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

The Three Cards Deep treatment checks out cards in EDH and drops them into 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.

Without further ado…

The Rad – Disturbed Burial

Yes, it has buyback so it leads to repetitive game states. Bear with me, it’s a rad not a bad. I love getting guys back from the yard. Who doesn’t? What makes this not-too-mean compared to something like a Corpse Dance (Did I mention I like Graveyard Order Matters cards? I do cuz they are inane.) is that they go to your hand, so you’re not cheating on mana costs. Yes, I will always be sure to have a Sun Titan to recur Oblivion Stone and Phyrexian Arena, and yes, that is obnoxious cuz killing it isn’t enough. But it’s not thaaaat obnoxious.

I’m paying 11 mana to get Sunny T into play, so it’s almost a wash. Plus, I like killing and sacrificing stuff and getting new ETB triggers. And if you don’t have a lot of card draw for some reason, “Five Mana: Tutor a creature from your graveyard to your hand” is not bad. Not bad at all.

Verdict: I wouldn’t call this a staple by any means, but I would say I’m always pumped to draw it.


The Bad – Maelstrom Wanderer

It’s a bit of a cop out to use busted generals for the “Bad” category, and this choice isn’t surprising anyone. But the wanderer is oppressive for a unique reason. You almost can’t build a weak MW deck. Literally, I once took all the EDH cards I’d always wanted to play but could never really justify because they were just too wimpy, shoved them into a deck behind this guy, and it was competitive.

Obviously your experience may be different, and he’s particularly bad at the helm of a bigmana goodstuff build, but Fervor plus two free spells of CMC seven or less is always going to be powerful, and when you can cast it several times over from the Command zone, you’ve got something that makes many players shrug and sigh, at least a bit.

Verdict: Unless it’s an art-based deck built around non-mammals with many legs, I’m not interested.

The Sad – Rampant Growth

I know you love skipping ahead on land drops. I also play too much ramp. But you don’t play Doom Blade outside of a Toshiro Umezawa deck, do you? That may be an extreme example, but card parity is important, and rampant growth costs you that parity. I see a lot of newer players cast this in EDH, and that same big mana Maelstrom Wanderer deck ran it – although to be fair he crushed us with mana advantage so I can’t say it didn’t work for him, but like I said, even Urza’s Bauble wouldn’t suck in a MW deck – and I’m never impressed.

You really don’t need to spend two mana, a card from your hand, and a slot in your deck on this. If two copies of cultivate, the four four-mana variations of Explosive Vegetation, and your flavor of creature ramp options don’t satiate you, I think maybe you have an addiction to ramp. I know a guy who runs a counseling center that could help. Seriously, unless it’s part of some weird two mana, green, sorcery mechanical theme, don’t run it.

Verdict: This isn’t Standard. Play something cool or good.

Lessons of the larnin’ type – this column has led me to realize I really like a lot of cards. Some of them are just shiny and cool, but most of the time, it’s cards that carry a lot of weight and surprise me that are really exciting. This week I slotted out a personal staple and replaced it with a fun card that offers high synergy for a specific deck, and I enjoyed the deck more for doing so. Added bonus, it played better as a result as well!



Once Theros is out I’ll do one of these for a cycle or something, but only if I can find people who play them. Thoughts?