The Best Commander Cards From... Visions

Luka Sharaska • August 29, 2023

Welcome back to The Best Commander Cards From..., a series focusing on the most powerful EDH cards from Magic: the Gathering's rich thirty-year long history. Today's focus is Visions, the tenth expansion set of Magic. Released in early 1997, this set continues the story started in the previous set, Mirage.

Reserved List Blues

Somehow, Visions is the first set that I don't own any cards from. Sure, I own some reprinted cards from it, but in my entire collection you won't find a single V set symbol. This set has some heavy hitters on the Reserved List, and with most of the cards that were reprinted having cheaper printings, I mostly have reprinted versions of original Visions cards.

Mechanics & Creature Types

Visions didn't get any new mechanics. We get returning ones like cumulative upkeep, world enchantments, and a few others though. Thankfully, we get at least two new creatures types in Chimera and Jellyfish, although "new" types like Caterpillar, Nekrataal, and Warthog were eventually changed via errata. I couldn't dig up much lore about the set design, so let's just get into some cards.

Vampiric Tutor

You might have heard of Vampiric Tutor at some point, and it certainly lives up to the hype. The "downside" of losing 2 life doesn't hit very hard in Commander, and whatever you're searching for is generally worth the loss in card advantage.

Natural Order

I'm much more familiar with Natural Order as a card in Vintage Cube, but it's still perfectly playable in Commander as well. Whether you're dumping Craterhoof Behemoth into play or even Protean Hulk, there's a lot of options for a relatively low cost.

Helm of Awakening

This is a symmetrical effect, so there's no way that Helm of Awakening can be busted, right? Right? Well, it turns out that you can get a lot more mileage out of this card if you combine cheap cards and card draw, which is actually a pretty decent strategy in EDH. Who'd have guessed that cost reduction pairs well with card draw?

Anvil of Bogardan

Sticking to the theme of cheap artifacts with symmetrical effects, Anvil of Bogardan works wonders in any deck looking to reanimate huge creatures or artifacts while also just digging deeper. That said, you'll get extra utility out of this if you're using Tinybones, Trinket Thief or The Raven Man.


Yes, the opportunity cost of leaving up five mana is pretty big. That said, the few times I've been on the receiving end of Desertion have left me not wanting to be in that position again. As you might expect, cards like Consecrated Sphinx, Portal to Phyrexia, or Cavern-Hoard Dragon are premier targets.

Relentless Assault

While Relentless Assault might be falling out of favor as more extra-combat cards get printed, it's still a classic that sees extensive use across a wide variety of decks. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it sees the most play in decks featuring Etali, Primal Storm.

Goblin Recruiter

Whether you're searching up Conspicuous Snoop and a pile of other combo-tastic Goblins or just a stack of lords to pump your team, Goblin Recruiter is almost a must have in any Goblin-themed deck.

Summer Bloom

At first glance I feel like Summer Bloom is a bit too narrow. I mean, I'm sure it will look pretty appealing eventually. Perhaps if they ever print some kind of lands-matter commander, maybe even something in Simic.

Teferi's Puzzle Box

I've had many good and bad experiences with Teferi's Puzzle Box. It can combo and synergize with so many cards that listing them all would be a massive undertaking, including the recently printed Orcish Bowmasters and every other card in an average Nekusar, the Mindrazer deck.


For the low price of three mana, you get a pretty substantial discount on any large creature from any graveyard. As an added bonus, you can even cast Necromancy on an opponent's turn, although you have to sacrifice at the end of that turn's cleanup step.

The Karoo Lands

Long before Ravnica's cycle of bounce-lands existed, the "Karoo-lands" of Visions were printed. Jungle Basin, Everglades, Dormant Volcano, Coral Atoll, and of course, Karoo. Unfortunately, each of these suffers from requiring an untapped basic land of the corresponding type to be returned to your hand, but they're still worth it to some players out there.

Femeref Enchantress

In addition to just being a Reserved List card, Femeref Enchantress has also seen a price increase driven by the existence and promulgation of the Saga enchantment subtype, as well as the popularity and continued printing of enchantress-themed Commander products.


Breaking the symmetry on Desolation isn't too tough in today's day and age. The biggest downside is that you're the first person to get hit by the penalty, and the person that goes next has a pretty huge incentive to devote resources to getting rid of it.

Quirion Ranger

You might not guess by how cheap it is today, but Quirion Ranger was at one point about $5. Although it's been a mainstay in decks like Marwyn, the Nurturer, it also happens to untap a certain little Elf called Priest of Titania.

Squandered Resources

I have to admire the all-in nature of Squandered Resources. I've never once seen this card look boring. Either the player that cast it goes off and wins, or they end up in a substantially worse and often losing position. As you might imagine, this is a standout performer in The Gitrog Monster.

Phyrexian Walker

Although Phyrexian Walker might seem a bit meek, it does have two things going for it: it costs zero mana, and it's an artifact. That's enough for Dargo, the Shipwrecker, Winota, Joiner of Forces, and a handful of other commanders to want it.

While the card pool of Visions might not be deep compared to a few other sets, I feel like there's still a lot to love. The sub-themes of symmetrical effects and cumulative upkeep have made some cards in the set age like wine while others aged more like milk. I'm confident that I covered most things of note that the set has to offer, but you can let me know in the comments if I missed something you love. I've been Luka "Robot" Sharaska, and I hope to see you again soon.

Luka "Robot" Sharaska has been playing Magic for more than a decade, since the days of New Phyrexia. They've been captivated since that day. They earned the nickname "Robot" with their monotone voice, affinity for calculating odds, and worrying lack of sleep.