Space. When it comes to the great cosmos and worlds beyond, its truly awe-inspiring just how vast it really is. With billions of stars, planets, and other celestial phenomena, there exists an ever-expansive list of things to explore beyond our little corner of the Milky Way. There’s also lots and lots and lots and lots of, well, space, between it all.
When it pertains to closets and Magic decks, however, you never have nearly as much space as you’d like. Unlike the universe, an EDH deck is always a finite size. There’s no way of altering that. The best you can hope for is to make the best use of its 100 card slots. For some, limited space means that their decks should avoid frivolity. For others, it means that only cards reflecting the usefulness of their Commander should even be considered.
Yet regardless of whether that’s choosing cards to fit a deck’s theme, mechanics, flavor, or simply due to its power, the most important decision is that every card put in your deck is there for a reason that matters to you. There is no right or wrong answer, so long as you have a personal justification for it.
As has been explored many times before on this series, I heavily enjoy cards that provide strategic utility, especially those that provide a wide variety of effects on a single card that can be leveraged under certain circumstances. Effectively, the more disparate (but useful) card effects that can be jammed onto a single card, the more enticing to me it becomes.
This usually manifests in the form of “charm” cards that provide players with a series of different choices to choose from. Surprisingly though, while these cards often make it into many of my personal decks, they’re not a style of card that’s gotten a lot of spotlight attention over the years.
Here’s to fixing that. And so, in the interest of keeping this space in a likewise finite capacity, let’s jump right into this week’s selection.
Today we have: Rakdos Charm
Name: Rakdos Charm
Edition: Return to Ravnica / Commander 2016
Focus: Graveyard Control / Artifact Destruction / Damage Dealing
Highlights: Rakdos Charm had been shortlisted as the next ‘charm’ card to showcase for quite some time, and so I was mildly amused when the announcement came down that it was going to be in Commander 2016 – a trait many cards in this series have shared after their time being shown off. So this one should fit in quite nicely.
Compared to many of the guild charms of the Return to Ravnica block, Rakdos Charm doesn’t necessarily pack the same punch as several of its more popular counterparts, but the combination of effects offered can nevertheless be quite effective in the right circumstances. Indeed, while many Rakdos-based cards are casually shrugged off, this is one you’d be remiss to dismiss.
The first charm effect is to exile a player’s graveyard, offering an instant-speed Bojuka Bog. Admittedly the most situational of the three options it has, and probably the least likely to be used, there are still times where you may want to ensure that your opponent’s graveyard is emptied. This is especially the case if you have play groups that run a lot of creature reanimation, graveyard card recursion, or artifact recycling. This card can shut such a player down, be it proactively or as a response to some potent spell or creature ability they’re trying to pull off. And they almost never see it coming.
The second effect is the most direct – artifact spot removal. At two mana, using it in this manner effectively turns it into a multicolor Shatter. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. And in Commander, there’s almost never a shortage of tempting artifacts to pick off.
Finally is the charm’s most unique ability, doing 1 damage to every player for each creature they have. Although it affects all players, this mode is beyond punishing against players running lots of tokens. In some cases, it could even be lethal. Few would argue that taking four damage to ensure their opponent take 20 isn’t well worth the punishment. Excepting a few corner cases, its outcome is essentially the same as the long-standing anti swarm card Stronghold Discipline. Only, again, at instant speed. This makes it that much harder for your opponent to respond to, especially if it’s delivered during combat or as a response to table-changing situations such as board wipes.
When factored in that all of this utility is possible on a two mana card, it really does seem unfortunate that Rakdos Charm has been heavily overlooked in the EDH scene. It was due for some attention here, in part as an attempt to elevate its presence to that of the more famous guild charms. Which, apparently was a logic shared by one of the Commander precon designers.
You know, helping the card carve out a little space of its own and all that…
Keep an eye out for us to be regularly featuring other more accessible-but-worth-it Commander cards going forward. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.
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Do you have a particular Commander card to suggest for us to shine a future Spotlight on? You can send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org