Superior Numbers - The Big Turn
Here Comes the Big One
Bubbling Muck is in just 2,347 decks on EDHREC, and that isn't nearly enough. The same is true for High Tide at 7,070, Early Harvest at 831, and Mana Geyser at 7,352, and I'm going to tell you why.
The Big Turn. You know it. You love it. You can see it a few steps out, visualize it coming together. The most recent time it happened for me was when the biggest threat at the table was poised to go off after one more trip around the table. In order to kill him, I needed to drop Coat of Arms and Overload Cyclonic Rift to bounce a handful of blockers out of the way, plus have mana free to protect myself from responses to any of that. To do that required 15+ mana, though, something I didn't have on board. Enter High Tide.
I'm not going to talk about rituals here, things like Dark Ritual or Desperate Ritual-type effects. Granted, the difference is fairly subjective, but in this article I'm looking more at cards that allow a huge turn, vs. ones that give you a little early burst. Ritual effects absolutely have a slot in cEDH lists and some more aggro commander decks, but that's not what this article is about. I'm also not going to talk about the repeatable doubling effects like Mana Flare or Mana Reflection, as they tend to serve a different purpose in lists, and are harder to use to fire off that huge turn that nobody was ready for.
Instead, I'm going to focus on the one-shot cards that give you that big, eye-opening bump late in the game to close things out.
I see a line of cars, and they're all painted black
Bubbling Muck is probably only a thing you want to run in a mono-black deck, but I'm genuinely shocked at how only 2,300-ish decks run a sorcery-speed High Tide, especially given the synergy with things like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and the amount of card draw that's available in black. While it's true that things like Crypt Ghast are considered staples in black in nearly 15,000 decks, Ghast is four mana for the first use, something that can really cut into that big turn if you want to cast it out of nowhere, and keeping it in play can be a tall order, given how easy creatures are to remove and how many people will be looking to keep you off that much mana. Bubbling Muck gets you there for a single black mana, enabling you to end things out of nowhere.
Songs of the Damned has much narrower deck requirements than Bubbling Muck, in that you want it in a deck that puts bodies in the yard in fairly high numbers, but you also aren't tied to mono-black as much as you are with Muck. I've died to a self-targeted Traumatize followed by a Songs of the Damned that enabled various disgusting plays on multiple occasions. How many times have you seen a Muldrotha, the Gravetide player with a full graveyard unable to cast the full suite of permanents types from their yard (let alone what's in their hand) due to mana constraints? Yes, Songs doesn't have the ability to be replayed with Muldrotha, but you might not care if it's enabling you to cast all the things in a single turn. Yet there are currently zero Muldrotha decks on EDHREC running Songs of the Damned.
A brilliant red barchetta from a better vanished time
Battle Hymn sees a little play, showing up in 2,494 decks on the REC (Note: don't call it that). The primary beneficiaries are Zada, Hedron Grinder and the various Krenko iterations. I'm mostly shocked it's only in just under 25% of Kykar, Wind's Fury decks. Yes, Jeskai is Latin for "bad," but still, this card is absolutely devastating in a deck that dumps out that many bodies. What's better than sacrificing those ten Spirits for ten mana? Getting ten mana from them for two mana first, before you sacrifice them.
Brightstone Ritual fills a similar role to Battle Hymn, in that it gives you mana based on the amount of bodies you have in play. The catch here is that it cares about Goblins, specifically. What do you know, though? Some of the most popular mono-red commanders also tend to do Goblin things, namely the previously mentioned Zada and Krenko variants. There's also Wort, the Raidmother, Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician, Wort, Boggart Auntie, Pashalik Mons and things like Shattergang Brothers and Grumgully, the Generous that sometimes do Goblin things. At only a single red mana, it's absurdly easy to get value out of Brightstone Ritual, too.
Mana Geyser might well be the best of all these effects in any color, and that shows by the fact that it has a home in 7,352 decks in our database. Casting it on turn five can easily net you ten mana, and I've seen it cast for way more than twice that more often than I've seen it generate less. It obviously really shines in decks that can abuse the effect, like Melek, Izzet Paragon or Syr Carah, the Bold, but I always at least consider it for literally any deck where it's legal.
Sun shining down on these green fields of France
Early Harvest is similar to things like Bubbling Muck, in that you probably most want it in a mono-green deck since it only untaps basics. Still, green is the color of things like Dictate of Karametra, Heartbeat of Spring, Mana Reflection, Vernal Bloom, Zendikar Resurgent and the disgusting new Nyxbloom Ancient. As good as it feels untapping all seven lands to net an extra four, the mana-doublers (and triplers, which I guress are now a thing) make it that much stronger. Green is also the color of land Auras, adding extra gas to your lands enchanted with Wild Growth or Utopia Sprawl.
Currently Early Harvest is in 838 decks on EDHREC, showing up primarily in specialist builds like Jolrael, Empress of Beasts and Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant, but it can be the gas that fuels the fire in almost any mono-green list, or even a two-colored deck running a healthy spread of basics. Go ahead and untap all of those Swamps that tap double thanks to Bubbling Muck in your Golgari deck.
I’ll prolly die from one of these bats and blue badges
High Tide is obviously a haymaker in other eternal formats where it's legal, but it's not quite the boogeyman in EDH as it is elsewhere, showing up in 7,070 decks. That's a lot, don't get me wrong, and I'm glad to see it getting that much play, but if you're running a mono-blue list and you don't have High Tide somewhere in the list, I'm genuinely curious as to why that is. It's an absurd card at almost any point in the game, and it gets absolutely broken the longer things go. It's also dirt-cheap, running just under a buck for the original Fallen Empires printings.
In the days between writing this article, I wound up in another game where High Tide saved me. The Najeela, the Blade Blossom player killed another player on the first combat step, and set his sights on me with the second swing, doubling his tokens. I was able to draw 32 cards off of a Keep Watch, finding a Cyclonic Rift to survive the attack, but more importantly, also finding a High Tide to give me enough mana to cast that Rift. Tide is an absolute house, and should be in more than the 7K decks where it currently has a home.
Reset, on the other hand, will set you back a cool $35, as it hasn't seen a printing since Legends. It's also a little more specialized, functioning only on another player's turn. That, and the cost, probably account for most of the reason it shows up in just 200 decks. Still, if you're looking to do most of your work at instant speed on other folks' turns, it winds up almost being a better Early Harvest. And it makes you a Drake in Talrand, Sky Summoner and draws you a card in Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Yummy.
Big white cloud, big white cloud on me
Alright, now let's talk about white's mana doublers.
Nah, I'm just kidding. White doesn't get good cards. You'll cast one spell a turn and like it.
Someday you'll find it, the rainbow connection
Hopefully that provided you with a little food for thought regarding some of these cards in your own decks. They aren't auto-includes, by any means, but they can do a lot of work in a lot of lists, and they should show up more often. I've included my Talrand tokens list below, which features the High Tide card I've talked so much about, if you want to take a look at how these decks might use a One Big Turn mana pump. If you have had any luck with these cards, I'd love to hear about it below. The out-of-nowhere blow-out turns are some of my favorite things to hear about in Commander.
Talrand, Sky SummonerView on Archidekt
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