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Top M21 Commander Cards You Should Pick Up Right Now

This article has me dipping my toe into the wild world of #mtgfinance. Ever since I started writing Budget Commander articles as a broke college kid, my goal has always been to provide fun and powerful experiences within the format while on a tight budget. I want to expand that goal with a quick mini-series where I highlight Commander staples whose prices have currently bottomed out and why you might want to consider picking up a copy.

I kept this list down to just 10 cards, focusing on cards that are popular in Commander and don't have their price tied to other formats like Standard (hello, Teferi, Master of Time). This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list, but if there's a good card that you think I missed feel free to let me know in the comments section. Alright, let's get started!

Azusa, Lost But Seeking

Azusa, Lost but Seeking is a staple in many Land decks like Lord Windgrace, Tatyova, Benthic Druid, and Radha, Heart of Keld. Azusa is an incredibly powerful ramp card in these decks: not only can you dump all the lands in your hand on to the battlefield, but you can also play extra lands off the top of your library with Radha or similar cards that grant that ability. Best of all, however, is when you pair Azusa with fetchlands like Wooded Foothills and a way to play lands from your graveyard, like Crucible of Worlds, letting you play and sacrifice the same Foothills from your graveyard two extra times. Or if you're evil -- and let's be honest, you're playing a Lands deck, you're evil -- swap Foothills out for Strip Mine and destroy three lands per turn with this combo.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking was a $35 card right before it was previewed in M21 and has now bottomed out at $8. You'll want it for basically any Land deck, so now's a good time to get a copy.

Chandra's Incinerator

Chandra's Incinerator is an absurdly good card for any Burn deck. Casting it for one red mana is trivial in the decks that want it, consistently and easily done off an Earthquake, Purphoros, God of the Forge trigger, or +1'ing Chandra, Torch of Defiance. The Incinerator adds free creature removal to your Burn deck, machine-gunning down all opposing creatures as you keep pinging your foes. The fact that it's also a 6/6 trampler is icing on the cake. And of course, it scales with all the other Burn staples like Fiery Confluence, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, and Furnace of Rath.

The Incinerator is an auto-include staple for all Burn decks for all time. It's bottomed out at $1 and is definitely worth picking up a copy if you ever plan on building a Burn deck.

Chromatic Orrery

Chromatic Orrery is a big splashy mana rock that does some sweet things in the right decks. It does not count as an early ramp card like Rampant Growth but rather something that you ramp (or, ideally, cheat) into so you can enable some big-brain plays.

The first decks that want Orrery are ones that can put it into play for way less than its whopping seven mana cost and then immediately start dumping its mana into powerful abilities. The most popular option is Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, which can tutor it into play if Sisay has 7+ power and then you can immediately tap it to activate Sisay again. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is another one, letting you cast it for free off the top of your library with Golos and then start tapping it for mana for more Golos activations. Same idea with Jodah, Archmage Eternal and others.

You can also do BIG MANA ROCK COMBO THINGS by pairing it up with Filigree Sages for infinite mana and infinite card draw. There might be other combos that I'm not aware of.

Orrery enables powerful things, it's super splashy and has strong casual appeal. It has currently bottomed out at $9 and all the demand is from Commander so I doubt it'll drop much more any time soon. If you're looking to build Sisay / Golos / Jodah / Kruphix or anything else that likes this big mana rock then I'd pick one up now.

Fiery Emancipation

Fiery Emancipation is a ridiculous card. Spending six mana for an enchantment that does nothing on its own is still definitely worth it for its crazy effect, tripling the damage you deal to opposing permanents and players, and unlike previous iterations Furnace of Rath and Dictate of the Twin Gods, Fiery Emancipation is an asymmetrical effect that only boosts the damage of sources you control, not everyone's damage.

Once this enchantment hits the field, your opponents are just a spell away from death: burning away your opponents' life totals with Comet Storm, Purphoros, God of the Forge triggers, or simply attacking them with creatures that now deal triple damage are all quick and easy ways to close out the game.

While many decks can get good value out of Emancipation, it's by far the most popular in Burn decks like Purphoros, God of the Forge, Zurzoth, Chaos Rider, and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell.

Because of both its power and splashy casual appeal, Fiery Emancipation has bottomed out at $10, which isn't much lower than its $13 presale price. All that demand comes from Commander and I doubt it'll drop much lower any time soon.

Grim Tutor

Flexible tutors are incredibly powerful in a 100-card singleton format. They are crucial in finding the right card for the right situation, whether it's finding a board wipe with Damnation, refilling your hand with Necropotence, or anything else. Tutors are especially important in Combo decks, increasing the speed and consistency of assembling your combos.

Grim Tutor fetching any card for three mana is a great rate. It's one mana cheaper than my go-to budget option, Diabolic Tutor, which makes it a significant upgrade. That same logic makes it significantly worse than the even lower cmc Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor, but it costs way less money to pick up than those two now and many decks will want to run all three tutors anyway.

Grim Tutor was a whopping $228 before being reprinted in M21! This is because before this recent reprinting it only appeared in a super old starter set, Starter 1999, with very limited supply, keeping the price absurdly high. Even though it was reprinted at mythic rarity, M21 nuked the price down to $15. Now's a great time to pick up this strong generic tutor.

Heroic Intervention

Heroic Intervention is the best Green protection spell in the entire format. It shuts down all forms of targeted and mass permanent destruction for just two mana. Worst case you've just protected your most important permanent from some spot removal like Swords to Plowshares, best case you just protected your entire board from a board wipe like Austere Command and emerge with an even better board position than you were in before. There's very few popular removal spells that it fails to protect against, notably Cyclonic Rift, countermagic like Counterspell, and specific kill spells like Toxic Deluge, but it protects against so much that it's still a format allstar.

Heroic Intervention peaked at $18 before M21 dropped it down to its current bottomed out price of $6. I give my highest recommendation to pick up a copy. It's great in just about any Green deck.

Scavenging Ooze

Scavenging Ooze has long been the best graveyard hate card in Green: it's a cheap creature that Green can easily tutor up when needed and while it does require a mana investment to nomnom on the graveyard, being able to do so repeatedly at instant speed is just so clutch and the Ooze does grow into a real threat rather quick.

The Scooze was creeping up to $6 before M21 released and now it's down to $1.50. I don't know when we'll see a Green creature that hates on opposing graveyards even better than Scooze, but for now this is the best of the best and an excellent inclusion in most Green decks.

Teferi's Ageless Insight

Teferi's Ageless Insight is a fantastic card draw engine in decks that regularly draw tons of cards, which frankly are the only decks I'm interested in talking about anyway. Decks like Gavi, Nest Warden, Niv-Mizzet, Parun, and The Locust God draw cards to fuel their powerful abilities, and Insight doubles their efficacy: you're not just doubling the amount of cards you're drawing, you're also dealing double damage with Niv-Mizzet and doubling the amount of tokens created with The Locust God.

I'm honestly shocked that Teferi's Ageless Insight is only $1 at the moment. I guess being a rare with multiple promo versions has kept the price down. Regardless, it's an amazing card that finds its home in many decks and I recommend snagging a copy.

Mangara, the Diplomat

Mangara, the Diplomat is a solid generic White card draw engine in a color that desperately needs more of them. While you don't have much control over the card draw triggers as its entirely reliant upon your opponents' actions, it's pretty common for players to cast more than one spell each turn, especially in the mid-to-late game. Mangara becomes excellent card draw in White as long as you're drawing a single card per turn cycle, which is a pretty reasonable expectation, and becomes amazing once you're drawing two or more cards off him per cycle.

While Mangara fits perfectly into any Mono White and Boros decks as an extra source of card draw, there are some homes where he shines exceptionally bright in. His 2 power makes him a solid inclusion in Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, he can draw you extra cards as your opponents attack you for the monarchy in Queen Marchesa, and he's a Cleric so he fits well in a Cleric Tribal deck under Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim.

Mangara's bottomed out at $7. While I expect Mono White to get a significant boost to its card draw department in a year or two when WOTC catches up to people's recent complaints about White's lack of card draw. For now Mangara is one of the best options we've got and is worth picking up and slotting into numerous White decks.

Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose

Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose is a huge upgraded to an oldschool Commander darling, Sanguine Bond. Vito has the exact same effect and combo potential with Exquisite Blood but costs two less mana and is a creature which is easier for Black decks to Reanimate from the graveyard. Even without combo'ing off, Vito is fantastic in any Lifegain deck to turn all the life you're gaining into a win condition. Run him as a commander or as part of the 99 of any Lifegain deck like Elenda, the Dusk Rose, Karlov of the Ghost Council, or even Vampire decks with Lifegain subthemes like Edgar Markov.

Vito's currently bottoming out at around $4. If you ever plan on building a Black Lifegain deck I think he's worth snagging a copy of.

Honorable Mentions

  • Cultivate is a format staple that usually creeps up to around $2 in between reprints but is currently just $0.50 now
  • Solemn Simulacrum same as Cultivate it can climb up to $5 between constant reprints, currently under $2
  • The Temple cycle (e.g. Temple of Epiphany) is the best 2C lands that enter tapped and are all under $1, great budget choices
  • There are so many sweet niche Commander cards like Speaker of the Heavens, Brash Taunter, Radha, Heart of Keld, lots of cheap pickups if you're remotely interested in those specific archetypes

Let Me Know What You Think!

I haven't done a finance post in a long long time so let me know what you think about this one. If this is something you'd like to see done for all sets then I'm happy to oblige. Thanks for reading!

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