Top 10 Cards From 2019

(Prismatic Vista | Art by Sam Burley)

Year in Review: Ten Top Tens!

Hello and welcome to EDHREC's Top 10 Cards of 2019! Ten of our writers submitted their own personal top 10 lists, each including only new cards from the year 2019 (Ravnica: Allegiance, War of the Spark, Modern Horizons, Magic Core Set 2020, Commander 2019, and Throne of Eldraine).

Instead of picking cards that are objectively the most popular or even the most powerful, each author picked personal favorites that suit their needs and playstyles. The year is almost over, so let's get to it!

Joey Schultz (@JosephMSchultz)

Joey hosts the EDHRECast, edits our articles, and writes the Commander Showdown series, but what really matters is that his hair is better than mine. Let's check out his list:

10. Feather, the Redeemed

  • Have

9. Feather, the Redeemed

  • You

8. Feather, the Redeemed

  • Heard

7. Feather, the Redeemed

  • About

6. Feather, the Redeemed

  • Our

5. Feather, the Redeemed

  • Lord

4. Feather, the Redeemed

  • And

3. Feather, the Redeemed

  • Savior

2. Feather, the Redeemed

  • Feather?

1. Syr Konrad, the Grim

  • Death is the only way to live!

Andrew Cummings (@brewsmtg)

I'm the author of the Ultra Budget Brews series here at EDHREC, building entire decks containing no card that costs more than $1. I enjoy the Izzet color combination, bad cards, and not spending money.

10. Ethereal Absolution

  • Budget Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is still a heck of a card. Throw in targeted graveyard hate that creates evasive critters and you have yourself a very underrated card.

9. Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge

  • With all the powerful stuff in War of the Spark, this guy got lost in the shuffle. Incredibly powerful static ability with a legitimate win condition that increases his loyalty makes this card as fun as it is strong.

8. Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion

  • Confession time: I almost cut this card from the one deck I had it in. I'd never actually gotten to untap with it, which is why I nearly missed how powerful it really is. I finally got the chance just the other night, and I now want one of these in every red deck I have. This card is bonkers and should see a lot more play than it currently enjoys.

7. Ral, Storm Conduit

  • In my bio, I mentioned I like Izzet. Ral does everything I want and then some. Card selection is wonderful, but the ability to repeatably Reverberate your next spell is simply phenomenal.

6. Rankle, Master of Pranks

  • I don't know if it's his Puckish demeanor or his modal abilities, but I love this card. It creates interesting decisions and allows you to be very creative with your problem-solving. Also, I can't think of another recent card that benefits this much from the inclusion of haste.

5. Pendant of Prosperity

  • To the Group Hug haters out there, I get it. Really, I do. This card benefits your opponents, they can choose to simply not activate it, it costs you three mana and doesn't impact the board, etc. With that being said, in my experience, this card plays incredibly well and with a bit of political know-how, it'll benefit you far more than anyone else.

4. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

  • I love burn strategies. Ever since I started playing Magic, I've always gravitated towards cards that let me throw fire directly at my opponent's face. Torbran cranks those cards up to 11, so it's naturally one of my favorite cards of this year.

3. Aria of Flame

2. Ugin, the Ineffable

  • Hot take incoming: almost every single deck would be better with Ugin. It remove problem cards, creates creatures, draws you cards, and makes the mana rocks you should be running much cheaper. Basically, it can shore up the weakness of almost any color combination.

1. Captive Audience

  • I don't really enjoy Standard too much, but this card (along with Thousand-Year Storm) actually got me to sign on to MTG Arena and play a bunch of Standard. The card was hilarious there, and is just as much fun in EDH. This is my favorite card of the year, and it's not particularly close.

Dana Roach (@danaroach)

I'm mostly known at EDHREC for the series In the Margins, and for co-hosting the EDHRECast with fellow writers Joey Schultz and Matt Morgan. I like quiet, unassuming commanders and obscure cards, and almost all of my decks stick to a theme to limit their power and force restriction-based creativity within the brew.

10. Arcane Signet & Enemy-Colored Talismans

  • I know this is kind of a cheat, but I also didn't want my list to just be six mana rocks, and it's really hard to ignore these particular cards. The new Signet and the Talismans (Talisman of Conviction. etc.) should go in almost every single nongreen deck, and you can rationalize them in the green ones, too. They're clean, simple, and efficient, if somewhat unexciting.

9. Winged Words

8. Hall of Heliod's Generosity

7. Dockside Extortionist

  • The card everyone thought Treasure Nabber would be. It's a beast at tables of all power levels. Plus, who doesn't love Goblin mobsters?

6. Light up the Stage

  • Almost always costs a single red mana. So efficient and so much value. If Winged Words is blue's Night's Whisper, this might well be it for red.

5. Return of the Wildspeaker

  • Need a win con? It's that. Need draw? It's that, too. Both modes are highly relevant, and it lets you pick which at instant speed. Plus the draw mode doesn't target, so it gets around Lightning Greaves and, provided you have a second body, it can still resolve if someone removes your biggest creature in response.

4. Guardian Project & The Great Henge

  • Another cheat? Maybe, but I feel like any deck that runs one runs the other, and they basically do the same thing (though Henge stupidly does more). So yeah, that's three absurd green draw spells in this list so far.

3. Kaya's Guile

  • Three mana to force only your opponents to sacrifice a creature AND exile their graveyards? At instant speed? That's disgusting. I guess you can pay more to make a 1/1 Spirit and gain 4 life, but the first two modes are the ones that matter, and this card would be in my top 10 even if they were the only modes on the card.

2. Mystic Forge

  • I'm picking this over Bolas's Citadel in part because it goes in more decks, and in part because it's a more "fair" card. I use that term loosely, as Sensei's Divining Top and a mana cost reducer will draw your whole deck with Forge. Still, it's easier to cast than Citadel and usable when low on life, and exiling away dead draws is always useful.

1. Generous Gift

  • Solve almost any problem at instant speed by giving them a token they may forget that they even control. Seems like the kind of thing that makes for the best EDH card of 2019.

Matt Morgan (@mathimus55)

Matt Morgan is the resident Legacy player at EDHREC and authors the 60 to 100 article series. He’s also the resident dad joke aficionado on the EDHRECast and will play any number of Selesnya cards when given the chance.

10. The Cavalier Cycle (Cavalier of Flame, Cavalier of Night, etc.)

  • While the Cavaliers aren’t necessarily on par with the Titan cycle from years past, these are among the best in complete cycles and nearly all of them have very relevant applications for the format.

9. Embercleave

  • This is essentially a two-mana combat trick and it’s not really even fair that it sticks around after the fact. Most red decks have no problem casting this, and it's a monstrous blowout. This card was the first no-brainer addition to Valduk, Keeper of the Flame in a while.

8. Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

  • I know I’m not a graveyard aficionado, but I know a good and powerful card when I see one. I imagine all you black players out there got giddy when you saw this one.

7. Guardian Project

  • Green never had a huge problem drawing cards, but after 2019, it's not just good at drawing cards, it's great at it.

6. Teysa Karlov

  • Teysa Karlov does what few cards have the honor of doing: encouraging nonblack players to play black decks. The “Death-harmonicon,” effect is such a unique design space, it’s no surprise that Teysa continues to rise up the ranks of most popular commanders ever. Oh, and she’s great with tokens, too.

5. Smothering Tithe

  • This card is certifiably nuts. It becomes the most impactful card at the table regardless of what else is going on. This card sees absolutely zero play outside of Commander but already commands a hefty price tag because of its power in this format. Just play it.

4. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

  • Players sometimes talk about making red cards that scale for multiplayer. That's what this is. It opens up pingers, go-wide tokens, and even incremental punisher decks. I can't praise it enough.

3. Narset’s Reversal

  • A card that leads to many "Can you believe what just happened!?" moments. This will save your creature, steal a card draw spell, turn a Torment of Hailfire on its head, and much more. It’s not just a Counterspell, it’s a Swiss Army knife with tons of different applications.

2. Finale of Devastation

  • What could be better than green's Chord of Calling and Overrun? How about both on the same card? This is head and shoulders above the rest of the Finale cycle, and has created more insane plays than any other single card I can remember. Each time this card resolves, there will be a story to tell afterwards.

1. The Great Henge

  • Probably the most insane green card we’ve seen this year, and this year was packed with insane green cards. It’s legitimately hard to track everything this card does. Whatever your green deck does, this does it, too, and more. If your budget allows it, it's genuinely hard to justify not playing this card.

Kya Vess (@kya_vess)

Just your average EDH player who enjoys watching board states get as crazy as possible!

10. Idol of Oblivion

  • Made a 4/4 Rhino? Draw a card. Made a Treasure? Draw a card. You can even make a 10/10 later on! That's a lot of value for an upfront investment of just two mana.

9. Curse of Fool's Wisdom

8. Pramikon, Sky Rampart

  • Want to confuse people? Just one simple Spark Double and everyone's pulling out the rule book!

7. Yarok, the Desecrated

  • Such a fun value commander. Of course, everyone quickly found out the joys of Sultai Landfall. Know what makes it even more fun though? A Spark Double!

6. Spark Double

  • Absolute proof that game developers don't think of people like me when they make these cards. Not only can you copy your commander, but you can also Rite of Replication the Spark Double for even more commanders!

5. Morophon, the Boundless

  • Imagine playing a deck whose mana base contains nothing but Islands and still managing to play creatures of any color. That's Morophon, and that's remarkable. #1 budget tribal commander.

4. Aeon Engine

3. Ashiok, Dream Render

  • This is probably my favorite "serious" card for Commander. I think many would agree that EDH can rapidly go into higher power levels, especially with the help of tutors. If you play any combination that includes black and blue, and you want to keep those folks in check, have I got the planeswalker for you! I'd love to see more cards like this in the future.

2. Wishclaw Talisman

  • Like Group Hug? This artifact can be recurred for even more shenanigans. Looks like Maralen of the Mornsong is no longer alone.

1. Scheming Symmetry

  1. More Group Hug in black! Yes, please! What better card for powerful politics and a very real potential for trickery and backstabbing? Designs like this allow non-Bant colors to join the ranks of Group Hug goodness.

DougY (@DougYnerd)

List-obsessed writer of Too-Specific Top 10, casual EDH aficionado, chronological prequel giffer, the guy who's trying to make #PlayLessTutors and #PlayLessStaples real hashtags, and lover of run-on sentences that may or may not actually be run-on sentences.

10. Echo of Eons

  • Wheels decks rejoiced upon seeing this mythic, but I've honestly seen it more in Spellslinger decks. Drawing seven cards twice is nice, as is the added benefit of removing graveyards. Really, though, it's just generally easy to get a sorcery into your graveyard, and then you're just playing Timetwister at 1/10 the price.

9. Mystic Forge

  • By now you've probably seen an Experimental Frenzy do work. Well, they went ahead and made another one for artifacts only, without the "your hand doesn't work" drawback, and it turns out it's absolutely ridiculous. Who knew?

8. Horizon Lands (Fiery Islet, Silent Clearing, etc.)

  • While not every deck is willing to pay a life every single time they want mana, the fact that these enemy-colored Horizon Canopy copycats come in to play untapped and can replace themselves later on makes them auto-includes in most decks. Try to make sure you have a reason to play them, though, because we already have a lot of $10 lands that everyone feels like they're required to play.

7. Dockside Extortionist

  • This is a very reasonable way to power up Boros. Plus, if someone is playing Smothering Tithe....

6. Field of the Dead

  • If you play Battlecruiser Magic in your meta (and if you don't, give it a try!), you know that this card doesn't need to be in a dedicated lands deck to become ridiculous. If it is in a lands deck, you'll see opponents converge to try and get rid of it ASAP, because it's a threat that cannot be allowed to stick around.

5. Priest of Forgotten Gods

  • It was initially difficult not to compare this card to Whisper, Blood Liturgist, a comparison which was not always favorable. Now that we've had it for a while, we know Priest of Forgotten Gods doesn't actually create any loss of card advantage, often starts combos all on its own, and is a two-mana powerhouse that needs to be removed before it ever has an opportunity to tap, or else the whole table is in for a mess of problems.

4. Springbloom Druid

  • Aiding me in my quest to tell the world that Harrow is better than Cultivate, Modern Horizons brought us a version on a stick! Sure, it's not instant-speed, and the lands enter tapped, but this effect on a creature means it's eminently recur-able.

3. Rhythm of the Wild

2. Arcane Signet, & Enemy-Colored Talismans

  • Finishing the cycle of Talismans (Talisman of Hierarchy, etc.) has been on every EDH player's wish list for years now, and Wizards finally answered the call. They also snuck in Arcane Signet with the Brawl precons, which we'll all be okay with once the price becomes a tad more reasonable.

1. Smothering Tithe

  • I put this at #1 not to say how good it is (we already know) but to beg others to stop playing it. Smothering Tithe and Rhystic Study are plagues on tables everywhere, ending friendships and making rational people go insane when they hear "Are you going to pay the 2?" for the 14,000th time in an hour.

Nate Burgess (@commandtime/@misterplorg)

Nate is a game developer, programmer, and writer from San Francisco, co-host of the Commander Time! podcast, a former co-host of the Commanderin’ MTG Podcast, and does occasional programming with EDHREC's database, making piles of Theme pages. Nate is also a frequent guest streamer at MTG Lexicon.

10. Mayhem Devil

  • Triggered abilities are fun and powerful. Damage to any target adds insult to any player's sacrificial injury, all while riding a spiked unicycle.

9. Evolution Sage

  • Speaking of triggered abilities, green is already strong in both land ramp and Infect creatures. Boundless Realms for the win!

8. Despark

  • Most win conditions involve at least one card with a converted mana cost of four or greater.

7. Bedevil

  • It kills Oko.

6. The Elderspell

  • It kills all Okos!

5. Alela, Artful Provocateur

  • Creating a free flying army for doing stuff you were already doing is pretty nice. Alela makes them all stronger and has some dangerous combat keywords, so here's a new way to play Esper aggro, with your favorite artifacts and enchantments to back it up.

4. K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

  • Phyrexian mana with lifelink is a strong combination, and K'rrik can hit the field on turn four. When he also makes it possible to cast Vilis, Broker of Blood on turn five, things get silly.

3. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

  • If you like Purphoros, God of the Forge but you don't like Goblin and Elemental tokens, Torbran opens more possibilities to beef up mono-red Group Slug, pingers, and burn.

2. Ashiok, Dream Render

  • I don't want my opponents to tutor up their win conditions. I also don't want my opponents to use their graveyards. Ashiok is a new Plorgian staple for any deck with the colors to play it.

1. Kykar, Wind's Fury

  • Like Alela, Kykar makes free flying tokens just by playing spells. These tokens don't have quite the combat chops as Alela's, but instant red mana allows for lots of surprises. Red might not be the most powerful color in EDH, but it is the most fun.

DM Cross (@DM_Cross)

I’ve been writing for EDHREC for just about three years now, authoring two series, Replacement Commanders and Uncommonders! I also do a weekly podcast and stream as part of Praetor Magic.

10. Smothering Tithe and Tectonic Reformation

  • Full disclosure, I cheat a lot in this list. This slot goes to 2019's Boros love. Cards like these don't instantly make up for every downfall of the aggro guild, but they give the colors some darn good options.

9. Field of the Dead

  • There are so many fantastic lands in Commander that it seems impossible for a new land to make the cut, but this does it. It goes into any deck, has amazing Landfall synergies, and makes tokens of one of the best tribes in the game. Field of the Dead will provide incremental value for years to come!

8. Shared Summons

  • Every time I see this card, I know the game is coming to a close, because it basically reads “go find your combo pieces”. This card being an instant continues to blow my mind.

7. Dockside Extortionist

  • From tokens to mana rocks, artifacts are common in Commander. Red takes advantage of that, giving itself much-needed ramp on a body that can be recurred from the graveyard, and it's a relevant tribe? Easy inclusion in the Top 10.

6. Urza, Lord High Artificer and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

  • I love the lore of Magic almost as much as I enjoy playing it. 2019 gave us two of the most iconic characters in the game!

5. The Great Henge

  • Who printed this card?! This thing is so easy to abuse in Commander. Instant staple for green decks.

4. Feather, the Redeemed

  • I fell in love with Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle because of its synergies and loops, and Feather is just like it. She always has something to do to change the outcome of the game.

3. Guardian Project

  • I had to read this card multiple times to make sure I wasn't mistaking something. Surely it couldn’t be as good as I thought it was, right? Well, it is. Card advantage wins games, and this thing does it on a budget.

2. Chittering Witch

  • Hear me out. This is on my list not because of its exact ability, but because it's a Standard-legal card that scales to multiplayer. This kind of design shows how big the Commander format has become. How awesome is that?

1. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, Kethis, the Hidden Hand, Elsha of the Infinite and more!

  • I love awesome, new, unique commanders, and I can't pick just one. 2019 gave us some of the best new toys to play with, so I just want to shout out all the fascinating new legends. Hopefully this is just the beginning and we see even more awesome Commander cards in 2020!

Bernardo Melibeu

I’m the local Izzet Guildmage behind the Epic Experiment series. I look for unique new ways to build each deck, leaving the surface level to find new ideas to explore.

10. Hushbringer

  • Creatures entering and dying are a big thing in EDH, and they can be a pain to deal with or shut down. Hushbringer gives us a new, better Torpor Orb to stunt our opposition.

9. Smothering Tithe

  • A fantastic way for white to catch up with the rest of the table, often netting two Treasures minimum per cycle. Pair with Revel in Riches for maximum craziness.

8. Murderous Rider

  • Adventure spells offer a bunch of interesting abilities, but most don't scale well to EDH. Murderous Rider is the exception, as it's almost always guaranteed to have some juicy target, and doubles as a creature when you need it.

7. Bolas's Citadel

  • Future Sight is already strong, but this goes even further by making our spells basically free! We can even reanimate or tutor for it as an artifact! This thing is crazy powerful.

6. Kykar, Wind's Fury

  • 2019 was the year for Jeskai commanders, with plenty of options in M20 and C19. Kykar, Wind's Fury, stood out from the rest because of his extremely flexible kit. From combo-oriented Storm builds to Jeskai flyers lists, there are many ways to build around Kykar.

5. Sword of Truth and Justice

  • WotC is finally finishing the 'Sword of' cycle! Proliferate is a valuable ability - just look at Atraxa, Praetor's Voice. This is a great addition to multiple archetypes and gives you protection from one of the most removal-heavy colors in the format.

4. God-Eternal Kefnet

  • This might not be suited to every playgroup, but Kefnet is a ton of fun to play. He provides a great deal of versatility to a color that can sometimes get stale. From the cutthroat 'turbo turns' to wacky "Top Deck Matters" brews, you should definitely check this one out.

3. Chainer, Nightmare Adept

  • Chainer, Nightmare Adept is a value machine, providing the Golgari experience through a Rakdos lens. Giving haste to the creatures we revive means we don't just get to play a grindy game, but can also one-shot the table with cards like Twilight's Call.

2. Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves

  • This card is so dang cool, from the abilities to the artwork. Wolves aren't the easiest tribe to build around, but this kit is flexible and can be adjusted to your playstyle (even animating lands to have your Wolves fight and destroy them!), and we all know how much we love Voja the Good Doggo

1. Tectonic Reformation

  • So much versatility on a single card. It helps red decks out considerably by trading excess lands in hand for new cards, provides amazing results for Cycling decks, and puts lands in the graveyard for Lands Matter lists. This much utility on a low-cost enchantment means I won't be surprised if in the future this becomes a red staple.

Angelo Guerrera (@thejesguy)

Your friendly neighborhood Jesguy here! I write the Archetune-Up series here on EDHREC. I’m a lover of Jeskai, noncreature spells, and all things Magic.

10. Enemy-Colored Talismans (Talisman of Curiosity, etc.)

  • First introduced in Mirrodin, the Talisman cycle went for years without receiving the enemy-color versions. I adore two-mana ramp spells, and eagerly welcome Talisman of Conviction and friends into my decks. They’ve been sorely needed.

9. Hall of Heliod’s Generosity

8. Tome of Legends

  • Tome is a great little card advantage engine that snuck into the Brawl precons. While everyone was fighting over whether or not Arcane Signet was the doom of Magic, this card had my eye. Much like Endless Atlas from last year, Tome of Legends deserves to be appreciated a bit more.

7. Dockside Extortionist

  • Dockside Extortionist was one of the most hyped cards from Commander 2019, and for good reason. This little Gobbo produces tons of Treasure and can slot into any red deck with ease.

6. Ral, Storm Conduit

  • This is the first instance that we see a card taking advantage of copied spells, and is a Spellslinger’s analogue to Purphoros, God of the Forge. I’d love to see this become the new template moving forward.

5. Force of Negation

  • This new Force is our best way to spring for a budget Force of Will for EDH. It’s a great, mana-free way to disrupt an unruly player at the table and save your hide.

4. Dovin’s Veto

  • Veto is an improved version of one of my favorite cards: Negate. Now I can win counterspell wars and stop huge spells for two mana? Sign. Me. Up.

3. God-Eternal Oketra

  • This Oketra staples free 4/4s to creatures. Despite what some may say, this is a form of card advantage. I genuinely think she is one of the best mono-white commanders available.

2. Smothering Tithe

  • Let’s not beat around the bush, Smothering Tithe is an incredible card, and the biggest boon to white in a long time. Print a few more of these, and we will all be much happier with this color.

1. The Jeskai Legends (Kykar, Wind's Fury, Sevinne, the Chronoclasm, etc)

End Step

You know we wouldn't let you go without showing off the data! We'd like to leave you off with a pair of bonus lists that show the most popular commanders and the most popular cards of the year. Obviously, we can't base this purely off of the raw numbers, since commanders from the beginning of the year had more time to accumulate data. Instead, we've based the calculation upon the popularity of the cards relative to their lifespan in the game thus far. Check it out!

  1. Arcane Signet
  2. Smothering Tithe
  3. Prismatic Vista
  4. Fabled Passage
  5. Generous Gift
  6. Bolas's Citadel
  7. Narset, Parter of Veils
  8. Narset's Reversal
  9. Dockside Extortionist
  10. Talisman of Creativity

And now commanders, using the same metric:

  1. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
  2. Alela, Artful Provocateur
  3. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
  4. Chulane, Teller of Tales
  5. Kenrith, the Returned King
  6. Yarok, the Desecrated
  7. Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale
  8. Kykar, Wind's Fury
  9. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
  10. Anje Falkenrath

What did you all think about the lists? Which cards stood out to you? What would be your top 10? Let us know in the comments below! 2019 has been a great year for EDH and we here at EDHREC are incredibly excited to see what 2020 holds for the format. Until next year!

Andrew is a life-long gamer and has been playing Magic since 2013. He works as an ASL interpreter, enjoys running, and sitting on his porch reading, while simultaneously silently judging his neighbors. He lives in Joplin, MO with his wife.

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