Criminally Underplayed EDH Gems

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Dec. 29, 2021, 11:50 p.m. by Last_Laugh

I'm after people's takes on cards you feel are hidden gems that're underplayed or unknown to most. Feel free to add some artifacts, multicolored, and/or lands to your list if you'd like (Spoiler Alert: I'm too lazy for all that.)

White: Tie Reconnaissance / Scapegoat. Recon is absolutely nuts if you know what you're doing with it. Scapegoat pseudo dodges -X-X, tuck, exile, sac, and other hard to dodge wraths... I'd much rather eat a personal Evacuation than end up in topdeck mode.

Blue: Mana Maze. This significantly slows down countless decks and I NEVER see it.

Black: Archfiend of Depravity. This one baffles me. A 5 mana 5/4 flyer that wipes your opponents boards and/or forces them to hold creatures in hand is nuts.

Red: Smoke. Yeah it takes the right deck like Narset, Enlightened Master or any voltron strategy but the amount of people that've never heard of this card astounds me.

Green: Gaea's Touch. People pay top dollar for extra land drops and this one never sees the light of day.

griffstick says... #2

Gaea's Touch is criminally underplayed. Every monogreen deck needs this

Glasses of Urza, this card goes in every deck. I think it's better that Telepathy, because you can just announce what's in the players hand to the table and have the table know "hey that guy have Torment of Hailfire in he's hand.

December 29, 2021 11:51 p.m. Edited.

RNR_Gaming says... #3

Augur of Autumn - this card needs to be in every green deck.

Malevolent Hermit  Flip - semi popular now but will probably be $10 next year it not reprinted

Florian, Voldaren Scion - basically rakdos Tymna

Katilda, Dawnhart Prime - ramp, pay off and human synergy card is a slam dunk

December 30, 2021 12:02 a.m.

griffstick says... #4

White - Soltari Visionary and Prison Term. I find so much value in these cards. Prison Term is so good at taking down many combos. Soltari Visionary is gonna hit over and over again because of it having shadow.

Black - Sadistic Sacrament, this card is so good at taking out a combo deck. If you kick it then you just destroy a deck. Withering Boon, this card is actually really good. Most creatures have a really good ETB effect. Withering Boon will stop that from happening by countering it. In most cases it is better that a kill spell.

December 30, 2021 12:08 a.m.

Last_Laugh says... #5

griffstick I've honestly never seen Withering Boon before. I might have to try that in my Marchesa, the Black Rose deck. That life loss is a bonus there.

December 30, 2021 12:13 a.m.

I've recently learned about Smoke, and was about to order it and some other new cards for decks. Now, I've added Gaea's Touch to that order.

Smoke is just ridiculous for Moraug, Fury of Akoum. There we have the red commander that mitigates its drawback.

Touch and also Primal Order will go into Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma. Order is a great damage source if you play few enough non-basics.

I also bought a Obscuring Haze. It's super-cheap for a free spell. Same goes for Inkshield.

Oh, and Imposing Grandeur is a great draw spell, especially for Moraug. They say the average CMC for commanders is sinking lower and lower, so it becomes even better with a CMC6 commander.

December 30, 2021 1:39 a.m.

Well, Inkshield obviously isn't a free spell. But it's definitely a great fog ;)

I forgot to mention Tideforce Elemental. It's basically a second copy of Retreat to Coralhelm. That's huge!

December 30, 2021 1:58 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #8

Sunbird's Invocation. You'd be surprised how often it kicks off.

Also Empowered Autogenerator.

December 30, 2021 5:58 a.m. Edited.

Niko9 says... #9

Gaea's Touch is a really good point. I used to run it in an enchantress deck and it was great. Those kind of, get your mana back, effects are always underrated I think. I've found a ton of use for Soldevi Adnate and that's kinda similar. Just a very reliable way to get back the mana you spent.

Spectral Steel is one that I never see mentioned but I've always found it very good. Buffing Esper Sentinel by 2 is super annoying, and if you get it in the graveyard it becomes recursion for your best equipments and auras. I run it in a self mill deck and a lot of the time it's a tutor I can play out of the graveyard. That self mill also has Planar Birth which is the bombeyist of bombs when it goes off. Sometimes mill fizzles and it sits in my hand, but I feel like every time I play it I'm getting 6-10 lands into play. These may be situational, I fully admit, but I never see them talked about really.

December 30, 2021 7:54 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #10

A lot of players dislike Sunbird's Invocation because of the fear of wheeling into nothing. For example, you play a Sol Ring. What are the chances your top card has MV 1 or less? Likely quite small. So it feels like it's only meant for big plays, like +6mv. Well, it's not. If you construct a curve properly, you'd be shocked at just how often you find something you can use.

As for Empowered Autogenerator, many players dislike it as it enters tapped and requires multiple turns to "pay back" the mana investment. I wouldn't look at it that way. Consider this: Every time you use it, you net +1 additional mana from previous uses. If you have an opening hand and can play it on curve or even before with other ramp, by mid-game this artifact alone is playing your wincons and pays your full commander tax. It yields serious value. When you tap and add 7 mana, that's definitely nothing to scoff at. Even if you're only at 4 mana, that means you've also produced 3+2+1 or 6. Now you've made 6+4 or 10.

10 mana from one source is HUGE over the course of the game. Absolutely worth considering if you're already at cards with +4MV.

December 30, 2021 8:06 a.m. Edited.

I find that I can always find a slot in my green decks for Avoid Fate. Any chance to protect your permanents at instant speed is a win for me.

December 30, 2021 2:34 p.m.

griffstick says... #12

Void is a solid card

December 30, 2021 4:24 p.m.

I’ve mentioned it in other threads, but I LOVE Artificer's Hex. Harsh Mentor has been fun for punishing fancy infinite-loopers and synergistic over-achievers. Lol

December 30, 2021 9:17 p.m.

Gleeock says... #14

  • Shiny Impetus This accelerates dmg to opponents so fast. It is amazing with early use on a voltron or growing creature, even if you don't have that target it is solid... This card is better than most people think.

  • Oath of Druids Solid in any deck that wants the board to stay uncontrolled. Particularly good if you like to goad. Really oath of any color except or are all gems.

December 31, 2021 12:42 p.m.

Gleeock says... #15

Funny how quickly players catch onto these, I would have more several months ago but now I cannot call them underplayed gems.

  • Clackbridge Troll still underplayed. I will gladly choose an opponent that cannot do jack with goats. I am ok with doming someone with trample troll or I am ok with drawing & gaining.

  • Creative Technique is bonkers with demonstrate. Just choose an opponent that plays a bunch of value spells, dorks, or x-spells.

I think one thing in common with alot of mine is that many have a perceived double-edged sword, but this has been mitigated about 80% of the time for me just by choosing the right player with the right strategy to grant a "boon" to

December 31, 2021 12:53 p.m.

No shortage of 'em, that's for sure...

Hull Breach: The same card advantage of Return to Dust and at the same speed... but for half the mana. It's a common, too. How this two-for-one superstar was ever forgotten was beyond me!

Blood Frenzy: Mono-Red is somewhat lacking in hard removal. Sure it can throw direct damage at creatures, but EDH is the world of big plays, and sometimes a fattie will come along who is simply too big to burn. Blood Frenzy can kill any attacking or blocking creature for just two mana - while coming with a free Scorching Missile! This type of card takes advantage of the multiplayer format that EDH often is: If Player A attacks Player B with a big creature, you can use Blood Frenzy to make the creature hit Player B for four more points while conveniently disposing of it right after. Whoops, you just did Doom Blade better than black could ever dream of.

Aftershock: Blood Frenzy is cheap and powerful but a little specific in what it can target. Aftershock can flat-out destroy any permanent of the three most common types with no restrictions! This kind of versatility at four mana comes with the acceptable caveat of 3 life, which is a pittance when you start with 40. If you're making a mono-red deck, the flexibility of Aftershock should make it a staple.

Repopulate: Graveyard hate for decks without access to black - and it's an instant, so you don't lose the element of surprise like if you run artifact solutions. It can also fight against milling effects if you're desperate. Don't need graveyard hate? Hey, you can just cycle it away for something else!

Kill Switch: Playing a colour that can't deal with artifacts? Crank this guy every turn and you'll shut them all down! A Blightsteel Colossus is only scary if it can move. You can even still use mana rocks and attack with artifact creatures on your turn, then activate Kill Switch afterwards to keep anyone else from having access to their own trinkets.

Duskmantle, House of Shadow: Does anyone in your playgroup run Cruel, Enlightened, Mystical, Personal, Sylvan, Vampiric or Worldly Tutor? How about Harbingers, Volrath's Stronghold or Momir Vig? It can be comforting to have an anti-tutor just sitting in play, making mana when you don't need it.

Mitotic Manipulation: Monoblue can't do mana acceleration, right? Under most circumstances, Mitotic Manipulation is three mana to put an Island into play untapped - last I checked, that's better than the ever-popular Wayfarer's Bauble. Plus, once in a while you might get to pull out a Sol Ring, Gilded Lotus or other format staple if one of your opponents already has theirs.

Coalition Honor Guard: Long before Spellskite was zooming the toys away from Boggles decks, this unassuming common was doing the same. The Honor Guard is a nightmare for any Voltron-style deck that leans heavily into auras, including the common Zur and Uril builds. It also soaks up removal that would be pointed at key cards, such as your own commander.

Warping Wail: This counterspell can be played in any colour and even has some other modes. Any EDH deck without access to blue can still run this to prevent untimely board wipes, extra turns, and plenty of game-ending cards: Debt to the Deathless, Exsanguinate, Finale of Devastation, Genesis Wave, Insurrection, Rise of the Dark Realms, Torment of Hailfire... any number of effects you never want to see your opponent resolve.

Heat Shimmer: This mundane-sounding sorcery can do some heavy lifting, particularly in a colour pie as shallow as red's. Shimmer allows you to bring the heat by copying not only the best comes-into-play trigger on the field, but also any fun triggers from attacking, dealing damage, and so on. This can be a roundabout way for red to ramp, draw cards or borrow the nasty abilities of Resolute Archangel, Terastodon and other off-colour haymakers. Don't forget you can also get a permanent copy of your token if you Populate it before it's gone.

Bind: The best cards are often not only powerful but completely unexpected. Green isn't exactly known for its countering, but this cheap cantrip lets any mono-green deck stop combos, hose Strip Mine/Ghost Quarter, prevent a planeswalker ultimate or turn Aetherflux Reservoir into a losing proposition. All this for two mana and it even replaces itself!

Arena of the Ancients: We all know Karakas is banned for hosing commanders too hard, but the Arena does a decent impression and is still fair game. This cheap artifact can tap down even commanders with hexproof or vigilance and keeps them locked down - especially useful for colours that don't typically have strong control options, like black and/or red. It's another easy answer to voltron commanders.

Righteous Aura: This card doesn't read as too impressive, but performs a lot better than you might think. 2 life is a pittance in the face of some of the steroid monsters you'll see in any given EDH game, and it allows you to ignore Commander damage entirely as well as any other non-creature or even non-permanent threats that might take a chunk out of you. Best of all, it doesn't even target, allowing it to bypass hexproof, shroud and protection.

January 1, 2022 5:33 a.m.

Peoyogon says... #17

It’s becoming more well known (as evidence by its rising price tag) but I still think Meltdown is definitely underrated. It is such a great way to punish the players who chain mana rocks in the first two turns or any deck that relies on populating their field with treasure tokens.

January 1, 2022 12:35 p.m.

Lanzo493 says... #18

Worn Powerstone is such a great mana rock! It’s not competitive level, but it’s great for many decks that need lots of mana. Give it a try.

January 1, 2022 1:18 p.m.

Gleeock says... #19

ClockworkSwordfish -- nice I get what you are saying about Righteous Aura. I really need to add this to my enchantress deck. I could picture this saving my bacon in alot of games. In addition it could be a great political enchantment for combat-filled games, where an opponent will not even bother with you with a beefy threat when you have open. Particularly if they need a dmg trigger.

January 1, 2022 2:22 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #20

So much in here already. Just going to drop my favorite commander Mairsil, the Pretender. He's a little too slow to be strong enough for competitive, I think that makes him just about perfect for mid to high casual tables. He doesn't get new toys in every set but they drop often enough that there is usually going to be new things to do with him every 3 or 4 sets. At least that has been my experience since picking him up myself. Also a huge back catalog to try out so to speak. He does lend himself to combos but I've also had plenty of fun with a more voltrony approach too. The colors are also great for control of course.

January 1, 2022 2:29 p.m.

Niko9 says... #21

Yep Mairsil! Such a fun card. I actually saw some things recently where Marisil was being played in no ban list cEDH and was kinda crazy. I think the idea was to get Grislebrand on Mairsil, the Pretender and draw, or get Time Vault or Voltaic Key on Mairisil to combo out. Really, it was just interesting to see a commander that is not usually in cEDH being really good in no ban list.

January 1, 2022 4:34 p.m.

griffstick says... #22

I want to double down on what ClockworkSwordfish said. Righteous Aura is so good. It get around hexproof and Shroud.

January 1, 2022 5:21 p.m. Edited.

Argy says... #23

I like Nighthowler

I particularly like the fact that it becomes stronger in the face of a board wipe, if it is an Aura at the time.

January 2, 2022 8:49 a.m.

Bmphipps14 says... #24

While I do have a bunch of niche pet cards that are really good in specific situations, I tried to keep this list to cards that I just never see across the table yet jam into most of my decks that can play them. Some of which are already climbing in value so maybe they aren't as underrated as I think but still worth spreading the word about. Caveat that I'm mostly a budget/casual player but cards like these are how I build 50-100 dollar decks that go to bat with 2-400 dollar decks

W Glorious Protector If your deck doesn't have Blue and has ANY level of ETB synergy, this card is amazing. Helps your team dodge all manner of board wipe: bounce, exile, -X/-X, good ol' destroy.

U Plea for Power Pay 4 draw 3 is an acceptable rate and there are situations in which you might be able to convince two of your opponents to give you the extra turn to deal with the third. Metamorphic Alteration I've never seen anybody else play this card- I only play it in Zedruu the Greathearted and Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea which have permanent/Enchantment synergy and would recommend doing the same but the sky's the limit on this bad boy. There's the obvious use of removal (I've turned someone's Commander into a Humble Defector before) but it's got the flexibility of copying someone else's Eldrazi or Avacyn for 2 mana. Stubborn Denial Does your Commander have 4+ Power? Are you already playing Negate? Well here's that for half off!

B Vona's Hunger Instant speed Asymmetrical Board Wipe for 3. Do I need to say anything else? This is one I used to be able to pick up for 80 cents and is now 4 bucks :( Incarnation Technique Any time I've cast this I've negotiated a specific creature in an opponent's graveyard that I know won't be too threatening and gotten two bangers for myself for 5 mana. Additionally, if your deck has any kind of graveyard synergy already, the mill 10 is outstanding. Virtus's Maneuver I'm a sucker for political cards as this list can totally indicate, but this 3 mana spell that pays for itself has the option to remove a pesky Voltron Commander or make some friends around the table. Or both! Court of Ambition Why this isn't in every non-cEDH Black deck is beyond me- If you're able to maintain Monarch (and with it board position) for 2+ turns it will essentially seal the deal on anybody trying to challenge you. Even if you aren't, sending Monarchy around the table encourages them to hurt each other while you're draining a sneaky 3 life every turn from every opponent. This card does serious work (in any game expected to go past turn 6).

R Rousing Refrain Best case scenario you're able to play this turn 2 and then have a pretty blowout-y turn 5 (I use it to cast Niv Mizzet while holding mana for counters) but worst case this is essentially a free spell that helps you rebuild from board wipes or push extra hard for a win. Doesn't go in every deck but consider whether yours is right Chandra, Fire Artisan Repeatable card draw isn't super common in Red, plus she comes with her own discouraging rattlesnake clause.

G Sigardian Zealot I love this card! You're in Green so you probably have creatures- my biggest issue with team-buffers like this is that a lot of them only give the buff on swing. This is at worst a 6/6 Vigilance for 5 that boosts your team the turn he comes down, at best he boosts your team to make killing blows while leaving you all the blockers you need. If you natively have any Trample synergy (this dude rips in my Zilortha, Strength Incarnate deck) then take a look at this guy. Blossoming Bogbeast Budget alternative to Pathbreaker Ibex. Guaranteed +2/+2 and full team Trample: not as mana-intensive or clunky as Dragon Throne of Tarkir and more repeatable than Overwhelming Stampede. Are Stampede and Ibex better? Totally. Are they 70 cents? Nope! And that's all assuming you aren't playing any Lifegain synergy- if you are, this absolutely deserves a slot. Wrap in Vigor If you're playing a non-Blue, non Nikya, non-Voltron Green deck (read: most Green decks because even some of those criteria aren't absolute) this card is awesome! Heroic Intervention is one of the best Green spells ever printed imo and while this is clearly its little brother you should still consider doubling up on 2 mana protection like this. I've won tons of games cause someone else wipes the board for me and the "Creatures can't be regenerated" clause is becoming less and less relevant as cards like Vanquish the Horde become the new standard.

L Bonders' Enclave Does your Commander have 4+ Power and you're playing 3 or less colors? This card deserves a slot. This is the other card I've grabbed 5 of for 40 cents and now are 2 bucks a piece. Is it inefficient? Totally. Does it give you options when it's turn 8 and you're looking at your Commander and an empty hand while coming at the low low cost of being a colorless land in every other situation? Totally.

I got a lot of good ideas from this thread, hopefully mine can help somebody out!

January 2, 2022 12:44 p.m.

griffstick says... #25

Another 2 sweet cards are Dauthi Embrace and Dauthi Trapper. They are very good for getting in unblocked in black. I'm not sure if thus cars I'd a surprise to people anymore but I absolutely love Imp's Mischief

January 2, 2022 3:36 p.m.

Dragon Throne of Tarkir really does deserve some bonus points for theme; what’s cooler than some warlord-type in a skull throne directing a swarm of baddies towards your enemy??

January 2, 2022 10:01 p.m.

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