Elder Dragon Highlander [EDH] Format Staples

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Official Elder Dragon Highlander [EDH] List of Format Staples
 Last updated: 16 September 2008

What are Elder Dragon Highlander Format Staples?
Building an EDH deck is never an easy job, even for experienced players. Decks are bigger and the card pool is wider than most players are used to. It is often difficult to know where to even begin. To help you out, the following is a list of format ‘staples’ that you should considering adding whenever you play their colours. They are not auto-includes, i.e. you do not always want to play all of these cards, but they are cards that are more likely to appear in good decks. Please feel free to suggest additions/alterations/removals to this list!

COLOURLESS

LANDS (26)



Artifacts (32)



MONOCOLOURED

WHITE (29)

 

 BLUE (37)



BLACK (23)

 

RED (18)



GREEN (25)



MULTICOLOURED

Maybe i'm wrong here but does Protean Hulk is ban?
This was based of a few older lists, so there are probably going to be a few other cards missing, etc.
Anything there that shouldn't be?
Is Court Hussar really that good in EDH???
Very good thread idea, Conall! Are cards that put creatures on the bottom of its owner's library considered staples?
Is Psychic Vortex good in this format?
Is Psychic Vortex good in this format?

No in fact it's pretty terrible outside of some weird combo. Blue has much better options for card draw, and cards like Mind's Eye can be used in any color.

Spin into Myth should be on the list for sure, seeing as Condemn and Hinder both are.
cards I'm not so sure can be called 'staples':
oblivion ring, prismatic omen, dust elemental, rage reflection, phyrexian rager, jhoira of the ghitu, wound reflection

/agree, except on O-ring.

O-ring is good, period. Jhoira is good in some decks. Rest are not staples to outright jank. (Phyrexian Rager, I'm looking at you.)

Ambition's Cost and its clone from portal aren't staples either IMO.
I started out thinking O-ring was good, but after playing with it a bit I changed my mind....Anyone with a disenchant effect can get their bomb back at instant speed whenever it hurts you most, and it'll often get killed incidentally by some kind of sweeper (vengeance, disk, stone, etc), which gives an opponent a big head start at rebuilding.
scroll rack is amazing and should be on the list. Other cards to consider,treachery, bribery, and Lim-Dul's Vault
Ambition's Cost and Ancient Craving are decent draw spells when you have near limitless life. What about adding something like Promise of Power, Night's Whisper?

Still, in the interest if getting this list developed, I've added/removed all of the suggestions so far.
Would Wistful Thinking apply?

Or is is it just too techy for you guys?
A bit too tech to be a staple, i.e. a card that should fit in nearly any deck running blue.
My two staplest EDH cards are Sol Ring and Forbidden Orchard.

Parallax Wave is better than the majority of the white cards on your list. I also consider Spitting Image a staple G/U card.
Kenneth Nagle Game Designer Wizards of the Coast
forbidden orchard? Really? You play oath in every edh deck or?

Parallax wave is awesome, I forgot it existed since I only play online now....so hmm, is there any chance of getting that card into Master's edition 3?

I'd also like to mention mistmeadow witch, which has been pretty good in testing. I was skeptical at first because of how expensive the ability was, but it's pretty board dominating. Creatures can't effectively attack you if you have mana up, since you'll just blink them out of combat. It can save itself and your other guys from sweepers, removal, etc. In multiplayer, its presence usually means all the heat gets directed at other players, which is doubly good.

But the kicker is that it lets you re-use creatures with citp effects. Mulldrifter? Deadwood treefolk? Angel of Despair? I had 2 games in a row end the same way with this card: blinking eternal witness to recurr time stretch. Sick stuff.
forbidden orchard? Really? You play oath in every edh deck or?

It's a multiplayer format. It's all about diplomacy, man.

As for staples:

Sol Ring goes into every single deck you build, or should (I can understand not playing it just for variety, though). Same thing with SDT.

Agree on Spitting Image - I play it in my Vorosh deck, and it basically reads "destroy target general/put Darksteel Colossus into play.

I like Wound Reflection. Primarily because I've occasionally put decks together than win through dumb stuff like Underworld Dreams and Teferi's Puzzle Box plus it. WR definitely has its uses. It's probably not a "staple" per say, though.

Also, I'd include Grim Harvest - this card is so dumb in the right deck. Oona's Grace or Whispers of the Muse for repeated card drawing.
generals are immune to the legendary rules, so copying a general with spitting image is just pitching a land and wasting mana for nothing. Your copy will die, the general will remain. Definitely a staple card nonetheless.

Cards like mind's eye are much more powerful repeated card draw sources (or planar portal, jace beleren, etc) than what you listed. Oona's grace in particular is a bad edh card - unless you have journeyer's kite, land tax, or thawing glaciers active, of course. You don't want to be missing land drops at any point in the game, really.
I would like to make the case to add Heartseeker to this list. It is colorless so any deck can run it, and it is reusable creature removal which makes it efficient.

I also promise that I will be running Reap and Sow in every EDH deck I run that can run green mana. It destroys problematic lands from your oponent, lets you search your library for ANY land AND put it into play UNTAPPED...or it can do both at once!

Chimeric Egg is also A) an artifact and B) potentially powerful.

Not 100% convinced, but Reiver Demon seems really good in a mono-black/predominantly black EDH deck.
reiver demon is good, but since edh decks seem to average 3 colors, 3/5ths of the field will have creatures he won't destroy. He's better than a lot of things I've seen played, but I'm not sure I'd call it a staple.

Chimeric egg...meh.

Heartseeker...also meh. 9 mana and tap one of your guys makes it pretty clumsy and slow. Even by edh standards, it's slow. Not a bad card, mind you, I'm just not sure I'd recommend it for most decks than can support it, which is my definition of a staple.

reap and sow is a good call though, definitely belongs on the list. LD as a whole is excessively avoided I think. The noob-heat it draws is a price worth paying to be able to answer thawing glaciers and academy ruins, among other things.

Also, woodfall primus is a new bomb fatty, worthy of being mentioned alongside bogardan hellkite, angel of despair, and the like.
generals are immune to the legendary rules, so copying a general with spitting image is just pitching a land and wasting mana for nothing. Your copy will die, the general will remain. Definitely a staple card nonetheless.

Only online. In regular EDH matches, Legend rule applies.
I'd have to agree on Spitting Image: "Spitting Image a Verdant Force. Do it again...and again...and again." Also, works well with Journeyer's Kite.

Additionally, I've found Predator, Flagship to be fun. Evolution Vat can make a REALLY big fatty REALLY fast (I had a 4018/4020 Seedborn Muse once), and Novijen, Heart of Progress is also a fun card, especially when you combo it with Woodfall Primus to essentially rootgrapple nigh infinitely (well, not infinitely, but definitely hard to kill).
Only online. In regular EDH matches, Legend rule applies.

Online/offline makes no difference...

There is only one set of rules for EDH. Either you are using league play and no-one else has a copy of your General or else you are using Open play and Generals are unaffected by the legendary rule.
Staples are cards you put in EDH decks - NOT generals. Jhoira is a good general, but a bad card to just jam into your deck.

@Conall: I recommend reading the EDH rules. Generals do not have some special exemption from the Legend rule.
I have yet to go to an edh gathering and NOT see a Jhoira deck there. I would say she's a staple.

That just means that Jhoria is used as a General a lot.

A staple is a card that you want to include in a deck and not every / deck is going to want to use Jhoria as a creature.
A casual format is a casual format. If groups play IRL where Generals are immune to the Legend rule, so be it.

The Online Commander format makes generals immune to the Legend rule as a convienence; imposing deckbuilding restrictions based on your opponent's deck is ludacrious. What if, in Standard, if your opponent had 4 Cancel in his deck, then you couldn't play Cancel too? Legend immunity for generals I feel is the superior rule in all cases, anyway.
Kenneth Nagle Game Designer Wizards of the Coast
Staples are cards you put in EDH decks - NOT generals. Jhoira is a good general, but a bad card to just jam into your deck.

@Conall: I recommend reading the EDH rules. Generals do not have some special exemption from the Legend rule.

Deck Construction Rules


Players must choose a legendary creature as the "General" for their deck.

The following cards may not be used as a General: Rofellos

League Rule An EDH "League" consists of a regular group of players who frequently play together using the same decks. No two players in a league game may have the same General. Within a given league, Generals are allocated first-come, first-serve and are preserved between meetings/games. No player may have, in his or her deck, the General of any other player in the game; it should be replaced with some other card before the game begins.
The 'Roll Call' forum (linked above) provides a tool for organiziing and publicizing EDH leagues and reserved General.s

Open Play Rule: Open play EDH rules are used for games between opponents who do not routinely play together. Generals are not subject to the Legendary rule, although other creatures of the same name are; if a General and a non-General creature of the same name are in play, only the non-General is put into the graveyard by state-based effects. If two opponents in the same game have the same General and both are in play, neither is put into the graveyard (although other, non-General, versions are).

^
I'm not sure I can be any clearer than that.

Source: csclub.uwaterloo.ca/~geduggan/EDH_rules.html

WotC_KennethNagle A casual format is a casual format. If groups play IRL where Generals are immune to the Legend rule, so be it.

The Online Commander format makes generals immune to the Legend rule as a convienence; imposing deckbuilding restrictions based on your opponent's deck is ludacrious. What if, in Standard, if your opponent had 4 Cancel in his deck, then you couldn't play Cancel too? Legend immunity for generals I feel is the superior rule in all cases, anyway.

I haven't played MTGO Commander, so I can't comment on the rules for that format.

However, as far as EDH goes, if you are referring to the League Play rule, this is a special rule for a given tournament. People sign up and "call" a general well in advance so everyone will be aware of what general everyone else is using. It's fair to everyone.

---

Disclaimer: Of course, this is all just casual play so whatever rules people find work best obviously take precedence.
Wickerbough elder is a pretty even replacement for indrik stomphowler these days. They both cost 5 mana for the same effect, but on the wickerbough it's optional and can wait. And it's vastly superior for some decks (there are more cards that transmute for 4 than 5 for example, and there are some cards that can put additional -1/-1 counters on it, etc).

The only way it lacks is that it costs an extra mana to disenchant something if you're cheating it into play.
Also, why isn't intuition in the list?

Edit: And tidespout tyrant!
Additions:
Invasion sac-tri-lands (like Ancient Spring
Krosan Verge
Nantuko Monastery
Treetop Village (Other than maybe Forbidding Watchtower, I'd exclude the other Xth man-lands)
Planeshift Lairs (like Crosis's Catacombs)
Exalted Angel
Glory
Keiga, the Tide Star
FORK
Rolling Earthquake (Ok, ok, so there's no Imperial Recruiter on the list either)
Molten Disaster - Particularly game-breaking with Hostility
Hurricane
Squall Line
Constant Mists
Spiritmonger

Maybes:
Svogthos, the Restless Tomb
Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree
Duplicant
Trade Routes
Prophetic Bolt

Subtractions:
Serra Sanctum - Unless you're running Zur, it's pretty narrow.
Sunhome Fortress - Just too expensive for its ability. Same class as Rix Maadi.
Aether Vial - I know I'm risking a flaming here, but it's just not good for much when mana isn't a concern. Getting under a counter screen? OK, but not worth "staple" status.


Just my $0.02, more to come, I'm sure.
@Tremor88: "Also, why isn't intuition in the list?" Because you forgot to suggest it earlier! :P

Tidespout tyrant almost and auto-include for U/R.

Wickerbough Elder too. Is this good enough to *replace* indrik stomphowler?

---

Ancient Spring - 3+ colour Generals number less than 40 out of 400 so 3+ colour cards would have to be amazing to make it onto the list. While these cards are great in some combo decks (<3 Mind's Desire), I think they are a bit narrow to be an EDH staple.

Aether Vial - For multiplayer games that go on turns longer than 1v1 duels, maybe you have a better chance of getting more charge counters and saving a lot of mana in the long run, but then again with all of the disks in this format what are the chances it'll survive. I could see this being removed from the list.

Serra Sanctum - Agreed, it is a pretty narrow card. I could also live without this as a 'staple' that would always be considered for White decks.

Sunhome Fortress - It's a good utility land. In RWx decks, it provides something else to do with your mana and is amazing when you can activate it on the larger than average creatures in this format. I think it's worth keeping.

Fork - Is it really good enough if Twincast isn't? Wild Ricochet is already there and is a lot better in this format.
gruul war plow? maybe not a staple, but it's been good enough to me to warrant the suggestion.

edit: also, every command has been very effective in edh.
I just played with murkfiend liege and realized I totally misread the card. I was thinking of it as seedborn muse #2, but it's not....not at all...

I hereby retract my motion to add it to the list.
Why is Spitting Image in the red staple???:D

Also, Savage Twister is really good in /.
Okay we have a LOT of suggestions here, and the list is getting long.

It's at a point where if I was making a 3 color deck, and included a sufficient land count and all the in-color staples recommended by this thread, I would be over the 100 card limit and have no room in the decklist for my own personal touch.

That means our definition of a staple isn't focused enough. My definition of a staple, is a card that *should* go in every deck (or nearly every deck - maybe 90% of them) that can play it.

So in an attempt to whittle down the numbers a bit, I think we need to be more critical of suggested changes.

I've gathered a list of all the changes suggested in this thread, so we can collectively vote on them and hopefully come to an acceptable consensus that doesn't involve our list growing to gigantic proportions.

As a guideline, I'd suggest that if you can imagine more than 1 deck type in a card's colors that wouldn't want to run the card, it's not a staple.

Keep in mind that this isn't supposed to be a catalog of every good card you'll ever see in EDH.

Addition (yea/nay):
--------
(1/0) planar portal
(1/0) mind's eye
(1/0) scroll rack
(0/1) heartseeker
(0/1) evolution vat
(0/1) predator, flagship
(0/1) chimeric egg
(1/0) duplicant
(0/1) gruul war plow

(1/0) necropotence
(1/0) promise of power
(0/1) night's whisper
(1/0) grim harvest
(0/1) reiver demon

(0/1) aeon chronicler
(0/1) spin into myth
(1/0) treachery
(1/0) bribery
(0/1) oona's grace
(0/1) whispers of the muse
(1/0) intuition
(1/0) tidespout tyrant
(1/0) keiga, the tide star
(0/1) trade routes


(1/0) hibernation's end
(1/0) reap and sow
(1/0) woodfall primus
(1/0) wickerbough elder
(0/1) hurricane
(0/1) squall line
(0/1) constant mists

(0/1) shattering spree
(0/1) fork
(1/0) rolling earthquake
(1/0) molten disaster


(1/0) akroma's vengeance
(1/0) decree of justice
(1/0) hallowed burial
(0/1) magus of the disk
(0/1) mobilization
(0/1) prison term
(1/0) return to dust
(1/0) sacred mesa
(1/0) twilight shepherd
(1/0) parallax wave
(0/1) exalted angel
(0/1) glory


(1/0) kjeldoran outpost
(1/0) temple of the false god
(0/1) novijen, heart of progress
(0/1) invasion sac-lands (like ancient spring)
(1/0) krosan verge
(1/0) nantuko monastary
(1/0) treetop village
(0/1) planeshift lairs (like crosis's catacombs)
(0/1) svogthos, the restless tomb
(1/0) vitu-ghazi, the city tree


(0/1) niv-mizzet, the firemind
(1/0) court hussar
(1/0) dismantling blow
(1/0) mirari's wake
(1/0) spitting image
(0/1) lim-dul's vault
(0/1) mistmeadow witch
(1/0) spiritmonger
(0/1) phrophetic bolt
(1/0) savage twister



Removal (yea/nay)
-------
(1/0) Oblivion ring
(1/0) prismatic omen
(1/0) dust elemental
(1/0) rage reflection
(1/0) phyrexian rager
(1/0) jhoira of the ghitu
(1/0) wound reflection
(1/0) serra's sanctum
(1/0) sunhome fortress
(1/0) aether vial

Please add your votes
As an aside, there is a lot of redundancy in magic, which poses a problem for this list.

For example, most decks will want to include some sort of mana acceleration, be it rampant growth, moss diamond, talisman of dominance, coldsteel heart, fellwar stone or gruul signet. Any one of those is acceptable.

However if you have a 3 color deck, and we list all of those as staples, we don't really want to give the impression that we're advocating running 20+ 2cc mana accelerants. Anyone have any suggestions how we can present these options while making it clear that you want to pick and choose a certain number of them?
(1) "Staple": The definition of staple used in this thread is not an auto-include for every deck running that colour ever, just a card you would do well to consider when beginning to build your deck. Magic is a well designed game in that there are few true staples - that are not banned. Some cards on this list just get worse when you inclode others. For example, Final Judgement and Hallowed Burial are great removal spells in White Control but you might not include them in your Yosei, the Morning Star / Eternal Dragon Dragon Reanimation deck.

(2) Redundancy: This is not really a problem. To use the example at hand, even if someone were to (incorrectly) build a deck with all of the colourless mana acceleration used, that's still only ~12 cards. Going back to our definition of stample, not every mana accelerator list fits into every deck. Spectral Searchlight is great in a 5-colour deck but appalingly bad in a colourless one. Gauntlet of Power is better in monocolour than multicolour.


At the end of the day, deckbuilding is a learning process. The first time you build a deck, sure, you might include every card on the list. However, once you find that you are getting mana flooded, your decks lacks internal synergy or that it is just a boring deck to play with you will start to make changes to develop your own strategy to suit your own personal tastes. Yes, the cards listed are good but they are not perfect. If they were true auto-includes, they'd get banned. (Sol Ring, I'm looking at you.)
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