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.

I really liked what STP had to say in the Black Sheep column this week about changing the battlefield by shifting the primary axis of play to advantage your cards and weaken your opponents’. This week we’re looking at a few cards that change the way the game is played.

The Rad – Smoke

I had completely forgotten about Smoke, a card I own probably 15 Revised copies of for some reason, until someone on Twitter suggested it for Purphoros, God of the Forge. I love it because it makes blocking easier and shuts down token swarms as well as weird, tappy value-creature deck strategies. It’s also utterly fair, mainly because I’ll never stop preaching that people need to pack more answers for Enchantments. Downsides include Vigilance, Seedborn Muse, and that darn flashy muse, the Prophet. But it nonetheless makes people play on your terms and probably decreases the impact of all those silly “value” creatures.

Verdict: Now you only have Voltron strategies to worry about.

The Bad – Dovescape

So I know this is a card everybody loves to hate, but in a way I think it’s kinda like Armageddon. In theory, I love that it exists as a strategy for decks that need something wonky like this – bird tribal and “If all my spells become birds then sweet” decks…

But in practice, I never want to play against it. To be fair, “people” (me) need a diverse range of answers if their decks fold to specific hate cards. So a table should be able to deal with this without it completely preventing them from playing Magic. In reality, All your spells are become birds.

Verdict: No onboard draw engines or removal? Sweet, I can go off with my creature-based combo without fearing counters…

The Sad – War’s Toll

I like this card. I like to play it and see it. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m saying it’s not that effective at shifting the way the game plays out, and that people often run it thinking they’re getting that effect. If you’re playing a proactive deck, just smash.

But often the card is kinda just neat-but-who-cares. If you’re playing a reactive deck, you probably only need to counter one key spell per time around the table anyway. You can just fire off Opportunity when they move to pass priority for the end of the phase anyway so you don’t lose the value of your mana. But maybe that’s just a weird issue of small sample size.

Verdict: I’ve never spent a single resource to remove it because it’s just not that high impact.

Weekly Lesson: If you don’t make time for the cards, you won’t get to turn them sideways. Hopefully you’re crashing in for more damage than me this week.

Happy Holidays.