Ranking Every Equipment with EDHREC – Part 16: Trepidation About Trepanation
(Trepanation Blade | Art by Daniel Ljunggren)
Conversations Through the Internet
Sooooooooooo I'm a little bit into Magic, and I rank every Equipment based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC. This includes many rambles, "jokes," and way more references than I'd ever use in real life. I have no idea how on earth this started or why no one's kicked me off yet, but until that happens, I'm going to keep doing it. I enjoy it!
Why am I giving this extended introduction? Well, it's cuz I want to say one more thing: Hi, Liz! You and I are friends IRL, but last week, someone apparently told you that I lurk over here on Mondays. I'd say hi to them too, but I think they would find that weird. I figured I might as well give you a proper introduction to this thing I do! So there you go! I'm sorry I never told you, but in my defense, how on earth are you supposed to bring this up in normal conversation?
Maybe I should just get to the ranking? Yeah, let's get to the ranking.
90: Sword of Kaldra: 2,093 Decks
I spent very little time talking about the price of Helm of Kaldra and Shield of Kaldra when they came up the last couple weeks. For those of you that have beheld my status as the undisputed king of complaining about cards that need reprints, that might be a bit surprising, but Kaldra's not exactly the easiest thing to reprint, nor would it be useful for 95% of players. The fact that Kaldra only appeals to the most hardcore players means I've basically reconciled the fact that it's very unlikely to get a reprint anytime soon.
However, I do get a little bit sad about Sword of Kaldra specifically being so expensive because the application it has in random decks is just funny. It's like a super duper ultra version of Gorgon Flail. Give this Sword to any repeatable pinger, like Kumano, Master Yamabushi, and suddenly you have this laser cannon that can eat even the mightiest Blightsteel Colossus around!
Now, that's not actually that impressive, and it costs a whopping eight mana to cast and Equip, but did you not hear me mention Kumano, Master Yamabushi? I don't want it to be good, I want it to be silly, and if this card were cheaper, rest assured it would be doing many sillier things in my decks
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It's even not the worst in, like, a typical Voltron deck. It's not great, but +5 power is big enough game that I could see it if it wasn't $20.
89: Ring of Kalonia: 2,150 Decks
Oh, good. Trample's back.
Look, I don't love trample Equipment. I gave O-Naginata an underplayed from last week, but that's because the trample is kinda incidental. The power boost for 2 is decent enough that the trample is a little extra bonus to push it over the edge. It's important but not overpowering. Here, the trample is the only thing you get when you cast it, and you have to wait forever for it to be more than that. It's just not worth the card when there's a lot of scenarios where trample does nothing. It's too low impact.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I might give it a pass if you have synergy with the counters, like Skullbriar, the Walking Grave, but I have to think you have faster ways to get +1/+1 counters counters on them.
88: Worldslayer: 2,161 Decks
I accidentally pulled a Doug and did a Too-Specific Top 10 search for Mass Land Destruction, or MLD (Link here for your viewing pleasure), and it looks like Worldslayer is the 5th most popular MLD spell, right up next to Obliterate and Armageddon. I suppose you could argue it isn't technically MLD since it blows up everything, but it's absolutely part of the cheese of Worldslayer that it prevent opponents from ever interacting again. Let's just get that out of the way right now.
And look, it's not really a secret that MLD is going to be a taboo topic at the average EDH table. However, in most decks, Worldslayer is a type of MLD that is more palatable for some tables. The primary response to, "Can I play MLD?" is still, "Please get out of my house," but there is kind of a growing sub-current of people that say something like, "Only if you can quickly win the game after doing that." It's no fun for the game to be prolonged for six hours, but if you can win in a couple turns, then it's not much different than a lethal Comet Storm or something.
Worldslayer is an excellent example of this. Sure, it might not look like it does that at first glance. It blows up everything on damage, and that includes the creature that was wielding it, so at face value, attacking with this is just gonna send everyone back to the Stone Age, but it shouldn't take more than two seconds to figure out how to break this. Any creature with indestructible, like Zetalpa, Primal Dawn, Zurgo Helmsmasher, Kefnet the Mindful, etc, and Worldslayer basically reduces the game to that creature versus a bunch of wide open opponents. It's not gonna take long to end the game after that. If even that's too slow, Avacyn, Angel of Hope lets you keep all your friends around to speed up the process. With these creatures, Worldslayer basically becomes part of a two-card combo, like a Splinter Twin + Pestermite thing. That's still not something most people are gonna enjoy, but it's no longer especially egregious.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I'm just gonna leave Hellcarver Demon and Worldslayer here. Do with that what you will.
87: Cloak and Dagger: 2,220 Decks
Slightly cheaper than Lightning Greaves, but still free protection for Rankle, Anowon, Grenzo, Starke, and Frankie Peanuts? Sounds pretty good to me.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: For a while, I also enjoyed Cloak and Dagger as just a budget way to give Shroud in any random deck, but it's $3 now, so that kinda eliminates that use for me.
86: Tenza, Godo's Maul: 2,236 Decks
Essentially, Tenza, Godo's Maul is just +3/+3 for any commander for Equip 1. That alone is a pretty solid rate for Voltron decks, so you could realistically play it there, especially more budget-focused ones. Obviously, the extra bonus for red creatures pushes it towards those commanders, but I don't think you have to be red to take advantage of this. As we continue to move up this list, I do like to see a little bit more than making my dorks bigger, but I think Tenza could be doing more work in non-red decks than it currently is at this moment.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Ironically, not seeing much play in Godo, Bandit Warlord. Too busy admiring his fancy mask, I suppose.
85: Ring of Xathrid: 2,258 Decks
Of the rings we've seen, Ring of Xathrid is definitely the best so far. I mentioned with Ring of Evos Isle that paying to protect the equipped creature is a lot worse than just running regular protection, but here I'll mention that paying to Regenerate a creature is a lot better than paying for temporary hexproof. It won't help against Wrath of God, but it does help against plenty of popular mass removal, like Supreme Verdict, Cleansing Nova, Austere Command, In Garruk's Wake, and so on. More importantly, the replacements for effects like this often cost like $10-20.
The protection is decent, and then it's also got a small (if slow) upside to put counters on your general. All in all, it's fine. It's still not amazing, but it's serviceable for decks that want to protect their commander that much, and those decks definitely exist, even outside of black. For example, even Hans Eriksson shows up as commander that occasionally uses this Ring. While I think cards like Fortitude and Broken Fall are probably better, it's still okay there. It's all fine. I'll be nice to this specific one, I guess.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: On the topic of protection pieces, I do have a soft spot for Blessing of Leeches. It's got a zero-mana ability. How often do you see that?
84: Behemoth Sledge: 2,265 Decks
This is literally just Loxodon Warhammer. All they did was make it Selesnya and tweak the power/toughness boost. These two cards are basically interchangeable. They stole homework from themselves and did the bare minimum of tweaking needed to call it their own.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I actually like Loxodon Warhammer. I don't think you want two of them, but if you're G/W and prefer the art on this one, you can jam this one instead.
83: Trepanation Blade: 2,279 Decks
Have you ever read the first word of this card? Trepanation? You know, where they cut a hole in your skull to remove evil spirits? I didn't realize how terrifyingly on flavor this card is.
Now that I've given you that imagery forever, let's talk Trepanation Blade itself. I fiddled around with the probability for a little bit, and I don't think the odds are great. It looks like you're only gonna get +1/+0 almost half the time, and the other half of the time, you're barely ever gonna get more than +3/+0. That's a pretty bad rate. Stats-wise, that's almost always gonna pail in comparison to most Equipment, and even in mill decks, milling for 3 cards a turn is pretty bad. Not seeing much of a use for this one. Maybe someone can show I did my math wrong, or show some special use for this, but this card looks just bad.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Maybe you can side it in against the Goblin Charbelcher deck.
82: Chariot of Victory: 2,312 Decks
Keyword soup, thy name is Chariot of Victory. The issue is I'm not sure I'd pick these three if I had the choice. I'm apparently just destined to pick on trample this series, and I've also mentioned that first strike really does not scale well to Commander, so that basically leaves haste, which is good, but if that's all you want, you can find much cheaper ways to do that.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It's kinda cute in Yargle, Glutton of Urborg, but beyond that, the whole thing is pretty meh. Put it on a commander with deathtouch for some defense, maybe.
81: Viridian Longbow: 2,333 Decks
Wizards... I just... can we talk about this?
Look, all I want is a good Equipment that can make creatures ping things. That's it. I want to do cool things with Atemsis, All Seeing. I want to make weird rattlesnake pillow forts with Queen Marchesa. I want to do incredibly dumb combo shenanigans with Traxos, Scourge of Kroog. I want to build my own Visara the Dreadful by giving a ping ability to Chevill, Bane of Monsters. None of that would be broken. None of that is probably even all that good, to be honest, but it would be very fun. I want to have fun. Is that too much to ask, Wizards? I gave up on getting you to remember that Grand Coliseum exists, but can you at least just create a decent pinger Equipment, hmmm?
Because, let me remind you, my options for doing that so far have been: a bow that cost five mana to Equip, stupid light arrows that cost mana to even function, a shiny stick that only deals damage to players, a card slower than the passing of time in a paint-drying shop, and one of the worst cards ever made. The only one of these cards to make me remotely excited was Heart-Piercer Bow, and that card doesn't even work! The creatures don't deal the damage off it. The card was a complete lie!
So then after all that, I'm left with... this. It does everything I asked in theory: it has the creature itself deal damage, and it doesn't have any sort of weird downside, but it still costs three mana every single time you wanna Equip it. It's perfectly mediocre. I know, they made it mediocre so it didn't break Limited, but this is all I have! This is the best pinger Equipment. If I want to do any of the cute synergies I detailed above, this is what I have to use. I'm stuck with this slow, clunky, fragile card.
Wizards, do the right thing. I am absolutely not a fan of making other cards obsolete, but you have to give me something better! You can't leave me here stuck with this mockery of a pinger card!
Over, Under or Just Right? Just Right: I know I already used this, but it fits my soul.
A Sad Song for A Sad State of Affairs
Well, I'll see you probably sometime next week, Liz! For everyone that's not Liz, let me know in the comments what you think about this batch of Equipment! Are you as depressed about Viridian Longbow as I am? Are you okay playing against or with Worldslayer? Let me know in the comments. Until next week!