Hello awesome people! You are too cool for school! Crimson Vow is a very deep set with loads of goodies for us to focus on in these articles. Lots of deep dives into these cards are deserved, right? Right!
Today I want to look at the 11 Top Ten plus an Honorable Mention that is selling me. This is my third article in this series, so we'll be looking at #33 - #22 inclusive.
Here are my first two articles:
Week 1 - This week we had ten cards and an honorable mention that was pretty nice, and we had some great cards including two in the mythic "Cemetery" cycle and a rare cycle at #3. We also had, for the first time, an uncommon hit the top spot of my list, and some buzzworthy cards crack other spaces. You can check it out here.
Week 2 - This week I featured another 11 awesome cards, and we had an uncommon hit #2 so we almost had back-to-back weeks with uncommons in the top spot. Love it a lot! We had cards like Welcoming Vampire and Toxrill, the Corrosive hit, as well as two more cards in the "Cemetery" cycle. You can check it out here!
To make today's list, a card needs to be a big hit at the casual table. All stars in Modern, Standard, Historic, with limited game in Commander, Type Four, Five Color, or multiplayer aren't making the cut. Today we also have an uncommon hitting #2!
Ready for the deep dive? Let's get this fun thang done!
Honorable Mention (#33 Overall). Honored Heirloom
Manaliths are very playable at the kitchen table, especially budget friendly ones like this cheap common. This one plays two roles in Commander - first, it's a mana rock. It can tap for any color of mana, which is better than Commander's Sphere. If you steal or copy a dork or permanent a foe owns with an activation cost of a different color, you can activate it with an Heirloom, but not the Sphere. It also can tap, at instant speed, to exile a target card in a graveyard, which is a brilliant break against the powerful graveyard abuse that is rife in Commander. I really like it alongside other graveyard answers that don't take up a deck spot like Bojuka Bog and Scavenger Grounds. All three take up lands and mana rock slots and would play very nicely together as a threesome. Good stuff!
#10. (#32 Overall). Twinblade Geist // Twinblade Invocation
This card was originally in my second article before I moved it back. When I first make my lists I pull all cards from the spoiler, and then arrange them in order from 1 to 59. Then I wait two days and come back to my list with fresh eyes and move them around. This was initially #7 on last week's list, but I bumped it down to #10 here. Why? Great question!
On the front side you get a two-mana double strike 1/1, which feels about where you would expect. That's great for Voltron decks, enchantment-loving Aura-matters builds, Equipment decks, and decks that feature creature damage triggers like Bident of Thassa. From aggro builds and their Glorious Anthems to Equipment and their Loxodon Warhammers there are a lot of ways to synergize! Then you have the back end, which is a cheap Aura that gives the equipped dork double strike. This is exactly the cost of Battle Mastery. That Aura is run in 5,758 decks over at EDHREC.com, and this is better. These cards synergize very nicely as most decks that want a double strike dork also can use a double strike aura. Prior to this card, there were only two auras that granted double strike in White: Battle Mastery and the sometimes Armament of Nyx. That's a great opportunity for a big play from this card! Also, don't sleep on the fact that you get card advantage as you get two cards from one card in this disturb card. It's great at the casual table!
#9. (#31 Overall). Hullbreaker Horror
This is the most powerful card from the set (outside of the cleave keyword stuff) for Type Four (rules are here). As you can see, the rules are simple - you have infinite mana, you can just cast one spell per turn, and alternately casting a spell (like Force of Will) doesn't count as your spell for the turn. Consider this powerhosue there. Firstly, it flashes, so you can cast it on your foe's turn after they do their thing. Secondly, it cannot be countered, and that's a key thing in the format's metagame. Thirdly it's a 7/8 that can win the game in three hits. Lastly, it's a cast trigger (which cannot be answered with traditional counters) to bounce an opposing spell or nonland dork to a foe's hand. That's massive tempo since your foe can only cast one spell a turn. This thing is so powerful it can win the game on its own in that format.
I also like it elsewhere. In Commander it's a great uncounterable flash machine with enhanced value in Deep Sea decks that care about it's Kraken creature type. In Five Color it's a great value engine that can smash up a foe. In multiplayer it's the sort of good stuff that a longer game loves. It's awesome!
#8. (#30 Overall). Crawling Infestation
Our 30th card is this awesome uncommon, which I added as a key element to my Old Rutstein Commander deck. You can find it here. It's a nice three-drop in a harder-to-answer enchantment that feels elevated in Commander play. Each upkeep you can mill two cards (it's a may effect). Anytime a dork card is placed into your graveyard from anywhere, from dying to being countered on the stack to being milled, you'll create a free 1/1 Insect token. Nice! The only downside is that this can only be done once per turn. I love it here with self-milling decks like Sultai's Sidisi, Brood Tyrant. From Golgari Reanimator to powerful forces of nature, there is a lot here to cherish. It's not on my first two lists since it only works once/turn. I would pay four mana for it if it did all day long, and probably five. How about you?
#7. (#29 Overall). Consuming Tide
Four mana for a sorcery bounce spell. In duels this thing is weak. In Commander and in multiplayer formats this thing is much better. It can be a nasty bounce-a-thon that, when timed right, can replace itself or even draw you a card. And since you did this on your turn, you can use the rest of your mana to play creatures and then be the first to use them on your next turn. It's really strong when timed well! Alas, allowing your foes to keep their best stuff may not have the value that you want in some situations. If your foe has a dominant Commander that you need to bounce or answer, this is a swing a miss. If they are about to swing and kill you with a powerful Eldrazi Titan or Blightsteel Colossus, this won't help you. That's why it's here. Game-winning at times, a swing and a miss at others.
#6. (#28 Overall). Runo Stromkirk // Krothuss, Lord of the Deep
In one card, Wizards of the Coast opened up the Deep Sea theme from Simic to Dimir in Commander. Awesome! I loved this idea so much that I called in online in our secret writers headquarters, and it was my first build around a leader from Crimson Vow. You can find it here. There are already 392 decks around this new option in the format over on EDHREC.com and he's one of the most popular leaders for the format! He's also a founder of one of the five family bloodlines of the plane.
Now, let's look at him mechanically. As you can see, he is a three-mana 1/4 flyer that can flip to a 3/5 flyer by revealing a big enough creature from your library and then when he swings, he can Clone another swinger, and two if that swinger is a Deep Sea tribe member. Those tokens last after this turn. You can put a dork on top of your library from the graveyard when he enters the battlefield, which means that he can reliably flip the upkeep after he arrives to the battlefield. Good card!
Top Five Time!
#5. (#27 Overall). Eruth, Tormented Prophet
Back to back gold cards! Eruth is a powerful three-drop 2/4. Every card drawn will give you the potential for two cards. That's nasty. It even works on the first spell you draw each turn, where a lot of these things won't, and that's nice. This thing will blow through spells and seems to work well in decks with cast triggers like the Izzet Spellslinger brews. There are already 159 decks built around Eruth at EDHREC.com, but where I think things are better are in the 99 of another deck. Runo is the more impactful leader, but Eruth is nasty in the support of decks. No one is tossing Runo into many Deep Sea themed decks without running him as a leader, but loads of brews will benefit from Eruth. Also note that Eruth's card draw ability will let you "play" so you can drop lands and doesn't count as card drawing for common triggers at the kitchen table that care about their foes drawing cards! Might I suggest the powerhouse of Possibility Storm? (That suggestion comes from Jason Alt here. Eruth is the truth!
#4. (#26 Overall). Cemetery Gatekeeper
Ah yes, the last of the "Gatekeeper" cycle has arrived. Since you do not target a player or a card for exiling when it's on the stack, it's harder for graveyard removal answering cards to be able to defend it. If I shuffle my graveyard back to my library with an instant Endurance, you can just exile a card from another graveyard and won't lose the effect. As you can see, the exiling happens when it arrives to the battlefield, and unlike most of the other cards in the cycle, that's it. I do like the two mana 2/1 first strike which is on curve. As players, including yourself, play that exiled card's types, they are shot for two damage. Ideally a Red-dense deck in things like lands and creatures that exiles a foe's instant would feel pretty safe. It would also work nicely in Rakdos's Group Slug brews that hits everyone. But it's homes and power are less than the rest of the cycle. Nice!
Now what card his #25 overall?
#3. (#25 Overall). By Invitation Only
This one does! Isn't this just another Day of Judgment effect? Nope! Not even a little bit! Let's look at how cool this is. First, in an aggro or token deck, if you have the most creatures, normally you have the most to lose from a sweeping removal, but here? Force everyone else to lose their stuff and keep a dork or four. Nice! Secondly...did you notice? This is a "sacrifice". That means that it cannot be stopped with indestructible or effects like Heroic Intervention that grant it. That's really strong! I love it for kitchen table play, a lot! Great mass removal spell for the King of Mass Removal, White.
#2. (#24 Overall). Reclusive Taxidermist
Why is this two-drop 1/2 that can tap for any color of mana here? This cost of mana rampers often do quite well at ramping up formats like Standard. Take, as one example, Sylvan Caryatid. Another good example is the Standard-legal Tangled Florahedron. This is bigger at 1/2 and can make any mana. The Taxidermist is also has the ability to turn into a 4/4 tapper of mana when 4 or more dorks are in your graveyards, which reminds me of the casual all-star powerhouse Werebear, and this is better than that all-star since it's bigger before it grows and can tap for any color of mana. This is going to be something really fun to watch! Enjoy our second to last card!
What's my top choice?
#1. (#23 Overall). Overcharged Amalgam
My top card in my middle list is this fun card! It all began with Mystic Snake. That Snake was the first creature ever printed that could counter something on arrival. Later we'd get iterations of it like Frilled Mystic, Draining Whelk, Voracious Greatshark and loads more. This is another entry in the line of creature-based counters. It's better than normal counters since they leave a dork that can block for a turn, attack for damage, grab a Sword of Fire and Ice, and be blinked so they can counter again and again. Great stuff.
In this case we get a 3/3 flyer with flash that can be used without exploit for combat tricks, killing a 2/2 flyer that swings your way, and loads more. It's also a Zombie for that tribe. And then if you sacrifice a dork on arrival to the battlefield, you can counter any spell, activated ability, or triggered ability. Might I suggest a Zombie token with decayed from last set? Please note that if you need the Counterspell you always have it, even on a naked board, since you can sacrifice it to itself and then counter away, which makes this a very nice card. I adore it in Type Four, and thinks it's the second-best card for that format that's not cleave from this set. I also adore it as well as cool places like Commander and Five Color, and multiplayer.
And there we go! Have a day (and week) that is as awesome as you are!