Too-Specific Top 10 - Nonblack Sac Outlets

(Greater Good | Art by Mathias Kollros)

For the Greater Good

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 Soldevi Sage is the only blue permanent that has you sacrifice specifically two non-specific lands to activate its ability?)

It's no secret that if you're looking to drop someone off a cliff for your own personal gain (in a card game called Magic: The Gathering, satire, parody, satire), black is your go-to color. So what's a brewer to do if they don't have access to it?

Top 10 Nonblack Sac Outlets

First off, let's define a sac outlet. While there are a lot of effects that will kill or remove a lot of permanents, the big takeaway from a sac outlet is that you can sacrifice a thing as part of the cost to get another (hopefully better) thing.

There's no doubt that you could kill a lot of creatures on your own board with a Plague Spitter, but it's not typically considered a sac outlet given that you can't activate it in response to anything. Even with a similar card that you could activate on demand, like Pestilence or Crypt Rats, it's not guaranteed to remove your bigger creatures. It also can't selectively sacrifice the creatures that you don't want while keeping your Blood Artist around to maximize triggers. Finally, Reprocess can be a means to sacrifice all sorts of different permanents that you have on board, but it can only do it once, rather than over and over again.

For a true sac outlet, you want a permanent that can sacrifice specific things that you choose, ideally more than once. That just leaves the question of what those permanents could look like if you're not in the color best at sacrificing.

Criteria: Nonblack, noncolorless cards with an activated ability that sacrifices a permanent type as a part of its activation cost. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.

10. Hammer of Purphoros

(24,919 Inclusions, 2% of 1,212,520 Decks)

Sacrificing lands in Commander can be a bit of a rough go. Most decks want to spend their time ramping out versus getting rid of any mana advantage. If you do find yourself with a bit of excess land and a need to go fast, however, you could do worse than Hammer of Purphoros. The fact that the Golems it makes are both enchantments and artifacts is something that isn't always considered in decks relevant to those permanent types.

9. Elvish Reclaimer

(26,973 Inclusions, 2% of 1,174,046 Decks)

Sacrificing lands in Commander can be a bit of a rough go. Most decks are looking to spend their time ramping out and not getting rid of that mana advantage. Luckily, Elvish Reclaimer usually does end up ramping after all, as its ability is mostly used as a Crop Rotation to go get a land that can make more mana than what you're sacrificing.

It's also a solid bet to go get any number of combo or utility lands, from the infamous Dark Depths and Thespian's Stage to the linchpin of any good Gates deck, Maze's End. My personal favorite, though? Snagging Scorched Ruins or Lotus Vale to get ready for that epic Splendid Reclamation I've been holding!

8. Oswald Fiddlebender

(Helms 1,916 Decks, Rank #392; 27,507 Inclusions, 2% of 1,132,741 Decks)

Hey kids, do you like stax decks? That's not the only way you can build Oswald Fiddlebender, but there is a reason the topmost creature on his EDHREC page is Soulless Jailer, the topmost enchantments are Smothering Tithe, Deafening Silence, and Rule of Law, and the topmost planeswalker is Karn, the Great Creator.

In fact, Oswald even leads a few cEDH brews that have made the database, making the top of the list by virtue of the the alphabet and being mono-white. However you build him, there's no doubt that having a tutor in the command zone is powerful, so be wary. If you're playing him, people will want to kill him. If you're playing against him, you should probably go a little out of your way to try and kill him.


7. Mondrak, Glory Dominus

(Helms 1,100 Decks, Rank #606; 30,898 Inclusions, 8% of 387,800 Decks)

Speaking of powerful mono-white commanders, here's Mondrak, Glory Dominus! It's a bit sad that this little Phyrexian Horror made our list, as its sac ability is little more than an afterthought once it does its best Anointed Procession impression. Still, it is a great impression, and the sacrifice outlet does patch up the specific reason you'd still want to play Anointed Procession over Mondrak: the fact that it's an easily removable creature. Indestructible doesn't quite get it to the point of being as hard to remove as simply being an enchantment would, but it is a good start.

But dismissing Mondrak as a second copy of Procession is a bit, well, dismissive, don't you think? There aren't many who have chosen to do this, as we can see by the 1,100 decks helmed by the mono-white Dominus, but having a token commander with a sacrifice outlet stapled to it does give us some fairly excellent aristocrats-style options.

6. Birthing Pod

(37,175 Inclusions, 3% of 1,174,046 Decks)

Birthing Pod is notorious for good reason: in decks built around it, it just wins the game. With that said, it's also playable as a toolbox, and it shouldn't be too difficult to convince the table that you're not trying to kill them when they survive the first turn it comes down. Still, buyer beware; this thing will probably call some serious attention to you.

5. Sylvan Safekeeper

(37,645 Inclusions, 3% of 1,174,046 Decks)

Another cEDH staple, Sylvan Safekeeper is a lot more utility and a lot less scary than Birthing Pod. While you don't want to be sacrificing lands willy-nilly, protecting a crucial creature or commander is something that a ton of decks are looking for. Being able to do this repeatedly for a single mana is just good value, and if that commander you're protecting just so happens to be helming a lands deck? Even better.

4. Sai, Master Thopterist

(Helms 1,410 Decks, Rank #501; 48,676 Inclusions, 4% of 1,251,075 Decks)

A creature that cares about casting artifacts by making more artifacts and then letting you sacrifice said artifacts to draw cards? What could possibly be broken about that?

In all seriousness, Sai, Master Thopterist checks every box there is to do all the things you want to do in Commander whether he's in the command zone or not. If you're killing opponents by flying over the top with Thopters made from dozens of Eggs or just out-valuing them by making tons of tokens to draw to your answers and win conditions, Sai can help get you there.

3. Goblin Engineer

(56,953 Inclusions, 5% of 1,212,520 Decks)

Shockingly, if our criteria had allowed either Goblin Welder or Daretti, Scrap Savant to be included in this list, they would not have risen to anywhere near Goblin Engineer's ranking. At 57,000 inclusions, the little Goblin that can search up an artifact and get it onto the battlefield over a two-turn spread is now officially the best Goblin Artificer out there. Congratulations, little buddy! You've earned it.

2. Greater Good

(69,819 Inclusions, 6% of 1,174,046 Decks)

One of the best pieces of advice for lowering the power level of your deck (or making it play with a bit more variance) is to take out your tutors and replace them with card draw. If you're looking to go that route in "fatties.dec", look no further than Greater Good to start cycling through your deck and find your win condition. However, if your win condition was having those huge creatures in play, you're going the wrong way!

1. Goblin Bombardment

(88,585 Inclusions, 7% of 1,212,520 Decks)

Whether you were looking to combo out or just needed a way to translate a ton of tokens into a win without having to worry about that pesky combat step, you've probably run into Goblin Bombardment before. At its most basic level, Bombardment is a problem-solving device that can take a creature past its prime and turn it into direct damage. This makes the Bargain decks of ye olde Combo Winter blush about their meek inclusion of Skirge Familiar to cast Soul Feast to find Yawgmoth's Will to recast Soul Feast. What I mean to say is, this card has been among the best finishing options ever since it was first printed, and continues to be today.

I do wish they'd go back to the original "Goblins in a catapult" art, though.

Honorable Mentions

I somewhat ruthlessly shoved colorless options to the side, given that many of them already see play in a lot of black decks. However, it turns out that you can still play them in other colors too, so let's take a quick peek!

Top 10 Colorless Sac Outlets

  1. Ashnod's Altar
  2. High Market
  3. Phyrexian Altar
  4. Altar of Dementia
  5. Trading Post
  6. Krark-Clan Ironworks
  7. Kuldotha Forgemaster
  8. Zuran Orb
  9. Metalwork Colossus
  10. Pyre of Heroes

Okay, okay, I actually eliminated them because they were cards everyone knew were going to be on the list. I highly suggest you play around a bit with Pyre of Heroes if you're into high-powered decks and haven't had the pleasure yet. It's spicy!

As for the rest, there are still a few nonblack sac outlets that didn't quite make our top ten but warrant a mention.

I must admit, I was a bit surprised to see that the preeminent Boros artifacts commander, Osgir, the Reconstructor had not made the list. While it's not like Boros is the most played color combination in artifacts, he was a top ten commander for quite a while. If you haven't had the pleasure, he is a wonder to see in action as he moves things from pile to pile, acquiring value along the way.

If we're talking about sac outlets in colors you don't expect them to be in, however, then we can't go any further without mentioning Fanatical Devotion. A mainstay of old-head token decks since day one of Commander, it does an excellent job of keeping your engines alive to replace the tokens you're feeding into it. It's beyond annoying to play against but a ton of fun to have on your side of the board. It's everything you could want in a mono-white sac outlet.

Finally, mono-blue isn't known for land ramp, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's not possible. Dreamscape Artist is happy to step up to the plate and let you trade two cards for two basics, putting a couple lands straight onto the battlefield in an untapped fashion. My favorite part? Baiting people into thinking you don't have a Counterspell for their game-winning creature only to suddenly find two untapped Islands in response. I've only pulled it off once, but man, was it glorious.

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?

A minor subtheme of this week that I didn't expect to be talking about is having so many sac outlets for lands. Long-time readers will know that my favorite pet card from Magic's history is Pegasus Stampede, to the point that I created an entire mono-white lands deck just so I had an excuse to play it. Sacrificing or bouncing lands is something that's been around forever, and in 60-card formats can be utilized to finish out games.

Which got me wondering: do any of you think that there should be more representation of getting rid of lands for other resources?

Finally, what is your favorite sac outlet that's not in black? Do you think other colors should see more sac outlets on the whole, or is the balance about right?

Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the giant stump we dragged into the garage that can just barely fit four players around it.

Doug has been an avid Magic player since Fallen Empires, when his older brother traded him some epic blue Homarids for all of his Islands. As for Commander, he's been playing since 2010, when he started off by making a two-player oriented G/R Land Destruction deck. Nailed it. In his spare time when he's not playing Magic, writing about Magic or doing his day job, he runs a YouTube channel or two, keeps up a College Football Computer Poll, and is attempting to gif every scene of the Star Wars prequels.

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