5 Underrated Commander Cards From Judgment

5 Underrated Commander Cards From Judgment

Jacob LacknerCommander

Last week, I took a look at 5 Underrated Commander Cards from Torment. As I discussed there, Torment is a strange set because of its huge emphasis on a single color – Black. The set also deemphasized Black’s enemy colors – Green and White. They did the opposite in the very next set. Judgment emphasizes Green and White, while deemphasizing Black. The set has 33 Green cards, 33 White cards, 27 Red cards, 27 Blue cards, 16 Black cards, and 4 multicolored cards, all of which are Green/White.

In the end, this balanced out Odyssey Block, even if those two sets are individually unbalanced.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the two most heavily played Commander cards from the set are for Green/White decks. Mirari’s Wake is an anthem stapled to a mana multiplier, and Krosan Verge is a great fetch land.

Those two cards notwithstanding, Judgment hasn’t had a huge impact on Commander. But I think that’s because there are some cards in the set that are being unfairly judged. In this article, I’ll discuss 5 Judgment cards that should be seeing some more play in Commander.

Underrated Commander: Balthor the Defiled

Balthor the Defiled
The 1,250th Most Popular Commander on EDHRec

While there aren’t very many Black cards in Judgment, the set’s only Black Legendary Creature makes for a very interesting commander. While being a Minion lord is cool and all, Balthor’s activated ability is what makes him really unique. He’s the only commander in Magic with a mass reanimation effect. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that reanimating your entire graveyard is incredibly powerful.

There is one big problem, though – it’s symmetrical. If your opponents also happen to have Black and Red creatures in their graveyard, you might be helping them out. However, there are some ways for you to break that symmetry. Some of them are fairly organic too.

For one thing, your deck is very likely to be better at rapidly loading your graveyard than your opponent is. For another, you know that all of your creatures will get reanimated by Balthor, and that’s probably not true for your opponents. You’re also likely to have the better creatures in your graveyard, since you’re building around Balthor.

You can even make sure to run creatures that can further weaken the opposing board when you reanimate them. Massacre Wurm and Archfiend of Sorrows can wipe out the smaller creatures, and creatures like Noxious Gearhulk and Overseer of the Damned can take down the big ones.

If you want to go even harder than that on breaking Balthor’s symmetry, you can also run some asymmetrical graveyard hate. Leyline of the Void and Soul-Guide Lantern should be at the top of your list if you’re going in that direction.

While I don’t think your Balthor deck should go super hard on Minions, there are a few of them that you should consider, like Bone Shredder, Gloomdrifter, and Chainer. Bone Shredder gives you another creature that can destroy other creatures on ETB, and because it has Echo, you can play it early to kill something and then reanimate it with Balthor later. Gloomdrifter gives you another mass debuff effect, and one that only affects nonblack creatures. Chainer gives you a Minion who can also serve as an alternate Commander of sorts, since he’s also really good at reanimating creatures.

Quiet Speculation

Quiet Speculation
Played in 0.013% of Blue Decks on EDHRec

Tutors are a powerful thing in Commander, and Quiet Speculation lets you tutor up three cards! Sure, it’s somewhat restrictive, since you can only get cards with Flashback, but these days there are 184 cards with that mechanic, so your toolbox can get pretty big. You can even grab powerhouses like Echo of Eons and Sevinne’s Reclamation.

This is particularly useful with Commanders who love both spells and the graveyard. Sevinne, the Chronoclasm and Vega, the Watcher are the two who can get the most out of Quiet Speculation. Sevinne will copy your flashback spells, and Vega will draw you a card when you cast them.

Riftstone Portal

Riftstone Portal
Played in 1% of Green-White decks on EDHRec.

Riftstone Portal is a really cool land. It isn’t particularly good when it’s on the battlefield, as it can only tap for colorless. But if you can get it into your graveyard, it gives you some pretty awesome fixing. You do probably need to be playing more than just Green-White for it to be worth it. Ideally, you’ve also got a deck built around lands and/or the graveyard, too.

Thalia and the Gitrog Monster is perhaps the best place for the Portal, since it lets you sacrifice lands and draw cards when you do.

Nomad Mythmaker

Nomad Mythmaker
Played in 0.02% of White Decks on EDHRec

Nomad Mythmaker can reanimate Auras, and he can do it from any graveyard. You’ll usually be using it on your own graveyard of course, but stealing an opposing Animate Dead or All That Glitters can be pretty sweet!

While the Mythmaker is worth considering for any Tron deck packing powerful Auras, it gets particularly interesting in decks that are good at abusing Auras and the graveyard.

The brand-new Three Dog is one of the best Commanders for the Mythmaker, as he sacrifices Auras to make copies of them. The Mythmaker can keep bringing that Aura back and making new copies. Bruna, Light of Alabaster is a good fit too, as it gives you an additional way to get Auras back from the graveyard.

Phantom Centaur

Phantom Centaur
Played in .0016% of Green Decks on EDHRec

I am constantly surprised that Phantom Centaur isn’t played in +1/+1 counter decks. Judgment actually has an entire set of “Phantom” creatures who enter with +1/+1 counters, and can ignore damage dealt to them by removing one of those counters. I think the Centaur is the best of the bunch, because protection from Black means that there are very few ways to deal with it.

If your deck has the ability to add more counters to the Centaur, things get particularly interesting. All of the Phantom creatures are also good with anthem effects, as even if they run out of counters, they can ignore damage.

If you’re playing a commander like Shalai and Hallar or Okinec Ahau, you really should be playing the Centaur.

End Step

Those are my picks for the most underrated Commander cards in Judgment. Do you disagree with any of my picks? Let me know over on X!