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Top 50 Best Magic: The Gathering Cards of All Time (for Commander)

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These are my picks for the 50 top Magic: The Gathering cards for the commander format.

These are my picks for the 50 top Magic: The Gathering cards for the commander format.

The Best Magic Cards in Commander (EDH)

Wizards of the Coast has delighted us gamers (that's a nice way of saying nerds) for years with arguably the best trading card game ever—Magic: The Gathering. Always adapting without leaving old cards behind, the game brilliantly tasks players to craft the perfect deck using a customized combination of the five mana colors. Several formats exist to ensure there's something for everyone, whether that's standard or commander.

Magic is also much easier to play in multiplayer than Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokémon and has several thousand cards for players to choose from. With that massive array of options, which cards reign supreme? Factoring in mana costs, usage, power, and more (don't worry, plenty of unrestricted cards stand beside the banned ones), here are the top 50 cards in the Magic TCG!

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

50. Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 7

Planeswalker Nicol Bolas requires a fair chunk of mana plus three specific colors but offers four loyalty abilities. All impress, particularly the first, which adds two loyalty and can cast an opposing card for free, and the last, which subtracts 12 loyalty to exile all opposing nonland permanents.

49. Nissa, Vastwood Seer/Nissa, Sage Animist

CMC: 3

Nissa first begins as a low-cost creature who also searches a forest from your deck, ensuring you don't run out of lands, and her elf status usefully combos well with the popular green elf family. Then, once your land total hits seven (one of green's specialties), she turns into an impressive planeswalker whose +1 loyalty ability either adds to your hand or gives you an extra land.

Thassa, God of the Sea

Thassa, God of the Sea

48. Thassa, God of the Sea

CMC: 3

The god cards always impress, especially blue's Thassa. Although it doesn't count as a creature until your blue devotion (the number of blue symbols you have in the costs of permanents you control) hits five, Thassa wields an impressive 5/5, is indestructible, scries a card during your upkeep, and can spend two mana to make a creature unblockable for the turn.

Maze of Ith

Maze of Ith

47. Maze of Ith

CMC: 0

Unlike most lands, Maze of Ith can't tap for mana but instead taps to essentially reduce the damage of an attacker to zero, indefinitely stalling your opponent's strongest monsters and offering you more time to prepare in the hectic MTG arena.

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

46. Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

CMC: 5

Skithiryx wields good battle stats, flying, and mana abilities that can give it haste or regenerate it if it's destroyed, but its best trait is its infect, which permanently damages opposing creatures by placing -1/-1 counters instead of damage. Also, infect damage dealt to an opponent becomes poison counters, and landing ten of them nets you an automatic win regardless of your opponent's life. No other infect card offers as many benefits as the Blight Dragon.

Primordial Hydra

Primordial Hydra

45. Primordial Hydra

CMC: 2*

One of several superb green hydras, Primordial adjusts its power/toughness to suit your current mana production. It also automatically doubles its counters at each of your upkeeps and gains trample once it has 10 counters, making it one of the best self-growing offensive forces in the game.

Purphoros, God of the Forge

Purphoros, God of the Forge

44. Purphoros, God of the Forge

CMC: 4

Like most god cards, Purphoros is indestructible and enjoys stellar battle stats, although it isn't a creature until your red devotion hits five. Purphoros also deals two damage to your opponents whenever a creature enters the field under your control, which is absolutely critical to the Krenko red goblin-swarm strategy, and since the damage doesn't target them, it's almost impossible to avoid.

Ral Zarek

Ral Zarek

43. Ral Zarek

CMC: 4

Ral Zarek's +1 loyalty ability taps an opponent's units while untapping one of yours, which is a great boon in itself. However, if you manage to pull off his ultimate -7, you're nearly certain of victory—you flip five coins and take an extra turn for each head. One extra turn is deadly enough; meanwhile, 2–3 are unsalvageable.

Frontier Siege

Frontier Siege

42. Frontier Siege

CMC: 4

Frontier Siege usefully gives a choice between two abilities, and most players will opt for the "khans" trait. With it, this mana gatherer gains you two green mana at the start of each of your main phases. Note that players have two main phases in a single turn (pre- and post-combat), meaning Siege can grant up to four total mana every turn!

Kiora, Master of the Depths

Kiora, Master of the Depths

41. Kiora, Master of the Depths

CMC: 4

Although new players often focus on a planeswalker's ultimate, the bread and butter of planeswalkers are their loyalty-adding abilities since you always have access to them. Kiora, Master of the Depths provides a great plus one that can untap both a creature and a land you control, letting you easily mana ramp to your strongest cards, and her minus two can search for a land and creature from the top of your deck.

Return to Dust

Return to Dust

40. Return to Dust

CMC: 4

Return to Dust classifies as an instant, but usually you'll want to cast it like a sorcery (meaning only on your turn in a main phase) because you'll get to exile two artifacts/enchantments rather than one. Not only does this remove two units, it banishes them, bypassing indestructible equipment like the pesky Darksteel series and preventing discard pile retrieval.

Sheoldred, Whispering One

Sheoldred, Whispering One

39. Sheoldred, Whispering One

CMC: 7

When a black deck can successfully produce seven mana, it's rewarded with the praetor Sheoldred, who harnesses 6/6 stats and swampwalk, making her unblockable when an opponent controls a swamp. Then consider her truly brutal effect: At the beginning of your upkeep, you return a creature from your graveyard to the field; at the beginning of your opponent's, they must sacrifice a creature.

Narset Transcendent

Narset Transcendent

38. Narset Transcendent

CMC: 4

Entering with a massive six loyalty, blue and white Narset Transcendent works best in instant/sorcery builds. She can subtract two loyalty to grant your next instant/sorcery rebound, essentially activating it twice, and her ultimate -9 prevents your opponents from casting anything other than creatures.

Land Tax

Land Tax

37. Land Tax

CMC: 1

Tax only needs one mana, making it a great first-turn play, and at the start of your upkeep, it lets you search out not one but up to three basic lands from your deck if any opponent controls more land.

Tax is particularly helpful in multiplayer battles where your chances of not going first (and thus letting opponents steal a land lead) increase. It can also fetch basic lands other than plains from your deck, which is useful in rainbow assortments.

Temporal Mastery