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

Three things happened to make me want to talk about Captain Sisay tonight. First, she did pretty well in the GDC March Madness Tournament. Second, a certain Jud/Doug/GUDoug badmouthed tutors during a conversation on Twitter (I basically agree with him btw). Third, I was toying with a number of different builds involving the Captain. So here we go. Let’s Rad Bad Sad.

Here’s how it goes for new readers. Using Captain Sisay as context, I present three cards.

  • 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.

The Rad – The Kaldras: Helm of Kaldra, Shield of Kaldra, and Sword of Kaldra

This is a pretty Timmy selection. “Woh. I should put the Kaldra stuff in Sisay because then I can reliably summon the one and only whenever I want.”

The pieces are serviceable on their own as long as they serve a bigger purpose, the Shield most of all. A second Darksteel Plate? Sign me up. They obviously run into the typical problems with equipment. I top-decked the Helm with only a Birds of Paradise in play, and it felt bad.

But in Sisay, their slightly higher cost for the effect is more than worth it for their legendary status, making them just three more quivers in the Weatherlight captain’s quiver.

Verdict: Seriously, who doesn’t want to actually put together Magic’s closest Voltron facsimile. 

The Bad – Hokori, Dust Drinker

I don’t actually have a problem with lockdown/tax/stax strategies. In this case, it’s the specific synergy and very common line of play that makes Hokori this week’s Micheal Jackson in a knife fight (BAD! You Know It!). Turn three or for Sisay, turn four or five Hokori. Ugh.

The game slowwwwwwws down (Obviously unless someone has the quick answer. And in all fairness, if the Sisay player isn’t being a jerk, s/he is probably playing in a group that’s ready for this strategy, meaning someone should have the answer ready, but I digress…). It’s the difference between, ” ‘Geddon, triple Overrun, kill the table,” a perfectly fine end-game play, and turn four ‘geddon “because I had it in my hand and why not.”

This, along with the Kamahl 2 plus Elesh Norn plan, is one of the big reasons I see people sigh out a defeated whump when a player flips Sisay at the start of the game.

Verdict: An early Hokori is the pits when you’re unprepared.

The Sad – Mindslaver

I’ve bagged on Mindslaver in the context of EDH before. Unless you’re doing really obnoxious recursive things with it, it’s meh. Our resident Black Sheep would whole-heartedly disagree, pointing out that Sisay is a “gun full of silver bullets” in a toolbox. If you’re playing competitive Sisay, you probably run the Slaver because who knows when you need to make someone not kill you so you can win? Right?

Bleh. The downside of a toolbox deck is that if you ever draw your narrow answer, it’s lame. Kataki, War’s Wage is waving his lighter right now, because he totally gets the song I’m singing. He knows that a random ‘Slavin’ on turn ten, or whatever, isn’t that great. (The funny thing is that I’m bemoaning a high variance card, in an article about a tutor general, within the broader context of a format built to be high variance.)

Verdict: I wouldn’t run it, even in a competitive Sisay list, unless I could recur it a lot or reliably shuffle it away.


Finalmente: So Three Cards Deep is going to be winding down, or at least changing shape soon. I’m taking requests to finish out the season. Shout me out in the comments or Twitter if you have an idea.