The Latest Hotness - 7/3/2022-7/9/2022
(Omnath, Locus of Creation | Art by Bastien Grivet)
These Decks are Fire!
Welcome to my new series, The Latest Hotness! I’m Jeremy Rowe, also known as Coach J Ro and the Unsummoned Skull.
Sports fans will already know what's happening! This is a Power Rankings series, based on the week-to-week shifts in popularity in terms of the number of decks built and recorded through EDHREC’s data collection process. I'll describe any new decks that come up, explain shifts in popularity, give examples of cards that may account for this (either new printings or cards with renewed interest), and show the decks one is likely to see in a random pod. Always remember, though, that one of the things that makes EDH such an incredible format is that players play what they love, whether it's popular or not!
1: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice (First Appearance)
Atraxa has been a popular commander since she was first revealed, and much like the Phyrexians themselves, her popularity has only expanded as more and more planes have been explored. Just about every set since Lorwyn has brought with it at least one planeswalker, usually multiple. +1/+1 counter synergies continue to be popular, either through plane-based mechanics or individually powerful cards. For those looking for a more adventurous take, there are always new counters being added to the game, such as ability counters from Ixalan and shield counters from Streets of New Capenna. The range of deckbuilding options and the flexibility afforded by four colors has assured that this commander has always remained up at the top of the heap.
2: Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow (First Appearance)
Yuriko is a powerful aggressive commander, capable of circumventing commander tax with its Commander Ninjutsu, and damaging all opponents with its combat damage triggered ability. Whether focusing on cheap, evasive creatures, Ninja tribal synergies, or high mana values, Yuriko assures that life totals will drop. Yuriko’s popularity is still riding its high from our recent return to Kamigawa, whose new suite of Ninjas brought even more interest to this fan-favorite commander. The renewed focus on the tribe has helped it stay in the limelight. Time will tell if it holds its spot or goes the way of Go-Shintai of Life's Origin, which has fallen down to 33rd.
3: Kenrith, the Returned King (First Appearance)
Kenrith was already popular before Golos, Tireless Pilgrim was laid to rest on the ban list, and he's only grown in popularity since then as the new de facto best generic five-color commander. Because it only requires white mana to cast, the mana-fixing for this commander is able to be looser than some other fiver-color decks, and most of his abilities are applicable in a whole host of situations, and lethal with infinite mana! From combo to Group Hug to Treasure to Maze's End strategies, any shell that deals in excess mana probably considers Kenrith as its leader.
4: Lathril, Blade of the Elves (First Appearance)
Elves are among the most popular fantasy humanoids in most intellectual properties in which they appear, and Magic is no different. While they haven’t been focused on since Kaldheim, the accessibility of the Lathril, Blade of the Elves preconstructed deck has helped her numbers soar. That precon also contained some awesome new cards and excellent reprints, too, so it certainly became one of the most appealing decks for newer players and well-established Elf-lovers alike. While there are a bevy of Elf commanders, Lathril embraces the swarm aspect and provides a noncombat win con, so her strategic diversity is likely to keep her at the top of the heap for a long time to come.
5: The Ur-Dragon (First Appearance)
The Ur-Dragon was one of two commanders to break out of the Commander 2017 precons, and it's finally eclipsed its vampiric counterpart. What made the difference? Well, it turns out that the recent set that was focused on Dungeons & Dragons had a LOT of cards for Dragon decks! The Ur-Dragon’s Emininece ability reduces the cost of Dragons, which mitigates the tribe’s greatest weakness: its speed. Enabling players to throw down their favorite giant scaley fliers even more quickly is the key reason this commander got popular in the first place, and with a ton of new toys, it's safe to say it'll stay in the top ranks for quite a long while.
6: Korvold, Fae-Cursed King (First Appearance)
Aristocrats strategies are plenty popular, with cards like Blood Artist acting as signposts of the archetype, and Korvold is the king of those strategies. Korvold triggers a sacrificing on attack and upon entering the battlefield, and is a large flying source of commander damage and card advantage. As it grows, so does your hand. Particularly important to note is that the growth and draw are triggered when any permanent is sacrificed, so its growth in the format is somewhat analogous to the growth of Treasures in the format, which have received fairly consistent support recently, especially in Streets of New Capenna, which gave Korvold a trove of new tools and toys. When Dockside Extortionist will give you 10 mana and draw you 10 cards and give your commander +10/+10, yeah, it's hard not to be popular.
7: Edgar Markov (First Appearance)
The other major breakout star of Commander 2017, Edgar is the progenitor for a variety of vampiric strategies. Whether swarming the board with efficient bodies, doing various lifelink shenanigans, or assembling combos like Exquisite Blood and Sanguine Bond, the head of the Markov family has been making his presence known and his price tag large ever since he was printed. He’s still riding the high of Crimson Vow and has retained his significant popularity as a result, though it's noteworthy that The Ur-Dragon finally eclipsed him.
8: Prosper, Tome-Bound (First Appearance)
The preponderance of Treasure synergies has given a boost to this commander, which appeared in the first crossover with Dungeons and Dragons, and time has only been kinder to it. Rakdos was mostly known for punisher and aggro strategies, but Prosper brought a new perspective to this color pair that players were clearly hungry for. An increase in the number of impulse draw and play-from-exile shenanigans have given Prosper tons of new tools, and it also received a huge boost of Treasure support from Streets of New Capenna. As long as these types of cards continue to be prioritized, this Tome-Bound Tiefling will indeed continue to Prosper.
9: Omnath, Locus of Creation (First Appearance)
Landfall is a popular strategy, and being four colors allows for a distinct amount of flexibility in card inclusions. As a land-based commander, Omnath benefits from all types of amazing lands, but there's a very strange source behind Omnath's most recent upswing: Maze's End decks received even more Gates in Battle for Baldur’s Gate, which has enabled three- and four-color commanders to have access to 10 or more Gates, such that the alternate win con is now a viable strategy for non-five-color decks. Omnath was already enjoying Landfall success, but a new way to play and brew gave it a windfall, too!
10: Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver (First Appearance)
Zombies are another popular creature type, always refusing to fade into obscurity. Midnight Hunt gave it a significant boost, giving it tons of new Zombie cards, support pieces, a whole Decayed mechanic to play around with, as well as a powerful new commander who not only provides card draw, but also makes tons of tokens, too! Building up death triggers allows Zombies to play an Aristocrats-style game plan, giving them more staying power and flexibility than they had previously enjoyed - and they already enjoyed a lot. Wilhelt being a Zombie himself also can't be overlooked. With a Zombie Apocalypse on the loose, Wilhelt is out to prove that he's here to stay. Let's see if he can keep a spot in the Top 10!
These are the 10 most popular commanders from the past 2 years on EDHREC as of this week. Which ones have you built? What are some interesting ways you’ve seen them brewed? What’s the latest hotness inspiring you?
Until next week!