Top 20 Essential Green Cards for Commander

Top 20 Essential Green Commander Cards

Kristen GregoryCommander

Green is a powerful and fun color to play in Commander. If you’re looking to enhance your collection and start building more green decks, this article is for you. Here are 20 essential green Commander cards – the cards you’ll be happy to add to any green deck.

Green is often cited as the color that gets the biggest share of the color pie. It’s also a color with very deep redundancy. As such, you have more options than usual when it comes to picking a card to fill a role. That said, while Exploration, Burgeoning, and Avenger of Zendikar are amazing in the right deck, they’re not essential to winning games and many decks don’t actually need or want them. 

Instead, I’ll be covering the most flexible, strong, and versatile cards that can form a great shell to build around. Similarly, this list doesn’t include the likes of Gaea’s Cradle, Boseiju Who Endures, or Crucible of Worlds. Great in green decks, but not technically green cards. We had to draw the line somewhere.


Kicking things off is Crop Rotation. It’s the lowest mana value land tutor available, can be cast at Instant speed, and brings the land in untapped. It can be any land, not just one to fix your colors, which is what makes it so great. It’ll grab the aforementioned Gaea’s Cradle, or Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. It can get a Ghost Quarter, or an Ancient Tomb, or a Cabal Coffers. Need I say more?


Okay so I’m cheating already and we’re only on the second entry. This is a list of green cards, though, so it’s to be expected 😉

Green has access to arguably the best disenchants from an efficiency standpoint. With where the format is currently, I value instant speed interaction highly, so my top choices for this slot are Nature’s Claim and the phenomenal newcomer, Cankerbloom. Why these two over others?

Well, with Reclamation Sage and Druid of Purification, you’re generally interacting at sorcery speed. Their use cases go up in graveyard or flicker decks, of course. While Haywire Mite is exile based removal, it doesn’t hit artifact or enchantment creatures, which includes a bunch of highly played creatures that you’ll want to remove, like Esper Sentinel, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, Sythis, Harvest’s Hand and Academy Manufactor. Cankerbloom blocks better and proliferates, too. 

Force of Vigor is nice, but is best in mono-green, and a pricier addition. 


Tamiyo’s Safekeeping was a huge pickup for green decks. It can save your most important thing from removal, no matter what permanent type it is. This flexibility is what makes it the number one choice here, though Tyvar’s Stand is a close second, and might be more relevant to you if you’re predominantly running creatures or a deck focused on Commander Damage or Infect. You want at least one of this effect.


You also want at least one of this effect. Heroic Intervention is the bane of every player trying to wrath away a monstrous board of Beasts, Hydras or Dinosaurs. Blowing out the control player with this spell always feels great, and in a pinch, it can protect a combo line or an important game piece. There are other options that are fairly deck specific before you choose Wrap in Vigor; Inspiring Call or Silkguard for counters decks, or Veil of Summer if you’re playing at higher levels of play and trying to resolve a combo.


Everyone can enjoy a good fog, especially in moderation. I can’t recommend Spore Frog in good conscience, because it invariably ends up being looped and grinding a game to a halt. So what to choose instead? Well, I’m really high on Blessed Respite. It pulls double duty as graveyard hate, or flexibly as a way to shuffle your own graveyard back into your deck. Sometimes you draw a lot in green, and it’s best to check yourself before you deck-yourself. Most decks should play a fog, and Blessed Respite is my choice in green. 


You might wonder why the mana fixing dork on this list isn’t Birds of Paradise. To that, I ask: what is a 0/1 mana fixer giving you in mono-green? 

If you’re going to add a color fixing dork to your collection, the first one I’d opt for is Armored Scrapgorger. Casual Commander doesn’t necessitate playing a Birds of Paradise on turn 1, but it does necessitate packing incidental graveyard hate. Scrapgorger shores up your reanimator matchups, while providing a blocker against the many decks seeking to draw cards or make treasure by attacking. This versatility is worth it. 

As for Llanowar Elves, Elvish Mystic, et al? Well, they’re great too, but outside of Elf decks or decks that care about dorks or overrun based on total creatures, they’re largely interchangeable with (and sometimes much worse than) land ramp like Exploration, Three Visits or Cultivate

Delighted Halfling is the only true competition for this spot, but being narrower than Birds of Paradise means it’s far from essential. 


Of the things it’s good at removing, green has the hardest time removing creatures. Fight spells are sometimes card disadvantage; punch spells require a strong creature; and rarely can you deal with a creature permanently or even tie it up. That’s why Kenrith’s Transformation is so relevant. First up, it replaces itself, meaning if things go awry you’re not too sad. Second, it turns something scary into a 3/3 Elk for as long as it stays attached. If you slap this on something the whole table dislikes, there’s no way anyone is chumping to kill the creature.

Either way, tying up a Commander for a few turns, unable to be recast, is sometimes all you need. 


We’re already at our second “cheat” entry, but I don’t care. This is green, I’m leaning into it. 

Beast Within is the best green removal spell. It gets rid of anything leaving only a 3/3 behind. If a 3/3 scares you, you’ve probably gone wrong somewhere. The only other removal spell I’d say is essential in mono green is Song of the Dryads. It’s the only other universal answer, and like Kenrith’s Transformation, can solve problems in the medium term.


For ramp, I’d say you need a Harrow. Harrow is excellent in that it thins the deck, gives two landfall triggers, and brings in basics untapped. If you can pay up front, it ends up like a Crop Rotation but for two basics, which is a good rate.

I’m a lot lower on cards like Cultivate than I used to be. Drawing cards is easy in modern Commander, and so drawing that extra land is worth a lot less. We’re also trying to hit two spell turns sooner, which Harrow can enable. It’s why people love Three Visits and Nature’s Lore: play them on turn 3 and you get to play another 2 drop spell. Harrow has additional flexibility when playing control, enabling ramp and interaction in an opponent’s turn. 

I think I’d even be tempted to take Harvest Season over Cultivate nowadays. The priiiiiize


Wood Elves? I think they would. Wood Elves is forever a staple in green thanks to tutoring a land type – allowing us to grab a Shockland or Triome – and putting it in without a tapped clause. This puts it head and shoulders above other classics like Sakura-Tribe Elder, especially if you can flicker or otherwise reuse Wood Elves in a deck with multiple colors. 


Green has mana dorks, and it has mana jocks. Many are worth a look, especially in an Elf deck: Marywn and Priest of Titania, for example. I also think Jaheira is chronically slept on, and the resurgence of Food decks will give her her day in the sun.

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds is, however, the best of the bunch. She can give you oodles of mana easily, she can draw you cards, and she can synergize with many other untap effects to produce more mana than you know what to do with. She also works outside of Elf or Token decks, which makes her the most versatile. 


Draw-on-creature-enters effects are a dime-a-dozen in green, and there are even more when you add in the cast-trigger ones. Elemental Bond is probably the one I’d get first, because it can trigger off of tokens, has no restrictions to how often it can trigger, and gates the trigger at three rather than four. Is Tribute to the World Tree better? Probably, but it’s way harder to cast on curve.

Guardian Project, Garruk’s Uprising, and Setessan Champion are all solid too. You can’t really go wrong, as such, but consider ease of casting and the density of power three or four creatures, and then density of token production. Guardian Project has dropped off a bit lately with tokens and cloning being in vogue. 


We couldn’t have an essential green cards list without some form of recursion. Green is infamous for being able to get anything back from the bin, and E-Witt is synonymous with that effect. It’s still the one I’d opt for first given so many decks can leverage repeating its effect in different ways. 

If you’re self milling a lot then maybe you want Timeless Witness, and there are effects like Unnatural Restoration that lend themselves to counter-based strategies. I’m more excited to recommend Seasons Past as a redundant effect, though, especially if you can easily generate mana. Card’s gas. 


Another dual entry, but one this time for a reason. You should pick up one of these, but which one will depend heavily on how expensive your manabase is. Extra land drops in green let you leverage landfall and help ramp you. If you’re drowning in fetchlands and have a Ramunap Excavator or Crucible of Worlds, then Oracle of Mul Daya is for you; the extra shuffles from Fetchlands help reset to get a land on top of the deck.

If you’re on a budget, then Dryad of the Ilysian Grove helps you much more if you want to play 3+ color decks, and especially five color ones. 


Speaking of landfall, Tireless Provisioner takes the cake for one of the better synergies. Lotus Cobra might well be better if you’re in deep on landfall in an Omnath deck or similar – and prioritizing faster, spikier gameplay – but I’d prefer to have Tireless Provisioner in any other deck. You have control over when to use the mana you generate, and you can instead opt for Food, which makes it way better as a late-game draw. If you have creatures like Goldspan Dragon or care about artifacts (such as branching into UG or RG) then Provisioner is a slam dunk include. 


Seedborn Muse is a removal magnet, and it hogs the chess clock. People dislike it enough that they’ll remove it on sight. If you really want to untap your lands that bad, I’d say you should look instead to Bear Umbra. Not only does it provide an untap just for attacking, it gives a +2/+2 buff, and Totem Armor, which’ll save your fattie from a board wipe. 

Generating mana with Auras is underlooked in green. One with Nature is a Sword of the Animist if you connect with a player for a measly one mana. Mark of Sakiko generates green mana based on power when you attack. Auras can be flimsy, but when they’re cheap ways to generate a huge mana advantage, they’re worth a look. 


If there’s one thing it’s essential to do in Commander, it’s to make the table salty. That’s why Triumph of the Hordes is the pick for Overrun effect.

On a more serious note, Craterhoof Behemoth is far from necessary. I think I’ve played against it a shockingly low amount of times, far lower than the amount of times I’ve died to an Overrun effect. The key parts of an overrun are mana value, trample and lethality. Triumph trades the size of the buff for lethality with infect instead. It’s a lot easier to get working to kill a player than other similar effects. 


You can’t always draw cards solely off of creatures arriving. For other sources of draw, I first recommend Ohran Frostfang. It makes blocking or chumping difficult for opponents, making it more likely you can connect. When you do, you draw cards each time combat damage is dealt. 

Toski is another good option which can survive a board wipe, but having to attack every turn and not punishing the opponent for blocking is certainly a downside. 


Hand refills are the other great way to draw in green, and there are plenty of options. Rishkar’s Expertise is probably the most accessible, cheapest, and most likely to overperform. Provided you can draw a bunch of cards with it, you’re essentially doing so for as little as one mana by casting a spell for free from your hand. 

Return of the Wildspeaker is another solid option, especially given it can be cast in response to removal. It’s also why I love Momentous Fall, which turns a creature you were already losing into cards and extra life. Last March of the Ents is a solid newcomer that can’t be countered, but costs that little bit more mana (and a lot more cash money).


This list of essential green cards contains relatively few haymakers compared to the other colors. That’s because trampling over with big numbers is part and parcel of being in green, and because generally green has plenty of redundant effects and redundant win conditions, so the support cards are way more important.

That said, Kogla, the Titan Ape is a slam dunk in any green deck. He removes a creature before brawling his way through artifacts and enchantments, and he can protect himself by bouncing humans to hand. He covers many bases, which makes him irreplaceable. 

Titan of Industry and Elder Gargaroth are similarly versatile, and a green deck in possession of all three is one to be reckoned with. 


It’s The Great Henge


Our final card on the list is a tutor effect. Green has plenty of those, so what makes Chord of Calling essential? 

Well, for starters, it doesn’t restrict you to only green creatures, unlike Green Sun’s Zenith or Natural Order. That means it’s usable outside monogreen, which is great for boosting your collection. It’s also an Instant, giving it the leg up on Fauna Shaman or Sylvan Tutor. It also puts the creature into play, unlike Worldly Tutor or the expensive reserved list Survival of the Fittest. Oh, and it can be convoked, making it way easier to cast.

Invasion of Ikoria and Finale of Devastation vied for the final slot too, but ultimately Chord’s flexibility in finding combo pieces or protection at Instant speed outweighs the overrun and recursion utility of these spells, at least when we’re talking about what’s an essential tool in a player’s collection. Really, though, you’d be happy with any number of these tutors. They’re all solid. 


We made it: 20 Essential Green Commander Cards. Well, a few more than 20, but green always gets to have its cake and eat it. Did I cover what you expected? Do you have a super secret tech that nobody plays? Are you still pining for a copy of The Great Henge? Hit me up on Twitter with your thoughts. 

In the meantime, you can read the rest of our Essential Commander Cards series.