Ranking Every Equipment with EDHREC – Part 19: Hey Batter Batter Batter

(Batterskul | Art by Mark Zug)

I Extend My Scepter to You All!

Welcome, my subjects. It is I, the king of statistics, master of Magic history, and duke of the irrelevant rambles. I have decided once more to bestowed my presences onto you all once again.

Be grateful, you plebeians, that I have decided to present ten more Equipment ranked based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC. Perhaps, some day if you're lucky, I will release them all, but for now, this is all the benevolence your lord and excellency can spare.

60: Batterskull: 3,727 Decks

I'm guessing most people are gonna be a little bit surprised to see Batterskull this low because it is one of the most powerful Equipment ever printed. However, Commander is very silly, and thus Batterskull isn’t as format-warping here as in other formats.

Half the reason Batterskull has the reputation it does is because of Stoneforge Mystic cheating it into play on turn three, which was a synergy that got Mystic banned in Standard. Sounds neat, but you only get one Mystic in EDH, and a 4/4 lifelink is just one of those things that doesn't particularly scale well to the mammoth life totals and durdley nonsense

Really, what Batterskull ends up being most of the time is a massive Equipment with a massive Equip cost to match. When you can actually get Batterskull on a creature, it's a pretty incredible pump, and will probably swing every combat in your favor, but it is very slow. Ten mana for this effect is a lot. You can probably kill opponents quicker without needing to mess around with this card. It shouldn't be much of a surprise that a lot of the top decks playing this card are trying to circumvent that five-mana Equip cost, like Balan, Wandering Knight. A lot of the traditional Voltron decks don’t need an expensive Equipment like this.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It may be the top-tier Equipment in other formats, but in EDH, it's the Dreamstone Hedron of Equipment.

59: Infiltration Lens: 3,772 Decks

“When blocked” is not as good a trigger as “when this deals damage.” You have a lot more power in making sure something deals damage, and you’re normally much happier to see a creature deal damage to an opponent, rather than get blocked and not deal damage. This trigger is very rarely going to make you happy.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Well, unless you’re named Gabriel Angelfire. Yep, it’s another card for the “must be blocked” decks. Not the best payoff for that deck, but it's decent.

58: Bonehoard: 3,796 Decks

In case any of you are charting my reactions to the art of these Living Weapons, allow me to give you one for Bonehoard: Ahem “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! That’s the worst! Go away. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I haaaaaaate it. How the heck do you even Equip someone with this? Why am I made to suffer?”

That work for you?

It's pretty unfortunate that this is the worst piece of art I've ever seen, because I like the card for a lot for similar reasons to Lashwrithe: it has potential to make anything massive. Now, you might look at this card and point out that you need ways to fuel this card meaning you probably need to be a self-mill deck, and you would be partially correct. You do need to have ways to fuel this card, but this is a Lhurgoyf, not a Liliana’s Elite. Bonehoard counts all graveyards, so while you can run Bonehoard in a self-mill deck, (and it can be very good), you can also run Bonehoard as a weird card in normal mill decks, like Phenax, God of Deception or Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, or even better, you can just grow it when you kill things. You can run Massacre Girl or Kagemaro, First to Suffer, and just fuel this manually through combat. Pick any of these decks, slam a Bonehoard in there, and odds are, it's gonna kill people.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: It’s even color-agnostic. When I’m doing something weird involving milling in mono-white, or some Voltron/Wrath deck, I'm going to be very grateful this card exists.

57: Mirror Shield: 3,825 Decks

Remember eons ago when I talked about Crystal Slipper, and I said that it was basically always worse than Lightning Greaves, but because of that it was always going to be a good, cheap option to give haste for budget players, (and then they revealed Boots of Speed basically making that write up obsolete the moment I published it, but that’s beside the point)? Well, take all of that, replace haste with hexproof, and you'll have Mirror Shield!

Mirror Shield is is my go-to hexproof Equipment for budget decks. Sure, two mana isn’t amazing, but it’s not a bad rate, and some decks absolutely do not work without their commander. They need cards like this, and Shield is still good enough that they don't have to fork over $6 just to not lose to Swords to Plowshares. I'm always glad Mirror Shield exists.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: The clause about deathtouch almost detracts from the card. It’s rarely gonna come up, and it kinda hides the actual utility here. Works well with Forsworn Paladin, I guess.

56: Prying Blade: 4,019 Decks

Oh, hey, look, it’s everyone’s favorite mana rock!

It’s a little bit awkward to talk about Prying Blade. I used to like this card fine. It did some very solid work in decks that have 1-2 mana creatures that can actually swing in. It turned on Equipment synergies, or even token synergies in something like Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer. The biggest obstacle was the Equip cost. It's hard to line up a turn where you wanna devote two mana to Equip this thing. It definitely needed the right type of deck, but I found a home for it every now and then. It was a good niche card.

That is, until Goldvein Pick came out, which does everything Blade does but also swaps the Equip and casting cost, thus removing the major thing I didn't like about Prying Blade. It's way easier to line up playing Pick on two, and Equipping it on 3. Now Goldvein Pick came out too late to be included in this series, (it would be floating around the mid 90s ranking, if you're curious), but if it was, you bet your butter biscuits I’d give it an 'Underplayed' even with it being relatively new.

However, that puts Prying Blade in a real awkward spot. I think there are some decks that will play both Blade and Pick, but a lot of decks probably don’t want both of these, and I think a lot of decks would probably rather swap to Pick. Despite the fact that Prying Blade is a good card, I think I have to give it an 'Overplayed'.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Although seriously, get Goldvein Pick in your life now, and what the heck, maybe consider Prying Blade too.

55: Sword of the Paruns: 4,229 Decks

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey, Equipment don’t go infinite enough. I wish there was an Equipment that went infinite with 20% of all creatures in Magic.” Well, Sword of the Paruns is the card for you! Can you get a creature that taps for 3 mana? Before you answer, remember that green exists and is dumb. If the answer is yes, congratulations! You have broken the game, good for you!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Sure, you could attempt to play this card fairly as a way to untap your King Macar once a turn, but the rate is not great if you're not going infinite.

54: Helm of the Gods: 4,270 Decks

Ooooh! I get to be lazy with Helm of the Gods because my editor and EDHRECast host Joey Schultz did my work for me, and did a whole episode all about cards like this: Trap cards!

So we’ve got an Equipment that really wants you to play a ton of enchantments, right? Obviously, you need a lot of enchantments to make this card good, so maybe it goes in an Enchantress deck or maybe even an Aura Voltron deck. Sounds neat, except the decks that run a bunch of Enchantments likely won't have synergies with Equipment. You know what they will have synergies with? Auras! Regular enchantments! Instead of this fancy helmet, you could run a card like Ancestral Mask, Sage’s Reverie, All that Glitters, Ethereal Armor, or other such enchantments that actually synergize with the rest of your deck. Helm of the Gods does not draw a single card off of the many, many Enchantresses in the game, which is a big liability for that strategy. Thus, the decks that might want Helm of the Gods are also the exact same decks that don’t want Helm of the Gods, a paradox so big that Joey created a whole episode to talk about these kinds of cards, and I get to just copy his footnotes! Thanks Helm! You’re very weird.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Anybody else see the head of a bird in this card art?

53: Conqueror's Flail: 4,282 Decks

Holy Hecatomb! When the heck did Conqueror's Flail become $35? Guess that's what happens when you only print a card one time, but still, I had no idea this card was so sought after.

I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. There's a reason Grand Abolisher sees play in over 20,000 decks. You don't often get to break parity with cards like this. With Flail, you can do whatever nonsense you want on your turn, but can still keep all your instant-speed answers for whatever nonsense your opponents want to do. In aggressive decks, that's absolutely something you need.

It's also a type of protection that suits the average table pretty well. As an avid durdle turtle control player, I understand you need ways to prevent me from going full ham, but a card that completely shuts down instant-speed interaction, like Price of Glory or Hall of Gemstone, can sometimes let Jimmy Jungleson over there go off with his Deadeye Navigator. This is a good compromise. It lets me, the control player, do some policing on the average table, but it keeps you safe on your turn from most of my shenanigans. Sure, there are scenarios where completely shutting down instant-speed interaction would be better, but the average deck is better able to leverage Conqueror's Flail than a full stax piece.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Plus, the Flail itself is also really good pump in 3+ color decks. It’s Civic Saber on steroids.

52: Inquisitor's Flail: 4,314 Decks

If Grappling Hook is like the Nintendo brand Gamecube controller of double strike (which is to say, it's very good, but you’ll pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of using it), then Inquisitor’s Flail is like a bootleg knockoff of a Gamecube controller. It fills the function you need for much cheaper, but the quality gets a lot worse. Two mana to give functional double strike to any creature is a pretty great deal, but that creature loses the protection of the first strike that double strike would give them, and they take double damage. It’s not gonna take very much to bring them down in most cases.

Does that really matter, though? Voltron decks don’t really want their giant monster getting blocked anyway, so they run a ton of evasion. If things are going well, the downside on this card should never show up, and if things aren’t going well, then you probably have bigger problems than your creature taking double damage. Plus, if you’re that worried about the downside here, just run it in decks with indestructible creatures. Gets around the jankiness factor completely!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Also once again, very cute with double strike. Anyone up for quadruple damage?

51: Blade of the Bloodchief: 4,767 Decks

Blade of the Bloodchief is the type of card where the first glance does not quite convey how scary it actually is. The true power doesn't become apparent until you play against it. This card puts two counters on a Vampire whenever any creature dies. Yes, even creatures you don’t control. It's gonna be very good in a tribal Vampire deck, basically making any random dork massive, but even if you're randomly playing Anowon, the Ruin Thief, you can just Equip this and incidentally make it massive over the course of the game. Blade just kills people very quickly. Do not underestimate this card. You will lose to it.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It’s gotten to the point where non-Vampire decks like Massacre Girl are running this. I don’t even know if that’s good, but it speaks to the power here.


Well, I suppose next week is the beginning of the top 50, if I decide I am gracious enough to give that to you. Perhaps if you let me know in the comments what you think about these Equipment, I will be gracious. Have you had good experience with Bonehoard? Is there still a place for Prying Blade in the format? Post your thoughts, and I will have a squire read them for me. 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.