Top 6 Strixhaven Cards Perfect for Commander

Figuring out the best new Strixhaven cards for Commander

Top 6 Strixhaven Cards Perfect for Commander

With Strixhaven coming out soon, many eyes are deeply trained on the new Commander preconstructed decks tying (coinciding with the release of Strixhaven expansion). Those precons will be packed with sweet cards, but don’t forget that Standard format cards still have potential to wreak havoc in the wider Commander format.

The Tap & Sac team sat down to compare notes, and like many times in life we didn’t always agree, but here are our top 6 cards from the new Strixhaven expansion that we predict will be awesome in Commander. We took into consideration several gameplay attributes that work well in multiplayer (i.e. Commander) games, such as effects that affects more than one opponent. Or if they have the potential to generate enormous value or a nice win condition for you. Besides our top 6 Strixhaven cards for Commander, we also included an honourable mention – one that might seem good at first glance but in our eyes isn’t that great.

Wandering Archaic | Top Strixhaven Card for Commander

Wandering Archaic is one of the top Strixhaven cards for the Commander format.

We’re starting off with the absolute no-brainer from Strixhaven. Being a colourless cards means you can put it into any Commander deck, regardless of your Commander’s identity.

Its effect qualifies for all of your opponents, and every player is bound to have some Instants or Sorceries to cast. The tax of 2 mana is pretty hefty (think Smothering Tithe), so you can bet opponents are not going to be paying all the time.

Now the fun part – you get to copy that spell for free, and choose new targets! If it’s a simple removal spell targeting your permanent, you return the favour to keep things even. If it’s something big like Time Warp or a big Banefire, share in the fun too.

Crackle with Power | Top Strixhaven Card for Commander

Crackle with Power is one of the top Strixhaven cards for the Commander format.

This is bound to draw some debate because of the triple X cost. After all if you want X to be 3, that’s a total of 11 Mana to cast Crackle with Power. That may be more than a handful in Standard or even Modern, but in Commander, players easily have access to 10 or more Mana in the mid to late game.

And with X=3, you’re dealing 15 (!) damage each to to up to 3 targets. That’s a staggering 45 damage. Granted, you can’t deal all 45 to a single player, but even in an even battlefield where everyone’s life total is around the same level, dealing 15 damage to each of your opponents can easily turn the tide.

If you’re Mono-Red, cards such Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and Fiery Emancipation will bring out greater cries of pain from your opponents. Yes, you can crackle with delight now.

Culling Ritual | Top Strixhaven Card for Commander

Culling Ritual is one of the top Strixhaven cards for the Commander format.

Although there are clear limitations to Culling Ritual, like it hitting mana value 2 or less and also affecting your own permanents, the fact that it includes all nonland permanents means opponents’ early game mana rocks, Enchantments and other Mana-generating Creatures will all vanish.

It works best when you have this in your starting hand. You can choose whether to play any of your own Mana Rocks, or just hold till turn 4 to wipe the board. Likely you’ll be generating at least 3 Mana from the destroyed Permanents, leaving you open to cast more spells.

Culling Ritual does get less effective if you draw it later in the game, but in situations where you face an army of enemy tokens, Ritual will serve as a nice board wipe, and at the same time give you Mana to make your own big play.

Archmage Emeritus | Top Strixhaven Card for Commander

Archmage Emeritus is one of the top Strixhaven cards for the Commander format.

Magecraft is undeniably a powerful mechanic, very similar to Prowess but potentially even more impactful. Magecraft only applies to Instants and Sorceries, whereas Prowess includes all noncreature spells, but only leads to +1/+1 pumps till the end of turn.

For cards like Archmage Emeritus, a carefully constructed spell-slinger deck will mean you get to draw a ton of cards. It’s the same as how Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain and Beast Whisperer is able to generate so much value. There are plenty of cheap 1-Mana Instants or Sorceries, and combined with Birgi, God of Storytelling can keep the engine going indefinitely.

The only downside about Archmage is that it’s non-Legendary, meaning it can’t be your Commander and has to be in your 99-card deck. Finding him and getting him onto your board will be the main challenge.

Rip Apart | Top Strixhaven Card for Commander

Rip Apart is one of the top Strixhaven cards for the Commander format.

This little Uncommon provides so much utility that it will be hard not to include it in any Commander decks that use Red and White. It costs the same as the highly popular Lightning Helix and Boros Charm, so it really depends what you prioritise in Commander games.

Lightning Helix can help you gain some life, while Boros Charm allows you to go offensive (Double Strike) or defensive (Indestructible). Rip Apart offers a different kind of option – get rid of annoying permanents – either a Creature, Planeswalker, Artifact, or Enchantment. It’s amazing flexibility for only a two Mana spell.

Its biggest downside is that it’s a Sorcery, but it’s a fair price to pay to have those two options. It’s almost a perfect step-up to Abrade, which lets you deal 3 damage to a Creature (no Planeswalkers) or destroy an Artifact (no Enchantments).

Lisette, Dean of the Root | Top Strixhaven Card for Commander

Lisette, Dean of the Root is one of the top Strixhaven cards for the Commander format.

While Lisette, Dean of the Root may not be your first choice for Commander, she does have a very strong ability of putting a +1/+1 counter of each Creature you control. There are so many cards in Green that synergise perfectly with Lisette – Doubling Season, Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, and Winding Constrictor just to name a few.

Gaining life is also Green’s favourite secondary attribute (after ramp), even if White generally does a better job. Note that Lisette is the back face of a modal-faced card, which means your deck must have Black too if you want to have Lisette in your Commander deck.

The addition of +1/+1 counters is also perfect in Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice decks. Imagine this: attack with Atraxa, gain life through Lifelink, pay 1 Mana, add a counter to each of your Creatures, then at the end step Proliferate. Happy ending!

Strixhaven Stadium | Honourable Mention

We’ve seen Strixhaven Stadium placed in other ranked lists, and while it may be a cute alternative win condition for casual play, it’s not highly dependable.

Let’s explore a possible scenario. Point counters are only placed when a Creature of yours deals damage to an opponent. That means you have to send your critters out, leaving yourself defenceless. And since any of your opponent’s Creatures can attack you to remove Point counters, it becomes counterproductive as it’s yourself versus all of your opponents.

Your best bet is to tap your Stadium for 10 turns to get 10 counters on it, then swing at a specific opponent to make him/her lose. But don’t get as you’re doing this, the other players will quickly paint you as a target and those Point counters could disappear very quickly.

Stadium is great if you’re going for a deck of alternative win conditions but we advise including this even in Creature heavy decks.

After playing from Tempest to Urza's Saga block, Ted took a 20 year break from the game before returning to the classic Plane of Dominaria in 2018. His favourite formats are Commander, Draft, and, grudgingly, Standard.

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