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Random Top 10: The Ocho


Hello folks! I hope you are having a great day today!

A while back, I decided to do something a little different and unusual with my Top Ten lists. I went to Gatherer and hit the random button ten times and then gave you my thoughts on those ten cards. As someone who has played this game incessantly since 1994, I have a lot of experience with the game. I adore limited and I have a real-life draft that I call AbeDraft with at least one of every card ever printed in the game (I am missing around 14 cards). I have played in all Portal drafts, as well as other formats. During my life, I have played, somewhere, with the vast majority of Magic cards.

The goal is to give you some fun cards, talk about where they are good, and just have some fun with 10 random cards! This is my 8th article, and thus far, only one card has flipped (Trokin High Guard) that I have not played. I love to deep dive into these cards and I'll use this inspiration to talk about cycles or mechanics for things like Cubes, Commander, and more.

Are you ready to get your random Top Ten on?

Oh Gatherer, my Gatherer...

10. Tromp the Domains

Tromp the Domains

Everyone enjoys a good Overrun effect. Ever since the first Overrun was printed back in Tempest, ,these style cards have won a lot of games. You target them in draft. You want them in 60-card builds. You want to break through in Commander or Five Color with bigger decks. Cards like Tromp the Domains and Overrun are good because they give you a feel-good way to immediately win the game by enlarging your creatures! You won't kill someone with the Fireball direct damage spell you just drew or by killing all of their lands. Nope! You are doing in pure Timmy style. Smash-first; trample over any blockers. Tromp the Domains is actually better than Overrun in many decks, and it'll get bigger and is easier to cast. I have run it myself in giant 250 (or more) Five Color decks that wanted something that didn't have Triple-Green in the cost and wanted a more powerful effect. It's great for Commander decks with 4 or 5 colors. Are you building that Najeela, the Blade-Blossom Five Color Warrior Commander deck?

"Hello, Najeela Builder! I'm Tromp the Domains. I'm perfect for you! My bonuses remain in play until the end of the turn, so any additional attacks you grab with Najeela are going to keep the Tromp benefit."

9. ScreechingSilcaw

Screeching Silcaw

Hello and welcome to Storm Crow Day here on our Random Top Ten. If I had told you ahead of time that Screeching Silcaw would be getting an entry in any one of my Top Ten Lists, other than perhaps one called "Top Ten Storm Crows," I'd wonder what sort of dreams you'd been having. But that's okay! Because here is our good Silcaw. It obviously requires two major things to work - artifacts, and a desire to attack libraries. Both are in good supply in its block, and I've run a deck with three of them once, and I got a few milling victories. In fact, I just got an Iconic Masters win in a draft a few weeks ago with ur Mill that no one was expecting. No one respects Doorkeeper until you have 4 of them. I like to keep my eye open for these synergies you can unlock and win with, especially in the later draft picks. I think it goes back to my days as a hated, feared, and good rare drafter who went infinite on MODO by exclusively drafting for value, and still winning enough matches in the 4/3/2/2 queue to get packs. I got used to building good, tight decks from picks 4 or 5 through 15. Now, I see Silcaw synergies and they can unlock wins that no one expects. This is one good Storm Crow!

8. Barrin's Codex

Barrin's Codex

Today's random Reserve List card is Barrin's Codex. That's a card that is still in Abe's Deck of Happiness and Joy. I can drop it and then let it build over time without bothering, and then, when I want to (or need to) I can pop it to grab some cards. It's a good card, and better than similar effects that build over time but want me to swap my hand with theirs, like Knowledge Vault. This takes no mana to run, just the initial four to get it started, and then another four when I'm all ready to rock and roll. It's also an artifact that sacrifices and has some benefit for artifact decks looking for a way to get cards and reuse a sacrificed effect, like Red's Daretti, Scrap Savant for Commander or the new Saheeli, the Gifted in Commander 2018. Enjoy!

7. Bladewing the Risen

Bladewing the Risen

The best thing about Bladewing the Risen is his Thrall!

Bladewing's Thrall
Rorix Bladewing
Verix Bladewing
Tarox Bladewing

Well, maybe not, but I enjoy them together. I even have the Thrall in my Commander Cube as a cool option for the many Dragons out there. In fact, most of the Bladewings are awesome! I still play the original in various decks, as well as my Type 4 stack. A flying haste with six power for six mana is still good. Even in an era of creature power creep, Rorix rules the nest. His descendants from Dominaria are also really good too. A 4/4 flyer for four mana is already strong. Getting the ability to kicker out another for just three more mana is hot. It also rules in Type 4 too. Tarox is, at best, disappointing, and at worst, a real swing-and-miss, so we sort of forget he's a member of the great Bladewing line.

But the Risen is arguably the best. It brings a free Dragon to the table when it arrives, and unlike a lot of typical Dragon firebreathing, like that lame ol' Shivan Dragon, Bladewing in his Risen form can pump all Dragons. That's good. Don't sleep on the power of a Bladewing the Risen Commander deck as well, as it can really drop the reanimation hammer all over the battlefield.

6. Ball Lightning

Ball Lightning

Ball Lightning is still good. Three mana. Six damage to the face. Ball Lightning is one of the most iconic Red dorks to punch people's face in decks, and it ruled Standard, Legacy, Extended among other formats in its day. I myself have won more competitive matches on the back of Ball Lightning than probably any other Red dork as I played Sligh in various formats for more than a decade as one of my go-to builds. It inspired countless dorks in its honor. Here are a few...

Hellspark Elemental
Lightning Serpent
Spark Elemental
Blistering Firecat
Elemental Appeal

Many of these cards made the cut in various decks as well, such as Hellspark Elemental or Blistering Firecat. But nothing says Ball Lightning quite like Groundbreaker!

5. Brilliant Halo

Brilliant Halo

Ah yes, the Rancor of White. We all know how awesome Rancor was. It was 1 mana for +2 up front and gave trample with it. For that reason, it was a dominant card of its era and left a big imprint on players, from casual aficionados to a trail of awesome Standard or other format decks. But the others in this uber-cycle of cards across multiple sets in the block were also good. You can do the same enchantment-loving tricks with Brilliant Halo that you could do with Rancor. In an enchantment-loving Commander build that doesn't include Green, (such as Bruna, Light of Alabaster or Zur the Enchanter), you can still run this as a way to net multiple cast or enters-the-battlefield triggers off things like Mesa Enchantress. And I hear you can use it pretty well with Estrid, the Masked because Estrid wants enchanted permanents, so you want it. The Halo works quite well!

4. Armory Automaton

Armory Automaton

Have you played Commander? Great! Then I'm sure you'll have seen just how rife equipment can be, right? We have a ton of annoying pieces of equipment that get very high levels of play. Everything from Lightning Greaves to Sword of Fire and Ice to Batterskull gets played. A lot. A lot a lot. Anyways, every deck out there needs a way to deal with it. Counter? Destroy? Exile? Bounce? Whatever you have to face out there, don't worry. Armory Automaton has got your back. I have found it to be really good. Because it's just three mana, when you cast it, you still have mana left to do stuff. I have cast this, stolen the protection off a Commander, and then answered the Commander. It also takes time. It takes more mana from them to equipment, recast their cheerleader and more than it cost for me to cast this. And then each time I swing at their face, I take their equipment again. And I take everybody's stuff. I can swing at James and suddenly have a 9/7 trampling, lifelink Construct. It often swings on arrival since someone invariably has Swiftfoot Boots, Lightning Greaves or another haste-enabler. It's a fun, powerful, and great way to play into the equipment laden metagame that Commander has evolved into.

3. Power of Fire

Power of Fire

I'm a little sad that random Gatherer didn't give me Fire Whip. Silly Gatherer! Well anyways, this is one of the strong elements of combo that Red can have. Give a creature the ability to tap for damage, and then find ways to untap it and kill folks! Here are a few ways I can think of off the top of my head...

Actually... hold up... know what would be fun? How about if we interrupt this Random Top Ten with an actual top ten?

Here we go!

Top Ten ways to Abuse Power of Fire and Fire Whip!

Man I love these two auras, don't you? The Power of Fire is truly something breathtaking at the kitchen table. Be honest, don't you sometimes just enjoy a fire. Isn't there some mystical there between you and the flame? You know it!

So let's look at some of the best ways to abuse these two auras and get your Slay On!

10. Brass Man

Brass Man

Brass Man (and Brass Gnat) is great because during your upkeep you can invest a single mana to untap and keep on shooting stuff. Or people. Yay Brass Man! See also Torchling.

9. More Tims

Viridian Longbow
Goblin Sharpshooter

I know it's boring, but the best stuff to add to cards like Fire Whip and Power of Fire is more redundancy. Swing and smash!

8. Stigma Lasher

Stigma Lasher

Stigma Lasher has 2 powerful routes to connect to these auras. First, because it has wither, the damage is in -1/-1 counters instead, and can collectively kill a dork over time. Secondly, if you shoot someone with it, they aren't ever gaining life again.

7. Dross Scorpion

Dross Scorpion

As long as you are enchanting an artifact dork, you can untap it with Dross Scorpion. This can be the final kill in an artifact loop that recurs artifact dorks over or over again. (Note that you can untap the Scorpion as well).

6. Night Dealings

Night Dealings

Night Dealings is a card a lot of folks forget. Don't. As you deal damage to players, you toss counters on there, and then remove them to Tutor for good stuff. The card advantage here is incalculable.

5. Charnelhoard Wurm

Charnelhoard Wurm

Awesome! Tap and shoot someone in the face, and then Regrowth a cool card from your graveyard. It's got range and strength in equal measure.

4. Deathtouch

Typhoid Rats
Thornbite Staff

Don't forget about deathtouch! Cast a 1-drop like Typhoid Rats on your first turn. Then on the next turn, drop a land, cast Fire Whip or Power and then tap your dork to shoot any critters that might have arrived. You have a 2nd turn Visara the Dreadful. Excellent! If you put Thornbite Staff on them, then the dork will keep untapping as things die, and you can kill everything at the table in one go.

3. Thousand-Year Elixir

Thousand-Year Elixir

You can tap your stuff the turn they arrive on the battlefield, enabling you to shoot all day long. Getting in an early hit is powerful stuff, n'est pas?

2. Akki Lavarunner

Akki Lavarunner

Akki Lavarunner is awesome. Cast it, enchant it, and shoot somebody for damage. Now it'll immediately flip into Tok-Tok, who doubles your Red damage. A nice investment, wouldn't you say? (The aura will fall off, but you can still get double damage from your stuff).

1. Morselhoarder / Sinking Feeling

Sinking Feeling

Put both auras on the Hoarder. Tap it to shoot someone or something for a damage. Remove a -1/-1 from it to make a mana. Spend that mana to untap it with Sinking Feeling. Repeat. Kill everyone.

All right! There we are, back to our normal article, already in progress...

2. Bad Moon

Bad Moon

Bad Moon was a card that made flavor sense but, mechanically, hurt. It was made in an era of "Helping everyone's stuff" not just my own. See also Crusade, Gauntlet of Might and Mana Flare. Now, since you built your deck, you could abuse this nicely. But there are times when you'd go up against another Black deck and these guys would be blanks. That's not a great feeling, even if it made sense. Take, as an example, Sunken City:

Sunken City
Honor of the Pure

We can all understand how a Sunken City would make Blue stuff stronger. It makes perfect sense, right? But why would it enhance just my Blue things? Shouldn't all Blue creature benefit from it? The same is true of Lord of Atlantis. The Lord of Atlantis is inspiring its people just by being on the battlefield. That's true for those who fight for it, as well as those who are inspired to fight against it. This stuff made sense, but it just was wonky mechanically, and was thus simplified to the more friendly, "Your Stuff." Crusade made way for Honor of the Pure.

Top Random Card?

1. Nacatl War-Pride

Nacatl War-Pride

Awesome! Just as quick little trick, the War Pride is great at smashing and making a ton of dorks to go with the team. Cat Warriors for the win. Nope that the War-Pride is also awesome with your Najeela build as it's a Warrior. Because the tokens head out at the end of the turn, you can swing, make an epic amount of tokens, and then use Najeela to get another attack, and again swing for a ton more tokens! You could easily kill everyone in a turn. Nacatl War-Pride is just a strong presence in lots of places, from a Cat deck in Selesnya to swinging and smashing and going wide. I loves it!

And there we are! I hope that you enjoyed today's random Top Ten as well as today's Top Ten Ways to Abuse Fire Whip and Power of Fire! Two Top Tens for your time!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found something in here to inspire your next deck and project!

Random Appendices

Did you like those random cards of craziness? Excellent! Here are the first six iterations of random fun for you to unpack!

  1. Random Top Ten #1 - My first top ten random cards randomly features both hits (such as Grim Lavamancer) and "what the?" moments, such as Narwhal. Enjoy!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. Random Top Ten #5 - Including cards like the dreaded x4b and the game-winning Door to Nothingness, this is a fun random blast!
  6. 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!
  7. 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!!!!

Thanks for reading!

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