50 Best Underplayed Magic: The Gathering Red Commander Cards

Today we are taking a look at the most underrated and underused Red Commander cards in Magic: The Gathering. Red has some of the wildest and most diverse abilities of any color and typically have land and artifact destruction, direct damage, combat tricks, mana production, and randomness. Red has such a diverse and long history of powerful cards, that many of them are overlooked and see little play.  

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Here are 50 of the most underplayed Magic: The Gathering Red Commander cards that you should consider for your Red EDH deck:

  1. Ashling's Prerogative

    If most of the cards in your deck are either odd or even, Ashling's Prerogative can be used to your advantage. At only 2 mana it can give most of your creatures haste (and your opponents) as well as having a good chunk of your opponent's creatures enter play tapped, which will allow you to attack through for additional damage.

  2. Bedlam

    Make every creature unblockable? Yes, please! Red isn't too concerned with blocking anyway. Combo this with cards that give extra effects when they deal combat damage to a player.

  3. Braid of Fire

    Braid of Fire was originally released when mana burn still existed. For those who don't know, you used to take 1 point of life loss for unused mana in your mana pool at the end of each phase or step. Now that those rules are gone, Braid of Fire is much better. Fill your deck with powerful instant speed spells to fully utilize this cards insane mana production.

  4. Burning Sands

    Thinking of running a red burn deck? Don't stop at Ensnaring Bridge, add Burning Sands as well! Pair with cards like Blasphemous Act to eliminate all of your opponent's creatures and lands while maintaining your own.

  5. Caverns of Despair

    Tired of losing to swarm decks? Don't despair! Ensnaring Bridge is a better choice overall, but Caverns can make for a strong secondary defense. As an enchantment, it's harder to remove than its sometimes played cousin Grand Arbiter.

  6. Citadel of Pain

    Do your opponent's interact with you frustratingly during your own turn? Control based Commander decks are going to hate this card. If they want to keep their mana open to counter your spells, they're going to have to take damage for every land kept untapped. Your opponent paying life to keep their lands untapped will telegraph what they're going to do anyway so you can play around it. Bring on the pain!

  7. Confusion in the Ranks

    Confusion in the Ranks is a card worth building around. Run a bunch of cheap mana efficient mana dorks, creatures, and enchantments. Then drop this early. The rest of the game you'll be able to steal all of your opponent's best permanents while they are left with your low CMC cards.

  8. Conquer

    Don't just destroy your opponent's lands, steal them! In a land destruction build, you should include Conquer. There are lots of great Commander lands like Maze of Ith that can get annoying fast. Stealing the best land your opponent controls can turn into a stronger advantage than many would think.

  9. Countryside Crusher

    Countryside Crusher can get big fast. Synergize it with cards like Boom // Bust that destroys all lands in play. You'll end up with the biggest creature on the battlefield. It also works well with land trading cards like Field of Ruin and Wasteland. If you run Crucible of Worlds (you should), you can get a long-term land advantage by returning the lands Countryside Crusher has put into your graveyard back into play. each turn.

  10. Disharmony

    Disharmony is a brutal combat trick they won't see coming. If used at the right moment, you can potentially destroy two of your opponent's best creatures by blocking with the stolen creature. You can also use it to untap and remove one of your own attacking creatures from combat (perhaps in response to a spell that targets an attacking creature).

  11. Firestorm

    With one mana open, most opponent's will only be suspecting a lightning bolt at best. Firestorm can potentially deal much more. Firestorm is best used in a deck that wants to discard cards or put them into their graveyard.

  12. Flamebreak

    Flamebreak is so much better than Pyroclasm in most situations. First of all, you get to deal 3 damage to each player, so it continues your burn strategy. The additional damage to each creature does make a difference quite often. Sure, you don't hit flyers, but that's generally not too relevant unless your opponent has an early Birds of Paradise you needed to kill as well. If you want more Flamebreak like effects, consider Volcanic Fallout for the direct damage aspect.

  13. Fortune Thief

    "What could that face down card be? Probably no big deal. I'll just attack with my whole army." And Morph! Hahahaha! Watch your opponent's surprise as you stifle them from killing you until they draw removal. Equip this with Lightning Grieves or Darksteel Plate to make it extra annoying.

  14. Fumiko the Lowblood

    An often forgotten red Legendary, Fumiko is an amazing Commander to beat creature based decks. Your opponent will have to attack into her each turn, and Fumiko will get to block to great advantage with Bushido. Your opponents swinging all out will make it easier to attack on your subsequent turn.

  15. Goblin Grenadiers

    Since you should be running earlier listed cards like Bedlam and removal, Goblin Grenadiers will at worst absorb a removal spell, and at best 2 for 1 with your opponents best creature and land. A fair bargain. Imagine combining this with cards like Mimic Vat for extra shenanigans.

  16. Goblin Rabblemaster

    Good Ol' Rabblemaster should be in every Red deck! It makes even the worst of hands fantastic on turn 3. It's a creature you opponent must destroy, and can win games quite handily if unanswered. I've never regretted putting this card in a red deck.

  17. Gorilla Shaman

    You won't be able to hit creatures, but you will be able to destroy everything else. Gorilla Shaman provides a recurring method of versatile artifact destruction. Plus it attacks (hey you can always equip it to make it bigger). It's hard to imagine a red deck that wouldn't find this useful.

  18. Grab the Reins

    Grab the Reins is one of my favorite old school cards. Back in the gold old days of Affinity/Tooth and Nail Standard, nothing felt better than a Grab the Reins on an opponent's Darksteel Colossus and flinging it at their face. This is an effective way to deal with any creature your opponent controls while giving you some nice damage to boot.

  19. Illicit Auction

    First of all, shame on you. Look at that poor creature being auctioned off! One of you is going to lose a lot of life or get control of the creature. Both seem good for a red deck. You seldom get to take control of opposing creatures past end of turn, and if your opponent wants to make a deal over it, they are going to lose a lot of life.

  20. Impatience

    There's always that player who tries to sit back in a Commander game and wait until he or she is threatened before slinging of their defensive spells. Impatience punishes those players and makes them use their spells each turn or take incremental damage for doing nothing.

  21. Invader Parasite

    Invader Parasite is great in a Land Destruction deck. First, it exiles the card instead of destroying it, which ensures it is never played again (Crucible of Worlds). It can attack for 3 damage (or block), which is significant. Finally, it punishes decks that run a lot of basic lands, since they will be taking 2 damage every time they play a basic (if monocolored). 

  22. Invasion Plans

    Invasion Plans is great in a creature heavy Red deck. Your opponent won't be able to sit back with their creatures each turn effectively.

  23. Jaws of Stone

    Jaws of Stone is a versatile removal. It always cost 6 mana, but the later the game goes the more damage this can dish out. In a mono-red deck, it's like Fireball at 6 CMC or higher, but you don't have to pay additional mana for the extra targets!

  24. Jokulhaups

    Jokulhaups is one of the most powerful red cards in the game. You get to destroy all lands, creatures, and artifacts! As long as you have a few good enchantments in play like Sulfuric Vortex, or a planeswalker, you've practically won the game!

  25. Keeper of the Flame

    Keeper of the Flame is a great source of recurring direct damage. Plus it has beautiful artwork by Terese Nielsen! What's not to like?

  26. Keldon Firebombers

    I've been using Keldon Firebombers for awhile in my red Commander deck and have been satisfied with it so far. Synergize it with mana rocks to stay ahead on mana vs your opponent. Keldon Firebombers is best in decks that don't even utilize Land Destruction because your opponent will have more lands get sacrificed. (If you've been using Stone Rain and land destruction cards for multiple turns, they might only have three lands in play when you get to five mana.)

  27. Lavaball Trap

    Lavaball Trap is a bit of niche card. It's effective even at 8 mana, but ideally, you are using it on turn 4 or so (with a mana rock) to destroy two lands and wipe the board. When it works, it is amazing. When it doesn't, it can still serve as a nice board wipe.

  28. Mark of Fury

    Mark of Fury is a fantastic card to give your creatures haste every turn. For only one red mana, you can continually attack with haste whenever you need to.

  29. Mass Hysteria

    If you're on giving your opponent's creatures haste as well, Mass Hysteria is a more mana efficient option to continually bring the beats. There is some risk to this card, as opponents may have tap abilities on creatures that are particularly good if they are allowed to activate the turn it is cast. Just make sure you can deal lethal damage before those creatures can become a problem.

  30. Meltdown

    Meltdown gives you a mana efficient way to destroy all the mana rocks on the table. If you pay the extra mana, you can also destroy all artifacts in play as well.

  31. Mercadia's Downfall

    If your opponent is running more than a few non-basics, which they probably are, Marcadia's Downfall will add a ton of power to your creatures. This is basically reds version of Beastmaster Ascension.

  32. Onslaught

    Onslaught might as well read, when you cast a creature spell, target creature can't block this turn. That sounds pretty great to me! At one red mana, this card is a steal and will give you the chance to push through extra damage every turn.

  33. Orcish Lumberjack

    That's a lot of mana excel for a one drop. Turn two this can help you power out some ridiculous spells! With two lands in play turn 2, this alone lets you cast a 5 drop!

  34. Orcish Settlers

    I love the art on this card. It's a fantasy take on the classic American Gothic. Land Destruction decks need to run every turn 3 Stone Rain they can, and Orcish Settlers is one of them. Not only can it destroy 1 land on turn 3, but you can also destroy two lands on turn 5 if you wait (or 3 lands with 7 mana)!

  35. Outmaneuver

    Outmaneuver is a clever way to win the game with an alpha strike. You essentially get to make all of your creatures unblockable for a turn (although they could die in combat). It's also a good way to deal combat damage to a player for cards that care about that sort of thing.

  36. Price of Glory

    Control decks are going to hate this card. It makes counterspells useless and means they have to cast all their removal and tricks on their own turn.

  37. Ruination

    Nothing gets an opponent to scoop faster than a turn 4 Ruination. Just make sure you're running enough basics that it doesn't backfire on yourself. You might not make a lot of friends with this card, but you're sure to get a lot of concessions. At least you get the satisfaction of destroying $400 dual lands with a $5 card.

  38. Shattering Pulse

    Shattering Pulse is great in multiplayer Commander games. You get to pick and choose which artifacts you want to remove and return Pulse back to your hand for the low cost of 3 additional mana. Perhaps your opponent's will think twice about using their artifacts against you when they know you have this sitting comfortably in your hand.

  39. Shivan Harvest

    Sometimes you have to give in order to receive, so sacrifice away those 1/1 goblins and destroy your opponent's mana base! To use it effectively, combo it with cards like Act of Treason to sacrifice your opponent's creatures, or at least chump block and then use Shivan Harvest for added benefit.

  40. Skred

    It's a bit of a pain to go buy 30 to 40 snow lands for just a few cards, but it can make a big difference when you draw it. Just pair it with Mouth of Ronom and Scrying Sheets for added benefit. Skred is still the best 1 mana red removal spell in the game, so if you're going with a mono-red deck, you should take advantage of it.

  41. Smoke

    It's good to see some Alpha cards are still relevant in a format 25 years after their release. Combine Smoke with other red lock cards like Onslaught to slow them down while you out aggro them with your own creatures.

  42. Subterranean Tremors

    It's hard to think of a reason why you wouldn't include Subterranean Tremors in a red Commander deck. It wipes the board at any mana cost, can destroy all artifacts in place, and can serve as a win-con late game.

  43. Sulfuric Vortex

    Sulfuric Vortex is probably my favorite low-key red card of all time. It's a 3 mana enchantment that given enough time, can win the game on its own. It punishes players who take advantage of lifegain in Commander, as well as players who try and sit back and stall the game out.

  44. Taurean Mauler

    If you're running a tribal deck like Goblins, Taurean Mauler is great! And if you're not, Taurean Mauler is still great! In a multiplayer game, this card can get out of hand fast. It's basically a 3 mana creature that if unanswered is going to be the largest creature in play. One nice thing about Mauler is that it starts out as a 2/2, so your opponent will be hesitant to use a removal spell on it right away. Before they know it, it's a real threat, and they might have wasted that removal spell on something less relevant.

  45. Thieves' Auction

    Nothing balances the playing field quite like Thieves' Auction. It's a fun card for multiplayer Commander that will shake things up and make the game more interesting. Since you're playing red, most of your permanents are probably lower on the curve and you'll be able to trade up rather than trade down.

  46. Vulshok Battlemaster

    Great an equipment deck. Fantastic in multiplayer. Drop this down and it's bound to have some goodies attached to it. Plus it has haste!

  47. Wake of Destruction

    When I run Land Destruction, I like to make sure I have ways to punish decks running non-basics and basics. Typically non-basics are easy to hate out. Wake of Destruction is one of the few cards that punish players for running basic lands.

  48. Weight of Spires

    Weight of Spires is like Skred in many ways. It's going to kill off most early creatures like mana dorks, and late game it should be able to dish out 5 or so damage to a creature. It's also instant speed, so you're opponent might be surprised when you kill their 4+ toughness creature with only one red mana open.

  49. Wild Ricochet

    Wild Ricochet is a blowout card almost anytime you cast it. It effectively turns the spell around for a 3 for 1. Let's say they cast a removal spell targeting your creature. Instead, you redirect it to their own creature and then destroy another one of their creatures. Don't forget to use it on card draw that targets one player, such as Ancestral Vision.

  50. Winds of Change

    Winds of Change is a great turn 1 play. Much like Burning Inquiry in Modern, it has the potential to mess up your opponent's hand. Play this turn 1 along with your land. Your opponent will then draw a fresh hand that they can't mulligan away. Late game, you can use it to shuffle back all the lands or dead cards in your hand for something better.

    That's it! Do you know any underrated or underplayed red Commander cards? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

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