Gray Merchant of Asphodel
10, Mar, 24

5 Incredibly Broken MTG Draft Commons

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In the world of MTG, there are a ton of different ways to play our beloved game. For some players, the competitive nature of various Constructed formats makes for the best way to enjoy Magic the Gathering. For others, a draft environment provides a fresh new experience every time they participate. Limited in particular is nice because there’s no need to invest a bunch of money into a specific deck to compete.

Instead, each player starts at an even playing field with a few packs in front of them to open. The goal is to use your deckbuilding skills to your advantage, focusing on important synergies and crafting a cohesive gameplan. Of course, even in a draft environment, not all cards are created equal.

It’s not necessarily the best feeling when an opponent resolves a game-breaking bomb and you don’t have an answer. Some haymakers, such as Dream Trawler from Theros Beyond Death, were nearly impossible to remove from the battlefield regardless and could completely swing a match singlehandedly. What’s interesting, though, is that not every card with an absurdly high win rate in Limited is a rare or mythic rare.

Sometimes, uncommons like Imodane’s Recruiter in Wilds of Eldraine are among the best cards in the whole set. Furthermore, there are a number of commons throughout MTG’s history that have been borderline format-warping. Today, we are going to highlight some of the best commons ever in their respective Limited environments.

Inspiring Overseer

Inspiring Overseer

First on our list is one of the best commons on rate printed in any set over the last few years. Inspiring Overseer simply takes no extra work to make it good. It doesn’t matter whether you are playing aggro, midrange, or even control. If you are playing white, it’s in your best interest to play as many of these as possible.

From Preening Champion to Waterwind Scout, there have been a multitude of elite three-drop commons printed in the last couple years. As far as overall win rate is concerned, though, Inspiring Overseer takes the cake.

According to 17Lands.com, a site that helps track relevant data associated with Limited gameplay on MTG Arena, Inspiring Overseer had a 58.9% win rate when maindecked, which is truly incredible. For reference, there is a full 0.7% difference between Overseer and Raffine’s Informant, the common with the second highest win rate when maindecked. While that may not sound like a lot, it absolutely is compared to gaps in top common win rate within other sets.

In addition, Overseer has the fourth highest win rate when maindecked among cards of all rarities in the entire set! Unsurprisingly, cards like Sanctuary Warden still clear Overseer by a fair margin, but this still goes to show how strong the card is. Having an efficient Flying beater that inexplicably draws you a card when it enters at common in a premier set is honestly a bit mind-boggling.

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Sprout Swarm

Sprout Swarm

Sprout Swarm is a weird little card from Future Sight that gave players immense inevitability. The fact that you can use the card’s Convoke ability to help pay for its Buyback ability meant that this card would get out of control rather quickly. In any Creature-centric deck, you can begin by making a Saproling with likely minimal mana investment.

From there, each Saproling you create helps make recasting Sprout Swarm trivial. Even if a single 1/1 token isn’t a huge problem on its own, having to deal with a 1/1 token (or more) every turn for the rest of the game can be devastating. All things considered, in modern-day draft, Sprout Swarm may feel a little slow and clunky. Still, when it was printed over 15 years ago, this card was a house.

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Sparksmith

Sparksmith

Going back even further to Onslaught which released over 20 years ago, Sparksmith was the real deal. With other cheap Goblins like Golin Sledder and Skirk Prospector available at common as well, there was plenty of typal support to make Sparksmith pop off.

The reality is, though, this didn’t take much. Even a single other Goblin alongside Sparksmith made it easy to start mowing down opposing Morph Creatures. The drawback of having to take damage yourself in the process was well worth having access to repeatable removal on command.

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Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder is a card with an incredibly high ceiling. It isn’t the most efficient card, especially when killing big Creatures. As such, when Rolling Thunder reappeared as an uncommon in Battle for Zendikar, it wasn’t overly oppressive. Given the number of massive Creatures and Eldrazi in the set, this isn’t too shocking.

In Tempest, however, this card appeared as a common in a set where other top commons like Dauthi Marauder and Rootwater Hunter had low toughness. It wasn’t unreasonable to expect to cast Rolling Thunder for five or six mana and kill multiple threats on the opponent’s side. The longer the games go, the better Rolling Thunder becomes. Not to mention, it can even be a burn spell in a pinch, which is a nice bonus for an already strong card.

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Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Gray Merchant emerged as a common in original Theros before ultimately being bumped up to uncommon in its return in Theros Beyond Death. Much like Rolling Thunder, this card had an incredibly high ceiling. At minimum, you get a 2/4 for five mana that drains the opponent for two when it enters the battlefield. This alone is a reasonable failsafe, but it’s not difficult to get Gray Merchant to drain the opponent for significantly more life.

Interestingly, though, when Gray Merchant made its triumphant return in Theros Beyond Death, it was far from the scariest black uncommon. Removal spells like Drag to the Underworld at uncommon and Mire’s Grasp at common had much higher win rates that Gray Merchant according to 17lands.com data.

This isn’t to say that Gray Merchant wasn’t a powerful card, but more that it was much scarier in original Theros. This is likely, in part, due to the fact that elite Escape Creatures like Pharika’s Spawn gave players plenty of late-game plays that posed as stronger win conditions. In original Theros, though, Gray Merchant was rather difficult to beat when effectively built around.

There are tons of other commons from a variety of sets that were extremely strong in their day as well. Cards like Pestilence, for instance, could completely take over games of Limited. If anything, these cards showcase that even low rarity cards can be quite powerful. Don’t always be fooled by flashy mythic rares. Sometimes, simple commons can guide you to victory if you let them.

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