Last updated on April 3, 2024

Court of Grace - Illustration by Denman Rooke

Court of Grace | Illustration by Denman Rooke

The popularity of the Commander format has driven WotC to release more and more Commander- related products and design MTG sets with Commander in mind. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because you have the chance to appeal directly to Commander players with new and powerful designs without frustrating Standard players, or have the cards become very expensive for being Modern or Standard staples.

Mechanics like monarch and initiative were created this way, and today we’ll highlight a cycle of cards that not only make you become The Monarch, but also offer you powerful incentives for remaining The Monarch. These are the courts, with at least two different options per color. We’ll also rank all the courts and give you the best ways to extract all their juices, so to speak.

Let’s jump in!

What Are Courts in MTG?

Court of Ire - Illustration by Elizabeth Peiro

Court of Ire | Illustration by Elizabeth Peiro

Courts are a cycle of enchantments in MTG and they all behave the same way. When they enter the battlefield, you’ll become The Monarch, and you’ll get a benefit on each of your upkeeps, whether you are currently The Monarch or not. But the benefit is amplified if you are The Monarch. There are 10 court cards across two full cycles, the first half released in Commander Legends and the second cycle released in Wilds of Eldraine Commander.

Let’s take Court of Grace as an example. Each turn you’ll get a 1/1 flying creature token on your upkeep, and if you’re The Monarch, you’ll get a 4/4 flying creature token instead. So there’s a huge advantage of being The Monarch and holding that position. Not only are you getting an extra card at the end of your turn, but you’ll also get a huge boost at the beginning of your next turn. 

#10. Court of Ardenvale

Court of Ardenvale

Court of Ardenvale is not a bad card per se, but it’s limited in what it can do. The mana restriction hurts the card when we compare it to Court of Bounty, which can put a creature with any mana cost into play. This card gets better in decks filled with small-value creatures, unearth effects, and more. It’s also interesting to note that it’s ramp in white when used together with fetch lands.

#9. Court of Ire

Court of Ire

Court of Ire has a powerful effect but also a steep mana cost. It’s also red, a color that cares less about having enchantments. That said, dealing 7 damage a turn to a player or permanent is a win condition or a removal spell each turn, so it’s definitely worth playing. It gets better in EDH decks that care about dealing excess damage, like in Toralf, God of Fury or Imodane, the Pyrohammmer.

#8. Court of Vantress

Court of Vantress

If you’re The Monarch with Court of Vantress you’ll get to clone an artifact or enchantment every turn, which is a very powerful ability. However, it gets much worse if you’re not The Monarch. It’s a powerful ability for sure, but this is probably the worst court if you’re not able to hold The Monarch condition.

#7. Court of Embereth

Court of Embereth

Getting a 3/1 knight each turn is powerful, and this provides fodder for go-wide decks and aristocrats decks. It can be a little bit underwhelming if you don’t have a board, even if you have The Monarch. Court of Embereth is a nice fit in decks that want creatures, knights, or just want to deal a lot of damage to your foes.

#6. Court of Ambition

Court of Ambition

Making each player lose 6 life or discard two cards is a hell of a win condition in Prison/Stax decks. If you have Court of Ambition in play, you’ll want to retain The Monarch condition for a quick win, though it’s still ok if you’re not The Monarch. This card is nice in EDH decks that have discard incentives, like Tergrid, God of Fright, or in decks that profit from opponents losing life each turn.

#5. Court of Bounty

Court of Bounty

Court of Bounty is powerful but a bit unreliable, since it doesn’t do anything if you’re empty-handed, or if you don’t have a creature in your hand. It’s the best court for green ramp decks because lands and creatures will make the bulk of your deck anyway. The problem is when you have lands in the late game, low mana value creatures, or nothing at all since this court won’t generate the benefit by itself.

#4. Court of Grace

Court of Grace

Like Court of Ambition, getting a free token every turn is good, and that slots into a lot of strategies. What’s more, tokens produced by Court of Grace have flying so you can even retake the monarchy. You’ll be in a very strong spot once you start pumping out 4/4 angels every turn. Pair this card with Intangible Virtue or Anointed Procession for better results.

#3. Court of Locthwain

Court of Locthwain

Court of Locthwain gives us a free card each turn, and you can even cast them for free if you’re The Monarch. The best part of this court is that it’s giving you fuel every turn, and it’s still worth it even if you’re not able to cast the extra card for free.

#2. Court of Cunning

Court of Cunning

I’m rating Court of Cunning highly just because it’s one of the cheapest ways to get The Monarch going. The difference between milling two and ten cards is huge, but it can be a strong inclusion in decks that want to mill, reanimate, or just have graveyard synergies.

#1. Court of Garenbrig

Court of Garenbrig

Court of Garenbrig strikes me as the best of the courts. It’s only 3 mana to get The Monarch going, and even if you don’t have The Monarch, you’ll still distribute two +1/+1 counters among creatures, which is a nice floor. You only need to have creatures lying around ready to receive said counters.

Best Court Payoffs

Here are a few tips for extracting the most value out of your courts:

Flicker of Fate

Blinking the courts, especially at instant speed, is a very powerful play. Cards like Flicker of Fate are ideal because if you lose The Monarch, you can blink the court and begin a new turn as The Monarch and reap the enhanced benefit. If you lose it, you can become The Monarch by blinking the courts.

Combat damage prevention is key to avoiding losing The Monarch, so it greatly benefits from strategies like Turbo Fog. Prison decks that make it difficult for opponents to attack you are also excellent. You’ll become The Monarch, get extra cards, and benefit from courts every turn, and with cards like Ghostly Prison or Sphere of Safety, your opponents won’t take the monarchy from you that easily.

Strionic Resonator

Cards like Strionic Resonator can double the benefits you get from courts.

Enchantress strategies in are very synergistic with courts, since you already want to play enchantments to draw cards, so powerful enchantments like the courts are already a good fit to the strategy.

With courts, you’ll have an extra incentive to play extra turns, which can even be a win condition. The more turns you take, the more court triggers you’ll get.


Court of Bounty - Illustration by Milioj Ceran

Court of Bounty | Illustration by Milioj Ceran

Courts are incredibly powerful cards that give you a benefit every turn, which gets better if you’re currently The Monarch. Getting to be The Monarch is very useful, be it in multiplayer games or 1v1, and just getting The Monarch is already a good rate.

As such, I’d recommend playing the courts whenever you get the chance, or when it fits your deck. What are your favorite court cards? Let me know in the comments below, or leave us a tweet on Draftsim’s Twitter.

Stay safe folks, and may your future monarchies be long and prosperous.

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