Few combinations of colors in Magic: The Gathering have as much synergies with the graveyard as green/black Golgari decks. Despite this, Golgari is a very multifarious color identity with a multitude of strong strategies at its disposal. By examining the numerous powerful commanders in the Commander format we can see the vast capabilities under Golgari’s belt.
So today we’re going to take a look at the best of the best that green and black decks have to offer in regards to potential commanders in our Top 10 Strongest Golgari Commanders in Magic: The Gathering!
10 Slimefoot, The Stowaway
Slimefoot, the Stowaway is the perfect example of an effective Golgari commander whose abilities reflect both colors that make up its identity.
Able to create a 1/1 saproling token for four mana, Silmefoot comes with an excellent mana sink that works well in conjunction with the copious mana green can produce.
Additionally, Slimefoot causes each opponent to lose one life and for you to gain one life whenever a creature you control dies, synergizing greatly with the disposable tokens Slimefoot can produce.
9 Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest
In Magic: The Gathering, few things fit into black’s color identity as well as forcing opponents to sacrifice permanents. Conversely, the ability to buff up and bolster your creatures is something found in numerous green strategies.
The insect Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest is a Golgari commander who ties all of this together, putting a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control whenever an opponent sacrifices a permanent. Not only does this synergize well with “edicts” and other effects that force opponents to sacrifice creatures, Mazirek also capitalizes off of cards that sacrifice themselves such as lands like evolving wilds.
8 Glissa, The Traitor
Providing synergies with artifacts, Glissa, the Traitor is a Golgari commander unlike any other. Allowing artifacts to be returned from your graveyard following the demise of any of your opponents’ creatures, Glissa can be used to replay artifacts that can be sacrificed to activate an ability.
Additionally, Glissa come packing two relevant combat keywords, first strike and deathtouch, meaning that very few creatures are able to best her in direct combat without some kind of other edge.
7 Hogaak, Arisen Akropolis
Oh, Hogaak. Only having a brief stint in Modern before a swift ban, Hogaak, Arisen Akropolis showed the power and value that come with a card that does not require lands to cast. While not as strong in commander as it is in other formats due to higher life totals and a lack of duplicate cards in deck lists, Hogaak is still a very strong card that can be utilized as a powerful commander.
An 8/8 with trample that possessing both delve and convoke, Hogaak cannot be cast by the utilization of lands, rather, it must be cast my utilization of creatures and one’s graveyard. This gives Hogaak the flexibility to helm a creature based deck, a graveyard deck, or a combination of the two, all without require the use of your lands.
6 Nath Of The Gilt-Leaf
While elves are traditionally a flagship tribe of green, Nath of the Gilt-Leaf is an elf commander who brings a black twist to the tribe. Keeping the appeal of power in numbers that elves are known for, Nath creates 1/1 elf tokens like his mono-green contemporaries.
However, staying in line with black, Nath does so at his opponents’ expense, causing opponent’s to discard a card at random during your upkeep, creating elf tokens whenever your opponents discards a card. This is a perfect marriage of green and black’s abilities, resulting in an elf tribal commander that is authentically Golgari.
5 Skullbriar, The Walking Grave
Possessing an ability that warps the conventional rules of Magic and Commander, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave is a zombie elemental with haste that receives a +1/+1 counter each time it deals damage to a player.
While this may not seem to be out of the ordinary, Skullbriar keeps any and all counters on itself even if it is put in a graveyard or returned to the command zone. This allows Skullbriar to become a constant threat over the course of a game that is incredibly hard to deal with, as if it is ever killed, as soon as it returns it will be just as powerful as it was when it left.
4 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
One of the most straightforward commander on this list, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord is a commander who wants as many creatures to be in your graveyard as possible. A zombie who gets +1/+1 for each creature in your grave at a given moment, with enough self-milling, Jarad has the potential to become a huge powerhouse.
Additionally, in the instance that you need to push any extra damage through to opponents or move a creature from the battlefield to your graveyard, Jarad can sacrifice creatures you control in order to deal damage to each opponent equal to the sacrificed creature’s power.
3 Hapatra, Vizier Of Poisons
While +1/+1 counters are a common sight across commander tables, the more uncommon -1/-1 counters are an effective means of slowing down and nerfing your opponents’ creatures.
For only two mana, Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons is one of the best options players have for a commander when building a deck around a -1/-1 counter theme. Supplying -1/-1 counters whenever she deals damage, Hapatra can create a huge amount of snake tokens over the course of a game through her ability to create a snake token whenever -1/-1 counters are put on a creature. Cheap to play early, in a deck built around distributing -1/-1 counters, Hapatra can be a very effective engine of value.
2 The Gitrog Monster
Seeing how black is a color that cares greatly about players sacrificing permanents, and how green is a color that care greatly about lands, it was only a matter of time before the two colors came together to bring us a commander like The Gitrog Monster. A massive Frog Horror, The Gitrog Monster allows its controller to play two lands each turn at the cost of needing to sacrifice a land each turn.
While this may initially not sound the most appetizing, The Gitrog Monster also draws its controller a card each time a land is put in their graveyard, this frog is capable of drawing absurd amounts of cards and accelerating your plans. When paired with lands that sacrifice themselves and cards like Crucible of Worlds that allow for lands to be played from the graveyard, The Gitrog Monster is an engine of unparalleled value.
1 Meren Of Clan Nel Toth
While Golgari is capable of non-graveyard strategies, strategies that utilize reanimation and necromancy are truly where the color identity shines. Meren of Clan Nel Toth is not only the crown jewel of Golgari commanders, but the measuring stick of graveyard-centric commanders as a whole.
Providing her controller with an experience counter whenever a creature under their control dies, during each end step is where Meren is the most potent. At the end of each endstep, Meren can return a creature with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of experience counters you have directly to the battlefield. This is an extremely efficient means to playing numerous creatures without paying their mana costs that can be reliably repeated due to experience counters being put on Meren’s controller rather than Meren herself.
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