Hidden EDH Gems – The Best Boardwipes Not Named Wrath of God

Corbin Hosler • March 4, 2021

Welcome back to Commander’s Herald! I hope you’ve been enjoying some of the great content the other authors here have created! You may be familiar with some of my own content (I do event coverage for Wizards, create Mining Modern for CoolStuffInc and host Brainstorm Brewery), but today I’m here to talk about the format I play the most and create the least content for (at least up until now). Commander! If you missed the first edition of Hidden EDH Gems, I covered the best boardwipes not named Cyclonic Rift, and today we’re going to look at some of the best EDH boardwipes and some you may not have heard of!

Today we’re looking at cards that reset the board in some way. Your Wrath of Gods and Damnations of the world. Of course we know about those two famous examples, but what about lesser-known but still potent examples?

As usual, the internet is much better at digging out these gems, so let’s highlight some of the community’s favorite and best Commander boardwipes!

It’s hard to argue with this old favorite. Originally printed in Scourge, the most common use of Decree of Pain for many years was to cycle it and Infest a bunch of creatures. But with the advent of Commander, Decree of Pain became one of the best boardwipes in EDH for any mana cost. Sure, cycling is the worst use of the card since -2/-2 doesn’t go as far as it did 15 years ago, but it’ll still wipe a ton of tokens or Fog a Splinter Twin-fueled combat. Nine mana is super achievable in Commander, and I’ve used this to great effect in my Nicol Bolas, the Ravager EDH deck for years. As an aside, if you’ve ever thought about building Bolas in Commander, tribal discard is just as hated as you’d expect. That makes me love the deck even more, but I’m the guy who foiled out Modern Lantern Control so it’s no surprise.

And if you really want a Decree of Pain but want to shave off a mana (or just want to really punish someone)…

Sticking with the black cards, Crux of Fate is a really interesting one. Modal spells have become all the rage in Magic design over the past few years, so Crux of Fate was a bit of card ahead of its time in Fate Reforged. Is this just a five-mana Damnation with downside and therefore not worth a spot? Well, sometimes, yeah. But that’s perfectly fine, and the upside on this card far outweighs the risk. Even if you’re not a heavy Dragon deck, Crux of Fate can sometimes leave one or two of your own creatures hanging around, and in a deck built to maximize it often becomes a five-mana Plague Wind, which is obviously a great rate. All in all, I love the choices Crux brings to the table.

Another black card that I hadn’t considered but was suggested is Vona’s Hunger. The City’s Blessing is trivial to achieve in most Commander games, but even without it an instant-speed forced-sacrifice effect that hits every opponent? That’s not so bad, and the card can be a real beating once the city has blessed you. It’s not exactly a boardwipe, but it certainly qualifies as a hidden gem!

Speaking of Plague Wind, Ruinous Ultimatum may be difficult to cast, but it’s the best Plague Wind you’ll ever see. Unless, of course, you’ve built your deck around Eldrazi or artifacts and are casting All is Dust.

I wouldn’t blame you for forgetting Massacre Girl existed after it rotated from Standard. And while it’s not necessarily a guaranteed boardwipe in Commander, it gets the job done quite a bit of the time. Something I always glossed over with this card is that it doesn’t trigger once if a creature dies, and then trigger again, but instead will trigger twice if it kills two X/1s. That allows it to ramp up quickly, and while it can take some work to set up it also comes with the benefit of taking out indestructible or regenerating creatures, something that I’ve always enjoyed in my decks that played Black Sun’s Zenith. As far as EDH boardwipes go, you can do a lot worse than one that leaves a creature behind.

Tergrid, God of Fright‘s best friend, if you can manage to combine them. But even if you can’t, Slaughter the Strong cleans up almost any boardstate, and does so at a cheap enough cost that you can easily add your own creatures back to the board in the same turn that you cast it. Similarly, Tragic Arrogance is busted with Tergrid, but let’s be honest – pretty much anything is so that’s not saying much. But Tragic Arrogance not only mostly wipes the board, it gives you the power of choosing what sticks around. And if an opponent has something like a Solemn Simulacrum in play, you get to select it for both the artifact and creature choices.

I’ve attacked with plenty of Giselas in my time, but I have to say I’ve never considered combining it with Wave of Reckoning. The end result is very likely a one-sided Wrath that leaves the Gisela player ready to swing for a billion on a suddenly clear board.

We had to give blue some love! While a lot of the suggestions included traditional blue cards like Aetherize that toe the line between boardwipe and simple bounce, Curse of the Swine is a bonafide boardwipe in most circumstances, if an expensive one. Sure, the pigs (or Boars, I guess) may run you over soon after, but for that tradeoff you get a boardwipe in a color that doesn’t have many of them, and it exiles to boot.

Fade Away was another cool suggestion, since I didn’t even know that card existed!

I’ll be honest, I actually prefer Oblivion Stone myself, as it loops with Sun Titan and generally creates gamestates where my opponents aren’t able to do anything (and yes I’m realizing as I write this that I’m a Stax player with a problem), but Perilous Vault cuts right to the chase and exiles everything. Not creatures, not most things, but everything. Gone. Lost. Probably forever. You’ll have to do a lot better than an Eternal Witness after the Vault hits the table.

I love that Hallowed Burial brings a truly unique effect to the game. We’ve talked traditional boardwipes and we’ve talked exile effects, so how about just shipping those creatures right to the bottom of the library? No persist or undying shenanigans, no Squee, the Immortal ridiculousness, just an old-fashioned burial.

This is just a downright dirty combo, and is basically a build-your own Wrath of God. It won’t come together often, but as someone who has followed up an end-of-turn Cyclonic Rift with Sire of Insanity more than once (seriously, I see now that I have a problem), I love this combo.

If you’re looking for more red EDH boardwipes past Blasphemous Act, consider one that can combo with a handful of creatures to win the game on the spot: Chandra’s Ignition. If you’ve never had the… um… pleasure of watching Chandra’s Ignition resolve on a large infect creature, well you’re probably playing against more enjoyable decks than I am.

Let’s not forget about green!

This is a wild card I had completely forgotten about. It’s clearly not a boardwipe, except when it is. But in most cases if you can resolve this massive sorcery you’ll end up removing a good chunk of the board while filling yours. I love how green this card is. It’s exactly the kind of card I like to see in annual Commander decks, and I feel like it captures the original spirit of EDH and does it in a way that just shouts GREEN!

I’ve really enjoyed these deeper dives into the format, and my goal is to spark some ideas for those of you who like me want to take their Commander decks beyond the obvious pushed cards we’ve all seen a million times. There were definitely some EDH boardwipes here I didn’t even know existed! If you have any ideas for what kind of cards you’d like to see featured on the Hidden Gems!

 

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler