Top 10 Simic Cards You Can Cast From the Graveyard

(Doc Aurlock, Grizzled Genius | Art by Jesper Ejsing)

From Beyond the Grave!

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 Glimpse of Freedom is the only two-mana draw spell you can cast repeatedly from the graveyard without discarding a card?)

Outlaws of Thunder Junction wasn't a complete slam dunk for me, but it turns out if there's one thing you can put in a cowboy hat that will put me in a good mood, it's a science Bear.

With the amount of cards you can play from exile and the graveyard (not to mention the new Plot cards), Doc Aurlock will be sure to see lots of play, both in the command zone and the 99 of decks like Muldrotha, Grolnok, the Omnivore, Niv-Mizzet, Supreme, Gonti, Canny Acquisitor, Riku of Many Paths, and probably best of all, Pako and Haldan. What really jumped out to me specifically, though, was the graveyard stuff.

Top 10 Cards You Can Cast From the Graveyard

  1. Faithless Looting
  2. Sevinne's Reclamation
  3. Underworld Breach
  4. Dread Return
  5. Conduit of Worlds
  6. Dusk // Dawn
  7. Woe Strider
  8. Gravecrawler
  9. Past in Flames
  10. Seize the Day

Well, score one for Doc Aurlock in the 99, that is a lot of non-Simic stuff you can cast from the graveyard. If we dig into the various mechanics that can cast from the graveyard, though, maybe we'll come up with more Simic stuff? We already seem to have covered the best of Flashback, but surely there's some other mechanics we can dig into?

Top 10 Escape Cards

  1. Underworld Breach
  2. Woe Strider
  3. Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
  4. Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger
  5. From the Catacombs
  6. Sentinel's Eyes
  7. Welcome to...
  8. Ox of Agonas
  9. Chainweb Aracnir
  10. Cling to Dust

I thought for a second we might have found something great for Doc Aurlock in the command zone. It turns out though that you don't actually get a discount on Escaping Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, because it doesn't have any generic mana in the Escape cost. You do for Chainweb Aracnir, but destroying creatures with flying isn't blowing me away, either.

Top 10 Aftermath Cards

  1. Dusk // Dawn
  2. Commit // Memory
  3. Insult // Injury
  4. Cut // Ribbons
  5. Indulge // Excess
  6. Road // Ruin
  7. Consign // Oblivion
  8. Rags // Riches
  9. Reason // Believe
  10. Struggle // Survive

Commit // Memory is the only popular Simic Aftermath card? That's kind of difficult to believe, honestly.

Well then, to get to the bottom of what the most popular cards are for the Doc in the command zone, we might have to get, dare I say... More specific?

Top 10 Simic Cards You Can Cast From the Graveyard

A dedicated Doc Aurlock isn't necessarily going to be all graveyard, but if we do lean into that portion of things, then there are some payoff cards worth mentioning.

None of these blow me away, but they are still solid value pieces, and a reason to lean into graveyards specifically, rather than say, solely Adventures and Plot. With that in mind, then, why don't we take a look at what kinds of things we can readily abuse with Doc Aurlock at the helm?

Criteria: Simic cards that you can either cast from the graveyard or that allow you to cast other cards from the graveyard that plausibly have a cost you pay that includes generic mana with which to do so. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.

10. Mirrorhall Mimic

(26,921 Inclusions, 1% of 1,944,838 Decks)

Disturb cards are a tricky bunch when it comes to our criteria, because are you really casting "the" card from your graveyard if you can only do the back half? Still, once you manage to get Mirrorhall Mimic into your graveyard, getting copies every upkeep is an effect you're totally willing to pay five mana for. Making that three mana is just going to make things ridiculous.

9. Wrenn and Realmbreaker

(27,925 Inclusions, 2% of 1,265,147 Decks)

The mantra is "don't rate planeswalkers on their ultimates", and it rings true here. With that said, Wrenn and Realmbreaker being a good planeswalker isn't really in question, here. Three mana to have your lands tap for any mana is a decent rate, and W&R's -2 is top notch. The +1 leaves something to be desired, but will get in for three damage every once in a while. Still, I don't think you want or need this for Doc Aurlock. Neither of the normal abilities help you much, and while the ult would more or less win you the game, you're not going to take up valuable deck space with the Doubling Season or Deepglow Skate you'd need to make it happen.

8. Cackling Counterpart

(29,593 Inclusions, 2% of 1,944,838 Decks)

If we're seeing an early theme here with these cards, it's copy effects. Cackling Counterpart couldn't really be much different from Mirrorhall Mimic, however. Efficient on the front end and expensive on the backend, Cackling Counterpart is trying to get you great value early and remain relevant late. With Doc Aurlock taking the Flashback cost down to five, however, this thing starts to look like it might just be great on both casts.

7. Quasiduplicate

(30,376 Inclusions, 2% of 1,944,838 Decks)

Although not as great, it turns out, as the card immediately above it. Quasiduplicate does require you to discard a card to recast, but more than makes up for it by being the same mana cost. There's not much more to say about it, other than noting that if you're playing one, you're probably playing the other, at least as far as Doc Aurlock is concerned.

The question is, what can we do with all these copy effects?

Top 10 Nonlegendary Simic Creatures You Can Cast From the Graveyard

  1. [REDACTED] (Further up this list)
  2. [REDACTED] (Further up this list)
  3. Mirrorhall Mimic
  4. Chainweb Aracnir
  5. Deeproot Historian
  6. Marang River Prowler
  7. Mischievous Catgeist
  8. Sproutback Trudge
  9. Lantern Bearer
  10. Lunar Hatchling

None of this list blows me away, but there are nonetheless a few that I wouldn't mind having an extra copy of and won't take up much room in the deck. Marang River Prowler in multiples will provide consistent pressure on opponent's life totals, especially if you end up with any kind of boost to their power. Mischievous Catgeist is probably the best of the (nonredacted) bunch, allowing you to amass a horde of Ophidians. Finally, if you're looking for some top end aggro, then you can't do much better than multiple copies of Lunar Hatchling.

6. Commit // Memory

(32,964 Inclusions, 2% of 1,944,838 Decks)

I can't even say I want to love Commit // Memory, because in a past life, I already did. In my Will Kenrith deck, this thing was an absolute all-star, providing both interaction and card draw in a pinch. Eventually, however, it being so expensive on both halves started to chafe outside of Storm turns, and I couldn't keep it on. Four mana is a lot for either a Counterspell or a Boomerang, much less a slightly better version of both, and Doc Aurlock isn't even providing a discount on that half of the card. In short, the flexibility here is top notch, but I imagine those that try this will have the elongated experience I've seen pretty much everyone have with this card: Initial excitement, then a slow grind of it being a draw that feels disappointing all the way up until you remove it from the deck.

5. Echo of Eons

(33,638 Inclusions, 2% of 1,944,838 Decks)

You'll note that I didn't really go into the back half of Commit // Memory, and Echo of Eons is the reason why. Why pay four or six to Timetwister when you can instead pay one or three? Sure, you've got to either cast it for six or find a way to mill it first, but when it comes to Doc Aurlock, I think a robust mill package just comes with the territory. Which brings us directly to why you might not want to play this particular wheel, discounted or not: If we spent all that time getting those cards in the graveyard, why would we want to shuffle all of them back into our library?

4. Malevolent Hermit

(34,322 Inclusions, 2% of 1,944,838 Decks)

A 2/1 for two that can counter spells for a single mana? What's not to like about Malevolent Hermit?

Oh wait, there's more text on the card? And it's not a downside?

Let's not mince words here: Malevolent Hermit is an amazing card that feels like it was purpose-made for Doc Aurlock, even though it was printed years ahead of time.

3. Snapcaster Mage

(40,677 Inclusions, 2% of 1,944,838 Decks)

While we made the choice early on to build around the graveyard third of Doc Aurlock, rather than the exile and Plot portions, there's no way we won't be including some of them. And with that in mind, there will indeed be many cards without Flashback and the like in our graveyard, meaning that there will be targets for Snapcaster Mage. Combine that with some flash speed, and Tiago Chan's ye olde World Championship card has still got it, it turns out.

2. Deep Analysis

(41,788 Inclusions, 2% of 1,944,838 Decks)

Two mana for two cards was already a great deal, so one mana for two cards is obviously a steal. What I really see when evaluating Deep Analysis in regard to Doc Aurlock, however, is the massive need for mill effects in this deck. Whether it be one or two mana, what we patently don't want is to pay four mana when we want to be churning through graveyard cards at a discount.

1. Conduit of Worlds

(80,995 Inclusions, 6% of 1,427,859 Decks)

If we are going to mill, then having a means to play lands from the graveyard is only going to be beneficial. As for playing nonland permanents, Snapcaster Mage rules apply: We'll likely have more than enough targets in the graveyard that don't have another means of being cast from the graveyard to take advantage of Conduit of Worlds. That, and I really just like Conduit of Worlds, in general. Sure, sure, pure lands decks are going to want Crucible of Worlds instead, but if you're just there for generic value? That extra mana is an easy cost to pay to have the means to cast your last spell of the turn out of the graveyard.

Honorable Mentions

I mentioned it briefly before, but if we are going to go all in on the graveyard version of Doc Aurlock, rather than the Adventure or exile versions, then self-mill is going to be imperative. While there are some generically good things that do that, however, I think the best means of doing so is finding the mill options that fit our theme.

Top 10 Simic Self-Mill Cards You Can Cast From the Graveyard

  1. Otherworldly Gaze
  2. Memory Deluge
  3. For the Ancestors
  4. Increasing Confusion
  5. Dream Twist
  6. Start the TARDIS
  7. Tapping at the Window
  8. Chill of Foreboding
  9. Tracker's Instincts
  10. Sweet Oblivion

While most of these cards would be way outside of the 99 in most other decks, with most of our deck being some fashion of card you can cast from a graveyard, these more resemble draw spells than anything else. Not only that, but you often get to double-dip with them with their Flashback or Flashback-esque abilities. With that in mind, the rankings here coming from other decks don't really stack up with just how good some of these middle options are. Don't get me wrong, you're never really unhappy to see Otherworldly Gaze, but Memory Deluge pales in comparison to Increasing Confusion and Dream Twist, and Sweet Oblivion feels like the best Merfolk Looter you've ever encountered when your commander is in play.

How do I know that? Well because I built the deck, of course!

Commander (1)
Artifact (2)
Sorcery (19)
Creature (29)
Instant (12)
Enchantment (3)
Land (34)

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With a commander that "ramps" at only two mana, the deck feels very consistent when you get any of your mill options. Even when you don't, however, you usually get to double-dip consistently with spells that are expensive up front and then tend toward being one to two mana on the backend. While it can just do the Simic thing and out-value the table, however, keep in mind that the ultimate gameplan here is aggro. You want to get in for damage early and often, then grab a huge, evasive creature out of the graveyard and make several copies of it to swing in for the win.

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?

I've been fairly on task here when it comes to looking at just the graveyard stuff in relation to the Doc, but there are at least a few other versions of the deck you could brew, and with how hard it was to cut even some of the mediocre adventure cards, I wonder if I went in the right direction.

And finally, what is your favorite card you can cast from a graveyard, or that can let you cast other cards from the graveyard? Are you brewing with Doc Aurlock, and if so, as a commander, or in the 99?

Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the table that folds itself away at the end of the day.

Read more:

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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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