Top 10 EDH cards from 2017
As this year comes to a close, a few of the authors here at EDHREC decided it could be fun to create our own personal top 10 lists of cards that were released this year. This would include the following sets:
- Aether Revolt
- Hour of Devastation
- Commander 2017
You’ll notice that we didn’t include Modern Masters 2017, Iconic Masters, or Unstable. This was done purposefully as we wanted to only include new cards vs pure reprints, and Unstable feels a bit niche since it won’t be officially viable January 15th (obviously, this will vary from playgroup to playgroup, as some will happily adopt the Unstable cards for the long haul.)
- Sunbird’s Invocation – If you’ve never played with this card, you are missing out on the red value train of 2017.
- Anointed Procession – White finally gets the token support card it should have always had, and it has gone into almost every white deck I’ve made this year since it was announced.
- Mirage Mirror – The pure flexibility of this card easily gets put in most decks since it doubles effects of permanents you want and copies your opponents’ best stuff.
- Whir of Invention – Whirring for 0 for a Seat of Synod or a Mana Crypt is easily one of my favorite plays to make with this card, but I really can not recommend more playing Darksteel Forge at instant speed for the maximum blowouts against removal.
- Path of Ancestry – A second Command Tower really is a catch-all for many decks, even if this one does enter tapped. The Scry on casting your general is nothing to scoff at the very least!
- Bicycle Lands – A bit of a cheat, but another set of allied colored dual lands has really helped out a lot of the budget-minded players, let alone the mana bases of 4 and 5 color decks.
- Hour of Promise – Just put this card in over Tempt with Discovery and thank me later. The only time Tempt is better is when you have two players who are short on mana.
- Paradox Engine – This will win games in a lot of decks and end friendships when you cast too many spells in one turn. It certainly is on the upper end of the 75% philosophy, but it is a card that everyone should know about.
- Spire of Invention – A Mana Confluence that can be tapped for colorless in almost every deck on EDHREC. There are few 3 plus color decks that wouldn’t benefit from this land.
- Heroic Intervention – Not the most exciting of cards, but it offers one the easiest to cast and powerful versions of this effect, and if you’ve ever been able to recur this card against a Child of Alara deck, it quickly becomes an auto-include in your green decks.
- Rishkar’s Expertise – They forgot to put the blue in the casting cost for this card. Drawing cards AND cheating things into play is always great, so putting them ON THE SAME FREAKING CARD pushes it into one of my favorite green cards period. 7,751 decks agree with me.
- Torment of Hailfire – A big black X-spell that can go in pretty much any deck it is legal in. Good early in the game, great later on. I love finishers and I love punisher cards, so this is sublime to me.
- Vanquisher’s Banner – I like Mind’s Eye quite a bit and for tribal decks this is twice the card. I slapped one in my Edgar Markov deck and never looked back.
- Ramunap Excavator – Anyone who reads my articles already knows my love affair with this card. It’s the most played card in the set, we can all put two and two together from here.
- Teferi’s Protection – This isn’t my favorite standalone card so much as it’s created some of the craziest plays and situations for my opponents of any new card this year. It legit makes people play their decks differently if they know you MIGHT have it, which isn’t something many other cards can do.
- Traverse the Outlands – If you enjoy fatties and you enjoy ramping, this card is supremely supreme.
- Monument Cycle – This is kind of cheating, but each of these does something unique and powerful while also lowering the casting cost of creatures. So each one is really doing two unique and powerful things I guess. They’re always going to be a consideration for any deck that plans on casting spells.
- Edgar Markov – I was only compelled to build one new deck this year, but this was it. This is probably one of the most fun 3-color commanders in a long long time and made actual aggro decks for Commander a real possibility.
- Disrupt Decorum – The ultimate political middle finger.
- Fractured Identity – This card gets overlooked because there were so many insane other new cards from the set, but this one I looked to add to several decks. I’m a staunch believer in the slogan “sharing is caring”, and this card shares quite a bit. We can only deduct that this card cares quite a bit then too.
- Sunbird’s Invocation – This card gives all of your spells pseudo-better Cascade, one of the more broken mechanics ever printed. What’s not to love? Bonus points for playing this with Clever Impersonator, Copy Enchantment and Mirage Mirror for extra copies.
- As Foretold – One free spell a turn, and those spells get increasingly bigger? This card is a staple in counterspells decks, or any deck that wants to play on your opponents’ turns, and it’s pure value everywhere else.
- Rishkar’s Expertise – So let me get this straight, I can refill my hand and then cast something from my hand for free? Valuuuuue.
- Chart a Course – This card is one of the best draw spells to be printed for EDH. Ever. It’s right up there with Ponder and Preordain. You have the option of draw two, discard a value piece to the graveyard, or straight draw two. Super flexible. It goes in every blue deck.
- Commit//Memory – Unconditional soft (but pretty hard for the color) removal/counterspell in blue that follows up by refilling your hand. Mmm! This card is an all-star staple.
- Dusk//Dawn – A potentially one-sided wrath that lets you rebuild after they inevitably wrath back? Yes, please! It’s not quite on the level of Austere Command or Merciless Eviction, but it gets you there.
- Disallow – Counter anything. This card is a perfect utility spell. What else could you want?
- Gate to the Afterlife – Cycle through your whole deck with a sac outlet and gain life while doing it. This card is underrated for graveyard strategies. If you can bring yourself to run God-Pharaoh’s Gift this will even fetch it for you.
- Disrupt Decorum – “Wrath of Goad.” This is the Fog spell that red deserved.
- Heroic Intervention – A better Boros Charm. It’s situational, but when you need it it saves you from (mostly) everything.
- Razaketh, the Foulblooded – Sure, it’s not Griselbrand, but if that’s a negative then Razaketh is still VERY good. Turning spare creatures into Demonic Tutor is just awesome. Oh, and he’s an 8/8 trampling flyer. No other card this year made my jaw drop like Razaketh did.
- The Scarab God – Reanimator? Check. Mill payoff? Check. Zombies? Check. Grave-hate while stealing your opponents’ creatures? Check. Resilient threat on its own? Check. This god of destruction does it all.
- Rishkar’s Expertise – You draw cards, and then you can cast something for free. Good, clean value.
- Paradox Engine – There were talks of the engine being banned in EDH as soon as it was spoiled, but that hasn’t happened. It’s a massive build-around card, and it has redefined a lot of combos. I can’t see it falling out of favor any time soon.
- Teferi’s Protection – A glorified Fog? A more expensive Heroic Intervention? A middle finger to the player that just cast Armageddon? Oh, and it also gets around Cyclonic Rift? Sign me up.
- Mirage Mirror – Copy ANY land, creature, enchantment, or artifact until the end of turn? Sure, there’s some mana investment, but all this card does is create value.
- Ramunap Excavator – Magus of the Crucible. It’s redundancy for those who own a Crucible of Worlds, and it’s cheaper access to the effect for those who don’t.
- Dusk//Dawn – I’m drawn to playing smaller creatures, and this card is sure to even out the board in your favor if you’re doing so. It also doubles as card-advantage from the graveyard.
- Spire of Industry – 9 of the 25 most played cards in the format are artifacts, and most non-green decks are likely going to be running around ten artifacts. This isn’t an exciting choice, but the fact that this rainbow land also makes colorless gets a thumbs up from me.
- The Ixalan DFCs – Am I cheating? Absolutely. I adore the design of all of these cards. The majority have a home somewhere in EDH. If you’re forcing me to pick, Search for Azcanta and Growing Rites of Itlimoc would be my top two.
Honorable Mention – Anointed Procession — It’s a white Parallel Lives. It’s nothing new, but the color-shift is massively appreciated.
- Mirage Mirror – This became the only card to come out this year that fits in every single deck I own. The powerful things this card can do never cease to amaze me and it can protect itself by turning into a land in many situations to boot. A political powerhouse and still underrated at my local game store.
- Sunbird’s Invocation – The dynamic of the table warps around the Invocation when it hits the field. This isn’t simply a fixed Cascade for everything, it is so much more interesting in the choices it gives.
- Disallow – A more accessible reprint of the staple Voidslime. It’s boring in many ways, but an important inclusion.
- Paradox Engine – It isn’t as much of a staple nor as ban worthy as the community once thought, but the Engine is still a powerhouse. When built around, it demands to be answered or the table will be scooping up real soon.
- Rishkar’s Expertise – I have for a long time used Garruk, Primal Hunter in my green decks as a staple for card draw. Rishkar’s Expertise out performs the Planeswalker in most situations and best of all is when you can cast Expertise into Garruk.
- Path of Ancestry – A second copy of Command Tower is chocolate. Tribal synergy is peanut butter.
- Hour of Promise – 90% of the time this card hasn’t gotten me zombies and yet is still great. This is the sort of value that makes Wally D. blush.
- Thaumatic Compass – As a mostly budget gamer Maze of Ith hasn’t been a staple in many decks simply because of lack of access, but I sure am glad they gave it an upgrade. Hitting land in the early game feels great with the Compass and later the political sway is invaluable.
- Insult//Injury – I doubt Insult makes it on many other lists here, but this has won me more games across formats than literally any other card here. There is nothing groundbreaking here, but it remains in my nearly mono-red The Ur Dragon list until it is disassembled.
- Hour of Devastation – At times this card is overkill, boring, unfun, or unimpactful. In most situations I have cast it however it is exactly the opposite for me.
- Patron of the Vein – My friend is on a Magic card! Artist Tommy Arnold used a model to paint this card, and that model is a buddy of mine. Whenever I cast Patron, I’m playing my own version of Superfriends!
- Ramunap Excavator – I can’t get enough lands-from-graveyard effects. I’m ecstatic to add this to my The Gitrog Monster deck alongside Splendid Reclamation and my precious Crucible of Worlds.
- Disrupt Decorum – I’ve eagerly awaited a “Goad everything” spell ever since Conspiracy: Take the Crown.
- Teferi’s Protection – I never understood Phasing until now. Kudos to the designers for paying tribute to the old mechanic with such an elegantly-designed and powerful card.
- Rishkar’s Expertise – Ubiquitous, powerful in any deck that plays creatures, and surely a staple in nearly every green deck going forward. It’s particularly brutal in Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder, as both the Expertise and the spell you cast with it gain Cascade.
- Path of Ancestry – Fantastic in tribal decks, great in four-color decks, good in three-color decks… I’ve slotted this into several multicolored decks and have always been happy to draw it.
- Sunbird’s Invocation – I’ve only seen this card played a handful of times, but every time I do, it puts in some serious work.
- Torment of Hailfire – A great win condition for big-mana black decks. This and its pal Exsanguinate are utterly devastating every time they’re cast.
- Vindictive Lich – I adore multiplayer-matters cards. Recurring this little zombie with Meren of Clan Nel Toth is an absolute riot. For me, that is. I don’t think my opponents like it very much.
- Scavenger Grounds – As a devout necromancer, I despise this card… but I can’t let my hatred get in the way of how good I know this card is. Exiling graveyards is backbreaking against the right player, and this land lets you do it without giving up a spell slot. If you don’t use graveyards yourself, this is one of the most important lands you can put in your deck.
- Primal Amulet – This card makes the (empirically) best card types (instants and sorceries) cheaper and later allows you to double your pleasure and your fun by copying instants and sorceries. While it might not be the most powerful card from this year, it’s certainly the one I enjoy most.
- Traverse the Outlands – I’ve never personally cast this card. What I have done is lost to it about a hundred times. It might not actually win you the game, but finding 5+ lands for 5 mana makes it real hard to lose.
- Sandwurm Convergence – I love this card. It makes me feel like I’m on Dune, or in the movie ‘Tremors’.
Be the wurm. Not the fish.
- Torment of Hailfire – This card is nuts. Sure, in most instances it’s probably a worse Exsanguinate, but it’s also more fun and isn’t completely worthless in the early game.
- Spell Swindle – This plays like a fixed Mana Drain that happens to do extra work in artifact centric decks like Breya, Etherium Sculptor. If your deck cares about countering spells, I highly recommend this card.
- Planar Bridge – This card embodies what EDH is to me. It’s big, slow, and incredibly splashy. It’s a powerful card that allows your deck to do exactly what you want it to do. It costs a ton of mana and likely won’t cut it in more cutthroat playgroups, but it’s still a ton of fun.
- Glorious End – This card has won me games I had no business winning. Being able to end someone’s turn on the spot for the low cost of 3 mana is incredible. The fact that you lose the turn if you don’t win your next turn makes for some very memorable situations.
- Disallow –
Not in my house
- Bicycle Lands – Budget lands are wonderful. The fact that these are dual lands that have actual land types is a huge selling point. That they can cycle if needed is just gravy. The only negative is that we don’t have the enemy color cycle yet.
- Stalking Leonin – This creates a sort of mini game that I find to be very engaging. It’s a great political tool and is a great rattlesnake card.
- Rishkar’s Expertise – Without a doubt one of the most powerful EDH cards in a long time. The ability to draw cards equal to a creature’s power isn’t new for green, but this is the first time it’s come with so much of an upside. It’s so good that if it isn’t in your green decks right now, you’re not realizing your deck’s full potential. The equation of free spell + massive card draw just usually equals winning the game. End of story.
- As Foretold – Free spells are a wonderful way to help win the game. See the above justification for Rishkar’s Expertise as to why. This card takes a while to spin up, but it yields a free spell each turn. This combined with the fact that it’s 3 CMC makes it an incredibly powerful card for its color. Many of you may disagree, but over time I think this card will prove itself.
- Scavenger Grounds – Have you ever been building a deck and thought that you wish Bojuka Bog was available in your colors. Only to have to make a choice to run something like Relic of Progenitus to get that effect or something close to it? Well, here’s a card that doesn’t take a spell slot and nukes all graveyards. It works in any color identity, and even better it’s still functional as a land outside of its ability. This is easily one of the better cards this year.
- Baral, Chief of Compliance – Blue being the control/counter color isn’t a shocking revelation by any means. This guy rewards blue for being blue. He makes our spells cheaper. He replaces the cards we play. What should be his drawback instead just makes him work better with buddy colors in the sense that he loots to the yard, which is super effective with mixed identities. Simply put, Baral is amazing.
- Rampaging Ferocidon – Evasion. Check. Insanely relevant rules change. Check. Ability to nerf a common archetype. Check. This is a punisher card that we can all rally behind. The on-curve dino is probably the most exciting and enticing piece of hate printed in ages. Look for it to be coming soon to a hateful red backed deck near you.
- Scrap Trawler – So many combos. So much upside. Artifact decks weren’t really needing another of this ability, but it got it. It’s like somehow the R&D department was looking for the cherry on top of the artifact dominance sundae that was the Kaladesh block and decided to get silly. Artifact decks will just run this card without second thought.
- Yahenni, Undying Partisan – Haste on a black creature is something to get excited about. The ability to become indestructible is equally exciting. The ability to get bigger at a rapid pace is scary to play against. This package wrapped up in a 3 CMC package is just one of the best pieces of cardboard this year. Moving on.
- Throne of the God-Pharaoh – Much like Altar of the Brood and Black Vise, this card just hits the table fast and starts punishing opponents for doing what you would normally do. Left unchecked the card just ends up yielding way more benefit than it’s casting cost should net. If you are running a creature deck and need some efficient damage, this card is going to put the work in. Next.
- Settle the Wreckage – Wreckage is right. Instant speed exile all attacking creatures? Yes, please, and thank you. Go ahead and search all those lands out. You just lost your board state, have fun rebuilding. Usually this card just leaves an opponent so weak that they are usually outed from the game. Play this mass exile monster and watch your biggest threat fold like a lawn chair. 4 CMC makes this card just silly. Look for this card to continually pop up in more white decks.
- Harvest Season – Yeah. I can see it on your faces without even seeing them. For 3 CMC you can just search your library for multiple mana equal to your tapped creature count. Fun fact, green plays creatures and likes to turn them sideways. Equally fun fact, green likes to ramp. If only we had a card that took advantage of these things…. Sure, it’s dead in hand when you’re behind, but that doesn’t stop cards from going into decks or even end up being all-stars for their color. Non-narrow deck builder’s will enjoy running this card, why not try it?
Notable Exclusions – Torment of Hailfire, Paradox Engine, Panharmonicon, and anything else that’s too obvious of a choice. You can hate if you like, but these cards are just too obvious for me to want to nominate them. Obviously, they own. Obviously, they are some of the best cards this year. There’s no reason you should need me, or anyone else for that matter, to be explained. Don’t get all riled up for nothing.
- Rishkar’s Expertise- “What if Soul’s Majesty could still work if the target was removed plus let you play the nastiest thing you drew for free afterward?” is a question nobody ever asked but Wizards decided to answer it anyway. I’m glad they did because now it’s in a bunch of my green decks and I can cast it and draw a bunch of cards and win the game instead of drinking heavily over the fact that half the electorate voted for an orange game show host with a dead possum on his head.
- Paradox Engine- It’s a powerful, busted card. There’s no denying it. It also wins games, either via infinite combo, or by boring me to death. “So let’s see, I’m gonna tap Sol Ring and Thran Dynamo floating five, then I cast Grim Monolith which untaps the other two. I tap for those three so that’s . . . um . . . eleven. I’m gonna Brainstorm, which untaps those three, and . . . ugh, okay, let me think about which . . .” at which point my phone is out and I’m looking up balloon porn on Reddit. Still, it’s a disgusting card. Besides, that guy in the trilby who always runs Laboratory Maniac as a win con needed a second way to close out a game.
- Heroic Intervention/Teferi’s Protection- I’m going to cheat here. It won’t be the last time, so just accept that and move on. Both of these might be the best defensive spells in either color ever printed, and both can radically change the face of the game in multiple scenarios when run by a clever (or maybe even not that clever) pilot.
- Solemnity- This isn’t an auto-include or anything, but the decks where it works, it WORKS. I’m running it in my Isperia, Supreme Judge sphinx tribal deck, because I was already running Mystic Remora, Glacial Chasm and Vexing Sphinx. That provides some decent upside, and it absolutely shuts down other decks. I’ve yet to drop it when it didn’t dramatically impact the board state, and that’s in a deck not abusing Dark Depths or Decree of Silence.
- Swarm Intelligence- It’s a better, easier to cast Cast Through Time, and it will absolutely wreck face if you resolve it with mana free for other spells. I’ve copied Lat-Nam’s Legacy with it, and it STILL felt like I was cheating. I could have slotted in SunbInvocation here alongside Swarm as they feel kind of similar, but IMO Swarm feels a little better because it’s controllable. I’m alway slightly leary of high CMC enchantments that don’t do a thing upon resolution. Deadbridge Chant has burned me too many times to count, as has Grave Betrayal. If you’re not careful you basically just Time Walk yourself. Still, the upside here way outshines the downside, particularly in a blue deck filled with cantrips or low cost draw spells that you can still often cast after resolving Swarm Intelligence.
- Torment of Hailfire- It’s a game-ending card late that scales better early than Exsanguinate. Every time I read the card I’m still half convinced that the fact that it doesn’t hit the caster is a typo.
- Mirage Mirror- Mirage Mirror, the Andy Dick of Magic; it does everything. There’s probably a few different ways you can interpret that comment, and none would be incorrect.
- Scavenger Grounds- It’s not a strictly better Bojuka Bog, but it’s an often better Bojuka Bog. I think it’s in every deck I run now, and if it’s not in most of yours you’re doing it wrong.
- Admiral Beckett Brass/Gishath, Sun’s Avatar- This is kind of a cheat, but I’m listing both for the same reason; they enabled a tribe that before had no viable options. Prior to Brass if you wanted to play pirates you were either playing Ramirez de Pietro and telling people you didn’t even own a TV, or playing Kari Zev, Skyship Raider and making uncomfortable age of consent jokes. And if you liked Dinosaurs you were mostly just hard casting Allosaurus Rider. None of those are great looks. Now though, Pirate Granny and Dinosaur Mayael enable two legit tribal decks, and both look to get better in Rivals.
- Thaumatic Compass- I could have put five different flip cards here. Compass is easy to flip and can pretty radically alter the game when online slightly more consistently than can Growing Rites of Itlimoc. Rites feels like I have a strong advantage, but a flipped Compass feels like I’m breaking the rules.
Happy New Year
What were your top 10 cards from this year? Anything that we completely missed? Let us know below! From an EDH perspective, it’s definitely been a good year and hopefully next year will only get better. We hope that you have a Happy New Year full of legendary creatures, games that last the perfect amount of time, and few Laboratory Maniacs. Until next time!