Too-Specific Top 10 - Mind Bending
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 thatis the only two-drop with Islandhome?)
For those unaware of the new format sweeping the nation, I highly suggest reading up on 'Dandan' in detail with our compatriot over at Commander's Herald, Jake Fitzsimmons. If you want a TL;DR, here's the long and short of Dandan:
- Players share an 80 card deck and a group graveyard
That's basically it! From there, it's up to the brewer to make the game interesting. This is most popularly done with the inclusion of 10 I myself have made a battlebox of Dandan decks for each color, for instance.s as the only threats in a mono-blue deck, but the more the format lives and breathes out in the world, the more folks are branching out and making other decks with other key cards at the helm.
If you're playing the mono-blueversion, however, then it revolves around the two-mana 4/1 with Islandhome and the ways that you can swing through with it, prevent from getting swung in on with it, or remove it. How do you do that? Well, there are a lot of ways, but maybe the most interesting is a footnote from the early days of Magic: s.
Top 10 Mind Bends
For those unfamiliar with the ancient and pseudo-nonexistent keyword Islandhome, it essentially states "When you control no Islands, sacrifice this creature". It was a probably unnecessary flavor workaround from the days when Wizards tried to outlaw Merfolk for not having legs, and it served as their explanation for how fish-types could share a battlefield with Bears and such. For our purposes, what it means is that you can take a card likethat requires an Island to live, take a card like that can change the word "Island" to "Forest", and all of a sudden you have a non-living .
Is that really anything that can be used outside of a niche time-waster format, though?
Well, let's take a look at Mind Bend's EDHREC page and find out, shall we?
It turns out, no! People are usingin Commander for the other half of the card, where it can change color words. With that power, board wipes, like and , can bounce any color of creatures, or can search for blue creatures. This is all admittedly pretty limited in scope, but there are still some decks dedicated to it.
An interesting distinction, however, is that of. While it can't change a color word, like can, it can change the color of spells or permanents. While this gets expensive to use in the long run, it can be useful for the odd , even if you're now spending and mana to use it. All in all, while and cards like it feel similar to the experience, they don't quite embody it. The golden hope with something like a is to target something like a or a and just make someone's life miserable.
So, with that distinction in mind, why not check out the most playeds in EDH?
Criteria: Instants and sorceries that can change the "color word" or "instances of one basic land type" of another card. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.
(15 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
In typical Ice Age fashion,has a wall of text to wade through, but the long and short of it is this: you can change what color a cares about, so long as it doesn't already have Cumulative Upkeep, and then it gains Cumulative Upkeep: 1. Sure, sure, there are other white enchantments you can affect as well, but if this was available as an Azorius Commander, I guarantee you your first five inclusions would be every .
Ultimately, there's not really a slam dunk in here. What I would love is a commander with a similar ability tothat was five colors! Sure, it would be abysmal to play against, but man would it be a blast to brew!
(323 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
is actually one of the original s, having been printed alongside all the various s in Alpha (along with another card we'll see later in this list). While still an
interrupt instant, it only allows you to change references to basic land types, rather than to basic land types and color words. As such, it's not too surprising to see this at the bottom of our list, as even the most diehard Old Schoolers probably still think of first when it comes to this effect.
(406 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
, on the other hand, does it all. It can even do it all at once with a paid Entwine cost, letting you change both a color word and a instance of a basic land type for four mana. The problem, of course, is that there are several effects that can do either/or for one mana, and four mana to do both at once is not only ludicrously expensive, but also unlikely to come up very often. There's a small feather in 's cap, though, because it can affect both spells and permanents, unlike . Is that worth the extra mana? You be the judge.
(635 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
In similar fashion to, changes either color words or references to basic land types on either spells or permanents. In lieu of Entwining to do both, it instead just costs three mana to choose between the two and then draw a card for your trouble. The big drawback that many miss with this card, as compared to the others, is that its effect only lasts until end of turn, rather than continuing on for the rest of the game as , , , and all do. Kind of a steep price to pay for drawing a card, depending on your strategy.
(714 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
is our other half of printed in Alpha. At the time, a lot more attention was paid to this mechanic, as many cards in the old days referred to colors and basic land types. I imagine that it was therefore handled with kid gloves, given just how annoying a blue player with access to a and a would be. As time passed, it ended up not being that realistic to use up a whole card to possibly be able to change another card to hate on a color that might already be present at the table anyhow.
(1,228 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
There's a sheer quirkiness to the whole color-word-changing idea that seems to bring both brewers and designers back to it every once in a while, and as such, you can change color words twice with the same card:. This has led to it being one of the more popular sources of this effect, even if you do have to pay an extra mana for it, so much so that it sees play in 13% of all decks, even though they don't really care about color- or land-changing at all.
(1,419 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
Of course,sees even more play, both in decks and color-changing decks alike. On the one hand, that might be because of the greater efficiency of it being a one-mana spell. On the other hand, it also has probably the highest amount of name recognition of this effect. Given the trends we see in our data here at EDHREC all the time, I'd lean on the latter as being the actual reason that it sees play in more brews, rather than it being technically "better".
(1,963 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
Of course, if you did want twice the
, you can skip on paying for the second copy of with ! Seeing play in over half of and decks, and a quarter of all , , and decks, is the first consistent card we're seeing across the strategy, and for good reason. Retrace is an absolutely broken mechanic, allowing for the recasting of the same spell over and over again, provided you can find a way to get lands into your hand (which, if I'm not mistaken, is something that blue decks heavy on card draw have pretty much no problem with).
(3,381 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
If having to discard is too much of a hassle, then you can just use Buyback withinstead. Just beware: yes, you can cast it over and over again, but unlike most of the spells on this list, it only lets you change your land or color word until the end of turn. In other words, the spell you can keep on casting until the cows come home kind of needs to be cast over and over again to get the same result. So the real question is, do you care more about casting a spell over and over again, or having a single spell or permanent stay changed for the whole game?
(3,544 Inclusions, 0% of 722,203 Decks)
Luckily, there's one morethat likes to cast itself every turn. does have a few drawbacks, in that it can't target spells and it's a sorcery. Fortunately, Cipher makes up for a lot of ills, especially in a deck where you're likely to be attacking with an evasive creature or three. In the same vein, 's effect doesn't wear off at end of turn, so you can wreak havoc on a different game-altering permanent every time you swing on through.
Believe it or not, this ten-card list includes every spell that can! There is, however, one enchantment that I intentionally eliminated from the list because I wanted so badly to talk about and tribal: .
Shockingly, this havoc-inducing spell would've only been in 10th place on our list, probably due to its lack of flexibility. While other cards allow you to take a specific spell or permanent and doctor it to your liking, this crazy enchantment just takes all the color words anywhere on the board and points them in one color's direction. Good, bad, or meh, it doesn't care, it's just here for the nonsense!
Additionally, there are also a ton oftype effects that are worth mentioning, as a lot of the time they will do much the same thing for you as effects, just on a lesser scale:
Top 10 Land/Color Changing Cards
Kind of shocking to me thatdidn't make the list, but maybe that's just my old school mentality talking!
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?
Dandan as a format is in its infancy, but it's not uncommon to go to a large event or LGS and see it being played in the corner. With that said, for many this may be the first they're hearing of it, so...
Finally, what is your favorite? Do you play any sort of color or land-switching deck?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the blue table that unexpectedly got painted green this week. Weird.