Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

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Format Legality
1v1 Commander Legal
Arena Legal
Block Constructed Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Commander: Rule 0 Legal
Custom Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Gladiator Legal
Highlander Legal
Historic Legal
Legacy Legal
Leviathan Legal
Limited Legal
Modern Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Penny Dreadful Legal
Vintage Legal

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Legendary Creature — Phyrexian Praetor


Other creatures you control get +2/+2.

Creatures your opponents control get -2/-2.

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Tur on Hidden Power - Mono-Color - …

4 weeks ago

Hello everyone! This will be a forum post for a "Commander - Hidden Power" series. My goal is to show relatively inexpensive cards which are often overlooked by commander players in semi-competitive and casual play. (This post is not designed for competitive play.) If you enjoy the topic, please upvote the post or provide positive feedback and I will consider creating similar posts.

The powerful cards I plan on discussing are mono-color cards which are strong with big mana in commander.

I will provide one card per mono-color identity. These cards will not include x-spells nor multi-color identity spells. (I.e. no Torment of Hailfire nor Zacama, Primal Calamity)

It is obvious that big mana is a huge part of semi-competitive play. Whether it is from ramping through creatures, artifacts, enchantments, instants, sorceries, or lands. Big mana is pretty fun. Mana doubling effects from lands are especially useful. In this article, I'll be focusing on mana doubling from lands, but other ways to generate big mana are always possible

Here are some common big mana effects for each mono-color identity:

This is not an all inclusive list as Mana Flare, Heartbeat of Spring, Keeper of Progenitus, Sword of Feast and Famine, et cetera would work just as well. In each mono-color identity the artifacts Caged Sun, Gauntlet of Power, and Extraplanar Lens can be used, however the black and green color identities have an advantage for mono-color double mana effects. Furthermore, green contains cards such as Seedborn Muse, Awakening, and Wilderness Reclamation which allow for more interactions.

Well, let us begin in WUBRG order!

White: Sacred Mesa

This card is relatively unused. According to EDHREC, Sacred Mesa is played in 1511/849227 (0%) decklists and is under one dollar. You'd be surpized how powerful this card is with double mana. Imagine making some number of pegasus at instant speed as either blockers or attackers for your next turn. (The upkeep cost can be paid by making a summoning sick pegasus during your turn.) Not to mention power and toughness buffing effects are ideal with Sacred Mesa, examples include Dictate of Heliod, Cathars' Crusade, Caged Sun, or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite.

It is often compared to Luminarch Ascension because they have similar effects. Yes, it makes a 4/4 angel instead of a 1/1 pegasus.

However, Luminarch Ascension has many downsides:

  • You have to have four quest counters to use the ability. (That is, you have to not lose life during an opponents turn four times.) This creates a huge target on your life total and you'll see it surely chip away.
  • Bounce effects, such as Cyclonic Rift really mess it up. Welcome back to square one!
  • Common cards, such as Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider prevent quest counters from even occurring. Vampire Hexmage or Hex Parasite are also options to remove the counters.

Sacred Mesa is way more versatile and does not have such downsides. Not to mention is it only three mana, ideal for Sun Titan recursion.

Blue: Compulsion

It is very rare to see this wonderful card. According to EDHREC, Compulsion is played in 1000/945324 (0%) decklists and is under one dollar. Having an activated draw ability with very little downside on a blue enchantment is insane. Ideal when paired with Teferi's Ageless Insight or Thought Reflection. There are a few cards which have a similar effect, such as Triskaidekaphile or Kefnet the Mindful without having to discard a card, but having a two mana activation is much more versatile. I suppose that an argument could be made with Training Grounds, but that is too much just to make the Kefnet the Mindful ability more cost effective. Furthermore, discarding a specific card like Echo of Eons, Wonder, or a shuffle Eldrazi such as Kozilek, Butcher of Truth has some nice synergy. (In fact, it should be played in most bant enchantress decks, such as the commander Tuvasa the Sunlit. Replenish for life!)

Black: Chainer, Dementia Master

This is a wonderful card, but a little pricey compared to the previous two cards. According to EDHREC, Chainer, Dementia Master is played in 6344/983251 (1%) decklists and is approximately ten dollars. Yes, we all know that you can abuse Chainer, Dementia Master with Gray Merchant of Asphodel or Kokusho, the Evening Star with sacrifice outlets such as Phyrexian Altar. Suppose we don't want to abuse this card into the ground is it still just good card? Yes. We can fill up or graveyard with Buried Alive or Entomb and get back a creature card, or we can grab a creature card from an opponents graveyard. It can also be used to interrupt graveyard combos, such as Aristocrats by using the ability on an opponents Butcher Ghoul with the undying trigger on the stack.

Red: Scourge of Kher Ridges

An extremely powerful and undervalued card. According to EDHREC, Scourge of Kher Ridges is played in 1005/912333 (0%) decklists and is under three dollars. If you're able to untap with Sourge of Kher Ridges and double mana, your opponents are going to have a rough time. As you can put multiple activations on the stack, it provides you with a very high on-board presence. Even within a response to removal. I've heard players complain that Scourge of Kher Ridges dies too quick to removal and my answer is "from your opponents perspective it needs to die before you're able to untap". Ideal with lifelink (and deathtouch) equipment such as Basilisk Collar or Shadowspear.

Green: Kamahl, Fist of Krosa

Typically unseen in play. According to EDHREC, Kamahl, Fist of Krosa is played in 4786/880991 (1%) decklists and is approximately five dollars. It is odd how unused Kamahl, Fist of Krosa is compared to Ezuri, Renegade Leader when they basically have the same effect. Overrun as an activated ability which is stackable multiple times. I agree that Ezuri, Renegade Leader is better in elf tribal decks, however Kamahl, Fist of Krosa is great in most big mana decks. Ideal for wide aggro. Tall aggro will gain the benefit of trample. If you don't have extra creatures you can animate your lands as 1/1 attackers, correction 7/7 attackers. (Pretty interesting because these attackers get around Cyclonic Rift, they're lands.) You can also get some payback by animating your opponents lands in response to a creature board wipe. (From that reasoning it can be paired with cards such as Ascendant Evincar and Crovax, Ascendant Hero to destroy opponents lands through animation.)

All in all, these are relatively unused cards which have a lot hidden power with big mana. If your deck is mono-colored and designed for big mana spells or abilities, think about giving these cards a chance. See if they work well for you and your playgroup.

DrukenReaps on People's Thoughts on Mommy Norn?

1 month ago

So I guess Sheldon and maybe a few others from the Rules Committee aren't happy with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. You can listen to or read Sheldon's thoughts in this link, his article is in video description - Elesh Norn Potential Ban?!

I find myself, maybe not for the first time, but actually wanting to build mono-white. She's interesting to me if maybe generic. I at least have a group that will let me play her regardless of the Rules Committee.

But I'm curious what other people think about this opinion piece by Sheldon? And I have to ask, why so hard on Elesh Norn when Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger exist. I don't really take issues with those cards myself but they are much more threatening imo than the new Elesh Norn. Heck I think the old Elesh Norn is more threatening, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. I guess you can argue the lower mana cost of Mommy Norn but mana doesn't mean much to Vorinclex. Trust me, that one is coming for you xD

I guess I'm just interested in y'alls thoughts? Do any of these get anywhere near what you think of when you think bans?

AstroAA on Bant enchantmentz

2 months ago

I would cut the number of lands in your deck to around ~33 to ~35. You can substitute these with enchantments like Utopia Sprawl, Wild Growth, and Carpet of Flowers.

Additionally, you specifically ask for "controlling enchantments". I myself run a Sythis, Harvest's Hand deck that is based on shutting the entire board down, so you can check my deck for inspiration. I run stuff like Suppression Field, Stony Silence, Root Maze, Ground Seal, and other cards like Kataki, War's Wage, Null Rod, Collector Ouphe, and Linvala, Keeper of Silence. My deck wins through locking my opponents by preventing them from being able to play/use lands with Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Living Plane.

If you need any other help, feel free to ask.

Niko9 on Beatng a wild +1/+1 Player?

2 months ago

Something like Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite can check small creatures before they get counters, or there are also boardwipes that scale with the table like Massacre Girl

You also could go for defensive measures, something like Ensnaring Bridge

Caerwyn on Card Analysis #1 - Dreadhorde …

3 months ago

Your analysis of “what sets Dreadhorde invasion” apart from Bitterblossom and Opheomancer is a little simplistic, and you might want to flesh out that kind of section moving forward.

For starters, you missed the fact that a hoard of 1/1s is, outside of things like an opposing Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, is better than a single large creature. Either way you are getting 1 power and 1 toughness per turn, but 6 1/1s are harder to block, provide more flexible attacking/blocking options, work better with many strategies (Skullclamp, for example) and form a better defensive barrier than a single 6/6. Additionally, Flying and Deathtouch are both vastly superior to Lifelink - and Dreadhorde only provides conditional Lifelink that requires significant investment of time or other resources to even get online.

Frankly, I think it is more fair to say “Lifelink sets Dreadhorde back from these other cards”, not that it “sets it apart.”

wallisface on Elesh Orthodoxy

4 months ago

Some thoughts:

  • Getting 7 mana to cast Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is no small feat, and with your current setup isn’t likely to happen until around turn 11… that’s waaay too late, and the game is almost guaranteed to have finished by then. Without some way to ramp, or cheat this creature out, I just don’t think it’s realistic to have her in the deck.

  • Your gameplan doesn’t really ever apply pressure to your opponent, and you don’t really have the prison elements to hold them off indefinitely… i’m worried your gameplan just leads to getting overrun each game

Icbrgr on Ajani Compleated

5 months ago

Also noteworthy that Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is leading the phyrexians I think... the lawful evil order kinda thing.

Housegheist on Life & Death by Taxes

5 months ago


I would cut Archetype of Finality and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Even though they are great cards, they don‘t fit your theme and are pretty high in cmc


Farewell instead of Merciless Eviction

Why using 3cmc counterspells if you can use Counterspell?

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