

I think the reason Vorinclex is up this high is either because players aren’t packing enough removal or because nobody wants to be the person who taps a couple of their lands for two turns to get rid of it. It reminds me of how nobody wants to crack the Standstill.


The #5 slot is occupied by Expropriate and we can all guess why. People dislike having their cards stolen or watching others take extra turns, and this combines both at a reasonable rate. Having cast this card on turn four quite a few times, I think the salt is well-earned considering how many people vote time just to avoid having a land stolen. Yes, I’m talking about you, Jared.

Thassa’s Oracle

A high number of players think #7, Thassa’s Oracle, is not fun at all. Having played in budget leagues where Thoracle was extremely common, I can attest to how obnoxious this card can be at casual tables. Commander can be a chaotic game, but having long strategic back-and-forth swings conclude with this card winning alongside Demonic Consultation can make it feel like your decisions really meant nothing. This goes double if you don’t have lots of ways to interact on the stack.

Fact is, very few color combinations have access to a two-card three-mana combo. Fewer decks have access to consistent ways to impede this combo, and those that do still have a full table of opponents to interact with otherwise. I don’t expect Thassa’s Oracle to get banned after all this time, so if you ask me, the salt is deserved.

Urza, Lord High Artificer

A handful of mana denial or board reset cards like Armageddon and Jokulhaups make up the next few slots before Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur and Urza, Lord High Artificer, which are #12 and #13 respectively. We know from the top three slots that people don’t like having their mana constrained, so I won’t bother talking at length about Armageddon and the rest, but Jin-Gitaxias and Urza are rather interesting.

Card draw is immensely powerful in Commander. Jin-Gitaxias can make it hard to keep your hand stocked. Despite the power of the abilities, and the fact that the decks where Jin-Gitaxias tends to see play aren’t exactly trying to put him into play legitimately, I think the salt is exaggerated on this one.

Urza, Lord High Artificer on the other hand, frequently sees play in the command zone, and I think his salt is almost entirely due to how easily breaks the symmetry of cards like Winter Orb and Static Orb. Where I’m from, at least, if you see Urza you’re expecting stax. Sure, you get to make mana and spin the wheel with him even if you’re playing fair, but that’s barely registering on the salt scale if you ask me.

Dockside Extortionist

This goblin is #14 and has meta-salt on top of regular salt. I think the price tag associated with its lack of meaningful reprints goes a long way towards making this staple a very salt-inducing card. If this cost $5 I doubt most people would have as big of a problem with it, we’d likely just consider it an efficient ritual effect that belongs in most decks that can play it.

I’m not surprised to see it this high on the list given its reputation across the player base, and I think the salt is deserved. The short answer is that there’s no good reason for this card to only have a single reprint, especially at mythic rarity. Anecdotally, I’ve won a game by casting a kicked Rite of Replication and getting five of them for massive value. Creatures that refocus the game towards every player copying or recurring them is a big red flag during ban discussions, with Prophet of Kruphix being a great example of this.

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale

If someone in your playgroup actually owns and runs #16, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, you’re way past being in the minority. Realistically, nobody is actually playing this card, and even EDHREC has it in less than 5,000 decklists despite being able to technically see play in any deck at all. If someone in your playgroup is trying to proxy this, have a Rule 0 conversation about proxying cards that cost as much as a used car. If this was $10 and saw play at most game stores I’d probably agree with its placement, but it isn’t and doesn’t.

Cylconic Rift

Over the years there’s been a whole lot of discussion about Cyclonic Rift, which comes in just above Tabernacle, at #15. One look at the previous saltiest cards from 2021 and 2020 shows that Rift has been on the downswing in salt, which implies people are finally just accepting that blue has a catchup mechanic, or at least that the speed and power of the format are finally catching up to it. Either way, it’s time near the top is long since passed.

Rhystic Study

Unlike Cyclonic Rift, people are becoming more hostile towards Rhystic Study. These days it sits at rank #19, compared to years past, where it usually sat at least ten ranks lower. I guess that makes sense when people are playing more spells than ever more often than ever. Plus, the card has grown dramatically more popular. Really, I think all this salt is due to that one player we all know who just adamantly refuses to pay the 1. Seriously Jared, just pay the 1, you aren’t even using the mana on anything.

Fierce Guardianship

Like Dockside Extortionist, this card suffers from being hyper-efficient and having a lack of reprints. While I can’t believe this still costs more than the entire preconstructed deck it came out of, the salt is warranted here. I think free spells shouldn’t be combo enablers or protection without heavy caveats, and Force of Negation does a great job of being a counterspell that’s only free when you use it defensively. If Guardianship had that clause, it wouldn’t even be close to this high on the list.


Really, I think the biggest takeaway is that people dislike agency being taken away from them in Commander. There’s a huge focus on mana denial in the top ranks, and things start to shift towards other kinds of resource denial as you get lower, from discard to taxes to cards like Drannith Magistrate.

Just as well, a few of the cards rely on your opponents making good decisions on your behalf, particularly Expropriate and Rhystic Study. Other cards on the list are hyper-efficient and need either a ban, a reprint, or a conversation with your playgroup about Rule 0 or proxies.

There’s a lot of cards in the top 50 that don’t see much play at all, meanwhile there’s cards few people ever consider playing that are far more salt-inducing despite being very inexpensive. This means the very idea of the card is what accrues salt sometimes. Having seen tons of salt in person over cards that are extremely common, the hypothetical salt towards cards like The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale is very interesting to me.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. I wanted to talk about some of these cards and how salty people get about them. I encourage you to take a look at the list on EDHREC and see for yourself. While I don’t consider the list the ultimate authority on which cards should be omitted from casual play, it’s at least a decent way to start a conversation about cards your group already doesn’t like. Thanks for coming along! I’ve been Luka “Robot” Sharaska, and this has been the Commander Corner.

Luka V. Sharaska (they/them) earned the nickname “Robot” by having a monotone voice, a talent for calculating odds, and a perfect poker face. Robot has been playing Magic for more than a decade, starting during the days of New Phyrexia in 2011.

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