5 Underrated Commander Cards from Dragon's Maze

5 Underrated Commander Cards from Dragon’s Maze

Jacob LacknerCommander

Magic players love Ravnica sets. The plane has 10 separate two-color factions tasked with doing different things to maintain order. These separate factions, the flavor behind them, and their internal synergies are what Magic players love the most about Ravnica. Overall, if a set is on the plane of Ravnica, it’s been a real crowd pleaser.

However there is one Ravnica set that really didn’t please the crowd – Dragon’s Maze. It was released in 2013 as the third and final set in Return to Ravnica Block. Despite being a small set with only 156 cards, Wizards of the Coast tried to jam stuff in for all 10 of the plane’s guilds and the usual synergy and careful design for each of these color pairs was largely abandoned.

It has a lot of the same problems that March of the Machine: Aftermath had. It’s effectively an epilogue set for Return to Ravnica Block. You could even buy the set in six card boosters! The set was panned almost immediately upon release, so much so that Mark Rosewater quickly wrote an article explaining what went wrong.

Dragon’s Maze is also often panned for having a low power level. However, while I agree with most of the criticisms leveled at the set, the idea that it doesn’t have powerful cards doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny.

A couple years ago, I did an MTG Top 10 where I pointed out that the set has had a significant impact on all of Magic’s 60-card formats. It has also impacted Commander. Ruric Thar and Vorel of the Hull Clade make for excellent Commanders, and Notion Thief and Wear and Tear are two of the most heavily played cards in their respective color identities.

In addition to these well-known Commander cards, the set also has several hidden gems that may have been overlooked because of the set’s bad reputation.

Underrated Commander: Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch

Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch
The 1,435th ranked Commander on EDHRec

If you like +1/+1 counter decks but you’re tired of doing them in the Bant or Abzan colors, Exava is the Commander for you! Granting Haste to all of your creatures with counters can allow you to inflict tons of damage in a hurry. 

For a long time, it wasn’t really possible to build a good Exava deck because there weren’t enough cards with her identity that did stuff with counters. However, in recent years, there have been many cards printed in Rakdos that have made her a lot better. Here are a few of the highlights.

In an Exava deck, giving all of your nontoken creatures Riot means that you can have them all enter with a +1/+1 counter and Haste. And that’s a huge deal when the Enchantment also doubles the damage those creatures deal. 

 Like Uncivil Unrest, Thundering Raiju can allow you to inflict tons of damage on a board with lots of counters while also giving you even more of them.

Immersturm Predator can easily get +1/+1 counters while hating on the graveyard and being incredibly difficult to kill

Alongside Exava, Archpriest of Shadows and whatever she puts her Backup counter on is way more likely to get in for a hit because of Haste.

In short – these days, it’s really not too difficult to build a Commander deck that allows you to fully unleash Exava’s power. I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Voice of Resurgence

Voice of Resurgence
Played in 1% of Selesnya Decks on EDHRec

Voice of Resurgence is incredibly efficient. There’s almost no way your opponents can interact with it without getting 2-for-1’d. The token it gives you can be quite formidable on many board states, and it even punishes the opponent for trying to do stuff during your turn. 

The Voice should seriously be considered for any token deck. This is not only because it can give you tokens, but also because the tokens are better the more creatures you have in play. 

It’s especially well-suited for Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice. Populating powerful tokens is great, but this creature token is also very likely to hive high toughness to gain you a ton of life.

Sire of Insanity

Sire of Insanity
Played in 1% of Rakdos Decks on EDHRec

Sire of Insanity isn’t likely to make you a lot of friends, but it is undoubtedly powerful. As long as you make it to your end step it is likely to have a huge impact on the game, as all players have to dump their whole hand into the graveyard. If you really want to drive your pod insane, you can even reanimate it early and put everyone in top deck mode.

It’s symmetrical, but you can break that symmetry by playing it in a deck that likes to discard cards, and/or make the opponent discard cards, and/or fill the graveyard. 

Perhaps the best place for it is Kroxa. You’re likely to have plenty of payoffs for making your opponent discard in that deck and Kroxa becomes a lot easier to Escape after a Sire of Insanity trigger.

Boros Battleshaper

Boros Battleshaper
Played in .011% of Boros Decks on EDHRec

This Minotaur is super clunky as a 7-mana 5/5, but he has a unique effect that can wreak havoc on Commander games. Whether it’s your turn or not, you get to impact how every single combat goes. You can force an opposing creature into an attack that kills them, or you can make something unable to block to make a player’s attack better. You can definitely do some fun political things with the Battleshaper as a result.

It gets particularly interesting in a deck that can generate extra combat phases since you can get even more value out of the Battleshaper when you have more than one combat per turn. This makes Aurelia, the Warleader the ideal home for it. 

Renegade Krasis

Renegade Krasis
Played in .010% of Green Decks on EDHRec

Of all the cards in this week’s article, this is the one that surprises me the most. People love +1/+1 counters in EDH, but this card barely sees any play. If you’re playing a counter deck you should probably find a spot for the Krasis

As a 3/2 it’s not automatic that you can evolve it, but even evolving it a single time is enough to have a massive impact on the game since your other creatures are very likely to get +1/+1 counters too.

End Step

I hope I introduced you to some overlooked gems from this surprisingly powerful set. Do you think there are any cards that I left out? Let me know over on X