A few months ago, I looked at a few cards from Magic's past that you may not have heard of but would want to add to your Commander decks:
Blue's Hidden Gems
Red's Hidden Gems
I thought I'd try it again, focusing on the white cards this time around. I hope you find something new and exciting that fits perfectly into one of your decks!
Jabari's Influence has a few downsides. Five mana for an instant you can only use on a creature that has attacked you this turn can be a tough call. Alarm bells should be going off for anyone attacking someone with five mana up, so this is a card that will likely sit in your hand for a bit. While there is often value in surprise, I'd prefer if my opponents all know I could do this. As an enchantment, this would be a rattlesnake card that would be a powerful deterrent to attacking me at all. It also doesn't work on artifact or black creatures, and that can be pretty painful. You wish some of these older cards wouldn't be quite so flavorful!
However, consider the upside! White gets a way to steal creatures! This is rather rare for white and can really come in handy. This is not another enchantment that takes a creature off the battlefield only to see it come back when the opponent finds their enchantment removal—you play Jabari's Influence, you take control of the creature. There is no aura for an opponent to target to get their creature back; it is yours. This card also doesn't require you to take damage to get control of the creature. If it attacked you and you blocked it, you can still steal it away.
Most importantly, you never need to return the card—this isn't an end of the turn effect! You don't need to run sacrifice effects to try to kill the creature before you must return it, although you'd be a fool not to (Homeward Path is a thing). You play Jabari's Influence and the creature is yours! All of this is probably the last thing your opponent was expecting!
As much as some of the cards on this list target a particular color, Jabari's Influence really does take aim at green and red. You can't target black creatures and blue generally has a way to bounce their creatures so Jabari's Influence will either miss the target or they will get their blue creature back. White is often using less impressive single creatures so taking a smaller token creature isn't all that much fun. This leaves green and red. These colors tend to have dragons and other impressive beasts that are delightful to bring to your side of the battlefield.
This card was in Alpha but soon faded from view and Commander players are missing out. I understand the reluctance to include a card that is all but useless unless an opponent is playing a particular color. Everyone hates the feeling of drawing a card and discovering you've drawn a card that is useless to help you out of your current predicament. However, some silver bullets are just spectacular and I think Northern Paladin falls into this category.
Northern Paladin isn't taking out a creature or an enchantment or artifact. This is any black permanent, and that includes black Planeswalkers. Every time you untap you should use Northern Paladin—in almost every game there will be at least one player running black in a deck, so you will be golden.
The fun part with Northern Paladin isn't even taking out the permanents on the battlefield; it is far more fun knowing how many permanents aren't even getting played. Bitterblossom is just sitting in their hand. Phyrexian Arena isn't drawing any cards. Liliana is doing nothing, all because Northern Paladin is sitting quietly on the battlefield, sharpening its sword, waiting to do work. The deterrent effect alone is well worth the card.
And if you are still concerned about the color restriction, consider Sleight of Mind and a handful of other blue cards that let you change the color word on a card for a new color. Perhaps green is the real issue? Just change it up! Your Knight from the North is happy to help.
As long as we are picking on black, let's keep it going! When was the last time you played a Commander game that didn't include someone playing Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth? The land is ubiquitous for anyone playing black. It fixes mana bases and combos with so many cards that it just makes sense for anyone playing black to run it in their decks. What this means for you is that everyone's lands are likely Swamps.
This makes Crusading Knight a monster in most decks! By turn four or five, the average player likely has four lands. With three opponents, this means the Crusading Knight will get +12/+12 onto its 2/2 body. The fact that it has protection from black means that it tells any opponent with black creatures to find another opponent to swing at. It dodges a lot of the game's removal, and swings in unblocked against a lot of opponents. As someone who has played plenty with Crusading Knight, when you have an opening against a nonblack player to swing at them, take it. Once you eliminate the black players (or more specifically, the player running Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth), your Knight's crusade is basically over. It will be a simple 2/2 creature with no relevant abilities for the rest of the game. Take full advantage for as long as you can by swinging in at defenseless nonblack opponents!
Now, I'm not saying that you must rely on your opponents to play Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to get the Knight going. Feel free to run it yourself! And even without Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth on the battlefield, Crusading Knight is no slouch. Black shows up in virtually every game of Commander, so Crusading Knight does excellent work. Even as a 4/4 for four mana, Crusading Knight has provided me with an excellent value creature to frustrate opponents.
An undervalued play is to get the Knight out early. Only weak players are going to limit their mana development to prevent this card from getting bigger, but they do cringe every time they play a land. It is amazing how a card like Crusading Knight will lead players to alter their gameplan because of protection from black. Mass removal spells tend to get played much earlier than they would otherwise get played. Don't be too upset if Crusading Knight is destroyed as soon as it hits the battlefield; you've forced out precious removal on a card that probably isn't a key to your deck!
There are a couple of reasons you probably haven't heard of Mageta. The first is that he's a legend. Some players look at the card and because he is a legendary creature, they can only see him as a commander. Ignore that part of the card. You aren't running this guy as your commander. If you are in mono-white, there are better options.
The other reason is the downside on his ability. Discarding two cards to Wrath away the battlefield once might be doable, but doing it a second time tends to make things rough. White isn't exactly known for its ability to draw a lot of cards, so the cards you get tend to be at a premium. Building around Mageta's ability can be a challenge.
So why is this card on the list? Exactly because of his downside! Remember what I said about him not being the commander? As one of the 99, Mageta is a great enabler. In a black and white deck, Mageta puts a couple of creature cards from your hand into the graveyard, all while loading up your opponent's graveyards. This gives you all sorts of options as a black player who enjoys diving deeply into everyone's graveyards!
As part of a blue and white build, you are likely drawing plenty of cards. Suddenly tossing away two of them so you can limit the battlefield and limit the damage you take is a wonderful thing!
With green, instead of playing all the lands you have been finding, you toss a couple away to reset the battlefield, knowing you are going to recover faster than anyone else! Consider this build with card draw from green and blue.
Given all these options, you can see where Mageta the Lion is a great fit in several different decks! Having instant-speed removal is a treat with the builds I've suggested. Destroy all the creatures on your opponent's turn so on your turn you'll have all your mana available to do whatever you want!
I'm also a fan of how Mageta the Lion messes with opponents' plans. When players realize you can repeatedly wipe the battlefield of all creatures, your opponents play differently. Hordes of token creatures don't suddenly appear. Players with already impressive armies tend to go elsewhere. Since you can wait to destroy the board, you can safely allow those armies to attack before you decide when to remove all the creatures; why blow them up if they are taking out your opponents?
Mageta may not be a house in every deck, but in the right deck, he is truly a lion.