Too-Specific Top 10 - Commander Outlet
Without Sacrifice, We Would Have Nothing!
Welcome to Too-Specific Top 10, where if there isn’t a category to rank our pet card at the top of, we’ll just make one up! (Did you know that
Boros Lorehold card that allows you to sacrifice artifacts?)
With the sneak peek at Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, we saw a world split between tradition and Magic's first internet connection. More importantly, we also got to see the newest Rakdos commander, and it's a doozy!
does everything I want in the world: it sacrifices creatures to improve my card quality, then lets me impulse draw while dealing damage to my opponents (or their stuff)! It's like a and a in one!
Alright, that may be stretching it a bit - especially since neither Chandra nor Viscera Seer make you pay mana to activate their abilities - but tell me, is there any better feeling than having a sac outlet in the command zone?
Top 10 Commander Sac Outlets
Well, let's find out, shall we?
Before we begin, what is a sacrifice outlet?
First off, a sacrifice outlet sacrifices something else, not itself, so commanders likeare obviously not what we're talking about. Where it does get a bit fuzzier is with triggered sacrifice outlets. No one would say that or aren't sacrificing things, and you can certainly build around those synergies, but as several people have shouted at me in many a heated discussion, "A sacrifice outlet has always meant being able to sacrifice things whenever you want to." So I guess let's move forward with that 'popular' opinion, and do activated abilities only.
Even restricting the criteria to just 'activated abilities that sacrifice other things' leaves a lot of wiggle room, however.
My initial writing of the criteria was "commanders with an activated ability that has sacrificing another card as part of its activation cost". This was all well and good until I started running into planeswalkers. I would definitely countas a (fairly limited) sac outlet, but that definition would eschew it in favor of other competition. So, fine, let's update it to allow for any activated ability that sacrifices another permanent. But wait, is a sac outlet? I don't think so.
Other less obvious corner cases are things like, , and that create bodies for only a temporary amount of time. These are obviously not meant as sacrifice outlets. Additionally, and as per usual, we'll be putting a tribal rider into our criteria; may be a great commander, but you're not really playing it for its ability to sacrifice things so much as its ability to create specific things to then sacrifice.
Criteria: Commanders with an activated ability that has sacrificing another card you control as part of an activated ability that does not include a time-sensitive component, without a tribal rider (sorry not sorry, and ). As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score, although in this case it's by the EDHREC score of each commander's decks (e.g., decks they're helming), rather than their total inclusions.
(Helms 1,398 Decks, Rank #174; 1,469 Inclusions, 4% of 35,229 Decks)
My problem withisn't that it lives up to its name (being just a little bit toxic by creating play states where only you get to actually play the game), it's that it's both bad and a little bit toxic. When you sit down at any table, the moment you flip it over you're going to be public enemy number one, despite the fact that you probably won't even be able to cast it until turn five or six. You'll then kill a few mana dorks and utility creatures to make a few Slugs, and then it will get wiped. However, you're playing like a big mana Drana now, so you'll recast it the next turn, killing a few more creatures and getting a few more Slugs on your end step.
Rinse and repeat until everyone runs out of removal, essentially. The problem is, until that happens, you're not actually doing anything but slowing down the game, at which point your plan is still to just... what? Swing in on an empty board with a dozen Slugs?
Sure, you could also go the Aristocrats plan and play every version of, but aren't there already a dozen better commanders to do that with? Commanders that won't have the entire table targeting you for an entire game in which you're not going to do much but ramp and kill small creatures?
(Helms 1,426 Decks, Rank #171; 16,878 Inclusions, 4% of 437,469 Decks)
Speaking of better Aristocrats commanders that won't have entire tables groaning anytime you flip your commander over, then there's no shortage of ways to do that, either.! While her sacrifice outlet does leave a bit to be desired in that you can only use it once per turn under normal circumstances, drawing a card without having to pay any mana every turn is huge, and her enter-the-battlefield trigger for every creature in your deck is even better. What really pushes Ayara over the top, however, is that she can be built at just about any power level. If you just want to play a durdly, creature-heavy deck that's okay with sacrificing things, then Ayara is cool with that. If you want to go full combo,
(Helms 1,464 Decks, Rank #166; 667 Inclusions, 1% of 76,010 Decks)
I've honestly always been surprised thatwasn't a bit more popular, given how long folks were looking for a Mardu enchantment commander, so I'm happy to finally be putting together a list where he makes the cut. What I really love about Ghen (aside from finally having a great Curses commander) are the synergies he has with all of the enchantments with steep downsides.
Where else are you going to get to actually play these weird and wacky cards? Well,. The answer is . Still though, how cool is Ghen?
(Helms 1,611 Decks, Rank #150; 2,631 Inclusions, 3% of 93,010 Decks)
The boogeyman of Jund,was once a premiere competitive commander, and it still carries the stigma of that day. Given that it was unseated by a series of more and more ridiculous boogeymen, and isn't even anymore, I do wonder if we shouldn't stop targeting down Prossh. Getting seven bodies for six mana is a heck of a feat, especially when it comes with a sacrifice outlet that can kill with commander damage stapled to it. In this day and age, though, six mana is a lot for a commander, and there's honestly probably scarier things going on at the average high- or even mid-power table.
I guess what I'm saying is... give Prossh a chance?
(Helms 2,023 Decks, Rank #107; 3,996 Inclusions, 3% of 116,369 Decks)
Witherbloom changed the calculus of a lot of Golgari decks that had essentially been pure Aristocrats up to that point., , and all provided a bunch of lifegain payoffs that steered Golgari decks that were previously carbon copies of each other in a bunch of different directions, and at the top of it all was . Sure, she wasn't the face card of the Witherbloom Commander 2021 deck, but she was the standout nonetheless. Being able to ping the whole table anytime you gain life adds up really quick, especially when you've got other cards that are doing the same while triggering Dina through their drain abilities. It's not uncommon to see Dina trigger five or six times a turn in a dedicated deck, and that kind of life loss adds up quickly (especially when your own life total is going the other way).
(Helms 2,140 Decks, Rank #96; 2,200 Inclusions, 2% of 95,521 Decks)
What can I say aboutthat hasn't already been said an arbitrarily large amount of times? Maybe we need an outside contractor here.
Thanks, Britney. Glad to see you doing business on your own again.
(Helms 2,334 Decks, Rank #82; 19,854 Inclusions, 5% of 437,469 Decks)
Charge Counter tribal. Sometimes people just remind you why it is you love to play this silly format.has always been the epitome of "pushed", so to see him at only #4 on this list really speaks to just how many players would rather be playing multiple colors. Still, even if you only have mono-black to pull from, Yawgmoth can get it done with any variety of powerful creature and planeswalker decks. The build I saw that really made me chuckle, though?
(Partners 2,893 Decks; 8,286 Inclusions, 3% of 317,345 Decks)
Then, to pull me right back, there's. The fact that he's most popularly a Partner with tells you everything you need to know: there's not a nice way to play Tevesh Szat. Sure, you could try and make a silly mono-black Thrull tribal build with , but that ultimate would still be sitting right there, reminding the table why you have to die.
(Helms 3,457 Decks, Rank #37; 1,742 Inclusions, 2% of 114,577 Decks)
If you're looking for a card that will get the table excited, despite the fact that you're playing an absurdly overpowered commander, might I suggest? If you've yet to see this commander in play, it's hard to describe just how quickly things get out of hand, even in just the preconstructed version of his deck. Make no mistake though, when things get optimized, this is not the Boros you're used to. A single already spells enough trouble, but two is just game over.
(Helms 4,186 Decks, Rank #21; 422 Inclusions, 1% of 68,830 Decks)
Speaking of artifact commanders that can just win the game out of nowhere, it's! While she's still not the most popular four-color commander, she's honestly more kill-on-sight than , although anything short of a might not be fast enough if the Breya player has mana. With six total power for four mana, with an option to gain life, kill creatures, or damage players and planeswalkers directly, Breya can solve any problem, which is why it's not really a shock to see her at #1.
Whenever I do a list that goes off of the Commander rankings rather than the overall inclusion numbers, I like to shout out where things would be if we just looked at the cards that got played the most in general:
Top 10 Legendary (read: commander) Sacrifice Outlets
If you're looking for the actual honorable mentions, they were going to be, at 1,315 decks, and , at 1,274 decks.
Nuts and Bolts
There always seems to be a bit of interest in how these lists are made (this seems like a good time to stress once again that they are based on EDHREC score, NOT my personal opinion), and people are often surprised that I’m not using any special data or .json from EDHREC, but rather just muddling my way through with some Scryfall knowledge! For your enjoyment/research, here is this week’s Scryfall search.
What Do You Think?
For those of us that have built a lot of sacrifice-heavy decks, it can be a struggle to find the right balance of sac outlets, payoffs, and engines. It probably comes as little surprise, then, to find that the most popular commanders on this list are both sac outlets and an engine or a payoff of some sort.
My question is: is that healthy?
Finally, what's your favorite sac outlet? Is it in your command zone? Do you secretly think that triggered abilities are fine as sac outlets as well, but have already been shouted at multiple times on multiple occasions for saying so?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you on the floor that until recently contained a table.