Ranking Every Equipment with EDHREC – Part 12: No One Cared Until I Put on the Mask

 (Nemesis Mask | Art by Adam Rex)

Welcome, Travelers!

As you stumble into the EDHREC tavern, the smell of beer and sounds of merriment overwhelm your senses from the tables in front of you where several article writers sit. Reader, go ahead and roll perception check.

What'd you get? Mhmm. Let's see....

As you're surveying the tables, you spot an author sitting at a corner table reading a copy of Inquest from 1995 with a spreadsheet laid out before him. He catches your glance and beckons you towards the table.

"Ah!" he says, "Welcome back to this series where we rank every Equipment based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC. I have been waiting all day for someone like you to notice my trinkets. Sit down, sit down! I have many stories to tell you!"

You wanna roll to escape?

Oof. What's your dexterity again? Yeah, you're gonna be stuck at this table a while.

130: Nemesis Mask: 930 Decks

What a silly card of silliness.

Let’s be clear, you never really play a Lure effects for any value they might provide on their own. You don't play Nemesis Mask as a weird form of evasion to help get the rest of your dorks through. The return is just not worth that. Taunting Elf cost you one mana, and it's still not gonna survive any combat you put it in without some extra help.

This is where people come in with deathtouchbut even that's not quite enough. Don't get me wrong, deathtouch and other cards like Sword of Kaldra work decently well with Lure effects, but you're limited by the power of the creature. Doesn't matter if Typhoid Rats is being blocked by one creature or ten, they only have enough power to kill one creature. No, we have to think bigger.

Let's go full-out Blocking Matters! Why use deathtouch when we could use Grasping Giant or Vortex Elemental to get all the creatures without dealing damage? Or let's just steal all the creatures with Tolarian Entrancer and Sisters of Stone Death! Maybe we want our Homura, Human Ascendant to die in combat, or maybe we want our Mirri, the Cursed to get real swole! Maybe we fall completely off the deep-end and build a terrible “wants to be blocked” tribal deck with freaking Saprazzan Heir! The world's your oyster with Nemesis Mask! It's another question if any of that is actually good, but frankly, I don't think I care.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It says here I’m supposed to mention… Checks Notes, Gabriel Angelfire? Man, all the weirdos really do come from Reddit.

129: Ring of Evos Isle: 937 Decks

Paid protection is a lot worse than good old fashion free protection. Much as I don’t like Mirror Shield, I’d play that card over Ring of Evos Isle for the hexproof every time. Even if you care about the counters here, the protection is just super clunky overall.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: There’s a reason this is the least-played hexproof Equipment

128: Ancestral Blade: 946 Decks

So originally, I was just going to lump Ancestral Blade in with Flayer Husk from last week, but honestly, the more I look at this, the more I think this is sneakily very good. Blade's got everything that Husk has: it's an Equipment to trigger stuff like Reyav, Master Smith while also being a creature you can Voltron if you draw it with not much going on. However, Flayer Husk made a pretty poor creature and a pretty poor Equipment. Ancestral Blade makes a creature that actually sticks around if you move the sword, and also only cost one to Equip. That's pretty good for a two-mana common. It's not a showstopper, but I think the flexibility is useful for Voltron decks, and it probably deserve a bit more respect.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: On the topic of Flayer Husk, a couple people mentioned some combos I missed with Husk, Salvaging Station, and some sac outlets. That's a solid find! I couldn't find anything similar with this card, but let me know if you got something cute here, too.

127: Kusari-Gama: 978 Decks

Yeah, you probably need to read that one again. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

Ain't it weird? If an opponent blocks your creature, and you hit that creature for three, you shoot every creature that player controls for three. I think that's good? Like, there're board states where this is very good, but it’s also not something you want to build around. It's too niche to win you the game every time.

Bear with me for a moment. Have you ever cast Ghostly Flicker on a Mulldrifter? I can assure you, it's a great feeling, but if someone said to me, "Oh, my goal in this deck is to Ghostly Flicker a Mulldrifter," that'd be a little weird. Both cards are good on their own, and then when you put them together, you can do a cool thing, but that synergy doesn't do enough to justify building the deck around that specifically.

Kusari-Gama works in a similar way. The trap with this card is to play stuff like Nemesis Mask, or Colossification to "make Kusari-Gama good", but that's too far off the deep end. It should be good on its own. When you have a commander like Zurgo Helmsmasher or Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist, then Kusari either makes them completely unblockable or it probably kills an opponent's entire board. That's about the best this card can do. If that's not enough for your deck, then you shouldn't be playing it. it's not a combo piece, it's just a good card.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It's also very funny with Bushido and those terrible Samurai I mentioned a couple weeks ago, so it gets bonus points in my book.

126: Sanctuary Blade: 992 Decks

As a design, I really like Sanctuary Blade. The thing about protection cards, like Sword of Light and Shadow, is that they do stone nothing against decks that don't have black or white in them. Protection cards are like Intimidate on steroids. Either they are the best cards you could have at that moment, or they are as useless as... something particularly useless and funny....

Look, you want a better simile, you come up with one!

Anyway, Sanctuary Blade is a nice spin on protection that always does something. Up against a Krenko, Mob Boss token army? Equip Blade and make it pro red. Did it come back to your turn and another opponent had cast Isochron Scepter and put Silence under it? Move the Blade to something else, make it pro white and smack them down to size. Now, it does cost three to Equip, so you don't wanna move it around a lot, but you can afford to do it when you really need to. There’s a lot of cool flexibly on this card.

Does that cool flexibility make the card good? Ehhhhhhh. The type of protection this provides would be best in decks that want evasion, and there’s just so many better ways to do that. Even, like, Kitesail might be better for that purpose. Now, Blade also protects it from removal, so it can certainly do more than Kitesail, but it's also way slower, so there's some large tradeoffs. I think I'm gonna give it a pass on design alone, but I will acknowledge it's probably not the most powerful card you could play.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: If you enjoy the card like I do, you can totally get away with it.

125: Diviner's Wand: 1,087 Decks

How much can I attribute MTGMuddstah for this one? His Mistform Ultimus deck makes better use of Diviner's Wand than most of the other decks playing it. It’s a win condition with infinite mana, but so is Goblin Cannon. It's a win condition if you draw your whole deck, but at that point, so is almost anything. Neither of those are exactly a unique attribute. It’s cute evasion in Wizard tribal, but if Wizards care about combat damage at all, they care about going wide à la Adeliz, the Cinder Wind. All of these things aren't bad, but you kinda need all of them. You have to be a Wizard, and care about the evasion, and also probably have busted infinites to take advantage of this card.

Enter Mistform Ultimus! I’ve seen enough Mistform Ultimate wins from Andrew's channel where this card will win either from commander damage or an infinite Mind over Matter/Temple Bell combo. That’s the one deck where it works. I don’t think it does much else.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It’s pretty clunky as a whole.

124: Hedron Matrix: 1,093 Decks

As far as I can tell, Hedron Matrix just exists to make incredibly big creatures incredibly bigger. That double-decker four-mana cost & Equip probably sinks it in Voltron decks. Green ramp decks have far too many big dorks to care about the boost here, and everybody else isn't gonna have big enough creatures to power this up.

That basically leaves the colorless decks, where people are playing it to put on their 12/12 Kozilek, the Great Distortion and make it a 22/22. Apparently, these giant abominations left opponents with a tiny sliver of hope when they attacked, so we're gonna Equip this to our Eldrazi to just obliterate people in one shot as opposed to hearing their screams of agony for a while before we obliterate them anyway.


Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: No, I think the previous bit sums it up.

123: Cobbled Wings: 1,096 Decks

Cobbled Wings? Where did you come from? Why are we here? We just went up to like at least Wings of Hubris, but now we fall back to the dregs of "strictly worse" Equipment. Augh!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Yeah, if you play this, it isn’t the worst, but, like, why? You own Wings of Hubris, I assure you. Check your couch cushions.

122: Nightmare Lash: 1,113 Decks

Unfortunately, it's impossible to talk about Nightmare Lash without talking about Lashwrithe, because you see Nightmare Lash, and go "Holy crap! This card's amazing!" It's super easy to imagine this giving 6-10 power to any creature you want, and you might wonder why it doesn't see more play, and you realize it's because Lashwrithe exists. Having the option to Equip for mana instead of life, as well as just being a free creature, makes it the clear choice. There's very little reason to run Nightmare Lash first, specifically. That said, Lashwrithe is an incredibly silly card, so some decks probably want two copies of this ability, but that unfortunately prevents Lash from being as busted as it looks at first glance.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Spoiler, I'm gonna have a lot to say about Lashwrithe when we get to it.

121: Obsidian Battle-Axe: 1,118 Decks

Well, this makes Relic Axe looks sad, doesn’t it?

As a Warrior tribal card, this is fine. It’s kinda an Equipment version of Axgard Cavalry giving haste to one thing a turn, but you’d probably rather have a card like Crashing Drawbridge for that role. This is a power boost, but mass haste enablers can give multiple dorks haste, and you’d often rather do that.

However, as a free way to give your commander that happens to be a Warrior haste, it gets a little bit better. You might still want the Drawbridge if you want to be giving other creature haste, but if you only really care about one Warrior hitting fast and hard ASAP, then Axe is a really great way to do that, especially if you’re more Voltrony, like Greven, Predator Captain.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Come on, Wizards! Just making Relic Axe pointless. Isn’t reverse power creep just the worst?

Retroactively Makes That Card Overplayed

*Rolls for persuasion*

Oooh! That should make this easier. Let me know in the comments what you think of this batch of Equipment. How are you abusing Nemesis Mask? Do you have any experience with Kusari-Gama or Sanctuary Blade? Let me know in the comments! Until next week, travelers!

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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