Too-Specific Top 10 - Party On!

(Coveted Prize | Art by Lie Setiawan)

*Guitar Solo*

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 Nezumi Graverobber is the only one-sided, non-Changeling creature that can be both a Rogue and a Wizard?)

The Zendikar Rising previews have been a heck of a ride so far, from returning old stalwarts like Kicker and Landfall to bringing us one of my favorite mechanics in a long time: Party. Party is a shout-out to Wizards of the Coast's other property, Dungeons & Dragons, where it is common for parties to consist of some combination of a fighting class (Warrior), a healer (Cleric), a rogue (Rogue), and a caster (Wizard). While it's not required, it tends to make life easier, just as it does in the Party mechanic. So with that in mind, I figured everyone might want to know what the most popular Clerics, Rogues, Warriors, and Wizards that already existed were before we started sinking our teeth into the brand new ones!

Top 10 Party Members

On first thought, I figured we'd go for the top ten possible party members overall, but then on the day of Party's spoiling, I saw this meme:

@TheManaGayser got it right adding on a nonexistent Legendary clause with this one, hence why everyone was trying out their own combinations all day. So with that in mind, we're going to follow their lead here and add on a legendary rider to the Party mechanic for this week's criteria:

Criteria: Legendary creatures which possess the Cleric, Rogue, Warrior, or Wizard creature types. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.

Before we get to the main list, though, let's just go over the less famous options you could pursue if you're going to build a Party deck. Let's be a little bit more in depth, though... the other reason I liked the legendary restriction is that there were quite a lot of great options among these creature types, and only listing the top ten seemed like it would be a bit of a letdown.

Top 10 Nonlegendary Clerics

  1. Ramunap Excavator
  2. Grand Abolisher
  3. Mother of Runes
  4. Soul Warden
  5. Priest of Forgotten Gods
  6. Selfless Spirit
  7. Suture Priest
  8. Vizier of the Menagerie
  9. Twilight Prophet
  10. Fiend Hunter

Top 10 Nonlegendary Rogues

  1. Zulaport Cutthroat
  2. Notion Thief
  3. Agent of Treachery
  4. Ogre Slumlord
  5. Cold-Eyed Selkie
  6. Invisible Stalker
  7. Humble Defector
  8. Treasure Nabber
  9. Slither Blade
  10. Blighted Agent

Top 10 Nonlegendary Warriors

  1. Fleshbag Marauder
  2. Butcher of Malakir
  3. Champion of Lambholt
  4. Reassembling Skeleton
  5. Merciless Executioner
  6. Zealous Conscripts
  7. Ogre Battledriver
  8. Herald of Secret Streams
  9. Combat Celebrant
  10. Beetleback Chief

Top 10 Nonlegendary Wizards

  1. Viscera Seer
  2. Laboratory Maniac
  3. Archaeomancer
  4. Aven Mindcensor
  5. Trinket Mage
  6. Grim Haruspex
  7. Magus of the Wheel
  8. Spellseeker
  9. Snapcaster Mage
  10. Trophy Mage

All four of these classes are looking like they're absolutely stellar sources of utility that get used across a whole lot of strategies, so far. That's no surprise, although I'm tempted to delve a bit further into Wizards so we could get past all the tutor Wizards and see some more niche options. Rather than feed my list addiction, however, let's go ahead and get into the main event and hope that we can retain some of that diverse nature.

Just in case, however, let's go ahead and do exactly what we did here, and expand our search out to each of the different "classes" for each of our spots. And since I can already hear my editor sighing about word count, I'm going to try and restrict myself to talking about each card as little as possible, by making a game out of it and restricting each card description to the length of a standard tweet.

Is this a shameless plug that you can find my Twitter at @DougYnerd, where I mysteriously tweeted these out with no explanation all week? Well, it wasn't, but now it is. Lets get to the list.

10. Kemba, Grenzo, Radha, Jace

(Kemba, Kha Regent Helms 284 Decks, Rank #372; 3,030 Inclusions, 2% of 197,161 Decks)

Kemba, Kha Regent is a nonstop cavalcade of cats for any Equipment deck and my personal favorite Cleric-as-commander.

(Grenzo, Dungeon Warden Helms 1013 Decks, Rank #118; 1467 Inclusions, 1% of 104,213 Decks)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden is the only example of a "bottom of the library matters" commander, and is also just ridiculously good value with an efficient body for any Rakdos or Aristocrats build.

(Grand Warlord Radha Helms 730 Decks, Rank #184; 4,459 Inclusions, 5% of 94,249 Decks)

Grand Warlord Radha, AKA Four-Mana-Radha, is the most expensive of the Gruul elf warlords, and not coincidentally also the biggest splash of them. I particularly like the Upwelling effect she provides for all the mana she helps contribute.

(Jace, Vryn's Prodigy Helms 324 Decks, Rank #338; 6,811 Inclusions, 3% of 226,126 Decks)

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy starts as a Merfolk Looter and flips into a combination of Faerie Duelist, Snapcaster Mage... and a mill spell that I sincerely don't want to exist (and I don't think actually does).

9. Mavren Fein, Rankle, Ezuri, Kess

(Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle Helms 11 Decks, Rank #933; 3,324 Inclusions, 2% of 197,161 Decks)

Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle is a cheap token-maker that fits right in with Edgar Markov (or less good Vampire tribal decks). Also, can we talk about how Ixalan Vampires are the best Vampires, or have I hit the character limit already? I haven't? Well, conq-

(Rankle, Master of Pranks Helms 321 Decks, Rank #342; 2,642 Inclusions, 1% of 222,136 Decks)

There was some to-do around Oko, Thief of Crowns, but if you ask me, the true villain of Throne of Eldraine was Rankle, Master of Pranks. I mean, no matter how you swing it, sacrificing a creature is not a prank? Oh, also this card's really good, play it.

(Ezuri, Renegade Leader Helms 1,351 Decks, Rank #91; 3,974 Inclusions, 2% of 210,449 Decks)

You've heard of elf-on-a-shelf, but how about Overwhelm-Around-Some-Metal-Elms? Ezuri, Renegade Leader is the number one Elf Tribal commander, and has been since the beginnings of EDH despite new legendary Elves coming out in almost every set. Impressive.

(Kess, Dissident Mage Helms 3,507 Decks, Rank #6; 4,470 Inclusions, 8% of 58,210 Decks)

The number six commander overall, most players are probably intimately familiar with just how broken Kess, Dissident Mage can be. Essentially giving every instant or sorcery Flashback is a hugely powerful effect, and makes Kess pretty much kill-on-sight.

8. Ravos, Gwafa Hazid, Kalitas, Teferi

(Ravos, Soultender Helms/Partners 1,182 Decks; 2,614 Inclusions, 2% of 105,929 Decks)

I'm actually really excited to see where Ravos, Soultender can be taken with all of the new Partner options we're about to see from Commander Legends, but for now he's just one of the best multicolor-encouraging Aristocrats options, which ain't nothing.

(Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer Helms 234 Decks, Rank #404; 2,757 Inclusions, 3% of 105,986 Decks)

Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer is the ultimate negotiator, allowing you to repeatedly Pacifism opponent's creatures at the mere price of letting them draw a card. It's a shame he never seems to survive to do it, but hey, eating a removal spell ain't bad either!

(Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet Helms 139 Decks, Rank #525; 5,163 Inclusions, 2% of 222,136 Decks)

Give him a few more colors, and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet may just be the premier Shirtless Tribal commander. Until then, he's just your run-of-the-mill token generator that also exiles graveyards, acts as a sac outlet, and gets huge in lifelinky fashion.

(Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir Helms 143 Decks, Rank #522; 8,202 Inclusions, 4% of 226,126 Decks)

Outside of Disruptive Student, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir may be the fairest version of Teferi to ever be printed. Which isn't to say he's fair at all. Flash for your creatures is already great, but restricting all of your opponent's spells is even better.

7. Teshar, Sakashima, Alesha, Zegana

(Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle Helms 641 Decks, Rank #208; 3,311 Inclusions, 2% of 197,161 Decks)

Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle may be my favorite white card advantage card ever. Which reminds me, "Top Ten White Card Advantage Effects" has been on my to-do list for almost a year now. Now if we could convince folks not to just make infinites with him....

(Sakashima the Impostor Helms 143 Decks, Rank #520; 3,587 Inclusions, 2% of 226,126 Decks)

According to Gamepedia, Sakashima the Impostor actually mentally projects himself as what he wants to impersonate to all those around him. Which seems pretty Wizardish to me. Or is he just so good that he's even got mental control over his creature type?

(Alesha, Who Smiles at Death Helms 1,986 Decks, Rank #43; 3,450 Inclusions, 6% of 58,760 Decks)

While my Partners list from last week showed that Alesha, Who Smiles at Death may be slowly losing her Mardu Aristocrats throne to Trynn & Silvar, I think she'll actually stay on top in the long run, given her low mana cost and easy recursion.

(Prime Speaker Zegana Helms 261 Decks, Rank #389; 9,259 Inclusions, 8% of 113,570 Decks)

To be honest, I've never gotten Prime Speaker Zegana. It's six mana and requires you to already have a very good board for her to not be overcosted. You get to draw a bunch of cards if you have a Terastodon in play, but by then aren't you already winning?

6. Tymna, Thada, Neheb, Arcanis

(Tymna the Weaver Helms/Partners 3,750 Decks; 4,242 Inclusions, 4% of 105,929 Decks)

Tymna the Weaver is widely regarded as the second best (current) partner, and it's not hard to see why. The possibility of drawing multiple cards a turn is already good enough, but the real kicker here is that you can do it the turn she comes into play.

(Thada Adel, Acquisitor Helms 184 Decks, Rank #464; 4,700 Inclusions, 2% of 226,126 Decks)

Thada Adel, Acquisitor is just a card that has no right to be as good as it is in EDH. In any other format, you have a decent chance of swinging and missing, but your worst case in Commander is grabbing a Sol Ring a turn. That's just... bonkers.

(Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion Helms 259 Decks, Rank #390; 5,261 Inclusions, 3% of 205,767 Decks)

I think I've gotten on my "back in my day, Juzam Djinn blew people's minds" high horse too many times now, so suffice it to say that Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion is the kind of efficient where you'd take either the body or the effect at the same price.

(Arcanis the Omnipotent Helms 200 Decks, Rank #449; 9,431 Inclusions, 4% of 226,126 Decks)

It really gives me joy to see that a titan of old school EDH is still seeing play today in the form of Arcanis the Omnipotent. Too many cards that used to be seen all over tables have been relegated to history, so it's nice to see him pulling his weight.

5. Ayli, Grenzo, Ruric Thar, Niv-Mizzet

(Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim Helms 805 Decks, Rank #169; 5,179 Inclusions, 5% of 105,929 Decks)

I talk about Aristocrats too much, so suffice it to say that Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim gives you every option you could want in an Orzhov deck, with a 2/3 deathtouch body for two mana stapled on just to make sure you're happy.

Well, it makes me happy, anyway.

(Grenzo, Havoc Raiser Helms 311 Decks, Rank #350; 5,099 Inclusions, 2% of 205,767 Decks)

I really do wonder how much of Grenzo, Havoc Raiser seeing more play than Grenzo, Dungeon Warden has to do with him being mono-color, or if it really is just that he's better general value. Either way, Goad is a hoot, isn't it?

(Ruric Thar, the Unbowed Helms 1,222 Decks, Rank #102; 5,303 Inclusions, 6% of 94,249 Decks)

Not only is Ruric Thar responsible for my absolute favorite episode of Game Knights, he is an absolute force of nature on the battlefield. Six damage is something that just cannot be ignored, but given that he usually punishes you for Murdering him too....

(Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind Helms 436 Decks, Rank #277; 9,425 Inclusions, 9% of 104,934 Decks)

All I can say about Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind is...

“(Z—>)90° — (E—N²W)90°t = 1”

Well, that and if you're playing Curiosity with him, you're a bad person who should feel bad. (Unless your meta's cool with it, of course.)

4. Liliana, Yisan, Mirri, Venser

(Liliana, Heretical Healer Helms 284 Decks, Rank #372; 3,030 Inclusions, 2% of 197,161 Decks)

Maybe the easiest flip planeswalker to flip, Liliana, Heretical Healer is also one of the absolute best flipped planeswalkers. And she gives you a bonus zombie to replace the creature you lost so... what's not to like?

(Yisan, the Wanderer Bard Helms 1,013 Decks, Rank #118; 1,467 Inclusions, 1% of 104,213 Decks)

At first glance, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard's three mana activation cost seems pretty steep, but climbing the ladder just feels so good that it's really no surprise (to me at least) to see him at 1,467 inclusions here on EDHREC.

(Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist Helms 730 Decks, Rank #184; 4,459 Inclusions, 5% of 94,249 Decks)

The first comparison that jumps to mind when you see Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist is Silent Arbiter, but in reality she's the opposite, which is why you tend to see her helming Cat Tribal and general aggro decks.

(Venser, Shaper Savant Helms 324 Decks, Rank #338; 6,811 Inclusions, 3% of 226,126 Decks)

I once had seven Storm counts of Mind's Desire countered with a single Venser, Shaper Savant. Granted, that says more about Yarok, the Desecrated than it does Venser, but still. Stapling a Counterspell onto a creature leads to shenanigans.

3. Whisper, Tetsuko, Kazuul, Baral

(Whisper, Blood Liturgist Helms 284 Decks, Rank #372; 3,030 Inclusions, 2% of 197,161 Decks)

While Hell's Caretaker may be a tad more efficient, Whisper, Blood Liturgist is definitely more well-known, and there's something to be said for being able to sacrifice on demand, even if it costs an additional creature.

(Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive Helms 1,013 Decks, Rank #118; 1,467 Inclusions, 1% of 104,213 Decks)

I'm always surprised not to see more attempts at a Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive deck. Not that 1013 decks isn't a lot, but seeing them more as an afterthought in Edric, Spymaster of Trest decks just seems kind of unfair to me.

(Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs Helms 730 Decks, Rank #184; 4,459 Inclusions, 5% of 94,249 Decks)

Seeing that Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs was originally printed in Worldwake really makes me wonder how this card ever even happened. What about this card says "Red", exactly?

Nothing, but that uniqueness is also why Kazuul is so awesome.

(Baral, Chief of Compliance Helms 324 Decks, Rank #338; 6,811 Inclusions, 3% of 226,126 Decks)

Baral, Chief of Compliance is exactly the kind of card you kind of wish had never been printed. Like it or not, however, he exists, which means people are playing him.

It is nice to see that the decks dedicated to him only amount to 324 total, though.

2. Yawgmoth, Edric, Krenko, Niv-Mizzet

(Yawgmoth, Thran Physician Helms 284 Decks, Rank #372; 3,030 Inclusions, 2% of 197,161 Decks)

As the world's biggest proponent of Phyrexian Plaguelord, I should be a huge fan of Yawgmoth, Thran Physician.

Being a filthy casual has its downsides, however.

That said, why haven't we seen more Superfriends builds of this guy?

(Edric, Spymaster of Trest Helms 1,013 Decks, Rank #118; 1,467 Inclusions, 1% of 104,213 Decks)

I have an unhealthy fascination with decks dedicated to Edric, Spymaster of Trest. Sure, I also play him in the 99 of my Group Hug, but there's just something about going all in on Flying Men, you know?

(Krenko, Mob Boss Helms 730 Decks, Rank #184; 4,459 Inclusions, 5% of 94,249 Decks)

Krenko, Mob Boss needs no introduction. You can find him going from battlefields to graveyards everywhere, waiting for that crucial moment where his opponents have managed to run out of removal so he can go exponential.

(Niv-Mizzet, Parun Helms 324 Decks, Rank #338; 6,811 Inclusions, 3% of 226,126 Decks)

It says something that by far the most popular Niv-Mizzet is also the most difficult to cast. It really doesn't get more Izzet than this particular Dracogenius, and let's be honest, we're all glad to see this deck struggling to find that last island.

1. Mikaeus, Gonti, Neheb, Talrand

(Mikaeus, the Unhallowed Helms 284 Decks, Rank #372; 3,030 Inclusions, 2% of 197,161 Decks)

Mike & Trike aside, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed combos out with what feels like a tenth of the total creatures in Magic, so it's unsurprising to find that he's the most popular Cleric out there.

The No Mercy stapled to him does seem like a bit much, though?

(Gonti, Lord of Luxury Helms 1,013 Decks, Rank #118; 1,467 Inclusions, 1% of 104,213 Decks)

I've lost track of how many of my top ten lists Gonti, Lord of Luxury has ended up on now, so seeing that they're the most popular Rogue doesn't exactly come as a shock. The secret nature of their ETB effect is a fun game for everyone at the table, after all.

(Neheb, the Eternal Helms 730 Decks, Rank #184; 4,459 Inclusions, 5% of 94,249 Decks)

I don't know about you, but Neheb was not the first thing that jumped into my head when I thought "Warrior". Nonetheless, he's the most popular legendary Warrior in his spare time. You know, when he's not making you all of the mana in the world.

(Talrand, Sky Summoner Helms 324 Decks, Rank #338; 6,811 Inclusions, 3% of 226,126 Decks)

I hope that people's initial experiences with Talrand, Sky Summoner are more enjoyable than mine was. Forbid pubstompers aside, however, there are fun ways to build this little drake summoner, and it's really fun when that's what you end up seeing!

Honorable Mentions

As much as I did my best to make it a party up in here with all of the above top ten lists, there are still a couple more we can put together to make sure no one is left curious about what the best creatures in any possible Party category is. After all, we have to crown who the best Party member is, on average! So, let's take a moment and look at the actual top ten list of eligible partiers:

Top 10 Legendary Party Members

  1. Gonti, Lord of Luxury
  2. Talrand, Sky Summoner
  3. Niv-Mizzet, Parun
  4. Baral, Chief of Compliance
  5. Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
  6. Venser, Shaper Savant
  7. Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
  8. Arcanis the Omnipotent
  9. Prime Speaker Zegana
  10. Neheb, the Eternal

And the final tally for the real top ten is... not close.

  • 7 Wizards
  • 1 Cleric
  • 1 Rogue
  • 1 Warrior

Which I of course know, because the entire idea of this list series is to look at the data ahead of time and then fudge it until it's interesting. Or at least that's what it's evolved into over time! It's probably not surprising that Wizards stole the show here, and they've done the same in the nonlegendary version of this list:

Top 10 Nonlegendary Party Members

  1. Zulaport Cutthroat
  2. Viscera Seer
  3. Laboratory Maniac
  4. Ramunap Excavator
  5. Archaeomancer
  6. Fleshbag Marauder
  7. Butcher of Malakir
  8. Grand Abolisher
  9. Aven Mindcensor
  10. Trinket Mage

It's a tad more competitive, but for now at least, things keep true to D&D... in that Wizards get really good, really fast:

  • 5 Wizards
  • 2 Clerics
  • 2 Warriors
  • 1 Rogue

Luckily though, we've got a whole bunch more coming into consideration with Zendikar Rising, so we'll have to see if the balance swings back anytime soon!

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?

Party is a bit clunky, I think even the biggest fans would admit. That said, it's also got a sense of fun and whimsy about it that I appreciate. I know that I'm not the only person with an opinion out there, though, so...

And finally, what are your thoughts on Party and the recently announced Dungeons and Dragons set? Do you like seeing a bit of a crossover among the Wizards of the Coast properties, or does it feel like a bit of an unwelcome intrusion?

Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the D&D table that's just trying to hold onto said table through Standard night.

Doug has been an avid Magic player since Fallen Empires, when his older brother traded him some epic blue Homarids for all of his Islands. As for Commander, he's been playing since 2010, when he started off by making a two-player oriented G/R Land Destruction deck. Nailed it. In his spare time when he's not playing Magic, writing about Magic or doing his day job, he runs a YouTube channel or two, keeps up a College Football Computer Poll, and is attempting to gif every scene of the Star Wars prequels.

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