Elvish Piper is a classic Commander card. But Monster Manual, from Battle for Baldur’s Gate, fills the same shoes but with a few added benefits.
Elvish Piper has a simple, yet appealing card design. For one mana, you can put any creature in your hand into play. Ideally, this lets you put massive creatures like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, into play for a massive discount.
Wizards of the Coast iterated on this design recently with Innistrad: Crimson Vow‘s Howlpack Piper.
Howlpack Piper works similarly to Elvish Piper, but in a dedicated Werewolf deck, it is so much better. You can potentially put multiple creatures from your hand into play at a discount.
But there’s a new version of Elvish Piper coming out in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, and it may be the best version of this effect yet.
Monster Manual is actually better than Elvish Piper in a few ways.
It is an artifact, which makes it much more difficult for opponents to kill compared to Piper’s measly 1/1 body. Plus, Monster Manual has an adventure stapled onto it. Zoological Study helps dig through your deck to find a big creature.
The only downside of Monster Manual is that it costs one more mana to activate and put a creature from your hand into play. But considering its other perks, this might be better than the original Elvish Piper.
Best Creatures to Pair with Monster Manual
When it comes to building a deck around Monster Manual, you’ll want to play big creatures. And the bigger the better!
Ulamog, Ceaseless Hunger
If you put this card into play with Monster Manual, you won’t get Ulamog’s cast trigger. But you’ll still have a massive 10/10 indestructible creature that will eviscerate your opponents’ libraries.
When you stick a Void Winnower in play, you’ll cut off your opponents’ access to roughly have of the cards in their deck.
It That Betrays
You might have noticed a bit of an Eldrazi theme by now, but they are some of the best creatures to cheat into play with a card like Monster Manual.
It That Betrays is particularly nasty. It has the ability annihilator, like many of the classic Eldrazi have. This forces your opponent to sacrifice permanents, and when they do, It That Betrays will commandeer those permanents under your control.
I’m not including Blightsteel Colossus just for the sake of having one non-Eldrazi on this list. It’s actually an insane Commander card. If you can put it into play on Turn 3-4 with Monster Manual, it can easily start picking off your opponents with infect damage.