Hi. I'm not Jon Corpora, and I know that's disappointing to read. He's a stronger writer than me, and pushes the boundaries of expectations with our Top 10 countdowns of top-selling Magic. His introductions have been a popular twist on the series, juxtaposing thoughtful Magic prose with cards and the decklists that explain them.

Today's introduction is just a pale imitation, but I hope you'll forgive the indulgence.

Let's start with a fact: Commander is a great format. Here's my opinion: Commander is a significant part of the growth Magic continues to undergo.

If you rewind the clock and look at when Duels of the Planeswalkers was first released and Core Sets were revamped you see a surge in Magic's growth. There's no argument that attendance at events—from Grands Prix down through local stores—and sales soared. Hasbro earnings reports gushed about Magic underpinning their profits as the magicTCG subreddit snowballed into the community hub and monster it is today.

Magic was firing on all visible cylinders. But ask yourself: How did the game stay bigger?

For competitive players, Modern is one answer. The popularity of Magic's newest Eternal format was reinforced by Pro Tour play and Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers. The first time Wizards (Rightfully, in my observation.) tried to cut Modern from the Pro Tour the Backlash was significant. Modern was one way to keep players engaged beyond the Standard format they were introduced to.

But prevailing wisdom and observation shows that competitive players aren't the only audience Wizards worries about. Why did Conspiracy get produced? Why are there things like the Duel Decks series, a rotation of releases like Planechase and Archenemy, and the now-annual Commander {YEAR} products?

Casual players count too.

Neither Planechase nor Archenemy became the stunning hits like Commander. Their biggest claims to fame are providing cards like Shardless Agent to Legacy and, of course, legendary creatures like Maelstrom Wanderer to Commander. When Wizards aligned with the Commander Rules Committee (even going as far as getting the name changed from the trademark problematic Elder Dragon Highlander) and began producing Commander decks they didn't expect to see the same success.

Remember Commander's Arsenal? That only exists because the demand for the original Commander release was so unexpected they were wholly unprepared for another. This is one of the reasons it's easy to use Commander as a way to paint an audience that isn't interested in pursuing the Pro Tour or even competing at local events.

Commander gives an identity to an audience invisible to Organized Play.

There aren't Commander tournaments. There aren't organized Commander game nights. There aren't Commander fans fervently arguing for OP representation and events, demanding the Commander Pro Tour and expecting immediate, radical shifts in prize support. They just show up to stores, sit down and play the game.

It's Magic at its fundamental attraction of having a good time with friends, and it explains why a release without a whit competitive impact sells so well. Commander is here to stay because it serves a mammoth chunk of audience that doesn't care about the things that derail Magic social media and reddit threads.

Keeping these players playing Magic is one of the best outcomes possible. Thanks Commander.

Honorable Mentions

Concealed Courtyard is a great land. Galvanic Bombardment kills things. Panharmonicon makes other cards way better. Grasp of Darkness also kills things.

#10: Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Chandra, Torch of Defiance cracked back into the top of our countdown. She's one of the ways Skred Red pushed into Grand Prix victory the other weekend. While her place is Modern is a little shaky, Skred Red is still a sweet deck.

#9: Ravenous Trap

Ravenous Trap is Dredge hate, and everybody hates Dredge.

#8: Thraben Inspector

Thraben Inspector is the humble common from Shadows over Innistrad that just keeps on giving. Piloting vehicles, providing clues and being an excellent first turn play for any aggressive deck means this card isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

#7: Harnessed Lightning

Harnessed Lighting kills things. While control decks are all the rage these days, I'm rather fond of what it does in the Red-Green Energy deck. Electrostatic Pummeler for life, dawg.

#6: Blessed Alliance

Blessed Alliance gains life while killing something. Some control decks run it in the main, but it's also a serviceable sideboard card for the powerful White-Blue Flash decks.

#5: Cultivator's Caravan

Cultivator's Carvan is one of my personal favorite cards from Kaladesh. While its Commander applications are clear, it's also a piece that makes Mardu Vehicles a competitive choice. Who doesn't love off-color spells out of the sideboard?

#4: Veteran Motorist

Vehicles need pilots, and Veteran Motorist is a great one to use. Reid Duke agrees.

#3: Commander 2016 Set of Five Decks


A bit cheaty, but the entire set of five Commander decks released on Friday explain my introduction. You're welcome.

#2: Aether Hub

I'm pretty sure the reason Aether Hub isn't the top slot again is that everyone is finally caught up with owning a playset of the incredible card.

Fun fact: I didn't preorder a foil copy of Aether Hub but I did buy a foil copy of Tendo Ice Bridge a few years ago. I'm really smart sometimes.

#1: Blossoming Defense

Blossoming Defense is a new key card for Modern Infect decks, and it plays the role of protector in Red-Green Energy decks. It's a much better card than some gave it credit for initially, and it's going to become a Modern staple as long as Infect remains a powerful, attract choice for players.