Candy’s Top 15 Dragons for EDH

Trogdor, the Burninator

Trogdoooooooooor! Trogdoooooooor!

It’s pretty much a given that most Timmies love dragons, and, well, I’m pretty solidly in the Timmy camp. So yeah. Dragons. Gimme some dragons! They’re stompy (flappy?) and they (well, many of them) [card Firebreathing]firebreathe[/card], and the vast majority of them have some kind of evasion. When I see a sweet dragon, somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain, the Trogdor song starts playing, and I’m wanting to burninate me some peasants.

I’ve divided this list into two groups: my personal top 5 dragon Generals, and then the top 10 dragons that are fantastic utility creatures, but who either aren’t legendary and therefore can’t be Generals, or who are legendary but would make pretty terrible generals—the Kamigawa spirit dragons being the case in point, because they have to hit the graveyard in order to trigger, and the one spirit dragon that can be reanimated in any kind of efficient way is [card Kokusho, the Evening Star]just a little too efficient[/card] and is therefore banninated.

But enough prefacing. Dragons? DRAGONS!

Top 5 Dragon Generals

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund:

This is probably the most popular General I’ve seen, and for good reason. That green mana symbol in his casting cost? Yeah. That allows you to ramp the hell up in no time and get this bad boy out as fast as turn 5. Black gives you access to lots of efficient creature removal; red gives you access to first strike, double strike and other damage enhancers; green gives him trample effects and embiggeners, with anything from good old Giant Growth to Vines of Vastwood to Might of Oaks to Berserk. Naturally having haste and evasion don’t hurt none, either. The problem I’ve seen with most Karrthus decks: they have a hard time taking down a table with four or more players, since everybody else is pretty well invested in killing him before he makes contact with a face, because you know that the next face is going to be yours.

Scion of the Ur-Dragon

If you want to swarm with a battlefield full of dragons vs. beating face one-on-one, then the Scion is your dude. Throw a bunch of dragons in your graveyard with his activated ability, then mass-reanimate them with Patriarch’s Bidding, Living DeathLiving End, Balthor the Defiled, or Liliana Vess’s ultimate. Or use Black’s massive suite of cheap, cheap reanimate effects to resurrect select dragons—including stupidly efficient plays like sacrificing a mana dork or a Dragon Broodmother token to Victimize to bring back Bladewing the Risen who can then bring back Teneb, the Harvester who can then bring back anything you damn well please for the delicious, delicious cost of 2B—and you still have one other dragon to resurrect. You can also perform all sorts of tricks with the Scion. Somebody’s targeting him with a kill, bounce or take control spell? Assuming he’s still a Scion (because remember, once his activations have resolved, he’s stuck as whatever dragon you chose until end of turn), turn him into a Quicksilver Dragon and pay one blue to redirect it. Nobody’s blocking him? Well, howzabout turning him into a Dragon Tyrant, activating the tyrant’s Firebreathing ability 5 times and killing that opponent in one shot? Or turning him into a Steel Hellkite, paying X and killing all non-land permanents that person controls with converted mana cost X? The Scion’s rainbow casting cost can make him a bit of a challenge to play, but if you’re a fan of flooding the battlefield with dragons who are ready to beat them some face, then trust me: he’s the way to go.

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind

Drawin' some cards, burnin' some face. Because that's just how he rolls.

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind

Yes, we all know about Ophidian Eye, and Curiosity. No, it’s not an especially fun combo, but good luck killing a table of 4 to 5 opponents without decking yourself first or pissing everyone else off. That aside: Niv is a lot of fun. Blue gives you access to all sorts of control and copying effects (Dominus of Fealty dropped in early game is just debilitating), as well as a ridiculous number of card draw mechanics, and red gives you access to burn, baby, burn, as well as fun beatyface spells like Dragonstorm and Insurrection. As far as I’m concerned, Niv’s best buddies are Consecrated Sphinx, Jushi Apprentice  (especially after you’ve flipped him), Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Rhystic Study, Memory Jar and Psychosis Crawler. For extra lulz, pop a Credit Voucher to shuffle your (no doubt girthy, if not downright turgid) hand of cards into your library to draw that many cards and deal a fuckton of damage, then shuffle the Voucher back in with an Elixir of Immortality, Feldon’s Cane, Reminisce or Mnemonic Nexus. Hey, it’s not like blue is good at artifact tutoring. If you have your Academy Ruins out, you can skip the shuffling malarkey altogether.

Teneb, the Harvester

Would you like to see dredge abused for fun and profit? Step right up to Teneb, the Harvester. If you’re up against a Teneb deck, be prepared to pack a lot of graveyard hate—and be prepared to hate on your own graveyard if you have to. Teneb decks are some of the most resilient I’ve ever seen, especially if they drop a Survival of the Fittest turn 2. They have fifty hojillion ways of reanimating everything in their graveyard (and I do mean everything because green is amazing at grabbing any card you want from your graveyard) and everything in yours, and another fifty hojillion ways to recover from graveyard hate. All I can say is: once the Worm Harvest and Golgari Grave Troll hit their graveyard, play that Bojuka Bog fast as you can.

Rith, the Awakener

He's secretly a hippie, because what other kind of dragon poops saprolings? I mean, really.

Rith, the Awakener

The thing with Rith is, he’s in the perfect colors for a token deck—perhaps even better than Rhys the Redeemed. White and green love to poop out little dudes and making them bigger, while red loves to give them first strike, double strike or just outright double their damage with cards like Gratuitous Violence, not mention give them extra combat phases, because if there’s one thing more fun than hitting your opponents with a million saproling tokens, it’s hitting them [card World at War]twice in a row for two turns[/card] with your million saproling tokens. Between the ramp possibilities and a General with evasion as well as the ability to make little dudes for your team when he hits your face, Rith is a general to be reckoned with.

Honorable mentions:

Intet, the Dreamer: I haven’t seen anyone use him (her?) as a General yet, but every time I see that card, my brain starts popping and fizzing at the possibilities. With a little scrying and a little deck finagling, you can cast all kinds of ridiculous stuff for a total converted mana cost of 3.

Bladewing, the Risen: Most people who go the dragon reanimate route use the Scion, and Bladewing is an invaluable roleplayer in any Scion deck, but he’s actually a pretty sweet general all on his own if you want to go with a more focused reanimate route and prefer to avoid the headaches of building a rainbow deck. For extra fun, add Conspiracy and stir briskly. Just remember not to choose, like, kavu or dwarves or something.

Top 10 Utility Dragons

1. Yosei, the Morning Star: People quail in fear at Keiga. People say Keiga’s the best dragon in town. People say Keiga wrecks shit. You know what? Nobody wrecks shit like Yosei. Basically, his triggered ability reads: “When Yosei is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, some poor bastard is going to skip the entirety of her next turn except for her draw step. If she’s exceptionally lucky, she’ll get to play a land.” For my money, one of the most powerful and most disruptive dragons in the game.

2. Keiga, the Tide Star: What can  I say about Keiga? He’s just plain amazing. Unless you’ve given your dudes shroud, you have four choices in terms of dealing with him permanently if you allow him to be resolved: a) Get hit in the face repeatedly with a big blue beatstick. With flying. b) Throw some poor flying chump under the bus over and over and over again. c) Block with something big enough to kill him, and watch him grab the best dude on the battlefield. d) Exile his big blue ass and pray the spell isn’t countered. Or, if you’re playing black, here’s a fifth option: play Sudden Spoiling, block it with, I don’t know, frigging Bloodghast or Nantuko Husk or something, and watch the blue mage cry. If Yosei is the epitome of massive negative tempo for your opponent, Keiga is the epitome of  card advantage for you . In big blue beatstick form. With flying.

3. Scourge of Kher Ridges: You know what would be an awesome ability for a dragon to have? A Pyroclasm at instant speed! And you know what would be even more awesome? Hitting all other flying dudes for 6 in their faces.  I’m pretty sure that’s even more awesome.

4. Dragon Broodmother: This card is downright silly in multi-player. She’s a Verdant Force, except the little guys she pops out a) have flying, and b) every third turn can effectively be a 5/5. The only downside to dropping the Big Bad Mama: be prepared to face a lot of hate and fend off a lot of kill spells and cockblock a lot of thieving as soon as she hits the board, just because she’s so insanely efficient.

5. Hoard-Smelter Dragon: A shatter effect that you can repeat for as much mana as you have, which also makes him bigger with every smash? Um. Sure. Sign me up! Subscribe me to your newsletter! EDH, and especially multi-player EDH, is all about repeatable abilities, because they’re pure card advantage: you can use the ability turn after turn, instead of burning through a bunch of spells. And this ability happens to be attached to a 5/5 flying dude—all for the bargain price of 4 and 2 red.

6. Flameblast Dragon: As KrazyCaley put it once in a Tapped Out article about dragons, other dragons make Chuck Norris jokes about the Flameblast. He’s a flying fireball. That’s the essence of dragonliness. Fuck firebreathing—this is the real deal, right here. There’s no such thing as evolution. There are only the creature cards that Flameblast Dragon allows to live.

7. Steel Hellkite: Sweet Sally Mae. First of all, he’s colorless, which means pretty much any deck can make use of him. Second of all, if you don’t have an answer to this guy before he makes contact, get ready to see your shit blowed up. Your Privileged Position? Gone. Your Eldrazi Monument? Also gone. Oh hey, token decks? How ’bout paying absolutely dick squat and blowing all of you up? Conclusion: blowing things up is fun. Ergo, Steel Hellkite is fun. Unless somebody has an artifact destruction spell in hand. Then the Steel Hellkite is mostly a sad pile of smashed dragon.

8. Dragon Mage: Wheel of Fortune on legs if it hits. You get seven cards. Even the discard isn’t a bad deal, if you’re playing a Scion deck and you need more enablers to help you toss your dragons into the graveyard. Yeah, everyone else gets seven cards too, but it’s kind of funny to see the blue mage with the massive hand o’ cards drop her hand.

9. Broodmate Dragon: You know what’s better than a 4/4 dragon? Two 4/4 dragons. And if you have any way to sac and reanimate him, or play with flicker effects, he quickly becomes King Daddy Pimp Dragon, trailing a harem of dragon tokens.

10. Hellkite Charger: Wooooo extra combat steps woooo! Look, when you’re playing a tribal dragon deck, you’re going to try and win in the red zone. Something that gives you more than one chance at that is pure gold. If you want to be downright ridiculous, Bear Umbra gives you infinite combat steps, or Sword of Feast and Famine if you can make sure the Hellkite hits.

Honorable mentions

Vampiric Dragon: Not amazing by himself, but equip him with something deathtouchy, like a Quietus Spike, a Gorgon Flail or a Basilisk Collar, and, well, you can have a real big dragon, real damn quick.

Bogardan Hellkite: Yes, he’s spendy, but a) he has flash, and b) you can spread that 5 points of burn to as many targets as you like, which is pretty sweet for either finishing somebody off or to take down some bothersome enablers or utility creatures. If you have Gratuitous Violence or Furnace of Rath out, even better. It’s also an enters-the-battlefield trigger, so if you can cheat him into play, bounce him and then cheat him back out, or reanimate him, or flicker him in and out, you can burn the world up and cackle with glee.

From the Vault: Legends announced

The new face of Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

Teferi: Hot back then, hot now

Coda alerted me to this less than half an hour ago: the upcoming From the Vaults set is to be Legends, which ties in very nicely with the Commander releases they’re planning for later this year. 15 reprints of legendary creatures. Check out the hot new art for [card Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir]Teferi[/card]. I’ve always been a fan of the original artwork, and the new artwork looks even more bad-ass.

And now, on to rampant speculation:

The announcement included this fairly innocuous paragraph: “All cards are black bordered and tournament legal. This means that these cards are legal for use in any tournaments where the original printings are still legal. For some cards, it is their first time with a black border.”

First time with a black border? If my search through the Gatherer database for every Legendary creature printed to date is correct, that pretty much means at least one Portal 3 Kingdoms legendary creature, if not more. (Some cards. Some. Cards.) The Rumor Mill at MTG Salvation is going nuts.

As for my top picks for what cards are going to show up, I’m going to go out on a limb and say:

1. For white: In my opinion, Crovax, Ascendant Hero, Iona, Shield of Emeria or Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero would be some of the best choices.

2. For blue: well, we already know Teferi is a shoe-in. I’m thinking Arcum Dagsson, Venser, Shaper Savant and Azami, Lady of Scrolls  would be top contenders.

3. For black: in my opinion, we gotta have us some [card Balthor the Defiled]sex dwarf[/card]. Other mono-black legends that have been pretty amazing in action include Shirei, Shizo’s CaretakerDrana, Kalastria Bloodchief, Chainer, Dementia Master, Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni and Lim-Dul the Necromancer .

4. For red: Heartless Hidetsugu, Lovisa Coldeyes, Ashling the Pilgrim and Godo, Bandit Warlord were the ones who came to mind. I’d say Jaya Ballard, Taskmage, but a) she’s not really a fantastic general, and b) she was recently reprinted in the Fire and Lightning set. But while I’m guessing that they’re probably releasing this to dovetail with the Commander releases, I don’t know how much a creature’s usefulness as a general would be a factor in determining its spot in this particular From the Vault set.

5. Green: Omnath, Locus of Mana and Azusa, Lost but Seeking are the two that I immediately thought of. If WotC didn’t have several mono-green legends on their no-reprint list, I would’ve said Eladamri, Lord of Leaves, Multani, Maro-Sorcerer and Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary. (Yes, I know Rofellos is banned as a General, but he’s an amazing enabler/utility creature, and an auto-include in any Elf or Omnath deck.)

6. Colorless: It’d be a toss-up between Bosh, Iron Golem and Memnarch. I guess reprinting legendary Eldrazi would also fit the bill, but while they’re powerful and stressful to play against, they’re incredibly boring in action, so I’m really hoping that they won’t be included.

7. Multi-color: now this is where it gets really hairy. There are a lot of good multi-colored legends, and most people, in my experience, build their EDH decks around hybrid- or gold-bordered generals. The ones that have defined the format, in my opinion, include Uril, the Miststalker(..alker! …alker! …alker…), Oona, Queen of the Fae, Thraximundar, Mayael the Anima, Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, Jhoira of the Ghitu, Doran, the Siege Tower, Captain Sisay, Teneb, the Harvester, Scion of the Ur-Dragon, Rhys the Redeemed, Rafiq of the Many, Merieke Ri Berit, Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, Momir Vig, Simic Visionary, Wort, the Raidmother, Wort, Boggart Auntie and everybody’s favorite hippo (except Coda, who is a hippo-hatin’ kind of a girl), Phelddagrif.

I’m keeping my eyes peeled for further updates from WotC. It’ll be fun to see which legends make it and which ones don’t. My personal wishlist includes Oona, Captain Sisay, Mayael and Merieke Ri Berit, and I’m thinking Uril is too obvious a choice not to reprint.

On the Value of Haste, or, How to Win More Often When You’re a Timmy with a Token Deck

Timmy

If he were kosher for EDH, I'd totally use him as a General.

If you look at my Magic player psychographic profile, you’ll find me pretty squarely in the Timmy camp: I love big spells, I love big creatures, I love big effects, and my primary motivation when playing Magic is to have fun while turning cards sideways with my friends. But I have a Spike streak as well: I like to win, because I was raised to be competitive. Not all my games—my greatest Magic knowledge is Socratic: I know that I don’t know—but I like winning at least half of them when I’m up against decks that are at a similar power level to mine. And when I lose because of play errors on my part or really poor deck-building, it bothers me.

Here’s a dilemma, however: I don’t like playing too much disruption, and I don’t like to win in a way that I think is unfair. I don’t like to blow up lands, for example—I’ll generally explode lands that generate my opponents just a little too much advantage like Volrath’s Stronghold, Gaea’s Cradle, Kor Haven, or Academy Ruins; I’ll even blow up a vanilla land if I see somebody’s about to get their Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund or Thraximundar out and kill me in 2 turns with General damage. You get the idea. But I’ll also blow up somebody’s Gaea’s Cradle just so I can drop my own. A lot of Timmy. A bit of Spike.

And the Timmy part of me wants to win with cards that generate overwhelmingly positive tempo on my end, as opposed to cards that generate negative tempo for my opponents. Land ramp. Efficient creatures. Cheating creatures into play. Flooding the board with tokens. Protecting my dudes with shroud and regeneration mechanics, or efficient graveyard recovery, like Cauldron of Souls. Barfing up my graveyard back onto the battlefield with Living Death or Patriarch’s Bidding. The Spike part of me recognizes that I need some disruption, though, so most of my decks include various cards that can spot-remove troublesome permanents, as well as a bunch of board wipe. But my happiest wins tend to be the ones in which I either generate so much positive tempo for myself that I end up killing everyone in one fell swoop (which is why I like token decks so much), or in which I take advantage of everybody else’s positive tempo in one big push for glory, such as when I play Cultural Exchange or Insurrection. (Insurrection, by the way, is by far my favorite red card of all time, though Reverberate is right up there, too.) I’ve discovered that winning with my [card Oona, Queen of the Fae]Oona[/card] and [card Savra, Queen of the Golgari]Savra[/card] decks aren’t quite as satisfying for me, because those decks are far too high-stress and far too disruptive for them to be strictly fun, so I rarely play with them.

Stonebrow, Krosan Hero

A centaur whose steely (stony?) brow is outmatched only by his steely abs. And yes, that is a very large war-axe he's carrying. No, he's not happy to see you.

Last night, I almost won with my Stonebrow, Krosan Hero weenie overrun deck. I almost won twice. And in the last game, I had overwhelming board advantage. My big dudes were pooping out little dudes like mad: I had Spawnwrithe, who had managed to spawn 7 other copies of himself; Rampaging Baloths with Primeval Titan out; Dragon Broodmother, which is one of my favorite cards in multi-player EDH, ever; Master of the Wild Hunt with a couple of wolf tokens out; Brawn in my graveyard; and big bad Stonebrow was out himself. On top of all that, I had successfully cast and resolved Verdeloth the Ancient kicked 18 times. I could’ve killed the entire table three times over, especially since Ginger had brought everybody’s life totals down with Heartless Hidetsugu. I swung with most of my dudes, but I couldn’ t do anything with Verdeloth and my horde of saps.

And I lost because the next turn, James cast Do or Die targeting me, and then the turn after that, hit the table with Exsanguinate for 7, dropping my life total to 4. My friend Jona then mopped up by killing me with a Level 2 Nirkana Cutthroat equipped with a Whispersilk Cloak and then won the game the next turn with an unblockable Lord of Extinction.

Thing is, I could’ve won the game if my creatures had haste. Haste usually isn’t a huge factor in EDH games, but when the objective is to take down the entire table in the red zone, haste is invaluable. Haste is positive tempo like whoa for a deck like mine: it means I can swing NOW, right after I’ve dumped all my mana into creating dudes, instead of waiting for a whole turn, during which somebody can [card Wrath of God]wrath[/card] the board, or throw a Choice of Damnations at my face.

My Stonebrow deck currently only has two ways of giving my dudes haste: Sarkhan Vol, and Fires of Yavimaya. Both of them are good, but I need more, especially since neither green nor red give me any ability to tutor enchantments. If I wanted to be optimal, I’d craft a Rith, the Awakener deck, since that one white mana symbol in its casting cost not only opens up a lot of answer cards that red and green typically lack, but it would give me access to other good stuff, like Academy Rector and Enlightened Tutor. But I like my Stonebrow deck, dammit, and I want to make it work, because he’s hilarious. I want to win with my hilarious deck. So I’m now going to make room for the following:

  • Survival of the Fittest: this deck isn’t too fond of pitching its own creatures into the graveyard, but Brawn proved to be last night’s all-star, and having a way to tutor him to hand and then throw him into the graveyard? Sounds good to me.
  • Speaking of Brawn, his crankier and hastier buddy, Anger, needs to be in this deck, too.
  • You know what’s awesome in any deck that loves the creature beatdowns, especially when the creatures it generates are pretty vanilla? Akroma’s Memorial. I’ve been waffling over its inclusion in this deck, and I think last night pretty well proved its value.
  • One more haste mechanic: Fervor.
  • And let’s be honest here, I need to run more disruption in this deck. I wouldn’t have died if Jona didn’t have his Whispersilk Cloak. I have a Woodfall Primus and a Krosan Grip in the deck, but that’s not nearly enough. Terastodon and Viashino Heretic, I choose you!

I’m pondering throwing in an Asceticism. On one hand, I don’t really care about the weenies dying or being targeted. On the other hand, cheap, repeatable regeneration and global [card Troll Ascetic]troll shroud[/card] in this format is pretty amazing. I’m leaving it out for now, because I don’t know what to chuck in favor of it.

Genesis could be good, too—he’d be a nice way to recover a creature I had to pitch into the ‘yard with Survival, or after somebody wraths the board, but I’m going to playtest more and see whether I really need it.

Here’s the current decklist for my Stonebrow weenie overrun deck. (My first Stonebrow deck was a wall o’ fat deck, and it’s pretty fun, but it’s not especially efficient and needs a lot of fixing.) I can’t tell yet, because I still need to playtest this extensively, but I think the changes I’ve made are going to be make my deck a bit more resilient against my opponents while still mostly focused on generating positive tempo for myself. Thoughts? Suggestions? Mockery that I’d even build a Stonebrow deck in the first place? (As my friend Caedmon said when he saw the card, “Oh God, that’s a general that does one thing, and one thing only.”) Bring it on.

Mirrodin Besieged Set Review, Part II

Mirrodin Besieged

What’s this? PART II? Don’t know where Part I is? Suffering from a chronic fear of scrolling down more than a couple hundred pixels? Fear not. Here’s Part I of our Mirrodin Besieged review.

Red

Galvanoth

Coda: Free spells, you say?  Sign me up!  I imagine Jace, the Mind Sculptor probably has one of these things for a pet, because what could be better than carefully selecting the top card of your library and then casting it for free?  I really, really want to reveal Cruel Ultimatum with this guy.  Tooth and Nail would be fun, too.  And Insurrection.  And…

Candy: Wow. Just… I mean, that card’s just begging to be abused. How about Paradox Haze to give yourself two upkeeps for the potential of two delicious, delicious free spells? Wort, the Raidmother Conspire decks are going to snap this dude up. Not to mention the plethora of cheap spell-copy effects out there, like Reverberate, Twincast, Fork, Wild Ricochet. And Mirari. Or Maelstrom Nexus. Oh my gross.

Goblin Wardriver

Candy: Goblin weenie decks will just love this guy, especially if they happen to have Rage Reflection and/or Gratuitous Violence out.

Coda: Yeah, the more I think of it, the more I think Battle Cry is going to become a force to be reckoned with in token decks.

Hero of Oxid Ridge

Coda: Most red decks don’t tend to run a lot of tokens in EDH, so I see this guy getting played alongside a bunch of green token producers in a RG or Naya deck.  Worth playing, but not necessarily spectacular.  Get both this guy and the Hero of Bladehold on the battlefield at once for extra bonus Vorthos points, not to mention a ton of very angry tokens.

Candy: Could be fun in a Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs or Rakka Mar deck. Or hell, throw him into an otherwise Goblin tribal deck, since Goblin Wardriver exists. If you run red and you’re about the weenie swarm, this guy should be an auto-include.

Into the Core

Coda: The best instant-speed artifact removal for EDH ever printed in red.  Period.

Candy: Yeah. Not much I can say about this card other than the fact that it’s one of the best mono-red utility cards I’ve seen in a while, and that it should go into just about every red deck.

Red Sun’s Zenith

Coda: It’s a solid Fireball effect, but nothing to write home about.  Honestly, it seems like they ran out of ideas on this cycle and just shoved a convenient effect into red.  Granted, there’s really only so many things red can do in a cycle of X-costing spells.  I can see people playing it, but really, there are a ton of other spells I’d rather run than this one.

Candy: Meh. You know what this is? It’s a sorcery-speed Beacon of Destruction that has the potential to do more damage if you have a bunch of mana to throw at it. Of all the Zenith cards, this one was the one I found most underwhelming.

Green

Creeping Corrosion

Coda: Artifact decks beware.  A new staple for monogreen decks.

Candy: For extra silliness in a monogreen deck, throw in Liquimetal Coating to kill a creature as well as sweep the field free of artifacts. I’m not sure why enchantments get the insanely efficient Back to Nature but artifacts get Creeping Corrosion instead. Maybe because enchantments are less likely to be dudes?

Green Sun’s Zenith

Coda: I like Primeval Titan.  Do you?  I wish I could run two of them in my deck.  What’s that?  I can essentially run two of them now?  And that second one can be an Eternal Witness or Acidic Slime or Terastodon or whatever else I need, too?  And it shuffles itself back into my library so I can reuse it again?  I’m not a huge fan of saying something is a “must-include,” but I literally cannot think of a green deck that would not be vastly improved by the addition of this spell.

Candy: This spell is the nuts. Puts-on-the-battlefield tutoring for the price of only one sweet mana in additional to the critter’s casting cost? I’ll take as many of these as my grubby little hands can get.

Plaguemaw Beast

Candy: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at how much fodder Mirrodin Besieged is giving to dredge and sacrifice decks, but damn, y’all. I see lots of potential fun with this, since  green loves to give +1/+1 counters to its dudes, while black loves to give -1/-1 counters to other people’s dudes. Have a Doubling Season and/or a couple Planeswalkers out? Even better.

Coda: Yeah, proliferate is turning from a fringe mechanic to something with some real teeth in it.  Johnnies will have some serious fun breaking this guy.

Praetor’s Counsel

Coda: Remember Yawgmoth’s Will?  Cast stuff from your graveyard until the end of the turn, and anything you cast gets exiled.  This is Yawgmoth’s Will with no time limit, no drawbacks, and an upside that lasts for the rest of the game.  Eight mana is a lot, sure, but there isn’t a green deck out there that wouldn’t jump at the chance to cast this spell—preferably after dumping half their library into the graveyard.  Sheer insanity.

Candy: Green/black and [card Teneb, the Harvester]Teneb[/card] wedge dredge decks just got a LOT more annoying. And it’s not like they needed the help in the first place.

Thrun, the Last Troll

Coda: Vendilion Clique has finally met its match in 1v1.  Well, maybe not, but he’s close.  At first glance, Thrun is pretty much ideal for a Voltron-style deck with lots of pump effects and equipment.  Sadly, green doesn’t have a lot of tutors to get the aforementioned equipment, so you’re left with the slightly less attractive option of stacking auras on him.  Definitely a card targeted at ending Jace, the Mind Sculptor’s domination of Standard and Extended.

Candy: Awww. I guess Troll Ascetic got one-upped. Nice flavor, but I’m honestly a little bit underwhelmed. Maybe if I saw him in action I’d be more impressed, but right now, he strikes me as a wannabe Uril, the Miststalker.

Multi-Color

Glissa, the Traitor

Coda: Glissa is almost unbeatable in combat and has a nice bonus for killing your opponents’ creatures.  Sadly, green and black are not usually colors known for running lots of artifacts.  She’s still a solid card, though, and one I can see getting a decent amount of play, although rarely as the general of a deck.

Candy: I don’t care what Coda says. Seeing Glissa makes me want to build an incredibly janky black/green artifact reanimate deck.

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

Coda: Tezzeret is solid in a UB artifact deck, but not particularly stellar.  He’s more of a Constructed card than an EDH card, really.  Tezz version 1.0 is by far the better choice for the vast majority of decks, but if he’s in your colors and you’re running 20+ artifacts, go nuts.

Candy: Yeah, honestly, [card Tezzeret the Seeker]Tezz 1.0[/card] was a much better utility planeswalker, but Tezz 2.0 could have a role to play in Esper decks. A resounding “meh” from me.

Colorless

Blightsteel Colossus

Coda: One more reason to despise Jhoira as a general and kill that Master Transmuter as soon as it hits the battlefield.  As ridiculous as it is on the surface, I really can’t see this card being all that much fun in actual play.  It’s a card that demands an answer immediately, and if your opponents fail to answer it, they die.  I rank it up there with the Eldrazi on my list of “boring, yet powerful cards that can be played in any deck.”  Sure, you can run it in a deck, but I guarantee that your friends will only enjoy losing to it once.

Candy: It’s just one of those cards. I want to abuse it. I want to abuse it sooooo badly. But only once. Just to say I done it. Please. Just let me have my moment with Wild Pair and Darksteel Colossus. You can cast Final Judgment afterwards if you like, but please. Just once. Only once. My not-especially-inner-Timmy squealed with happiness when I saw this.

Brass Squire

Coda: The cutest myr ever printed.  That is all.  WotC needs to release a wallpaper of this little guy.

Candy: Awwww! As if myrs needed more help being the most adorable tribe in all of Magic. His ability is nothing to shout about, unless you want to insta-equip your Lightning Greaves or Whispersilk Cloak to one of your all-stars, or if you want to pull some silly combat damage tricks with equipments like Fireshrieker. But it’s really, really flavorful. He’s a squire, see? (I hope you’re hearing “squire” in the terrible Cockney accent that I am. Like, Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins bad.)

Bonehoard

Candy: I have to admit, I’m completely underwhelmed by the whole “living weapon” thing, if only because the equipments have by and large been pathetically vanilla. But this. This. It’s Mortivore on a stick, and again, the possibilities of abusing this in a dredge or reanimate deck are massive. It may not be an optimal card, but I definitely think it’s a fun card, and hey, that’s what counts the most in EDH. I can’t wait to throw these into my black decks.

Coda: By and large the living equipment is mostly targeted towards limited play, but this is the lone exception.  Mortivore has always been a solid beater, but a big part of that has been due to his regeneration.  Trading regen for the ability to equip doesn’t seem that great to me, but then again, this can be run in more decks.  I’ll probably revise my opinion of it when someone beats my face in with it, but until then I’m giving it a “meh.”

Darksteel Plate

Coda: I like it.  While indestructibility is hardly the last word in protection in EDH, equipping this to a creature means that not even multiple Nevinyrral’s Disks or Oblivion Stones are going to get rid of your best creature.  Probably at its best in colors that can have difficulty protecting their best guy, like red, black, and blue.

Candy: Whoa, hey, fun. This is probably the most efficient way I’ve seen yet to give your dude indestructibility. It’s cheaper than Shield of Kaldra. (Caveat: yeah, I know a big part of the fun with the Kaldra artifacts is getting them all out together. I don’t see too many people running the just one or two of the Kaldra artifacts just by themselves.) I can see this being popular in decks that like to deal lots of General damage, because if there’s one constant in EDH, it’s that somebody’s going to try and destroy your dudes.

Decimator Web

Candy: This a pretty terrible card, so why do I want to build some kind of stupid combo with it using Rings of Brighthearth and various twiddle effects? I think it’s just the sheer plethora of things that it does. Not very well. But dammit, it’s trying.

Coda: Can’t decide on how to kill your opponent?  Why not just try every which way?  Meanwhile, more focused decks will be having their way with your soft, tender flesh.

Knowledge Pool

Coda: Are you one of those people running Hive Mind, Eye of the Storm, Warp World, and Shared Fate in the same deck?  I believe you’ve found your favorite card of the set.

Candy: I can see this going two ways: hilarious chaotic shenanigans for resetting the board, or annoying combo shenanigans for an insta-win. Any bets as to which use it’ll be put to most often?

Mirrorworks

Candy: WHAT. THE. HELL. This card is waiting to be broken, and broken hard, by artifact decks. For two—TWO!—mana, you get a token, and you get to keep it? None of this [card Minion Reflector]sacrifice[/card] or [card Mimic Vat]exile[/card] bullshit? (Not that I’m trying to diss Mimic Vat, because it’s by far the better all-round utility choice for most decks. But damn. 2 mana. And you get to keep the token.) So how d’you like those Mycosynth Lattice shenanigans now?

Coda: Kind of neat.  Throw it together with Mimic Vat, Soul Foundry, Prototype Portal, and Minion Reflector and frustrate your opponents into conceding by making entirely too many tokens to keep track of.

Myr Welder

Candy: Fascinating. Graveyard hate—really specific graveyard hate, mind you, but hey, it’s colorless, so it might be fun to board in against an annoying [card Sharuum the Hegemon]Sharuum[/card] deck. But it’s the imprint ability that’s really interesting. It’s not for every deck, but it looks like it could have potential in the right kind of build.

Coda: This guy might make Soliton worth running, if for no other reason than the combo potential.  Its power is severely limited by the fact that it’s an artifact creature and has to tap to use its ability, so I wouldn’t get too scared.  Unless your opponent casts Intuition.  Then be very scared.

Psychosis Crawler

Coda: Annoying blue decks that do nothing but draw cards and counter spells, I believe you’ve found a win condition.  You know, aside from that one where you take infinite turns and piss off everyone at the table.  This guy should be solid in quite a few EDH decks, but I can see it being downright ridiculous in blue and black decks.

Candy: Awww! This guy and Consecrated Sphinx are, like, best buds. They got each other’s backs. One’s all “Dude, I got this!” and the other’s like “Naw, naw, I got it, bud, you just leave it to me.” And [card Soramaro, First to Dream]Soramaro[/card] is right there on the battlefield, cheering them on, waving his copies of Rhystic Study, Recurring Insight and Jushi Apprentice like they was pom-poms.

Shimmer Myr

Coda: A solid roleplayer in artifact decks.  Note that you can chain this together with other artifacts to surprise your opponents with stuff like a Darksteel Forge out of nowhere.

Candy: Just in case Leyline of Anticipation and Vedalken Orrery weren’t enough for you, we now have a cute little Myr to enable your ridiculousness—albeit only for artifacts.

Spine of Ish Sah

Coda: Now we’re talking!  I love me some ETB effects, and it’s hard to top an ETB Vindicate.  Bounce it with [card Venser, Shaper Savant]Venser[/card], bounce it with Master Transmuter, sacrifice it and recast it with [card Bosh, Iron Golem]Bosh[/card]… this thing is going to see some serious play.  Also notable is that it gives red, black, and blue a targeted method of dealing with enchantments.

Candy: The first thing I thought of was “Sweet, green finally has a way to kill non-flying creatures.” If you have enough mana to abuse (and if you’re playing green, you probably do), you can do some truly heinous things with this, Cauldron of Souls and Terastodon.

Sword of Feast and Famine

Coda: Now this is a sword.  First off, it dodges green fatties and black removal, which makes it all that much more likely to connect.  As for its abilities, discard is nice, if unimpressive, but untapping all your lands?  That’s half of a Time Warp, right there.  In the interest of fairness and not being an infinite combo douchebag, don’t run this in the same deck as a Hellkite Charger or Aggravated Assault.

Candy: Nah. I say, bring on the infinite combat steps! It’s much quicker and much more merciful than infinite turns. Anyway, even without the potential for infinite combat phase silliness, I’m a fan. Who doesn’t like completely untapped lands to use and abuse for the second main phase, or the subsequent players’ turns? COMMIES, THAT’S WHO. And people who are up against [card Omnath, Locus of Mana]Omnath[/card] decks.

Titan Forge

Coda: I like making giant golems.  Do you?  In a deck that can manipulate counters this becomes an all-upside Phyrexian Processor.  Run it with a Lux Cannon to have a death ray to back up your army of giant robots.

Candy: Five words: green and blue proliferate deck. Two more words: Doubling Season.

Thopter Assembly

Coda: This card was designed to be broken.  Taking infinite turns with Time Sieve is only the beginning of the insane stuff I imagine people are going to do with this card.

Candy: Yup. Coda just named the first ridiculous combo that came to my mind. And I’m sure there are lots of other ways to break this card—Ashnod’s Altar and Summoning Station came to mind, too. Way harder and way sillier, but that’s kind of how my combo brain works.

Contested War Zone

Coda: Kind of unassuming at first, but don’t think of it as a land – think of it as a tiny repeatable Overrun that you can tap for mana if you have to.  Token decks will love it.  Seeing it bounce around the table should be good fun, too.

Candy: It’s a really fun card, but I think you need to run it with a bunch of trample, first strike or double-strike effects to make it truly useful. Could be a lot of fun in [card Mayael the Anima]Mayael the Anima[/card], [card Stonebrow, Krosan Hero]Stonebrow[/card] and dragon decks, too—Gratuitous Violence and Rage Reflection will work pretty nicely with this land.

Mirrodin Besieged Set Review, Part I

Mirrodin Besieged

Coda: Let’s be honest—Scars wasn’t exactly the most inspiring of sets, EDH-wise, especially compared to some of the great staples and over-the-top ridiculosity that got printed in Zendikar block.  Genesis Wave is one of my all-time favorites, sure, and there were some decent legends, but aside from that what have you got?  Steel Hellkite and Wurmcoil Engine are solid, if boring beaters, and Nihil Spellbomb is a better Tormod’s Crypt for black decks.  That’s about it.

Candy: Oh man, I disagree about Scars being an uninspiring set for EDH. Scars gave us a respectable amount of EDH fodder, some of which have become artifact bombs that need to be dealt with as soon as they hit the table. Mimic Vat immediately comes to mind. Prototype Portal, too, for certain decks. My Kaervek the Merciless wither deck about peed itself in excitement when it saw Contagion Engine. And personally, I think Nim Deathmantle is one of the best recursion mechanics on a stick to have come about in a long, long time. 4 colorless to return your recently-toasted critter—ANY one, not just the one equipped to it—from the graveyard to the battlefield? Yes please, and thank you, and oh, are there a hojillion silly mana tricks I can pull with that? Why yes. Yes there are. And Grafted Exoskeleton in conjunction with creatures like Brion Stoutarm has provided a beautiful illustration of why poison counters need to be set to 20 for EDH.

In terms of creatures, those who love Elvish tribal got Ezuri, Renegade Leader, who’s fantastic either as an enabler or a General. Skithiryx the Blight Dragon is just sick in most black decks, but especially in dragon tribal. Sunblast Angel is fantastic for most white decks, because hey, who loves Vigilance the most? Geth, Lord of the Vault, like Ezuri, is fabulous as either an enabler/utility card or as a General himself for a mill deck; and speaking of mill, all sorts of decks that mill or screw with libraries (Oona, Queen of the Fae, Szadek, Lord of Secrets, Wrexial, the Risen Deep, and, well, Geth, among others) frigging love Sword of Body and Mind.  And that’s not counting all of the utility green players have gotten out of less bomb-y threats like Engulfing Slagwurm (throw on a Nemesis Mask on that bastard and watch him go!) and Asceticism, or black players from Necropede and Skinrender.

As for Planeswalkers, Elspeth Tirel is crazy good for token decks; I schemed and plotted and traded for one to put into my Rhys the Redeemed deck as soon as I found out about her existence. A more thorough Hour of Reckoning on legs? YES PLZ. And hey, you have merrily used and abused Venser, the Sojourner in your Jenara, Asura of War deck. Koth of the Hammer is decent, too—his mana doubling ability makes Ashling the Pilgrim decks very, very happy.

Coda: Okay, I’ll give you Mimic Vat.  That card is pretty disgusting.  And Venser has made my Jenara deck very, very happy.  As for the rest, though?  Maybe this just speaks to my own biases, but I could take them or leave them.

Candy: But enough about Scars. On to Mirrodin Besieged!

White

Frantic Salvage

Candy: This card could really shine in the right kind of deck—a blue/white artifact-heavy build or an Esper deck could have some fun with this, methinks. If nothing else, it’s a way to salvage the graveyard if somebody tries to hate on it (which, let’s face it, people try to do with Sharuum the Hegemon decks as often as they can—and rightly so).

Coda: Instant speed to respond to a Relic of Progenitus or Tormod’s Crypt activation is pretty nice.  It should be a solid role player in white artifact decks.

Hero of Bladehold

Coda: Battle cry is a really cool mechanic – kind of an anti-exalted – but it’s very narrow in application within the context of EDH.  White token decks will want this card, but I think its real home is in RW and Naya token builds with access to cards like Aggravated Assault.  The only thing better than pooping out a couple guys and pumping your team is doing it twice in one turn!

Candy: My Rhys deck is about to get more ridiculous. The Battlecry mechanic in general and Hero of Bladehold in particular is going to be a lot of fun in mono-white weenie decks—especially in conjunction with True Conviction (which, by the way, is ANOTHER FUN EDH CARD FROM SCARS CODA SO THERE)—but I think it’ll really, really shine in green/white token decks. Trample and either first strike or double strike are going to be Battlecry’s best buds. And yeah, extra combat steps make the whole enterprise extra delicious, so red is going to love the crap out of this card, especially Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran decks.

Kemba’s Legion

Candy: This is underwhelming in most decks, but it could be a lot of fun in a deck with a bunch of equipment and equipment tutors (a Kemba, Kha Regent deck is the obvious choice here, but other builds are possible–my boyfriend runs a pretty vicious Brion Stoutarm deck that’s all about the equipments). Slap on a Basilisk Collar, a Strata Scythe and a Bladed Pinions on this guy, and you’re pretty well set in terms of defense.

Coda: Um, this is a Limited card, and a mediocre one at that.  Next!

Phyrexian Rebirth

Candy: As if white didn’t love board wipe enough. We’ve had board wipe that gives you life (Righteous Fury), board wipe that leaves behind tokens (Martial Coup), board wipe on legs (Sunblast Angel, Mageta the Lion, Myojin of Cleansing Fire). This one’s kind of new for white:  board wipe that leaves behind a bomb. My verdict: awesome. It reminds me in some ways of Phyrexian Processor. Black/white EDH decks can be more ridiculous than ever, especially if you have Filth and/or Valor in your graveyard, or if you can pull combat tricks with Spirit en-Dal’s forecast ability.

Coda: A nice sweeper that leaves you a little something behind when it’s done, but let’s not be too generous: it makes a vanilla dude.  A vanilla artifact token dude.  I don’t care if it’s a 40/40 – a stiff breeze it it’s direction will be enough to get it off the table.  There’s a long list of sweepers I’ll run before this one.

Victory’s Herald

Candy: And just in case you didn’t think Windbrisk Raptor was ridiculous enough: howzabout giving all your attacking creatures evasion on top of piling on the tasty lifepoints for you? Yes? I thought so. The only downside is the fact that she has to attack, too, but this is why General’s Kabuto and Whispersilk Cloak exist. Token decks in particular will eat this card up, I think.

Coda: Yawn.  Six mana for a mediocre body and a couple buffs when you attack?  Let’s see, wasn’t there a six mana enchantment in the last set that did more or less the same thing, only didn’t have an attack trigger?  Oh yeah, that’s right, True Conviction.  Flying is nice, but double strike is much, much better.

Candy: I still think 84 1/1 flying saprolings (or 5/5 if you cast Overwhelming Stampede) with lifelink hitting someone is pretty damn awesome. And hey, why not run both?

Coda: I think if you have 84 saprolings, you’re pretty much set, no matter what kind of buffs you give them.

White Sun’s Zenith

Coda: Ridiculous amounts of tokens is always nice, but what sets this apart is its instant speed.  Think of it as Decree of Justice #2.  White token decks will want this card badly.

Candy: Yup. It’s not quite as ridiculous a token producer as, say, Gelatinous Genesis, but man, instant speed, and you’re getting 2/2s instead of the 1/1s token-producing sorceries tend to poop out. That’s pretty efficient.

Blue

Blue Sun’s Zenith

Coda: Like Stroke of Genius, but it shuffles itself back into your library.  Instant speed card draw is always welcome, and it doubles as a win condition if you’re one of those people that runs infinite mana combos.

Candy: I don’t know that there’s anything insightful I can say about this card. It’s pretty damn good. Blue mages everywhere just jizzed themselves a little.

Consecrated Sphinx

Coda: The ultimate anti-Group Hug card!  Exactly what I’ve been looking for to make that pesky hippo think twice before handing cards to my opponents!  Group Hug hate aside, this card is seriously nuts.  The only real issue I see is games just degenerating into card-drawing madness when more than one player gets one on the battlefield.  I can easily see “Sphinx Chicken” becoming its own little metagame within the EDH community.

Candy: And then blue mages everywhere just jizzed themselves. A LOT. I’m pretty sure the faint shrieking sound I heard when I looked at this card came from the collective screams of glee of everyone running a Soramaro, First to Dream deck in the Pacific Northwest. This is going to hit almost every EDH deck that contains a little island somewhere in the General’s mana cost.

I like the idea of Sphinx Chicken. It does, in fact, taste just like chicken.

Corrupted Conscience

Coda: Blue mages certainly aren’t going to be jizzing themselves over this.  There are plenty of better alternatives for Mind Control effects out there, and most blue mages aren’t planning on poisoning their opponents anyway.

Candy: Mind Control. With infect. Not super spectacular by itself for EDH, but you can pull some shenanigans with Surestrike Trident and the like. I think it can be a really fun inclusion in proliferate or blue/black poison decks, or, if you’re running That Blue Deck That Steals Everything Ever, well, here’s one more weapon in your arsenal. Personally, I think an Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre enchanted with this would be pretty sweet. I totally want this for my Oona deck.

Cryptoplasm

Coda: Probably the most efficient entry ever in a long line of shapeshifters.  While it won’t let you get away with multiple-creature-per-turn shenanigans (unless you have a Paradox Haze out), not having to pay to copy a creature gives you a lot of breathing room to get up to other kinds of mischief.

Candy: The good: you don’t need to pay anything for it to copy something tasty. The bad: it won’t get any enters-the-battlefield triggers; it takes a full turn before it does anything interesting, during which time its tender, tender flesh is incredibly vulnerable; and unlike other Clone-type cards, it’s actually targeted. Honestly, I see this as having more potential to be a General hoser than anything else, the way Shapesharer’s activated ability has oftentimes become “Pay 2U: kill an unshrouded General.” Except you can’t to this one any time you like, at instant speed. Overall, not too bad, but I need convincing that this is a great entry—or even a really fun entry, the way Quicksilver Gargantuan is—in the way of Shapeshifters.

Distant Memories

Coda: Kind of a mashup of Intuition and Covenant of Minds.  Most of the time you’ll end up exiling your combo piece and drawing three cards, though.  There are better options out there, but it’s not terrible.

Candy: I don’t know. This just screams jank combo. I’m not really a Johnny, but I’m willing to bet someone out there is right now figuring out ways to abuse this in unspeakable ways. Making it work does require quite a bit of effort, but I think it can pay off if you have, say, a Descendant of Soramaro out and the rest of the table doesn’t know whether they need to exile that one game-winning card you’re giving them an option to exile or give you access to three other game-winning cards that they don’t know about.

Treasure Mage

Candy: Arcum Dagsson decks just got another enabler. I am facepalming so hard.  This is the artifact version of Fierce Empath, and personally, I’d run it in a blue-green creature deck, use it to look for something silly like Darksteel Colossus with Wild Pair out, cast the Darksteel Colossus, and then slap down something even sillier like Blightsteel Colossus into play.

What? A girl can dream.

And as if the card needed to be even more ridonk, just look at the artwork. It’s the essence of hilariousness. Oh, Wizards of the Coast. You are such shameless panderers. It’s a motherfucking WIZARD. Surrounded by motherfucking BLUE FUMES OF MAGICAL MAGIC. And he’s riding a motherfucking DRAGON.

Coda: A dragon that looks like it was drawn by a 12-year old.  Thankfully, I hear there’s going to be a full art gameday promo.  Snag ’em while you can.

Black

Black Sun’s Zenith

Coda: A neat card with a long-lasting effect, but I doubt it will displace Damnation, Mutilate, or Decree of Pain as the go-to black sweeper.  After all, when the average toughness in the format is between 4 and 5, you’re looking at spending almost twice what Damnation costs for the same effect.  If it was instant speed, then we could maybe talk, but sadly, no.

Candy: This card is pretty sweet. I don’t think its sole purpose is to sweep the board in one big shot, either—proliferate decks will love this, and I’m personally excited to throw it into my Kaervek the Merciless deck, which plays a lot with wither mechanics. Not an auto-include, but it definitely has a place in black control.

Flesh-Eater Imp

Candy: I’ve seen some truly silly things being done with cards that get pumped with sacrifice effects, like Fallen Angel and Nantuko Husk. And this one has infect. It could be a lot of fun in a black/green token deck—sac a bunch of saprolings, give him trample, and voila, poisoned opponent. Also, I’m now contemplating building a truly silly poison-centered Thraximundar deck. It’s not the greatest card ever, but I think it’ll be a fun inclusion in certain decks and deck archetypes.

Coda: This card is going to kill a lot of people in Limited.  In EDH, it’s a threat, but not a huge one.  Poison decks will run it.

Go for the Throat

Coda: Doom Blade’s replacement, as far as I’m concerned.  Or, well, another one you can run alongside it, if you’re feeling bloodthirsty.

Candy: Not much to say, really. It’s a solid bit of spot removal. If you’re playing black, you should probably include this in your deck.

Horrifying Revelation

Candy: EDH decks that specialize in discard will probably try to find a slot for this one, because it’s a pretty sweet deal for how much it costs (Geth, in particular, wants to take this card out on a date and feel it up a little) but it’s a pretty niche card.

Coda: Um…I think calling it “niche” might be a tad generous.  Discard is not particularly strong in EDH unless it’s extensive, repeatable, or spread around the table.  This is none of the above.  If it was instant speed, I could see using it when someone uses Vampiric Tutor or somesuch, but sadly no.

Massacre Wurm

Coda: Hoo boy, this one’s a doozy.  Wipe out all your opponents’ utility dudes and tokens, burn them for a ton of damage, and then stick around to beat face while continuing to punish them when their creatures die?  This guy is going to be a house in decks that like to abuse Grave Pact-style effects, and should be a solid inclusion in just about any deck that can run it.

Candy: I can’t think of a single black deck that runs creatures that wouldn’t be somehow improved by including this card in it. Seriously. It’s gross. And if you can somehow sac it, make everybody else sac a creature, and then resurrect it? Oh, the recursion shenanigans you can have with this puppy.

Coda: Incidentally, it’s also a house against Group Hug.  How do you like those hippos now?

Sangromancer

Candy: See my comment about Horrifying Revelation. Except Geth doesn’t just want to feel this one up. Geth wants to do unspeakable things with it. Things that probably involve that five-gallon drum of lube he keeps in his bedroom.

Coda: I think the desire to do unspeakable things has more to do with the artwork than its usefulness in EDH.

Candy: By itself, it’s not that spectacular for EDH. But in conjunction with Sanguine Bond, Bloodchief Ascension, Painful Quandary, Words of Waste, Liliana Vess, Dire Undercurrents, Megrim or any other discard mechanic, not to mention the dozens of different black let’s-kill-dudes-for-fun-and-profit cards, I think Sangromancer is going to be a lot of fun in the right deck, though it’s not by any means an auto-include. Like I said: a lot of Geth decks are going to love having this card. It ain’t too shabby with Vampire tribal, either.

Catch the rest of our set review in Part II!

The Top 5 Least Fun EDH Decks and Plays

Let’s be honest here: we all love to play Magic not only because we’re a bunch of analytical geeks, but because we’re a bunch of competitive analytical geeks. We like to win. We like to win a lot. But there’s winning in a way that leaves everybody feeling like they’ve fought a worthy and satisfying battle, and then there’s winning in a way that leaves everybody feeling frustrated, locked out and ready to give up on the game. What’s the key difference? Leaving aside play styles and personalities of the individual players, which obviously have a huge role, I think the big difference is interactivity.

Obliterate

Funny flavor text. Unfunny card.

Look, we play Magic in general and EDH in particular because we want to play our spells. We want to set up our battlefield. We want fuck with our opponents’ board if they start getting out of control. We want to bounce back when other people fuck with our own board. We want to pull off some fun tricks and admire other people’s fun tricks when they pull them off. In short, we want to play Magic. And Magic is at its core a game about using our resources the most efficiently based on the imperfect information we have. However, efficiency isn’t just about maximizing your own resources. Interfering with your opponents’ resources also puts you ahead. Locking down everybody else’s resources is a fantastically efficient way to win Magic games, especially in multi-player. But it’s not necessarily a great way to win casual Magic games, especially when the goal is to have a social, interactive experience.

That’s  why my list of unfun decks and plays center around a lock or complete resource denial. They deny other players a chance to respond through anything short of countermagic (and crazy as it sounds, not everybody wants to play blue) or the building of fairly dedicated hate decks. The game rapidly devolves into one player abusing triggered or activated abilities at every other player’s end-step, or taking 20 minutes to tutor the perfect combo while the rest of the table contemplates the viability of stabbing a bitch.

But before we get to the list proper, I’d like to present an Honorable Mention:

Decks that clear the board continually with sacrifice effects. Yes, I’m looking at you, Savra, Queen of the Golgari and Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker. Shirei decks are especially pernicious because those creatures keep. Bouncing. Back. They’re especially gross with Possessed Portal or Smokestack on the battlefield. Playing any creatures becomes an exercise of futility, and each turn starts to take 15 minutes each because the person running the Savra or Shirei deck sacs all their creatures at the end of everybody else’s turns to (take you pick) create mana, mill somebody, scry 1, put a -1/-1 counter on a creature, draw cards. And on. And on. And on. Try to tuck away the General with Spin Into Myth and other such effects? Just sac it in response. And even if it’s tucked away, odds are good the player will be able to tutor it back out. Try to blow up the sac outlets? Oh look, have seven more, plus the ones you just threw into their graveyard are being dragged back into play with a combination of Eternal Witness and Phyrexian Reclamation. The only saving grace: dedicated graveyard hate will kill a Shirei deck and slow Savra down considerably.

And now, on to the list proper:

Candy’s Top 5 Least Fun EDH Decks and Plays

1. Mass land destruction. Especially one-sided mass land destruction, which can happen with a continually bounced/flickered/persisted Terastodon or Sundering Titan.  In one-on-one games, a continually bought back Capsize targeting lands has a similar effect. This topic has been hashed and re-hashed by EDHers everywhere, but I’ll repeat it here: Land is the most basic kind of mana a player can have in a game of Magic, and having that resource stripped away makes the game disheartening to play for the majority of us. An adequate mana base allows us to cast spells. Casting spells makes Magic fun to play. No mana = no fun. It’s really that simple.

2. The vast majority of Jhoira of the Ghitu decks. It’s not just the fact that Jhoira herself makes throwing out mass upon mass of fatties and big, expensive spells insanely efficient. It’s the fact that Jhoira is red (which means access to many, many land destruction cards) and blue (which means access to countermagic if you attempt to disrupt whatever horribleness is coming down the pike four turns or less from now). Well, that, and the fact that the creatures have haste once they come out of suspension. How do Jokulhaups, followed by Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth strike your fancy? They don’t? TOO BAD THEY’RE COMING FOR YOUR FACE ANYWAY. I’m all for big walls o’ fat, and I’ve encountered one semi-fun Jhoira build that didn’t involve Eldrazi or exploding lands en masse, but most of them eat away at your soul because they’re both high-stress and kind of boring. Back when Emrakul, the Aeons Torn was still legal, Jhoira decks were even more insufferable than they are now.

3. Permanent countering effects. Some of the most popular iterations:

a) Erayo, Soratami Ascendant  + Arcane Laboratory. Step 1: Play four insanely cheap instants in a row. Flip Erayo so she becomes Erayo’s Essence. Step 2: Search/transmute for Arcane Laboratory and cast it. Step 3: Duck the chairs and cards being flung in your face.

b) Countertop: The classic iteration of this is Counterbalance and Sensei’s Divining Top, but really, any sort of effect that lets you dig through your library works, too—in some ways, Descendant of Soramaro is even more pernicious because it lets you dig even more deeply. The combo effectively becomes 1 (or 1U): Be a dick. Counterbalance and Top abuse are two of the biggest the reasons why I include Krosan Grip in all of my green decks, no exceptions.

c) Dovescape + Guile. Now, I, personally, find the chaos of Dovescape by itself kind of hilarious, but once you throw Guile out there…. No. Just…. No. The existence of the Dovescape+Guile combo is reason enough for you to keep a Boseiju, Who Shelters All ready to roll in your sideboard.

Stasis

Awww, who doesn't love a one-sided Stasis lock? (Unrelatedly: this might be the most hilarious artwork in the history of Magic. Ever. Apparently, pure unmitigated evil is represented by a furry in a jackal suit and clown in a pointy hat fingerpainting a wall.)

4. Stasis-style locks that force you to skip your untap steps, or that force you to untap only one or two mana sources per turn. The most infamous of these is probably the Pickle Lock: Brine Elemental and Vesuvan Shapeshifter. The people who run this lock inevitably wait until that one point in the game when most of the people at the table are completely tapped out, and then proceed to make sure nobody else gets an untap step. Ever. EV. ER. The fact that this combo is somewhat more disruptible than many others makes it a tiny bit more bearable, especially if there are any white players in the playgroup—there are an awful lot of cheap white exile spells. There are other iterations, of varying degrees of awfulness: Hokori, Dust Drinker, Static Orb and Winter Orb also aim to starve opponents out.

So here’s an all-purpose tip: if you’re playing an EDH game like a particularly sadistic siege, in which you don’t bother slinging rocks at the castle ramparts but opt for poisoning the wells and making sure the city’s inhabitants don’t get food for months, your strategy is probably enraging and frustrating your buddies more than it is endearing you to them.

5. And speaking of Stasis-style locks: Arcum Dagsson decks tend to run them. They are legion, and they are insanely easy to achieve because of his tutoring ability. Mycosynth Lattice + Kill Switch. Masses of mana artifacts + Winter Orb. (Special Guest Star: Back to Basics.) And then there’s the blow-up-everything-in-the-world-except-your-stuff combos. Darksteel Forge + Mycosynth Lattice + Nevinyrral’s Disk. Arrrgh + Mwwwarrgggh + AUUUUGGGHHHHHHHH I GIVE UP I’M NEVER TURNING A CARD SIDEWAYS AGAIN.

These are my personal peeves. What decks and deck archetypes have you run up against that have made you want to tear your hair out?

Unsung Heroes, Part I

There’s a whole long list of cards that tend to get bandied about in EDH circles…the ones you’re supposed to include no matter what.  This is not that list.  These are the unsung heroes of EDH, the cards that never seem to get the love they richly deserve.  Or, well, five of them.  This is the first part in a series, after all.

Admonition Angel

Primeval Titan is a pretty gregarious dude.  He supports and enables a ton of different strategies, and is without a doubt the single most important green creature in the game.  But this is not about Primeval Titan.  This is about his BFF on the white side of the color pie – the incredible Admonition Angel.  Not only is she a very respectable beater with evasion, she’s a repeatable Oblivion Ring on a stick.  Combined with 2-4 landfall triggers a turn enabled by an active titan, this angel can make the board a very lonely place in a very, very short time.  Tutor up the pair with Tooth and Nail if you want to be straightforward about it, or use Wild Pair if you’re feeling tricksy to get both for the price of just one.  Granted, Admonition Angel instantly becomes the most hated target on the board as soon as she drops, but the fact that everything returns to the battlefield when she leaves can also be used for some fun politicking.  Exile a problem enchantment like Mana Reflection or Sneak Attack, and all of a sudden your other opponents will be less inclined to remove her.  If you’re feeling particularly nasty, Tooth and Nail into a Realm Razer and Admonition Angel, then use a land drop to exile the Razer.  Not only do you get to exile a permanent for each land that comes back into play, killing the angel would just bring the Realm Razer right back!

Stonecloaker

Nobody runs enough graveyard hate.  It mystifies me, sometimes.  I mean, this is a format where lands like Volrath’s Stronghold and Academy Ruins are only the beginning of what you can do with a graveyard.  Running a Relic of Progenitus or Tormod’s Crypt is a good start, but unless you’ve got a couple different ways to get one of the aforementioned artifacts, that’s probably not going to be good enough.  Enter Stonecloaker – it’s instant speed, targeted, and reuseable.  It also can save important creatures like a titan or general from getting exiled or tucked in a pinch.  And hey, on the off chance that you get Venser, the Sojourner’s ultimate off it lets you repeatedly exile permanents for the low, low price of 2W.

Vendilion Clique

Don’t play Vendilion Clique as your general.  No, seriously.  Don’t.  Everyone and their kid brother knows how to make an unbeatable 1v1 deck with Clique as their general.  It’s not fun to play against, it’s really not that fun to play with…just don’t.

That said, Vendilion Clique can be awesome in a multiplayer game.  Sure it targets only one player, but the odds are there’s going to be someone at the table who really, really needs a good Cliquing.  You know, the one with a full grip, plenty of mana, and a big smile on their face?  See what they’re up to and throw a huge wrench in their plans for the low, low cost of 3 mana.  You can even get tricky and start bouncing and flickering the Clique to share the love with everyone else.  It gets even better if you manage to bounce a person’s general to their hand.  Clique them right afterwards, and you can tuck their general safely away at the bottom of their library.

Oh, and yes, there is an instant win combo with Vendilion Clique and Tunnel Vision.  Don’t run it.  Instant win combos are for the infirm and weak at heart.

Sylvan Library

Like a Sensei’s Divining Top, only better.  Ish.  If you just use it to move around the top three cards of your deck, sure, it’s a bad two-mana Top.  But remember – you have 40 whole life to play around with.  4 life to draw that sweet card second from the top or even to just dig deeper into your deck to make all your land drops is a sweet, sweet bargain.  Especially in green.  I once did 32 damage to myself in the course of a game with my Sylvan Library, and I don’t regret it one bit.  It was like having a free Divination every turn – it didn’t matter how much my opponents killed my creatures, I was able to just keep the flood coming long enough that they ran out of answers and were overcome.  Remember – the only life point that counts is your last one – make good use of the rest of them!

Genesis Wave

Genesis Wave is easily the most ridiculous EDH card ever printed.  Why don’t more people play this card?  Just about any deck can cast it with X equal to 8 without too much trouble, and a really dedicated ramp deck (or a deck with access to mana doublers) can get up into the twenties and thirties without breaking a sweat.  The end result is a respectable fraction of your deck vomited forth onto the table.  Fatties, enchantments, artifacts, lands, they all get put right into play, no questions asked.  Bonus points if you end up putting an Eternal Witness or Mnemonic Wall into play to return Genesis Wave to your hand.  Make sure you’ve got Boseiju, Who Shelters All or countermagic handy if blue mages are around – there’s really no better target for a counterspell than this.

Let’s Talk About EDH. Baby.

Welcome! (And if you didn’t hear that in the Merchant’s voice from Resident Evil 4, then I certainly hope you do so. Now. Do it. It’s an order.) This here be an Elder Dragon Highlander group blog—or Commander, if you want to be all up on the correct terminology and shit. It is almost definitely the nerdiest form of Magic: The Gathering to ever grace the nerd universe—and let’s face it, Magic is already so nerdy that many otherwise unabashed nerds are afraid to openly admit that when somebody says “stack,” they immediately think spells, not pancakes. It’s also, in our opinion, one of the most fun formats in Magic, in which we get to play big spells and big effects for the biggest, craziest, most exhilarating wins. (Also, we like big decks, and we cannot  lie.) If you have no idea what EDH is about, then check out our About EDH/Commander page for a quick run-down, or the official EDH/Commander website for all the details.

We’re going to cover just about every aspect of the game on this site, from set reviews (which cards are  EDH gold? Which ones are EDH dreck?), our favorite cards, combos we love of varying levels of jank and effectiveness, our favorite decks and generals, our least favorite decks and generals, and the social aspects of the game. Our writers run the gamut among the player archetypes.  So settle in, poke around, and enjoy the site.