I hope you are having a lovely almost June.
Now I have to admit that I really like this series. This is a Top Ten set that is inspired by the Random Card button over on Gatherer. The goal is simple. Look at ten randomly selected cards and discuss their relative merits. I will also talk about how I've used them in the past, and ways to consider it today. As someone who has played since 1994 (continuously) I have played many of the cards in the game. As someone with a random selection of every card ever printed, I have played most of the cards in the game.
So, given that, I think this is a pretty little set of cards and the challenge is one I embrace.
Random Gatherer Button . . .
TAKE ME AWAY!
10. Blood-Toll Harpy
As a variant of Dusk Imp or Feral Shadow, Blood-Toll Harpy is arguably a little better in Limited environments to draft around. It's a solid and cheap body to play that gives you a level of evasion and some life loss for everyone at the table. You can draft it and run it all day long. I have played it a few times in Theros Block Limited where it's always been fine and dandy, like Harpy Candy.
9. Wall of Light
The Walls of Legends were very high quality and often are forgotten by modern players. Let me show you a few:
Wall of Vapor and Wall of Shadows are both early adherents of the Fog Bank Way of Blocking. Wall of Wonder is the first Wall with a built-in attack ability, and Wall of Opposition's generic-mana firebreathing ability can be nasty. But for pure numbers, nothing beats the 0/6 2-drop of Wall of Earth for Red. Wall of Light ain't bad, although White has more useful options these days. A 1/5 that has Protection from Black won't stop traffic at night anymore, with options like Wall of Glare or Wall of Nets out there for White. But don't sleep on it! Decks where Protection from Black has a lot of value, like a Pestilence deck that wants to deal damage to all creatures from a Black source, and as long as you control a creature, the Pestilence remains on the battlefield.
I'd be interested in hearing if any of the readers are running some of these solid Wall entries from Legends in their decks. Let me know in the comments section!
8. Daughter of Autumn
She really wants to protect your flock, which is pretty cool. So, you can redirect to her damage to White dorks. Of course, it's off that she can't protect her own color, but them is the old school breaks. You can combine her with a lot of great creatures like Shaman en-Kor, Phantom Nishoba, Mystic Enforcer, Kitchen Finks, Mother of Runes, and a lot more. Often the trick to kill a Mom is to hit it after it taps to protect something else, so if someone tries to damage it, look out! You get the idea I'm sure.
Let's Daughter of Autumn up this thang!
7. Akki Lavarunner
I love Akki Lavarunner and I've run in my builds a few times. It's obviously here for Tok-Tok, Volcano Born which is just nasty strong. The Protection from Red is useful in a color that often wants to deal damage to a lot of creatures as collateral of sweeping the board, like Inferno or Rolling Earthquake. The better path here though is the increase of damage from Red sources to players, which also is useful in a lot of builds. And note that they do work together. Cast Earthquake? Then you'll deal one more damage to players while the damage to Tok-Tok is prevented. After all, it's not easy being Volcano Born, and it must come with a number of immunities as a result, right?
6. Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
Hello Skittles! It seems like every one of these lists I wind up with some big-name card. Academy Ruins? Reclamation Sage? Fire // Ice? Gush? Grim Lavamancer? You get the idea. Well this is clearly our iconic card this time around, and perhaps we might get another in the top five.
Skittles was so good it was run in Standard as a major card because of the infect body. Don't sleep on haste, flying, regeneration or infect. I'd argue that Skittles is the best infect creature ever printed, and I doubt I'd get much pushback from that claim. Someone might say the 1-drop of Glistener Elf or Blighted Agent, but most of us would agree that Skittles reigns supreme. I have seen Skittles as the only infect creature in a certain deck because our good Dragon Skeleton will kill in three hits no matter the life total. That's not a bad way to win a game, especially if the first hit came out of nowhere with haste, and it can slip around in the air. Skittles remains a powerful body on any battlefield, rewarding the player with a strong presence that you cannot sleep on. Skittles Reigns.
5. Forbidden Orchard
I almost thought this was going to be my favorite Orchard, until the printing of Exotic Orchard, but alas, that wasn't to be. Exotic Orchard is the only playmat I have ever purchased, and I still use it years later. But Forbidden Orchard is awesome too! From ensuring that your foe has a creature to trigger for Oath of Druids to helping in Commander as one of a few tap-any-color options that aren't overly weak (aka Gemstone Mine or Rainbow Vale). It's always been a fun option for mana and always will be. Pick a little fruit from the Forbidden Orchard, it's okay . . .
4. Messenger Jays
I once had a Conspiracy 2 deck with four Messenger Jays! It was fun, and when you have a full grip of lands and other cards, they'll often give you some additional feathers for +1/+1 rather than fear you scoring out the perfect hand. In fact, the table often reads go and goes in the opposite direction, so it's usually a 5/4 flyer that looted you a card for a simple five mana. Although if you get a 3/2 flyer that loots three cards, that's still very strong in Limited play. The worst case is when you drop down to just two players left and cast it and you got a 3/2 for one loot pretty often. Although, that's still not the worst deal in the world, especially in multiples. In any draft format or Cube where you have a multiplayer option, Messenger Jays is a nice choice, and outside of that, given my adoration for the card in Limited with four or more players, it's a sweet surprise to unleash in anything from Commander to chaos multiplayer. Enjoy your Jays!
Ah yes, the Thallid! One of the strong iterations of the Fungus Among Us that made Saprolings. People played these a ton around the time of its release as the 1-drop that made the engine go. Later, when the mechanic was reintroduced in Time Spiral for that block, the initial Thallid was in the timeshifted sheet, and again, saw a new lease on life, especially with a Commander to lead the Saproling-making Fungus team -- Thelon of Havenwood. Of course, now you can run Slimefoot, the Stowaway if you prefer, in a post-Dominaria world.
Very early in Magic's history we saw alternate art options for cards besides basic lands. As early as the second expansion set, Antiquities, we had five more lands printed with multiple art options out there -- The Urzatron, Strip Mine, and Mishra's Workshop. But then we skipped two sets before Fallen Empires debuted with more alternate art cards. My favorite Thallid art was the Daniel Gelon one, and others swore by Edward Beard's:
Some people would play only their favorite art of the alternate art cards in Fallen Empires so they might have all four of the same Goblin Grenade or High Tide. Others seeking diversity, would run all four pictures. In my Thrull deck, I ran all three Necrites and Mindstab Thrull arts. But we still had our favorites. My favorite High Tide was the Amy Weber one and my favorite Hymn to Tourach variant was the one with the howling wolf art, as an example.
This was a set with a ton of commons that had alternate art, so you were used to it. Now this was a style was only seen a few more times in Homelands andAlliances before being let go. Now it'll be interesting to see how Unstable plays into that old school territory for a few of its cards as well.
2. Airborne Aid
Birds were a minor card supported by Onslaught block. They were present, and there was some support for them, but they didn't get the level of love that Elves, Beasts, Wizards, Soldiers or Goblins got. But don't sleep on the usefulness of a power card like Airborne Aid in a proper tribal deck. I always wondered if it inspired the neutral tribal version of this card later in Lorwyn Block with Distant Melody.
Oh, and run Messenger Jays in the same deck!
1. Savage Firecat
Ah yes, the Limited bomb. A 7/7 trampler for five mana is often worth going lightly all in as it's got enough size to win quickly. I often see this around pick 6 or so in Red in Abedraft, a draft of (almost) every legal card ever made where everything is up for grabs. It's in one of my favorite colors in a generic draft of all of the cards () and in my 2nd favorite color () combination so I am often willing to go all in on the Firecat. In other non-Limited contexts, You could also get value given that 2017 was the Year of the Cat for 2017. It's a big body that's effective enough to swing even bigger when you have that Regal Caracal. It's also interesting in a deck with +1/1 counters such as Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch that would give it haste or Marchesa, the Black Rose. Enjoy the Firecat Rage!
And there we are!!!
I hope you enjoyed this little trek through all things random! From Thallid to Forbidden Orchard, there is a lot there to love! I hope you found (or rediscovered) some old zany card or new tech for your decks!
Did you like those random cards of craziness? Excellent! Here are the first five iterations of random fun for you to unpack!
- Random Top Ten #1 -- http://www.gatheringmagic.com/abesargent-03212017-top-ten-random-cards/ -- My first top randomly randomly features both hits (such as Grim Lavamancer) and what the moments, such as Narwhal. Enjoy!
- Random Top Ten #2 -- http://www.gatheringmagic.com/abesargent-05232017-top-ten-random-cards-round-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 -- http://www.gatheringmagic.com/abesargent-07182017-return-of-top-ten-random-cards/ 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 -- http://www.gatheringmagic.com/abesargent-10032017-top-ten-random-cards-round-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 -- http://www.gatheringmagic.com/abesargent-12122017-top-ten-random-cards-v/ Including cards like the dreaded and the game-winning Door to Nothingness, this is a fun random blast!
Thanks for reading!!