Part two of my 5 part series on creatures with a converted mana cost of 1 continues this week with the colour that contains the most powerful one drop in the format. Before we get to the cards though, the way we’ll break these down for you will go from very prolific and usable in about any deck to more specialized and tribal uses and finally ending with cards that aren’t widely used but could be great in a more narrow strategy.
As I mentioned in my first article on Green, Commander is a big mana format of Magic but if you ignore the more efficient creatures usually reserved for other formats you may be missing out on some great power for your deck. That’s what this series aims to point out in an extreme way, so let’s get to the best one mana creatures in white.
I’d be a Grade A goof ball if I did a series on 1 drops and didn’t pay homage to the broken and possibly ban-worthy Serra Ascendant. The poster child for one drops in Commander, Serra Ascendant takes advantage of some out of date wording and starts any game of commander as a 6/6 flyer with lifelink. It can end up dominating games and outright winning if opponents can’t get to their answers quick enough. Serra Ascendant is easily the most powerful one drop at the beginning of any given game but it’s not the only meaningful one drop in white. Control and creature-based strategies love my old marm herself, Mother of Runes. The ability to give any creature protection from the colour of your choice not only protects it from removal but also renders it unblockable on some boards and can be a real nightmare for your opponents.
But anyone can tell you about Serra Ascendant and Mother of Runes, what about a lesser known card that still pulls its weight in any deck? Well look no further than Spurnmage Advocate. For the low cost of tapping this creature and giving an opponent two cards from their graveyard you can destroy an attacking creature. It may sound like a bad deal, two cards for one creature? First, the cards you return don’t have to belong to the same opponent who’s creature you’re killing, allowing for some nice political moves, but also returning lands to hands in the name of killing a Grave Titan or Thraximundar but just be the thing you have to do to get back into the game. Use it thoughtfully.
Finally in the category of 1 CMC creatures you can use in any deck, is Weathered Wayfarer. Use this guy as a way to ramp when you’re not looking at Green as a companion colour. It’s not ramp in the strictest sense of the word, but it allows your land drops to be consistent and fixed to the colours you like.
Next we have some cards that look great when being used in a specific strategy or tribal setting. The first ones that jumped to my mind here were Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant, affectionately known as the Soul Sisters. Any life gain deck wants these two plus as many imitators as they can find. Similarly it might be well for those decks to also employ Leonin Elder if they have a lot of artifacts or a Perimeter Captain if they find themselves with a lot of creatures with Defender.
Since white loves tribal synergies, I think we’d be mad if we didn’t mention Herald of Anafenza, Champion of the Parish and Student of Warfare. In one way or another these cards get bigger and love to be supported by their tribes of Warriors, Humans and Knights. However both of these pale in comparison to Ramosian Sergeant in terms of the value they bring to their respective tribes. Rebels is a legitimate deck in EDH and you can’t do it right without the sergeant of the rebels herself.
Do X spells count as one drops? Of course they do, especially when you almost always cast them as one drops in order to activate a great ability like the ones on Mikaeus, the Lunarch. Whether its +1/+1 counters or beefing up tokens, Mikaeus has what you need. A powerful card that sadly is often a lightning rod for removal spells, he can quickly take over games if he gets to stick around.
The final category are cards that are pretty niche in their appeal and use but when you get them in the right deck they really do shine as all stars. Children of Korlis is a crazy card to use when gaining life especially if you can recur it in a graveyard strategy. Planar Guide acts as a Ghostway for every creature on your board, great for ETB effects or if you just to wipe you opponents board of indestructible tokens.
You can even have a one drop as a commander for your deck. The two options that you have there are Rhys the Redeemed if you’re also looking for green and one of the best token producers around or take a look at the mythic transforming planeswalker Kytheon, Hero of Akros.
One drops can pack a real punch in commander and when it comes to these formidable weenies, it’s no surprise that White has some of the best.