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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Aug 27 2013 7:09am
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 Green has always been my color. I'm not sure why. I don't even enjoy that much the great outdoors in real life, and I'm definitely not the type that would live in the country. I think I'm more of a blue person, but back in the old times, I found the original blue concept of "You shall not play!" off-putting. I'm mostly a honest guy, so that's probably what green does for me, as even its intricacies are out there: look, I'm growing bigger and I'll beat you, but I'm doing it before your eyes, so try and stop me; if you do, good for you. I'm also a believer in the eternal cycle of nature, life and death, and I admire and respect all those primordial myths and scientific theories about Gaia (you know, that's our Gaea), so there's that.

 But whatever the reason, I used to play green-based decks since when I started to be in this game, long, long ago, back when you would look at Force of Nature as the biggest threat in existence. Yep, that long ago. I hardly find anything attractive in all the other mono-colored options, as mono-white looks boring to me, mono-black and mono-red too narrow, and mono-blue either too annoying to play against or too hard to pull off on its own. (Colorless is probably my second mono-deck of choice, if you will.) So when I started playing Commander, after getting on MTGO a few years ago, mono-green decks materialized quite naturally. (See what I did there?)

 Despite Commander being born out of the Elder Dragons of yonder, and still having three-colored legends as their expected centerpiece, like the precon decks from two years ago easily demonstrated, many players are drawn to mono-colored builds as well. They eliminate any mana issue, and most importantly, they give you the opportunity to delve deeper into one color in search for hidden or forgotten gems. However, it occurred to me that the times when I was playing mono-green in Commander, I usually stuck to just one guy (I'll mention which one in due time) and made a generic good stuff/ramp deck out of it. Which is fun and gives me the chance to compile a list of the Essential Green Stuff for Commander. But I recently found myself wondering: what other mono-green legends could I put at the helm of my Commander deck? Are there some of the abovementioned hidden gems among them? Let's find out.

  • Definition: every mono-green Legendary creature card in the game
  • Number of cards: 52 (50 online). For comparison, the total number of commanders in the game is 500. Check my full list of all of them, with their types.
  • What you need to know: Category is the general skill set of the commander (Pure Beater = good to smash faces on its own; Tactical Beater = helps others to smash faces; Ramper = builds your mana; Utility = does some kind of useful stuff; Tribal Lord = only exploits linear builds based on a specific creature type; Useless = you know this one); Body is the sum of Power and Toughness; the Rating is calculated on a scale from 0 to 10, and is uniquely based on the use of these creatures as commanders; the entries are ordered alphabetically.
  • Note: Daughter of Autumn, Rhys the Exiled, and Thelon of Havenwood aren't mono-green commanders, as they command Selesnya and Golgari builds respectively.
  • Click HERE to go directly to the hypertextual list at the end with all of the entries.

1. 

  • Name: Arashi, the Sky Asunder   >> summary
  • Set: Saviors of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Arashi is certainly a strong, proactive utility creature. He protects your green deck from flyers (the nemesis of green), while at the same time providing a solid 5/5 for 5 mana, which makes him a good choice to lead a mono-green deck that's not committed to any particular strategy and is just content to be green. His anti-air warfare isn't as versatile as Silklash Spider's or as explosive as (Tordado Elemental)'s, but at least he doesn't kill himself like his counterpart Jiwari, the Earth Aflame, and he's a decent beater when he's not killing angels and dragons. Unfortunately, his channel ability, that would provide an improved removal option, doesn't work in Commander games (at least online). But hey, you get to have a cumulonimbus for a commander. How cool is that?
  • Category: Utility (Tactical)
  • Rating: 7

 

2. 

  • Name: Autumn Willow   >> summary
  • Set: Homelands
  • Type: Avatar
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Ah, Homelands! The home of all that's bad and lame! Except for her, though (and not much else). Still, a quasi-hexproof beater that's just a 4/4 for 6 mana isn't top-notch anymore. She's no Thrun, I'm afraid. And yeah, this was one of the best cards in the set. You don't want to look at the others.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 3

 

3. 

  • Name: Ayumi, the Last Visitor   >> summary
  • Set: Saviors of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: I don't think I ever saw Ayumi played, in any format. But you know what? She's not that bad in a Commander deck that's aiming to win through those 21 commander-inflicted points of damage. Of course, she's overly frail, and legendary lands, although frequent, aren't an absolute guarantee at any given time. Then again, it's not that Commander is filled with Lightning Bolts, and once her ability kicks in, she doesn't have to worry about being blocked by a random 3/3 token. If I had to build a voltron type of deck in mono-green, I'd rather use her than Autumn Willow.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 6

 

4. 

  • Name: Azusa, Lost but Seeking   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Types: Human Monk
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 3
  • Evaluation: Azusa is scary. She might seem serenely frolicking in the woods, despite being lost. But she's actually plotting the ruthless demise of her enemies (that's what she's "seeking"!). And she does that via fast, inescapable ramp. Up to three lands per turn to a color that excels at tutoring lands, starting from probably turn 2? The rest is up to you. If you fail to play Terastodon by turn 4, that'll be your fault, not Azusa's.
  • Category: Ramper
  • Rating: 9

 

5. 

  • Name: Baru, Fist of Krosa   >> summary
  • Set: Future Sight
  • Types: Human Druid
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: It might seem preposterous to use Baru in a Singleton format, given that it would entirely nullify his second, and sexier, Wurm-spawning ability. And indeed, it is. Still, he's a generic team helper who provides trample and a small pumping bonus, without the tribal restriction of Kodama of the South Tree. Nothing too exciting, but quite decent. He also nicely combos with stuff like Ranger's Path. Or, you know, Boundless Realms. But what's his deal of being the shifted version of Kamahl? In the Time Spiral's anomaly-ridden universe, Kamahl shifted to a guy who's almost, but not quite, entirely like what he already was? (And never mind that green Kamahl already was the redeemed, enlightened version of his previous violent barbarian self.)
  • Category:  Tactical Beater
  • Rating: 6

 

6. 

  • Name: Bounteous Kirin   >> summary
  • Set: Saviors of Kamigawa
  • Types: Kirin Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Meet the second largest flyer among mono-green commanders. Out of a grand total of 2, of course. And he actually costs more than his rival, due to his other ability, the one that makes him a suitable lord for a Spirit deck. There are other three mono-green commanders that are up for that job (Spirit is one of the more common types among green legends, along with Snake), in virtue of directly exploiting the presence of a large number of Spirits in the deck. Bounteous Kirin is possibly the best choice here, with massive lifegaining beating occasional trample (while the other two are just terrible). But here's the thing: do we even want to try a mono-green Spirit deck? The playfield of the commander of such a deck would amount to these 62 creatures (itself included). There's some decent stuff in there (Haru-Onna definitely combos brilliantly with the Kirin), but green isn't exactly the best color for Spirit tribal, so the whole enterprise feels a bit forced. And of course, unlike some other commander categorized as Tribal Lords but able to do some work even on their own, if you remove the Spirits from the equation, Bounteous Kirin becomes almost entirely useless.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 5

 

7. 

  • Name: Dosan the Falling Leaf   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Types: Human Monk
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 4
  • Evaluation: City of Solitude on a stick doesn't sound half bad. The City has been the best anti-blue weapon available to green decks for a long time. Nowadays isn't entirely obsolete, especially in multiplayer, even if now we have things like Cavern of Souls, uncounterable bombs, and a general decrease of the emphasis on counter-magic across many formats. This little Monk is a safe choice if you expect a blue-heavy table for some reason, and generally hurts other colors more than green (even if, unfortunately, doesn't prevent the activation of abilities). This also means that there might well be the case where he does next to nothing. Recommended only for good-stuff builds that don't care much about their commander, but care about not being disrupted by countermagic, and to a lesser extent, being sure to have an early creature on the board for some reason.
  • Category: Utility
  • Rating: 6

 

8. 

  • Name: Eladamri, Lord of Leaves   >> summary
  • Set: Tempest
  • Types: Elf Warrior
  • Converted Mana Cost: 2
  • Body: 4
  • Evaluation: Strangely enough, of the 20 Legendary Elves in existence, only 5 are mono-green: this one, Ezuri, the original Glissa, Kaysa, and Yeva. Of these, only Eladamri and Ezuri expressly help their people. And while Ezuri is all about aggression, Eladamri's strongest suit is defense. Unless you're up against opponents who also play green. In that case, you should hope they're not playing an Elf-based deck themselves, or your stubbornly egalitarian Eladamri will just help them kill you as well, while making harder for your spells and effects to target your enemies (not that a mono-green deck does a lot of creature targeting, but you know, Master of the Wild Hunt does exist). Besides, Elf decks are certainly a thing in Commander, but there are better guys to lead them, like both versions of Rhys, who provide the not negligible advantage of a second color. At the end of the day, Eladamri is little more than a bear that protects from spot removals a tribe that mostly fears mass removal. If he was the only option, he would be good enough; things being what they are, he's barely decent, and hardly something you'll see played much.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 5

 

9. 

  • Name: Ezuri, Renegade Leader   >> summary
  • Set: Scars of Mirrodin
  • Types: Elf Warrior
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 4
  • Evaluation: What said for Eladamri might apply to Ezuri too. But the main difference is that while Eladamri is sort of an insurance policy, Ezuri is an endgame. He doesn't help your Elf deck getting there, but he helps it getting done. Plus, he also comes with some level of protection, if you really feel like you need that for your Elves. Of course, his main problem is that he's narrow, and asks for a build-around-me type of deck, which you might not want to build; then again, he asks for a popular archetype filled with useful creatures, and his build-around-me restriction is very loose after all.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 7

 

10. 

  • Name: Glissa Sunseeker   >> summary
  • Set: Mirrodin
  • Type: Elf
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 5
  • Evaluation: The first incarnation of Glissa before she went all dark side is a staple of green decks. Artifacts are often crucial in a way or another during a Commander game, and a permanent that allows for free, repeatable artifact removal is just gold. And there's not a lot of artifact haters that can compete with Glissa at her game. Would it be wise to put her at the head of a mono-green deck, then? Well, it certainly wouldn't be foolish. Your Commander won't have any direct interaction with your other cards, nor any chance at winning you the game by itself, but as soon as you'll need an opponent artifact dispatched, you'll summon her and, come the following turn (or right away if you give her haste), she'll get the job done, then proceed to waste all the other targets, one by one (or more, if you have Seedborn Muse out — you got the picture, it's an activated ability with no cost except tapping). I even dare to say that if you don't have any better idea, and your deck doesn't particularly rely on ramping, she's probably more fit for command than just a giant beater without any tactical value. Plus, she's a 3-powered first striker, so she can still find something to do once all the artifacts are gone.
  • Category: Utility
  • Rating: 8

 

11. 

  • Name: Hua Tuo, Honored Physician   >> summary
  • Set: Portal Three Kingdoms
  • Type: Human
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 3
  • Evaluation: One of the many, many legendary (yet bafflingly historical) guys from Portal Three Kingdoms, Hua Tuo is Volrath's Stronghold with power and toughness. Which is like saying that he's an extremely volatile Volrath Stronghold, but if he's your commander, you'll have access to the effect whenever you need it the most. It must be noted that is also something that Adun Oakenshield does better, without costing you a draw. But Adun is 3 colors, and his activation is as well, while Hua Tuo has the decency of not asking for any mana cost at least. Still, he asks to use the ability as a sorcery, and before your combat phase even, which is mightily annoying. All in all, he could have a serious strategical value, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired, especially considering that he would command a deck where Survival of the Fittest and Genesis are staples.
  • Category: Utility
  • Rating: 6

 

12. 

  • Name: Iname, Life Aspect   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: I actually tested it: Iname's ability works in Commander, if weirdly. You have to let him hit the graveyard when he dies, then you'll be asked if you want to exile him, at which point I expected to end with my commander permanently removed from the game, but no, you're asked again if you want to put him in the Command Zone instead, and if you do, the effect still triggers (despite the "instead") and you finally get your Spirits back in hand (Iname also hilariously targets himself with his recursion, which of course does nothing when it resolves). What an accomplishment, uh? So, to recap, we have a 4/4 vanilla commander that costs 6 mana and occasionally, through a very clunky mechanic that involves killing him somehow, lets you recur in hand a handful of Spirits. In your all-green Spirit-based deck that I don't even know if would make any sense whatsoever, and even if it does, it already has better choices for commanders (and I can't even believe I'm considering Bounteous Kirin better than something else). I don't know you, but I kinda wished Iname's ability wouldn't work in Commander. It would have been more dignified of him.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 2

 

13. 

  • Name: Isao, Enlightened Bushi   >> summary
  • Set: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  • Types: Human Samurai
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 3
  • Evaluation: Oh my God, a green Samurai lord! Are there even other green Samurais at all? Lemme check... Oh my God, no! He's the only one! So "target Samurai" means just himself? Is there anything sadder? In the end Isao is a 2/1 for 3 that regenerates for 2 and is a 4/3 in combat. I don't even.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 1

 

14. 

  • Name: Iwamori of the Open Fist   >> summary
  • Set: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  • Types: Human Monk
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Kamigawa's bad name is undeserved, as there were plenty of very powerful cards in that block (Umezawa's Jitte, Sensei's Divining Top, Gifts Ungiven, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, and many others), as powered down as it was mechanics-wise. But one thing is certain: there were some terrible, terrible creatures in there. Iwamori was already ridiculously bad in Kamigawa block, that was chocked full of legendary cards. But it becomes something akin to hitting your own knee with a pointed hammer in Commander. Or maybe it's an extreme deckbuilding challenge, like trying to climb the Everest on a skateboard. But even assuming you manage to make sure that by the time you cast it, nobody else has Ulamog in hand (which isn't something too easy to do in mono-green), what you accomplished at that point is having a 5/5 for 4, which is nothing special these days, trample or not (and if you think of it in regular non-Commander decks, where the chance of catching the opponent with a scary legend in hand are somehow reduced — or are they? — we're basically playing a Deadbridge Goliath hindered by the legendary rule). So the lingering question in using Iwamori has to be: Why, in the name of all that's holy and sacred, WHY?! Unless there's a bet involved, I guess. In that case, let's do it and take that one tix from the guy who didn't think we had the nerve to do it! Next, we'll eat 20 bananas in 5 minutes for 3 tix.
  • Category: Useless
  • Rating: 0

 

15. 

  • Name: Jedit Ojanen of Efrava   >> summary
  • Set: Planar Chaos
  • Types: Cat Warrior
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: An option we'll find often in this list is that of a mono-green commander whose role is essentially to provide a source of pure beating; some of those, however, are able to do so while also improving your board position, usually by giving bonuses to fellow creatures. The latest Jedit (planar-shifting definitely becomes him) is interesting in that he's a conditionally evasive beater — but chances are he'll be able to forestwalk against at least one player at any table — and he creates other, smaller conditionally evasive beaters, through a mechanic flexible enough and without additional costs. Token generation is a big deal in mono-green, since we have several ways to turn a critical mass of those tokens into lethal damage. Jedit's main downside is that he's not cheap — first time he dies, he'll be already in Terastodon mana, while what he does, while useful, is not strictly essential, although being able to repopulate your board in late game after some kind of Cataclysm should be properly evaluated. Another downside is: man, if they steal him, you're toast. Turns out any table you play at, there's always at least ONE guy vulnerable to forestwalk! Guess who that is.
  • Category: Tactical Beater
  • Rating: 7

 

16. 

  • Name: Jolrael, Empress of Beasts   >> summary
  • Sets: Prophecy, Time Spiral "Timeshifted"
  • Types: Human Spellshaper
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 6
  • Evaluation: What Jolrael (hey, she's the boss of that one glorious Centaur!) does is certainly powerful. She has an even scarier, more offensive application if used in conjunction with creature mass removal, which however is something green has no real access to. Otherwise, she spells "alpha attack" like few other things. Unfortunately, one of those other things is strictly better, especially because Jolrael's ability features a tap symbol, and it's a bit awkward to put in the Command Zone a finishing effect that you need to wait one full turn to activate. She also provides a discard outlet, but I'm not sure green needs those, unless you're looking really hard for a way to dump that Genesis into the graveyard. Most of the times, it'd be faster to cast it and have it killed or sacrificed somehow.
  • Category: Tactical Beater
  • Rating: 5

 

17. 

  • Name: Jugan, the Rising Star   >> summary
  • Sets: Champions of Kamigawa, Modern Masters
  • Types: Dragon Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: As it often happens, green got the short end of the stick in the Kamigawa's Dragon Spirit cycle. Jugan's brothers steal stuff, kill stuff, change the balance of the game, or outright entrap the opponent. Jugan, he gives counters to another creature that might not even be there, or is dying to the same wrath effect that's killing him. And you even need to withdraw his return to the Command Zone in order to resolve the effect, which is really not what you want your commander to do. But in the end, he's still the largest flyer in mono-green, legendary or otherwise. I don't know why you should care to have a flying commander in mono-green when you have many better ways to fight flyers than just fielding one of them, and one of not exactly impressive quality even. But Jugan's record has to count for something.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 7

 

18. 

  • Name: Kamahl, Fist of Krosa   >> summary
  • Sets: Onslaught, Archenemy
  • Types: Human Druid
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 7
  • Evaluation: There he is. He's the man! Kamahl is the guy I played in mono-green for 99% of the times I tried this setup in Commander. It was pretty easy to single him out: my mono-green style is crazy ramping, and rather than having a commander that helps with that, if you get Kamahl you'll have a commander that puts all that ramping to fruition. In fact, he's a veritable Overrun on a stick. But he's more: if you reach the insane amount of mana that things like Mana Reflection, Caged Sun and Vorinclex get to you, then you just need to summon Kamahl and click on him a few times, and your 1/1-token-based alpha attack will be unstoppable. More so, Kamahl even provides those 1/1s if you lack them, in the form of lands (it's less common to use that ability because tapping your lands is what fuels the multiple Overruns most of the times, but it's still a great tactical option). It's hard to find flaws in Kamahl, and it's also hard not to include him in any green-based deck that extends its curve enough. I guess one nitpick is that for 6 mana he shouldn't be vulnerable to Lightning Bolt. Then again, you rarely play him in a turn when you just have 6 mana available, unless you're desperate for a blocker. Usually, Kamahl watches over the game grinning in anticipation at every Cultivate and Boundless Realms you cast.
  • Category: Tactical Beater
  • Rating: 10

 

19. 

  • Name: Kaysa   >> summary
  • Set: Alliances
  • Types: Elf Druid
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 5
  • Evaluation: As I wrote elsewhere, giving bonus to the green team is the most basic thing a tactical aggro commander can do. Kaysa is the epitome of that, and honestly, it's tactically almost irrelevant, especially considering that most decks that aim to invade the board with tiny attackers (not a super-efficient strategy in Commander, anyway) usually have their own way to pump them, and I'm mainly thinking of Elf and Fungus decks here, both of which don't really care for Kaysa's half-assed boost. Plus, she manages to be strictly worse than this guy from Portal who was supposed to be her functional reprint. Unless you don't aim to fetch her with Imperial Recruiter or recur her with Reveillark, in which cases her wording proves to be very clever. Well, except that's not really something you can do in mono-green. And also, something you would do, ever. Imperial Recruiter told Reveillark about it once, they're still laughing.
  • Category: Tactical Beater
  • Rating: 4

 

20. 

  • Name: Kodama of the Center Tree   >> summary
  • Set: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: variable
  • Evaluation: No, seriously, even by building that mono-green Spirit deck that's recurring throughout all this list (in virtue of the fact that Kamigawa still supplies more Legendary creatures than any other block), and filling your deck with stuff like Carven Caryatid and Phantom Centaur and Primordial Sage and all the other Spirit commanders; even in that case, how big you could expect this vanilla guy to become, in his average outing? 4/4? And don't even get me started on soulshift, possibly the worst mechanic ever devised (yeah, worse than rampage!), not to mention that you should let him go to the graveyard in order to activate it. This thing should cost 0 mana, and still wouldn't see play, in Commander or anywhere else.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 1

 

21. 

  • Name: Kodama of the North Tree   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Kodama of the North Tree saw play in Constructed. He's maybe a bit outdated by now, what with shroud having been replaced by hexproof almost everywhere in green, but he's still strong enough. As a commander, he's mostly honest. You need a solid board presence at any time, he gives it to you, for a reasonable price. He's both resilient and incisive in attack, thanks to his 6 points of trampling power. Of course, if only he actually had hexproof, so that he could be equipped, the rating would be very different, because in that case he would be almost Uril level, and you would have already seen your fair share of Commander decks with this big ghostly lizard at the helm. Amazing what a slight change of attitude would do for your career, uh?
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 6

 

22. 

  • Name: Kodama of the South Tree   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Yet another Spirit lord, this time granting trample to non-Spirits too, but you still need that somehow unlikely Spirit-heavy, mono-green deck. I guess if I ever were to build such a deck, I would still choose Bounteous Kirin, whose trigger is always useful, and at least is evasive, if more expensive. There's really nothing more to say about this weird-looking kodama.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 4

 

23. 

  • Name: Lady Zhurong, Warrior Queen   >> summary
  • Set: Portal Three Kingdoms
  • Types: Human Soldier Warrior
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 7
  • Evaluation: Oh, horsemanship. Which is essentially "unblockable", since the only creatures able to block horsemanship are all in Portal Three Kingdoms (they thought it was useful for new players to learn a new keyword that wouldn't exist elsewhere and creates all kinds of confusion with flying. "Wait, this guy rides a horse and my dragon can't block him?!"). As far as evasion goes, then, horsemanship is the shit. However, do we really want a mono-green commander with sub-par body for its cost, only because she's evasive and we can slap some equipment on her and send her to town? It might work, I guess, but doesn't seem much of a mono-green strategy. Whatever, she's not even online, anyway.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 6

 

24. 

  • Name: Masumaro, First to Live   >> summary
  • Set: Saviors of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: variable
  • Evaluation: Masumaro (also known as "double Maro") can be big. Like, really big. But it would still be a giant vanilla dork. Don't get me wrong, there are decks where he's useful enough, like with Jarad or Zegana. Unfortunately, they're all decks where he's not the commander. The moment when he would be more useful, that is in late game after a board sweep when you would like to have a big monster at hand, he'll likely be just a 2/2 or 4/4 for 6 mana. Like a deflated soufflé.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 4

 

25. 

  • Name: Melira, Sylvok Outcast   >> summary
  • Set: New Phyrexia
  • Types: Human Scout
  • Converted Mana Cost: 2
  • Body: 4
  • Evaluation: Look, Melira is great. She single-handedly created a very successful archetype in Modern. She does a lot of cool combos. She's also anti-poison tech, when needed. But her combos all need stuff that's not available in mono-green. And what you want to do, give her the command of your deck, in the off-chance that you'll face a Commander deck that wins through poison creatures? Or to bafflingly turn Blightsteel Colossus into Darksteel Colossus? I'm sorry, Mel, but as a commander you're essentially strictly worse than Isao. Rude, I know.
  • Category: Utility
  • Rating: 3

 

26. 

  • Name: Meng Huo, Barbarian King   >> summary
  • Set: Portal Three Kingdoms
  • Types: Human Barbarian Soldier
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Meng Huo is essentially Kaysa with one point of power more and a weirder dress style (seriously, you shouldn't wear that outfit in the woods). Even his flavor text depicts him as sort of an idiot. I should give him a higher ranking because he's strictly better than Kaysa, but that point of power is nullified by not being portrayed by Melissa Guay, so it's a tie to me.
  • Category: Tactical Beater
  • Rating: 4

 

27. 

  • Name: Mirri, Cat Warrior   >> summary
  • Sets: Exodus, Tenth Edition
  • Types: Cat Warrior
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 5
  • Evaluation: The thing about small aggro creatures not providing any tactical or strategical advantage is that Commander as a format doesn't care too much about them. Your creatures should give you extra value somehow. Mirri is very straightforward, she's a fast first striker who occasionally slips through a couple points of damage to other green players. Going to 21 this way is hard, even trying strategies like Forest-based auras or big equipments, which then wouldn't do much to players immune to forestwalk anyway. And if you aim for an early board presence to fend off fast attackers, or to activate your Gaea's Cradle or what have you, you're better off with something like Omnath (and you're better off with Omnath most of the other times too).
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 3

 

28. 

  • Name: Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer   >> summary
  • Sets: Invasion, Tenth Edition, Archenemy
  • Type: Elemental
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: variable
  • Evaluation: Mark Rosewater has, as Mark Rosewater typically does, a long and fascinating story about how his nickname ended up on the original Maro. After that, the Maro family grew, and mostly stayed in mono-green (with the exception of the 5-color "Maro cycle" of Saviors of Kamigawa, which took inspiration from the fact that "-maro" is also a suffix in ancient Japanese names). Molimo was the second "Maro-Sorcerer" after Multani. His variable body is based on the more green-friendly concept of lands in play, and he has trample, which puts him in a generally better position than Masumaro. It's a legitimate big-ass commander, if not particularly exciting or not at all versatile.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 6

 

29. 

  • Name: Multani, Maro-Sorcerer   >> summary
  • Set: Urza's Legacy
  • Type: Elemental
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: variable
  • Evaluation: Of all the Maro variants, Multani is both the strongest and the fittest for Commander and multiplayer environments in general. Granted, he's not evasive, nor unfortunately able to receive direct improvements (although he still benefits from stuff like Brawn or Bellowing Tanglewurm), but he's hard to deal with and his body in a 4-man table is bound to be HUGE. For just 6 mana, which is next to nothing for mono-green, you get a scary way to go to town on players through Commander-based damage.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 8

 

30. 

  • Name: Myojin of Life's Web   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 9
  • Body: 16
  • Evaluation: Wouldn't it be swell if you could have a big, indestructible commander that could discard his indestructibility counter (or counters, if you deal in stuff like Doubling Season or That Which Was Taken) to sneak onto the battlefield your entire hand or so? Yeah, it really would. Too bad the Command Zone doesn't count as your hand — which I think it should, by the way — so this thing just becomes a gigantic vanilla dork. Life isn't fair, even when you're a god.
  • Category: Useless
  • Rating: n/a

 

31. 

  • Name: Nemata, Grove Guardian   >> summary
  • Set: Planeshift
  • Type: Treefolk
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 9
  • Evaluation: Despite being almost entirely strictly worse than Ant Queen (higher CMC, higher activation cost, lesser body), Nemata has a big advantage on her Insect counterpart: She's legendary, therefore eligible as commander. And a commander that's able to populate your board and works as a one-card-army is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, her second ability, that also makes Nemata very good in Fungus-based decks, can set up a successful alpha attack. She's less explosive than Kamahl at this, but serves slightly different tactics and is worth of consideration both in decks that aim to win through numbers, and in generally "good stuff" builds that care more for extended board presence than a single big threat, as they generally should.
  • Category: Tactical Beater/Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 8

 

32. 

  • Name: Omnath, Locus of Mana   >> summary
  • Sets: Worldwake, From the Vault: Legends
  • Type: Elemental
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 2
  • Evaluation: Green is the color of growth, and that growth is mainly expressed in two ways: available mana, body of creatures. Omnath is the true champion of the mono-green commanders because he's able to bring both these aspects to their highest levels, and unbelievably fast. If left unattended, Omnath will turn into a giant threat while accumulating huge quantities of mana since your early turns. His usage requires some learning, though: who didn't make at least once the mistake of withdrawing more mana than the damage he took in a given turn, resulting in his death? But all in all, Omnath makes for the scariest of the mono-green Commander decks, as with him at your side, forest's ceiling is the limit, and those treetops are dizzily high.
  • Category: Ramper
  • Rating: 10

 

33. 

  • Name: Patron of the Orochi   >> summary
  • Set: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 14
  • Evaluation: As far as higher-costing, less volatile rampers go, Patron of the Orochi competes directly with Vorinclex. And of course, he loses, but not by far: the Praetor doesn't require tapping so it's immediately active, doubles every land, not just Forests, and hoses the opponents as much as he helps you. Plus, he has trample. On the other hand, the Snake-worshipped Spirit (which might actually find a way to come faster via offering, but probably not) works better in conjunction with other mana multipliers, as untapping an already doubled Forest means quadrupling it. And you get to untap other utility creatures and mana producers as well, resulting in funny shenanigans. It's a card that goes often overlooked, but undeservedly, as it's very effective in its own right.
  • Category: Ramper
  • Rating: 8

 

34. 

  • Name: Polukranos, World Eater   >> summary
  • Sets: Theros, Duel Deck: Heroes vs. Monsters
  • Type: Hydra
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: As I'm writing this, Polukranos has only been previewed as part of the Heroes vs. Monsters precon set, so I'm not able to know what being monstrous will entirely entail once the whole of Theros will be revealed (rendez-vous in one year when I'll update this description!). As it is, Polukranos is already a solid creature for its cost, and actually becomes better as a commander, since its one-shot, built-in fight ability will reset at each new coming off the Command Zone. A bit expensive for sure, but a mono-green deck is able to generate enough mana to make it worth its while. And it's instant-speed removal immediately available the turn Polukranos is cast, both rare occurrences in mono-green.
  • Category: Tactical Beater
  • Rating: 7

 

35. 

  • Name: Reki, the History of Kamigawa   >> summary
  • Set: Saviors of Kamigawa
  • Types: Human Shaman
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 3
  • Evaluation: Reki can be technically considered a "tribal lord", with the members of his tribe being... all the other mono-green commanders! A deck lead by Reki isn't something you see often but is strong and fun enough, as the card-drawing effect he provides comes fast and can be consistent, calling for the use of all kinds of Legendary cards. Worth a shot.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 7

 

36. 

  • Name: Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary   >> summary
  • Set: Urza's Destiny
  • Types: Elf Druid
  • Converted Mana Cost: 2
  • Body: 3
  • Evaluation: As I posit below, creature-based ramp isn't the best way to go for green in a format like Commander, where sweepers are always behind the corner. But the acceleration provided by Rofellos is so insanely broken that, well, he's not even allowed anymore as a commander. You'll see him often enough as part of a green-heavy deck. I wish they did a new version of him, though, as I always hated that silly-looking art. 
  • Category: Ramper
  • Rating: n/a [Currently banned as a Commander]

 

37. 

  • Name: Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Types: Snake Shaman
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 4
  • Evaluation: Champions of Kamigawa was the most legend-heavy set in the history of Magic (55 legendary creatures, as much as there were in Legends, which however was a slightly larger set). Among many others, it gave us the "Snake family", of which the spiritual Sachi is arguably the most prominent member. Her role as a Snake lord is negligible, but if you ever wanted to build a Shaman-based Commander deck, she'd be an apt choice, giving further value to all those Shamans by making them part of a mana-ramping network. Then again, green ramping has so many better options that it would only be a matter of really wanting to try such a deck for the sake of it. (Or the snake of it.) (Or the Sachi of it.) (I'll stop now.)
  • Category: Tribal Lord/Ramper
  • Rating: 5

 

38. 

  • Name: Sakiko, Mother of Summer   >> summary
  • Set: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  • Types: Snake Shaman
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 6
  • Evaluation: I'm not sure if Sakiko is supposed to be the wife of Seshiro and mother of Sachi (other than of the summer), but she surely brings a different kind of creature-based ramp to the table. It can cause a huge amount of mana to hit your pool all at once, but it's not so easy to manage, since it requires a good board position already, and might result in just a win-more. Plus, everyone will try to stop your creatures from connecting at that point.
  • Category: Ramper
  • Rating: 5

 

39.  

  • Name: Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant   >> summary
  • Set: Saviors of Kamigawa
  • Types: Snake Monk
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 5
  • Evaluation: Let's get this out of the way: Sasaya is in-sa-ne. I saw Sasaya decks that manage to fulfill the requirement pretty fast (green and land tutoring? C'mon), and at that point, every other mana multiplier looks ridiculous in comparison. Plus, once she's got online, creature removal doesn't affect her anymore, since she's become an enchantment. Luckily, it's not an extremely popular kind of ramp deck, as players prefer more straightforward commanders like Omnath or Rofellos (back when he was still playable), but the day she will be put on the ban list, I won't be remotely surprised.
  • Category: Ramper
  • Rating: 9

 

40. 

  • Name: Sekki, Seasons' Guide   >> summary
  • Set: Saviors of Kamigawa
  • Type: Spirit
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 16
  • Evaluation: I always found Sekki extremely cute, and clever in his own way. Granted, he suggests shenanigans that aren't really easy to pull off or very rewarding, plus in Commander it would require letting him withdraw the Command Zone permanently, which is foolish enough. And at the end of the day, it's just a vanilla beater. But I don't know, the idea of him breaking up into a bunch of little Spirits, then coming back together over and over again is fascinating. Maybe you'll also have some other Spirit you're happy to sacrifice for additional profit, like Dripping-Tongue Zubera.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 5

 

41. 

  • Name: Seshiro the Anointed   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Types: Snake Monk
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 7
  • Evaluation: Daddy Seshiro is definitely a good Snake lord. And definitely nothing else, because he only works with Snakes. A Commander Snake Tribal deck isn't an outright crazy proposition, but it's not even something you can't wait to try your hand at.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 5

 

42. 

  • Name: Seton, Krosan Protector   >> summary
  • Set: Odyssey
  • Types: Centaur Druid
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 4
  • Evaluation: What about a Commander Druid Tribal deck? Well, it would be mostly made up of Elves, wouldn't it? Which Seton would give a mana-producing ability to. Mmm... something here doesn't seem right.
  • Category: Tribal Lord/Ramper
  • Rating: 4

 

43. 

  • Name: Shisato, Whispering Hunter   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Types: Snake Warrior
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 4
  • Evaluation: What's Shisato for Sachi? Her sister? Her crazy aunt? Well, her ability sure sounds crazy enough. If she manages to connect, she can shut down an opponent entirely. As long as you keep a fresh reserve of Snakes to sacrifice... to whom, exactly? To her? Like if she was some bloody Aztec goddess? Or is the death of the Snakes part of her secret anti-untap tech? We only know that she hunts, and whispers, and apparently jumps from tree to tree, all of which doesn't do much to reassure us in regard to her mental sanity. Oh well, they're just snakes, anyway. Just bring up your Orochi Hatchery, she'll be happy.
  • Category: Tribal Lord/Utility
  • Rating: 4

 

44. 

  • Name: Shizuko, Caller of Autumn   >> summary
  • Set: Betrayers of Kamigawa
  • Types: Snake Shaman
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 5
  • Evaluation: God, does this procession of Legendary Snakes ever end? Shizuko is clearly the sister of Sakiko, right? Where the latter gives birth to the summer, she calls for the autumn. But it all boils down to yet another mana ramp. In this case, one that you give to your opponents, too. Because in Commander, who would ever want to get 3 green mana when maybe they don't even have green in their commander's identity, right? Sure. They even get them before you do. I've a feeling that Shizuko is the kind of girl that's always welcome at parties. Autumn never felt that bountiful.
  • Category: Ramper
  • Rating: 3

 

45. 

  • Name: Silvos, Rogue Elemental   >> summary
  • Set: Onslaught
  • Type: Elemental
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 13
  • Evaluation: Silvos, which is essentially a Force of Nature that traded 3 points of toughness for regeneration, and lost its downside in the process, is as straighforward a commander as it gets. You don't exactly know what to do with your mono-green deck, and you don't feel like playing utility creatures like Arashi or Glissa? Silvos is there for you. Evasive enough, resilient enough, incisive enough. He just smash faces, but he's really good at it.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 8

 

46. 

  • Name: Sosuke, Son of Seshiro   >> summary
  • Set: Champions of Kamigawa
  • Types: Snake Warrior
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 7
  • Evaluation: Just like her sister Sachi, Sosuke isn't really good at being a Snake lord. His vocation is being a Warrior leader, and Warrior is a kind of job that's not unpopular in green, if not too exciting. Also not exciting: Sosuke just gives a bad form of deathtouch to your Warriors. It has its applications for sure, but doesn't look like something that would make you want to build such a deck.
  • Category: Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 4

 

47. 

  • Name: Thriss, Nantuko Primus   >> summary
  • Set: Judgment
  • Types: Insect Druid
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Maybe there's someone out there that really likes Thriss. I find it supremely stupid to have a high-costing creature whose role is to just stand there and give a boost to an unblocked attacker, or helping a block or something. You even need to leave one mana open for that, which, granted, is not a big deal, but still annoying. But oh well, he does mess with the combat phase, I guess.
  • Category: Tactical Beater
  • Rating: 4

 

48. 

  • Name: Thrun, the Last Troll   >> summary
  • Set: Mirrodin Besieged
  • Types: Troll Shaman
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Thrun is just an overall great creature, and makes for a good commander as well, the only one that can successfully sustain a voltron deck in mono-green. However, despite auras like Rancor, Moldervine Cloak or Blanchwood Armor, and the access to any colorless equipment, it's a style of play that you rarely see in green. Thrun can still be one of the go-to commanders for good stuff builds, anyway, sort of a Silvos for those who like to stay lower on the curve.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 8

 

49. 

  • Name: Verdeloth the Ancient   >> summary
  • Sets: Invasion, Time Spiral "Timeshifted", Archenemy, Modern Masters
  • Type: Treefolk
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 11
  • Evaluation: Verdeloth might be actually better as a commander than a regular creature because, especially in a ramp deck, you get to exploit your late game's gigantic amount of mana to create yourself an army of tokens out of nowhere, an army that grows bigger at any new iteration of their daddy, which will also make them 2/2s (nothing comparable to Kamahl, of course, but sort of the permanent version of his second ability). Verdeloth boosts other Treefolk too, but that's barely noticeable. I built a Treefolk Commander deck once, and there's no way you won't stick with Doran as your commander, to include white and black members too (and white and black spells, while you're at it). All this considered, Verdeloth's role is similar to Nemata's, but Nemata is still more versatile, not asking for you to build her armada all at once.
  • Category: Tactical Beater/Tribal Lord
  • Rating: 6

 

50. 

  • Name: Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger   >> summary
  • Set: New Phyrexia
  • Type: Praetor
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 13
  • Evaluation: Just the best big ramper dude available. There are certainly more subtle ways to do mana ramp in green, but Vorinclex adds to the mix an useful hosing ability, and a big trampling body (which is gravy, but still welcome). Essentially, you can ramp with a commander that comes earlier, and whose presence fuels further ramp, or you can ramp with something like Vorinclex or Patron of the Orochi, which come at the end of the ramp, allowing you to jump from a large amount of mana to a HUGE amount of mana, possibly resulting in endgame.
  • Category: Ramper
  • Rating: 9

 

51. 

  • Name: Yeva, Nature's Herald   >> summary
  • Set: Magic 2013
  • Types: Elf Shaman
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Yeva can't be seen as a bad option for a green commander, as giving flash to all your creatures is nothing but sweet. On the other hand, it's hard to envision a green deck where flash is a crucial factor, leading to a clear board dominance. But it's surely fun, as attacking you when you have open mana will quickly become a very dangerous proposition for everyone.
  • Category: Tactical Beater
  • Rating: 7

 

52. 

  • Name: Zuo Ci, the Mocking Sage   >> summary
  • Set: Portal Three Kingdoms
  • Types: Human Advisor
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 3
  • Evaluation: For starters, let's just laugh at "can't be blocked by creatures with horsemanship" (why so, by the way? His mockeries frighten the horses?), which basically means "can't be blocked by creatures that aren't in play". So what we're dealing with here is just a tiny hexproofer, as that's the actual, Oracle-sanctioned meaning behind the ambiguous Portal wording of his second ability. For one mana more, you can have Thrun, which may have a less dominating relationship with horses, but for the rest comes with more than twice the stats and abilities. So why should I want to play with this guy instead? Hard to tell, as it's not even online. We might never know.
  • Category: Pure Beater
  • Rating: 2

STATISTICS

 History (first appearances only)

  • Core sets: 1 (M13: 1)
  • Starter sets: 4 (Portal Three Kingdoms: 4)
  • Special sets: 0
  • Ancient sets: 1 (Homelands: 1)
  • Ice Age block: 1 (Alliances: 1)
  • Mirage block: 0
  • Tempest block: 2 (Tempest: 1, Exodus: 1)
  • Urza block: 2 (Urza's Legacy: 1, Urza's Destiny: 1)
  • Masques block: 1 (Prophecy: 1)
  • Invasion block: 3 (Invasion: 2, Planeshift: 1)
  • Odyssey block: 2 (Odyssey: 1, Judgment: 1)
  • Onslaught block: 2 (Onslaught: 2)
  • Mirrodin block: 1 (Mirrodin: 1)
  • Kamigawa block: 24 (Champions of Kamigawa: 11, Betrayers of Kamigawa: 6, Saviors of Kamigawa: 7)
  • Ravnica block: 0
  • Time Spiral block: 2 (Planar Chaos: 1, Future Sight: 1)
  • Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block: 0
  • Alara block: 0
  • Zendikar block: 1 (Worldwake: 1)
  • Scars of Mirrodin block: 4 (Scars of Mirrodin: 1, Mirrodin Besieged: 1, New Phyrexia: 2)
  • Innistrad block: 0
  • Return to Ravnica block: 0
  • Theros block: 1 (Theros: 1)

 Conclusions: The Kamigawa presence is overwhelming, as almost half the creatures in the list comes from the Japanese plane, which is typically filled with legendary stuff. Same goes, with the relative proportions for Portal Three Kingdoms, which means than more than half of the green legends are inspired by Far Eastern Asian cultures. I don't know if that's true for any color, actually, which would be interesting, and something that's not widely known. Other than that, the most legendary green has gone was in Scars block, the only non-Kamigawa one where there were green legends in every set.

     Creature Types
  • Human: 13
  • Spirit: 12
  • Snake: 7
  • Warrior: 7
  • Druid: 6
  • Elf: 6
  • Shaman: 6
  • Monk: 5
  • Elemental: 4
  • Cat: 2
  • Soldier:
  • Treefolk: 2
  • Advisor: 1
  • Avatar: 1
  • Barbarian: 1
  • Centaur: 1
  • Dragon: 1
  • Hydra: 1
  • Insect: 1
  • Kirin: 1
  • Praetor: 1
  • Samurai: 1
  • Scout: 1
  • Spellshaper: 1
  • Troll: 1

 Conclusions: Legends are characters, and as such Human is clearly bound to get the lion's share everywhere. But in the end, all the more typical green tribes are represented, except for Beast and Wurm, which are probably not considered sentient enough to have legends (Beast have Uril in Naya colors, though).

 Keywords (or so)

  • Trample: 9 (of which 2 activated, 2 triggered)
  • Landwalk: 4 (of which 3 forestwalk, 1 legendary landwalk)
  • Regeneration: 4
  • Shroud: 4 (of which 1 activated, 1 granted to others)
  • First Strike: 2
  • Flying: 2
  • Hexproof: 2
  • Uncounterable: 2
  • Bad Deathtouch: 1
  • Bushido: 1
  • Flash: 1
  • Horsemanship: 1
  • Indestructible: 1
  • Offering: 1
  • Soulshift: 1

 Conclusions: Trample, forestwalk, regeneration, shroud/hexproof. That's green skills in a (squirrel's) nutshell.

 By Category

 BEST IN SHOW (aka Whose Hands I'd Put My Green Deck Into)


THE GREEN ESSENTIALS

   

 So, why should one play mono-green in Commander to begin with? Or better, what does green bring to your deck? Or even better, which green cards should one be looking for when building a green-based deck of any sort? Well, the following ones have been my basic green tools to date. Enjoy.

 MANA RAMPING

Nature's Lore Three Visits Cultivate Kodama's Reach Wood Elves Yavimaya Dryad Skyshroud Claim Hunting Wilds Oracle of Mul Daya

Garruk Wildspeaker Awakening Zone Mana Reflection Patron of the Orochi Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger Boundless Realms Exploration Gaea's Touch Abundance

 Green and mana ramping is one of the longest and most successful relationships in the game, and deserves a special focus and some more words. It's hard not to expect a mono-green deck to be good at building up its mana. But whereas in regular formats creature-based ramps are common and effective enough, in Commander that's definitely not the route I would suggest to take, unless you're specifically playing Elves. And even in that case, you should be aware that multiplayer Commander is an environment where the board is hit by some kind of sweeping effect every 5 turns or so, and creatures are definitely the most ephemeral of permanents. What's the most resilient way to mana ramp, then? Simple: through lands. And guess what, green is a boss in fetching or tutoring lands as well. There's dozens of spells and effects to do that, but I usually being by including these 4 couples of redundant effects: Nature's Lore and its functional reprint Three Visits are the faster ones, they fetch an untapped Forest card in play, which is good enough for a start; Cultivate and Kodama's Reach double the amount at CMC 3, but with only one land ending on the battlefield, while at CMC 4 come the more powerful double fetchers, starting with Skyshroud Claim, that's just  the best land fetchers ever printed, as it can give you two dual lands, untapped! The second 4-mana fetcher is usually Hunting Wilds, for the added value of the kicker that makes it a better topdeck in late game. Explosive Vegetation and Ranger's Path are further options. (Of course, all instances of "Forest card" over "basic land" become more relevant when the deck isn't mono-green.)

 I always include some land-fetching creatures as well, as getting a body on the battlefield is useful in general and especially when Skullclamp (one of those cards that need to go in EVERY Commander deck) is around. In this regard, Wood Elves is the top of the line, for the same reason why Nature's Lore is strictly better than Rampant Growth. I also like Yavimaya Dryad, that can search for a dual land as well (albeit in this case it'll come tapped) and has some further applications. I usually avoid Sakura-Tribe Elder, even if it's still strictly better than Rampant Growth, because it doesn't work with Skullclamp, and only fetches a tapped basic land. Yavimaya Elder used to be a staple, but I'm using him less and less these days, as I find him too slow. The number of green land-fetching critters is vast, anyway, from Sylvan Ranger and Farhaven Elf to Fertilid and Ondu Giant, or even things like Greenseeker, Frontier Guide and Seedguide Ash.

 Oracle of Mul Daya isn't exactly a land fetcher, but shouldn't be missed in any build that includes green. For more sophisticated ramping, Garruk Wildspeaker is obviously great and super-versatile, and Awakening Zone provides all kinds of additional values, like chump blocking and sacrifice fuel, and it's great with cards like Doubling Season and Pattern of Rebirth.

 And then come the mana-multiplying curve-toppers: Mana Reflection, Patron of the Orochi, Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. Boundless Realms isn't good in every green-based deck, but it's definitely powerful in the right build.

 Exploration and Gaea's Touch are for builds that draw a lot and/or include plenty of lands (mine usually don't, I typically have just 35 lands with at least 15 accelerators/multipliers); finally, Abundance is a very powerful effect that doubles as deck fixing.

 Other cards to consider: Crop Rotation or Sylvan Scrying to specifically tutor for Gaea's Cradle or other special lands; Earthcraft for builds with an early and large creature presence; Gaea's Bounty for Sasaya decks; Mwonvuli Acid-Moss and Reap and Sow to marry ramping to disruption. Finally, Rofellos has always business to be included in any deck with a lot of Forests.

 Of course, all this on top of the holy trinity of mana rocks, Sol Ring, Mana Crypt and Mana Vault, plus other colorless staples like Solemn Simulacrum and (especially in mono-green) Emerald Medallion and Caged Sun.

 CARD DRAWING/TUTORING

Harmonize Regal Force Collective Unconscious Garruk, Primal Hunter Soul's Majesty Soul of the Harvest Primordial Sage Masked Admirers Sylvan Library Survival of the Fittest Summoner's Pact Fierce Empath Primal Command

 Over time, green has become the second best color for card drawing after blue, although blue still gets about 80% of all the card drawing effects in the game. Back in Time Spiral block, a card like Harmonize, the color-shifted Concentrate, was the clear demonstration that green is the only color able to get non-conditional card drawing. Green card-drawing become massive, though, when it's conditionally attached to creatures, both to their number (Regal Force, Collective Unconscious) or higher available power (Garruk, Primal Hunter, Soul's Majesty), or even their casting (Soul of the Harvest, Primordial Sage).

 The only green card that just replaces itself that should be considered essential is Masked Admirers, due to the recursion of its effect and good body attached to it. Other noteworthy drawing effects are Enshrined Memories (sort of Braingeyser for creatures); Glimpse of Nature, Fecundity and Recycle, that only really work in specific builds; and Momentous Fall.

 Sylvan Library is an obligatory staple for deck fixing (along with its simplified version Mirri's Guile), but doubles as card drawing in a format where 4 damage now and then aren't such a big deal.

 As far as (creature) tutoring is concerned, instead, staples are Survival of the Fittest (one of the most powerful cards in the entire format), but also Summoner's Pact, Fierce Empath and Primal Command.

SNEAKING/TUTORING INTO PLAY

Natural Order Pattern of Rebirth Defense of the Heart Tooth and Nail Chord of Calling Green Sun's Zenith Genesis Wave Primal Surge Summoning Trap Wild Pair Lurking Predators Birthing Pod Hibernation's End Elvish Piper 

 Putting creatures directly onto the battlefield, either from your hand or the library, is one of the greatest strength of green. All the cards featured above do it nicely, at times in spectacular, and decisive, fashions.

RECURSION

Eternal Witness Genesis Regrowth Recollect Life from the Loam

 Green does more recursion than that, but these are the truly essential representatives of the topic, especially Genesis. Praetor's Counsel might be worth considering as well. Revive and Nature's Spiral are subsets of Regrowth.

NONCREATURE REMOVAL

Glissa Sunseeker Nullmage Shepherd Acidic Slime Indrik Stomphowler Wickerbough Elder Rain of Thorns Sylvan Primordial Terastodon Woodfall Primus Krosan Grip Back to Nature Creeping Corrosion

 Green despises everything that's artificial, so the list of artifact and enchantment hate could become huge here. These are the ones you really want to bring to battle. In addition, Scavenging Ooze is the green go-to graveyard hate.

CREATURE REMOVAL

Beast Within Lignify Master of the Wild Hunt Silklash Spider Tornado Elemental Arashi, the Sky Asunder Hurricane Prey Upon Predatory Urge

 Of course, getting rid of opponent creatures is the one big weakness of mono-green, mitigated only when it involves flyers. Umezawa's Jitte and Duplicant help rounding out the section.

TOKEN GENERATION

 Repeatable: Awakening Zone Squirrel Nest Centaur Glade Master of the Wild Hunt Ant Queen Nemata, Grove Guardian Mycoloth Verdant Force Bringer of the Green Dawn Kazandu Tuskcaller Imperious Perfect Nut Collector

 One-shot: Avenger of Zendikar Hornet Queen Verdeloth the Ancient Beacon of Creation Parallel Evolution Saproling Symbiosis One Dozen Eyes Bestial Menace Howl of the Night Pack Caller of the Claw

 Boosters: Doubling Season Parallel Lives

 Spawning creature tokens isn't an essential element of all decks, per se, but it's something green does well, so it's worth its own section. There's two kinds of token generation to be considered: repeatable and one-shot. The former is clearly the most interesting for Commander, and has excellent representatives in mono-green. The latter starts with things that only create a single token (Gelatinous Genesis), which however is just a different way to call a creature spell, albeit with upsides (Doubling Season, populate) and downsides (Ratchet Bomb, bounce spells). One-shot token generators that create a massive amount of tokens are more worth their while, and some of them, particularly creatures like Avenger of Zendikar and Hornet Queen, which more easily allow for abuse and recursion, have to be considered staples.

 Both Garruk Wildspeaker and Garruk, Primal Hunter have token generation in their bag of tricks (as does Garruk Relentless, who however doesn't count as a mono-green card), but they're usually included for different reasons, with Primal Hunter in particular hardly sticking on the battlefield at all.

CREATURE BOOST

 Bellowing Tanglewurm Seedborn Muse Vigor Forgotten Ancient Kamahl, Fist of Krosa Craterhoof Behemoth Yeva, Nature's Herald Brawn Scryb Ranger

 There are several ways green can help its team of creatures, but these are definitely the most interesting and effective.


SUMMARY

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8 Comments

(Of Baru) "But what's his by AJ_Impy at Tue, 08/27/2013 - 08:07
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(Of Baru) "But what's his deal of being the shifted version of Kamahl?"

He isn't. He's the descendant of Kamahl, either literally or through taking up his mantle. We see the same thing with Rorix Bladewing -> Tarox Bladewing, Alexi Zephyr Mage -> Linessa Zephyr Mage, Orim, Samite Healer (and Cho-Manno) -> Oriss, Samite Guardian, and most blatantly with Dakkon Blackblade -> Korlash, heir to Blackblade. It was the defining flavour trait of the future-shifted Grandeur cycle.

Oh, got it: Future Sight, by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 08/27/2013 - 16:20
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Oh, got it: Future Sight, future versions. For some reason I was thinking of them as the Planar Chaos "alternate reality" ones.

Great work Kuma, I'm a big by romellos at Tue, 08/27/2013 - 11:14
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5

Great work Kuma,

I'm a big fan of Legendary type permanents for flavor matters and I hope that you will continue this series with other Colors & Multicolors too (and maybe Artifacts & Enchantments & Lands as a closure).

I didn't mean for this to be by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 08/27/2013 - 16:32
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I didn't mean for this to be a series (it really came to me when I was looking for variants of my Kamahl deck, that's the only one almost entirely rebuilt after my collection reset). But who knows.

Multicolored creatures seem hard to do, given that they're probably a good half of the 500 commanders in existence.
Noncreature permanents might be feasible, though. (Checking... Yeah, there's just 80 of them).

But I want to focus on the Dragonpedia now, given that people keep asking for it for some reason (despite the fact that Dragons don't have a great lot of variety. Plus, I think the real fun of these lists is in reviewing the really bad entries, and there's not too many genuinely terrible Dragons).
And I still might end up doing a Walkerpedia first, because Planeswalkers are fun to evaluate, and there's a lot to say about them.

Holy cow, there's so much I by Leviathan at Tue, 08/27/2013 - 13:00
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5

Holy cow, there's so much I want to say about this awesome article, but I don't have a whole ton of time so I'm just gonna hit the highlights.

You're going to find that if you do this for each of the other colors, the majority are going to be Kamigawa and P3K cards. It's mainly because of the legendary theme for each of these sets, plus the lack of multi-colored cards.

Iname a 2, and Bounteous Kirin a 5??? No, sir, you are incorrect. Bounteous is horrible, while Iname actually has a decent deck you can build around it (self mill, recur most of your yard, dump you hand with something like the Myojin). It saddens me that poor Iname is ranked so much lower than the awful, over priced Kirin.

Poor Iwamori. I wish your assessment of him wasn't so true. He's supposed to be a huge bad ass! But all he can do is help your opponents. Oh well. However, the horribleness of Thriss and Isao is not to be underestimated.

Ayumi's problem is that you have to make sure that your opponents are playing Legendary lands, which means playing with things like Gauntlets of Chaos. At least that's what I did in my Livonya Silone deck a while back.

You vastly underestimate Seton. He basically gives all your mana dudes haste, can spill most of his deck onto the table around turn 5, then Overrun you. I guess this is true of just about any Elf deck, but still...

Azusa should be a 10, she's just too good. Surprisingly I haven't seen Kamahl used in a very long time. Glissa and Nemata just don't do enough really (Glissa doesn't have enough ways to turn things into artifacts, Namata's 3 mana to make 1 token is too expensive). Ezuri should probably be ranked higher, since he's a cheaper Kamahl essentially.

Any Green Commander that has a trigger for when lands enter play, or based on the number of lands in play, is generally pretty good. There's just so many ways to get lands into play with Green.

The list of essentials is really good, and brings up a bunch of cards I haven't thought about in a while. Probably the only other card I would have included would be Squall Line.

Maybe a list of top 5 (or so) threats when you see them at the table? Like kill on sight guys? Dunno if that's redundant with your ratings though. (Mine are Azusa, Vorinclex, Omnath, Ezuri, Melira [saw the combos too many times when she first game out].)

Excellent stuff. Where do you come up with the time to do all this???

Oh, I'm fully aware that by Kumagoro42 at Tue, 08/27/2013 - 16:19
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Oh, I'm fully aware that Kamigawa and P3K are The Legendary Sets - I think I said it somewhere even. Still weird that this means for the majority of legends in Magic to have a Far East flavor. (Theros might actually change that a bit.)

In regard of the single entries (and while considering that grading in these things is always going to be subjective and imprecise, not to mention ultimately pointless):

Iname: I've been probably harsher than needed on him, possibly because I was pissed off by the awful long time it took me to acquire him and test his goddamn ability in solitaire (and it still shouldn't work they way it works in MTGO, with the returning to the Command Zone being clearly stated as a replacement effect). Still, I don't see the fun in setting that overcomplicated recursion to end with a bunch of mono-green Spirits. Timmy would be disappointed by the result, and Johnny would soon devote his mental energy to something that would make more sense. (I'll have 1 year to think about it and change the grade anyway!)

Bounteous Kirin: In the world of mono-green, a flyer has a particular "wow" factor. It's a forbidden fruit.

Thriss: I was way more severe with him. Then occurred to me that it's a way to make that 1/1 token that slips through do always 6 damage. It has to count for something.

Seton: I don't underestimate Seton in other formats. I just don't see the point of going with him in CMD, since all that he does is pushing you to include a bunch of Druids, most of which already gave mana, and he's making them giving mana slightly better. That's vastly unexciting, and borderline a bad strategy, both because creature ramp is bad in CMD, and because you can do creature ramp and supports it with a commander that puts it to fruition, rather than having the ramp and then needing your deck to come with something else to win.

Omnath: I'm actually thinking Omnath is a bit overrated (by me as well). While Azusa's ramp can't be easily undone, short of an Armageddon effect, Omnath starts accumulating mana and banks everything on him not being killed too soon. Granted, he'll be often able to capitalize on the early turns' boosts, if played correctly, but that's not a given, and can easily ends in nothing. His "10" is more because of how perfectly it embodies mono-green and its basic philosophies.

Kamahl: You don't see him often because you never play against me! :) (But it's true he's not that popular. Good for me, I guess). One thing I forgot to say about Ezuri and Kamahl: they're way less similar than they look. Ezuri is a build-around-me commander, and he strongly needs his deck to perform. Kamahl is a one-man-band. He thrives in ramp, but he's good everywhere. Imagine this scenario, which is fairly common to me.

- late game
- Gaea's Cradle
- 12 other lands
- Mana Reflection
- Caged Sun
- one opponent has Maze of Ith
- one opponent has just resolved a Wrath effect

Guy with Ezuri can't do nothing. Guy with Kamahl is going to win the table.

Glissa: That's where I possibly have to disagree the most. Glissa on the table is the most control-ish green can be. The artifacts are so crucial in this format, and since the early going, that killing one per turn is barely enough. In fact, a Glissa deck where she's just not the commander out of a lack of better ideas (and mind you, there's a big difference between an "Commander X deck" and deck where Commander X is just the "first among equals" within a bunch of good stuff) is a deck that includes anything it can to untap her.

Nemata: A few Nemata decks won events down at SUNCOM. Good stuff decks mostly (possibly with a Saproling subtheme), but it's the only green commander who's able to create permanent tokens. You use your first tutor to take Seedborn Muse, Nemata will become a blast; if you just tutor up Ant Queen instead, you'll end up with way less tokens and way slowly.

Melira: I confess I'm lost here. What's the combo with Melira in mono-green? I briefly thought about it (without researching cards), but I'm probably zoning out something because I'm too used to pair her up with non-mono-green cards.

"Where do you come up with the time to do all this???"
Eh, I wish I had more. I'm not happy with the way the essentials are formatted, where you need to click on the thumbnails to see what they are. I'll probably change that next year when I update this. And you can see that the analysis for the ramp is way more detailed than the rest, because at some point I ran out of time! (Plus, yeah, I forgot a lot of stuff, Squall Line for sure).

It's also all awfully based on my own experiences, of course. I rarely see Elf decks that don't choose Rhys as a commander, for instance (the Redeemed, mostly). On top of beating Ezuri strategically, they have access to white or black that way.

Hope everyone appreciated my great timing with Polukranos, though. I evaluated him before he was even played as a Commander, ever! :)

I'm not all that excited by Leviathan at Tue, 08/27/2013 - 16:44
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I'm not all that excited about Polukranos, but maybe that's just me. Another big mana Green guy. Oh well.

Melira is about getting a persist guy (preferably Woodfall Primus) with a free sacrifice outlet. The toughest part is finding the sac outlet, but it isn't all that hard with some card draw. She was everywhere when she first came out, before she got hated out I think. Here's an example: http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/multiplayer/22073_You_Lika_The_Juice_...

Glissa... I understand what you're saying with regard to artifacts, but that's purely situational. If you're going up against Esper and mono-Red, then yeah, Glissa is gonna be great. If you are going up against Selesnya and 5 color, she's not going to have nearly the same effect. What I'm really looking for is consistency, and she doesn't have enough for me. But as you say, the evaluations are pointless and more things to talk about than anything.

You're right, things are really based on our own experiences. Ezuri is a must kill Commander for me, because that's what I see. However I still think Kamahl is great, even if I haven't seen him in years, precisely because of what you mention. Good times!

Oh well, I guess Melira does by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 08/28/2013 - 15:30
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Oh well, I guess Melira does work with Woodfall Primus (there's just 2 Persist creatures available to her, and the other, Aerie Ouphes, is bad enough). Still, even in that article's example, it's a deck based on ONE card (the Primus), and that doesn't seem consistent enough to be anything more than a fun experiment. They exile your Primus, your commander instantly becomes useless and all those sacrifice outlets dead draws. And by the way, only a few of them are actually combos, because doing the Primus dance just once per turn isn't going to win you games. Melira combo is about free infinite recursion, so you need 0-cost repeatable sacrifices (like her best pal Viscera Seer is).
I suppose you just witnessed the initial Melira craze, and I probably missed that entirely because I never, ever seen her as a commander.

Still disagreeing on Glissa (but I'm also still talking of her as a good stuff commander, not a commander with a strategy). I can't recall a table where I wouldn't want to kill an artifact every turn. It's not about artifact strategies: Sol Rings and Mana Crypts and whatnot are just everywhere. Then again, I never actually played her as a commander, so mine is just theory. Hey, why don't you give her a try for your next article? :)