The Drill: I pick three cards I’ve seen or played in Commander, one for each of the following categories:
-Rad: This is a surprisingly awesome card you’d be just as happy to see an opponent slam down as you would to rip it off the top.
-Bad: Take a trip to frown town with these fun suckers, apologizing on casting and getting heated when you see someone sling it.
-Sad: Often popular inclusions, these unexpectedly lame cards aren’t worth a slot.
A response: Last week I got some feedback on Reddit that my “bad” choices are not the most abusive combo generals. Paraphrasing, “Arcum Dagsson is worse than Sharuum the Hegemon for artifact combo.” I chose Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind Sharuum, and Azami, Lady of Scrolls because they are all pieces for their decks’ signature infinite combos. So it’s certainly reasonable that a recurring tutor general be considered worse, these are still some of the most “unfun” generals that suggest an obviously linear combo built on them.
The Rad – Ground Seal
Maybe you don’t want to nuke the world of the dead, or maybe you just like cycling in green. Either way, with the prevalence of recursion, Ground Seal is your piece of cardboard. Cards I have seen it shut down:
- Animate Dead
- Reanimate (for what would have been a turn two Sylvan Primordial. ugh) and its ilk
- Diluvian and Sepulchral Primordials
- Recoup (both in a Melek Storm combo deck)
- Eternal Witness (off of a Genesis Wave. We all know where that was going.)
Even though it neutered my ability to do busted magics last week, it was a beautiful thing to behold. Are there more powerful options? Tons. But they all cost you a card. This beaut is just two mana.
Verdict: Elegance through simplicity
The Bad – Render Silent
Sometimes you need to say “no, and you know what, take a little break too.” This card is a nice tool sometimes. But man is it a whammy.
Seriously. You have things lined up to cast a Gravepact and take out a stifling Elesh Norn or something, and the guy who would be collateral damage fires off Render Silent. All of a sudden, sad trombone. You can’t even cast the ramp spell you were saving so you could do your searching and shuffling with proper, time-saving etiquette.
Verdict: A sometimes-necessary evil, it should be used as a scalpel, not a band-aid.
The Sad – Bösium Strip
I have cast this and seen it cast at least a dozen times. Despite its awesome umlaut and the fact that graveyard order mattering is cool, it did nothing in the vast majority of those games. The only decks that can really leverage it use it as a second, worse Past in Flames, except this one gets shut off by a timely wasteland.
Escher infinity is not that difficult to build around, it’s just that there are more powerful recursive options, and giving all your top cards of your graveyard flashback until the end of turn is somehow too situational. However, I’m open to being told this is just the result of a small sample or something.
Verdict: Please. Tell me it’s due to poor piloting. I really want this card to be reliable.
I got to play so much EDH this week, I’m brimming with fun cards to talk about. So what are your top three for each category as I’ve defined them?
Twitter me @MdaveCs or comment here and I’ll respond for sure. I want to debate, so tell me your thoughts!