State of the Metagame: A cEDH Tier List For 2024

Drake Sasser • February 7, 2024

Welcome back, readers! Last month saw the largest cEDH tournament in North America to date, with over 220 players! As second ever platinum event in the Topdeck Championship Series. The Boil was highly anticipated and sold out even after a cap increase.

Now that the first large tournament of 2024 is in the books, I think it's time to revisit the cEDH metagame for 2024 in my favorite content medium: a tier list!

Tier 1 (Great choices and the decks to beat)

Kinnan. Bonder Prodigy

There should be no surprises here. Kinnan exploded onto the cEDH scene late in 2022 and has done nothing but crush events since. The winner of The Boil, Ian Flannery, piloted Kinnan to victory, and the final pod actually featured a Kinnan mirror! Kinnan seeks to leverage the mana boost and activated ability of Kinnan to put large disruptive creatures, like Void Winnower, Nezahal, Primal Tide, and Thorn Mammoth in play. Once a window is available, Kinnan wins the game with infinite mana combos made possible by Basalt Monolith, Hullbreaker Horror, or Tidespout Tyrant fed through Kinnan's activated ability. Check out my breakdown of Kinnan in cEDH right here.

Kraum, Ludevic's Opus / Tymna the Weaver

Again, no surprises here. Tymna/Kraum, or "Blue Farm", has been a dominant force in cEDH since the commanders were printed and has been considered among the best decks in the format for a similar amount of time. Winning primarily with Underworld Breach and Thassa's Oracle, Tymna/Kraum gets its strength from being able to play a slower, grindy game as well as explosively win the game with the best combos the format has to offer. If you want to learn more about Blue Farm, read this.

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain

A deck that has multiple variations as it stands today due to being a relatively new face to the top tier of cEDH. There's a more legends-focused build that leans more on the toolbox options available with Sisay's activation with multiple paths to combo, and there's the leaner, more traditional cEDH-looking Sisay build that seeks to leverage Sisay mostly for colors, stripping the combo nature down to the bare bones and instead reaching for Underworld Breach and Thassa's Oracle wins. Both builds are formidable and it speaks to the power and flexibility of Sisay that both of these configurations are considered to be in the highest tier of cEDH decks.

Tier 2 (Fine choices if you've done the work)

Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh / Silas Renn, Seeker Adept

The most mana-efficient deck you can bring to the table and still the best turbo deck in the format. The cEDH metagame has gotten more interactive recently, however, and, as a result, is more hostile to turbo decks. With this uptick in interaction combined with less available "free wins" from underpowered or poorly built decks, the stock in RogSi is on the downturn in favor of slower, more midrange-oriented decks to slog through the interaction. If RogSi sounds like a deck you'd enjoy and being in tier two doesn't dissuade you, learn more about the deck here

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom

A fixture of the cEDH metagame since its printing, Najeela can win with Underworld Breach and Thassa's Oracle lines or combo out of the command zone with Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. Najeela has lost quite a bit of stock in the format as creatures are becoming more prevalent and Orcish Bowmasters threaten to block and shoot down warriors and Najeela alike. And wouldn't you know it, I've also got a great resource for Najeela right here!

Tivit, Seller of Secrets

Among the newest additions to the cEDH metagame, Tivit burst onto the scene thanks to its primary gameplan of casting Tivit being extremely effective against bogged-down cEDH board states. In the arms race of going over the top of decks like Tymna/Kraum, Tivit proved to be the best of the bunch. Combos with Time Sieve further paid you off for resolving the massive commander, and Tivit remains the best control deck in the format. The adoption of clones in high numbers from other decks makes casting Tivit a more punishing play than it was previously, with Flesh Duplicate being the newest addition to the format assisting on this axis.

Kenrith, the Returned King

While always a fine option, the other five-color legends have proven to be cheaper, more effective options for decks looking to play all colors and leverage a combo out of the command zone. Much of what has kept Kenrith high in metagame share is the impact Kenrith has on bogged-down board states that have become more common as cEDH has entered a more creature-focused state. Still the best Dockside Extortionist deck thanks to the infinite mana outlet, Kenrith remains on the cusp of top tier considerations despite losing share to its five-color sisters Najeela and Sisay.

Dargo, the Shipwrecker / Thrasios, Triton Hero

The power of Temur is encapsulated within the creature tutors, and we've seen multiple iterations and commanders represent the wedge in the cEDH metagame over the years. The current best is Dargo/Thrasios, which leverages Thrasios as an infinite mana outlet for Tidespout Tyrant infinite combos that can be found using Neoform or Eldritch Evolution on Dargo. Additionally, you get combos such as Birgi, God of Storytelling + Dargo + Goblin Bombardment/Greater Good that allow you to kill the table with damage or draw your deck. While all of this is powerful and resilient, it can be fragile in pods hostile to creatures and is slower than some of the other creature-based combo decks in the format, which has caused Dargo/Thrasios to dwindle a bit in popularity.

Tier 3 (Outdated, underpowered, or poorly positioned decks)

Atraxa, Grand Unifier

A deck that rose to power to carry the torch for Food Chain in cEDH, Atraxa represents the final iteration in the arms race of "who can put the biggest creature in the command zone that has a cEDH viable combo with it". While the four-color nature and compact win is appealing, eschewing red and having an extremely punishing commander to clone has put Atraxa further and further behind in cEDH as the metagame has shaken out.

Talion, the Kindly Lord

The newest addition to cEDH is appearing to be more of a flash-in-the-pan than having longterm legs in cEDH. Talion is another true control deck overloading on interaction to best leverage its value-engine/win condition commander to close the game at a slow and grueling pace. While Talion is proving to be very effective in the 99 of other, more colorful cEDH decks, the cEDH metagame has mostly adapted to this play pattern of the dedicated control deck, and the power level of the deck is not proving to be high enough to keep up as the players and format adapt.

Kraum, Ludevic's Opus / Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools

Another deck that is a relic of the midrange, creature-oriented grind fest of 2023. Once a fine player in the face of decks looking to slow the game down and allow Tevesh to shine, this Grixis-oriented midrange deck has largely been overshadowed by its four-color predecessor Tymna + Kraum. While Displacer Kitten and Hullbreaker Horror do provide a unique angle, the strength of the white cards combined with the best Grixis win conditions shared by both decks make this deck the lesser option in most scenarios presenting in cEDH today.

Tayam, Luminous Enigma

The face of creature-focused cEDH decks, Tayam rose to dominance thanks to the resiliency of creatures and the resiliency of its combo. Requiring a snowballing advantage gained over many turns via disruptive creatures, Tayam proved to be slow but inevitable in bogged down boards. As cEDH has adopted more removal and adapted to playing combos that win underneath the presence of stax creatures Tayam plays, Tayam's strength in the cEDH metagame dwindled significantly. While Tayam is underpowered for the moment, there are still pockets of metagame share that is behind the cutting edge seen at the largest tournaments where it can, and does, still dominate.

Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin

A deck that saw quite a bit of popularity thanks to a particular player, Max Sternburg, championing the deck and winning a bunch. Even Max has moved on from the deck, choosing Kinnan as his weapon of choice at The Boil, which earned him a spot in the finals. Ob Nixilis got to split the difference on playing a fast storm deck, having a commander that can threaten to out-scale board states if games get bogged down, and utilize All Will Be One as a combo piece with which to win the game outright with just the commander as the other piece. Ultimately the lack of the powerful blue-based interaction leaves this deck behind in power compared to the other top decks despite the flexibility and consistency offered by just playing red and black.

Tier 4 (Do not play this)

Every other known or established deck. Notable recent additions to this category include: 

Many of these decks are victims of the rise in creature removal in response to Orcish Bowmasters, however some simply have proven to be similar enough to other cEDH decks to be considered worse versions of decks in the upper tiers.

And there you have it! The cEDH metagame has some new faces and is actively seeing a shift as the Tier 1 is the smallest it has possibly ever been in the history of the format.With these shifts come some additional deck optimizations as well. The addition of Talion, the Kindly Lord, and Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy to most decks that can cast them shows how potent some of the powerful legends can be outside the command zone, and the quick adoption of Flesh Duplicate to the decks that can cast it highlights current metagame's emphasis on casting powerful creatures and cloning them. If I missed any decks, or am off on my ratings, let me know in the comments and let's discuss! Thanks for reading!

Drake Sasser is a member of cEDH group Playing With Power, a commentator for Nerd Rage Gaming, and used to grind Magic tournaments on the SCG Tour.