Too-Specific Top 10 - Hating Dockside
(Curse of Opulence | Art by Kieran Yanner)
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 Last Laugh is the only Pestilence that triggers off of someone sacrificing Treasure?)
Let's make no bones about it. Dockside Extortionist is everywhere, and it's getting to the same level of annoyance as Rhystic Study and Smothering Tithe. So what can we do about it?
Top 10 Treasure Hate Cards
I'm far from the first person to notice the ubiquity of Dockside specifically, and Treasure more broadly. In fact, it's even gotten to the point that we've seen Wizards itself print three custom-made answers to Treasure this year.
None of these telegraph "we're here to hate Treasure" quite as hard as Tsabo's Web and Teferi's Response did when they were printed to attempt to get Rishadan Port under control in Standard, but they're still pretty loud. Seeing the immediate hype about them, as well as the former reaction of "meta Viridian Revel into all your green decks!", it did get me wondering if there might already be better options for dealing with Treasure out there in the depths of Magic's card cellar.
So let's find out, shall we?
Criteria: Cards that trigger upon an artifact or permanent you don't control entering, going to the graveyard, or being sacrificed that have an effect on tokens (get outta here, Tergrid). As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.
10. Patron of the Nezumi
(Helms 76 Decks, Rank #1,498; 1,611 Inclusions, 0% of 944,229 Decks)
I imagine part of the reason we're seeing more hype about Sardian Avenger than we did with Shard of the Void Dragon is the obvious: one of them costs seven mana. Unfortunately, Patron of the Nezumi has exactly the same problem. Fortunately, it can be discounted through gratuitous sacrifice of Rat creatures, so that does improve things somewhat.
Still, whether you're paying in mana or Rats, this is a lot of resources to tie up for an effect that might just end up doing ten damage to the person who's actively winning. It's not that it's a bad effect, and it can stop infinite loops that involve Treasure or sacrifice in general, it's just not an effect that feels good at seven mana.
If you are the Rat or Changeling deck, however, you could do worse than flashing this in for zero to stop the infinite player in their tracks. Of course, this does require you to be playing a Rats deck at a table where people are going infinite.
(1,753 Inclusions, 0% of 944,299 Decks)
I'm surprised to see a truly terrible card like Nihilith on this list over Patron of the Nezumi. I understand Rats have gotten better options over the years, but Changeling decks should at least look in the direction of Patron's extremely punishing trigger.
Instead, we have Suspend decks paying two mana for a semi-evasive 4/4. Whoop-di-doo/why, though? I guess Captain N'ghathrod is solely responsible here.
8. Confusion in the Ranks
(3,467 Inclusions, 0% of 877,971 Decks)
If you see Confusion in the Ranks these days, it's generally going to be in the Treasure or Tri-token deck, rather than as a meta call to try and combat it.
Confusion in the Ranks is still great in several builds, though, so I'd be remiss if I didn't go over the decks that I think this might be great in:
- Token Decks of Any Kind: Same idea, honestly, but the fact is, there's a lot to be said for slapping down a 1/1 Servo and swapping it with someone's Commander. Sure, they'll probably steal it back, but that's what making tokens at instant speed is for!
- Control/Spells Decks With Little Board Presence: Most Commander decks are trying to go wide in some fashion, but if you're doing so without permanents as a major factor, then Confusion in the Ranks does a great job of keeping the rest of the table fighting over resources while you just stick to your gameplan.
- Symmetrical Effects/Stax: It turns out, it doesn't matter who owns a Howling Mine or a Winter Orb, it still does what it does to the whole table.
Outside of those use cases, I'm still a little wary of Confusion in the Ranks. In all likelihood, it's going to help a tokens deck at the table, and it does almost nothing to Treasures specifically, as they can just be sacrificed in response to the exchange trigger.
In other words, I should have gone out of my way to tweak the criteria to get this off the list, but then I wouldn't have gotten to talk about the weirdness that is Confusion in the Ranks!
7. Sarulf, Realm Eater
(Helms 1,392 Decks, Rank #391; 2,409 Inclusions, 1% of 392,765 Decks)
Sarulf, Realm Eater is my main argument against the hype surrounding Kibo, Uktabi Prince. Don't get me wrong, I love the Monkey, I want to hand out tiny Banana candies to folks whenever I tap him, and I absolutely am going to build this deck at some point. At a high level of play, though? Giving your team of Monkeys +1/+1 is pretty underwhelming, and there aren't enough Monkeys and Apes that do anything outside of artifact removal to let you brew a HateApes build, nor are red and green great at Stax in the first place.
In short, if getting a huge creature from someone else going nuts with Treasures was that good, then people would already be doing it with Sarulf, Realm Eater, which can not only make itself huge but also wipe the board of fast mana and tokens every turn. 1,392 decks is respectable, but not mind-blowing.
All that makes me wanna try Sarulf cEDH, though!
6. Viridian Revel
(5,384 Inclusions, 1% of 849,369 Decks)
You know what I don't want to try? Inserting completely non-thematic card draw into my green decks that already have dozens of options that would synergize with my deck, as opposed to relying on an opponent's.
If you're into Compost effect, then sure, this can probably fit a similar vein for you. Otherwise, unless you're into Bananas or Treasure Group Hug, then I'd steer clear of this oft-cited Treasure Hate suggestion.
5. Kothophed, Soul Hoarder
(Helms 73 Decks, Rank #1,521; 6,298 Inclusions, 1% of 944,229 Decks)
On the other hand, having a Viridian Revel in the command zone, only for every permanent? That is something you can build around! Kothophed, Soul Hoarder can not only punish greedy opponents racking up tons of Treasures, it can also just be a great control commander, allowing you to draw into more removal whenever you remove a threat. Just be careful if anyone might be going infinite with sacrifice effects, because they won't even have to find a way to kill you!
4. Grinding Station
(13,676 Inclusions, 1% of 1,827,340 Decks)
It's unlikely that you'll have enough opponents creating enough Treasures that you'll be able to mill the table out outright with Grinding Station, but it's entirely likely that you'll be getting a lot more untaps with it these days than you used to. Unfortunately, you still have to sacrifice an artifact to utilize the mill ability, so this isn't so much a Treasure hate option. Rather, it is what it always was: a fun self-mill card for your artifact deck or a combo outlet with Underworld Breach.
3. Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest
(Helms 1,178 Decks, Rank #437; 18,450 Inclusions, 5% of 403,399 Decks)
I'm not sure whether I should twist the fact that Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest sees more play than Sarulf, Realm Eater into a diatribe supporting my statement that you shouldn't rely on opponents, or a diatribe talking about momentum in EDH causing older, well-known cards to see more play whether they deserve it or not. Either way, it's hard not to see the parallels here, even if there is clearly more room for Aristocrats shenanigans with Mazirek.
As for whether you should include Mazirek in the 99 to keep Treasures under control, I think it's yet another case of 'if you were already considering it for your deck on its own merits, then cool!' It's certainly not going to be worse with all the Treasure out there!
2. Disciple of the Vault
(25,538 Inclusions, 3% of 944,229 Decks)
In the same vein, artifact decks that include black commonly include a copy of Disciple of the Vault, but it's getting so much more lucrative these days that it might be worth looking at even your token or Aristocrats decks that might happen to include a few Servos, Thopters, Treasure, and all the rest of the ever-expanding artifact tokens likely to shuffle off this mortal coil. I wouldn't go as far as to play it in any black deck just because opponents might have some Treasures, though.
1. Mayhem Devil
(42,530 Inclusions, 10% of 428,018 Decks)
Now this is a winner! Imagine if Disciple of the Vault somehow magically expanded its outlook to include all permanents, and could target anything on the board, all at an additional cost of only two mana. I don't subscribe to the idea of "Auto-Includes", but it's hard not to see the appeal of Mayhem Devil in pretty much any Rakdos deck. It will stop infinites in their tracks, pay off for your own sacrifices, punish any use of Treasure, and make Aristocrats and Artifact decks constantly look across the table and curse silently to themselves.
In short, it's a problem that has to be answered for a wide swathe of decks, and is absolutely something you should consider for any deck that can play it if you're wanting someone at your tables to lay off the Treasures a little bit.
Perhaps I should have found a way to eliminate Confusion in the Ranks with this week's criteria, because its inclusion meant that we missed Last Laugh at #11. While it's not quite as versatile as Mayhem Devil when it comes to combating the Treasure menace, it is still quite the rattlesnake, especially if you have an indestructible commander that will keep it on board.
In the same vein, Liability seems like exactly the kind of card that should see a lot more play when it comes to the Treasure meta. Sure, it's symmetrical, and you shouldn't include it in decks where you're likely to be killing a lot of your own stuff, but in the same vein as Kothophed, Soul Hoarder, Liability can be a Control deck's daydream.
Finally, I went out of my way not to gush too much over Sardian Avenger, as I'm sure you've seen quite a few takes on it by now. I don't think it's the second coming of Mayhem Devil, but I do think it's a card you're going to see a lot at higher-powered tables, and rightfully so. What I don't think is that it needs to be in every red deck, especially if you're not likely to encounter someone looping a Dockside over and over again. Under those lower- to mid-level conditions, I would personally only play Sardian Avenger if I was an Aggro deck.
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?
Finally, what's your favorite Treasure hate card? Do you think Dockside should be banned? Why do you think it sees so much play when several other expensive, broken cards don't? Is there a way we can self-regulate so it stays at higher powered tables?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the LGS that went a bit wild with Rule Zero and banned Treasures outright. Or you know, we could play across town.