Ranking Every Equipment with EDHREC – Finale: Top Ten Most Shiny Pairs of Shoes

(Helm of the Host | Art by Igor Kieryluk)

Only Ten Remain

Hello, welcome all to the final fulfillment

Where by EDHREC, do we rank all Equipment

From two-hundred eighty, give or take a few,

To the top ten Equipment, arrayed for our view.

So let us go forth! We have conquered the rest,

Now all that remains is the best of the best.

10: Loxodon Warhammer: 19,334 Decks

Here's a blast from the past! Loxodon Warhammer used to be a scourge of casual tables. You put this on a massive creature, and it not only made that creature impossible to block, but it also gained you a pretty exorbitant amount of life every turn. It was a monster in big creature decks and one of the scariest cards you could play in a Voltron strategy 10+ years ago.

Nowadays, though, the Equip cost is just too high. Sometimes you’ll pay six to cast and Equip this to some dork, and they'll just kill that dork, basically wasting your entire turn. There’s definitely been a shift in the format away from this card.

That said, I don’t think the card is completely outclassed. Hammer can still be good! It’s a big buff with two big dumb mechanics to keep your life total chunky and also help it get through blockers. That's still gonna make almost any creature a big threat. In more budget Voltron decks, or heck, maybe even in some big dumb creature decks, Hammer can still evoke a bit of the mystique it had in its glory days.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: That said, there are probably a few old-timers that could cut this card.

9: Sword of Feast and Famine: 20,196 Decks

Sword of Feast and Famine, AKA, the Sword that basically everybody agrees is worth playing. The discard is whatever, but then you get to double your mana when it deals damage. That can often make Equipping this card basically free, and it can be played in any deck! It's pretty evident why the Equipment version of Caged Sun makes this the best of the cycle.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: From Hope of Ghirapur to Tiamat, there’re few decks that won’t benefit from playing this.

8: Helm of the Host: 25,824 Decks

The moment Helm of the Host was spoiled, everybody immediately knew it was gonna be be ludicrously silly in Commander.

Please note, I didn’t say ludicrously good, because realistically, Helm is pretty win-more in most scenarios. If one Koma, Cosmos Serpent going off isn’t going to win you the game, I don’t think two Komas is gonna solve that problem. I know some people are gonna point to infinite combos, like Godo, Bandit Warlord, but that’s a tiny percentage of the 25,000+ decks playing this card. For the vast majority of decks, Helm might win you the game eventually, but it also costs nine mana to cast and Equip, and takes multiple turns to get truly nutty. You could probably find a less indulgent way to win the game.

Thing is, that indulgence is entirely the point! It’s flashy to have two Komas in play, or two Etalis or two Moraugs. This is one of the only way to do that. It's the blatant embodiment of excessiveness!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right:  It’s absolutely a card that only exists because Commander lets it exist, and I am all for it.

7: Shadowspear: 26,695 Decks

Okay, imagine if you were a card designer, and you were salty that Loxodon Warhammer wasn't the absolute slam-dunk busted Equipment it was in 2010, and you decided to create a 2020 version of that same effect. Well, you don't have to imagine that. Shadowspear is literally everything Warhammer was back in the day, but scaled for modern usage.

The +3/+0 on Hammer was nice, but you played Hammer primarily for trample and lifelink. Shadowspear does that, but makes the Equip and casting cost so cheap that it fits in almost every deck under the sun. Voltron decks? Slam-dunk; it’s a pretty dang efficient rate. Lifegain decks? Also very tempting; giving anything lifelink for two mana is superb. Just about any deck with massive creatures? Yeah, they'll assuredly have a good target for it. Oh, and they also gave it the Bonds of Mortality effect too, for commanders like Diaochan, Artful Beauty, because Stevie Stevenson wants this card in every deck ever conceived by anyone ever.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I almost wanna give this an "underplayed" but I think I'll wait until they reprint it

6: Blackblade Reforged: 27,336 Decks

When you get to this upper echelon of Equipment, you usually need a little bit more than just pumping power and toughness... unless your name is Blackblade Reforged, in which case the pump is so ludicrous it can make non-Voltron decks into Voltron decks. Blackblade will usually give +6/+6 to just about any commander, but it can go up to +15/+15 or +20/+20 if you're ramping like mad. It's an obvious choice for Voltron, since that's one of the biggest boosts you can get on an Equipment, but even in non-Voltron decks, this is a fine way to close out a game. It might not be the most competitive way to do it, but hitting people for 10 or more damage with a commander is a fairly effective way to end games.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I had nowhere else to fit this, but it's pretty cool that Dominaria is the only set that puts two Equipment in the top ten.

5: Whispersilk Cloak: 33,957 Decks

If you're running Whispersilk Cloak primarily for the protection ability, I think you can do better. There’re tons of better options to grant hexproof or shroud, most of which are a lot cheaper than the $3 on Cloak here. You need to be getting a lot of use out of the evasion ability for Cloak to be better than a card like Swiftfoot Boots.

When you really want the evasion, that's whenWhispersilk Cloak is excellent. Look, if you’re gonna try and give your Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni evasion, you might as well go all the way, and this is one of the best ways to do that. When you have a creature (like your commander) where the strategy revolves around making that creature unblockable, then the protection text is very relevant. That's an important distinction. You need to want both protection and evasion that really want this card. Otherwise, the bonuses aren't good enough, and shroud gets in your own way a whole lot more than you think.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I’ve never seen the OG art of Whispersilk Cloak. Why the heck have they never used this moody 90s-era metal band art piece again?

4: Sword of the Animist: 36,636 Decks

I have often lamented that ramp and aggro do not fit together very well. You often have to pick between developing your board and developing your resources. Sword of the Animist is the type of card that works towards bridging that gap. It’s doesn't instantly make Goblin Guide a Commander powerhouse, but it gives decks that are slanted more towards creatures a way to ramp pretty fast. It’s only two attacks for this to basically pay for itself, and it's possible for it to do much more. Plus, unlike some other cards, most regular durdley ramp strategies won’t want this card. By and large, this is mainly for the creature decks, and there are few it won’t be good in.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: This and Dowsing Dagger really benefit the format as a whole.

3: Skullclamp: 93,841 Decks

Let's go on a journey, shall we?

It's the beginning of 2004. WOTC releases Darksteel, unaware of the monster named Skullclamp they had unleashed upon the world. It’s a very famous Magic story: Skullclamp originally gave +1/+2 and Equipped for two mana, and then late in development they thought the card could use a small power boost. That translated to making it give +1/-1 instead and cost one to Equip a month before the set was released when they had no time to test it.


Cue Skullclamp snapping Standard and Extended in half, getting axed in Modern and Legacy before those formats even existed, and becoming the most banned card of all time. The card just saw play in any deck that had creatures regardless of strategy, and people hated it. They. Hated. It. Imagine the hatred people had for Oko, Thief of Crowns during its run in Standard. It's basically all applicable here. Skullclamp eviscerated every format for four months. The former head developer said that Skullclamp shook public faith in Wizards' ability to competently design Magic cards, and this was before Magic became the massive money-making juggernaut it is today. If Magic were to have died in 2005, it probably would have been at the hands of Skullclamp.

This is where the story gets silly, because we live in a world long after Skullclamp's rampage, where the card is like actually pretty cool in EDH. It's no less busted now than it was back to 2004, but only having access to one copy - and having access to tons of other crazy card draw sources like Rhystic Study - means that Skullclamp really only goes in decks that have a ton of creatures already, and a lot of those deck probably need the power boost. Sure, I don’t think Meren of Clan Nel Toth needed more ways to gain value, but Darien, King of Kjeldor probably did. In EDH, Skullclamp ironically lends itself to fueling a bunch of cool new decks, like Lurrus of the Dream Den, that might not have the tools to keep up with the durdley nature of Commander. I don't think Skullclamp should ever have been printed, but Magic has now lived long enough that it has circled back around and is now a net positive for EDH, and possibly the game as a whole. I can't overstate how much I love that.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: “Whomever thought of [Skullclamp] should get a pat on the back. Great design. This is how white will draw cards. Very cool.” --Seth Burns, 01/30/2004

2: Swiftfoot Boots: 118,267 Decks

It’s pretty awkward to talk about Swiftfoot Boots, because it means we also have to talk about Lightning Greaves. It’s not "strictly better" than Greaves, and Greaves aren't "strictly better" than Boots. There are decks that prefer the hexproof over the shroud, like Gargos, Vicious Watcher, or almost every Voltron deck in existence, but at the same time, haste and protection that Equips for free is way better than haste and protection that Equips for one mana.

Doesn't really matter, though. Both are huge. Boots gets reprinted every couple years, and almost always creeps back up in price, which is ironic, because sometimes we need budget alternatives for Boots, which is itself sometimes a budget alternative for Greaves. Point is, these Boots have many homes. Something something, these Boots are made for walkin' and that's just what they'll do.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: We might as well face the inevitable: after 276 cards and 24 articles, the most played Equipment is….

1: Lightning Greaves: 132,466 Decks

Wow! This would be such a twist... if I hadn’t been talking about Lightning Greaves since the beginning of the series. What's the opposite of building hype? I feel as though I've done that.

Yeah, this shouldn’t really be a surprise to anybody. Greaves is not only the most played Equipment, but I think it’s the 9th most played card on EDHREC, period. (I'll leave the other eight as an exercise to the reader.) Turns out, when you take a mechanic that's incredibly good at saving commanders, and a mechanic that speeds up dozens of strategies in a pretty substantial way, and put them on a Equipment that costs no mana to Equip, you have one of the best EDH cards ever made.

I will say, unlike some other cards we’ve covered, like Sol Ring or Command Tower, it doesn’t go in every deck. Some decks don’t care about their commanders that much. Some decks would rather have mass haste-enablers, like Crashing Drawbridge, and most importantly, some decks can’t afford the price tag on this pair of shoes. Those are all valid reasons, but there are still more decks that want Greaves than don’t, and I don’t think those numbers are particularly close.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I actually wouldn't be surprised if Greaves is overtaken by Swiftfoot Boots in a couple years, especially if that price tag continues to go up.

And Now, Some Lists to End the List

As is tradition, I like to end these macroscopic dives through all Equipment with a couple lists of Overplayed and Underplayed Equipment. These are just my opinion, feel free to share you own, don't be a jerk, etc. etc. Let's get this article into the sea!

Top Ten Overplayed Equipment

HM: Sword of Light and Shadow, Champion's Helm, General's Kabuto, Skyblinder Staff (Why is this card so bad?)

Top Ten Underplayed Equipment

HM: Sai of the Shinobi, Sword of Sinew and Steel, Civic Saber, Murderer's Axe

Let's Strut on Outta Here

You'd think that after four series, I'd get used to that fact that people continue to read and enjoy my introspective, philosophical tangent-filled writing, but no. I'm not used to is, and it never stops astounding me. To try and avoid getting too mushy, I'll just say thanks again for everyone that reads, comments, shares, or even silently contemplates these articles, and thank to EDHREC for continuing to put up with me (especially our editors, Joey and Jack. I have given you a lot of work.) I wouldn't be writing these without all y'all!

Now, we must venture into the future. I'll be taking about a month off to do research for the next series - and probably to sleep - but I'll need a series to come back to!

You may notice "Ranking all 890 one-drops" is on the poll. I am not insane enough to do an 89 part series. If that one gets picked, I will rank every card, but I would not talk about every card. Instead, I'd pick out the ones that look the most interesting in the early parts, and then once we hit the top 200 or something, then we'd talk about every card.

As for the other three options, I do plan to talk about every card within, but I figured I'd put something a little different on the poll and see if anybody is into that.

With that, I think I'm out of rambles, so let me know in the comments what you think about this batch of Equipment. Is Loxodon Warhammer something you still see? Is Lightning Greaves worthy of the title of best Equipment? Let me know in the comments. Until next week!

Joseph started playing in Theros Block but decided that the best way to play the game was to learn every single card and hope that would somehow make him good at Magic. It hasn't. He is a college student in Santa Fe, New Mexico and also enjoys reading and other games of all shapes and sizes.

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