Too-Specific Top 10 - The Islands
Counting Blue Cards
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 five-color spell that can draw you cards or force you to discard them?)
The fifth straight week of basic land coverage brings us to everyone's favoritesupplier. As is the new tradition here on Too-Specific Top 10, we held the best card for last, only in this case it's the best card in all of Magic: the !
Top 10 Cards That Care About Islands
All right, it's actually cards that care about Islands, but you get the idea. We're going to be keeping the criteria this week fairly simple, although we do want to maintain the spirit of this list and make sure that the card cares about how many Islands you're playing, rather than just rudimentary checks of "are you playing this free blue spell for free without actually playing blue?"
Don't get me wrong, I loveas much as the next guy, but it has the Island rider for the exact same reason that does.
Criteria: Nonland cards that either count or specify "all Islands", require the sacrifice of multiple Islands, have an effect requiring control or discarding of more than one Island, or otherwise trigger when an Island is tapped or enters the battlefield. As is tradition, all results are ordered by how many decks they are included in on EDHREC.
It just goes to show that I haven't played much mono-blue, because I was actually totally unaware of this thing. Tapping a creature every time you play a land already seems good enough to sneak through some aggro, but the real threat here is that when the lands you play are Islands, you can also ensure those creatures can't attack you back! It's also worth noting that while ramp may be harder to come by in blue, there are more than a couple dual lands that are technically Islands that may make this worthy of inclusion in a two-color lands matter deck... maybe ?
being a repeatable seems pretty good all on its own. However, I wanted to point out that you can also make this effect a tad bit unfair. While tapping it and then untapping it with a effect won't get you multiple creatures, you can instead copy the activated ability with something like to get two creatures. Or if you'd like to be really unfair, you might take a look at that "control" rider in the wording of ....
Is one extra turn not enough for you? From my experience with people playing extra turns spells, it seems like you might not be alone. That said, if you'd rather not go through the rigamarole of stacking counters on aand then breaking out the , maybe you could just sacrifice a few Islands to keep the party going?
Would you like to draw four cards for no mana? Then hasgot a deal for you!
All right, it's not quite that cut and dry, but even the deal of drawing two new cards for the low low price of returning two Islands to your hand is pretty darn good, especially if you have a means to discard those Islands for value or to put them back onto the battlefield quickly for Landfall shenanigans. Drawing those cards and returning those Islands at instant speed is often more useful than it sounds! I've even seen opponents tap two Islands, return them, and draw into a game-saving, which is about as hype as it gets.
These days, we hear over and over again that if you're going to play a card that costs more than six mana, it should probably win you the game. Well, in mono-blue,is often doing just that! Bouncing all of the creatures on your opponents' boards is nice, but add in the fact that this is stapled onto a creature as an enter-the-battlefield effect, and you might find that this is more than a little repeatable as well. Even if you're not deep into blink effects, how about returning it to your hand and replaying it for free every turn in a deck?
If you can't abuse an enter-the-battlefield ability and don't want to have to pay the seven mana for our last entry, then there is a cheaper option. At four mana for a symmetrical version of's ability, might have already been good enough. When you add in that it's at instant speed, it easily beats out the Kraken in decks that don't care about blinking or recurring creatures. While most decks might prefer a more permanent board wipe such as , instant-speed mass removal is hard to come by. Mono-blue decks having access to mass creature bounce at only four mana makes this too hard to pass up for a lot of decks.
Looking for a target for that Stax, but maybe you'll be happy with just making it so that no one can attack you. Or maybe you'd like that and the ability to attack for eight unblockable damage every turn as well?? All right, that might be a bit extreme for those of us not playing
The first 'hate card' to make the actual top 10 of a "cares about [basic land type]" list,is also the first in the top three of any of the lists to be not of the same color as the mana produced by the basic land it cares about. (Was that convoluted? Good!) All that said, it's not hard to see how this little enchantment made it this high up on the list. Even in a color as good at ramp as green, paying one mana to get free mana every turn is as good a deal as you're likely to get. Sure, there's the small chance you'll sit down at a table of four and no one will be playing blue, but when was the last time that happened?
Even before Storm was a thing,had already been fueling combo decks for years. In the late game of your average EDH table, it's a on steroids, allowing for ludicrous amounts of mana whenever you need it. There is so much respect for from Wizards of the Coast R&D that it's never been reprinted in a full set despite not being on the Reserved List. It's not only no surprise to see this at the top of the list, but if we went back and did a full list of all the cards from the last five articles, I would fully expect it to be a the top of that one, as well.
Before creating this list, there were two cards I was not only sure would be on it, but that I thought would be near the top. Those wereand , which would have been number 11 and 12 on the list, respectively. The would-be number 13 is , a card I had actually forgotten about, but with all of the new Morph decks we've been seeing of late from Commander 2019's , I'm now actually surprised that it wasn't a bit higher up.
And as we know, I personally have a great deal of love for the hate, so I would be remiss if I didn't look down to the prospective number 14 and 15 and giveand a shout-out.
What Do You Think?
Now that we're done with all five basic land types, what do you think of them? Is "cares about [basic land type]" an archetype you enjoy, or do you feel it's too narrow and simplistic?
Finally, what cards did I miss? What are you throwing in with your pile of Islands that's really making things tick (I mean, besides)?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the overflow table on the kitchen Island.