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

This week it’s “Things that ping,” a suggestion beamed up by courtesy frequent contributor and reader Ryan Swaney. The “context card” theme is a little flimsy for this, but whatever. Just pretend it’s season one. (Oh yeah, and we’re hitting up Monday this week because important editorials on theories that are nice but wrong and problematic combined with technical difficulties to make Friday not an option. Expect extra spice for the rest of this week’s schedule as well.)

Here’s how it goes for new readers. I present three cards. (Since there’s no context, I’ll also discuss what context I’m envisioning for each case.)

  • One is Rad: It’s awesome, perhaps even surprisingly so, a 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: The let down you realize you usually don’t want to cast.

Rad – Kyren Negotiations

I’m imagining this in some sort of Jundy, hatorade, value-creature deck. I have played it in Purphoros because it pairs well with dinky tokens and damage doublers, but I think its ideal spot is as a win-con in a deck full of lots of small creatures who do stuff, like Zo-Zu the Punisher and Dwarven Miner. You play them to shut off and punish strategies, and then you drop the negotiations to seal the deal.

Verdict: It’s rad because it’s a permanent effect that makes everyone deal an unblockable one damage. Amazing.

Bad – Nin, the Pain Artist

In my hypothetical Tims deck, Nin is one of the most perfect generals (Riku of Two Reflections being the other at the top of my list because of the cloning and access to more untap effects). However, you only really see Nin as the non-Niv-Mizzet commander of a combo deck that isn’t spell-y Melek style. A general with the text “UURRX, {T}: Draw X cards.” is pretty nasty fuel for a deck that wants to combo off with tons of cards.

I wouldn’t rank Nin among the top anything “bad-guy” cards, but among lowly pingers, only the super obvious Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind is worse in this color combo.

Verdict: Please. PLEASE just play an army of Tims instead of using this as a boring draw engine.

Sad – Mouth of Ronom

I don’t want to start any fires (I’m lying. Call me Sir Inflammatory.) but I think the Mouth is virtually worthless in EDH. People often write about throwing it in mono-colored decks that need more removal, but I just don’t see a deck that needs to scrape this far down to the bottom of the barrel. I’m trying to imagine the deck that wants it most and could leverage it best. Something with a Life from the Loam engine and card]Crucible of Worlds[/card] is obviously well-positioned, and green decks do tend to want for creature removal.

In that scenario, and with something busted like Azusa, Lost but Seeking, and a ton mana, you could milk 16 damage a turn out of this card to deal with large creatures. And the bill? 20 (snow) mana. Yep. Pretty sure I’ll just cast Prey Upon targeting a Vigor that has blocked instead, thanks.

Verdict: Even if that’s only 80% of the best-case, that’s terrible.

Conclusion: Pinging is rad. Stamped. Certified approved. It isn’t the most powerful thing, but that is part of why it’s totally sweet in this behemoth of a format. However, you have to do it right. Check the context for these explanations and you’ll notice a subtle emphasis on synergy. That’s how you take a mediocre mechanic that is fun and make it viable. So says Team GDC!