White is the weakest color in Magic: The Gathering's Commander (EDH) format. Mark Rosewater, head designer for MTG, acknowledged the opportunity for improving white in EDH. Gavin Verhey reiterated these plans in the recent CommandFest Commander panel. A panel slide covered ways to enhance white's ability to draw cards, win conditions, ramp, protect/reuse permanents, and have persistent/recurring threats.
Two recent attempts by Wizards of the Coast to increase white's power level include Verge Rangers and Mangara, the Diplomat. The upcoming Commander Legends set includes another strong white EDH card: Keeper of the Accord. While these cards are a good step in the right direction, the situation remains the same for white. However, there's still hope for white mages interested in increasing their current EDH deck's power level. How is this so, when WotC even acknowledges white's weakness in EDH? Well, MTG's rich history includes many powerful white cards. Smothering Tithe and Enlightened Tutor aren't the only tools to lead white to victory. Other white spells have found a place in decks winning at the tables of Competitive Commander (cEDH).
For the low price of one white mana, Silence prevents opponents from casting spells for a turn. Silence's effect can be useful in multiple situations. One is protecting combos. Casting this spell at the beginning of your turn prevents opponents from interacting with you. For example, Silence can set up the Heliod, Sun-Crowned/Walking Ballista combo. Another use of Silence is preventing other players from attempting combos. During an opponent's upkeep, casting Silence limits their ability to play spells for the rest of their turn. Also, Silence can be cast during an opponent's upkeep to "time walk" or hinder their turn. This strategy might slow down an opponent ahead on mana or close to ending the game.
Consider playing Silence alongside cards with similar effects like Abeyance and Orim's Chant. As a top 50 white card on EDHREC, Silence sees play in many decks. Silence is a popular inclusion in cEDH decks featuring commanders like Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Elsha of the Infinite, Breya, Etherium Shaper, Zur the Enchanter, Kenrith, the Returned King, and Grand Arbiter Augustin IV.
It should be no surprise to see Swords to Plowshares in this list. Swords to Plowshares is the most played white card on EDHREC. The card appeared in Alpha, MTG's first set. Swords to Plowshares is an iconic card with many printings over the last 27 years. Exiling a creature for one mana at instant speed is powerful, especially with minimal drawback. Removing creatures from the battlefield is one of white's strengths. Practically every white cEDH and EDH deck should include Swords to Plowshares.
If Swords to Plowshares is the most potent white creature removal spell, Path to Exile is the next best choice. Path to Exile has a worse drawback than Swords to Plowshares, but giving an opponent a tapped basic land is still small compared to the card's effect. Players commonly cast Path to Exile during an opponent's turn to minimize the drawback's impact. As the third most-played white card on EDHREC, Path to Exile goes in almost any white cEDH and EDH deck. For those wondering, the second most-played white card on EDHREC is Smothering Tithe.
Rest in Peace is a popular card across multiple formats, including cEDH. For two mana, any cards in all graveyards or put in all graveyards become exiled. It's a powerful enchantment for slowing down or stopping opponents' strategies. Rest in Peace is incredible against cEDH decks featuring graveyard-centric commanders like Tana, the Bloodsower/Tymna the Weaver (Pet Cemetery), Kess, Dissident Mage, The Gitrog Monster, and Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger. Outside of cEDH, Rest in Peace could be the right choice against certain playgroup metas. Anyone who purchased the recent Every Dog Has Its Day Secret Lair has a copy of Rest in Peace on the way.
Deafening Silence offers a powerful board effect for the low price of one white mana. Preventing players from casting multiple non-creature spells is effective at slowing some player's game plans. Deafening Silence fits well in white creature-based decks, mainly featuring hatebears. The best decks for Deafening Silence include commanders like Chulane, Teller of Tales, Heliod, Sun-Crowned, and Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. Since Deafening Silence is uncommon from Throne of Eldraine, players may already have one in their bulk boxes.
This list wouldn't be the same without the majestic Bird Wizard known as Aven Mindcensor. As a top 25 white card on EDHREC, Aven Mindcensor sees play across EDH and cEDH. Aven Mindcensor shuts off fetch lands, tutors, ramp spells, and other library interactive cards like Entomb. With the fetch land supply increase from Zendikar Rising, Aven Mindcensor may be more relevant than ever before. Any white deck wanting to play a fair game, or slow down opponents, should include Aven Mindcensor, as well as many white cEDH commanders such as Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Zur the Enchanter, Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, Brago, King Eternal, Chulane, Teller of Tales, and Derevi, Empyrial Tactician.
Drannith Magistrate is a relatively new addition to the cEDH scene. Drannith Magistrate's power level was noticed soon after its release in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. This unassuming Human Wizard packs a punch. For two mana, Drannith Magistrate shuts down opponents from casting commanders and other cards outside their hands. Drannith Magistrate serves as a lock piece with cards like Uba Mask, Knowledge Pool, and Possibility Storm. Some players have even called for a banning of Drannith Magistrate due to its hindering effect. The impact Drannith Magistrate has on a game makes it an inclusion in many white EDH decks.
Ethersworn Canonist is an artifact creature commonly found in white stax decklists. The recent reprint in Double Masters increased the supply and availability of Ethersworn Canonist. While not the most versatile creature, Ethersworn Canonist shines in decks that can maximize its effect. Its ability to limit players from casting nonartifact spells fits in cEDH decks featuring commanders like Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Brago, King Eternal, Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, and Kaalia of the Vast. Ethersworn Canonist synergies well in decks with Aven Mindcensor and Drannith Magistrate.
Auriok Salvagers is a four mana white creature with a unique activated ability. The card is probably best known for its inclusion in the Salvager Combo Legacy deck. Auriok Salvagers creates an infinite mana combo with Lion's Eye Diamond. Sacrificing Lion's Eye Diamond produces three white mana. Two of the available white mana goes toward Auriok Salvager's activated ability to return Lion's Eye Diamond to its owner's hand. This interaction leaves one white mana floating. Repeating these steps produces infinite white mana. Players can filter the infinite white mana into other colors by continuing the process. Adding Walking Ballista or Pyrite Spellbomb to the combo, players can deal lethal damage. Beyond combos, Auriok Salvagers can return other commonly played artifacts like Sol Ring, Lotus Petal, and Mana Crypt from the graveyard. Commanders such as Breya, Etherium Shaper, Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, and Thrasios, Triton Hero/Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder benefit from including Auriok Salvagers.
Sevinne's Reclamation returns any permanent with converted mana cost three or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. Using Sevinne's Reclamation flashback ability from the graveyard duplicates the spell. A considerable benefit of this card is it targets lands. Sevinne's Reclamation can ramp white decks for three mana by targeting a fetch land, or even Evolving Wilds, in the graveyard. Potential creature targets that help ramp mana include Knight of the White Orchard and Boreas Charger. Other targets for Sevinne's Reclamation include hatebear creatures, mana rocks, Gilded Drake, Dockside Extortionist, Back to Basics, Rest in Peace, Narset, Parter of Veils, etc. Sevinne's Reclamation is a flexible inclusion for cEDH decks featuring Elsha of the Infinite, Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, Zur the Enchanter, Brallin, Skyshark Rider/Shabraz, the Skyshark, Thrasios, Triton Hero/Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, and Tymna the Weaver/Kraum, Ludevic's Opus. Sevinne's Reclamation may become a format staple in cEDH and EDH.
If you were counting, then you realize Dovin's Veto is the 11th card in this list. It behooves me to include Dovin's Veto as a bonus card. This uncommon card from War of the Spark is quite powerful. While Dovin's Veto is a multicolor card, it's a staple inclusion for many white and blue cEDH decks. Also, Dovin's Veto is a top 25 multicolor card on EDHREC. Some of the most powerful cards in cEDH and EDH are noncreature spells. Since Dovin's Veto can't be countered, it can stop game-ending spells. Practically every white and blue commander will want Dovin's Veto in their 99.
This list of white cards is not all-inclusive. There are other powerful considerations in cEDH and EDH like Grand Abolisher, Aura of Silence, and Linvala, Keeper of Silence. I encourage players to consider including some of the cards mentioned above if they are absent from decklists. As a mono-white player piloting Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero, I've found running powerful, low mana white spells improve my competitiveness. Additionally, adding stax and taxing effects helps me avoid falling behind on mana and card advantage. White may be the weakest EDH color for now, but it can still put up a fight.