Last updated on September 20, 2023
Selvala, Heart of the Wilds | Illustration by Tyler Jacobson
I used to think of mono-green decks as being somewhat uncomplicated, and maybe even a little boring. My impression was that they were just about playing lands and dropping big creatures. But as I played more of the game I started to realize just how versatile of a color green can really be. Not only are there a variety of powerful cards, but a lot of them break the color pie in ways that make a mono-green feel like you’re playing a multicolor one.
The legendary creature you choose to lead matters just as much as the cards you put in the deck when building a mono-green Commander deck. Green has lots to offer, with competitive but also fun commanders to choose from. This combined with the color’s diverse range of cards, and you have a lot of options when trying to build a mono-green deck.
Let’s take a look at some of the best green commanders Magic has to offer! I’ll also give you some insight into how each card plays to give you an idea of the different styles available in this color.
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard | Illustration by Chase Stone
Green commanders are any legendary creature card with a green color identity. In Magic, the color of a card and a card’s color identity are actually two different things. A card has a green color identity if it has a green mana pip either in its cost or somewhere in its rules text. This means that even a colorless land like Castle Garenbrig has a color identity because it has green mana pips in its rules text.
#32. Grunn, the Lonely King
Grunn, the Lonely King is a pretty expensive commander, especially if you want to use its kicker ability. That said, Grunn can be an incredibly powerful commander, especially if you build around +1/+1 counters or other ways to buff it like equipment and auras. Grunn only needs to get to 11/11 before it can start taking players out in one shot, and that’s definitely something you can achieve in a mono-green deck.
#31. Thrun, Breaker of Silence
What I like about Thrun, Breaker of Silence is that it’s a very difficult commander for your opponents to kill. It won’t meaningfully improve the power of the other cards in your deck, though. Thrun is still a great option for a Voltron deck given how naturally resilient it is.
#30. Grothama, All-Devouring
Grothama, All-Devouring leads to some very interesting gameplay. Because your opponents can choose to fight it for cards, you may have opportunities to take out some of their stronger attackers that you wouldn’t otherwise have. You can also fight Grothama yourself if you’re in need of some cards to draw, though you’ll want to make sure it’s worth losing your large commander who’s also drawing some aggro from you.
#29. Baru, Wurmspeaker
Wurms in Magic are usually pretty powerful creatures, so even simply giving them trample makes Baru, Wurmspeaker a clear choice for a wurm tribal deck. Of course, being an anthem for wurms makes it all the better. Baru’s activated ability can easily get down to just one green mana later in the game once you have some of your big wurms on the field, allowing you to have a wide board full of big creatures.
#28. Ruxa, Patient Professor
Ruxa, Patient Professor allows you to build a very different kind of deck. Instead of looking for creatures with abilities that work well together, you’ll actually be building a deck largely around creatures with no abilities a.k.a. vanilla creatures. This allows you to pick up some cheap cards that have good power and toughness for their mana value and make them much more powerful since they can assign damage directly to players. You can also take Ruxa in a different direction and make a token deck. Since many token creatures don’t have abilities, you can create a large army of them and do significant amounts of direct damage.
#27. Ayula, Queen Among Bears
Ayula, Queen Among Bears is an obvious choice for a bear tribal Commander deck. While bears aren’t the biggest creature type, you have some great options like Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma. Each bear you play also gets stronger if you want, making even weaker options like Pale Bears much more intimidating. You can also fill out your creature roster with changelings as you wait for more powerful bears to be printed.
#26. Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer
If you’re looking for a landfall commander, Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer is a pretty good option. Not only will it get stronger each time you play a land, but it also creates lots of token creatures if you’ve built around playing as many lands as possible. I’d recommend including Ashaya, Soul of the Wild because each time you play a creature, you also get a Badger token. This can also buff Greensleeves significantly if you have a lot of creatures on the field.
#25. Wilson, Refined Grizzly + Raised by Giants
Similar to Thrun, Breaker of Silence, Wilson, Refined Grizzly has lots of meaningful abilities that can make it an excellent attacker or blocker. By pairing Wilson with the Raised by Giants background, you can make it much more powerful and possibly even take out players with commander damage. You can easily turn this into a Voltron deck, focused on giving Wilson more buffs and protections to make it even more powerful.
#24. Titania, Voice of Gaea
Titania, Voice of Gaea is somewhat underwhelming on the front side, but once you meld it into Titania, Gaea Incarnate, it becomes much more powerful. I wouldn’t usually recommend relying on melding your commander, but with cards like Crop Rotation and Scapeshift available to you in mono-green, you’ll have an easier time finding Argoth, Sanctum of Nature.
#23. Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
You might be surprised with how consistently Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse can create you a token creature. Green has plenty of great draw engines like Beast Whisperer and Sylvan Library, and you can also use cantrips or cycling abilities to draw extra cards. Filling your hand also makes Jolrael’s activated ability that much more potent. You probably want to include a Reliquary Tower or cards with similar effects so you can make your creatures larger than 7/7s.
#22. Kodama of the West Tree
Green has plenty of ways to modify creatures, making Kodama of the West Tree a solid option for a mono-green commander. Giving all your creatures trample is a great way to do extra damage, and Kodama’s ramp ability allows you to play bigger creatures more quickly. Kodama is a great option if you want to win by attacking with big creatures.
#21. Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig
It’s appropriate that Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig is a giant, because it can get huge in a mono-green deck. Including additional support for +1/+1 counters like Hardened Scales is a great way to speed up Yorvo’s growth, allowing you to deal significant amounts of commander damage. Yorvo is also relatively cheap to cast for how powerful it can get, making it easier to get it back on the field if your commander is destroyed.
#20. Aeve, Progenitor Ooze
Even without its storm ability, Aeve, Progenitor Ooze can get pretty big if you’re playing an ooze tribal deck. Oozes are great at multiplying and buffing each other up, with Biogenic Ooze being particularly good at both. This means that Aeve can easily come down as a big creature and only get more powerful from there. Its storm ability also resolves before Aeve enters the battlefield, meaning it gets even stronger for each copy you make.
#19. Yeva, Nature’s Herald
In general, being able to cast your creature spells with flash thanks to Yeva, Nature's Herald can grant a decent advantage. This gets even better when you consider green has access to cards like Wilderness Reclamation and Seedborn Muse. This essentially allows you to play your turn whenever you like, always choosing the best time to drop a creature .
#18. Ghalta, Primal Hunger
Ghalta, Primal Hunger is basically just a big stompy creature; however, if you drop it early enough in the game, that might be all you need. Lots of players build Ghalta using vehicles, thanks to cards like Cultivator's Caravan that have much higher power than a creature of the same mana value would. This allows you to get Ghalta on the field very quickly and start dealing damage to your opponents while they’re still playing smaller creatures.
#17. Yedora, Grave Gardener
Yedora, Grave Gardener’s triggered ability makes it much less of a loss when one of your creatures gets destroyed. In fact, if the creature is small enough, it may even be an improvement to trade it for a Forest. This allows you to sacrifice your own creatures for beneficial effects or just chump block and still get something out of it. A Yedora deck can also ramp at a rapid pace, making it hard for opponents to keep up with.
#16. Kosei, Penitent Warlord
Though Kosei, Penitent Warlord takes a bit of setup to get online, you’ll be able to make some big plays once you have its ability. Being able to draw a lot of extra cards is always a huge benefit in Magic, and being able to spread out your damage allows you to target whichever opponent is least able to block you.
#15. Gargos, Vicious Watcher
Gargos, Vicious Watcher is one of the most powerful commanders to build a hydra tribal deck around. Discounting your hydras essentially allows you to throw four extra +1/+1 counters on them without any additional cost. Gargos can also solve green’s issue with lack of removal by allowing you to fight other creatures. That said, Gargos’s ability isn’t optional, so be careful that you aren’t playing too many creatures in a single turn because it may kill Gargos.
#14. Toski, Bearer of Secrets
There are a few ways to build an effective Toski, Bearer of Secrets deck. Lots of players choose equipment-based decks since Toski is indestructible and is forced to attack anyway. If you want to build a particularly nasty deck, give Toski a Worldslayer and see what happens. Alternatively, you can choose to go wide with your board and take advantage of Toski’s card draw ability to keep your hand stocked with resources.
#13. Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury
Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury can be a very good elf commander, especially since it can make you a free elf each turn. This helps with any tribal effects you have like Elvish Archdruid. Freyalise can also just be a strong choice for just a green good-stuff deck. It allows you to ramp, has built-in unnatural removal, and can draw you plenty of cards if you have a lot of creatures. These are all things that synergize with green’s general strategies, so you aren’t stuck building an elf deck if you want it as your commander.
#12. Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma
If you want to build a deck around big creatures, Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma is definitely a good choice. Not only does this commander allow you to play your big creatures more quickly, it also gives them trample if they don’t already have it. Sometimes, trample is all a massive creature like Impervious Greatwurm is missing to make it a serious threat.
#11. Ashaya, Soul of the Wild
Landfall decks can sometimes suffer if you aren’t drawing into any lands, but Ashaya, Soul of the Wild fixes this by making all your creatures lands. This means that with Ashaya on the field, the majority of the cards in your deck likely trigger landfall abilities when they enter the battlefield. Ashaya also makes it easy for you to ramp quickly since every creature you control can also tap for green mana.
#10. Ezuri, Renegade Leader
Ezuri, Renegade Leader is one of the better elf tribal commanders in mono-green. A single green mana to protect your elves is a sweet deal, especially if you have Elvish Archdruid or Circle of Dreams Druid on the field who allow you to protect them all. Ezuri also gives you a way to buff your elves, which is typically how elf decks want to finish out the game. Go wide and then buff them up. While there are better options for this type of effect, having one stapled to your commander is always handy in a pinch.
#9. Fynn, the Fangbearer
Fynn, the Fangbearer can be a very aggressive commander, allowing you to close out games more quickly than other options. There are plenty of low mana value creatures that have deathtouch, which allows you to start distributing poison counters early on. With Phyrexia: All Will Be One recently giving us a lot more support for giving out poison counters and proliferating, Fynn has only gotten harder to deal with. This might be the kind of commander you want to have a rule 0 discussion about because some players aren’t a big fan of infect or poison counter decks.
#8. Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is a bit like having a Birthing Pod as a commander. You also don’t have to sacrifice a creature to activate Yisan, so you’ll be able to fill your board for not too much mana. You’ll want to make sure you’re spreading out the mana curve of your creatures so that Yisan is effective each time you activate it. Including proliferate abilities or counter doublers can also help you more quickly drop your big creatures for only three mana.
#7. Titania, Protector of Argoth
Titania, Protector of Argoth allows you to lessen the sting of sacrificing your own lands. This allows you to use potentially powerful cards like Constant Mists and at least get a powerful creature to replace the land you lose. There are also a decent number of green cards like Ramunap Excavator and Conduit of Worlds that allow you to play lands from your graveyard. You can sacrifice them, get a token from Titania, and get them back without too much issue.
#6. Imaryll, Elfhame Elite
Imaryll, Elfhame Elite may have slid beneath many players’ radar because it’s an exclusive card from the more casual Game Night product. However, Imaryll isn’t a commander you should sleep on if you want to make an elf deck. You can easily get Imaryll strong enough to take out players with commander damage. Even if they have blockers, they can’t stop you without fully removing your commander. Imaryll also has a reasonably affordable mana value, making it easy to attack into blockers that you know will kill it.
#5. Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Azusa, Lost but Seeking is an exceptional lands or landfall commander, thanks to the extra triggers you can get from its ability. It also helps you to ramp more quickly, allowing you to get ahead of your opponents. Or, if you want to go a more unexpected direction, Azusa makes a surprisingly effective Stax commander. Combine its ability with something like Crucible of Worlds and suddenly you can blow up three lands per turn with a Strip Mine. This playstyle won’t be popular with opponents, but they likely won’t see it coming until you’re getting ahead in the game. This makes it a good cEDH option, though casual tables might not be happy with it.
#4. Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
Counter doublers can be very effective in Magic, so having Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider readily available in the command zone can be very powerful. You can easily build a +1/+1 counter deck or an infect deck around this version of Vorinclex and be confident in knowing you’ll get to play one of the best support cards for that archetype. Vorinclex also makes any planeswalker you play much more powerful.
#3. Omnath, Locus of Mana
While there are certainly more focused commanders, Omnath, Locus of Mana can just be generally good for any green deck. Having extra mana is always helpful for getting ahead in a game, and Omnath ensures none of yours goes to waste as long as it’s on the battlefield. As a bonus, it can also get pretty strong, especially if you’re running cards like Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun.
#2. Marwyn, the Nurturer
There are plenty of great elf commanders, but it’s hard to beat Marwyn, the Nurturer in mono-green. It’s cheap enough to reliably get out turn two or three, and its power only continues to snowball as the game progresses. A Marwyn deck can move so fast that it can often be difficult for your opponents to keep up.
#1. Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
Selvala, Heart of the Wilds is good in a similar way to how Marwyn is. Though it won’t produce you as much extra mana, its card draw ability makes up for that in my opinion. Selvala also offers you more flexibility in how you build your deck since you aren’t tied to a specific creature type. You can include the biggest and best green creatures and Selvala will work well with all of them.
One area in which green excels is creating a wide board state full of creatures. This means cards like Circle of Dreams Druid and Growing Rites of Itlimoc are good payoffs. Craterhoof Behemoth is a mono-green staple that’s often used as a game-ender and also takes advantage of going wide.
Yes, mono-green commanders can be very good. Magic players love to debate which mono-colored decks are best in Commander. While it’s hard to say any one color is the best, I’ve rarely seen anyone claim that green is the worst color. That said, your success with a given deck comes down to how it’s constructed and how you play it. Simply choosing to make a mono-green deck won’t guarantee you victory just because it has the potential to be very powerful.
Like with any color, the number of lands you put in your green deck depends on the type of deck you’re building. If you’re running an elf tribal deck that has access to a bunch of great mana dorks, you can probably get away with having lands in the low to mid 30s range. If you’re playing a lands-matter or landfall deck, you probably want to have more lands than you typically would. With some landfall decks, you might even want to run up to 42 lands just to make sure you aren’t running out of ways to trigger your creatures’ abilities.
Marwyn, the Nurturer | Illustration by Chris Rahn
Mono-green is a fun and surprisingly versatile color to build a Commander deck. Apart from perhaps removal and counterspells, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on much of what you need to be successful in a game of Magic. While these are what I’d consider the best mono-green commanders, I’d love to hear which are your favorites.
Which, if any, of these commanders have you built a deck for? Are you considering any now that you’ve read the list? Let me know in the comments below, or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one!
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