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.

Happy New Year! This week I wanted to talk about a few intersting control elements I played or saw this week. (If you resolved not to wrath your opponents’ board so much this year, this post isn’t for you.)

The Rad – Toxic Deluge

I know people, especially of the Legacy type, have gushed about the C13, but mainly in the hypothetical. In practice, it delivers.

If you’re in the market for a wrath, this should be on your short list. It kills everything – hexproof, indestructible, regeneraters, everything. Even if it costs you 11 life, that’s the same as one more hit from the monster you want to wrath away anyway. Plus value. And the mana cost being three actually matters, because you can tutor it up on turn five (with Demonic Tutor or seven or whatever and still cast it that turn.

Watching it play out, it’s every bit as good as you’d expect, even in a deck just barely built to leverage it.

Verdict: The life doesn’t matter. Control of the game on the cheap does.

The Bad – Decree of Pain

To be honest, I think basically all wraths are totally fair. In a vacuum I’d say the most frustrating are probably Final Judgment followed by Hallowed Burial, but if I had to pick a black one that makes me sigh sometimes, it would have to be either Decree or Plague Wind because of the huge advantage they generate. That being said, at eight and nine mana, they’d have to make a decent amount of hay to warrant a slot, so what can you expect?

Verdict: Sure, you can kill everybody’s guys and draw all the cards. But I might not high five you for it.

The Sad – Damnation

Yeah. This costs roughly twice as many Big Macs as Toxic Deluge and then some, and it’s basically as far down on the rankings as original Wrath of God, just a cut above Day of Judgment. No modes, no flexibility, and no other advantage mean it’s just a wrath. If you wanna be bling or need the CMc to be low and you’re already running other options like Deluge and Mutilate, sure. But being good in a niche doesn’t mean it ain’t “sad.”

Verdict: A fine wine that has aged well this is not.

Weekly Lesson: I played with a few friends from high school this week and a buddy borrowed a Ghave deck. It took me three nights to convince him to sit down for EDH again after that. The moral is that you shouldn’t give lend decks based on a lot of activated abilities and effects to a player if they’re just getting a feel for swingy, multiplayer EDH games.