Commander Spotlight: Grave Betrayal

You know what’s great about geek culture? How often it crosses many different categories. So I’m going to invoke a Star Trek analogy here this week.


These are the Borg.

My name was Steve.


In case you’re unfamiliar with the series, the Borg are an expansive hive-mind race. They assault, invade, and assimilate other species in their path.  Survivors are short lived, as their consciousness is destroyed and their knowledge, intellect, and technology – what of it the Borg deems fruitful – are added to the hive-mind. That’s what makes the Borg so scary as a foe – the idea that not only could you lose to them, but in doing so you’ll likely become one of them.

In Magic, the closest thing to that are Zombies. Some Zombies are mindless, hungry killing machines. Others are the reanimated husks of former selves, newly arisen to face those they once defended.

In either example, the idea sucks to face.

But it’s really fun if you’re the one doing it.

Today we have: Grave Betrayal

Name: Grave Betrayal

Edition: Return to Ravnica

Rarity: Rare

Focus: Creature Reanimation

Highlights: Sometimes cards require a lot of thought and planning to utilize their full potential. Sometimes, as in the case here, things are painfully straight-forward. Some may balk at expensive enchantments, but here, as in other cases in EDH, the payoff is worth it.

Just by itself this card can cause issues in a Commander game. If Players A and B are duking it out over something and Player C collects the corpses of that fight and slaps +1/+1 counters on them afterwards, things can go poorly very quickly. Sure, you can invite attention to yourself in doing this, but hey, that’s muliplayer politics. (“The enemy of my enemy” and such…) At the very least, you’ve probably gotten some useful blockers out of it by now.

Grave Betrayal can swing entire games if it’s paired up with other cards that Black does so well. Whether it’s targeted destructionindiscriminate slaughter, sacrifice effects, or the multitude of other ways Black just makes things die, this can be a permanent Insurrection effect. It’s just that simple.


Keep an eye out for us to be regularly featuring other more accessible-but-worth-it Commander cards going forward. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.

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Do you have a particular Commander card to suggest for us to shine a future Spotlight on? You can send suggestions to