Top 10 (X) Cheerios

(Fblthp, Lost on the Range | Art by Brian Valeza)

Xtra! Xtra! Plot All About It!

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 Claws of Gix is the only zero-cost, non-land sac outlet?)

LOST! Lost on the range! Where the deer and the Fblthp play...

There's a new Fblthp in town, and his game is Plotting nonlands. What does that mean? Well, Plot is a new mechanic from Outlaws of Thunder Junction that allows you to reverse-layaway spells, paying for them now and casting them later. You can only do it at sorcery speed, but that doesn't mean that there aren't several avenues for abuse.

Which begs the question, what exactly does Fblthp want to do?

Well, why pay money for things when you could... not?

Top 10 Zero-Cost Spells

  1. Mana Crypt
  2. Jeweled Lotus
  3. Chrome Mox
  4. Lotus Petal
  5. Everflowing Chalice
  6. Mox Opal
  7. Mox Diamond
  8. Mox Amber
  9. Pact of Negation
  10. Ornithopter

Hoo boy, that got intense quick. Zero cost spells, while fairly common in modern Magic, also definitely trend toward the high-powered end of the spectrum. Starting off with Mana Crypt, the Sol Ring that immediately nets you two mana, rather than one, the list continues on to a Black Lotus knockoff specific to the Commander format, four attempts at "fixed" Moxen, a free Counterspell whose best use case is to never pay its downside because you instead win the game, and two more-or-less fair cards on the list, Everflowing Chalice and Ornithopter.

With that said, the only card on this list that gives me pause as far as Fblthp goes is Pact of Negation, which gets itself Plotted off the top of my library for free, and never actually has to be cast to incur the wrath of its drawback. Which gets me thinking... Why not just try to play every zero-cost spell?

Top 10 X Cheerios

We can keep going for awhile with the zero cost spells, and I see no reason not to:

Top Zero-Cost Spells (Yes, All of Them)

11. Lion's Eye Diamond
12. Mishra's Bauble
13. Tormod's Crypt
14. Zuran Orb
15. Spellbook
16. Memnite
17. Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh
18. Summoner's Pact
19. Paradise Mantle
20. Phyrexian Walker
21. Welding Jar
22. Slaughter Pact
23. Urza's Bauble
24. Shield Sphere
25. Jeweled Amulet
26. Claws of Gix
27. Bone Saw
28. Accorder's Shield
29. Cathar's Shield
30. Spidersilk Net
31. Darksteel Relic
32. Crimson Kobolds
33. Crookshank Kobolds
34. Kobolds of Kher Keep
35. Herbal Poultice
36. Kite Shield
37. Fountain of Youth
38. Dark Sphere
39. Intervention Pact
40. Lodestone Bauble
41. Delif's Cone
42. Pact of the Titan
43. Gustha's Scepter

43. 43 zero-cost cards available in Magic. Of course, only 35 of those are playable in Fblthp's mono-blue color identity, but still, that only makes me want to press it farther. Could we build a deck of all Cheerios?

For those not in the know, "Cheerio" is slang in Magic for cards that cost zero, named such because the zero casting cost itself resembles a Cheerio. There are, however, other spells that have mana value zero that also fit that bill.

Criteria: Cards with exclusively a mana cost of either X or some iteration of multiple X costs without a further mana cost. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.

That's right, X can, at least without caveats stating that it can't, be zero. So, with the boring, regular zero costs out of the way, what's left that we can abuse with Fblthp, Plotting every card off the top of our deck for free?

10. Omarthis, Ghostfire Initiate

(Helms 1,104 Decks, Rank #838; 3,766 Inclusions, 0% of 1,939,355 Decks)

Omarthis, aside from being an amazing commander or inclusion in a +1/+1 counter deck, also goes infinite if you look at it wrong. It does have the significant downside (as all X-cost creatures do) of immediately dying to state-based actions as a 0/0 if you play it for zero, however. In other words, when it comes to Fblthp specifically, while we can still cast Omarthis from our hand and pay the X cost however we like, when we Plot it from the top of our library, we have to pay zero.

So sadly, when we play Omarthis, or pretty much any other X-cost creature for its Plot cost, it will always be zero. You could pay as much as you like, of course, but it will still be cast without paying its mana cost, making it, in the end, a 0/0.

Still, that's not a deal breaker. The whole idea of our meme deck here is to play every zero costed spell we can, simply to churn through our entire deck. Omarthis still fits that to a T as far as Plotting goes, and if cast from our hand, will also probably get fairly large as well from all of our other X-costed creatures we end up casting from our hand that come in with +1/+1 counters. All in all, I expect this to be one of the better "Cheerios" in the deck, even if it spends much of its time immediately going to the graveyard or never being cast at all.

9. Orochi Hatchery

(6,440 Inclusions, 0% of 3,863,092 Decks)

...Which makes it all the more shocking that it's behind a card I've never found room for in any of the 200+ decks I've brewed in the last five years. I've tried to like Orochi Hatchery, but no matter how you look at it, it's just kind of a bad card. Proliferate decks try to make it not so by paying two mana into the X-costs to end up with one charge counter that you can make into more, but how many proliferates do you need to make it worth paying the five? Four, at least? Big mana decks are tempted because they can dump 30 mana into this thing, but aren't there better things to do with your 30 mana than then pay five more to make 15 Snakes? Couldn't you just pay into Secure the Wastes, Hour of Eternity, Dark Salvation, Tempt with Vengeance, or Awaken the Woods, instead?

Don't get me wrong, we'll play this card, because it costs zero. Just be aware that there is zero upside here. It'll be a dead card off the top of our library. Which is still better than it being a dead card in your hand like it is in every other deck it's appearing in.

8. Cryptic Trilobite

(9,544 Inclusions, 0% of 3,863,092 Decks)

Honestly, I feel like I'm starting to be the one that can't evaluate cards, however. Here I am saying that Omarthis is great, and it's not even seeing 5,000 decklists, then saying that Orochi Hatchery isn't, despite it seeing play in 6,500. The next data point in this wild swing? One of my favorite cards of all time, Cryptic Trilobite. I play this sneaky-good mana dork in more decks than I can count, including a few off-the-wall, fringe cEDH brews, and yet, here it sits under the 10K mark.

Well, you'll be happy to know that Plot is an ability, which means that not only is Cryptic Trilobite a free card off the top, but also that it will be a great mana dork for the deck when you do run into things that don't cost zero. In other words? This is one of the best cards you can play in a Fblthp deck, even if it doesn't go full meme like we're planning to.

7. Chalice of the Void

(10,217 Inclusions, 0% of 3,863,092 Decks)

Chalice of the Void, however, isn't exactly what you'd call great synergy. Sure, if we end up at a high-powered table (something I'd actually expect, this brew got a lot spicier than I expected for a meme brew), we'll be able to restrict others free spells and interaction. If we do Plot this off the top, however? The only available number of charge counters is zero, which would prevent us from casting the majority of our deck that costs, well... zero.

Still, just as we discussed with Pact of Negation, you don't have to cast this. You can just Plot it off the top, then leave it in exile for the rest of the game. Combine that with how good this might be on another number if you do cast it from your hand, and this honestly isn't a bad inclusion, even if we weren't making it mandatory to include every possible "zero" cost in the game. Which, to be clear, we are!

As for more general play, however, if you haven't ever played against Chalice of the Void, it's one of the best Stax spells ever created for a high-powered table. If you're going first, you can drop all of your Moxen and free spells, then play it for zero so that no one else can. If not, then you can play it for one to stop almost everyone's interaction, along with a lot of cheap ramp and utility creatures, or two to just make the game extremely inconvenient for everyone (most likely including yourself). Put simply, it's a headache that demands removal at any table, which often is more difficult than it sounds because it stops much of the removal, as well!

6. Clown Car

(15,270 Inclusions, 0% of 3,285,026 Decks)

There is absolutely zero question that there was a memo sent out while Unfinity was in its early stages that said something to the effect of "hey, push the envelope, would ya?" Clown Car is one of the results of that push to make people take the silver-bordered-turned-black-bordered set seriously. Zero mana for a 1/1 is a great rate in the early game, even if it's a vehicle. Any other time? Pump what mana you have into it, and you'll get a horde of tokens and counters for your effort. It's a great mana sink and a free spell, all in one, no matter what deck you throw it in (Fblthp included).

5. Endless One

(15,396 Inclusions, 0% of 3,863,092 Decks)

Which, of course, brings me back to my current confusion. Endless One is also a mana sink, but isn't a good free spell unless you're in a real tight spot for a dies trigger. The only reason I can conclude that it's over Clown Car is precisely because a lot of folks do have beef with Unfinity.

As for Fblthp? Endless One will be one of the worst Cheerios in a deck full of terrible Cheerios. It is a creature in a pinch, and can trigger Omarthis, which makes it at least not all downside. Still, there is every reason to believe that if I have this in hand and an Island available, I'd rather bluff a cheap counterspell than actually play it. And that is a rough thing to say about a card, no matter how you swing it.

4. Hangarback Walker

(39,339 Inclusions, 1% of 3,863,092 Decks)

Several people just got a good idea of what's at the top of this list, if they didn't know already. In the meantime, however, Hangarback Walker is plenty good in its own right. While it will routinely die the unfortunate death that comes with being an X-cost creature in a Fblthp deck, it will also be more than worth casting for two on the regular, if not more. Throw in being able to add counters on turns where we have extra mana available, along with extra tokens to block with once it dies, and we're always going to be happy to see this little walker. Which, to be fair, is just about how every deck that plays it feels about it, I would say.

3. Stonecoil Serpent

(47,207 Inclusions, 1% of 3,863,092 Decks)

Now, I know I just got done ripping Endless One a new one, and a lot of what I said about it applies to Stonecoil Serpent as well. With that said, however, there are two things that set it apart as a much better card, both in Fblthp and in other decks: One, obviously, is that series of relevant and quite good keywords. That's a heck of a lot of upside. Two, however, is it being an artifact. That might seem like a downside, given that does mean that its easier to remove, but hear me out. Pretty much all artifact decks are the equivalent of Aristocrats decks. They really love taking artifacts in and out of the graveyard and accruing various triggers and value, and they're also used to playing cheap and/or free artifacts to do it. In other words, Stonecoil Serpent is a perfectly good free spell in artifact decks, along with also being quite good in +1/+1 counter brews.

As for how it's good in Fblthp? Well, that's just the first part, the keywords. Reach is a good one to have in a cheap blocker, as is protection. It's marginal, considering that it'll spend most of its time getting tossed off the top of the deck, but it's still a card I'm going to be a lot happier to be casting when I can.

2. Astral Cornucopia

(47,242 Inclusions, 1% of 3,863,092 Decks)

Several of you were probably expecting Everflowing Chalice here, but it's actually technically a zero-cost card with Multikicker. Still, Astral Cornucopia is obviously in the same vein even if it uses different mechanics to get there, and sees play in much the same kind of decks that can cast it down early for one, then stack counters on it as the game goes on.

As for Fblthp? I'm not saying this will never be cast for three, but it'll be a weird game when it does. With more than half of our deck costing zero, and the rest being filled in with one-costs and a couple win-cons, there's not much reason that we'd ever be treating this as more than a zero-cost to get ripped off the top and then used as a free Storm count the turn we're going for a Brain Freeze.

1. Walking Ballista

(106,100 Inclusions, 3% of 3,863,092 Decks)

Likewise, Walking Ballista will be a lot more marginal in Fblthp than it is in other decks. Long a mainstay in +1/+1 counter decks, Walking Ballista is also an auto-win with infinite mana, and then has a list of combos that it can kill the table with that's longer than my arm. Unfortunately, none of those really translate well to even a high-powered Fblthp deck. While I could go out of my way to include Wizard Class and Curiosity in the brew, it's unlikely that I would have enough cards left in my deck by the time I found both of them that I would be able to kill the table.

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There's also Emry, Lurker of the Loch and Intruder Alarm to consider, but they both cost three and the combo doesn't actually kill the table.

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Combine that with Intruder Alarm being terrible in our deck while it will probably be quite good for other decks at the table, and even Emry, Lurker of the Loch having significant upside in the deck doesn't really make up for it.

No, we'll have to be happy with Walking Ballista being a free card off the top and a bad burn spell. It's not ideal, but we have other ways to win the game.

Honorable Mentions

Well, we already did one huge list, why not another? Lets find out just how many zero-costs its possible to play in a Fblthp deck, shall we?

The Rest of the X Cheerios

11. Ugin's Conjurant
12. Engineered Explosives
13. Shifting Wall
14. Sigil of Distinction
15. Briber's Purse
16. Chimeric Mass
17. Phyrexian Marauder

While most of the rest of the list is various X creatures that are on the same level for us as the aforementioned Endless One, there are a few diamonds in the rough for our odd deck here at the end of the list. Engineered Explosives is a great Ratchet Bomb effect in a deck that's going to be almost entirely devoid of removal, for instance. Briber's Purse remains kind of awful, but could still be something that ultimately saves a game for us if we encounter a Voltron deck. Finally, Chimeric Mass is actually better for us than all the X-cost creatures out there, simply because it can be played down for free to turn on Mox Opal's Metalcraft. It's a small thing, but in this deck that clocks in at 11 lands total, it can be the difference between having a winning hand or a must-mulligan.

Did I say 11 lands? Why yes, I did. C'mon, you know you want to see that decklist!

Fblthp <3's Cheerios

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Bad Cheerio (32)
Ramp Cheerio (12)
Ramp (11)
Draw (21)
Good Cheerio (7)
Win-Con (2)
Disruption (3)
Land (11)

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View this decklist on Archidekt

So, to answer our question of how many Cheerios its possible to play with Fblthp, it's currently 52. It's actually going to be really fun to see that tally move up as more zero-cost cards are printed, but there's no doubt that it's going to be a slow build to get to a 100% Cheerio build. Plus, you've gotta actually include a win-con, right?

Speaking of, the deck plays about as glass cannon as it looks. While it's not uncommon to go nuts and "draw" your whole deck on turn three, it also doesn't do you any good if your Thassa's Oracle gets countered and all you can do is sadly look at the Pact of Negation you can only play at sorcery speed. If this were a more serious deck, it would probably be playing more counterspells or Stax to mitigate that, along with a 12th land in Haunted Fengraf. You can do that with your build, if you like, but for myself? I'm dedicated to the meme. And having a meme that routinely wins on turn three? It's a pretty great meme, if you ask me.

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?

There have been a lot of meme decks over the years, from various "Oops, All Lands" brews with commanders like Ashling the Pilgrim or Child of Alara to Maralen of the Mornsong decks that only win if the table doesn't understand the mini-game of finding a removal spell every turn to the original Fblthp, the Lost letting you stack your entire deck with Proteus Staff. This, however, might be the first time I've seen a deck even approaching being able to play almost zero lands, something that is near and dear to my heart as an old-school Nine-Land Stompy player. Still, I imagine not everyone is on board for playing a silly deck that exclusively does annoying things like exiling 40 cards a turn, board wiping repeatedly, or exclusively searching for the other half of a two-card soft-lock, so I figured I'd get some opinions on this.

And finally, what is your favorite meme deck? Are you going to try and build Fblthp, either seriously or otherwise? Which of the half a hundred Cheerios we listed today are you a fan of?

Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the table that was technically free.

Read more:

Top 9 Battles That Can Flip Battles

Top 10 Most Played Commander Cards From OTJ

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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