Back to Basics - The 10 Most Played Mono-Green Cards in Commander

The featured image for the article The Top 10 Most Played Mono-Green Cards in Commander depicts the card Case of the Locked Hothouse by Leanna Crossan
(Case of the Locked Hothouse | Art by Leanna Crossan)


When Nature Calls, Run

Hey everyone! Nick here, ready to bring you the second edition of Back to Basics, where I discuss EDH's most played cards. Today, I'll dive into the most played mono-green cards in Commander! I think my last article on the most played mono-black cards did a good job of showcasing the most powerful versions among the the broad range of effects black decks utilize, from removal and tutors to reanimation spells and Blood Artist-like drain abilities. For green, I'll be tweaking the list's structure slightly to accommodate the way green Commander decks tend to be built.

What do I mean? Well, If you look at (spoilers!) EDHREC's list of most-played mono-green cards, you'll see that green decks tend to play a lot of cards that do more or less the same thing. So, to save you from a boring and repetitive list article, this is how I'll do it: I'll group together the two categories of ubiquitous green cards, discuss each group, and spend most of this article highlighting the unique green cards that Commander players love to brew with. Let's get into it!

Honorable Mentions - New Hotness from Murders at Karlov Manor

You can read more about Archdruid's Charm and Slime Against Humanity in my previous article on most played Commander cards from MKM. Both of these spells are very cool and can lean into pretty different styles of deck building. Case of the Locked Hothouse, on the other hand, is a very meat and potatoes green card. It ramps your mana and helps you flood the board with permanents in the mid to late game, sort of like a very (very, very) mini-Primal Surge. It's offers a very exciting package of effects, so I'm not surprised people are finding room for it in their decks. It does cost four mana, however, so it also faces steep competition from other splashy green value enchantments like Greater Good, Guardian Project, and a three-mana card I'll cover below.

10. Reclamation Sage

Naturalize-esque (or Disenchant-esque for you boomers) cards that destroy an artifact or enchantment are very much in green's wheelhouse. Most decks playing this color are going to want at least one way to deal with a pesky permanent. What better way to do that than by playing Reclamation Sage, a Naturalize stapled to a creature? Sure, some blue-based green decks might want access to an instant or sorcery instead to take advantage of spell payoffs. But, as we can see from EDHREC data, 14% of decks are playing this versatile 2/1. There are so many ways to get the more out of it than just a removal effect, too.

First of all, it being a creature opens up too many synergies to count, but I'll try to do the Sage justice. It works really well with Soulherder and other "blink" effects to get more than one bite at the apple. Sage can be reanimated from the graveyard by cards like Sun Titan and Unearth. It can also be searched up by creature tutor effects like Prime Speaker Vannifar and Woodland Bellower (a personal favorite).

It's also an Elf, so it slots right into Elf-matters decks led by commanders like Galadriel, Elven-Queen, Ezuri, Renegade Leader, Lathril, Blade of the Elves, and many more.

Reclamation Sage is a powerful and open-ended card that works as a silver bullet for a problematic permanent. But, like many of the best Commander cards, it also rewards you heavily for finding ways to re-trigger and recur it.

9. Sylvan Library

Library is an iconic green card that sees a ton of play in Commander, even after all these years and after green has started to get more and more sources of card advantage. At just two mana, you can play it early and watch your advantage snowball each turn. Paying four life to draw an extra card just won't matter a lot of the time. Even when you're under pressure and can't afford the life loss, simply getting to draw the best out of the top three cards of your deck is extremely powerful. When you playing Library, you'll find your high-impact cards more often when you need them.

You also don't need to build around it for it do amazing work. EDHREC data shows that Library ends up in a lot of decks alongside format powerhouses like Rhystic Study, Swords to Plowshares, Dockside Extortionist, and more.

8. Garruk's Uprising

Like Sylvan Library, Garruk's Uprising is a value enchantment that can snowball pretty quickly. Unlike its predecessor, however, it asks you to build around it before rewarding you with a slew of additional cards. Thankfully, playing creatures with power four or greater is almost trivial for green. Unsurprisingly, it sees play in the 99 of Commanders that help you trigger it more often, either by packing four power themselves, producing tokens that trigger it, making other creatures bigger, or some combination of the three. It also helps you end the game quicker by granting the few creatures that don't already have it trample.

I love looking through the list of creatures that see the most play alongside Uprising. It's a veritable treasure trove of Tammy goodness.

7. Return of the Wildspeaker

This five-mana instant is such a splashy, potentially game-ending, and intrinsically green effect. You're going to feel pretty good about running it when your horde of non-Human creatures are suddenly crashing in for lethal. The use case that I'm here for, however, is playing this in the 99 of Commanders that have absurdly high power, because I love drawing an obscene amount of cards, especially in non-blue decks where doing this is less common.

Speaking of non-Humans, Return of the Wildspeaker also tends to see play in typal decks that just happen to have large creatures that can take advantage of both modes. You can slot this into Elf, Dragon, or Dinosaur-matters decks and get a lot of value out of paying five mana. Hilariously, this card is also part of a rarely-played combo that Commander Spellbook pointed out to me.


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After all, what is Commander for if not trying to survive a whole turn cycle with Emrakul, the Promised End in play, thirteen cards in hand, and an on-board win that your opponents know about and can react to?

6. Worldly Tutor

Tutor cards are always going to be a crucial feature of singleton formats. It's no surprise that this cheap instant that can search up any creature is one of the most played mono-green cards in Commander. I wrote above about how easy it is to make Reclamation Sage worth more than just a single card. Likewise, Worldly Tutor's ceiling is the best creature in your deck at a given time. You can use it at the end of an opponent's turn to fetch up a silver bullet like Sage, a value engine like Beast Whisperer or a game-ending behemoth like Alpha Deathclaw

It can even help you win the game the turn you cast it, thanks to the combo of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Conspicuous Snoop


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5. Eternal Witness

Witness is yet another great creature to fetch up with Worldly Tutor. Everything I said about Reclamation Sage being great with various forms of recursion is just as true, if not more so, with this handy 2/1. It also has a ton of combo applications you can read more about on Commander Spellbook. Even if you don't want to win the game like that, playing it to reuse your splashiest spell or creature your opponent thought they dealt with is very powerful. It's also perfectly fine to play this early in the game and recur a value creature like Coiling Oracle or Baleful Strix. Most decks will have some way to get more than one Regrowth effect out of it and you can even double dip on Witnesses by playing its Modern Horizons 2 counterpart, Timeless Witness


4. Heroic Intervention


Green decks are known for their monstrous creatures and the myriad ways to ramp them out. But protection spells are also a staple in the color, with cards like Blossoming Defense seeing occasional play. Decks that want this effect don't need to play around with single-target spells when they can just play the granddaddy of all green protection spells, Heroic Intervention.

For just two mana, it makes your board nigh-invincible for a turn, letting you laugh off such puny non-green effects like targeted removal, board wipes that destroy permanents, and blockers (do any of you block with your green creatures?). Having this defense system in your arsenal means that your opponents will have to think twice about messing with your board. This can open you up to enact whatever game plan you desire, from going wide and attacking with Beastmaster Ascension to getting the most out of a splashy commander like Ruxa, Patient Professor.

Looking at the EDHREC data, Intervention synergizes the best with token-matters commanders that help you build a wide board, like Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva, Rin and Seri, Inseparable, and Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second. It might not be the flashiest or most monstrous green spell, but its protective power is invaluable.

3. Beast Within


This card, originally printed in New Phyrexia, is a staple in green Commander decks for good reason. It's cheap, efficient removal that can handle anything the format throws at youan effect that's almost irreplacable in this color. While decks playing green with other colors do have access to powerful and versatile removal like Chaos Warp, Assassin's Trophy, and Tear Asunder, mono-green decks would be cold to a lot of threats without it.

The drawback may seem like a dealbreaker to inexperienced players, but it is hardly that in this format. A 3/3 Beast token may act as a speed bump in the early game but it's a small price to pay for unmatched versatility. In a multiplayer game, though, you'd better be prepared for it to attack you every turn it can as punishment for its controller's fallen game piece.


2. Mana Creatures

If there were anything to learn about deckbuilding from browsing EDHREC's page on the most played green Commander cards (and trust me, there is a lot!), it's that green decks should play one-cost creatures that make mana. Birds of Paradise and Llanowar Elves have been around since Alpha, Magic's first set, and they continue to represent one of green's most iconic, if not its most iconic, slice of the color pie. I would go so far as to say that cards like Fyndhorn Elves and Elvish Mystic are more like Moxen than they are different, because of how much extra mana they net you over the course if the game if you play them on your first turn and they survive.

There's a reason the phrase "Bolt the Bird" exists! The adage emphasizes the importance of getting mana creatures off the board as soon as possible, lest they ramp out a three mana card on turn two, a four drop on turn three, and so on. In Commander, your opponents probably have their own mana development to worry about, but they should also know that sniping an Elves of Deep Shadow or Delighted Halfling before it can put you too far ahead isn't the worst play in the world.

1. Cheap Ramping Sorceries

Why do green decks play so many ramp sorceries like Cultivate in Commander? Aside from the obvious answer of ramp being an essential component of green's toolkit and an effect that gets reprinted often, I can't stress enough how powerful the concept of redundancy is in a singleton format like EDH. You can plan to end the game pretty much however you want, but if you don't have your mana set up to cast your spells, you're going to have a bad time. Having access to spells that get you more mana than your opponent and that fix your colors is one of the best reasons to play green in Commander. Even in a format where you can play mana-producing artifacts, green just gives you that critical mass of enablers for greedy multicolor or top-heavy decks.

Guess Where I'm Gonna Plant This!

That's another Top 10 list article in the books, folks! I love seeing a good mix of effects, once you control for the ubiquity of mana creatures and Rampant Growth-style cards. It's also great to see newer spells like Return of the Wildspeaker mix it up with classics like Worldly Tutor. What's a mono-green card that you can't build a deck without? Let us know!

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