Sunday 28 October 2012

Top 10 Colourless Cards

The colourless cards rival blue in their power and have more banned cards than any other grouping. I say colourless but that is really only to give a home to Karn Liberated. All is Dust is a solid B cuber and probably the second best non-artifact colourless card but neither come all that close to the vast quantity of good artifacts available so it is really a top ten artifacts list.

Sol Ring
13. Wurmcoil Engine
12. Grim Monolith
11. Zuran Orb
10. Sensei's Divining Top
9.   Mana Vault
8.   Skullclamp
7.   Chrome Mox
6.   Mox Diamond
5.   Umezawa's Jitte
4.   Mana Crypt
3.   (The Moxes)
2.   (Black Lotus)
1.   (Sol Ring)

An honorary mention is needed for Tangle Wire which was so so close to the last spot and should be rated higher than I have in my first review of the card. Metal Worker, Memory Jar, Voltaic Key, Crucible of Worlds, Myr Battleshpere, Sword of Fire and Ice, Guilded Lotus and many more are all strong cards that at one time may well have been in a top ten list. Mana is power and so this list is dominated by artifacts that either give you a huge burst in mana or cheaply ramp you. Most games don't end in one turn and so Sol Ring is the best return of mana over the course of most games and is therefore the consistant best card in the cube. Black Lotus gives some more brutal starts and has some good combos however these things come together infrequently and so the Lotus is not as good as Sol Ring in most decks. The Moxes are like Sol Ring  but less bursty. They are still very close in power as they come down for free allowing you to go off more easily with them and provide more useful coloured mana.
Mana Crypt
Mana Crypt is obviously better than Sol ring in terms of pure mana however the life loss is very significant and makes it playable only in decks winning quickly. It remains the case that the decks that can abuse Crypt are less powerful on average than those that can't and so I am happy with it staying unbanned for now. Although more powerful than the top 3 (or 7 depending on how you count the moxes) cards the Crypt only gets in at number 4 (8) due to its comparitivly narrow playability. Jitte is the first of the non mana producing cards, it wins most games when in combination with a creature. It is bomb-like unto itself rather than allowing to make other bombs quicker. Mox Diamond and Chrome Mox are a little more versatile in the colour they can offer but the cost of a card to make your Mox makes them quite a bit fairer than the original five. Diamond is slightly more abusable than Chrome as there are lots of ways to get extra lands or recur them later, it also offers better colours.
Umezawa's Jitte
Skullclamp doesn't end games like Jitte does but almost always allows you to keep pace with any other deck  and is probably the best card advantage artifact out there. Being so cheap and easy to use makes it painless to throw into lots of archetypes. Mana Vault is a kind of fairer Black Lotus offering less burst in only colourless and then causing you pain or mana to afterwards. Divining Top is the card for miracles and is the card quality spell for non blue decks and even they employ Top sometimes too. Like most good artifacts it is very cheap and easy to throw into any control or combo deck with sufficient shuffle effects. Zuran Orb is an odd little card that is only for the purpose of life gain which no other card in the cube does which is unsurprising as life is the least useful resource in magic. Zuran Orb will decide any game that is close and buy you several extra turns in any given game, it also has some combo applications

Grim Monolith is the poor mans Mana Vault, it is less bursty and doesn't have a life penalty to compensate for this. When you want burst though life is not something you care about and so this is almost always seen as redudancy for Mana Vault rather than an alternative. Last in on my list is the only dork to make the list -Wurmcoil Engine. It is durable, a great tempo boost and lots of value while being playable in any colours of deck. He also fills two roles as a threat and way to gain life if you don't want to dedicate a whole slot to the effect.

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