Tutors are easily the most valuable component to any Commander deck, but are often neglected for other utilities. So today, we're going to explore five must-own Commander tutors. This guide is not all-inclusive, but it will help you assess the value of specific tutors within every part of the color pie. Let's take a trip down WUBRG lane!
What kind of gift are we expecting? How about a Sunforger to go with your Fervent Champion? Perhaps a Skullclamp to help you draw through your deck? Typically, subtype-specific tutors can be overlooked. However, if you're playing with at least one Equipment, it's always worth considering at least one tutor for said card.
My general rule is to have a minimum of two potential targets for any given tutor to make certain you get the most out of it, but there are a handful of exceptions to this rule. If you use a piece of Equipment that's pivotal to a combo—such as Illusionist's Bracers in a Marath, Will of the Wild deck or Worldslayer in a Zurgo Helmsmasher deck—it's well worth slotting in Steelshaper's Gift. Your deck is now virtually 98-card singleton. Best. Gift. Ever.
Not your typical "tutor," but a tutor nonetheless. I bring up Thada Adel, Acquisitor as she is easily one of the most underrated cards in Commander. You don't usually want to tap out on blue resources turn-to-turn, but if you're willing to take the risk, the payoff with Thada is well worth it. Odds are likely you'll be facing down two or three opponents using blue (as it happens to be the most popular color in Commander), so Thada's islandwalk is very likely to be enabled.
When she deals combat damage to a player, you get to exile an artifact from their list. Why not an Aetherflux Reservoir, Helm of the Host or Bolas's Citadel? Perhaps you're not feeling so cutthroat—you can always exile their Mana Crypt or Sol Ring. In the "what's more" department, you get to cast said mana rocks. Every turn Thada remains on the field, you're able to build on your mana base by stealing artifact ramp from your opponents' decks. Don't sleep on this one.
Another personal favorite of mine. This is a one-time Thada Adel, Acquisitor, but with the potential to exile anything from your opponent's deck for use on any turn, so long as it remains exiled. Specifically, cards exiled this way are turned face down so that no one gets to know what you're holding on to. In much the same way as Thada, you can go ahead and exile a Mana Crypt or Sol Ring for some quick ramp. However, the potential of this card goes far beyond grasping at artifacts.
One of the most popular combos on the competitive side of Commander right now is Thassa's Oracle and Demonic Consultation. Most all lists with access to blue and black will use this two-card combo. Perhaps you have your own Thassa's Oracle in hand… why not get the missing piece to your own Oracle combo?
The other benefit to both Praetor's Grasp and Thada Adel, Acquisitor is the intel you get on your opponent's hand. What if their Demonic Consultation is missing from the list? Take their Tainted Pact instead and prime that Mental Misstep for their next turn. Knowledge alongside a tutor? For a converted mana cost of 3, that's a no-brainer.
I had to include at least one household name in this list. Imperial Recruiter is hit or miss… does your deck enjoy Treasonous Ogre? Use Imperial Recruiter. Even a lowly Dockside Extortionist would be a big enough payoff for the Recruiter to see play.
I don't generally like 3 CMC tutors unless they:
There are a variety of uses for tutors on creatures, as there are several payoffs to having a creature on the battlefield beyond blocking and attacking. In Wort, the Raidmother, our Imperial Recruiter becomes an additional conspire creature. Perhaps he becomes the target for a sacrifice, exploit or devour for additional effect. No matter the usage after the initial tutor, there's added value for having a tutor attached to a body.
With its upcoming reprint at uncommon in Double Masters, there is no excuse not to own and play this card.
If you are in green, you should be on Crop Rotation. Why is that? Simply put, there is nothing as flexible that operates at instant speed to allow any land to come into play untapped, all at the low cost of 1 CMC. Not everyone can afford Gaea's Cradle, which is this card's primary target, but by no means does that make this card any less valuable.
If you need color fixing, Crop Rotation. If you need an answer for a Grafdigger's Cage (Blast Zone), Crop Rotation. If you need removal for a pesky The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale (Strip Mine/Wasteland/Dust Bowl, pick your flavor), you guessed it, Crop Rotation. The uses for this card are endless alongside the ever-expanding reasons you should own and play this card. Just do it.
That'll do it for this guide. I hope I convinced you to swap out some cards for these tutors in your lists! Your deck will ultimately determine which tutors are necessary for you. As you begin to brew your next Commander deck, be certain to hit these and all those other valuable tutors first. You can thank me later.