Ranking Every Equipment with EDHREC – Part 18: God Killer
(Godsend | Art by Daniel Ljunggren)
Magic Magic Magic Magic Magic
Ah! Welcome back to this series where we rank every Equipment based on their data on EDHREC. Guess what I was doing this week? Come on, you'll never guess.
I was playing Magic, and it was awesome! Sometimes I don't play for a longer stretch of time, and it's easy for me to get too philosophical about Magic and the design and power creep dynamics behind it, and then I actually play Magic, and I go, "Oh, yeah! This game is pretty sweet!" Have y'all tried Magic? You really should sometime. Like, right now, if possible!
Oh, after reading this article, of course!
70: Forebear's Blade: 3,006 Decks
I find Forebear's Blade to be perplexing. It might not look that weird at first glance. In theory, you can put Blade on a massive creature, and then if they kill your creature, you can move the Blade to a different creature for free and start making that creature massive. Neat!
The problem is, I don't know which deck actually wants to do that. Which deck wants to make a creature massive with Equipment and Auras, but also have a bunch of creatures to pass this Blade between? Most Voltron decks care about one creature, and that's the commander. The pump on Blade is fine, but not worth the three to cast + three to Equip for it, so you really need the attach ability to be good, but then most generic creature decks don't want a random Equipment when they could just play more mass pump effects, like Shared Animosity. I can't think of any deck that wants Forebear's Blade in particular. I wonder why it's seeing play anywhere.
Ohhhhhhhhhh. Forebear's Blade. "For Bears." Ayula players, you get a pass.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Other than a squadron of Bears, I'd love to see a cool deck for this, but nothing is coming to mind.
69: Godsend: 3,066 Decks
I’m so torn on Godsend, because on one hand, the flavor of this card is super cool! Like, I am not a hardcore Vorthosian, but even I love this card. It’s this legendary blade of light and truth that indestructible Gods cannot withstand! I would not fault you for playing this card for that alone.
On the other hand, it's ultimately a Vulshok Battlegear that cost $18. The blocking ability is really cool and flavorful, but usually your giant Voltron dork will survive combat anyway, and the exile ability is pointless against everyone except the most persistent of Petitioners. Most of the time, Godsend is just going to be an Equipment that gives +3/+3 and nothing else.
Most importantly, though, it costs three to Equip. That’s not a bad rate, but compared to Plate Armor, Tenza, Godo’s Maul, and even Grafted Wargear, it's painfully apparent how clunky this card is. I really love Godsend, but I don't think it does enough beyond the coolness factor.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I will certainly not fault anyone for running this card. It’s incredibly cool, and it still does things. I just find it a hard sell for the massive price tag.
68: Gorgon's Head: 3,076 Decks
This series is “the series of invisible double write-ups” because I basically already talked about Gorgon’s Head when I mentioned Gorgon Flail. I’m honestly surprised they aren’t closer together. Head costs one less mana, which is probably going to matter more than the +1/+1 on the Flail, but it doesn't really matter. The decks that want one are gonna want both.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Y'all gotta commit to the bit!
67: Assault Suit: 3,197 Decks
Oh, would you look at that, it’s silly o'clock!
Okay, sure, there’ve been some cards recently that attempt to distract you from how dumb Assault Suit actually is. Then there's the Tahngarth, First Mates and Karona, False Gods that you give to other opponents but don’t want eaten by Nantuko Husk or something. Those are the places that tend to be where you expect Assault Suit to pop up.
However, that right there betrays the entire reason this card is fun. No one should expect the Assault Suit. They should be playing a normal game of Magic where you build a slightly large commander, and then suddenly you slam Assault Suit on the board and give the table a ton of chaotic power. Commander damage is always tied to the commander card, regardless of who controls it, so a massive commander getting four attacks a turn cycle will end people very quickly. You can suddenly give the table the power to assassinate an opponent when they least expect it, and I love it! Why aren't more people doing this?
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Let's Magnetic Theft this onto an opposing commander!
66: Maul of the Skyclaves: 3,276 Decks
Evaluating Maul of the Skyclaves is funny because I have a ton of experience with this card in Arena Standard (I got into Kaldheim Limited and needed to finance my addiction somehow), but have never actually seen it in the Commander format. I have fond memories of throwing this onto a Seasoned Hallowblade and smashing people that had no answer to this card. I feel like that's gotta be applicable to EDH. I can imagine slamming this on Tajic, Blade of the Legion or Akiri, Fearless Voyager and smashing heads when opponents don't have an answer.
However, I also recall a lot of games where opponents had Glass Casket for my Maul-wielding creature, and that was usually backbreaking. That also seems fairly applicable. Paying four mana to Equip again was horrendously slow in any format, and it's probably gonna happen way more in EDH. There’s way more mass removal and exile and other stuff that makes almost any creature killable in some form or fashion. When Maul works, it's really good, but that's kinda just Voltron's issue as a whole. They don't need Maul to be scary, so I guess it feels a bit win-more.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: We’ll always have memories of smashing mono-red, buddy.
65: Dragon Throne of Tarkir: 3,283 Decks
Dragon Throne of Tarkir is probably just as weird as 'Fourbear's Blade', but is much funnier and probably more powerful! You need a giant creature and a lot of smaller creatures to make this card work, but when it does, it's an Overwhelming Stampede on a stick! All you have to do is solve the mini-game of creating a giant board and a giant creature, and you win! Easy enough. My favorites are Valduk, Keeper of the Flame and Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy just for the sheer ludicrousness of the board states they can create, but if you wanna try it in Zurgo Helmsmasher just to see if you can make an army of 20/20s. Go for it!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Quite frankly, I didn’t expect this card to be this high. It's super weird, and might be win-more in a lot of cases, but it's definitely the best bone-based throne Equipment in Commander! I can't say no to that.
64: Strata Scythe: 3,317 Decks
Strata Scythe is not nearly as good as Lashwrithe, but Lashwrithe is only in black-inclusive decks, so maybe Strata Scythe can let the other colored decks have fun making their own Nightmares?
Well, it's a bit trickier than that. Mono-blue can’t really take much advantage of this. Of the five colors, blue is the most likely to lean into artifacts, so it doesn't seem super well-Equipped (heh) to utilize it. Mono-green sounds fun in theory, and there are some commanders that can make good use of this, like Isao, Enlightened Bushi, or a commander you’ll actually see, Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar. However, most green decks (and I’m sorry to drop this bombshell on you) do not actually have a problem making big dumb creatures, so Scythe isn't really doing something mono-green needs.
That leaves mono-white and mono-red, which are both decent places for this card. True, they also aren’t exactly the kings of land-based ramp, but they do lean on it somewhat, especially in white’s modern... “renaissance?” Point is, it's likely that Strata Scythe will still provide a fairly large boost, and it actually fills holes these decks need. Often, Scythe is 10-12 power later in the game, and that's probably going to make any random dork into a threat, and will work especially well with red's many big Dragons! You do need to be careful about how many colorless lands you’re running, but if you aren’t overboard on it, Scythe can be an excellent finisher.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Ooh, I just realized you could run this in colorless decks, too. That might single-handedly make the “40 basic Wastes” mana base legitimate
63: Neurok Stealthsuit: 3,322 Decks
Hey! We return to one of my new favorite lopsided cycles in Magic history. Ah, Cranial Plating and Healer’s Headdress, side-by-side as they clearly deserve!
Neurok Stealthsuit is definitely closer to Cranial Plating than Healer's Headdress. On a base level, it's a budget replacement to Lightning Greaves for blue decks, and that alone gives it a decent slice of play. However, even if you have so much money that you throw a Lightning Greaves in with every load of laundry for a faster, fresher clean, there’s still a reason for high-budget decks to play Neurok Stealthsuit. Like the others, you can use that UU ability at instant speed, except this time, it actually matters! So long as you leave two mana up, you can protect any creature at anytime for any reason. With this card, your whole team basically has protection from single-target removal!
What you’re giving up for this card over Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots is haste, and that can be a big ask. I was initially very excited for this card in my Jalira, Master Polymorphist deck, but that deck really, really needs haste so that I can activate Jalira the same turn I cast her, and I don't need three ways to give her protection. There are some decks that primarily need to protect their one creature, and the flexibility here isn’t worth losing the speed.
That said, a lot of decks aren’t like that. There are tons of commanders that want to protect their commander but also do their thing without needing haste. In these decks, Stealthsuit is a great asset. There are probably even a lot of decks that could evaluate what Greaves and haste is really doing for them and switch over to Stealthsuit for the flexibility. Or play all three!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I wish it wasn't strictly allowed in blue decks only. It might be the most underplayed Equipment if it wasn't restricted by that.
62: Champion's Helm: 3,535 Decks
Did… did someone replace Champion’s Helm with a bad card while I wasn’t looking? I remember staring from afar at this incredible protection card back in 2016, and dreaming of putting it on my commander, but not being able to afford the $30 price tag. Sigh.
Except now I look at it, and… no. This card looks utterly replaceable. It’s good. A lot of decks need protection cards like this, and the +2/+2 is pretty good in Voltron decks, but Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots already exist. Most decks would much rather have those. Heck, if all you want is protection, we just talked about Neurok Stealthsuit, and that card is one-thirtieth the cost of Helm. Don't get me wrong, the card has a home, but why did I think this was a busted sacred treasure? Why are so many decks playing it? It looks niche at best.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: That doesn't mean we couldn't do with a reprint. Even if the card isn't as amazing as I thought, 15-year-old me would be pleased.
61: Mace of the Valiant: 3,569 Decks
Take three of the “Equipment that grant buffs equal to our total creatures” lineup. The first attempt we saw was Veteran’s Armaments, which remains critically underplayed. The second attempt was Pennon Blade, which was expensive and mediocre. Somewhere in between these two attempts is Mace of the Valiant.
The real advantage Mace provides is that it still works if you get Wrathed. If the Mace sees six or seven creatures enter, and then all those creatures hit the 'yard, that Mace is still gonna give a massive boost, something neither Armaments nor Blade can really do. That’s solid upside. The downside is that Mace is a poor draw in the late game. If you already played out all your dorks and tokens, you can't reap the rewards later. Despite that, I still like this card; it's got its own niche in decks with commanders that can make their own tokens, like Darien, King of Kjeldor.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I’d rather have Armaments in decks that care about power specifically, but Mace still has a home in the right deck.
I Wonder What's Gonna Be On My 'Underplayed' List
I think I'm gonna go play more Magic! I hope you get to play some too! If you have time before that, let me know in the comments what you think about this batch of Equipment. Are you a sucker for the flavor of Godsend? Is Champion's Helm better than I think? Let me know in the comments. Until next week!