The Highest CMC Cards in Commander
One drops are all well and good, and if you’ve been reading my articles over the past few weeks, hopefully you’ve found some great one CMC creatures to add to your Commander arsenal and help your favourite decks curve out hard. But let’s face it, we’re playing Commander to cast giant monsters and huge spells because it’s very hard to do that in formats where you don’t have 40 life. So let’s do a quick rundown of the cards in Commander that cost 12 mana or more and whether or not they’re worth our time.
Right out of the gates we get the most expensive card in all of Magic’s history, Draco. Sixteen mana is a lot to pay even for a 9/9 flyer, but the rub on Draco is that you actually need not cast this for 16 mana. In fact in a 5 colour dragon deck Draco is a 6 mana creature. It figures that in an article where we’re probably going to talk about how we cheat these things into play, a way to cheat Draco in is printed right on the card. Draco, unfortunately doesn’t really hold its own outside of Scion of the Ur-Dragon decks and just isn’t likely to be run in many other decks.
Usage Potential: Low, not enough payoff despite being colourless
Decks: 5 Colour Dragon Tribal, Emerge?
Coming in at a whopping 15 mana – and plenty of it coloured, Autochthon Wurm (pronounced Autok-thon… I think?) also comes with a built in mana cheat. While Convoke makes it look like this card might want to be in a go-wide token strategy, the reality is you’ll rarely find the Auto-Wurm in token decks. Turns out that in EDH we’ll just cheat it out with cards like Mayael the Anima or Elvish Piper instead.
Usage Potential: Medium, great in big stompy cheaty decks and can even live in token decks.
Decks: Mayael, Naya Monsters, Wurm Tribal, Go-Wide Tokens
Wait, a blue instant spell that cost 14 mana? Does it just say “You win the game.”? No it does not. Blinkmoth Infusion, much like the previous two cards we’ve mentioned has it’s own mana-cheat built in as well and when I say cheat I really mean cheat. Affinity for artifacts is classic Magic cheating and one of the more broken mechanics to ever see the front of a card. Sadly Blinkmoth Infusions mana cost still manages to be a deterrant for this rather broken ability. Sure, if anywhere Commander is the place to run this card, but it just seems like if you have the 12 artifacts to enable the card to be a 2 mana untap everything you may as well just run Dramatic Reversal, which is such an upgrade to this card that it makes my head spin.
Usage Potential: Low, heavy artifacts only, must have board full of artifacts.
Decks: Artifact tokens, Muzzio artifact spam, Breya.
Emmy (Can we call her Emmy?) is the most recent of the 12+ group and like the others that came before it (in this article) Emrakul includes a way to cheat at Magic right on the card. Even worse, it’s Tarmogoyf cheating which is the most terrible form of cheating. Emrakul though is perhaps the first of this bunch that has a really wide appeal, any go big deck would love a flying 13/13 with trample and protection from instants, let alone a cast trigger that let’s you control a player on their next turn. Simply put, even in Commander, Emrakul ends games. One of the best in this article, she’s even a little easier on the wallet these days after her Standard banning a few months ago.
Usage Potential: High, Legendary(!) colourless, mana reduction is a bit easier in EDH
Decks: Graveyard, Ramp, Big mana smashers, Colourless, Eldrazi Tribal
Is Iname pronounced “eye-name” or “in-ame”? I have no idea. Please, Magic linguists help us out here. But don’t stress out too much because not many of us are playing the 12 mana Golgari 8/8 spirit these days. Tutoring is great and in a green/black or 5-colour spirit deck, Iname’s ability is solid, but still very over costed even when you consider the on-death Animate Dead-like ability. Not to mention the tutor ability only activates on cast, so Iname loses a lot of value if you cheat it into play. This card isn’t great. Maybe when it was released you could make a cool deck around it (it is also a Legendary) but these days Iname only lives in very few decks and probably is rarely actually cast even then.
Usage Potential: Low, heavy coloured mana cost, tribal specific
Decks: Golgari or 5-colour Spirits
Another massive Blue spell, this time a sorcery. Enter the Infinite, unlike it’s affinity-based cousin is a very good card and often does read “You win the game.” That is what you want if you are waiting till turn 12 to do something big (although you should always protect Enter the Infinite with at least one counterspell). This card basically reads, “draw your entire deck and then you should have the stuff to win. If you don’t too bad so sad you lose you get nothing but a mitt full of cardboard.” Ok maybe that text is a bit much, but you get it. Draw and Mill strategies love this card, Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and Laboratory Maniac especially. Not to mention combo decks that can just drop their key pieces and just win the game. Enter the Infinite is a great card that completely embodies the spirit of Commander.
Usage Potential: Medium, draw to win decks and combo love this one
Decks: Draw to win (Niv-Mizzet, Prime Speaker Zegana, etc) almost any combo deck with U
An absolute Commander staple, Blightsteel is one of the classic Tinker-targets and while Tinker is banned in Commander, we still find ways to seek this beast out and end games pronto. Trample and Infect are great and when you add Indestructible in the mix we’re talking game over for anyone who comes up against him. (Unless the steal, clone or copy him, which will definitely happen.)
Usage Potential: High, colourless, ends games
Decks: Anything. Actually anything.
Our last entry is one of my favourite Eldrazi because as if Annihilator wasn’t good enough, ITB says that not only are those things sacrificed, but you get them now. A true 11/11 for 12 mana that has no on board cheating of mana on, ITB loves all sorts of decks and while it mostly shows up in mana cheaters and Eldrazi ramp decks don’t forget about this card in something like Meren or Karador to really fully stick it to your friends by taking everything your Butcher of Malakir is forcing them to sacrifice.
Usage Potential: High, colourless, ability works all on its own and only gets better with support, mana cost can be prohibitive
Decks: Big Ramp, Eldrazi, Sacrific-based strategies
12+ Mana spells in magic are rare and when you need one for your Commander deck, it’s good to know where you stand with them. You can’t have a lot but one can be a very fun inclusion to really make the battlecruiser-magic style of Commander come alive. Have fun with these Teenage-mana costed cards and let me know in the comments below if you run any of these cards and how good they are for you. Until next time, gang!