Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly
Friday – 7/26/13
We’re punching sacred cows this week.  In Three Cards Deep I write about three cards I have played myself or played against in Commander, dropping one into each of the following categories:
  • Rad: A card that was surprisingly awesome
  • Bad: A card that sucked, usually of the fun-sucking variety
  • Sad: A card that fell flat on its face, usually contrary to expectations.
So here we go. Trust me, I’m a professional.
The Rad – Carnage Altar
OK so not starting too sacred here, but colorless sac outlets that don’t go hyper-bananas but do
draw cards check almost all my boxes. Yes, it does have a mana cost, but hear me out. If you are:
• In green and can’t play Greater Good or want redundancy;
• In black and don’t like the triple B of Infernal Tribute; or
• Not in blue, black, or green (I’m looking at my Aurelia every-attack-step deck in particular)
Then you probably want to consider maximum carnage.
Sheldon Menery will always say he wants his sacrifice options for free, but when you’re getting
a card out of the deal, three colorless is a bargain. Also the idea of an altar full of guts and
carnage a lá Day of the Dead is pretty sweet.
Verdict: Def goes in the shoebox of awesome so you don’t overlook it when drafting your next
The Bad – Ashnod’s Altar
This is everyone’s favorite “I didn’t even know I had an infinite combo in here” enabler. The
thing is, if you put it into the list and have played with it once, then no, you’re wrong. You did
know you could go infinite. Own it, or better yet cut it from the deck.
Perhaps this is well-tread territory, but Ashnod (P.S.- If you haven’t read the MTGRetold.tumblr
about the Brother’s War and Ashnod’s role, you’re doing it wrong) pushed it a little too hard.
Mainly offensive with Ghave, any deck with undying and a way to remove counters, or just
Mikeaus, this card is all kinds of busted for the combo-ers.
Phyrexian Altar is a far less offensive cousin, so if you have to have a sac outlet (you do), try
producing black mana and avoid the Dark Side. Because making all your ETB creatures go
infinite while producing as much mana as you want is literally terrible for the rest of us.
Verdict: Save it for your Sharuum the Hegemon deck that people already hate with a fiery
The Sad – Vivid lands
How much do you love the Vivid cycle? I hope you answered “not at all.” They’re derpy,
unnecessary with the better fixing options available, and they require you to keep a dice on your
land! The outrage!
Many smarter MTG and EDH theorists have explaining the cost of a land ETB tapped, and it’s
higher than you think. A tapped-land must provide 100% fixing or do something realllly sweet to
be worth it. And don’t forget the cost of running these over a basic, a cost that I hope goes up a
bit with Burning Earth.
Plus, when you really need one more mana and you top deck one of the Vivids, not only do you
get the slap in the face of a tapped land, but then you get the shame-punch to the gut of having to
find a dice and put two measly counters on your land.
Verdict: Unless you’re playing a five-color pauper deck, go basic.
Cut your Vivids, cut your Ashnod’s Altar. You heard it here first. Thoughts? Besides the obvious
(ie. A five color deck with a budget), where am I being totally stupid?
I liked the suggestion of looking for cycles of related cards for TCD, so I’m on the hunt for
those. Shout out suggestions for cycles and it will help me focus. Thanks team!
Hit me up in the comments or @MdaveCs .