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Magic: The Gathering – The 8 Best Graveyard Commanders

While Magic: The Gathering's Commander format is rife with decks that fall into a wide variety of archetypes, graveyard-focused decks are an incredibly popular option that can be found within several color identities. While for some decks, the graveyard represents cards that have been used or destroyed, for graveyard-focused decks, this zone is capable of functioning as something comparable to a player's second hand.

These decks are often known for their resiliency and their ease of accessing powerful cards through the utilization of reanimation effects. As there are countless impressive options for graveyard commanders, we're going to look at the best of the best that the Commander format has to offer.

8 Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis

Though primarily known for its dominant run and subsequent banning in Modern, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis is an impressive creature that can serve as a powerful Golgari (green/black) graveyard commander. When in play, Hogaak is an 8/8 with trample with no other relevant abilities – while this may sound rather straightforward and underwhelming, Hogaak's strength lies in the manner in which you can cast it.

While it technically costs seven mana to cast, mana can't be spent to play Hogaak. Instead, Hogaak has access to both convoke and delve, meaning your creatures and cards in your graveyard can be utilized to cast this sizable creature without the need for mana in the first place.

Luckily, creatures such as Satyr Wayfinder and Stitcher's Supplier are efficient means of milling yourself, and can serve as bodies on the board to enable Convoke. As Hogaak can even be cast from the graveyard, where you can reliably get around the need to pay commander tax.

Hogaak excels when paired with self-milling effects, allowing it to reliably cast to keep putting pressure on your opponents.

7 Old Stickfingers

A Golgari (black/green) graveyard commander option printed in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Old Stickfingers is a card that offers value proportional to the mana spent to cast it.

For one black, one green, and X generic mana, when Old Stickfingers is cast, its controller mills cards from the top of their library until they've milled X creatures. In addition to immediately filling your graveyard, this effect causes Old Stickfingers to grow into a quite sizable threat.

It's advised to not cast this commander until well into a game, as to ensure that it provides you with worthwhile value. Interestingly, for those looking to mill as many cards as possible using this commander, including a below-average number of creatures in your deck means that Old Stickfingers is more likely to mill a larger number of cards. This means that for only a moderate mana investment, you can potentially have access to a massive graveyard, enabling mechanics such as flashback, dredge, and delve.

6 The Mimeoplasm

A Sultai (black/blue/green) Ooze for five mana, The Mimeoplasm is a classic commander option that allows you to make use of not just your own graveyard, but your opponents' as well.

Upon entering the battlefield, The Mimeoplasm can exile any two creatures from any graveyards. It then becomes a copy of one of these exiled creatures, and gains +1/+1 counters equal to that of the other exiled creature's power. This effectively allows the Mimeoplasm to not just become a copy of the best creature currently in any player's graveyard, but an improved version of it.

When paired with self-milling effects and massive creatures, such as Eldrazi titans, the Mimeoplasm can be used to provide early access to these devastating creatures whilst giving it a boost in power. For those interested in controlling a Blightsteel Collossus with several +1/+1 counters as early as turn five, the Mimeoplasm may be the commander for you.

5 Karador, Ghost Chieftain

First printed back in Commander 2011, Karador, Ghost Chieftain is a card synonymous with graveyard decks in the Commander format. Though at first glance, Karador may seem costly at eight mana, this Abzan (black/green/white) commander costs one mana less to cast for each creature in your graveyard, meaning it will most often be cast for its minimum cost of three mana.

Once in play, Karador allows you to cast one creature card from your graveyard. This can make it incredibly difficult for opponents to deal with your creatures for good, as Karador simply allows them to be re-cast with ease. Additionally, if paired with a sacrifice outlet, Karador can allow you to get the most out of the most impactful death triggers in the game each turn, potentially accumulating substantial value.

4 Nethroi, Apex Of Death

Another Abzan graveyard commander option, Nethroi, Apex of Death uniquely provides an incredible graveyard-based benefit that triggers whenever it mutates, incentivizing the use of a blend of traditional graveyard staples and creatures with the mutate mechanic.

A 5/5 Cat Nightmare Beast with deathtouch and lifelink for five mana, whenever Nethroi mutates, you can return any number of creature cards with a total power of 10 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.

If you're able to quickly fill your graveyard, this can allow you to repeatedly provide yourself with an entire board state with a single trigger of this ability, while subsequent triggers can quickly lead to a victory through amassing sheer overwhelming value.

3 Olivia, Crimson Bride

The central antagonist of Innistrad: Crimson Vow, Olivia, Crimson Bride is a Rakdos (black/red) commander option that can lead an aggressive and combat-focused graveyard deck. Olivia is a 3/4 with flying and haste for six mana with an excellent attack-based triggered ability. Whenever Olivia attacks, you can return a creature from your graveyard, tapped and attacking, providing immediate and aggressive value.

While many comparable effects such as that of Gyrus, Waker of Corpses only allow a recurred creature to be used for one turn, the creatures that Olivia returns from the graveyard are able to stick around for as long as you control a legendary vampire.

This means that if paired with self-mill or discarding effects, Olivia can be used to cheat the likes of Eldrazi titans or a Blightsteel Colossus from your graveyard, immediately attacking an opponent.

2 Muldrotha, The Gravetide

For players looking to utilize their graveyard in a comparable fashion to a secondhand, Muldrotha, the Gravetide may be the commander for you. First printed in Dominaria, Muldrotha, is a 6/6 Sultai (black/blue/green) Elemental Avatar for the cost of six mana. While this cost may be steep, Muldrotha provides incredible access to your graveyard.

During each of your turns, you can play a land and cast a permanent spell of each permanent type from your graveyard. In a deck filled with a diverse mix of permanent types, this can potentially allow you to access up to five cards in your graveyard each turn. If this deck is paired with enough self-milling effects, a Muldrotha player may very well end up casting more spells from their graveyard than they cast from their hand once this creature is in play.

1 Meren Of Clan Nel Toth

Since the card's initial printing in Commander 2015, Meren of Clan Nel Toth has been one of the premier options for those looking to build a graveyard-focused Commander deck. For four mana, this Golgari (black/green) Human Shaman provides its controller with an experience counter whenever a creature they control dies. As experience counters are put on players rather than permanents, this means that if Meren is destroyed and re-cast, it will be just as powerful as it was when it had last been in play.

The core reason that Meren is such a stellar graveyard commander is its ability to return creatures from the graveyard to play with ease each turn. At the beginning of your end step, you can choose a creature in your graveyard.

While Meren can return that card to your hand, allowing it to be re-cast, if that card's mana value is less than or equal to the number of experience counters you have, it is put directly into play! Between the card's two abilities, Meren synergizes in incredible fashion with sacrifice outlets and Aristocrats synergies that can provide experience counters as well as self-milling effects that can provide a Meren player with additional options of which cards they'd like to return to play.

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