Hello Folks! If you adore multiplayer like I do, then I know that you thought 2017 was a great year with a lot of major hits seeing print that really impact everything from Commander to chaos multiplayer at kitchen tables all over the world. Each year, we have a few cards that really demonstrated something truly remarkable and special, and 2017 is no different!
When a card is initially printed, we often evaluate a card poorly. We think a given card was going to hit higher or lower than it really does. The value of coming to this concept at the end of the year is that we can look back at our various games and have some cards that really showed up and either proved themselves or demonstrated real power.
What were the best multiplayer cards from the year? Let’s take a look!
I feel like, in a lot of ways, 2017 was the era of the reprint. And many of those reprints are of cards that are iconic and good in multiplayer, such as Flametongue Kavu, Deranged Hermit, Gaea's Cradle, Tinker and Crucible of Worlds. And these newer iterations with Whir of Invention or Regal Caracal are great fun!
10. Teferi’s Protection / Heroic Intervention
I adore an answer that answers well. I mean, sure, you could use a card like Momentary Blink or Otherworldly Journey to answer a problem that comes your way. That works. But why? These cards are perfect answers that were both printed in the last year. People play annoying crap all the time to mess with your plans. Wrath of God? Nevinyrral's Disk? Pernicious Deed? Vandalblast? Cyclonic Rift? Mizzium Mortars? Wouldn’t it be nice of you could just shut that junk off for a turn? I know that I’d be happy with that!
The first has become one of the largest default answers in multiplayer this year. Teferi's Protection does a few things that are pretty unusual. First, it phases all of your stuff out, so that means they cannot be interacted with in anyway. It’s the ideal response to an Obliterate. The cards are in play, and can tap and swing next turn, but aren’t there for any purposes. Also note that you cannot have your life total change or be targeted by anything for the turn as well, so you can cast this in response to an Earthquake for 10 or when you are about to be killed by Commander damage. Nope. It’s not happening. Thou shalt not target me or deal damage through my protection from everything. Go away!
The latter gives your stuff indestructible and hexproof instead, which is almost phased out anyway. In neither case can they be destroyed or targeted. Now you still have them in case you need to block or use something post-spell. And they can still be affected by a mass removal spell that neither targets nor destroys, like Terminus or Final Judgment. But for the most part, both are very efficient answers to stuff that could otherwise cause problems. It’s nice to have these tools in your toolbelt!(Note that both will prevent Cyclonic Rift from bouncing your stuff as it targets — I have used Heroic Intervention twice to answer a Rift in 2017 and in both cases I won those games because I wasn’t reset like most of the others.).
Ah yes, the flying Flametongue Kavu. Pretend instead of exert that it is just a 4/4 flyer with the Kavu ability that doesn’t untap after you swing the first few times. Killing stuff is awesome. Killing stuff repeatedly is better. This guy works in Commander or 20-life, 60-card multiplayer just as much as it does in Standard and other Constructed formats. The Dragon’s power is notable. You can keep down a lower defense Commander and dealing four damage has a lot of range. It’s a good card for you!
8. Samut, Voice of Dissent
Samut of the Dissenting Voices is a cool card for a ton of reasons. We’ve seen the swagger this card has. The card is very synergetic with other tap abilities on your creatures, as they have both haste and untapping involved in one engine. It swings for 6 immediately for 5 mana, flashes out to surprise an attacker, and can keep your shields up after it swings for fear someone will attack into a double-striking blocker. She brings a powerful physical presence to any board position as well as enabling everything from Noble Hierarch to Avatar of Woe and everything in between. Samut for the win!
7. Gideon of the Trials
Is Gideon of the Trials the best 3-drop Planeswalker for multiplayer of all time? Jace Beleren is typically just an overly complex Howling Mine. Liliana of the Veil is a stud in Constructed duels, but a lot weaker in multiplayer. Some are strong but require a certain build like Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast, Domri Rade and Ajani, Caller of the Pride. Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver and Saheeli Rai are both solid, but they ain’t the best. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar? Nah. Got it — Dack Fayden is arguably better. That’s it though, that makes Gids of the Trials the 2nd best 3-drop in ‘walkers for multiplayer. Why?
The result is that Gids has a very powerful package that is downright abusive in multiplayer with the Platinum Angel, 4/4 creature cheaply and defensive ability. Gids is no joke!
6. Revel in Riches / Mechanized Production
Two alternate winning conditions printed this year are surprisingly easy to win with. Both do incredible things on their own without the winning condition engaged. And that’s the major reason they rock!
Take Revel in Riches first. From Commander lists to adding it in a tool with other cards, winning with all of the Treasures is pretty cool. I’ve seen it win without any major Treasure support cards, just by casting Living Death. It’s great. And Mechanized Production? It’s a little harder to win with, but a lot stronger on the battlefield. It’s just a cheaper artifact version of Followed Footsteps with the win-con rider attached. Note that you win based on the card name being the same. It does not require you to have eight cards of the enchanted artifact. So you can win with 8 Clues or 8 Treasures. That makes them strong allies, as well as playing into the space of Hellkite Tyrant. I’ve seen both cards win early and often.
5. Disrupt Decorum
During the Commander 2017, I was a big fan of just how good Disrupt Decorum was likely to be. A lot of you joined your voices to mine, and we talked of Disrupting Decorum at many a kitchen table. Goad is a powerful ability at multiplayer, where they swing at someone else, and cannot come your way unless there is no other option. It may not look powerful at first, but trust me, it’s good. Here’s typically what happens when I play it, assuming a four-person game.
The result of Disrupt Decorum on a typical board stalemate is often just as game-winning as Insurrection.
4. Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
I like big Planeswalkers and I can’t deny. This big ol’ draconic presence castsa big shadow over the table with all of its abilities. +1 to make someone discard (exile) 2 cards from their hand is twice as good as Liliana Vess! +2 to make someone mill some cards and then cast them yourself is just stalkingly enticing! Shooting a creature or opponent for 7 is sweet and kind and usually kills an opposing Planeswalker too! And then exiling all of your opponents’ stuff with the ultimate is just sweet candy. All four of these abilities are strong options for your kitchen table breaking.
3. Paradox Engine
The card that keeps on giving, Paradox Engine. How does the mega-powerful Paradox Engine get printed? How does a card that is clearly a nasty as this wind up hitting print? How does a card with this strong cachet in multiplayer get printed? How does a card so broken with pretty much every card ever created get printed? How does a card that is downright abusive with multiple mechanics, such as buyback, flashback, or storm get printed? How does a card that can dominate a table with a mere investment of five generic mana up front get printed? How does a card like this that has no color identity and thus can be played in every Commander deck get printed? It’s a paradox to me!
It’s a paradox, full of contradictions. How I got from there to here, it defies a logical explanation.
(Ah yes, the bridge in If She Would Have Been Faithful.)
2. Growing Rites of Itlimoc
Who likes Gaea's Cradle? Who likes flipping this into one at the end of their turn and then just dominating the board? I was so high on this card that I named it the best multiplayer card from Ixalan prior to release, and even got some pushback. Are you kidding me? Post-play has just confirmed our thoughts. It’s super easy to flip, and it replaces itself and Impulses for a creature on arrival, so it’s not even card disadvantage of someone kills it pre-flip. I’ve people abuse the ETB ability a few times with blink effects until they had enough drawn creatures to flip it and win the game. Note that post-flip it’s even better than Gaea's Cradle as if you have no creatures it’ll still tap for a Green mana. There’s no part of this card that doesn’t blow your mind!
1. Ramunap Excavator
Ah yes the Crucible of Worlds on legs. At no point in time this year did the card that everyone was eyeing disappoint. It’s currently pretty cheap at $1.99 near mint here at CoolStuffInc and you can acquire it easily enough. It can fit into a lot of different shells. Now I don’t expect the value on it to rise too much, as eventually it’d be reprinted in Commander decks or in other places pretty regularly, like Eternal Witness. It can easily change the course of the game for the better. And from fetch lands to Wastelands, there is a lot here to love. (Don’t be the person who uses this or Crucible Proper to play and replay a Strip Mine effect to take out lands that produce mana, such as Dimir Aqueduct. Don’t be that player!)
And there we go!!!
So, what did you think of my list! What were the best multiplayer cards of 2017?