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Top Ten Cards from Crimson Vow

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Hello happy readers! I hope that your day is kicking butt and taking names. Station KATN is open for business!

We've now had the spoilers for Crimson Vow for a good amount of time and I've taken a deep dive into it and read it a few times. I have grabbed tons of my favorites or noteworthy cards and then ordered them for multiple Top Ten Articles from that set, and then I sat on them for a day and came back and then changed the order because I was obviously stupid with my rankings, and then fixed them up.

Today, we'll be looking at the top cards for casual table formats like Commander, Five Color, and multiplayer. Good cards for Limited or Standard that probably aren't making a push for casual table play aren't on my list. Only those that do something new, better, cheaply, and flavorfully typically make the cut.

Something cool about this Top Ten? It's the first time I can remember that an uncommon tops my list. I had a common for Strixhaven, and that was the first time I'd ever have a common top my list. I also have an uncommon in my last spot, so they flank the list.

Ready?

Let's look at my top choices from the set!

Honorable Mention (#11). Cartographer's Survey

Cartographer's Survey

The Survey has arrived! For 4 mana you dig seven and can drop two lands of any type from your library to the battlefield tapped. This is much faster than traditional ramp, which I like. I enjoy this a lot in two sorts of decks. First, this is better than basic land ramp spells that get just basic lands in decks with a small number of actual proper basic lands. Don't you hate it when you cast Cultivate and only have one basic land left in your library because your two-color deck only had six or eight basics total? I hear you! This could replace something like Explosive Vegetation in those brews. This is also great in decks that regularly know what the top few cards of their library is with cards like Sensei's Divining Top or Sylvan Library or Scroll Rack. You could Brainstorm two lands and then ramp them. Yay!

#10. Cemetery Protector

Cemetery Protector

Our penultimate-scoring Cemetery cycle in the mythic rares hits at #10, and we have just one more making the cut at #7 below. This cycle is pretty cool because it can remove a card on arrival to the battlefield from any graveyard, and it does so without targeting. That means that you don't target a player like Bojuka Bog, so you can get around hexproof on a foe, and you don't target the card, so if someone does something like shuffle their graveyard back to their library in response to its ability being on the stack, you can just choose another card. The reason it's here is because it can flash out and take out a key card from a graveyard as an instant, and when it does, it can stop something like a key reanimation spell fizzing. It can also do all the flash tricks like block out of nowhere and play at the end of a turn and then swing on your turn, and a 3/4 for four is pretty nice on curve. Also note that as you play lands or spells that share a type with the exiled card, you'll net a powerful slate of 1/1 Human tokens that will enable your board to have some fun. This is really good when you exile two types on one card, like Solemn Simulacrum which is both an artifact and a creature. Good stuff!

#9. Mirrorhall Mimic // Ghastly Mimicry

Mirrorhall Mimic // Ghastly Mimicry

4 mana to cast, five to disturb. On the frost side you get a copy for the same mana and ability, save that it keeps its Spirit type, which is unusual since most Clones have the Shapeshifter type. Then on the back side you get an aura that will tokenize the enchanted creature each of your upkeeps while also keeping the Spirit type there as well. Imagine that in Commander with simple stuff like Mulldrifter or Eternal Witness or even something bigger like Grave Titan or Sun Titan. You are going to draw very quickly with copies of a Consecrated Sphinx. This thing is pretty strong, and Clone is run in 6,859 decks over at EDHREC.com which should be pretty easy to swap this over for them. It's also a great option in Spirit decks, copy decks, midrange brews with triggers to copy on both sides, and loads more. Good stuff!

#8. Dig Up

Dig Up

Lay of the Land was the first one-cost sorcery ever printed that fetched up any basic land and put it into your hand. That card was heavily played at the kitchen table, and I ran it in multiple brews like my multiplayer thousands of cards big Abe's Deck of Happiness and Joy. Then they printed better versions as follow ups that added stuff like Attune with Aether. Now they have printed a new take on Lay of the Land where they add in a split card Demonic Tutor. You can cast this as early on the first turn for getting a basic land that you need, and you can cast this later for Diabolic Tutor mana to get the best card for your library. Unlike traditional ramp spells, this is not a dead draw later in the game after your mana is fixed. Enjoy the power of this card! See the top card at #1 for how awesome cleave is in Type Four!

#7. Cemetery Illuminator

Cemetery Illuminator

Our highest-scoring Cemetery mythic rare cycle is this 3-drop 2/3 flyer which is nice and evasive. As it enters the battlefield (or attacks) you can exile a card from a graveyard. Look at the top card of your library any time! Does it share a card type with an exiled card? Great! You can cast it, once a turn from that place! This is massive card advantage that we have gotten ever since Future Sight let us play things from the top of our library. Also note that this won't let you drop lands, even if they share a type, since it reads "cast". The card advantage potential of this machine is massive and hence it being my top choice from the cycle. Enjoy!

#6. Sorin the Mirthless

Sorin the Mirthless

This is our top-scoring planeswalker in the set. Sorin can +1 and let you draw the top card of your library and lose life equal to its mana cost. I'm glad that it lets you look at it first in case you may not want it and note that you get the positive loyalty even if you turn it down. Pretty good card flow, and it's better in Commander where you have 40 life to use rather than 20. You can also -2 him to crap out a 2/3 Black Vampire with both flying and lifelink. That's pretty useful as a pair of abilities that can be used for the team, and he adds a lot to the game. Good stuff Sorin!

And now let's turn to the Top Five!

#5. Manaform Hellkite

Manaform Hellkite

Welcome to the power of the Top Five! I really enjoy the power of Manaform Hellkite. You get a 4/4 flying Dragon for 4 mana, and that is on curve. Whenever you cast a non-dork spell you can make a Dragon Illusion with size equal to the cost of the card you played, which is pretty good power. In some places (duels) it's much better than the heavily played Guttersnipe since you can cast the spell in your first main phase and then swing. It also works on things other than just instants or sorceries. And it's better at swinging and smashing, since it's twice the size and with flying for just 1 mana more. I also like the idea of using this as a combat trick in case someone comes your way, you can make a big powerful instant and then kill the attacking creature that came your way. Shoot, you could just Opt, make a 1/1 flyer, and then chump block an attack on you or your planeswalker(s). Nice, right?

#4. Path of Peril

Path of Peril

3 mana, destroy all small stuff. It's an amazing sweep effect against tokens and aggro decks, and it's good in a deck without any smaller stuff to sweep. It'll let you lock and load. And if you just need a base Day of Judgment, it's got you covered, although it's two more mana and another color. Often cleave stuff costs one more mana than the card you are copying, but here it's two, and waiting around that long could result in death to you. Adding in White also makes this less good in Commander, as it's more limited. This card began at #2 on my list but then dropped a bit here and there. Also, see below at #1 for my general thoughts about cleave and its value in Type Four, where this is amazing as a free Wrath.

#3. The Deathcap Glade Rare Land Cycle

Deathcap Glade

I know... it can be a bit...boring...at times to talk about mana stuff. I hear ya. But spending time and money on mana stuff lets you ensure that you can do things like cast fat spells and dorks and break people's faces and draw cards and ramp and counter and loads more. This cycle can (sometimes) enter the battlefield untapped and ready to go. Boring? Sure, I get you. But you need cards like this so that you can run the fun stuff. A bad mana base is like a beautiful sunny day without sunglasses. All of the ingredients are there, nice sun, enjoyable weather, just like they are there in your deck with good creatures and spells that you just drew! But you cannot truly enjoy it if you are squinting all the time.

#2. Faithbound Judge // Sinner's Judgment

Faithbound Judge // Sinner's Judgment

Our highest-charting White card, creature, mythic, and transform card is this 3-mana 4/4 flying, vigilance defender. Good stuff! And then, during your upkeep, you can place a counter of the judgment variety on it. Does it have three or more? It can swing as though it doesn't have defender. A flying 4/4 blocker is a great early card, and in multiplayer, early creatures are likely to be attacking others since they'll lose their early beater to the Judge. It's unlikely to be bothered for a while since it cannot attack, and by the time it swingable around turn six at the earliest, it's not likely to be hate killed, so it's a fine powerful adjunct of pressure without causing anyone to care.

It loves defender-matter brews as well as Soldiers and Spirits. Then once it inevitably dies you can disturb for an admittedly expensive 7 mana into a Curse that will enchant a single player. You put judgment counters on this each of your upkeeps, and, again, if there are three or more, good stuff happens for you, in this case, you'll kill the Cursed player. It's a nice 3-drop that is likely to survive, and then it's a nice late game play when everyone is in top deck mode.

#1. Wash Away

Wash Away

This is an amazing piece technology for counters. For 1 mana, you get a way to counter stuff that wasn't cast from their hand, like suspend cards in Modern and disturb and flashback cards in Standard. Pretty nice. But it's also pretty useful for kitchen table play. For example, you can counter stuff like jump-start, flashback like Deep Analysis, and loads more! You can also counter any Commander for just a single mana since it's cast from the Command Zone! Dang! And you can just cleave it into a Cancel and counter anything. That's incredibly flexible. It's also amazing in Type Four, where an alternate cost like cleave is free, so you can get a free counter when you cleave that doesn't count as your spell for the turn. Up until now we only had one "free all the time" Counterspell in Decree of Silence that was a hard counter with its cycling trigger, and other counters that were sometimes free needed conditions, like Force of Will's pitch ability. Netting another Decree of Silence is incredibly strong in the format. Nasty stuff! Love it a lot!

And there we go! So...what did you think of my Top Ten (Eleven) choices from Crimson Vow? Anything I missed or had too high or go in the wrong order? Just let me know!

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