Are you thinking about building a Golgari Commander deck, but you’re not sure where to begin? Choosing a good Commander can be difficult when there are so many options available to you today…and with options oftentimes expanding every year.
We’re here to help you narrow down the field of contenders. That’s why we’ve created this list of the best MTG green black Commanders. We tried to include Commanders featuring a range of strategies, so there’s likely one here for you regardless of how you want to play.
Why Do Green Black in Commander/EDH?
The combination of green and black is called Golgari. This name comes from a guild on the plane of Ravnica, which is a location in the story underlying the whole game. We won’t spend too much time discussing Golgari lore, but for some background information, the Golgari Swarm basically believes life and death are simply parts of a natural, normal cycle. They also believe that going from one to the other is only to be expected.
The guild’s focus on life and death tells you everything you need to know about the color combination in the game. Golgari decks tend to focus heavily on interacting with players’ graveyards. Sacrificing creatures, bringing things back from the graveyard, and generating tokens are all common strategies for this color pairing.
As far as the types of creatures you can expect in these decks go, you’ll often find elves, gorgons, and saprolings in these colors. Religious figures such as druids and shamans are also common.
Golgari decks are powerful. This is a great combination to go with, especially if you want a deck that will allow you to play with your graveyard.
If you’d like to see what other color combinations there are, we’ve also written a guide to MTG names for color combinations. In the guide, we discuss all the possible color combinations and their strengths.
Best MTG Green Black Commanders
Putting +1/+1 counters on creatures is usually a useful thing. It buffs your creature’s power and toughness, making them gradually stronger and stronger – especially if you have some way to increase the number of counters.
However, those counters usually go away when you move said creature to anywhere from the battlefield. This is not the case with Skullbriar, the Walking Grave, which keeps all those counters on it as long as it isn’t going into your hand or library.
If you have to send Skullbriar back to the command zone, this aspect softens the blow a little bit. It’ll be able to come back out as strong as when it left.
Easily one of the most powerful Golgari Commanders – and one of the best in terms of graveyard interaction – is Meren of Clan Nel Toth. She only gets better the longer you have her on the battlefield, too.
This is because, as your creatures die, she gets experience counters. During your end step, you can choose to put a creature from your graveyard onto the battlefield as long as the converted mana cost of that creature is equal to or less than the experience counters Meren has. If the creature doesn’t meet those requirements, it simply goes into your hand instead.
In other words, Meren basically just lets you resurrect creatures. Oftentimes, you won’t even need to pay to cast them. She’s the ultimate necromancer.
Lathril, Blade of the Elves
We’re not able to link to Lathril, Blade of the Elves, but we have provided an image of her for your reference. She is amazing for token generation – something that both green black and elves as a tribe are good at.
Your goal is to hit people with Lathril. Once she deals combat damage to a player, she automatically creates a 1/1 green Elf Warrior token for each point of damage she does.
You can tap her to tap ten Elves under your control. Then all your opponents lose 10 life while you gain 10. This is shockingly strong. Remember, 10 life is 25% of your total at the start of the game in Commander. And with Lathril making elves every time she does combat damage, it won’t be long until you have more than enough to start draining life from your enemies.
Willowdusk, Essence Seer
Willowdusk, Essence Seer was another one we weren’t able to link to yet, but we’ve put a picture of it above. This is a debatable one, but we think it’s worth mentioning.
Willowdusk will allow you to put x +1/+1 counters on a target creature, where x is the amount of life you gained or lost this turn, depending on which is greater. If you gained five life points and lost three, for example, you’d put five counters on the target creature.
It’s just a great way to pump up your creatures. You may have noticed that Willowdusk potentially pairs well with Lathril, too, since pumping Lathril up with counters will allow her to do more combat damage. Plus, Lathril allows you to gain life by tapping elves you control, which also works well with Willowdusk.
Don’t let the spooky art on the card scare you away from this one! Abomination of Llanowar is a phenomenal and simple card that will work well for beginners.
Its strategy is simple. Pack your deck with elf creature cards. The more you have, the merrier, because Abomination of Llanowar’s power and toughness are determined by the number of elves you have on the battlefield or in your graveyard.
Hopefully, once you finally cast Abomination of Llanowar, you have plenty of elves for it to rely on. Then you’ll have a large, bulky creature to swing with – one that must be blocked by two or more creatures, otherwise your opponents just have to eat the damage. Additionally, since it has vigilance, you can attack without worrying about needing to block later, since it doesn’t get tapped after attacking.
Ishkanah, Grafwidow may seem like a confusing card to include on the list if you’re new to Magic, because it looks like it’s only green. However, a Commander’s color identity isn’t determined just by the color of the mana necessary to cast it – it’s also determined by the colors of the mana used in its activated abilities. Basically, if a colored mana symbol appears either in the cost or text of the card, that card is considered all those colors.
Spider tribal is far from the most popular tribe in the game, but if you’re going to build it, Ishkanah is a solid pick for your Commander. It will create spider token cards when it enters the battlefield if there are four or more card types in your graveyard. (As a reminder, card types include things like sorcery, enchantment, artifact, creature, or planeswalker, so it’s not difficult to get four card types in your graveyard!)
Once you’ve got an army of spiders on the battlefield, pay six generic and one black mana to activate Ishkanah’s second ability. An opponent of your choosing will lose one life for each spider you control. This could be devastating, and with enough spiders, it could even defeat an opponent completely.
Like Meren of Clan Nel Toth, The Gitrog Monster is another Commander that Golgari is famous for. It is, however, a tricky Commander that novices might get confused by.
It works like this: you must sacrifice it on your upkeep unless you sacrifice a land. Then, when a land goes into your graveyard, you can draw card.
On the surface, this seems counterintuitive. You need lands to cast spells, so why would you continuously sacrifice them?
The answer is that The Gitrog Monster is part of a famous combo. You can basically use it to generate infinite mana and draw your whole deck by combining it with a few other cards, such as Dakmore Salvage, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, a card that allows you to discard Dakmor Salvage, and Dark Ritual.
If you’re looking for something a little easier to understand than The Gitrog Monster, Slimefoot, the Stowaway may be a Commander that’s more to your liking. This fungus creature is much simpler to use.
Slimefoot just makes saproling tokens for you. You can pay four generic mana to generate one saproling token as many times as you can afford. Then, when your saproling tokens die, Slimefoot deals one damage to each opponent for each saproling that died while you gain an equal amount of life.
The strategy is straightforward: make as many saprolings as possible. Kill them yourself or swing with them, anticipating that someone will block them. Then, you reap the benefits of the damage being done to your enemies.
Glissa, the Traitor
Glissa, the Traitor is another card we couldn’t find a link for at this point in time, but we’ve included a picture of her above. We wanted to include her because she has both graveyard interaction and a relationship with your artifacts.
When an opponents’ creatures go into their graveyard from the battlefield, she allows you to return an artifact from your graveyard to your hand. This makes her excellent for those who want to build an artifact-focused deck, because your artifacts can never truly die (unless they’re exiled).
However, she’s also just kind of a scary creature. With deathtouch, she can destroy anything that she blocks or is blocked by, which means opponents will be afraid to block her if you attack with her. Her first strike means she does damage first in combat, so even if someone blocks with something that would destroy her, it’s possible she’ll emerge unscathed because she does damage first.
Given that she brings your artifacts back from the grave, she would work well with artifacts designed to boost her combat prowess. Equipment artifacts would be a good idea to add to your deck with Glissa.
Read Also: Which MTG Sets Have the Most Artifacts?
This is kind of an interesting one. Grismold, the Dreadsower does something that isn’t unusual for green and black: it makes tokens. However, it doesn’t just make tokens for you, it makes tokens for your opponents, as well, on your end step.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because of Grismold’s second ability, whenever a creature token dies, Grismold gets a +1/+1 counter. With all your opponents gaining tokens, it’s much more likely they will block with, attack with, or even sacrifice those tokens, feeding into Grismold.
Green Black (Golgari) Questions
Are green and black good separately?
The reason why Golgari is so powerful is that yes, green and black are on their own excellent colors to choose. Green is second to none in Magic: the Gathering when it comes to ramping, or building up a strong mana base quickly.
Black, on the other hand, is the color of Faustian deals. It can do much of what other colors can, although it usually comes at a price…like sacrificing your creatures or losing life. Black is particularly good for removal, though, so use this one a lot if you want to be able to kill opponents’ creatures effortlessly.
Combined, you get all the benefits of both colors. That being said, we do think Golgari can be a slightly more difficult combination to master. If you’d like to build a more beginner-friendly Commander deck, think about using red and black Commanders.
Golgari is a fantastic color combination to use in Commander. You’ll have no shortage of strong Commanders to choose from with their own unique themes and strategies.
Even from a purely aesthetic standpoint, green and black are interesting. They bring together the forces of nature and death. The artwork on these cards is oftentimes eerie, beautiful, and striking. Go with this color combo if you’re a horror lover.
Another good combination to consider is Orzhov – or black and white. Orzhov decks feature a lot of darker themes that are also great for those into horror. You can get some ideas for building one yourself in our list of the best MTG black white Commanders.