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Too-Specific Top 10 – Pipers
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 creature that lets every player put a creature down during their upkeep?)
Innistrad: Crimson Vow brought us a new take on an old familiar face:
Whilecosts a bit more to activate than , it’s also got some significant upside for Wolf and Werewolf decks, along with a flip side that will grab you more creatures to put into play with it.
But here’s the thing:has always been seen as a bit of a Timmy/Tammy card, costing four to then sit around for a turn, waiting to die before it even got to do any cheating of mana costs. Are people actually playing this effect in EDH?
Let’s find out!
Top 10 Elvish Pipers
Of course, if we’re only looking into by visiting its EDHREC page, where we can see that it shows up in 5,771 decks. That’s nice, but let’s dream a little bit bigger, shall we?itself, the answer is easy to find
Criteria: Creatures with an ability that allows for only generic creatures (not based on a tribe, but colors are okay) to be put onto the battlefield from your hand. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.
Some of you may have immediately thought of a bunch of very playable cards when I brought up the “Top Ten Cards That Put Creatures Onto the Battlefield from Your Hand” idea.
Being noncreatures, these versions of theeffect are much harder to remove or counteract, which makes them better in most circumstances. So, before we did anything, I wanted to restrict our search to just creatures, as they’re the much less ‘determined’ version of “is this good?” Even among creatures, however, there were a lot of corner cases that really stretched the limit of what constitutes an effect. First off, the tribal consideration:
The first of these I ran into while whittling down this search was, which immediately had me thinking that tribal should be included in the criteria for “ Effects”. However, I then ran into , and immediately felt the opposite. At its heart, cares about cheating the mana costs of huge creatures. That’s why it’s always been called a Timmy/Tammy card, but that’s also an entirely different strategy than putting down two cheap Goblins so that you can use your mana to cast three more cheap Goblins. Moreover, being able to put down any creature seems important to the mystique of Piping, so by the time I saw and , this was no longer really a decision.
brought up another category that was easy to weed out: and effects. Piping isn’t about helping your opponents, it’s about helping yourself! Similarly, while does help you, it also relies on your opponents having creatures in hand, which doesn’t really fit the allure of “I can put anything I want into play” that has brought so many to over the years. This thought really boiled things down for me, negating the Ninjutsu mechanic as well on the grounds of it being limited to just the creature it was printed on.
This just leaves one of my favorite cards of all time:. Braids represents an entirely different category of card which allows you to put various permanents onto the battlefield, rather than just creatures. While these do fit the greed profile inherent to , it also muddies things a bit much for my liking. As a result, I decided to only allow creatures that were specifically and exclusively calling your own other creatures to the battlefield.
(148 Inclusions, 0% of 363,555 Decks)
…Which, as it turns out, is a very specific skillset, so much so that there are only 13 of them in the history of Magic, and some of them are kind of odd. That said,is the original , printed in Portal: Second Age a full year before ‘s initial printing in Urza’s Destiny. Additionally, it’s cheaper to activate than Piper is, although it does have an odd restriction only Portal could think was “simpler” in that it only allows you to activate the ability before you declare attackers, during your turn. Complex simplicity aside, the thing that’s really keeping this from seeing play is the fact that it was never reprinted, and currently costs over a $100, despite not being on the Reserved List.
As for those other three contenders I mentioned that didn’t make the cut? Sure, why not:
There’s also our new contender, Timmy, Power Gamer., which will undoubtedly be near the top of this list soon, and the Unglued version of this effect that also predates Piper:
(227 Inclusions, 0% of 379,426 Decks)
aside, triggered abilities that rely upon blocking are always a bit tenuous. Attackers can see them coming, and will often avoid the whole situation. Even if they don’t, they still get to approach the interaction on their own terms (flash aside, anyhow). does do a good job of making things hard to plan around, given that it won’t actually be the creature doing the blocking when all is said and done. Still, the surprise factor is limited to what you have in hand, not to mention the very real possibility that the creature you put into play might not survive the interaction. All in all, it’s not too surprising to see this one as low as it is, despite just how cool it is to think about resolving its ability.
(298 Inclusions, 0% of 174,656 Decks)
I know, I know, didn’t I just rejecton the possibility of it only putting small creatures into play, yet here comes cheating in small creatures? What can I say, you can’t filter them all out. It’s pretty cool to pseudo-Dash out another creature upon entering the battlefield, though, even if you’d like this Dragon to be a bit more efficiently costed (which is pretty much the critique for the entire Dragons of Tarkir set, honestly).
(353 Inclusions, 0% of 177,367 Decks)
If you’re looking for another inefficient option to get creatures into play, look no further than another six-mana 4/4,! The cost is big, but it does make up for its woeful stats a bit by pumping up all your Izzet creatures, along with allowing you to put them into play at instant speed for four mana, which is why I’m a bit shocked to not see this a bit higher up the list. Sure, most Izzet decks are more concerned with slinging spells than cranking out creatures, but there’s no shortage of Wizard tribal out there, nor expensive Wizards that would be catastrophic at instant speed.
Top 10 Izzet Wizards with Mana Value Greater Than 3 That Don’t Already Have Flash
So give this one a try, folks! You might be pleasantly surprised, if you ever manage to get it into play.
(918 Inclusions, 0% of 363,555 Decks)
“for Clues” isn’t something I thought we’d be seeing on this list, but here we are! Honestly, there’s a reason that this one only sees play in the Clue decks, and that probably won’t ever change. Now, if only we could make it put into play before you sacrifice the Clues….
(1295 Inclusions, 0% of 363,555 Decks)
Gruul ‘big creature aggro’ is a definite archetype, and as evidenced by its EDHREC page. With that said, it’s still plenty risky at four mana for a 3/3 that might not ever actually pay off. Still, there are worse things than drawing out a removal spell.fits right into it,
(Helms 29 Decks, Rank #1219; 1876 Inclusions, 1% of 363,555 Decks)
The Myojins are a weird web of expectation and reality. I think the Divinity counter system actually works quite well, and it’s very difficult to abuse any of them without paying the full mana to do so. This probably explains why the green Myojin is the most popular of all of them, as green is the color most likely to have eight mana at the ready. Then again, unlike the “ultimates” of other Myojins, such as , if you have all the mana in the world, feels like it would be better as just about any other creature, because you’d still probably be able to cast most of your hand already anyway.
With that said, if you’re running adeck, then I can see several situations where you might be able to drop this on turn five and then put down three Eldrazi and a Praetor, which doesn’t sound too bad. Also, if you’ve ever seen anyone pull off a Myojin in a Proliferate deck, then you know that’s a fun enough outcome that it’s worth striving for.
(5771 Inclusions, 2% of 363,555 Decks)
There’s a reason the ability from Timmy, Power Gamer was immediately slapped on to , and for the most part, that characterization has been correct over the years. However… is that actually true in EDH? In this format, where we cheat crazy things into play all the time, does Piper draw that much attention to itself? Should we be playing more in EDH?
Maybe, but if that’s true, then we also have the newcompeting with it, which means we have to ask whether we should be playing more Pipers, plural, so I suppose this is a very musical dilemma.
(Helms 947 Decks, Rank #237; 6,869 Inclusions, 2% of 342,466 Decks)
may have been omitted from this list, but its shout-out remains! may be considered the worse of the , but cheating creatures into play and giving them all haste is a lethal combination. Sure, you can do both things for less mana with other cards, but having them both in one package is nothing to scoff at.
(Helms 356 Decks, Rank #498; 10,222 Inclusions, 3% of 362,251 Decks)
However, if you’re looking for the bestin the command zone, it’s hard to make an argument against . As a 6/6 trampler for five, it lives through most early attacks and brings a companion along that you can still cast later if need be. Give it some unblockability, or multiple combat steps, and you have a real recipe for destruction. As for the huge target on its flaming razorback, if its commander tax gets too pricey, then you can just throw it down a few cards in your library to promptly return for more. What’s not to like?
Speaking of, just how far up the list would it be if we allowed noncreatures on our list?
Top 10 Cards that Put Creatures onto the Battlefield
Spot #4! That’s actually lower than I’d expected, although I’m sure the $15 price tag has something to do with that. I also couldn’t help but noticeon this list, so of course we need to look at the stuff that can put permanents onto the battlefield as well!
Top 10 Cards That Can Put A Creature or Permanent onto the Battlefield
Finally, let’s see if we can’t get Braids a bit closer to the top by looking at just the creatures that can put permanents onto the battlefield.
Top 10 Creatures That Can Put A Creature or Permanent onto the Battlefield
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?
I mentioned that we’d come back to the whole “Is
Elvish Piper good, actually?” discussion, so…
Finally, have you ever been a fan of? Did you grow out of it, or is it a card that you’ve always come back to? Do you think it’s gotten a bad rap over the years, especially when it comes to EDH?
Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you at the outdoor table that is suddenly being surrounded by Squirrels.