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Too-Specific Top 10 – A Mox By Any Other Name
Free, for a Price
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 zero-cost Equipment that can give you mana?)
Since very shortly after Magic‘s original Alpha printing in 1993, it’s been known exactly what cards sit atop the pile.quickly gained legendary status as the most broken card that would ever be printed, and got a price tag to match shortly thereafter. The rest of the Power Nine also ballooned in price, but still none more so than the other free spells. While the five-color cycle of , , , , and never reached the levels of the infamous Lotus, itself, they nonetheless were in high demand as Wizards of the Coast realized that zero-cost mana rocks were too powerful to ever be printed without severe drawbacks ever again.
That doesn’t mean that they never tried, though.
Top 10 Lotus/Moxen Knockoffs
With the infamy of the Mox cycle and, itself, R&D would have had to have been crazy to not try to capitalize on it. As such, we’ve seen printing after printing of cards that are a shout-out to these super-powerful artifacts, even as recently as our last Standard set in the form of . That particular version is much more on the safe side than some of the other options that have kept to the zero-cost stipulation over the years, however.
With that in mind, then, let’s see if we can’t take a look at a few of the more powerful versions that have been printed over the years, and find out where they fall as far as popularity in the Commander format. To do so, however, we will have to, as usual, figure out what exactly is meant by our rather broad category. “Lotus or Moxen knockoffs” could mean a lot of things, so let’s see if we can’t tighten that down to what exactly does and doesn’t spring to mind when we think of newer versions of these Power Nine staples.
First of all, every card I’ve discussed so far has been an artifact that makes colored mana. This seems to be a defining characteristic of both a Mox and a Lotus, cancelling out powerhouse cards likeand , which only make colorless mana. There is also undoubtedly the zero-mana casting cost link, as well, but that cuts out some of the more balanced-yet-popular cards like , which have a more reasonable price to get them in play. It also includes cards like , which don’t really seem to fit the bill, either, as you can cast them for zero but they won’t actually make any mana if you do so. With that in mind, let us further stipulate that we can both count zero-cost artifacts with the actual “0” on them instead of an “X”, and anything that has the words “Mox” or “Lotus” on it, as well. That should get us down to where we need to be while still ensuring we hit all of the relevant cards.
Criteria: Nonland artifacts with the words “Mox” or “Lotus” in their name, or that cost zero mana (not “X” mana) that can directly or indirectly create colored mana. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.
(1,535 inclusions, 1% of 297,839 Decks)
For those that aren’t aware of Rummage effects. seems like a natural fit there, allowing you to for three mana every turn or to just pitch this for a real card if you don’t have three turns to spare.and , it’s very possible that you’ve never actually seen this card played. Even under those magical Christmas-Land scenarios, however, is still pretty slow, and is basically a dead card if you draw it anywhere past turn four or five. All that said, however, I am a bit surprised to not see this in some of the artifact decks out there that have access to graveyard recursion and
For those looking for single-use only, however, the most popular inclusion forat this point is , which allows you to Cascade into three mana, effectively turning your into a .
(2,273 inclusions, 1% of 297,839 decks)
has been the subject of a lot of debate since being released in Theros Beyond Death two months ago. As a four-mana artifact that enters the battlefield tapped, it has to have a lot of upside to even enter consideration. While it can be argued that it has exactly that, there is also the “win more” aspect of Devotion that has to be considered. While it’s very possible you’ll be tapping this for eight or nine in a mono-color deck, it’s also very possible you’ll play it into a board wipe and have paid four mana for absolutely nothing.
In other words, there’s no doubting thatcan be very powerful. It’s also just rather slow and risky, which isn’t a trade that everyone is willing to make.
(2,309 inclusions, 1% of 297,839 decks)
If there is arguably one artifact that should have been edited out of this list, it’s probably. That said, while it’s artwork shouts out to , it’s overall design definitely screams “fixed Mox”. And it can definitely be argued that it’s done its job there well. While you’ll see a lot of inclusions in decks with commanders that care about being tapped like and , you’re rarely seeing inclusions in general good-stuff decks.
While we’re also seeing a few inclusions for, the more purpose-made commander for is probably . He both allows you to draw a card for zero mana and then begin producing mana with him. Sure, you’re mono-white so it’s debatable on whether or not you need it to be any color, but extra mana is extra mana!
(2,678 inclusions, 1% of 297,839 decks)
was one of the first attempts at a fixed , and it proved in fairly short order that, no matter how steep the hill to climb is, three mana for nothing is just too good. This continues to be true to this day in Commander as well as several other eternal formats, as more pricey builds of and will remind you, given the opportunity.
would also love to be abusing this card in much the same recursion-every-turn fashion, but it turns out that the kind of folks who will spend $200 on a mana rock typically aren’t the kind of people who will choose to play Boros. Who knew?
(8,202 inclusions, 3% of 297,839 decks)
While it’s not typically considered as powerful as, is considerably cheaper. Combine that with the fact that it’s a natural fit in artifact decks that can afford it, and it’s not just edging out the competition, it’s already ahead by a mile. At almost 6,000 more inclusions, is almost a staple of high-powered artifact decks, seeing play in 35% of decks, 31% of decks, and 25% of decks.
As for whether or notfits the definition of a “fixed” Mox… Let me just say that I’m glad it was printed in Scars of Mirrodin and not during the dark times of Mirrodin and Affinity for Artifacts.
(8,438 inclusions, 3% of 297,839 decks)
Or, to put it another way…should be higher than on this list. The reason it isn’t is because it costs $55 as opposed to $20. Even with that discrepancy, however, is only seeing play in 200 more decks total, and that’s in a format where, by design, you always have access to a legendary creature.
The problem is that unless your commander is very cheap, such as in the case ofor , it’s difficult to count on to actually make you any mana. Even in that situation, it’s also very easy for it to become useless to you when your commander is removed, and it won’t help you recast them.
That means that the best use of laying down Legends.is in decks that are constantly putting legendary permanents onto the battlefield. Whether that be going old-school with and , or updating things a bit with , really shines through when it comes to decks that just care about
Although it is worth noting that this is the fourth card in a row on this list to featurein its Top Commanders section… Is Mox Tribal a thing?
(11,467 inclusions, 4% of 297,839 decks)
When fixingproved impossible early on, Wizards instead tried fixing the Moxen with exactly the same results. Instead of discarding your whole hand and then having to find a way to recur it, however, only requires you to have an extra land sitting around to ramp you a turn. For zero mana.
As you might imagine, this early success gotadded to the Reserved List right alongside , and it has a price tag to match. Despite this, you can see that the Diamond of the more Moxie variety has more than five times the number of deck inclusions. While this is an area I try to steer clear of as it’s not my background, it would appear that most of those inclusions are directly on the back of Competitive EDH decks, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
After all, the aggressive ramp of, where you give up a land and a card slot to move ahead one turn, doesn’t really fit the play style of slower decks. It only makes sense if you’re driving ahead at full steam, and it really matters that you pull a turn ahead early because everyone else is, too.
(12,445 inclusions, 4% of 297,839 decks)
“All right, we tried discarding your whole hand to replicate… What about if we just make it one mana, instead?”
– Wizards of the Coast, probably, circa 1997
I don’t know who at R&D had fast mana, Lotuses, and Moxen in their head in the late nineties, but someone absolutely did. First it wasprinted in Mirage in October of 1996. This was closely followed by our number three card, , printed in Tempest in October of 1997. This was then immediately followed in the very next set by our number four card, . They then took a set off before plowing into the insanity of Urza’s block, which was also filled to gills with fast mana rocks.
Maybe thegambit of “it’s but for one mana” worked, however, because isn’t on the Reserved List, and it doesn’t cost $200, it costs $10. Actually, thanks to the newly printed Mystery Boosters, it now only costs $6. That doesn’t mean it’s not extremely powerful, but it does require a bit more work to abuse. All that said, however, it’s the same decks that were abusing that are using this, as well, so take from that what you will.
(16,673 Inclusions, 6% of 297,839 decks)
I don’t know about you, but I play about 37 lands in most of my Commander decks. I do have onedeck which has an average converted mana cost of about 2.1 that only plays 33, and a Cycling deck that plays over 40. But by and large, 37 is where I aim.
Unless you’re running an artifact deck, then, one could fairly safely assume that most of those other 62 cards could be Imprinted on. Which means that is even easier to get online than , and costs a fifth the price. With all that in mind, it’s not surprising to find that this is also a Competitive EDH staple, played in mostly the same exact decks. I was surprised to find, however, that it wasn’t our number one card…
(42,991 Inclusions, 14% of 297,839 Decks)
Until I saw what was. At the end of the day, casual is king, andis right there for it. Recently reprinted down from $15 to $4, once again everyone can afford to slide this into any and every deck they own. While many have correctly stated that that “every” part isn’t correct and that cheaper, more efficient options should be utilized, instead, that has in no way stemmed the tide.
And for me, I’m a fan of that. There are enough fast games of Commander pushing “75%” decks higher and higher in power level. There should always be a slot for this card, and it should become the calling card for those levels of play where it’s still a great option to lay down on turn four or five and pass the turn, unconcerned that you may never recover.
Since we’re talking about free spells that cost an arm and a leg, I figure it’s also only fair to list off the contenders in order of their price tag:
- : $14,280
- : $2,800
- : $2701
- : $2535
- : $2450
- : $2400
- : $274
- : $194
- : $57
- : $45
All right, that was a little unfair, but who doesn’t want to check in on how ridiculous Power Nine prices are every once in a while? For those that aren’t aware, the top six cards of that list are banned in Commander, and as such probably shouldn’t be included as part of any EDH top ten lists.
As for the more legitimate version arranged by price…
- : $274
- : $194
- : $57
- : $45
- : $19
- : $10
- : $7
- : $5
- : $5
- : $4
I’m kind of sad thatjust barely got edged out of the running. It would have been our number eleven card if we’d kept the list going, but strangely it would appear that Cascade decks prefer the instant three mana from rather than the long-term extra mana rock.
What Do You Think?
This list has brought up the Power Nine, the Reserved List, Competitive EDH, and fast mana, all topics with no small amount of controversy surrounding them.
So, with that in mind…
And finally, do you play any of the shout-outs to the original Mox and Lotus? Do more people need to be playing these zero cost options despite them being more and more watered down? Were there any shout-outs we missed? Does the top end of this list need reprints to bring the costs down?
Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you at the expensive gaming table in your friend’s basement that wobbles, has a leg that is about to fall off, and generally has a slope to it. That felt top is nice, though.