Top Ten Commander Reprints in 2023

Nick Wolf • December 19, 2023

Baw Gawd That's (Ar)Kane's Music

Like magical baby swans, many of us spent much of 2023 flapping about, looking to stay above water. 

It's been a long year under the ever-widening umbrella of Magic: The Gathering. More than 2,300 new cards were printed in calendar year 2023, and in terms of Commander implications, 630 are new legendary creatures (and one is Commodore Guff). And what else, British people are now Commander-legal. What a world in which we live.

If you, like me, suffer from crippling choice paralysis and a steadfast (some would say compulsive) refusal to read new cards, then you likely have a similar appreciation for reprints. The Wizards of the Coast printers keep printing, so many of those cards feature words arranged in new ways that are scary and intimidating. It's much better to just enjoy new versions of old favorites. Some even have British people on them, if that's your thing.

So let's take a quick gander at the Top Ten Commander Reprints of 2023!

10. Arcane Signet

What a classic. The Dan Scott art adorning the From Cute to Brute Arcane Signet is a piece that we Commander players have really come to appreciate since the card debuted way back in the Wild West of 2019. Remember that year? Things were so different then. That year, Wizards only printed 78 cards that can be your commander. In only four short years, they've upped that number by quite a bit. 

This particular reprint carries over the original Throne of Eldraine set symbol, the flavor text about The Magic Mirror adding fluoride to drinking water, and the oversaturated look that we all know and love. It's a great start to this list, like warm apple pie or a fuzzy blanket fresh out of the dryer.

9. Arcane Signet

I am probably the furthest thing from an expert on Doctor Who; in fact, I only learned this year that I'm supposed to type "Doctor" and not "Dr." in reference to the character. Apparently that's a point of contention for some people. 

But even I can appreciate the new take on the old favorite here. The swirly dealie emblazoned on what looks like a pauldron worn by a sour-mouthed Salarian, the Arcane Signet here represents what the flavor text tells me is the "Seal of the High Council of Gallifrey," which certainly sounds important to my ignorant ears. This art is provided by L J Koh, who hails from Singapore and to this point has only worked on Universes Beyond cards. 

8. Arcane Signet

We learned from Gandalf that magic rings are magical, which is information might seem self-evident, but we're talking about a wizard who fails pretty much every step of the way and only accomplishes his mission due to the sheer luck of those around him. In other words, Gandalf is the archetype of a project manager. You probably work with a Gandalf, and they probably got promoted this year.

Despite that, Arcane Signet is probably the truest depiction of an arcane signet so far, considering they're used to make an impression on wax as we see in the art by longtime Magic artist Randy Gallegos. And we can assume the signet we see here is arcane as well, what with the wispy tendrils of magic vape dissipating from the ring and its indentation. It's a pretty good reprint, all things considered.

7. Arcane Signet

There were a lot of comments among the Magic proletariat that Arcane Signet looked less like a signet and more like a Thanos hand. This is a joke that has been made ad nauseum and I will not repeat it here. 

There's a kernel of truth in that, however, as the art by Gaboleps (the New Zealand-based Gabriel Romero) is definitely not a signet ring. But art is interpretation of the world in ways that make the viewer contemplate their foundational beliefs. Maybe a signet can also be a glowing gauntlet ejecting colored ribbons like a Craigslist magician. Who are we to say otherwise? All I know is that it's nice to see Arcane Signet making a return this year, especially in a form that could only be easily acquired by showing up to an in-person event like it was 2019 again.

6. Arcane Signet

This one probably looks pretty familiar, but there's one important distinction that sets Arcane Signet apart from Arcane Signet (and Arcane Signet, et. al.): it's uncommon. That's only happened eight times ever! We are truly living in unprecedented times (which, I do realize now after typing that is the literal definition of "unprecedented.")

That's pretty neat if you ask me. 

5. Arcane Signet

If we're being sticklers about faithfulness to the source material, then The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Commander brings us an Arcane Signet that stretches the interpretation of a signet even more than the Gaboleps version. This time, the "signet" is the pommel of a dagger. It is not, as I thought when first seeing the card, a hammer. Much like my refusal to read new cards, I also refuse to look at new art a lot of the time. Actually, I'm starting to wonder if I even like Magic. 

Anyway, are we to assume that the flavor text mentioning a "hilt" is a mislabeling of what part of the dagger is supposed to be the "signet?" 

Or perhaps we're being pedantic. Maybe we're both right, and it's simultaneously a "hilt" and a "pommel." This is what a solid reprint is all about, friends.

4. Arcane Signet

Far be it from me to claim to be an arbiter of cringe, but I must validate my own feelings by saying that Angels: They're Just Like Us but Cooler and with Wings is the single worst name for a Magic release in the game's 30-year history. But it wasn't all bad. It did bring us a much-needed reprint of Arcane Signet.

What started as a mere drop of water has crystallized into a very important card in Commander, becoming nearly as ubiquitous as Sol Ring and Deep Water. Also, did you know that if your commander is a card that has no colors in its color identity, Arcane Signet's ability produces no mana? It doesn't produce a wingding. That's a little fun fact for you.

3. Arcane Signet

There's a lot to like about this reprint of Arcane Signet. The art is pretty cool, and the arcane signet in question looks both arcane and signet...y. One of five cards featured in the "Through the Wormhole" Secret Lair (available now!), Arcane Signet can be had alongside other Commander-staple reprints like Thought Vessel, Command Tower, Lightning Greaves and Sol Ring. Don't tell anyone you heard it from me, but they also snuck a Solemn Simulacrum in there.

Where I draw the line, however, is in the flavor text. If this ring is older than the known universe, it forces us to confront the implication that there are things about the universe that are unknown. Obviously this is the case, but most of us do a pretty good job of ignoring that fact to allow for just functioning as a human being day to day. There's enough to think about without this. This is a concerning revelation, and I don't appreciate my Magic cards triggering existential crises.

2. Arcane Signet

Just go back and read entry no. 7 on this list, but add the caveat that "'old, brown border looks way better, and you should think the way I think because I've been playing this game longer than you' says the enfranchised and entitled Magic writer nearing his 40s." 

1. Arcane Signet

We've finally arrived at the number one reprint for Commander in 2023. It's been a wild ride, hasn't it?

Brought to us by Commander Masters, Arcane Signet was reprinted in full-art courtesy of one of my favorite all-time Magic artists, Drew Tucker. Tucker is one of Magic's original artists, so it's always great to see his distinctive style still cropping up on new cards here in the present. 

This reprint has everything we could want. It's Arcane Signet. It's got neat art. The art features a ring. The flavor text implies that the ring is magical, or at least features some anti-rat technology that we're not advanced enough to understand, which as I've been told by Arthur C. Clarke would mean it's magic anyway. It's earned its place here on the top of the list.

Auto-Matic Includes

Who is "Matic", anyway? Perhaps this will go down as one of the greatest mysteries of 2023. Or perhaps it's only a mystery to me because I constantly forget to read the associated lore material that accompanies every set release. Maybe we already know who Matic is, we know his hopes and dreams and fears and favorite movie, and there's egg on my face right now. 

All I do know, is that we've done it again, friends. We've looked at the Top Ten Reprints for Commander, this time in 2023. Anything you were hoping to see get a reprint that WotC passed over? Did you think that this year was finally going to be the year they abolished the Reserved List and mailed everyone with a DCI Number their very own Gaea's Cradle, now with anime art?

Oh, and if you wanted to check out the Top Ten Reprints from last year, head over here:

Top Ten Commander Reprints of 2022

Before we go, let's take a look at the Honorable Mentions this year. There were some real bangers that deserve a call-out.

Honorable Mentions: Arcane Signet (technically a different printing than the one above), Arcane Signet, Arcane Signet, Arcane Signet, and, of course, Arcane Signet