Every new set injects awesome cardage into our collective decks. Our Magic stomachs are bigger than our eyes, and we load our decks with these cards before realizing that some are not as good as we first thought.
What cards from Dragon’s Maze are in the top echelon for multiplayer madness? Whether you play with sixty cards, a hundred cards, or two hundred fifty cards, there are some goodies in here for you. Today, I want to look at the Top 10 cards from the set for multiplayer. And like every good Top 10 list, I have some honorable mentions that just missed the cut. Let’s take a look!
Pontiff of Blight – No mono-colored card made the Top 10, and this barely made the honorable mentions. I like the engine-tastic qualities of this guy, giving all of your dorks extort. It will give token creatures extort along with creatures in other colors and more. With a powered-up Cabal Coffers, this can end the game simply by casting one cheap spell and activating extort six or seven times. It’s another great creature for that toolbox.
Honorable Mention #2: Wear // Tear – If you like flexibility in a card, this is very useful. It gives you a Shatter and Demystify or both very cheaply and instantly. Both costs are right on curve already, so you only need 3 mana to do both. This is a utility card that is strong for many decks, but it still pales next to Orim's Thunder. If you have those, this may not always warrant a slot in your decks. If you need more spots beyond your Thunder, or in a format that is Highlandered, this is great.
Honorable Mention #3: Tajic, Blade of the Legion – Our final card before hitting the actual Top 10 list is Tajic, Blade of the Legion. He just misses. A 4-mana 2/2 indestructible will do wonders for a lot of decks. This is also the highest Boros card on the list, but Legion's Initiative came very close; it was number fifteen on my final list. I digress. Tajic works because he is cheap and has the most powerful ability for multiplayer: indestructible. Today, you will hear a lot about mass removal. This creature dodges almost every mass-removal card ever printed. So, you can play him alongside your own removal or feature him against others’ sweeping cards. You also have the battalion bump, which is pretty solid. Comparing to his cost and powers, he is a very strong card for your consideration.
But he’s not Top 10 material. What is?
Debt to the Deathless – When I tell you that Exsanguinate is among the hundred most powerful multiplayer cards ever printed, you know that this card must hit my radar. The obviously expensive cost in both Orzhov colors drops it immensely, but it still scratches a spot here at the back place of the Top 10. Let’s say we have a small situation—you are playing against just three opponents and put just 3 mana into its X, for a total of 7 mana spent. Your foes each lose 6 life, and you gain 18. That’s one spell and 7 mana. If you increase the mana or number of opponents even a little, you are dealing out 10 life and gaining 40 very quickly. If you manage to put any amount of scary mana into this, you can win very quickly. Just 12 mana total rolls 16 life-loss to each foe and becomes insane from there.
9. Trostani's Summoner – This little uncommon is a great tool for a lot of engines at the table. Fresh off the legs of Avacyn Restored, you can flicker or bounce this body for more tokens. Then, add in the populate goodness of Return to Ravnica, and you have a potent lover of classic G/W mechanics. Everything from Doubling Season to Soul Warden will love this card. This is also the highest-charting Selesnya card.
8. Vorel of the Hull Clade – Some cards on this list are tools for engines, such as the aforementioned Summoner. Some are the engines, such as Vorel. This is a huge powerhouse for a lot of cards in the Simic colors. A ton of people are thinking of combos with this scion—from Darksteel Reactor and Forgotten Ancient to Lux Cannon and Master Biomancer. You can add counters to lands, such as Gemstone Mine, you can hit a creature with a -1/-1 counter and make this a minor proliferate, and more. The sheer versatility of Vorel, plus the 1/4 defensive body, suggests many powerful builds.
Ready // Willing – The Selesnya half makes your guys indestructible, and the Orzhov half makes them all lifelinked and deathtouched. Making everybody indestructible is nice for avoiding mass removal or a combat nightmare to weaken your board position. What I really enjoy here is the lifelink and deathtouch, like the Vault of the Archangel activation. We already know how good that is. You can really play havoc with combat math, and suddenly, a lot of creatures that were supposed to stay alive are falling, all while you gain a bit of life. Combine them, and you have one of the best combat instants ever made.
6. Progenitor Mimic – The nasty combination of Clone and a token-maker of the cloned copy is a card that sparks the imagination. What powerful creatures are good choices here? Imagine you have copied a humble Solemn Simulacrum or Acidic Slime. You might have a powerful Woodfall Primus, Consecrated Sphinx, or Avenger of Zendikar. Ouch. These modest examples from a Simic-colored deck illustrate the potential this card exudes in a deck that actually takes him into consideration when building it, rather than just tossing him in.
All right, Top 5 time!
5. Krasis Incubation – I don’t know if you have noticed, but green occasionally receives a nice Pacifism variant when it’s in flavor. Examples include Utopia Vow, Lignify, and this. This card reminds me of Evolution Vat, which can be used either to tap a creature down or grow one of your own. This similarly can lock down an opposing creature or make your own better. If you simply use it as a self-bouncing Arrest that can move to a bigger creature or be pulled back in response to the enchanted creature’s death, this it’s a nice tool. If you use it to grow your stuff as well, it suddenly has a lot of flexibility to recommend. This is the highest-charting Simic card.
Notion Thief – Yes, it’s likely to be a winner in tournaments. But it also has some things to recommend it in multiplayer. First of all, flash on a creature gives you the ability to bring it out at the end of someone’s turn and immediately swing or the ability to block an annoying attacker. It’s doesn’t even need to have an ability to be of use. But our good Rogue does something else as well. You can steal those draws people have beside the first. Many people load up their decks with cards such as Mind's Eye, Greater Good, and Recurring Insight cards. You can pilfer a lot of cards with this. The problem is that a lot of spells like these often sit in your hand and never are played, as you are waiting for the right moment. You can still drop this to kill an attacker or as a body for the offense; it’s never a wasted card. Plus, if you build a deck that has cards such as Font of Mythos in it, this increases in power significantly. This is the only Dimir card on today’s list.
3. Down // Dirty – This is a nice card for all of you Golgari fans out there. First of all, you have a great Recollect on one side, and that’s a card good enough to make decklists on its own. Next, you have an expensive Mind Rot, and suddenly, I’m calling this the third-best card in the set for multiplayer. Have I taken stupid pills or something? Actually, no. Let’s walk through the card a bit. First of all, most cheap Regrowth variants just bring back one card and are not card advantage. You have to spend a lot of mana for more, such as with Restock. So, you can play this in a Recollect spot and enjoy your one-for-one trade and then play the card you wanted. But you have the potential to fuse this, and for an additional 4 mana, force someone to discard two cards for some nice card advantage. How often do green decks have extra mana in multiplayer? Quite often. Then, you have the ability to just Mind Rot for 4 mana when needed. You regularly see an opponent tutor for a card during his or her turn but not have the mana to use it, so the player passes the turn. Strip it out with the Dirty half of this card! When you consider that one half is right on curve and already used, the second half becomes just that little extra bit you need to give your deck some added power. This is the only Golgari card on today’s list.
Obzedat's Aid – When I first wrote this article, this was number one, but I sat with it for two days and decided to knock it down a spot. The ability to Zombify any permanent is delightful. I just tap 5 mana, play this, and suddenly, your best X in your graveyard is now on my side of the battlefield. Whether it’s your precious planeswalker, my combo piece, or someone’s best creature, this turns into the best card for the situation because it has so many potential targets. With the more targets you have, the better a chance there is something backbreaking for me to bring back out for another go. Plus, if an opponent has a combo deck, after a piece is destroyed, I can get rid of that piece by Aiding it into play, and now it cannot be brought back by that player. So, if a player had a deck with Pandemonium and Saproling Burst for 21 damage to someone’s face and the Burst was killed post-combo, I can Aid it back into play (and smash someone for 21, such as perhaps the Pandemonium’s owner!). All of this makes our good Aid quite interesting indeed.
1. Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts – So, what makes Teysa the best multiplayer card in Dragon’s Maze? Well, consider the value of protection from creatures on a vigilance body. You can swing for damage every turn, and no one can ever block you. That alone makes her quite powerful—she’s basically a 4/4 vigilance unblockable body. All right, so that’s nice, but then remember that she can block any creatures and will survive unless the creature has a weird ability such as Sylvan Basilisk’s. That means she is essentially a 4/4 Moat, sitting on the ground, keeping people away. Since she has vigilance, she can attack without compromising your defensive position. If she had vigilance and protection from creatures, she would chart on today’s list for that alone. But she has something else to add to the conversation. Any opposing creature that dares to deal combat damage to you will die, as she shows No Mercy. And then, for daring to touch you, you make a 1/1 flying spirit token. Remember Dread? It was on my Top 100 Multiplayer Cards of All Time because it was a 6/6 feared—usually unblockable—and then had No Mercy attached. Teysa is just 4/4, but she is always unblockable, has she No Mercy attached and makes you 1/1 tokens and has vigilance and stays back to keep away attackers with a great ability on defense. If Dread hit in the nineties for my Top 100 Multiplayer Cards list, how high will Teysa go?
That concludes our look at the best cards from Dragon’s Maze. Not every color made out equally in respect to multiplayer. Orzhov received a ton of great new toys. Simic has a huge injection of awesome, including cards that we didn’t even mention, such as Plasm Capture. Some guilds had few strong multiplayer entries, such as Azorius and Selesnya. Selesnya is better for duels. Rakdos did better than it looks—three cards make the back half of my Top 20—led by Carnage Gladiator, with Master of Cruelties and Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch in there; plus, you can make a case for Sire of Insanity in the Top 20.
Anyway, let me know what you thought!
See you next week,