Too-Specific Top 10 - Can't Even
(Obosh, the Preypiercer | Art by Daarken)
Welcome to Too-Specific Top 10, where if there isn’t a category to rank our pet card at the top of, we’ll just make one up! (Did you know that Rolling Earthquake is the only odd-CMC damage spell that references Horsemanship?)
When Void Winnower was created in Battle for Zendikar, it was a novelty that spawned a thousand "I Can't Even" jokes. In actual play, however, it often created abysmal game states where tables had answers to the problem in hand, but couldn't play them. This obviously resulted in a lot of feel-bads all around, and like many a card before it, Void Winnower was soft-banned at many a table. Not because of official house rules or anything of the like, simply because the card was enough of a trudge to play through that tables would both complain and target players who played it.
But still, the idea was fun, right?
Enter Obosh, the Preypiercer, member of another fun mechanic cycle that gets a lot of hate: Companions! More importantly, however, Obosh gave people a chance to play in the odd space for positive, rather than restrictive, reasons. Which got me wondering: what are the best odd damage dealers that you can abuse with Obosh?
Top 10 Odd Rakdos Direct Damage Dealers
Obosh doubles the damage of any source you control that has an odd mana value, an ability you used to have to pay seven mana for with Angrath's Marauders (or put up with letting your opponent in on the fun as well with Furnace of Rath and Dictate of the Twin Gods).
However, for a mere five mana, and the cost of changing the structure of your entire deck, you can live a one-sided damage-doubling life! For our purposes in figuring out what the best odd damage dealers are for Obosh, however, we do need to drill down to some specifics.
First, while all creatures are technically potential damage dealers, we're going to try and focus on direct damage here instead, since these days, the majority of creatures you play are usually there for more than just their aggro potential. Second, while you can include Obosh as a Companion in any deck that includes black and red, the vast majority of cards that are going to deal damage are already in those colors, and the vast majority of decks including Obosh will be Rakdos. Taking that a step further, there are many artifacts that deal damage effectively, however I would nitpick and say that due to color restrictions, none of them are going to be quite as efficient as pure red and black cards when it comes to dealing damage. As such, we'll be restricting our criteria to just red and black cards that deal direct damage in some fashion.
Speaking of which, let's take a look at our criteria, and then we'll get right into it!
Criteria: Red or black cards that can deal direct damage to targets other than yourself and have an odd mana value. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.
10. Mayhem Devil
(10,161 Inclusions, 7% of 139,927 Decks)
While I would doubt that just any Obosh deck would have a dedicated sacrifice theme, it's also not out of the question, given the Rakdos color scheme. That said, you're more likely to want Mayhem Devil in an Aristocrats deck that is including Obosh as a Companion or just in the 99. There are definitely some pure Rakdos options you can look at for that kind of deck, like Judith, the Scourge Diva and Lyzolda, the Blood Witch, but for my money I'd try to go full Mardu with it if I was going for a damage-centric Aristocrats deck. The obvious candidate there is Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, although there's something to be said for the more hipster selection of Kelsien, the Plague.
9. Siege-Gang Commander
(10,163 Inclusions, 4% of 289,358 Decks)
Obosh Goblins might seem like a bit of a stretch at first, but honestly that's why it appeals to me as an idea. There's certainly no lack of options that fit that theme, be they Goblin Sharpshooter, Zo-Zu the Punisher, Pashalik Mons, Goblin Chainwhirler, or Siege-Gang Commander itself.
With that said, there's a reason Siege-Gang Commander is on this list, and it's because it's good enough that you in no way have to be in Goblin tribal for it to be a decent inclusion. Four bodies for five mana with an attached sacrifice outlet that deals direct damage is just a lot of things that fit in a lot of strategies.
8. Terror of the Peaks
(11,710 Inclusions, 6% of 184,968 Decks)
It's really too bad that Terror of the Peaks's pseudo-Ward ability causes loss of life instead of damage, but that's no matter. Dealing damage every time you play a creature should be more than enough in the way of mayhem and general win-the-game-ness. That doesn't even count the fact that you'll be swinging through the air for 10 every turn as well. I don't really throw around the term "auto-include" much, but when it comes to an Obosh deck and Terror of the Peaks, let's just say that if you can stomach the $20 price tag, then this should probably be in your deck.
7. Drakuseth, Maw of Flames
(Helms 69 Decks, Rank #861; 11,995 Inclusions, 4% of 289,358 Decks)
I'm surprised to see Drakuseth, Maw of Flames with more inclusions than the Terror of the Peaks. Sure, it's a year older, and as a result folks have had more time to put it in their decks, but Drakuseth is honestly just not as good as Terror of the Peaks. They both take a turn of setup without outside help, and can do a ton of damage to a ton of targets... but Drakuseth is seven mana. If you're cheating things into play, that's one thing, but otherwise it seems like an easy choice to go for the five-mana Dragon that's going to have about the same amount of impact on the board. Even if you're cheating things into play, I can't really think of a better way of feeding Terror of the Peaks than activating Sneak Attack four or five times.
Of course, there is that little matter of the $4 price tag, as opposed to $20. That could explain a lot, as could the "why not both" phenomenon.
6. Wheel of Misfortune
(13,501 Inclusions, 10% of 136,201 Decks)
Even a year later, there are still a lot of folks that immediately get intimidated by Wheel of Misfortune's wall of text, but essentially what it boils down to is this: If you like your current hand, you choose zero, and you get to keep it for the low, low cost of zero life. If you'd like to draw cards, then you can oftentimes get away with choosing one or two, as there's usually someone who likes their hand. If you do want to guarantee it, however, then you can up the number a bit and take some damage to make sure that you're walking away with a new seven.
That said, as much as I really like Wheel of Misfortune, it's far from a slam-dunk in an Obosh deck. To really make full use of this card, you want to be the deck that doesn't mind taking the damage for choosing a large number. The fact that it is damage that gets doubled by Obosh is a bit of a non-bo, as well, unless you're playing a Mardu deck that's trying to get down to one life and swap life totals with someone.
5. Chandra's Ignition
(13,921 Inclusions, 5% of 289,358 Decks)
Even if the only target you have is Obosh, dealing six to everything on the board and your opponents is more than worth five mana. That said, given the number of Dragons and the like that the deck will probably include if you're on a damage-doubling kick, Chandra's Ignition shouldn't lack for targets in your typical Obosh deck. It's likely to win its fair share of games outright, which is something that happens fairly often with Chandra's Ignition even without a damage-doubler. That said, if you're looking for a second version of this effect that has a bit more risk and reward stapled to it, might I suggest Arcbond? With a damage-doubler, it takes a normal combat interaction between a couple 6/6s and makes it into 12 damage to everyone and everything, to say nothing of what happens if you get a Repercussion, Stuffy Doll, or multiple copies of Arcbond itself going. Sure, you might kill yourself with some fuzzy arithmetic, but you'll probably take out everyone else with your poor math skills, too, so what's not to like?
4. Lightning Bolt
(18,163 Inclusions, 6% of 289,358 Decks)
If you'd rather keep your math simple, however, might I introduce you to a card that deals six damage for one mana, at instant speed? Lightning Bolt has always been underplayed in EDH, but the fact that we don't see it in more decks that double damage is just beyond me. Even without Obosh, three damage to anything at instant speed stops many a deck from sticking their key engine piece, value planeswalker, or even their Commander. I've also killed players who weren't paying enough attention to the red deck on multiple occasions with three damage out of nowhere, and let me tell you, it's a pretty great feeling. Then again, given that this is #4 on the list with almost 20,000 inclusions, maybe I'm just still stuck in the old days of EDH, where nothing happened that affected the board state until turn four.
(20,564 Inclusions, 7% of 289,358 Decks)
Your typical Obosh deck might play a few too many creatures to really consider Guttersnipe an asset, but if you do go full burn deck with a lot of card draw spells to keep things going, then this is easily going to be the best card in your deck. Guttersnipe has long been a mainstay of Storm decks, but honestly more people should consider playing it in anything that struggles to get life totals down and has more than 20 instants and sorceries. The pressure this little pryomaniac of a Goblin can put on life totals is impressive, even if all you're doing is playing draw spells and ramp, to say nothing of pointing a Lightning Bolt at someone's face for six and then tacking on four more for the whole table.
2. Syr Konrad, the Grim
(Helms 1,253 Decks, Rank #130; 28,866 Inclusions, 10% of 288,805 Decks)
Obviously, if you're in the Aristocrats deck described earlier, with an Obosh and Mayhem Devil to boot, then Syr Konrad, the Grim is going to be in your list. Even outside of that list, Obosh is pretty much always happy with Syr Konrad. While the five-mana slot can be busy, you're going to kill creatures like crazy, other players are going to target your creatures that can burn or swing through the air all the time, and if all else fails, you can just pay two mana to probably get two to four damage on the table, while also giving yourself access to the odd Seize the Day, Faithless Looting, or Ignite the Future. Plus, if all else fails, you can always remind folks what the "Syr" in Syr Konrad stands for, and throw him in the red zone for 10. People are so used to him just sitting back and pinging that they'll probably never even see it coming.
1. Blasphemous Act
(69,852 Inclusions, 24% of 289,358 Decks)
I mentioned earlier that I don't like to throw around the term "auto-include", and cards like Blasphemous Act are why. Could you put this in your Obosh deck and be completely happy with it? Absolutely. But if we're honest, doing 26 damage to all the creatures on the board instead of 13 isn't likely to be that relevant very often, is it? (Especially since it probably kills your Obosh in the process.) With that in mind, while I certainly wouldn't judge anyone for calling this as an auto-include for Obosh, I would personally look at other board wipes that spread the damage out to players as well, such as Pyrohemia, Earthquake, and a previously mentioned pet card, Arcbond. The more you can get everyone down to a low life total, the more likely you are to be able to burn the table out quickly. Like I always say when I pull out my Rakdos deck, one way or another, for me, this game is gonna be over quickly.
First off, I mentioned a slight non-bo with Obosh and Wheel of Misfortune, but I actually cut out a whole lot more severe ones with the words "other than yourself" being included in our criteria. With that in mind, let's take a look at some cards that you will not want to include in your Obosh deck:
Top 10 Rakdos Odd Obosh Non-Bos
- Midnight Reaper
- Audacious Reshapers
- Ashes to Ashes
- Anthem of Rakdos (This one is debatably worth inclusion as a backup commander)
- Minion of Leshrac
- Firedrinker Satyr
- Forge Devil
- Lord of the Pit
- Blade Juggler
The other big exclusion I can see people taking issue with in our criteria this week was totally discounting colorless cards, some of which you'd undoubtedly want to play in your Obosh deck. So with that in mind, here's the colorless exclusions, although it's worth noting that only the top two would have made the list (Myr Battlesphere at #5 and Sword of Fire and Ice at #10).
Top 10 Colorless Odd Damage Dealers
- Myr Battlesphere
- Sword of Fire and Ice
- Blasting Station
- Sword of War and Peace
- Stuffy Doll
- Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
- Viridian Longbow
- Angel's Trumpet
- Iron Maiden
Nuts and Bolts
There always seems to be a bit of interest in how these lists are made (this seems like a good time to stress once again that they are based on EDHREC score, NOT my personal opinion), and people are often surprised that I’m not using any special data or .json from EDHREC, but rather just muddling my way through with some Scryfall knowledge! For your enjoyment/research, here is this week’s Scryfall search.
What Do You Think?
We glossed over it a bit, but given that we've been salt score obsessed for weeks now over here at EDHREC, I'd be doing everyone a disservice if I didn't ask about Void Winnower.
Finally, what is your favorite damage dealer you can combo with Obosh? Have you ever built Obosh or had it as a companion in one of your decks?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the double-decker table that comes with the double-decker couch from that one movie with a highly trademarked toy name in the title.