Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

Three cards:
• One is Rad: Surprisingly awesome card you’d be just as happy to see an opponent slam down as you would to rip it off the top.
• One is Bad: It’s a bogeyman. Take a trip to frown town with these fun suckers, whether you’re casting or being tortured by them.
• One is Sad: Often popular inclusions, these cards tend to let you down.

The new Commander Precons just got spoiled and have everyone excited (and we have more than one sick somethings in the pipeline for you!). But I’m going to visit a favorite this week: Blue Monsters! (You’ll note the absence of Consecrated Sphinx from this list. I literally don’t care about that card. I play it, it draws cards, other people play it, we kill it and life moves on. Neither ban worthy nor awesome. Just. A. Card.)

The Rad – Sphinx of the Steel Wind

Although the Sphinx is technically Esper, it’s a quintessential blue monster. It closes games, fast. And as you all know, I love guys who attack well. Nothing too splashy, just attack. I had about 15 options in mind for the “Rad” this week, including Stormtide Leviathan, Inkell Leviathan, Simic Sky Swallower, but this Sphinx does the same dance and he’s a classic.

The random Esper decks I play against that aren’t trying to crush your soul count themselves lucky to run Sphinx. It’s just annoying enough – especially when it doesn’t pick up a sword – to feel like you’re doing it right if you’re just turning guys sideways. Getting in for six, padding the life total, dodging reach and damage-based removal, and hitting hard enough with first strike to slay most demonic blockers, this classic reanimation target brings the damages.

Verdict: Big Blue Beats? Check. Awesomeness? Check. Cheap in foil from PDS: Graveborn? Super. Check.

The Bad – Palinchron

It’s no secret that I love to hate on the usual combo-enabling suspects. And people only use Palinchron for one reason: to generate infinite mana. It’s too-low impact to be included for any other reason. They won’t run their combo piece out unless they can protect the illusory, raptor-looking dude, so once it hits, expect to get Stroked off to death.

I would also point out the weaker cousin Tidespout Tyrant, which is usually just a combo finisher but also has less common, fair applications.

The point is that this big blue monster is stupid. It’s powerful with the right synergies, but there’s no middle ground. He just goes infinite with like Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger or High Tide or whatever. Snore.

Verdict: The worst is when some rando player combos out the table with this like he invented unbounded loops or something.

The Sad – Guile

I have a deck that wants to counter a lot of stuff, and I even pretend I have a deck of non humans with weird human facial expressions in the art, and I still can never make myself be happy when I draw Guile. God, even in a Street Fighter themed deck I think he’d be the weakest card, and what would you play for Blanka in that deck? Cudgel Troll?

A 6/6 with decent evasion for six including UUU is verrrry meh; it lives or dies by its other ability. And the thing is, this ability doesn’t cut it no matter what. You seriously aren’t countering enough spells for this. You’d think that even getting just the first two-for-one would be decent value. But everything has to go right for that to be worth it. The other 20 times when you have this in hand but no counters and some other fat you’d rather run out instead, you just cast [Card]Duress[/card] on yourself. Great work.

Verdict: One extra blue and a colorless gets you a card off Treasure Trove. Now that’s value.

Weekly Lesson: Don’t complain about stuff too early. Unrelated to card selection, I may or may not have huffed a bit on Twitter Thursday when I thought [Card]Opal Palace[/Card] was replacing [Card]Command Tower[/Card] in the precons. It didn’t, I’m dumb. Take your time to complain and you’ll be rewarded with not looking silly.