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Top Ten Random Cards V

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Hello folks!

I hope you are having a great day today! Have you ever been inspired by chaos? By a random happening that you didn’t expect? I have that happen pretty regularly!

A few months ago I was inspired to head over to Gatherer and hit random button ten times to create a random list of Top Ten cards. Now I have played a majority of the cards in the game. Online, in real life, in my Abedraft set of random cards to play from the entire history of the game, in other drafts, in Cubes, in Commander and lots more. I started playing this game when I was 17. I have been playing it my entire adult life. I am 40. That’s 23 years of gaming. So yeah, I’ve played most of the cards that exist.

I thought it would be fun to hit these cards and then let you know some history about them and how I’ve played them and how cool they can be for a player today. Only one card, Trokin High Guard from Portal 2 has been hit thus far that I have not played. I love to really delve into the 10 randomly selected cards and then Plunge Into Darkness to see what we can uncover.

Are you ready?

I am! Random Card buttonnnnn GO!!!

10. Dregs of Sorrow

Dregs of Sorrow

Ah yes. x4b. This card was considered so good at the time of Tempset that it was used in the marketing. A card so good that it goes by the nickname in R&D as x4b! What could it be? Is it the latest droid in the Star Wars franchise? Nope? It just refers to the casting cost of the card. How disappointing. In the meantime, the card is pretty heavily overpriced. I’ve tried it for a while in Abe’s Deck of Happiness and Joy, a multiplayer friendly deck with 3000+ cards and it never really shone. I even had as my limited rare once, and it disappointed. It just costs too much mana. Maybe with a Cabal Coffers infused Commander deck it might see the sun and make its mark? You know you want to bust x4b and just demonstrate how great it is!

9. Pirate’s Prize

Pirate's Prize

Wow you can tell that Ixalan really wanted to come to today’s party. Who wants Treasure? This Pirate does! Treasure tokens have been cool, although a weakened version of Gold tokens, which makes me sad. I wish they had synergy with King Midas, King Macar, the Gold-Cursed and Gild.

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed

I know they are better with improvise, but hey, then I could have King Macar touch some Cheetah, turn it to Gold, and then my Pirates would be happy pilfering it. I can even imagine them being clever to find some way to imprison Macar and then forcing him Gild up a lot of junk and then seriously Revel in Riches.

Anyways, Pirate's Prize is a fun card that plays into the inlaid themes of the Block, much like many cards before it, such as Tezzeret's Gambit for example, with the proliferate blues all up and down the block. Here we have Treasure and Cards aplomb. It’s an easy card to slide into a lot of decks as a result.

What is your Prize? And how far will you sail to claim it?

8. Assassinate

Assassinate

I kill your stuff? I’ve used this as one option as a kill spell in countless limited environments. It’ a pretty okay card there, given its requirement of tapped-ness and sorcery speed, which normally means you have to wait a turn after you’ve been attacked before killing something. So sad. But it’s clearly an evocation of Royal Assassin and friends, which is why they quote a royal assassin on there. A single knife blade, artfully placed.

Note the artwork of the Royal Assassin in print at that time, as both were in M10:

Royal Assassin

You can see the circular black mark over the same eye in both pictures, thus connecting the two cards and concepts together. Is that the same dagger? That would be creepy cool. I can’t tell for sure, but they have a similar style for sure.

You get real style points if you can Assassinate a Royal Assassin. Challenge on!

7. Geistcatcher’s Rig

Geistcatcher's Rig

Huh. All right Rig, let’s do this thing — 6 mana gets you a 4/5 body, and that’s not nothing. We’ve all run it in limited since Innistrad is one of the best draft formats of all time, and many of us have played the draft multiple times, and we’ve grabbed and run this all day long. There’s no shame in its body. And you add a bit of a minor Wing Snare to it by shooting a flier for four damage on its arrival to the battlefield. And that’s a solid adjunct as well. The combination is a card you aren’t afraid to grab. And you can kill a lot with the Rig, as flying is very important in the format.

Here are a few examples of creatures I have either killed with a Rig, or which I have had killed by an opposing Rig:

And once an Angel of Flight Alabaster.

One time I had a foe use it on my 1/1 flying Spirit token as that was the only flyer I had. Still killed it though! You can kill smaller stuff like Vampire Interloper or Voiceless Spirit, but I haven’t seen that happen either, there’s usually a better option.

Although I’ve seen it happen with other games, I’ve never actually hit a transformed Delver of Secrets. Sorry Delver. Maybe next game!

Actually, now I want to draft some Innistrad again! Blast you Geistcatcher's Rig!

6. Circle of Protection: Blue

Circle of Protection: Blue

Ah yes, COP: Blue. The Circle of Protection cycle was extremely common throughout the early days of Magic. For some reason, they kept on printing it and felt they added a valuable card to check folks. We had reprinted of COPs in multiple expansion sets, and the Rune of Protection cycle in Urza’s Saga which required White mana to use instead of generic, but gave you an option to cycle it. And we added in weird stuff like Greater Realm of Preservation for protecting against Red and Black or Rune of Protection: Lands or Circle of Protection: Artifacts. And you usually played them in one of two contexts. The first was defensively against someone else. You could easily find someone bringing in COP from their sideboard in this era, it was a common stop on the Shutdown Train. The best COP was COP: Red. Why? Well shutting down Red’s burn from hitting the player and then shutting off their creatures and such was powerful, and Red couldn’t easily answer it with enchantment removal. That’s why it ran Anarchy in the sideboard during this era:

Anarchy

It was pretty much the only in-color answer to Circle of Protection: Red.

The other major way to use a COP was to use it aggressively. For example, you might see a Circle of Protection: Green in a deck with Hurricane and Force of Nature to prevent that damage. You might see COP: Red paired with Earthquake or COP: Black with Pestilence. I ran COP: Artifacts in my Artifact Pain deck that ran stuff like Armageddon Clock and Copper Tablet.

Armageddon Clock
Copper Tablet

Maybe Unstable could have included Circle of Protection: Defeat . . .  Ah well, maybe next time!

5. Spirit Mirror

Spirit Mirror

It looks like Tempest rares really wanted to come to the party tonight. In addition to x4b above, this was also used to help hype the set. There will be a creature that can be permanently killed by a Disenchant but not a Swords to Plowshares, Terror, or Lightning Bolt!!! And it’s true, and I think Spirit Mirror has been a great blocking force ever since. It survives most removal, and you can Wrath of God and then bring back a 2/2 token to keep swinging. You can block all day long. It has a fun reputation as destroying Reflections, which includes Changelings or someone you Donate a Xenograft.

There actually has been a single Reflection printed . . . 

Cryptolith Fragment
Aurora of Emrakul

Just in case you cared! Oh, and I have run Spirit Mirror in everything from Abe’s Deck of Happiness and Joy to multiple Commander decks.

4. Flinthoof Boar

Flinthoof Boar

I like these evocation of Kird Apes that you found as limited All Stars and a little more in a few different formats, among which is Flinthoof Boar. It’s a 2/2 for 2 mana, or a 3/3 for 2 mana or a 3/3 haste for 3 mana. Your call. That’s a lot of flexibility in a small little package, right?

Take that cycle as a good example:

Crimson Muckwader
Arctic Aven
Harbor Bandit
Prized Elephant

I loved the whole cycle, especially as draft targets. I found the Muckwader to be so good that I would often lead packs with it. They were all solid bodies, and they made many decks. Why aren’t they in more Cubes? They are strong options, as you can see. As I mentioned, in a normal Green deck, the Boar is a 2/2 for two, and then if you have a Mountain a 3/3, unless you tap haste mana and then it’s a 3/3 haster for three. And the same is true of these others, they are all very powerful on curve. 3/3 for three in Black with no disadvantages like Serpent Warrior? 4/4 for 4 mana in White? A 3/2 flyer for 3 mana without a disadvantage? They are just powerful cards, bit most of them (save for Harbor Bandit) are good on their own as later picks. If I don’t have White, Arctic Aven is still a 2/1 flyer and Prized Elephant a Hill Giant. But if I do, those cards rise in value considerably.

And there are more examples out there, like . . . 

Sunblade Elf
Kird Chieftain

Dauntless River Marshal
Jorubai Murk Lurker
Nightfire Giant

Now, yes, Nightfire Giant is the worst of that lot by far, but you get the point. I run Kird Chieftain in a Commander deck and a Cube. Sunblade Elf is no joke either, with the later game ability to pump the whole team. So there are a lot of these quality versions of Kird Ape and friends out there to consider as well!

3. Door to Nothingness

Door to Nothingness

Whoa. What can I say about Door to Nothingness? It’s a pretty good card. An untapped Door with the mana available is the best rattlesnake ever, because no one will attack you, kill your stuff, and come your way. It’s fun to get a Door kill! It’s even more fun to bring it back with a Refurbish or something for another run.

I had a friend who, in a M13 draft, built a deck intended to win with a Door that he drafted. It ran cards like Fog Bank, a pair of Augur of Bolas, a single copy of Flames of the Firebrand, Farseek, Scroll Thief and more. He Door’d me once, and lost the other two times, badly. But he was very happy.

That’s what the Door to Nothingness brings. Happiness to everyone.

2. Windbrisk Raptor

Windbrisk Raptor

I like big Bird butts that fly. And I like gaining life too. This Raptor is fun. I have used it in a few projects during the years, like a Bird commander deck or a life-gain one. It’s tame, and no one kills it, right? But then you keep it around and suddenly my life has bloomed to 78 while I have been swinging and I can chase the course of the game with a few life-paying effects here and there. It’s a card that has an overly heavy price tag, but let’s honest, what would you expect a 5/7 flying lifelinking giving creature to cost? Six? That means it’s 1 mana more than normal. So what? That’s nothing in Commander, and Abe’s Deck of Happiness and Joy has used it for years. To the skies!

1. Start Your Engines

Start Your Engines

Racing is a key part of our culture and identity. Doing so with the latest technology has always been something that thrills us. And we also like to push ourselves by doing throwback racing as well. I was in Cub Scouts, followed by Boy Scouts, and we had races of things like Pinewood Derby and the Space Derby and Raingutter Regatta. And yes, those are actual things . . . 

Now I never placed in the Regatta, as it requires to you blow the boat you make, but the others I always placed in, year after year, after year. Good stuff, right? Right!

Racing is who we be. We can race horses, cars, planes, or whatever. And the people of Kaladesh are clearly no different. Like us, they really like racing. Are you ready to Start Your Engines and take off! I bet you are!

Start Your Engines is a great modern take on a card we’ve seen print a few times, and which has sometimes made the transition to Standard. What am I talking about?

Trumpet Blast

Trumpet Blast

The original Blast was a card that made tokens really powerful in Standard. There were a few cheap ways to churn out some Goblin tokens, and the Trumpet Blast enabled a quick kill. I even played it myself and won on turn three reliably. Here’s the quick and dirty combo:

Turn one – Goblin Lackey

Turn two – Attack with Lackey. Hit. Play Goblin Marshal for free. Make two Goblin Tokens. Cast Reckless Abandon and sacrifice the Marshal for four damage. Make two more Goblin Tokens,

Turn three – Attack with five Goblins. Cast Trumpet Blast. Win

It was awesomely consistent and dirty. And it is even legal in Urza’s Block! Lackey is not banned in Block play.

Trumpet Blast had a strong and powerful cachet. And you can play into that powerfully. And we’ve had a few Trumpet Blast variants over the years:

Dinosaur Stampede
Path of Anger's Flame
Vampiric Fury
Torrent of Souls
Rally the Peasants
Desperate Charge

So it’s been a few options out there over the years. And Start Your Engines does just that. It can pump your stuff up the same way, but it also let’s your vehicles join the party. And that’s not nothing, especially if your vehicles have some cool abilities. Normally, attacking with a vehicle requires you to decide between a vehicle being active and swinging versus tapping a creature and removing it from doing anything. Start Your Engines removes that option for a turn, and the resulting damage can be a lot more than the simple +2/+0 upfront that it recommends.

Oh, and if you want a fairer version of the Trumpet Blast combo without the Lackey leading it, might I suggest Dragon Fodder and Hordeling Outburst?

And there we have it! Another randomly generated top ten to recommend!

So what did you think of the list? Did you enjoy it? Let me know!


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