Our Favorite Commander Cards of 2022
Have you ever wondered what your favorite Commander's Herald authors' favorite cards of 2022 were? No need to ask, we compiled them below! Whether you read their work on deckbuilding, art, cEDH, lore, or more, you might be surprised with some of their answers...
My favorite commander released this year is Satsuki, the Living Lore. I'm a sucker for decks that need you to lean hard into a theme, and I've been jamming Sagas all year. This is the first enchantress deck that I've enjoyed, and I feel like it plays differently than other enchantment decks. It's also an affordable commander to build around that can be easily upgraded. Power Conduit is my favorite card in the deck, allowing me to remove lore counters as a way to control my Sagas, which has been a lot of fun with The Fall of Lord Konda and Elspeth Conquers Death. If you haven't played with Sagas, you should check out this commander.
My pick for card of the year is Otawara, Soaring City. I have added each Channel land from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty to my decks, but I'm a partial to Unsummon effects. This fits into every deck running blue, and you're almost always guaranteed to reduce that Channel cost. My best use has been returning a Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow to its owner's hand avoiding six reveal triggers. I'm never upset drawing this card. 10/10, would discard again.
I will never, ever get tired of this commander. Growing a Hamster token to a size that it could take on Emrakul just does not get old. Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes is just about everything I never realised I wanted on a Gruul commander. It rewards aggression and reckless abandon, and it gives you a reason to play pump spells in a format that otherwise has no interest in them. The bald man and his hamster pair card advantage with creature removal, and they even work as an infinite mana outlet. Check out my deck tech if you want to know more!
I'm ride or die when it comes to Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow, so I'm always on the lookout for cards with outrageously inflated converted mana costs. When it comes to flipping cards off the top of the library with Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow triggers, size does matter. I've used Draco, I've used Emrakul, the Promised End, I've even used Blinkmoth Infusion. All three cards are great for flipping, not so much for casting. Enter Shadow of Mortality, the first 12+ mana spell that's actually playable in its own right. I can't count the number of times I've played this 7/7 for just two mana since it was first released in Streets of New Capenna.
Asking me to pick my favorite card of the year is like asking me to choose my favorite of my one-thousand nine-hundred ninety-three children. I knew signing those mass-adoption papers was a mistake.
Let's rapid fire some other metrics, instead:
- Kamigawa, Neon Dynasty is clearly the best set of the year. No other release this year even approaches its quality of execution, versatility in game pieces, and overall aesthetic. Kamigawa, more than any other plane, had something to lose, and with a risk comes a corresponding reward.
- I personally loved Commander Legends: Baldur's Gate, but the lower power level seemed to put people off. Give it another chance, guys: there are tons of unique Commander designs for a variety of playstyles here, and it's not like you have to put the mediocre draft filler into your decks if you really don't want to.
Editor's note: Michael, can you please, just one time, follow the instructions?
- The most important cards we'll see from this year are Boseiju, Who Endures, Farewell and An Offer You Can't Refuse. These feel like evergreen pieces that won't be replaced easily unless they're actually powercrept. Conversely, something like Ancient Copper Dragon is going to end up overshadowed by whatever giant fatties they print next year simply because they won't end up being $50.
- Was this a great year for lands. Not only did we get Channel lands, we got the second half of the Triomes, Plaza of Heroes, Demolition Field, a ton of Gates, common taplands with basic land types, and five more common fetchlands. I even adore Uncharted Haven, a card that should probably be replacing Evolving Wilds in non-Landfall decks. The only thing I can think of that stands out as a notable mistake is Thran Portal, which did not need to be that aggressive on entering tapped.
Anyway, like my parole application, there's always next year. See you in 2023 for more Magic!
If you've seen me on any Spelltable streams since Dominaria United, you'll have seen this revamped Legends Retold version of Halfdane at the helm of my deck. Having a sacrifice outlet in your command zone is powerful enough, but getting death triggers and getting to double up on them can be strong as heck. Quadruple up on death with Teysa Karlov. I've packed my deck with all the eligible Kamigawa Dragons and slammed reanimation like Karmic Guide and Body Launderer (who is an absolutely house in this deck). This deck is also the perfect spot for some Warhammer 40K cards: Sister Repentia and Sister Hospitaller both earned their keep in the 99. I love how every game presents new paths every time. I haven't won the same way twice. It's been so rewarding!
Body Launderer is a criminally overlooked card from Streets of New Capenna, and I even almost didn't write about it today. It draws cards and dumps reanimation targets in the graveyard for it to fetch up when he goes. Body Launderer is a house, Connive is incredible, and having such a rattlesnake with upside means that people either don't touch you or sigh before just getting it over with. Running Body Launderer with a Panharmonicon and a sack outlet with a Sister Hospitaller/Karmic Guide, it's a chef's kiss. I don't want to ruin my day by telling you this, but if you see Body Launderer hit my board, you better Path it.
Editor's note: Mike couldn't decide between Body Launderer and Black Market Connections, so he submitted both. What is it with Mikes?
Hailed as the "new Phyrexian Arena", Black Market Connections has been a massive swing every time it comes down. As long as it doesn't bait out removal, getting one trigger off of this means at the very least paying three life for a card and a Treasure. Add three life to that for a creature token. Take a page out of Sylvan Library's players and pay the life. Start including incidental life gain, pack this bad boy in every black deck if you ask me.
Irenicus has been on my back burner to build for a while. He goes so far beyond the usual "give your opponent a bad card" archetype. Controlling combat, forcing your opponents to keep the gifted creatures, and drawing cards in the meantime allows you to build a really unorthodox deck. When you focus on slowing the game down by giving your opponents durdley cards that they don't mind having, you can play a fascinating political deck that's unlike anything I've tried to put together. There aren't many cards that reward slowing the game down like this without becoming punishing control decks. Dimir identity adds a lot of fun to it as well, granting access to some interesting cards that want a home. It all makes Irenicus a challenge I'm excited to play around with for years to come.
This was a hard pick, but Decanter is easily one of the most useful cards printed in a long time. I keep finding deck after deck to put a copy in, and if that doesn't make it the card of the year, I don't know what does. It's peak Manalith power creep, and I'm happy to have it (as are my many multicolor decks!).
Seeing the powerful mage Elminster appear in the world of Magic: the Gathering was a childhood dream come true. Elminster is the brain child of Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons. Elminster isn't just a random mage, however. He is perhaps the most consequential character in the entire setting, and he even has 11 novels and a number of short stories to his name. It's not just the lore that makes Elminster's inclusion in MTG so exciting, however. Mechanically, Elminster is an interesting commander, as he rewards us for scrying. Scrying is usually a mechanic that doesn't directly interact with cards or mechanics very much, and is honestly rather underrated in the value that it provides. I'm currently in the process of building an Elminster EDH deck, and it's been a lot of fun, as I'm finding myself putting in many cards that I wouldn't typically otherwise play.
I know that Unfinity has been a rather divisive set (for good reason), but regardless of how you might feel about the set at large, there have undoubtedly been some very unique and flavorful cards in the set, epitomized by my pick for favorite noncommander card, Storybook Ride. Flavor-wise, the card looks like a futuristic Tim Schafer-esque version of the Disney ride "It's a Small World," which is so incredibly selcouth. Mechanically, the card rewards us for opening attractions, which is an absolute flavor win! I love that idea that the card that represents one of the most famous rides in the world wants us to basically build an amusement park on our game board by opening attractions. Not only that, but the card can be quite powerful, as it lets us exile cards from our library and play them based on the number of attractions we open each turn. An exciting and well-rounded card, indeed!
Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful is definitely my favorite commander of the year; heck it might be one of my favorite cards of all time. Everything from the story it's based on to the way it fits in very nicely with all of the Partner commanders, and how it has such a strong, yet simple, ability. It also hearkens back to the original one-mana legendary pup Isamaru, Hound of Konda, which may or may not be his ancestor. This legendary pupper hits all of the marks, flavor, playability, and most of all, its art and flavor text really hit you in the feels.
Continuing on the dog theme, my favourite card this year was Comet, Stellar Pup. He was brought to us in Unfinity, so with a silly set came an equally silly dog planeswalker. Canonically in the Un-iverse, this is just a dog named Comet who can planeswalk, which I think is fantastic. As a card, it also hits a home run as Comet makes his own squirrels to chase, digs back up his buried "bones", can attack when called upon, and does tricks! All in all, I think we got some very good fluffy friends this year.
I've always been one of those Commander hipsters who are insufferable on game night. Everybody's got their tuned decks led by Korvold, Alela, Prosper, Atraxa, what-have-you, and I'm the guy that shows up with Boris Devilboon and won't shut up about how Jesper Myrfors refused to draw me a minor demon token in 2013.
Despite my predilection for legendary creatures hailing from the time of tamagotchi and puka-shell necklaces, 2022 did have a few enticing options that even I couldn't condescendingly dismiss.
This one might be cheating because it's from Dominaria United Commander's Legends Retold, but it's my pick anyway. So old, yet new. Cake, and eating it, too. General Marhault Elsdragon does one thing and one thing only, but it does it in the most amusing way possible. It's got a callback to the old, hardly used and hardly usable Rampage mechanic, and since Marhault's time in 1993, he's presumably cut that horrible ponytail and traded in his sword for a bow, as well as ditched the flavor text that reads like Dashboard Confessional lyrics: "No chance observer could imagine the rage in his heart." Woof. Also, Elsdragon 2.0 lets me play Invasion Plans and Grand Melee, and who doesn't want that?
An uncommon from Dominaria United that instantly drove me to create an entirely new deck. As soon as I had a copy, I crafted up a Jund Walls deck led by Thantis, the Warweaver because the Spider can't make me attack if all my creatures are immobile architecture.
Something that many people might not know, I don't play Minotaur in Modern. They simply don't have the tools and low-end creatures to keep up with other tribes in the format. Instead, I choose to play Shamans, as they have a similar playstyle and are much more aggressive than Minotaurs could ever be in Modern. This is all to say that Silverback Elder is a fantastic new Shaman to the top end of this tribe in Modern. It's a massive Ape that can stabilise the board, in addition to being able to clear off pesky artifacts or enchantments or even regain your life total in a pinch. This Monke has saved me so many games I can't even count them on my hand. What can I say?
HE'S THE LEADER OF THE BUNCH, YOU KNOW HIM WELL,
HE'S FINALLY BACK TO KICK SOME TAIL!
No surprise to anyone who knows my work, but Magar was easily my favourite new commander. Not only is his effect power, but it's one of the most interesting Minotaur legendary cards since Zedruu the Greathearted. If you read my deck tech on this card, you know firsthand the shenanigans you can get up to with Magar. From infinite combats to repeatable board wipes, Magar is a card not to be trifled with. He takes Minotaur tribal in a bold new direction and creatures a unique deckbuilding challenge you can't find anywhere else.
For my favorite commander of the year, I had to choose Stangg, Echo Warrior. Stangg has become an in-joke within my friend group, with his lack of lore and epithet along with his "just a guy and his twin" design making him a delight. He even became the middle name of my roommate and I's cat, Poe Stangg Gourley, so when his new card came out, I just had to brew it. He's a funny spin on Gruul Voltron that can give great card advantage. Long live Stangg.
My favorite card choice is simple, but powerful: Rumor Gatherer. It's one of those cards that just says "Hey, you know that thing you're doing? Here's a solid reward for doing it." This is an amazing piece of glue for my Adeline soul sisters deck, consistently sitting around to smooth my topdecks and drawing cards. The EDH equivalent of salt and pepper, it's just a neat card.
We like to think of ourselves as having a diversity of opinion, playstyle, and background here at Commander's Herald, but you wouldn't believe how many writers tried to submit a writeup on Jon Irenicus, Shattered One. But what did you like from 2022? What was your favorite card and your favorite commander?