1, Nov, 21

Commander Challenge - Wood Elemental

What if we tried to make one of the worst cards in MTG not just playable, but good?
Article at a Glance

Another week means another chance to delve into the depths of MTG to try and pull out a card that nobody should be using. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable thing to do, because while there are a lot of mediocre cards, finding one that’s bad, but could also be used in a fun way, is tricky.

Today, we’re looking into one that is widely regarded as one of the worst cards in Magic. This is a card that has you sacrificing lands as it enters, and that’s bad. We are, of course, talking about the much beleaguered Wood Elemental.

What is Wood Elemental?

Wood Elemental is a four-mana green Elemental that reads, “As Wood Elemental enters the battlefield, sacrifice any number of untapped Forests. Wood Elemental’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of Forests sacrificed as it entered the battlefield.”

Now, at a glance, it’s not that bad. After all, sacrificing things isn’t always bad, so maybe it can work? Well, the thing is, you can only sacrifice untapped Forests, which means that you can’t actually cast this on turn four if you want it to survive, assuming you only have four mana.

You’ve got to not only sacrifice one Forest for each power and toughness, but they have to be different ones to the ones you used to cast it. It’s just not good, right? Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find two commanders you can use to make this work.

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Titania Elementals

First up is the lord of lands going to the graveyard, Titania, Protector of Argoth. This five-mana 5/3 allows you to put a land card from your graveyard back onto the battlefield, which is nice. It doesn’t even come in tapped either, so it’s just free mana. On top of that, it also reads, “Whenever a land you control is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, create a 5/3 green Elemental creature token.”

Now, you can see how both parts of this allow Wood Elemental to be useful. Playing Titania first and the Elemental second allows you to potentially sacrifice three lands to gain three 5/3 creatures, plus the 3/3 Wood Elemental itself too.

From there, you just need ways to play lands from your graveyard like Ancient Greenwarden, Crucible of Worlds, and Ramunap Excavator. You could even use something like Conjurer’s Closet to flicker your Wood Elemental to keep getting this effect too. All of these cards are also useful for our next choice.

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Wooden Gitrog

Here we have everyone’s favorite Frog Horror, The Gitrog Monster. Gitrog here is a five-mana black and green 6/6 with deathtouch that reads, “At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice The Gitrog Monster unless you sacrifice a land. You may play an additional land on each of your turns. Whenever one or more land cards are put into your graveyard from anywhere, draw a card.”

That’s a lot of text, but the main reason we want them is they give us an extra color. We can use all of the graveyard land enablers as above, but we also want to include Herald of Leshrac and Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth.

This combo allows you to steal lands with the Herald, all of which are also Forests thanks to Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth. You can then play Wood Elemental to sacrifice everyone else’s lands before you run out of lands to steal with Herald of Leshrac. It’s an absurdly silly way to use these cards, but come on, it’ll be fun.

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