Last updated on February 18, 2024

Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm - Illustration by Kekai Kotaki

Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm | Illustration by Kekai Kotaki

Part of Commander’s distinct ruleset is the Singleton deckbuilding restriction. Unlike other Constructed formats, Commander decks are only allowed to have one copy of any non-basic land card in their deck.

You can copy your permanents with a little trickery and a few clones as a work-around to this rule. If you’ve ever wanted a second, third, or 100th copy of your favorite card on the battlefield, clones are the way to go.

Let's get into it!

Table of Contents show

What Are Clones in MTG?

Glasspool Mimic - Illustration by Johan Grenier

Glasspool Mimic | Illustration by Johan Grenier

The term “clone” is Magic slang for a card that copies another card, named after Alpha’s original Clone. This term traditionally refers to shapeshifter creatures that enter the battlefield as a copy of another permanent, but “cloning” can also refer to effects that create token copies of an already-existing permanent.

Different versions of these effects are now printed nearly every release. You’ll hear players say things like “what’s the Clone of this set?” There are tons of clones in Magic, so I have narrow it down a bit. I’m looking specifically at cards that clone something on the battlefield, either by becoming a copy of that permanent or by creating a new copy (usually a token).

Cards like The Mimeoplasm and Scion of the Ur-Dragon that clone permanents in other zones won’t be included. I’m also skipping cards that only copy themselves, like Giant Adephage and Wedding Ring.

Best White Clones

#2. Rootborn Defenses

Rootborn Defenses

I wanted to throw all the white EDH players a bone with a few populate cards. Rootborn Defense is a decent mass-protection instant that also copies a creature token.

It’s like an Unbreakable Formation card with an attached token clone.

#1. Song of the Worldsoul

Song of the Worldsoul

Song of the Worldsoul is one of the more engine-like populate enablers. It can churn out copies of your best token creatures every time you cast a spell.

Best Blue Clones

#29. Mirrorhall Mimic / Ghastly Mimicry

Mirrorhall Mimic is a great stand-in for all the generic “clones with upside” in blue. It’s basically Clone with spirit tribal text, and it comes back later as Ghastly Mimicry. Cards like Followed Footsteps don’t pan out well in Commander, so it’s not much of a bonus.

#28. Mechanized Production

Mechanized Production

Mechanized Production fits the same category of cards as Followed Footsteps, but at least this one’s an alternate wincon. The game ends in your favor if you can get eight Thopter or Treasure tokens on board and protect them for a turn.

#27. Extravagant Replication

Extravagant Replication

Progenitor Mimic used to be a huge threat in EDH. It’s taken a fall from grace, but Extravagant Replication captures a lot of what made that card so powerful without being vulnerable to creature removal.

#26. Copy Artifact/Enchantment Cards

Mirrormade is a frontrunner for blue permanents that copy artifacts or enchantments. Copy Artifact and Copy Enchantment do a fine job, but Mirrormade is more versatile.

#25. Estrid’s Invocation

Estrid's Invocation

Estrid's Invocation isn’t as open-ended as Mirrormade, but it outperforms in enchantment-heavy decks. The ability to flicker itself on upkeep lets you combo it with cantripping enchantments or sagas.

#24. Sakashima’s Will

Sakashima's Will

Sakashima the Impostor doesn’t quite make the list, but the character lends their name to this and other copy effects. Sakashima's Will grabs one of your opponent’s creatures and then turns everything you control into the same creature for the turn.

#23. Zndrsplt's Judgment

Zndrsplt's Judgment

Battlebond’s friend or foe mechanic is a great political tool in Commander. Foes have to bounce one of their creatures back to hand while friends copy one of their own creatures. I suggest naming yourself friend with Zndrsplt's Judgment.

#22. Sakashima’s Protege

Sakashima's Protege

It might look like a downside that Sakashima's Protege can only clone permanents that entered the turn you cast it. But cascade gives you more options of what to clone, and flash sets the whole package up nicely.

#21. Phantasmal Image

Phantasmal Image

Phantasmal Image clones something at a discounted rate, but it probably isn’t sticking around long thanks to the “illusion” sacrifice effect. It’s best evaluated as a 2-mana way to copy an ETB effect on board.

#20. Glasspool Mimic / Glasspool Shore

Glasspool Mimic isn’t the most inherently powerful clone, but it’s so easy to squeeze into a deck at such a low opportunity cost. The real power of the card is being a land when you need one.

#19. Vesuvan Shapeshifter

Vesuvan Shapeshifter

You probably want to play a few other morph creatures in your deck to mask Vesuvan Shapeshifter, otherwise your playgroup will catch on quickly. This clone can surprise people by morphing into the best creature on board and then reset itself on upkeep to do it again.

#18. Mocking Doppelganger

Mocking Doppelganger

There are a few clones that do the usual “copy a creature” thing and then mess around with the original version. Mocking Doppelganger can only copy an opponent’s creature, but it forces that creature to start bashing into other players.

#17. Clever Impersonator

Clever Impersonator

Clever Impersonator is a simple Clone with upside that can copy any nonland permanent, not just creatures. It has the distinction of being one of the only clones capable of becoming an opponent’s planeswalker.

#16. Vizier of Many Faces

Vizier of Many Faces

The embalm ability on Vizier of Many Faces gives you a second crack at the copy effect from your graveyard. You still get access to the effect if the card is discarded or milled over. It’s like Mirrorhall Mimic with a more useful effect on the backend of Vizier.

#15. Phyrexian Metamorph

Phyrexian Metamorph

I have a soft spot in my heart for Phyrexian Metamorph, even if it has a lot of competition these days. Shaving a mana off the usual cost and allowing you to copy artifacts are great benefits to this style of card.

#14. Necroduality

Necroduality

Necroduality is so blatantly powerful in zombie decks that it deserves mention despite being a tribal-focused card. Double zombies can get absurd quickly, especially when you consider how easy it is to reanimate and recur zombies from the graveyard.

#13. Saheeli’s Artistry

Saheeli's Artistry

Six mana is expensive for a sorcery in EDH, but Saheeli's Artistry usually pays you back. You always get a copy of the best creature on board, and it’s not too hard to copy a mana rock to refund some of the mana spent to cast this.

#12. Faerie Artisans

Faerie Artisans

Faerie Artisans makes copies based on what your opponents play. You only get to keep one token at a time, but you make a copy of every creature they play. It’s a fantastic foil to blink decks. Just pray no one resolves Leveler while you have this in play.

#11. Spark Double

Spark Double

If you’re interested in cheating the legend rule, Spark Double is the clone for you. It’s not the only clone that does this, but it comes along with the bonus of extra counters.

#10. Imposter Mech

Imposter Mech

Imposter Mech gives you a vehicle copy of an opponent’s creature. You have to crew it to attack or block, but you still get that creature’s ETB and static abilities even if the Mech hasn’t been crewed.

Becoming a vehicle is supposed to be a downside to offset how cheap this is to cast, but vehicles have added utility like dodging board wipes or targeted creature removal.

#9. Stunt Double

Stunt Double

Stunt Double adds flash to the Clone formula. That one word takes this card from a normal main phase value play to a piece of interaction and disruption.

#8. Astral Dragon

Astral Dragon

Astral Dragon gives you two copies of a noncreature permanent, 10 total points of flying power, and any ETB or static abilities of the permanent you copied for eight mana. It can be messy to track everything in paper, but this can be a game-winning play.

#7. Clone Legion

Clone Legion

Clone Legion is one of blue’s “nine mana win the game” cards, but it’s so frustrating to keep track of in paper that I’d only cast it if I knew I could win right away. Keeping track of that many token copies of different creatures can be a real headache.

#6. Sakashima of a Thousand Faces

Sakashima of a Thousand Faces

Much like Spark Double, Sakashima of a Thousand Faces clones legendary creatures, but it has the distinction of being legendary itself. You can pair Sakashima up with your partner of choice and basically have two copies of the same commander.

#5. Rite of Replication

Rite of Replication

Rite of Replication is the typical 4-mana copy effect. It can end the game on the spot if targeting a creature like Gray Merchant of Asphodel when kicked. It dropped off in popularity with the advent of more copy effects.

#4. Vesuvan Duplimancy

Vesuvan Duplimancy

You need a bunch of single-target spells for Vesuvan Duplimancy to work consistently. Fill that requirement and this enchantment becomes a clone-producing machine that even works favorably with legends.

#3. Orvar, the All-Form

Orvar, the All-Form

Orvar, the All-Form turns any targeting instants and sorceries you cast into copies of your permanents. Innocuous spells like Twiddle thrive with Orvar at the helm, churning out extra copies of lands and extra copies of some game-winning permanent.

#2. Sakashima’s Student

Sakashima's Student

Sakashima's Student is the typical clone with upside, but ninjutsu changes the equation dramatically. You can sneak this into play mid-combat for half the cost and have a copy of whatever creature you want already attacking.

#1. Sublime Epiphany

Sublime Epiphany

Sublime Epiphany at #1 might be cheating a little since it also does six thousand other things. It clones a creature while offering a bunch of added value, usually countering an opponent’s spell in the process.

Best Red Clones

#11. Mirror March

Mirror March

Red gets in on the clone action with cards like Mirror March, which makes copies that only last for a turn. This is a “story moment” card capable of either winning on the spot or completely whiffing.

#10. Flameshadow Conjuring

Flameshadow Conjuring

Flameshadow Conjuring is a red enchantment gives you a temporary copy of a creature entering the battlefield under your control for an extra red mana per creature. The copy is only there for the turn, so make use of it while you can.

#9. Hate Mirage

Hate Mirage

Hate Mirage is a great copy card against opponents with better threats than you. It lets you get in on the action for a little while if your opponents have huge beasts on board.

#8. Delina, Wild Mage

Delina, Wild Mage

Delina, Wild Mage can be a great commander for players who want to embrace the chaos of D20 die-rolling. Delina gives you some extra attackers whether you roll high or not. It even has a luck-based infinite combo with Pixie Guide.

#7. Rionya, Fire Dancer

Rionya, Fire Dancer

Part copy creature, part storm payoff, Rionya, Fire Dancer rewards you for casting instants and sorceries by making a bunch of copies of a creature you control. You always get one, so the effect still works even if your deck isn’t firing correctly.

#6. Kindred Charge

Kindred Charge

Kindred Charge is another tribal payoff that doubles your board of creatures if they’re all the same type. It’s a possible finisher for decks like goblins and dragons.

#5. Jaxis, the Troublemaker

Jaxis, the Troublemaker

Jaxis, the Troublemaker basically makes blitzed copies of your other creatures while also having blitz themselves. It’s a great way to put extra pressure on your opponents while also churning through your library.

#4. Splinter Twin

Splinter Twin

I’m mentioning Splinter Twin because of its infinite combo potential with cards like Pestermite or Zealous Conscripts. It produces easy wins, but this is just a mediocre copy card if used fairly.

#3. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker gives you a ton of value all culminating in a dumbed down version of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. Even though the creature half isn’t as potent as its namesake card, you’re getting your three mana’s worth by the time it transforms.

#2. Cursed Mirror

Cursed Mirror

Cursed Mirror is a mana rock that comes in as a haste-y clone of another creature for a turn. You get any relevant ETBs and an attack with the creature you copied and then you have an extra source of red mana to use from that point forward.

#1. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

The actual Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker is the number one red clone. Kiki-Jiki is the posterchild for two-card infinite combos, creating infinite loops with countless cards that can untap it or blink it to activate its ability again.

Best Green Clones

#4. Second Harvest

Second Harvest

Green doesn’t get traditional clones in the way red or blue do. There are a few green cards that can create copies of other creatures, usually tokens. Second Harvest is a great example, doubling all your tokens for four mana.

#3. Bramble Sovereign

Bramble Sovereign

Bramble Sovereign creates token copies of creature when they enter the battlefield. It’s a similar effect to Flameshadow Conjuring, but the tokens stick around. It can also create copies of another player’s creature under their control, which gives it a political edge in some games.

#2. Selesnya Eulogist

Selesnya Eulogist

Selesnya Eulogist is one of green’s best ways to clone token creatures. The activated ability is pricey, but it’s a desirable ability because it combines token-making with graveyard hate.

#1. Esika’s Chariot

Esika's Chariot

Esika's Chariot starts out by making two Cat tokens and then lets you copy a token whenever it attacks. This is a secret populate card that lets you copy any tokens you control, not just creatures.

Best Multicolored Clones

#15. Mirrorweave

Mirrorweave

Mirrorweave has a similar effect to one of the modes on Sakashima's Will. This one happens to be an instant, which can surprise opponents out of nowhere by turning everything into the same creature.

#14. Cadric, Soul Kindler

Cadric, Soul Kindler

Cadric, Soul Kindler works like a Flameshadow Conjuring for legendary permanents. The first ability lets you favorably copy legendary creatures without losing them as long as the extra copies are tokens.

#13. Altered Ego

Altered Ego

The blue part of Altered Ego gives you the usual clone effect while the green mana lets you sink extra mana into it for more +1/+1 counters. Being uncounterable is a welcome bonus.

#12. Saheeli Rai

Saheeli Rai

Saheeli Rai isn’t wowing anyone as a planeswalker, but the -2 ability creates loops with certain permanents. It’s a similar effect to Heat Shimmer, but the ability is attached to a permanent. As a result it can combo off with cards like Felidar Guardian.

#11. Dack’s Duplicate

Dack's Duplicate

Dack's Duplicate shows what happens when you add red mana to the typical clone formula. You’re getting a better version of the best creature on board, one that can attack right away and that punishes the player with the highest life total.

#10. Progenitor Mimic

Progenitor Mimic

In 2013 I would’ve told you Progenitor Mimic was one of the best Simic cards out there. It’s not 2013 anymore, and this isn’t even close to the top of what Simic has to offer.

I’m giving a nod to Progenitor Mimic because it used to utterly dominate Commander games and still has that potential if left alone.

#9. Inalla, Archmage Ritualist

Inalla, Archmage Ritualist

Seeing Inalla, Archmage Ritualist across the table used to be a huge groan test for me. Players have certainly cooled on this wizard tribal commander, but the existence of Wanderwine Prophets made this a very popular commander when it first released.

#8. Riku of Two Reflections

Riku of Two Reflections

If you’ve got something that needs copying, Riku of Two Reflections has you covered. It’s capable of copying creatures and spells, and Riku decks can be built in a multitude of interesting ways.

#7. Ghired, Conclave Exile

Ghired, Conclave Exile

Ghired, Conclave Exile was introduced in Commander 2019’s “Primal Genesis” deck as the go-to populate commander. This allowed the populate mechanic to branch into red and provided an admirable commander to spearhead a deck capable of copying gigantic creature tokens.

#6. Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer introduces a fun mini-game into your match. It turns all your tokens into the same thing, so your goal becomes producing as many tokens as possible and then turning them into the most devastating thing you can.

#5. Evil Twin

Evil Twin

Evil Twin is exactly what you probably expected a card named ‘Evil Twin' to be. It copies a creature when it enters, and it can also kill the creature it originally copied! Flavor, power, and removal all in one spell!

#4. Rhys the Redeemed

Rhys the Redeemed

Selesnya () cards play around in clone territory by copying tokens. Rhys the Redeemed can copy all your token creatures at once, making it a popular commander for decks looking to flood the board with creatures.

#3. Mythos of Illuna

Mythos of Illuna

Mythos of Illuna is the typical 4-mana clone effect disguised as a sorcery. It can target any permanent and can even act as a removal spell if you pay the appropriate colors of mana to cast it.

#2. Fractured Identity

Fractured Identity

Be careful about the way you use Fractured Identity. Exiling a problematic permanent from one opponent grants you a copy, but it also introduces extra copies for your other opponents that might then become problem.

Fractured Identity is best used in highly political games when you can team up with other players and point a problem card right back at its owner.

#1. Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm

Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm

Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm is an absurdly good piece of dragon support. Whether Miirym’s the commander or in the 99 of your dragon deck, doubling up all your giant haymaker dragons ends games quickly.

The game becomes entirely about Miirym once it hits the battlefield and won’t last much longer if the Wyrm isn’t dealt with.

Best Colorless Clones

#8. Masterwork of Ingenuity

Masterwork of Ingenuity

Equipment decks are thrilled to have a copy of Masterwork of Ingenuity. It’s one of the cheapest clones in existence even if it only copies equipment.

#7. Sculpting Steel

Sculpting Steel

Sculpting Steel can’t copy the same breadth of permanents as Mirrormade, but there’s also no restriction on the types of decks you can play it in. I still find Sculpting Steel to be one of the better ways to copy artifacts.

#6. Mirrorpool

Mirrorpool

Even with the expensive activations on Mirrorpool, it’s still a land that spots you some extra value late in the game. If you have space for some utility lands and a couple of colorless sources of mana, Mirrorpool justifies its inclusion.

#5. Bloodforged Battle-Axe

Bloodforged Battle-Axe

Nothing fits a deck that wants equipment more than an axe that replicates itself. Bloodforged Battle-Axe can only give you more axes, but sometimes that’s all you need.

#4. Mirage Mirror

Mirage Mirror

Mirage Mirror is one of the most flexible copy effects out there given that it’s colorless and goes in any deck, not to mention being able to turn into most permanent types. The best part is that this can turn into a land to dodge most forms of removal.

#3. Helm of the Host

Helm of the Host

Helm of the Host costs a whopping nine mana to get rolling, but your opponents are in trouble once it does. You can amass a small army of clones over the course of a few turns or go for the quick two-card kill with creatures like Godo, Bandit Warlord or Combat Celebrant.

#2. Vesuva

Vesuva

The last colorless slots go to a pair of copycat lands, and the first is Vesuva. It becomes the best land in play but comes in tapped as a downside. Sometimes it fixes your mana, sometimes it gives you your own Cabal Coffers or Gaea's Cradle.

#1. Thespian’s Stage

Thespian's Stage

The other colorless copy land is Thespian's Stage. Unlike Vesuva you need to invest some mana to turn this into another land. You can change Thespian's Stage into something else if a better land presents itself down the line.

Best Clone Payoffs

ETB Effects

Clones work as functional ways to reuse enter-the-battlefield abilities. The best clones let you copy your opponent’s creatures and give you access to their ETBs. With enough good ETBs in your own deck, clones become viable ways to get more mileage out of them.

Breaking the Legend Rule

A healthy number of copy effects circumvent the legend rule by either making non-legendary copies of legendary permanents or by explicitly ignoring the rule.

Having multiple copies of legendary creatures means you get to double up on some of your most powerful cards, including your commander. You might be interested in having a second copy if your commander is essential to your deck.

Token Generation

Most noncreature effects that copy permanents do so by creating token copies of those cards. Token-based strategies might be interested in combining effects like this with token payoffs like Anointed Procession or any of the populate cards on the list.

Does Cloning Target?

Cloning doesn't target unless the effect specifically uses the word “target.” Most clones enter the battlefield as copies of a chosen creature, but “choosing” isn’t the same as “targeting.”

Cackling Counterpart

Most instants and sorceries that create copies target, like Cackling Counterpart. Rule of thumb: if you don’t see the word “target,” it doesn’t target.

Do Clones Copy Color?

Clones copy all original characteristics printed on the card they’re copying, including color. If that card has changed color for some reason then the clone still enters with the original color of that card.

Wild Mongrel

For example, the copy will only be green if you use Wild Mongrel’s ability to make it red and then create a copy of Wild Mongrel.

Do Clones Copy Counters?

Clones don’t inherently get the same counters as the permanent that they’re copying.

Altered Ego

Some clones might come in with counters thanks to their own ability, like Altered Ego. Counters aren’t typically copied aside from situations like that.

Do Clones Copy Creature Types?

Clones copy all original creature types of the creature they’re copying. Just like with color, the clone won’t care about any changes to that creature’s types, only what’s originally printed on the card.

Do Copies Enter the Battlefield?

Copies enter the battlefield like any other creature, but some clones can be a bit tricky.

Clever Impersonator

Looking at Clever Impersonator, it enters “as” a copy of another permanent. That choice is made after the creature resolves, right before it’s placed on the battlefield. As soon as it hits the battlefield, it's the copied permanent and gets any relevant ETB effects of the copied card.

Do Copies Have Summoning Sickness?

Copies are affected by summoning sickness the same as any other permanent. If you just made the copy this turn, it can’t attack or use tap abilities.

Do Copies Have Mana Value?

Copies have the same mana cost as the card they copied and the same mana value associated with that cost. There are corner-cases where a copy might have a different mana value than the original, but it usually only applies to double-faced cards which have the mana value of their front-facing half.

Can You Create a Copy of a Copy?

Copying copies is fair game, but it can be a headache to keep track of. Extra copies usually have the same traits of whatever the original permanent was, even if the copies changed somewhere down the line.

What Happens When You Clone a Clone?

Cloning a clone usually nets you another copy of whatever the original clone was copying. If you play Clone copying Grizzly Bears and then play Stunt Double copying the Clone, Stunt Double comes into play as a Grizzly Bears.

Can You Copy a Legendary Creature?

Unless your copy effect says otherwise, you can copy legendary creatures. The legend rule takes effect and you need to get rid of one.

Effects like Spark Double and Helm of the Host have special text that helps circumvent this problem.

Are All Copies Tokens?

Not all copies are tokens.

Typical shapeshifter clones like Altered Ego become copies of something else, but they’re not tokens. Effects explicitly tell you when they’re producing a token, like Splinter Twin.

Did You Copy That?

Splinter Twin - Illustration by Goran Josic

Splinter Twin | Illustration by Goran Josic

Copying and cloning are design space that are used every set now. You can build entire “copycat” decks based around effects that just copy other player's cards, and you can expect more options as more sets are released.

I had to omit a lot of other viable clones that I felt just missed the mark. Did I miss any of your favorites? Which copy effects do you like to use in your decks? Let me know in the comments below or over on the Draftsim Twitter.

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