Hello folks! I hope your day is going well and that your week has been both productive and fun. Not necessarily in that order.
Today I want to look at random cards. I have played the game continuously, and during that time, I have played almost every card ever printed somewhere. I also have a draft box that includes all but 11 cards in the game, that we use to draft out of. Between those, my guess is that I have played with more 90% of the cards in the game, at least. I love to challenge myself with this random Top Ten where I head to Gatherer, and randomly choose a list of ten cards and then explore them and unpack them for you. No card sucks. Every card works in the right home!
Want to join me? Great!
Let's head down the rabbit hole and get started!
10. Black Sun's Zenith
Shoot. Nice random pull. This is likely to be the card we pull today with the biggest name recognition. Who hasn't played Black Sun's Zenith? I have copies in multiple decks I run. I really like it in my Vhati il-Dal deck where you can put one counter on everything, and then tap and kill opposing dorks with the -1/-1 counter on them. I also like that it kills stuff that might regenerate or be indestructible, making this a true sweeping removal spell that stuff won't survive. Black Sun's Zenith is, arguably, the best of the Zeniths for multiplayer, casual, Commander and such. The only one in the conversation is Green Sun's Zenith. Although it can be mana-intensive, the scalability, flexibility, and power of this card make it one of the best mass removal spells in Black. Period. If you haven't played it, then you should. If you forgot about it, then here it is.
All right next?
9. Kjeldoran Knight
Well this is fun! Kjeldoran Knight was played here and there in Standard White Weenie decks during its era as another solid, pump-able, 2-drop Knight. The lack of first strike meant that it's couldn't abuse the pump-age of cards like Crusade or itself as well. But banding on a dork with a heavily pumpable toughness was great. I won a tournament with two in my main deck. Banding is very strong when you can play around it (you choose how damage is dealt when you have banded, rather than your foes, with some exceptions you can see from reviewing the rules online). If I swing with it and a White Knight banded, I could pump it to 1/3, and then put two damage here and another on the White Knight or spread it out with a Crusade and such. It remains a good, strong card, because folks now have no clue how to play around banding. This is a strong card!
Please note that Kjeldoran Knight is a rare and on the Reserve List. Just in case you cared.
8. Tree of Tales
Hello artifact land! I hope you are having a great day today! This one always felt to me like the odd one out, as Green doesn't like artifacts. They are an anathema to it. One hates the other. Blue looks at nature and thinks, "It's not a bad start, but it needs to be improved upon." Artifice. Green looks at it and accepts its beauty and grandeur. Nature is perfect and unable to be improved upon. And what Blue does? Or Black? Or other colors? That's wrong with a wrongness that's not a mere thought, but a strong deepening pang that resonates the soul.
For example, here is the quote from Viridian Zealot:
Tree of Tales! Welcome to a plane where even Green has gone wrong. Boom!
7. Chariot of the Sun
Ah yes, the Love Song of Night and Day. If you are ever interested in reading the entire poem, it's here. This in an understandable version of Flying Carpet that can weaken your critter. In fact, if you changed the name and image then I think they would have fit Theros as a card that plays into the myth of Icarus.
However, there is a lesser known Greek myth around Phaeton, the son of Helios who demands from his father proof that he is, in fact, related to Helios. Helios tells his son that he will do whatever his son wishes in order to prove it, and his son demands to drive the Sun Chariot for a day. Helios tells him that not even Zeus could drive it safely, but the son does not relent. Helios lets him drive the chariot, and he dies, as expected. You could print Chariot of the Sun as is, with some different artwork with a reference to that story, if you had Greek Mythology enthusiasts in the room.
6. Kami of the Hunt
Kami of the Hunt was played in many builds during its era. I enjoyed targeting a few during Kamigawa Block drafts as a spirit trigger that would often fall. I really enjoyed that deck in triple Champions of Kamigawa draft too. It's a fun card in many Spirit based builds as it's pretty cheap, and if you have a splice and Arcane engine that's free, you can recast it over and over again and punch with a giant 40/40 Kami of the Hunt for a game-winning smash. I love Spirits!!!!!!!!!!!
Now five random cards left. Ready?
Staggershock was a pretty common sight in Standard while it was legal. The rebound on this helps to make this a strong answer to many a problem. You can take out two dorks that can be killed, or a creature and a planeswalker (it now reads "any target" after burn was updated in a recent Oracle change). You can also hit a planeswalker for 4 damage over two turns, or hit a player to finish them off. This instant gives Red options, and while the rebound is slow, it's more reliable than the retrace or other versions of this, as the free spell doesn't cost any mana or tapping of dorks or anything.
I still have a soft spot for Tariff. You cast Tariff when you know it's coming, and you can pay the mana on your turn to save your most expensive dork. But many, or all, of your foes are going to lose some big ol' players. Because you time it, you can cast it when that Akroma, Angel of Fury player doesn't have the mana to pay for Akroma, and neither does Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre player. Because it's a sacrifice effect, it gets around indestructible effects or targeted protection like hexproof. It's also great in Two-Headed Giant where you and your partner can plan around it. I still love it! I still play it. I still embrace the Tariff.
Did you know that I have run Watchdog in some of my Commander builds? It's true! It made the first version of my real-life Fumiko, the Low-Blooded Commander deck! You'll see it in other builds as well, as it's a fun card that does a lot, especially in colors that need the artifact based defensive option. Like Red or Green. It's also very powerful in multiples, as you can easily drop the power of enough stuff to matter. After all, you can't win the game, until you don't lose.
#2. Muldrotha, the Gravetide
I love Muldrotha! I know you do! When spoiled, this immediately became one of my favorite Commander builds, and I built a Budget Commander deck for you before it was even released! I know that many a Commander player has a similar soft spot for her as well. She's awesome. She extends range deep into the long game. There are many ways to build around her. She's awesome! I adore a good Muldrotha, and I love her as my #2 random card!
Now what's my final card, Gatherer random card button?
1. Hua Tuo, Honored Physician
So I guess that today is apparently - "Not Legal in Modern Day!" Just four of these random entries are legal in Modern - Muldrotha, Staggershock, Black Sun's Zenith, and Kami of the Hunt. Given the large percentage of cards that are Modern Legal, this was clearly a weird sample size. And more cards are moving over to Modern from other formats, cough Modern Horizons, cough. Maybe they'll add some Portal cards to Horizons? Imperial Recruiter? Probably too good.
Anyways, Hua Tuo taps to do a Volrath's Stronghold, so he's always strong at the kitchen table. Our good doctor is awesome at giving you some strong long game. Did you know that only 48 decks are registered to Hua Tuo over at EDHREC.com? How is that even possible? He's way too good for that!
Maybe he'll be my next budget commander? Let's do it! We'll do a BC around him soon.
Many of the random cards we hit today are cards I regularly use and love! Black Sun's Zenith? Hua Tuo? Muldrotha? Tariff? And every card in here is one I've played somewhere. We have a ton of great stuff here! Random cards for the win.
Did you like those random cards of craziness? Excellent! Here are the first six iterations of random fun for you to unpack!
- Random Top Ten #1 - My first top randomly randomly features both hits (such as Grim Lavamancer) and what the moments, such as Narwhal. Enjoy!
- Random Top Ten #2 - If you like high profile spells like Gush and Fire // Ice, then you came to the right place! If you like old and obscure stuff like Silver Seraph and Infernal Darkness, then you also came to the right place.
- Random Top Ten #3 - Sometimes in these random builds you have a lack of any sort of theme. But we did finish with a rare that I used to win my first ever Sealed tournament, so there you are!
- Random Top Ten #4 - This was about when I realized this series had legs, so I began to codify the various articles. This Top Ten's random feature is high profile cards and a full three are commonly seen in multiplayer or kitchen table gaming.
- Random Top Ten #5 -Including cards like the dreaded X4B and the game-winning Door to Nothingness, this is a fun random blast!
- Random Top Ten #6 - This Random Gatherer-Inspired slate of ten includes cards such as Thallid, Forbidden Orchard, and everybody's favorite infect creature. And cards you likely forgot about (or never knew about) with Savage Firecat and Wall of Light in there as well! Check out the randomness!
- Random Top Ten #7 - In this Random Gatherer article, we see cards like Blessing, Coercion, the Zombie Dinosaur beasts of Putrid Raptor, and Dingus Egg. Check it out!!!!
- Random Top Ten #8 - From Bad Moon to Ball Lightning, and from Armory Automaton to Power of Fire, we have a ten-set of randomly chosen cards for your enjoyment. This Random List is the list that keeps giving, as I decide to pause and create a Top Ten Ways to Abuse Power of Fire in the middle of my top ten list so you get TWO TOP TEN LISTS for the price of reading a single article. What's not to love?