With Double Masters on the horizon, I wanted to focus, as I usually do, on theme. Double Masters is themed around doubling, and with that in mind, I’ll be going over the best cards in Commander that double things or have something to do with doubling. After all, it’s great to get value, but if you can get twice as much value, that’s always correct. Never worry about silly things like hand size or not being able to fit all your tokens in your Spelltable camera window – more is always better, right?
Oh, and because theme is the focus, instead of doing a top 8 for this, we’re doing a top 16. Hopefully I won’t double my word count, though, because I’m already pretty verbose. Let’s get started at the bottom of the list:
Honorable Mention: Doubling Cube
No one ever uses Doubling Cube anymore. Doubling your mana has gotten so much easier since this card was first printed – there weren’t so many Mirari’s Wake effects floating around back in the day. Mirari’s Wake isn’t even making this list, though it’s better than Doubling Cube in the abstract. Doubling Cube just gets bonus points for having the word “Doubling” in its name.
Doubling your life total isn’t as attractive as you’d think at first glance – between infinite combos and the ever-present threat of Commander damage, your life total may not be what stands between you and oblivion in a given game of Commander. That said, if you’re not worried about either of those factors, or if you have a way to turn your life total into winning the game (Aetherflux Reservoir, Felidar Sovereign, etc) then Beacon of Immortality may be the card you need to put your deck over the top.
Only doubling the counters on one permanent means Vorel isn’t as good as many of the other counter-related cards, but if you’re working with something other than +1/+1 counters, look for Vorel (and probably the friendly Gilder Bairn as well.) Vorel could be a Commander supported by Thousand-Year Elixir and similar to untap and reuse the ability, generating an enormous Everflowing Chalice or getting hilarious with Magma Mine. Okay, there are better cards than Magma Mine, but is there better flavor text?
#14: Rhox Faithmender
Double your overall lifegain – a solid sideboard card in Standard at one point, and now, a reasonable Commander inclusion that will help your Oloro deck ramp its life total into quadruple digits. Watch out for False Cure!
#13: True Conviction
Giving all your creatures double strike is good, but without the lifelink, you’d be much less incentivized to turn all your creatures sideways. True Conviction takes the thinking out of combat as long as you have sufficient creatures – just attack and let your opponents figure out if they can kill you on the backswing. They probably can’t.
I looked at all of the Furnace of Rath variants and came up with Curse of Bloodletting as the sole survivor. Gratuitous Violence only applying to creatures is such a bummer, and most of the time, there’s one player that you really want to kill. This card also has the upside of turning the game into Archenemy pretty early on, so identify the biggest threat and apply directly to the forehead. There are two possible downsides to this card: first, it might frustrate the human you play this on, so be thinking about that, and second, if you mis-assess the threat levels at the table, you will pay dearly for eliminating a potential mid-game ally.
#11: Solidarity of Heroes
I really like the scaling of this card – it goes as wide as it needs to. If you just need to double up the counters on your Walking Ballista to finish the game, then by all means, do that. If, however, your Forgotten Ancient has been spreading the love around your board for the last three turns, it might be time to use all your mana doubling up as many creatures as you can. The choice is yours!
#10: Unbound Flourishing
Unbound Flourishing only goes in one type of deck: the type with a lot of hydras and, ideally, the best card in the game of Magic: Villainous Wealth. Zaxara and Rosheen Meanderer are obvious headliners for this supportive player, but don’t count out Wort, the Raidmother and her love for copying huge X-spells.
Hardened Scales and similar aren’t splashy enough to make this list, but Corpsejack Menace is! Don’t just add one counter – go all the way and double up on those little beads or dice. You’ll thank me later when your opponents spend the entire game asking you “how many counters are on that Kalonian Hydra?” When opponents are spending time figuring out what all your cards do and how big they are, that means you’re winning.
#8: Caged Sun
Yes, that’s Caged Sun, not Gauntlet of Power or Extraplanar Lens. Why? Because Caged Sun is the only one of the three that is entirely selfish. Sure, with the Lens, you can play snow-covered basics and hope your opponents aren’t doing the same, but that just ends up as a weird “wine in front of me” gambit in your playgroup that just ends with no one getting to play their cool basics ever again. Caged Sun costs more mana, but it demands no work and no brainpower. More mana. Bigger creatures. Good. I’ll note that this, like a card coming up on the list, doesn’t strictly “double” – if you have a land that produces two mana, you get three, not four – but since most lands produce one mana each, I’m comfortable with Caged Sun’s place on this list.
#7: Oath of Teferi
I don’t go in for the superfriends style of deck very much, but when I do, I make sure Oath of Teferi makes an appearance. Activating all of your planeswalkers twice every turn means that your favorite loyalty-based value engines will feel more exponential than incremental. The sooner you slam this, the sooner you get to a point where you’ve got multiple emblems and are an unstoppable juggernaut. The biggest danger at that point is hubris – drawing your whole deck or tapping out at the wrong time – so make sure you don’t assume you’re invincible until everyone else is eliminated.
This is the other not-quite-doubler I alluded to when talking about Caged Sun. Again, it’s close enough, and between that and the card draw whenever you cast a creature spell, Zendikar Resurgent is in basically every green deck. In fact, it’s in so many green decks that I’m starting to get tired of it. Actually, “starting” is the wrong word – I AM tired of it.
#5: Deepglow Skate
When you need to double all your counters now, and then again later when you inevitably blink this two to seven times, Deepglow Skate is your fish friend of choice. This can push you to planeswalker ultimates very quickly, and it has plenty of other nefarious uses as well. I tend to do slow, ridiculous nonsense like doubling the number of counters on my Mage-Ring Network, so if you see me working up to that, make sure you Ghost Quarter that land as fast as you can. You’ll thank me later (but I won’t thank me.)
This doesn’t count as a Furnace of Rath variant, which is good, because if it did, I would have been lying earlier. No, this is a battle angel, and not the movie kind. Gisela doubles up the damage that any source deals to any of your opponents as well as their stuff while also having a defensive effect! It doesn’t double the damage you don’t take, because that’s complete nonsense, but it does cut it in half, which is the opposite of doubling. That prevents Gisela from moving into the top 3, as she has betrayed the doubling theme.
Doubling your life gain is one thing, but what about doubling your cards? Free yourself of having to pay 4UUU for Thought Reflection and just pay 5 generic mana instead! Sure, it doesn’t double your draw for turn, but it doubles everything else, so you can play it in mono-Black, spend a bunch of life drawing cards, then double your life gain when you Exsanguinate to heal yourself back up beyond 40.
At slot 2, we have a double-up – two cards that do the same thing! Hilariously, Anointed Procession, despite being the colorshifted version, shows up a lot more often, as I think white is better at making tokens in general. Parallel Lives is still quite good, as green makes plenty of saprolings and such, and if you’re playing both colors, you’ll often find yourself wanting both flavors of this card.
This one can’t be beat. Double your counters and your tokens, all for one easy payment of five mana. Double Masters wouldn’t have been complete without Doubling Season, and neither would many Commander decks. Who could have known, back in the days of original Ravnica, that this seeming bulk rare would help define a major product release? Doubling Season’s star is unlikely to fade, as I don’t see a better version being printed that encompasses the total package of effects, so if you don’t have any copies right now, perhaps the reprint will help you get your hands on at least one.
That’s the end of my list – I assume it’s totally definitive and there will be no discussion. Just kidding! The whole point of lists like this is to start discussion. I guarantee you that, in the next week or so, I’ll be convinced I’m wrong about at least two cards, whether it be by omission or placement, and that’s half the fun, honestly. We have a comments section right here under these articles, or you can just go for it and tweet at @RagingLevine if you really want to let me know what I’m wrong about. I love a healthy debate, and I think I might be doubling the number of those I have just by writing this article. See you next time!