Too-Specific Top 10 – Two Thousand Top Nineteen – EDHREC

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(Arcane Signet | Art by Dan Scott)

Welcome to Too-Specific Top 10, the place if there isn’t a class to rank our pet card on the high of, we’ll simply make one up! (Did you realize that Priest of Forgotten Gods is the one card that has the phrases “lose”, “sacrifice”, “draw”, and “add” all on the identical card?)

2020 has come to an in depth.

Hang on, that looks as if it wants a bit extra celebration:

That’s higher.

Anyway, as I mirrored on this yr and considered what it meant so far as Too-Specific Top 10, I noticed two issues:

  1. I don’t wish to take into consideration 2020 anymore.
  2. There isn’t sufficient information on playing cards from 2020 but to do any type of significant Top Ten.

Pushing by means of merchandise primary for a second, let me show quantity two a bit.

Top 10 Cards of 2020 (So Far)

  1. Fierce Guardianship
  2. Thassa’s Oracle
  3. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
  4. Shadowspear
  5. Deflecting Swat
  6. Underworld Breach
  7. Nyxbloom Ancient
  8. Zagoth Triome
  9. Nyx Lotus
  10. Drannith Magistrate

Six out of ten playing cards on this listing had been printed in January. The different 4 are from April. To discover a card printed within the latter half of 2020, you must go all the way in which to what can be the #23 card on the listing, Garruk’s Uprising. To discover a card from the latest full set (that was really designed for the format), you must go #62, after which be depressed about the truth that it’s predictably Hullbreacher.

In different phrases, it’s too near 2020 to actually perceive what 2020 means. So earlier than we find yourself fascinated about that assertion in too deep a trend, let’s press ahead… by going backward!


Top 10 “Meaty, Yet Budget” Cards of 2019

In the identical vein as 2020 is certain to be, 2019 was a loopy yr for Commander. To refresh a bit, let’s go down the listing of main releases (and a few of my private favourite playing cards from every of them), as even the yr earlier than final had a firehose-worth of printings that had been related to the format:

Ravnica Allegiance

War of the Spark

Modern Horizons

Core Set 2020

Commander 2019

Throne of Eldraine

Mystery Booster

Okay, technically Mystery Booster didn’t have any new playing cards in it, however given simply how a lot of a love letter that set was to Magic: The Gathering, I couldn’t assist however have fun it. That nonetheless left six completely different new printings for the yr, every of them crazier than the final when it got here to what it did for our favourite format.

But which playing cards are the preferred of all of these printed in 2019?

Well, these ones:

Top 10 Cards of 2019

  1. Arcane Signet
  2. Smothering Tithe
  3. Fabled Passage
  4. Prismatic Vista
  5. Generous Gift
  6. Guardian Project
  7. Dockside Extortionist
  8. Narset, Parter of Veils
  9. Narset’s Reversal
  10. Dovin’s Veto

And I don’t assume I’ve give you a extra boring, and, frankly, miserable listing than this within the historical past of this collection. Every single choice on this listing is one thing I might attempt to get rid of from a deck on precept. The common price of the highest ten as an entire is a whopping $12.90, regardless of 4 of the playing cards on it being uncommons, and the inclusion of each single card may very well be neatly described as a deck “eating its vegetables”.

No, this gained’t do in any respect. So as a substitute, let’s earn the Too-Specific title, get rid of the greens, and discover the very best “meaty” playing cards of 2019.

Let’s additionally set an arbitrary worth restrict, as a result of I’m a biased particular person who thinks that enjoying Commander shouldn’t imply taking out a second mortgage. As I all the time say, except you’re sitting all the way down to play Competitive EDH, you already determined you’re not enjoying the very best model of your deck. So why all of the emphasis on costly and boring optimization, when there’s a lot enjoyable available?

Criteria: Cards initially printed in 2019 that at the moment price lower than $5.00 and couldn’t be thought of a “Mana Rock” or “Single Target Removal”. As is custom, all outcomes are ordered by EDHREC rating.

There we go. Specific, arbitrary, and hopefully much more fascinating.

On to the true (learn: pretend) Top Ten Cards of 2019!

10. Return of the Wildspeaker

(17,828 Inclusions, 11% of 164,937 Decks)

Whether you’re enjoying numerous little creatures, just a few large creatures, or a crap-ton of each, Return of the Wildspeaker slots in properly. As lengthy as you’re not enjoying Human Tribal, that’s. Combine that with the truth that it solely has a single inexperienced pip, and it’s imminently splashable. Aside from simply being typically good, nevertheless, the place Return of the Wildspeaker actually shines is in decks with a big commander that additionally makes numerous creatures.

Luckily, we’ve had no scarcity of commanders that do precisely that of late, and so it comes as little shock to see a lot of these new commanders with over a 50% inclusion charge for Return of the Wildspeaker. What does shock me is to see that Ghalta, Primal Hunger has been knocked off of the Top Commander listing for this card someday within the final yr. Regardless of what large-creature-helming-a-lot-of-other-creatures you’re utilizing, nevertheless, Return of the Wildspeaker will both draw numerous playing cards or straight up finish the sport for you. If that’s not what Commander gamers are searching for, then what’s?

9. Syr Konrad, the Grim

(Helms 902 Decks, Rank #142; 17,288 Inclusions, 10% of 172,264 Decks)

Syr Konrad, the Grim principally reads as “if something happens, deal one damage to each opponent. If nothing happens, then you can pay two, and something will have happened.”

With as (rightfully) standard as Syr Konrad is within the 99, I’m shocked to see that extra of us haven’t tried him out within the command zone. Regardless of the place he enters from, nevertheless, Syr Konrad ends video games. Being half a Zulaport Cutthroat and Blood Artist on the identical time is powerful sufficient, however tacking on injury for mill, which he can feed himself, actually ups the ante. Combine that with a dangling Sword of Damocles for anybody even fascinated about exiling your graveyard, and it actually does end in conditions the place opponents need to take away him instantly. Even that isn’t sufficient at occasions, nevertheless, as his mill potential or sac results you might have on the board can get issues shifting at immediate velocity, loading heaps of injury on your complete desk at the same time as they’ve a Swords to Plowshares on the stack threatening to take away him.

In quick, if you happen to haven’t tried this card in your black deck but, you’re lacking out. Give him a shot, drown in some triggers. You’ll thank me.

8. Spark Double

(18,718 Inclusions, 9% of 213,913 Decks)

Clone results have been getting higher and higher for years, however Spark Double may simply be my favourite of the lot. Being in a position to copy a creature or a planeswalker already doubles the quantity of decks it may be playable in, whereas the additional counter for both sort is simply gravy. Where Spark Double actually shines, nevertheless, is in Superfriends decks. Dropping down one Teferi, Temporal Archmage is already dangerous sufficient, however a second copy that instantly pays for itself is simply ridiculous. Even higher, nevertheless, how a couple of second copy of Deepglow Skate to final all of your planeswalkers a second time? Another Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice to double your Proliferate triggers whereas nonetheless attacking and blocking for eight or extra each flip? Spark Double is sweet high quality enjoyable it doesn’t matter what your goal is, and there are all types of juicy targets on the market to attempt, so get to it!

7. Karn’s Bastion

(19,710 Inclusions, 5% of 404,801 Decks)

If the primary thought that got here to your head wasn’t “fun” after I talked about Atraxa and Superfriends, consider me, I perceive. Luckily, for these of us enjoying decks that care about counters that aren’t in 4 colours, there’s Karn’s Bastion. You’ll nonetheless need to observe ticking up these planeswalkers in a well timed trend to make sure that you aren’t boring the desk to demise, however fortunately with all of the help Superfriends has gotten within the final couple years, there are an increasing number of coloration combos permitting for the technique, enough that I probably already need to revisit my “Oops, All Planeswalkers!” article from the release of War of the Spark.

To put it extra succinctly, nevertheless, what I really like about Karn’s Bastion is the quantity of doorways it opens that lead of us away from Atraxa, not only for Superfriends, however for +1/+1 counters, Infect, Charge Counters, and even Weird Counter Tribal. Giving extra choices to brewers to excite each themselves and their playgroups is all the time factor, and regardless that you gained’t be paying the 5 to stack counters on issues practically as a lot in actuality as in your creativeness, there isn’t any doubting that it’s typically a greater choice than enjoying one other bear that might don’t have any impact on the board within the late recreation.

6. Growth Spiral

(20,212 Inclusions, 17% of 116,034 Decks)

Seeing Growth Spiral make the listing wasn’t precisely a shock. What was a shock to me is the truth that it’s solely seeing play in 17% of the decks on the market that embody Simic colours. Sure, it’s not precisely attractive. One may even say it’s precisely the type of vegetable we tried to keep away from right here on this listing. But even taking brewers like myself (who are inclined to keep away from environment friendly playing cards that don’t match a theme) out of the equation, Growth Spiral is tough to get rid of. Two mana to attract a card and put a land into play is already very strong in a vacuum. Fill that vacuum up with the free hairball that’s Simic Lands Matter, nevertheless, and this card does completely every thing, typically even paying for itself with an untapped land and a Landfall set off. Sure, having a Lotus Cobra useful always appears fairly Magical Christmas Land, however it’s not such as you wouldn’t take drawing a card and plopping down a land for a 5/5 Elemental at two mana, both!

5. Jace, Wielder of Mysteries

(21,572 Inclusions, 10% of 213,913 Decks)

Sure, positive, we’d all quite be seeing Ormos, Archive Keeper hit the battlefield, however a lot as a few of us may wish to ignore the existence of Laboratory Maniac, it exists. As do Thassa’s Oracle and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. Are there extra entertaining methods for video games to finish? Absolutely. But if you happen to’re seeking to finish them rapidly and effectively, it’s arduous to discover a higher means than this win situation that we’re apparently going to see printed into the bottom.

4. Bolas’s Citadel

(23,350 Inclusions, 11% of 210,480 Decks)

If you’re extra out there for successful a recreation quite than having a set means to take action, then Bolas’s Citadel is a superb free agent, letting you accrue worth straight up till you or your opponents run out of life. Sure, you could possibly get caught with a land you possibly can’t play on high of your library, which might put a wrench in that plan, however shuffle and high of library manipulation results will help with that. Besides, even if you happen to do solid this for six and solely get to play a land and two spells off the highest of your library with out paying any mana, that’s one thing I’d pay six mana for!

3. Mystic Sanctuary

(23,739 Inclusions, 14% of 175,165 Decks)

Originally, I had “Mana Fixing” as one of many standards that might take a card off this listing, however it seems that duals as a rule price greater than 5 {dollars}. Whether or not you are feeling that needs to be the case is a completely completely different dialogue, however both means I used to be excited to see a utility land that really did one thing thrilling on this listing. Before we dig into Mystic Sanctuary too deeply, nevertheless, can we give a hearty “thank you” to Wizards for this complete land cycle?

None of them precisely blow you away, however provided that they’re frequent, I’m unsure that they need to. That stated, they’re fetchable, can are available untapped (particularly in mono-color), and have skills that may be related to a particular technique. In different phrases, they’re the epitome of what we’d like to see extra of out of lands within the frequent and unusual slots: area of interest playability.

To cease my gushing and are available again to the matter at hand, nevertheless, Mystic Sanctuary‘s area of interest was clearly imagined to be spells decks, solely it appears to have escaped into a bigger habitat. Being in a position to Call to Mind a spell again to the highest of your library with nothing however a land drop is highly effective, particularly in a coloration that shouldn’t have any downside cheaply drawing a card. So highly effective, in reality, that even three- and four-color decks would have principally no downside having this come into play tapped to try to get that key spell again for a second probability. Especially since these decks are those almost certainly to be enjoying numerous fetchlands that may search this up at immediate velocity, perhaps even with a wheel on the stack!

2. Rhythm of the Wild

(24,919 Inclusions, 25% of 99,108 Decks)

As an old style Standard participant, seeing one other whack at Fires of Yavimaya actually made me smile. But truthfully, Rhythm of the Wild simply blows the unique mid-range good-stuff namesake out of the water. Sure, you possibly can’t give a creature +2/+2 to make fight extra of a headache or push by means of that final Shock price of injury. Instead, you get the choice to make creatures greater completely whenever you don’t want them to assault instantly (or they have already got haste). Combine that with the whole improve of creating positive your creatures can’t be countered, and Rhythm of the Wild is for sure the premier Fervor in any deck that may play Gruul colours.

Normally, that might put me on a little bit of a psychological tirade about energy creep and what have you ever, however truthfully, I simply can’t muster the hassle for Rhythm of the Wild, as a result of it simply makes me smile an excessive amount of.

1. Narset, Parter of Veils

(28,116 Inclusions, 13% of 213,913 Decks)

Speaking of playing cards that simply make me smile… this isn’t considered one of them. Narset, Parter of Veils being printed at unusual was virtually extra of a smack within the face than if it had been ludicrously environment friendly and mythic, as a result of each participant now has entry to it. Which can be nice, if this impact wasn’t one of many worst feel-bads in informal Magic. Seeing a Narset hit the board is often met with groans the desk over, inflicting gamers to right away begin negotiating for a way to take away it or collect sufficient attackers to solely need to put up with hopefully a single Timetwister impact the place the offending participant finally ends up six playing cards up on the desk.

That stated, it’s there. Narset exists, and just about each participant who performed War of the Spark Limited has one of their assortment, so it’s tough to not pull the set off on it. I’ve been responsible of it myself, even, throwing one in a Superfriends deck figuring out that it might gradual the remainder of the desk down and doubtless draw me into a pair further planeswalkers as well, then taking it again out after I noticed throughout a rampant uptick of a flip that I had 13 playing cards in hand and all of my opponents had only one and a frown to go along with it.

But that was six months on, which is why I wasn’t shocked to see this card on the high of this listing together with being quantity eight total for all playing cards in 2019. There’s no doubting that this Leovold, Emissary of Trest that sits within the 99 versus the command zone is highly effective, and for lots of gamers, that’s sufficient. And there’s no downside with that. What makes Narset so ubiquitous is that it appears harmless sufficient that it sneaks into low-power builds too, together with being out there sufficient that it tends to be an auto-include for newbie gamers as properly.


Honorable Mentions

2019 was a heck of a yr for Commander on the whole, whether or not you stick with five-dollar playing cards otherwise you splurged a number of hundred {dollars} for the right land base and elimination suite. Luckily for all camps, it additionally introduced an entire lot of latest, fascinating, and highly effective commanders to bear, and I might be remiss to not embody them.

Top 10 Commanders from 2019:

  1. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
  2. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
  3. Kenrith, the Returned King
  4. Yarok the Desecrated
  5. Alela, Artful Provocateur
  6. Teysa Karlov
  7. Sisay, Weatherlight Captain
  8. Kykar, Wind’s Fury
  9. Feather, the Redeemed
  10. Chulane, Teller of Tales

Nuts and Bolts

There all the time appears to be a little bit of curiosity in how these lists are made (this looks as if time to emphasize as soon as once more that they’re primarily based on EDHREC rating, NOT my private opinion…), and persons are typically shocked that I’m not utilizing any particular information or .json from EDHREC, however quite simply muddling my means by means of with some Scryfall knowledge! For your enjoyment/analysis, here is this week’s Scryfall search.


What Do You Think?

How did you are feeling concerning the 2019 suite of playing cards, irrespective of the value or performance? How concerning the development of the “best” playing cards of the format being boring previous greens like Arcane Signet and Prismatic Vista alongside $30+ powerhouses like Smothering Tithe and Dockside Extortionist?

And most significantly…

And lastly, what do you assume the highest playing cards of 2020 can be? What do you assume the extra cheap, meatier playing cards from 2020 can be? Did you want my arbitrary restrictions to maintain issues fascinating, or do you assume I’m greater than slightly biased? (Hint: I’m.)

Let us know within the feedback, and we’ll see you on the “we didn’t update our decks during the whole pandemic so it’s basically 2019!” desk.



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