Embracing the Chaos – Favorite Step-Children

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Thursday, January 14th – I love all colors in EDH, although clearly not equally, since last week’s list was mostly Jund. Jund strategies, which involve mostly savage aggression, are definitely my style, but more subtle and tricksy strategies aren’t lost on me. My original Generals, however, were WUG: first Arcades Sabboth and then Phelddagrif.

I love all colors in EDH, although clearly not equally, since last week’s list was mostly Jund. Jund strategies, which involve mostly savage aggression, are definitely my style, but more subtle and tricksy strategies aren’t lost on me. My original Generals, however, were WUG: first Arcades Sabboth and then Phelddagrif.

I didn’t realize until someone in the forums pointed it out that there was a distinct lack of love for White and Blue (okay, I knew about the blue) in last week’s list. It’s time to correct that, since there are definitely cards in those colors that I love.

You’ll see my preference for White creatures leans heavily toward Angels (although the Sphinxes are really starting to interest me as well). I love the imagery of these beautiful, pure creatures that are fierce and unrelenting in battle.

Akroma, Angel of Wrath

Is she the best White creature of all time? She does nearly everything. She can protect you while still attacking, and protect herself from the best targeted creature destruction as well.

Angel of Salvation

Flash, Convoke, and damage prevention, all in one 5/5 Flying package. Even if you’re not using the damage prevention, Flashing her into play at someone’s EOT can really change the math of the upcoming turn.

Aura Thief

To some extent, I’m fine with people not destroying all those good enchantments running around. If they’re still in play, I can steal them. All of them! Since it flies (which folks seem to forget about sometimes, since it doesn’t look like it should fly), it’s a great rattlesnake.

Azorius Guildmage

Tapping dudes is good. Countering activated abilities is better, and the fact that it doesn’t tap the Guildmage (for either ability) raises this to the top of heap.

Baneslayer Angel

How good is a First Strike Lifelinker who has protection from half the Generals in the format? Pretty damn good. And unlike Standard, it might not always be the first creature your opponents have to kill. It’s hard to believe that a card in Standard will give you $60 playability, but you should trade as many crap rares as you can to eventually get one of these for your EDH deck. The question is, how many $1 rares is a Baneslayer worth?

Blood Tyrant

Okay, it’s also Black and Red, and perhaps it’s the fond memory of literally having 17 of these guys in play under various controllers the first time I ever played with Planechase, but I really like the inevitability of this guy. If he was Legendary, I’d certainly use him as a Grixis General. If it stays around, it gets plenty of counters in a short period of time.

Chronomatic Escape

I can’t count the number of times this card has saved my bacon. No one counters it, because it seems like it’s not so terrible for them. And then it comes coming back around. You know that you can play differently for a turn that’s upcoming, since you don’t have to worry about getting attacked. Just make sure you remember the turn that this has resolved, because everyone else is likely to forget.

Coiling Oracle

Pure and simple, one of the best card advantage two-drops in the format. At worst, it’s mana acceleration. Okay, maybe at best it’s mana acceleration. At worst, it digs you deeper into your deck. And then there are a bunch of ways in Green and Blue to run it out there again.

Deep Sea Kraken

Unblockable creatures, especially in defensive colors, can let you start bashing down life totals while still doing what you need to do. This guy will generally come out no more than two turns after you Suspend him, so you can start bashing a great deal earlier.

Dimir Cutpurse

Shadowmage Infiltrator is one of the most popular card-draw creatures ever. Now add discard to him. Sure, he doesn’t have Intimidate, but there’s always someone to attack anyway. He’s hard to kill, since he’s Black, and if you spread around the “love,” he won’t get killed until he’s drawn you a fair number of cards.

Enigma Sphinx

Cascade is clearly my favorite recent mechanic. The Cascade guy that keeps on giving is amazing. He’s a big fat Flyer that you don’t mind trading in combat, since you’ll get him back soon, and more importantly, get to Cascade again. And again.

Galepowder Mage

I’ve never failed to find a great target for this guy’s triggered ability. Whether it’s clearing the path for an attack, or removing something of my own with a cool enters-the-battlefield ability (Coiling Oracle, anyone?), Galepowder Mage is a very swingy card. Reveillark shenanigans also come to mind.


I do love enters-the-battlefield abilities, and I love saving my own creatures from board sweepers. Ghostway is a way to do both. The obvious trick is to save them from someone else’s Wrath effect. Remember you can also play it during the end step of the player to your right if you’re going to do your own board sweeping, since the creatures don’t come back until the beginning of the next end step.

Karmic Guide

Protection from Black is not to be underrated in this format. A Pro Black Flyer that resurrects a friend is even better. Note that Karmic Guide is also Reveillark fodder. How good is that?

Overwhelming Intellect

There is much fat in EDH, so there will always be something that will be worth countering, and that something will always being drawing you cards. I’ve actually seen a fair number of counter wars over this card, well higher than expected, especially from third parties. The best tech is obviously for the third player to counter the initial creature himself so that the first guy doesn’t get the dude and you don’t get the grip refill.


How can you not love Apes? How can you not love turning something terrible and immense into an Ape? For one mana! I’d go as far as saying that Pongify may be the best creature removal in Blue.

Prince of Thralls

Again, I know it’s Grixis colors, but Prince of Thralls has EDH written all over it. Once it’s in play, it’s crazy dangerous for your opponents, especially since you’re already playing colors that are pretty good at blowing up stuff.

Shield of the Oversoul

Shield of the Oversoul = make Phelddagrif 6/6 and Indestructible. Makes Darigaaz even more insane.

Skyward Eye Prophets

Skyward Eye Prophets is basically a repeatable Coiling Oracle on a bigger body. At first, I kind of shrugged when I looked at it. Then I got a foil one, so I shoved it into the Phelddagrif deck. Then I played with it, and I was convinced.

Stoic Angel

This Bant Beauty has certainly seen play in Standard, and will keep the ravening hordes off your back in EDH. In multiplayer formats, I also like Vigilance, since you can attack and still stay at home for some defense as well.

Tidespout Tyrant

Tidespout Tyrant is often a game-ending kind of card, even if it doesn’t end the game right away. It’s been a mainstay in my Phelddagrif deck since it came out. You can certainly get into some favorable situations, especially in an otherwise cost-efficient deck, by being able to repeat things like Mystic Snake or the nearly-always-abused Eternal Witness (which more than one person whose opinion I respect has lobbied to ban).

Trygon Predator

Much like Aura Shards, only on a well-costed body, Trygon Predator keeps nasty enchantments and artifacts in check. It is cheap enough to come out early enough so that the folks who will abuse either enchantments or artifacts will have to deal with this little Flying Beast before they do anything else. Creatures that give your opponents dead cards in their hands are always fine by me.


Shunt’s Blue cousin lets someone else spend lots of mana for you to do cool stuff, whether it’s copying their Time Stretch, mising them out of Overwhelming Intellect, or just as an emergency counterspell.

Venser, Shaper Savant

The flexibility of Venser is part of his endearing charm, as is his ability to take care of uncounterable things, at least for a turn. Vensering someone’s Obliterate might only delay it for a turn, but that turn might give someone else the opportunity to get it out of their hand, or simply kill them before they can fire it off.


Willbender is generally better when you play it with other Morph creatures, like Chromeshell Crab or even the underused Shaper Parasite, so that they don’t know exactly what tricks you have up your sleeve. I like especially that it can retarget either a spell or an ability.

One of the great things about the format is that there are so many outstanding, strategically interesting choices in whatever color you might choose. That means you can first pick what you like to do or how you’d like to do it, and then find plenty of cards to do it with. The number of ways you can Embrace the Chaos are endless.