The Colours of Commander

Disregarding things such as the commander’s colour or other players’ commanders’ colours, what is the best colour in EDH? The question is difficult to answer straight-up; EDH is a huge format with deep complexity and every group will be different. That said, these are my personal beliefs when it comes to the raw power of each colour in Commander, ranking least powerful to most powerful.

priceofglory.full

One of the best hate cards in the format, sure to make people grind their teeth.

#5 – Red: Red has a few boons in more traditional Magic formats, Lightning Bolt is easily one of the best and most flexible removal spells out there, as is proven with its popularity in all formats it is available. Red also has a lot of raw power in small, fast creatures. However, in a format where creatures tend to either be huge or have Hexproof/Shroud, or both, Lightning Bolt is not a valuable card at all, and in a format where players start with 40 life rather than 20, it’s much harder to win a damage race with small weenies. That said, Red has some excellent hate available in the format – Magus of the Moon, Blood Moon, Stranglehold and Price of Glory are all excellent control cards that can really mess with the opponent’s, but all but Stranglehold forces you to adapt your deck to it. Red also lacks reliable tutoring, since it really only has Gable if one wants to play mono-red. It is by no means a weak colour in the format, since it has these excellent hate cards, but it is perhaps the least powerful one in a vacuum. It should be noted that it is the colour of mass-land destruction, which is frowned upon in many playgroups, but a very powerful strategy and the best answer to ramp, another popular and powerful strategy.

 

hallowedburial.hq

“Tucking” is especially effective against opposing commanders, but will turn people against you!

#4 – White: Another support colour, white offers some of the format’s worthwhile spot-removals in Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile and Condemn all weighing in at a single white mana to exile a creature or tuck a commander. It also has the most price-worthy board wipes of all colours, Wrath of God, Day of Judgment, Austere Command, Akroma’s Vengeance, Hallowed Burial etc. are all available even to mono-white commanders. Other colours have board wipes for sure, but white tends to get them in plenty. White has some access to tutoring, especially after enchantments, in Enlightened Tutor, Idyllic Tutor and Academy Rector. Aside that, white can make for an excellent support colour with its many answers to other problematic permanents, Oblivion Ring, Return to Dust and Archon of Justice to name a few. It can also do mass-land destruction in Armageddon, Ravages of War, Catastrophe and Cataclysm. White has problems standing up on its own due to its lack of natural ramp, tutoring and ways to close out games.

 

cultivate.full

One of the format’s most powerful three-drops, seriously.

#3 – Green: The colour of ramp is probably the best support colour in most EDH groups. Cultivate, Kodama’s Reach, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Rampant Growth, Harrow, Search for Tomorrow, Far Wanderings, Farseek, Oracle of Mul Daya – the list of cheap green ramp can be made long. Ramp is probably one of the most potent strategies in the format, meaning green is always in high demand. Green also has some awesome tutoring in Survival of the Fittest and Fauna Shaman. It also carries popular utility cards such as Eternal Witness, Acidic Slime, Chord of Calling, Restock and so on. Green also has a number of generally game-ending spells, Avenger of Zendikar, Genesis Wave, Natural Order, Tooth and Nail and so on.

 

crypticcommand.hq

The most versatile counterspell in the format?

#2 – Blue: The shocker of the list is that blue isn’t the best colour, like in other formats like Legacy or Vintage. Blue has a lot of things going for it, it has excellent card-advantage in Blue Sun’s Zenith and Fact or Fiction, it has great utility counterspells in Hinder, Cryptic Command and Desertion, and it even has some big game-winners like Time Stretch. Blue is no slouch in EDH, but is barely edged out by the number one.

 

demonictutor.hq

“You may”, hah!

#1 – Black: Taking the top spot is black, but not by much. Like blue, black has a lot of things going for it. It can, like white, wipe the board clean with Damnation, Mutilate, Massacre Wurm or Decree of Pain, it can, like green, ramp with Cabal Coffers and similar lands, it can, like blue, draw a bunch of cards with Necropotence, Promise of Power, Phyrexian Arena and so on. Black can do all of these things, and it still gets the most, best tutors of all colours. Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Diabolic Tutor, Liliana Vess, Beseech the Queen, and, for those with thick wallets, Grim Tutor and Imperial Seal, are all monsters in this singleton format, allowing the caster to get whatever he or she needs. Black alos has a number of awesome spells that can take over and win the game in Exsanguinate, Sorin Markov, Yawgmoth’s Will, Living Death, Rise of the Dark Realms to name a few. Finally, black has a lot of recursion, which means it plays the long game better than other colours. In short, black is a powerhouse in EDH, and even mono-black decks have most of the tools needed to do well.

 

What do you think of the list? Do you agree/disagree? Leave your own opinions in the comment section, and maybe I’ll revisit the subject in the future.

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