The Amonkhet block has brought with it a lot of very unique creatures and mechanics. Not only have there been powerful Modern cards in the forms of Harsh Mentor and Censor, but there have also been some very powerful Legendary creatures released. While some of these creatures may never see play in any normal seventy five card format, they are perfectly suited for Magic’s most popular singleton format, Commander. With the recent release of the second set in the Amonkhet block (Hour of Devastation), we are going to be taking a look at our picks for the top five best commanders from both sets! So without further ado, let’s get into the list.
The Scarab God
First up on our list is none other than the notorious Scarab God. Talk of using it in Commander begin right when it was spoiled, and has continued to this day. This creature’s effects are just very powerful all around, and its abilities work incredibly well with the cards available to it in its colors. Obviously this card works best in a zombie tribal deck. While EDH is no stranger to zombie strategies already, having popular commanders in mono black, such as: Mikeaus, the Unhallowed and Ghoulcaller Gisa. The added color of blue provides a lot of interesting options that could make zombie tribal more powerful than it ever was.
The Scarab God’s first ability, which allows its owner to scry equal to the number of zombies they control every turn, and then deal that much damage to each opponent is incredibly relevant in a multiplayer format. Not only does the scry provide powerful library filtering (which makes it all that easier to find important combo pieces, and answers to your opponent’s plays), but the extra damage each turn can really help efficiently close a game out. It is very important to note that the damage applies to every opponent. Any ability in EDH which is universal and applies to the entire group is always going to be quite playable and effective at what it does. Not to mention with the abundance of zombies available in the format, it will be incredibly easy to get this card on a roll.
However the Scarab God’s second ability, which sort of overshadowed by its first, should not be forgotten either. Even though in most games, the first ability will most likely be the focus, having the ability to reanimate any creature card from any graveyard on a stick is very powerful. Essentially making your zombies doubly undead, this ability opens up a treasure trove of different options a player can take. One could utilize the ability as a value play, and run a ton of removal, slowly taking control of all of their opponents creatures. Or someone else could run a very powerful reanimator strategy – similar to what Alesha, Who Smiles at Death allows players to do. However instead of running very low to the ground, small creatures, The Scarab God most likely wants to run very high costed powerful creatures that have relevant abilities, such as Grave Titan and Sheoldred, Whispering One. It is important to remember that The Scarab God’s ability always will bring the reanimated creature back as a 4/4, so running creatures just because they have good stats won’t always preform well. It is probably a better idea to run creatures with powerful enter the battlefield abilities and other relevant abilities that affect the game in ways other than just being a large creature.
The Scarab God’s final ability is just icing on the cake. If your opponents don’t have graveyard interaction the turn that they remove your commander, there is almost no way to get this guy to go back to the Command zone (Unless of course he is exiled). Basically throughout a game, you will be playing this card for its normal mana cost of five, because in many cases there will be no need to return it to the command zone. However, even though hand disruption and graveyard interaction is not as popular in Commander as it is in other formats, it is still definitely played. Which means you have to be careful not to abuse this ability, making sure your opponent’s won’t be able to remove it from your graveyard or hand.
Blue allows The Scarab God and his zombie companions access to a lot of very interesting new strategies that weren’t previously very viable (mainly because of the Commanders available). Not only does blue provide the obvious advantages of conterspells, cantrips, and combos, but it also allows access to some very powerful Zombies and creatures that can really make or break the game. Some of these creatures include but are not limited to: Grimgrin, Corpse-Born, Undead Alchemist, and Prized Amalgam.
In all, The Scarab God is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with on the Commander scene. Not only does it have incredibly useful and relevant abilities, but it provides a whole new color combination for the zombie tribe. It is yet to be seen if this deck will truly shine, but so far it is looking like it will be a very powerful strategy for quite a while to come.
Samut, Voice of Dissent
Next up is Samut, Voice of Dissent. This commander is very interesting. In the color combination of Red, Green, and White (Naya), she tends to work best in a creature-centric build. Her colors allow access to some of Magic’s biggest and most powerful creatures – and ways to easily tutor for them. Generally she is built around a basic toolbox strategy, that looks to win the game through very powerful creatures, a few infinite combos (mostly with Kiki-jiki, Mirror Breaker), and value beat down. The decks that run her as a commander will usually look to be running cards such as Natural Order, Chord of Calling, and Wordly Tutor to find the right creature they need to finish a job.
Samut’s first ability, which is Flash, is arguably her best, but also worst ability. This gives a player the ability to flash her in to surprise block a creature, or untap another creature you or your opponents control, in response to something. Additionally Samut is a very relevant creature in combat, which makes her a viable beat-down creature. Her use of Double strike, vigilance and haste can make her a very formidable foe to face up against.
There are lot’s of cards in Magic that give all creatures you control haste, and in fact many do it for a much cheaper cost than Samut (Hammer of Purphoros). However putting the ability on a creature that can be a Commander can also be very powerful. Even though Samut has a higher converted mana cost than said cards, she has the added benefit of always being relevant, able to be cast, and having other abilities in the case that giving something haste is not effective.
Samut’s final ability, where she can untap a target creature for a single white mana is also quite useful. While this ability is not straight out powerful, it does have the ability to incrementally gain value throughout a game. Whether that is by always allowing you to attack and leave up blockers, or playing a political game and untapping your opponent’s creatures. Samut can even be used to untap creatures such as Rubinia Soulsinger to prevent the stealing of creatures.
Overall – while not being directly as powerful as cards like Narset, Enlightened Master – Samut is a very relevant and useful commander for the Naya color combination. She seems to work best in a toolbox shell that looks to win the game overtime through creature beat-down, or the occasional carefully constructed infinite combo with Kiki-Jiki.
Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons
This list definitely would not be complete without adding the very powerful and already proven commander; Hipatra. If this commander is not left in check by its opponents, it can very easily take over a game in a few turns. Hapatra’s low mana cost simply serves to help this notion. Once this commander gets on a roll, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop without a board wipe or other forms of mass removal. Hapatra is arguably one of the most powerful commanders that has come out of the Amonkhet block so far.
Hapatra’s first ability is not as relevant as her other abilities, because many times you will not be attacking with her. However it still does matter in some situations. Because she can be played so early, it is possible to get a few attacks in before anyone has a chance to play creatures that could effectively block her.
Where Hapatra really shines is her ability to create a 1/1 snake creature token with death touch every time one or more -1/-1 counters are put on a creature. It turns out there are actually a lot of cards in EDH that put -1/-1 counters on things, including very powerful infect creatures, and some artifacts. Utilizing all of these, plus Hipatra’s low mana cost, it is very easy to make a ton of snake tokens in a very short amount of time. Some cards that really synergize with hapatra are: Black Sun’s Zenith, and Contagion Clasp. Once a player produces enough snakes, they can eventually swing in for a win. Additionally a player could opt to add a few infinite combos to the deck as well. Cards with persist also get that much better with Hapatra, as they will create tokens when they come back into play.
Hapatra is a commander that has already proven herself on the commander scene. Her low mana cost and very powerful effects make her a good option for anyone looking to play a -1/-1 counter or token deck.
Neheb, the Eternal
Talk about playing burn in EDH! Neheb, the Eternal is a very interesting card. Besides having one of the longest creature type lines that has been printed in a while, he has some very different and useful abilities. These abilities really help to facilitate a mono red direct damage matters type of strategy, where the deck looks to deal as much damage it can, as fast as possible.
Neheb’s first ability – which is the new Hour of Devastation mechanic Afflict – is underwhelming out of the box. Historically, dealing three damage to a single opponent in EDH has never been that good. The ability does not even deal commander damage, it is just normal damage. However when combined with his second ability the Afflict trigger can become very relevant.
Adding as much mana as has been dealt to your opponents to your mana pool each turn is incredibly powerful. It opens up the door for players to utilize very powerful burn cards, and then make mana off of them! Not only that, but it makes aggro more viable in EDH, as attacking an opponent doesn’t just deal damage, but gives you even more of one of Magic’s most powerful resources. In general all encompassing burn spells will be the way to go. Some of these spells include cards like Flame Rift and Fall of the Titans. Neheb’s ability essentially staples desperate ritual onto every single burn spell you play, and in some cases makes them even more powerful than that. This allows you to play a ton of spells in one turn, or easily drop huge cards like Eldrazi titans.
Neheb really opens up the possibility for mono red burn or aggro in EDH. While both strategies were previously viable, Neheb opens the door for some very powerful interactions and decks that could not previously be played. It is yet to be said if Neheb will truly be as powerful as he seems, but he will definitely provide for some interesting games.
Razaketh, the Foulblooded
Razaketh has already been discussed heavily among many players. Some attributing him to the likes of Griselbrand. While he is a very powerful commander, the decks he is played in can have a few consistency issues, and he is nowhere near as game breaking as Griselbrand. But regardless, Razaketh has the ability to command a very powerful mono black combo deck that can win games incredibly efficiently. In fact, some versions of this deck lean more on the side of competitive EDH rather than casual.
First let’s talk about his combat abilities. Razaketh is definitely a formidable foe on the battlefield. His 8/8 body, with both flying and trample, makes him a very powerful creature in combat. Additionally because he is an 8/8, it can become very easy to win through commander damage in just a few turns.
However, where Razaketh really shines is his second ability, which many have called vampiric tutor on a stick. This ability allows you to pay two life and sacrifice another creature to search your library for any card and put it in your hand. Any sort of tutor in EDH has already proven to be incredibly powerful, and most commanders with tutors stapled on to them usually end up being very good. Razaketh is no exception to this rule. His ability allows players to play any number of mono black and artifact combos that are available in the format, and to assemble them very quickly. Additionally, because Razaketh is in mono black, players have open to them almost all of the most powerful tutors in the game, so if Razaketh can’t be cast in time, the deck can still be fairly fast.
Overall Razaketh has the ability to be a very powerful and relevant commander in EDH. While he can be used for more casual decks such as Demon tribal, or Mono Black midrange, where he will most likely really shine is in some sort of combo shell. We don’t quite know yet where this commander will assert himself in the Commander meta game, but he will most likely be considered a very powerful commander to play.
That about finishes up our picks for the top five commanders from the Amonkhet block. Every single one of them provides the ability to make some really cool and unique strategies, while also being powerful and relevant. While some of these commanders may not be the most powerful you could play, they definitely are worth checking out if you were considering playing a similar deck.
But what do you think? Are there any other legendary creatures from the Amonkhet block that you really like to use as a commander? If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to leave them in the section below.
And as always, happy gaming everyone!