Welcome back to the Epic Experiment!

This is a difficult time of year for Magic: The Gathering players because we know rotation is looming and Standard is going to change. While many of the principles of Magic: The Gathering finance have changed in recent years, there is still value to be gained from scouring sets that will be rotating to add to our Commander decks. Today I am going to find my top ten picks for cards that Commander players ought to be looking out for as rotation approaches.

#10 – Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

I hate this card. I have lost so many games to this card on Arena and it still gives me conniptions. The fact this card turns goblins into lightning bolts at the floor and turns any red creature into an absolute menace is reason enough to sit up and take notice.

At a mere $2.40 at Three Kings Loot for a non foil version, this is a very budget-friendly and powerful red card to help turn your deck into something that your opponents must respect. The only hitch with this card does have a heavy red mana requirement in the casting cost. However, if you are a Red Mage and looking to burn your opponents out of the game, look no further then this card and make the most of your damage.

#9 – Faeburrow Elder

With this card, we move away from damage and into the world of ramp. It has been well established that in a game of Commander that the player who spends the most mana over the course of the game is often the winner And there are few ramp options with as much potential as this card.

Faeburrow Elder scales exceptionally well in decks that play three or more colours in order to turn into a big-time mana dork. The nicest part with this particular card is  that it is available in and around the $2 mark for the non foil version and can be found at  $4.99. As a card that is analogous to Bloom Tender, a card that hits north of $40, to be a mere $2 suggests that people are sleeping on this one really ought to be making this a greater priority.

#8 – Wishclaw Talisman

This list would not be complete without a tutor and Throne of Eldraine gave us a pretty interesting option with Wishclaw Talisman. The casting cost is very desirable, and with the activation cost being a single mana, you can tutor for the best card in your deck very easily.  The fact that you then give it away is not frequently an issue if you can end the game on the spot. It can lead to some interesting politics as you can negotiate with the table as to whom you will give it to… and maybe even get it back! It is the political angle that in my mind makes this a terrifically fun card that will really spice up your table. The fact that you can grab a tutor for around $2.99 that makes it a good budget conscious pick up.

#7 – Embercleave

Back we go to more red cards that beat down. If you want a nasty piece of equipment, you can’t get much better than this beauty. It plays like a combat trick, has a wild cost reduction mechanic, and routinely tips the tide of battle.

The unfortunate part of this card is that it is already priced north of $12 in many places, meaning it is not a cheap pickup. However, based on its impact in a game it is likely money wisely invested because I have a hard time imagining it will see a significant price retrace. If you want one of these guys, there is no better than now.

#6 – Kiora Bests the Sea God

We have finally moved away from the Throne of Eldraine cards and can dig up something from Theros Beyond Death. Let us start with the draw back on this card: it costs 7 mana.

Folks, if you are averse to playing a 7 mana spell in a casual Commander game, are you sure we are playing the same game?

This card does just about everything you are looking for. It immediately makes an 8/8 with hexproof. Chapter 2 is often back breaking as you tap all non land permanents and opponent controls meaning that their shields is down. Chapter 3 is just soul crushing. Stealing the best card on the field from an opponent is positively filthy. At $3.99 this is a bargain pickup… now if only we could recur it… hmmm.

#5 – Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy

Kinnan is a ridiculous infinite mana combo enabler and mana sync built into a single card. Frankly, I’m not sure what WoTC was thinking when printing this card. You can grab a copy at under $10, and considering the gross power level of this card, well, you may as well grab it. I have a hard time seeing this card getting much cheaper as it is already heavily adopted in EDH, so go ahead and pull the trigger.

#4 – Rielle, the Everwise

Here is another grossly underrated card that packs a serious punch. Rielle plays beautifully with discard heavy decks and makes cards with Madness, Cycling, or just plain old Looting into a big ol’ party.  She has been a house for me in playing various forms of Brawl over the last 18 months and I expect that some of that success will translate into Commander.

I mean, really, The Locust God alone is reason enough to pick up a Rielle. With her being available around $5.50, it seems like a good time to pick her up and put her to good use.

#3 – Fiend Artisan

I love this card. Pay 2 mana and it won’t take much work to make it be a 6/6 or bigger in a game of Commander. Since it is so cheap, it is really no big deal to play this in the late game.

However, when this doesn’t get the job done, the fact that it has tutor ability is just plain silly. Who wouldn’t turn a Llanowar Elves into something far nastier?

Now, the fact that this is great early, great late, and even good when the board state gets clogged means that it is already fairly pricey. At $12.99, this is probably as cheap as this is going to get, so I wouldn’t blame you for grabbing a couple.

#2 – Teferi, Master of Time

The much maligned Teferi with 17 versions. Sigh.

I know people were very critical of this card, but I anticipate this card will be very highly played in the years to come. With its unique ability and the fact that if this goes unchecked you can uncork 2 extra turns in a just a few turn cycles of the table, its near unstoppable. Add in things like Oath of Teferi, or The Chain Veil, and Teferi gets pretty gross. Buddy him up with Rielle a few numbers above… and we get instant magic.

The card, while not as oppressive as Teferi, Time Raveler or as iconic as Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, is still a powerhouse and at $14.99 is still probably a pick up.

#1 – Brash Taunter

This card is kind of silly and is a very unpleasant surprise that your opponent can deploy. It would have been obnoxious with the damage redirection ability intact, but to then have it fight anything is kind of dirty. EDHrec shows the Taunter appearing in 8000+ decks and is a mere $3.50, making it pretty bang for your buck.

Don’t let the Core set fool you.  There are some dynamite gems hidden away inside just waiting for a savvy Commander player to come along and put them to use.

Well, there we are folks. Hopefully you find this helpful as we head into rotation in a few weeks! The new Innistrad cards already previewed look like we be having some new wild adventures this fall and I can’t wait to see what else we get.

If you want to hear more about my thoughts on Commander picks or any other Commander related topic, please check out our weekly podcast on iTunes, Google Podcast, Spotify, Amazon, and anywhere else you find better podcasts. Just look for the name The Epic Experiment Podcast! We’d love to have you join us!

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