Embracing the Chaos – You Can’t Get Mad

Wednesday, November 24th – What follows is a list of 25 cards that you can never get mad when someone blows them up (with the obvious exception of ‘but if you don’t destroy the other thing, the game is over’).

In multiplayer games, players often have to make a choice on how to use their limited removal and counterspells. Unlike a one-on-one game, where one might be able to counter or blow up everything with a dedicated control deck, this is far less likely in EDH, and there will often be a choice of damnations for a player needed to use his removal.

You may frequently disagree with what someone chooses to remove, based on the board situation at the moment, previous games played, or a host of other factors. When they blow up something of yours, it can sometimes be irritating. What follows is a list of 25 cards that you can never get mad when someone blows them up (with the obvious exception of ‘but if you don’t destroy the other thing, the game is over’). The common thread of these cards is that when you play them, shenanigans will ensue.

I shared this idea with friend of the show Aaron Duvall over at puremtgo.com, and he said he’d write something in parallel.

Here at StarCityGames.com, we also would like to educate as much as opinionate, so as an added feature, I typed each card name into Wikipedia, and I’ve pasted on interesting tidbits of what I found.

Academy Ruins: When you drop Academy Ruins, I suspect Mindslaver isn’t far behind, so I want to head that nonsense off at the pass. EDH is a format where living out of the graveyard is one of the best strategies, and getting back good stuff that other people have blown up is reasonable, but the Ruins is fuel for one of the most unpleasant two-card combos in the game.

Next Exit is an American manga-influenced comic series created by the comic artist Christy Lijewski. It is her first running series starring the two characters Millicent Retrab (the girl with the map) and Markesh (travelling companion and muito-mysteriouso Alchemist) in their quest to try to escape from the world of Akaline, a plane inhabited by people, figments, shadows, demons, and dolls (all in the most literal sense of the words).

The world involves many SciFi aspects, such as alchemy and organic cyberkinetic dolls, as well as fantasy, such as dragons, talking animals, and magical apparitions. The world also interestingly seems to be multilingual (languages resembling if not being Japanese and Korean appear in art throughout the series).

Dream Halls: Don’t try to sell me on the argument that ‘everyone gets to use it.’ Sounds an awful lot like ‘if she wasn’t dressed that way…’ I concede that combos are part of Magic. Dream Halls officially falls into the “Dirty Combo” category.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn: When this thing rears its ugly head(s), the game is often over anyway, so in the unlikelihood that someone does something about it, you really can’t get upset at them, nearly regardless of context. If you’re playing it in your deck, you can’t get angry if someone casts Bribery and then bashes you with it.

Did you mean: emdadul?

Geth, Lord of the Vault: A new player on the scene, this guy is already amazing. Living out of other players’ graveyards might be even better than living out of your own. Someone else’s Bone Shredder is really sauce.

From a list of fictional computers, subsection on “Computer and Video Games,” Legion is the given name for a Geth platform in Mass Effect 2, housing a single gestalt consciousness composed of 1,183 virtually-intelligent “runtimes”, which share information amongst themselves and build “consensus” in a form of networked artificial intelligence. Legion claims that all Geth are pieces of a “shattered mind,” and that the primary goal of the Geth race is to unify all runtimes in a single piece of hardware.

Goblin Bombardment: I know that you know that when I play the Bombardment, I want to have a sacrifice outlet for my dudes so that I can then squeeze off a giant Living Death.

The B-29 was the mainstay of Strategic Air Command after World War II until the Korean War. B-29 “Very Heavy” bomber units were redesignated “Medium” with the introduction of the B-36 Peacemaker into the inventory in 1948, with some units transitioning to the B-36/RB-36 beginning in 1949. The B-50 Superfortress, an advanced version of the B-29 was also introduced in 1949.

Greater Good: Simply put, Greater Good is one of the best cards in the format, arguably top 5. It saves your dudes from getting stolen, and it lets you draw insane numbers of cards. Not only do I not get angry when someone destroys it, I get confused when they don’t.

The Greater Good, the unifying philosophy of the Tau in the table-top wargame Warhammer 40,000.

Herald of Leshrac:  I completely forgot to put him on
Hidden Gems

list, and he’s one I swap in and out on occasion, but when it’s gone live, he’s a real beating.

The Heralds of Galactus are fictional characters appearing in publications published by Marvel Comics. The Herald concept was introduced in Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966) – with the character the Silver Surfer – by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Hive Mind: There are two reasons people play this card. The first is because they think that then playing Pact of the Titan makes them clever. The second is they want to create as much chaos as is possible, perhaps adding Warp World for more hilarity. While I have a distinct appreciation for the second, I understand that not everyone shares my comedy sensibilities.

In music, an internet radio station, focusing around progressive electronic music.

Intruder Alarm: It’s a card that no one plays without wanting to combo out, and Aluren is rarely far behind.

Found in the List of Spells from Harry Potter: According to Horace Slughorn, a Freezing Charm will disable a Muggle burglar alarm (Intruder alarm).

Jace Beleren (conditional): If you’re sharing with everyone via Little Jace, then I can see getting annoyed when someone nukes it. If you’re being selfish, then you get what’s coming.

Jack Everly is an American conductor and music arranger who serves as Principal Pops Conductor with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa, Canada) as well as Music Director for the Symphonic Pops Consortium.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker:  I can imagine hordes of nutty things to combine with KJ, but what do you see? Infi combos with Lightning Crafter, infi dudes with Pestermite, or infi recursion with Eternal Witness. KJ himself is enough reason to play Aether Flash.

Kiki Dee (born Pauline Matthews, 6 March 1947, Little Horton, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England) is a singer-songwriter, with a career spanning more than 40 years. She is best known for her 1976 duet with Elton John, entitled “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, which went to Number 1 both in the UK Singles Chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Liliana Vess: I’ll confess that the only time I’ve seen Liliana go ultimate in an EDH game, I did it myself. It’s an ability to fear, but the tutoring is by far the most dangerous. Honestly, the discard is either only something to add up loyalty counters or to get extra tokens in your Nath of the Gilt-Leaf deck.

Liliana Barba is a Latin American voice actress. She usually voices tomboyish young women.

Lurking Predators: Another in the ‘why didn’t you blow it up sooner?’ category, LPreds is one of my favorite cards ever, fuel for many stories of epic peels and even more epic whiffs. It’s part of a suite of cards that once they’ve resolved, they get you something for nothing, which is as good as it gets in multiplayer.

Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown. As in Feeding Frenzy, players have to control several fast growing marine predators who are out to uncover a mystery which is lurking in the ocean. The aim of the game is to avoid predators and obstacles while eating other smaller fish and creatures, eventually reaching the top of the food chain.

Memnarch: Yes, I know that you think it’s a complete rip-off that you can’t play Memnarch as a General. I think that if created today, he might cost 5UU instead of seven, making him General-legal. I also think that he’s not quite as good as he was back when Tolarian Academy (which would have totally made this list) was legal. I’m pretty sure that Memnarch’s reputation is actually a little scarier than the implementation. Sure, with a pile of mana, you can do crazy things, but one Brooding Saurian is all it takes to ruin Memnarch’s fun.

Did you mean: monarch?

Mimic Vat: The Scars card that’s going into the Cromat deck, Mimic Vat brings the power of graveyard recursion to all colors, most notably the one that missed it most, blue. The performable shenanigans with this card are nearly infinite. Consider that it can be added as another step to the Reveillark/Saffi/Karmic Guide insanity. Note that the token is exiled at EOT, so it won’t trigger goes-to-the-graveyard abilities, but it will trigger the hell out of the ‘Lark.

Though it cannot mimic complex machines such as guns or bombs, it … the T-1000 and it falls into a vat of molten steel where it is destroyed. …

Rings of Brighthearth: No one ever did anything friendly with Rings of Brighthearth. Sure, it’s great tech to pay two more to get twice the nice from your planeswalker. Imagine copying the ability of Contagion Engine.

Rings of Power is an isometric console role-playing game released on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1991. The game was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Electronic Arts. The player takes on the role of a young sorcerer whose quest is to collect 11 Rings of Power and use them to remake the Rod of Creation to defeat the evil god, Void, and bring about the fabled Golden Age. It has faced much controversy due to the fact that the story is very similar to that of The Lord of the Rings.

Sliver Anything: Although it’s tech at Armada Games to play just Harmonic Sliver, just Necrotic Sliver, or both in the Teneb decks, any other sighting of Slivers must be dealt with immediately. Even when the Sliver player gets out four or five of the worst ones, it becomes problematic, mostly because you know the even better ones are coming.

Sliver (1991) is a novel by U.S. author Ira Levin about the mysterious people in a privately owned New York highrise apartment building, especially after a new tenant — an attractive young working woman in publishing — has moved in.

Smokestack: Not only should you not get angry at anyone for blowing up your Smokestack, you should graciously accept the beatings you’ll get for ever having considered playing it.

Smoke Stack Lightning” is a 1956 blues song by Howlin’ Wolf. The song is based on one riff and no chord changes.

Stalking Vengeance: I’ve long resisted playing Tooth and Nail in my Kresh deck because getting Stalking Vengeance and Lord of Extinction at the same time, especially with a sac outlet already online, just seems unfair. I’ve given in to the temptation, so we’ll see how often in the future I don’t have Stalking Vengeance on the battlefield after resolving T&N.

Blackadder: Disease and deprivation stalk our land like… two giant stalking things.

Survival of the Fittest: Remember when green was the weak color in Magic? Not in EDH. Another top 5 candidate, Survival of the Fittest is rocketpoweredsuperturbo fuel for any creature-based strategy. Sometimes I’ll drop it turn 2 just to get done early the disappointment of losing it.

The phrase “survival of the fittest” is not generally used by modern biologists as the term does not accurately convey the meaning of natural selection, the term biologists use and prefer.

Vedalken Shackles: Shackles seems to garner more hate than other ‘steal your stuff’ permanents, probably because, unlike Merieke Ri Berit, you can choose to untap it. That, and it generally implies a heavy commitment to blue, which many people consider hate-worthy.

Vesuvan Shapeshifter: Even if you’re not playing Brine Elemental in the package, it’s a reasonable fear. Pickles lock is the first thing I think of when I see the Shapeshifter, and unless I’ve looked through your deck, I don’t believe you when you tell me you don’t have it or won’t use it, since blue players are the ones that lie the most.

The Shapeshifters are Simon Marlin and Max Reich, a House music production duo from west London, England. They have a record contract with Defected Records and were previously signed to Positiva. Max Reich is originally from Gothenburg, Sweden, while Simon Marlin is British.

Vicious Shadows: There is no doubt that VShad is a powerful card. It will certainly kill you, and maybe everyone else at the table. I waffle on whether or not I want to play it, because it’s certainly a target hat. True Fact™: At Armada Games, there is actually a target hat.

target hat

Dark Shadows is a gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971.

It was unprecedented in daytime television when ghosts were introduced about six months after it began.

Volrath’s Stronghold:  A little less concern-worthy than Academy Ruins, the Stronghold is still great recursion fuel; although it’s also a little slow, since it eats up a draw. Compared to Genesis or Oversold Cemetery, it doesn’t seem that great, until you realize you can save your guys from the graveyard hate.

Stronghold is a historic real-time strategy (RTS) game developed by Firefly Studios in 2001. The game focuses primarily on conquest and expansion through military pursuits, but also provides space for economic strategy and development. There is both an economic and a military campaign to be played and both are discussed in the game manual. The game takes place in Medieval England and Wales around the time of AD 1066, though, since there is not always a time limit, scenarios can continue hundreds of years beyond that date.

Wild Pair: You can get something for nothing, and you can get it with Wild Pair. Fortunately, it has the ‘if you cast it from your hand’ clause, or it would be obscene. You have to kind of build around it, but as I found recently in a game where I had stolen it with Aura Thief, most decks will have something to go fetch with it. There’s a “Bears” deck running around the shop that features Wild Pair, eventually getting Kiki-Jiki and plopping the whole deck on the table.

Extra bonus card:

Your General: Face it; you’re up to no good with it. And whatevs. You can recast it anyway.

I’ve frequently discussed the philosophy of ‘being second best.’ Any of the cards on this list are undeniably strong, and make you a Grade A threat, so don’t get upset when they get blasted. Generally, you’re going to have more threatens than other people have removal, so I wouldn’t worry too much. Even your second-best stuff is going to be good enough for some Embracing of the Chaos.