Treasure Hunter: 10 Secret Commander All-Stars

Scott CullenCommander

Now that Commander Legends is upon us, there’s no doubt that we’ll see many new decks over the next few weeks. Between the new generals and the reprinting of several “classic” commanders like Prossh, Skyraider of Kher, most of us have at least one new brew in mind.

As I’m brewing new decks, I tend to encounter many obscure and underrated cards in my searches. They’re usually too niche to become staples, but are incredible in the right build. I’ll be showing you ten such cards that I’ve found on my expeditions through Scryfall. They could be exactly what you need for a new brew, your new spicy tech for your favorite deck, or even something that might become an inspired build-around.

As Magic is at its best when it’s at its most inclusive, I want to make sure that players at any budget can find some real gems here. As such, all cards listed will be under $5 at time of writing.

Spiritual Asylum

Creature combos can be hard to protect sometimes, especially when all three of your opponents know what you’re trying to do. This is where Spiritual Asylum comes in. Protecting your entire team from removal is a fantastic ability to have, and four mana is a good rate for this, too. Shroud will prevent you from using some combos (like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker), but will work brilliantly with ones like Viscera Seer/Vizier of Remedies/Murderous Redcap. It also works with Vesuva to copy Dark Depths, but because Thespian’s Stage targets, it won’t work there. Still, it’s a great way to protect critical pieces for a small investment!

Custodi Squire

With the return of monarch in Commander Legends, there’s no better time to revisit another great mechanic from Conspiracy: Will of the council. Holding a vote can be a great way to gauge how the table is feeling, and Custodi Squire is one of my favorite cards for this. If you enjoy playing the political side of Commander, this is a great value piece that could net you several cards. Custodi Squire’s variance is heavily influenced by the whole game up to the point that you play it, making it a fun little minigame for the whole table. It’s also a cleric, so this could slot into any Orah, Skyclave Hierophant deck!

Memory Lapse

This is one of the more popular cards on the list, but I still feel it’s criminally underplayed. Memory Lapse is an incredible tempo piece, and one that should be revered as much as Remand or Arcane Denial. In some scenarios, it’s even better than both! Not only does this slow down an opponent’s plan like Remand, but it essentially denies them their next draw step. You can take advantage of this in many ways: you can use it to give the rest of the table another full turn to find an answer to the problem, or you can use a forced shuffle effect like Field of Ruin to remove that spell from the top of their deck. You can even just mill your opponent to get rid of problem cards, too!

You can also use Memory Lapse to counter your own spell and reuse it. Let’s say an opponent tries to use a Dovin’s Veto or Counterflux on your spell; you can counter your own spell with Memory Lapse, getting around the uncounterable counterspell and giving you another chance to force the spell through next turn.

Naiad of Hidden Coves

Cost reducers are one of the most powerful forms of mana ramp in Magic. They provide you with so much more mana than even staples like Sol Ring can. Even if you’ve only played a couple of Theros Beyond Death drafts, you’re bound to have a few copies of Naiad of Hidden Coves somewhere among those stacks of draft chaff.

This is the perfect mana-reducer for flash decks like Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage, allowing you to play a higher density of spells on your opponents’ turns. Counterspell decks like Baral, Chief of Compliance value this highly, too, as mana can be a serious chokepoint for decks that are looking to interact with almost every play. It also frees up mana to help you assert dominance in counter wars, which is very on-theme for the fun police!

Cling to Dust

Cling to Dust became an overnight Modern staple, and for good reason: it’s repeatable targeted graveyard hate with low opportunity cost. It’s yet to have its moment in Commander, but any card that reduces your opponents’ paths to victory while drawing a card or gaining life is an attractive option. Some decks, like Syr Konrad the Grim, can even take advantage of escape to further their own game plans! Most decks use the graveyard in some small capacity, so it’s rarely a dead card.

You don’t even have to be self-milling or casting a lot of spells to provide plenty of fuel for Cling to Dust. In most decks, you’re bound to put enough cards into the graveyard to escape it in a turn or two. It’s also a card advantage piece: if you cast it and pay the escape cost once — both times targeting noncreature spells — you’ll be up a card overall. Cling to Dust is almost a free include in any black deck, and I expect to see more of it in the future.

Hagra Mauling

Many of the new modal dual-faced cards are already becoming Commander staples. Hagra Mauling has yet to make a real impact, though. Murder is very popular (it’s in 10,000+ decks on EDHREC), and as Mauling is the superior card, I can see many decks making the switch over time. It may cost an extra mana to cast the spell side, but it’s a fair tradeoff; neither Murder nor Hagra Mauling are particularly competitive cards, so the mana difference isn’t likely to matter. Any card that doubles as a land is worth considering, especially when the front half is a copy of a budget staple.


Chaos Warp this is not. But if you’re someone who loves casting spells just to see what will happen, this should be a great new addition to your chaotic arsenal. This may not be the most efficient removal spell in the format, but the high variance of Transmogrify will surely entertain the whole pod. Unpredictability is often in Commander’s nature, and sometimes leaning into that can make for the most enjoyable games.

You can also build around Transmogrify to try and cheat out powerful creatures, if that’s more your style. Izzet spellslinger token decks could even use it as a value piece, exchanging a token for a Murmuring Mystic or Niv-Mizzet, Parun. The possibilities are as endless as they can be unpredictable!

Goblin Dark-Dwellers

Red is the color with the most inventive forms of card advantage. From spells like Light Up the Stage to creatures like Bedlam Reveler, there are multiple intriguing ways to gain value. Most of these have some sort of drawback, like requiring you to discard cards, to make sure they’re not too powerful. Thankfully, red also has many synergistic cards that can take advantage of these downsides.

Goblin Dark-Dwellers is one of my favorite cards for this reason. You can re-cast an instant or sorcery that you discarded with a Cathartic Reunion, cast Light Up the Stage a second time, or even replay a sweeper. The fact that this ability comes attached to a creature means you can use it to get multiple triggers. Flicker effects work great with these goblins if you’re running blue or white, and commanders like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker can make copies of it in mono-red.

Summoning Trap

Turntimber Symbiosis is a card that’s swelling in popularity, thanks to its flexibility. Summoning Trap doesn’t have a land attached like its modern counterpart, but its front half will always cost less.

Digging seven cards to put a creature directly into play is decent even at full retail, and when you get to cast it for free, it feels amazing. Summoning Trap really stands out to me over Turntimber Symbiosis because it’s an instant. There’s a world of difference between tapping out on your turn and holding up mana for some interaction. This card is at its best against blue decks, but it’s also just a great way to dig for gas. It’s fantastic in decks with a very high creature count, or decks that take advantage of expensive spells (like my Gilarna, Caller of Wildwood/Brinelin, the Moon Kraken brew in my Commander Legends Partner article)


This unusual beast is a recent card, from the Arcane Maelstrom deck in Commander 2020. It’s a great source of fuel for decks that operate at instant speed, especially ones that can’t access much repeatable card advantage. As Glademuse is a symmetrical effect, you can use it to garner favor with your opponents. You’ll benefit the most from it, and you can leverage this kindness to your advantage at a later stage.

Glademuse is similar in effect to Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, who would make for a great ally. It’s also a perfect fit for Yeva, Nature’s Herald, allowing you to draw cards from nearly anything you play.

Whether you’re building a deck with a sweet new partner pairing, reconstructing a classic Commander build, or just tuning up your old favorites, every deck should have a little spice to make it unique. Hopefully you should find something among this treasure trove to make your decks feel fresh and exciting!

What do you think of this list? Let me know on Twitter, and feel free to show me your own hidden gems!