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

Welcome to Season 3 of Three Cards Deep. We’re going funky this time around. High-level mechanics and concepts style. For starters, a three-parter on “politics.”

Week one of the politics trifecta this season is about the cards players see as “political” despite the fact that the prevalence of “group hug” and related strategies may have pushed these cards into another realm.

Here’s how Three Cards Deep works for anyone who doesn’t know. I present three cards that fit the titular criteria:

  • 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 – Spectral Searchlight

You know it’s political because it asks you to make a choice about who to give some free mana. And because Bennie Smith loves it and writes about it every once in a while.

I know it’s awesome because I love three-mana rocks that fix for any color. And because I love saying “I choose me” obnoxiously every once in a while. More importantly, I love political cards that don’t force a situation. When you want to, you can give someone a little hug. When you want to play regular Magic and move on, you can.

Verdict: It’s the Swiffer of political cards. It does exactly what you want to clean up the mess.

Bad – Rites of Flourishing

I see this as the poster child for generation-one political cards. “I’m just helping everyone out. Don’t be mad at me.” It’s standard bologna in my book, because they’re always building up to Forbid plus Constant Mists into a tooth-pulling win.

I’ve written about how I dislike these Rites very much because they act like a reverse Armageddon. They don’t prevent people from playing their spells, but they make most of the pacing and tenor of most spells irrelevant. The difference is ‘Geddon doesn’t hid behind any false pretense or hand waving, and Rites does.

Verdict: I do say “Ugh,” but if you want to play it, own it.

Sad – Rainbow Vale

Unless you’re playing Zedruu the Greathearted and trying to draw some cards in a way that is difficult to disrupt and does make people feel even more politically loved, you don’t want the Vale. I mean, I love Homelands [Multiple astute readers have pointed out that Fallen Empires, Vale’s home, is not the same as Homelands. My bad. I love them both equally.] cards as much as the next guy. But I’m not spending a land slot and a land drop on the Vale unless the mileage is far greater than just looking nice and political.

Verdict: Why not find something you can pass to someone else that does a thing?

Conclusion: So it’s a new “season,” for lack of a better phrase. I’m trying this different approach. Shoot me some thoughts, comments, or suggestions. I’m liking how it feels.