Hidden Gems #15: Multicolor card drawing spells, Part One

 

Welcome once again to another edition of EDH Hidden Gems! Today, I thought I’d take a quick look at a subject that I bring up a lot with newer players who are getting into EDH — card drawing. Drawing extra cards is a good thing, especially in multiplayer, where every extra resource is a good thing. Today, we’ll be looking at the multicolored options for card drawing spells.

 

Brace yourself, there’s an awful lot of them! Let’s jump right in, and see what we have to work with, shall we?


 

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love to draw extra cards in a game of Magic. More cards drawn means that you will hit every land drop (hopefully), draw more answers to your opponents’ threats (hopefully), and draw more threats of your own. Hence, drawing extra cards is a good thing.

 

In previous Hidden Gems, I’ve looked at black card drawing, and red and white card drawing. Finally, I looked at green card drawing spells here and green creatures that draw extra cards here. In each of those articles, I also looked at the different options available for artifact card drawing as well.

 

Today, I’ll be taking a look at the card drawing available to fans of two-color gold cards, and hopefully fans of multicolored decks will find something useful that they can add to their EDH arsenal. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

 

(Editor’s note: You may notice that this list has some mono-colored cards on it, like Probe in the U/B section. My reasoning here is that you need more than one color to make these cards useful, thus these are multicolored cards.)

 

TWO-COLOR CARDS:

 

Azorius:

Sphinx’s Revelation:
Our first entrant on the list is possibly the most high-profile of all the cards here tonight, having been a Standard powerhouse in U/W/x control decks for the past year and a half. The combination of gaining a bunch of life, plus drawing a ton of extra cards, really pushed this card as a hugely playable way for control decks to pad their life total and reload their hand.
Though the lifegain on this card is not as relevant in multiplayer, this is nonetheless a potent card drawing spell. This card rotates out of Standard in September, and that will be the best time price-wise for anyone who wants one to pick this card up (currently, this is nowhere close to a budget option). A great card, and a very good way to start off this list.

 

Drogskol Reaver:
It’s interesting to me that much of the U/W card drawing happens to revolve around also gaining extra life as well, and this guy is no exception. The Reaver is awesome by itself (if nothing else, it draws two cards every time it hits someone), but where it really shines is in a dedicated lifegain deck, like one helmed by recent general Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, where it will constantly lead to you drawing extra cards.
The Reaver is only worth a couple bucks, and thus is an excellent budget card for any deck. If you’re trying to gain extra life, this is a great card to try out.

 

“Good with Flicker effects” — Ephara, God of the Polis:
Ephara is one of two new Gods on the list today (Keranos is the other), and she can be quite potent in the right list. Currently, I have her in my Rasputin list, which is a U/W list looking to abuse Flicker effects, and she’s been quite solid, giving the deck a repeatable source of card drawing. If you are playing any amount of Flicker effects, or creatures with flash, consider this card.
(Pro tip: Ephara is best friends with Prophet of Kruphix, another Theros block card, since the Prophet gives all your dudes flash!)

 

“Lifegain and card drawing” — Kiss of the Amesha and Reviving Vapors:
These are not normally cards that most people consider when thinking of card drawing, since they’re not super good at drawing extra cards (Kiss replaces itself and only gives you +1 cards, and Vapors only replaces itself). What they do that can randomly matter, however, is gain life.
As I mentioned with Drogskol Reaver, some of the W/U card drawing spells just happen to also gain you life. This can be quite relevant when paired with a general like Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, who has a lifegain trigger.
These are not good otherwise, but worth mentioning for the sake of having a complete list. They are good budget options as well.

 

Isperia, Supreme Judge:
One of the more recent U/W generals, Isperia isn’t that impressive if you’re looking at just her stats alone… she’s only a flying Craw Wurm, which is not so good. What is impressive is her ability. If you are a player that tends to get attacked a lot at your EDH table (like my friend Darby, who woefully tends to get attacked by me an awful lot more than he likely deserves), then maybe this is the general you want, just to draw you a ton of extra cards. (If nothing else, Isperia can general-kill in four hits!)
This is a great budget option for any U/W control-minded deck as well. A great card.

 

Reparations (or Opaline Sliver for Sliver tribal decks):
Let’s get this out of the way: I don’t often see a lot of targeted removal in EDH (outside of the odd Swords to Plowshares or Path to Exile), so these are pretty much useless. However, for the sake of a complete list, they get to be on here.
Having said that… if there happens to be a lot of cards that target in your local metagame, these can be great ways to draw extra cards for having your cards targeted. I do not think them playable, however.

 

Sawtooth Loon:
This is another card-drawing card on the “not really that playable” list, but still… The Loons are notable in that they are a U/W Merfolk Looter effect, something unique in a U/W card. As with any sort of Looter card, this can be excellent with any sort of reanimation.
I’ve used the Loon in our tribal Birds deck, based around Kangee, to good effect. The card is by no means good, though.

 

Righteous Authority:
RTR definitely had a lot of great options to draw extra cards, and this was certainly one of them. For any general-damage based U/W deck, this card can be a beast, boosting your creature for every card in your hand so that it kills other players faster, and drawing you extra cards every turn. I currently have this in our Rafiq and Bruna decks, and it’s been great in each one.

 

Sky Hussar:
Another odd entry to the list is this guy, who gives you an upkeep ability where you can tap two of your white and/or blue creatures to draw a card. This guy is quite the odd duck, and to date, I have not found the deck that would want to use him. You would have to have lots of creatures, since he’ll be tapping two of your potential blockers just to draw a card. Not a great card, but worth mentioning.

 

Swift Silence:
Much like the card below, this card is a normally used type of card (in this case, a counterspell) where the upside draws you cards! This is one of very few counterspells that will draw you extra cards (the others are things like Dismiss, Cryptic Command, and the multiplayer granddaddy of them all, Overwhelming Intellect), but in the case of this card, I cannot see this ever countering more than one card at a time (thus never drawing more than one card at a time), so I generally tend to stay away from it. Still, a great budget option and definitely worth noting that it exists.

 

Dismantling Blow:
This is another card that I don’t see nearly enough love for, and was one of my favorite cards in its respective draft format. This card is a Disenchant variant where the perk is drawing two cards, what is not to love with that? I’ve used this to great effect in nearly all of my U/W decks at one point or another, and I’ve always been very happy with it. A great budget option as a common.

 

Dimir:

Dire Undercurrents:
Our first card drawing spell in U/B is actually the one that gave me the idea to do a special multicolor version of “Hidden Gems: the card-drawing spells edition.” Undercurrents is a great budget spell that we used to great effect in our first U/B deck, Vela the Night-Clad, and have later used in Lazav, and it’s been fantastic each time. Great with any sort of token-production to force multiple discards or card draw, Undercurrents just gives you a lot of value as the game goes long and you play more and more creatures. A great, underrated gem of a card.

 

Bloodletter Quill:
This is a strange artifact that is actually very reminiscent of Phyrexian Arena, one of EDH’s staple card-drawing spells. For the low price of some life, you get extra cards, and you can mitigate the life loss by removing counters from the Quill. A tremendous budget option.

 

Notion Thief:
What I’ve always liked about this card is its usefulness against other card-drawing spells, since you’ll draw the extra cards instead. Flash is what makes this card amazing, since you’ll always have a window to wreck someone with it. Whether it be in response to a creature equipped by Skullclamp dying, or in response to a Spinx’s Revelation, this is a highly potent, very hilarious multiplayer card, and another great budget option.

 

“Draw cards based on damaging your opponents” cards — Sygg, River Cutthroat, Shadowmage Infiltrator, Helm of the Ghastlord, Sleeper’s Robe, Mask of Riddles, and Dimir Cutpurse:
For a color combination that doesn’t normally do aggressiveness very well, there are a surprising number of card drawing spells that want you to be aggressive in U/B. Each of these spells triggers off hitting your opponent with them, and thus are best in decks that can either remove blockers, or grant some form of evasion.
Each of these is an excellent budget option. If you are looking for a way to get aggressive in Dimir, these are good ways to start.

 

“Mill your opponents and draw some extra cards” spells — Coerced Confession and Pilfered Plans:
These are very specialized card-drawing spells, letting you mill other players and draw cards at the same time. I’ve only ever seen these used to good effect in Lazav decks, which is where I have them myself, though an argument could be made to include them in The Mimeoplasm as well.

 

Dream Salvage:
Much like the milling card-drawing spells, this is a unique spell that draws you cards for forcing your opponents to discard. Though I haven’t seen too many U/B/x discard-focused decks, if someone builds one, this could be excellent in such a deck.

 

“Everyone gets to discard… and draw extra cards” — Urza’s Guilt and Whispering Madness:
These are very specialized card-drawing spells, and you’ll most often find them in dedicated Nekusar EDH decks, as ways to force both discard and card drawing. I’ve personally been a fan of Whispering Madness right from the start, and have used it to great effect in both The Mimeoplasm and Lazav decks; as a repeatable way to cast Windfall, it’s very potent in graveyard-based decks.

 

Twisted Justice:
In multiplayer, Diabolic Edict effects that force players to sacrifice a creature are always strong, since they get around so many annoying creature abilities, like indestructibility, shroud/hexproof, proctection from a color, and regeneration, and kill the creature anyway. Twisted Justice is a great Edict for multiplayer, also giving you card drawing depending on the creature you kill. I’ve seen my buddy Joel use this card to great effect in his Thraximundar EDH deck; this is yet another great budget option, as well.

 

Consult the Necrosages and Probe:
These are two of my favorite card-drawing spells; I love spells that do more than one thing, and so to me, card drawing spells that can double as discard spells are great. Each was a favorite of mine in its respective draft format, and I’ve used each to good effect in EDH. Great budget options as well.

 

Selesnya:

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes:
One of the newest additions to the card-drawing list, Ajani, like Garruk, Caller of Beasts, lets you ‘draw’ your choice of creatures, planeswalkers, or Auras from among your top four cards. For a G/W deck (which should by default be mostly creatures, since that’s what G/W does best), this is excellent, since you’ll almost always hit something useful to cast. It helps that both of Ajani IV’s other abilities are also supremely useful in multiplayer.
As a recent planeswalker, Ajani IV is by no means a budget card (newer planeswalkers are always pricey), but it is very effective at what it does — giving you a constant stream of threats to cast. An excellent card, and a rarity in G/W.

 

Femeref Enchantress:
(Editor’s note: For enchantment-based decks only!)
G/W has no shortage of Enchantress effects (card drawing that triggers when you cast an enchantment), but this is a rarity: card drawing that triggers when your enchantments die. I have this in my Krond deck, where it has always been solid, and I’ve also seen it used to good effect in Uril, the Miststalker decks as well.
If you have an Aura or enchantment-based EDH deck, this Enchantress is definitely one to look at. This is also an excellent budget option.

 

Selvala, Explorer Returned and Woodvine Elemental:
Two other recent additions to G/W’s small arsenal of card-drawing spells, these are the two multicolor parley spells from Conspiracy.
Parley is an interesting ability for multiplayer. Normally, drawing everyone extra cards is not what you want to do; the whole idea of card drawing is to draw yourself extra creatures, extra lands, and just extra threats and answers in general. So, card drawing that gives everyone more of those things is not a good idea for the most part (this is part of the reason that Temple Bell never really caught on with most players).
However, each of these parley cards balances this by also giving you a useful ability to go with the ‘everyone draws a card’ drawback. Is this enough to make them good in EDH? I haven’t played with or against them enough to say yet (I currently only have a few parley cards in my EDH decks, and they haven’t really come up yet), but I’ve seen enough people try them and like them to list them here.

 

Izzet:

Keranos, God of Storms:
Another new option on this list, Keranos is deceptively strong in either card-drawing mode, or in his damage-dealing mode. The nice thing about Keranos is that he’s a blue card… blue is the king of library manipulation (with cards like Brainstorm), so generally speaking, if you’re playing Keranos you’ll always be able to choose exactly what he’s going to do.
I’ve recently rebuilt our Izzet deck to have Keranos as general, and he’s been extremely solid. Though I normally just want to draw extra cards off him, once the other players get low on life, he starts flinging around Lightning Bolts like a champ. A great new card.

 

Mercurial Chemister:
While this guy was extremely strong in RTR draft, in EDH he’s very, very fragile; thus, most of the time you’re just hoping he sticks around and doesn’t get killed off. If he lives, though, he’s fantastic, giving you repeatable removal and card drawing in one handy little package. He’s an excellent budget option as well.
I’ve been looking to add this to Sedris for some time (since any creature you discard to him can just be brought back later on with Sedris himself), but making cuts are very hard in that deck. He’s been excellent in our Keranos build so far, though.

 

Invoke the Firemind:
This is another classic card-drawing spell, and one that gives you two options. (An aside: any card that gives me multiple ways to play it is automatically one that I’m going to love — as evidenced by my first BOO set, I love cards that give you choices of how to play them.) This card is either a Blaze or Braingeyser, which is amazing in the lategame where you have lots of mana.
As with many of the entries on this list today, this is a perfect budget option as well.

 

Blast of Genius:
Blast is reminiscent of Invoke above, except you get to both draw extra cards and deal damage at the same time (rather than one or the other). Worth noting is that if you’re playing some form of U/R/x deck with any form of reanimation, this can shine by giving you a way to discard a large creature (that you can later reanimate). I have considered playing this in Sedris many times, and may yet. This is also an attractive budget option.

 

Steam Augury:
A card very reminiscent of its predecessor, Fact or Fiction, this card is possibly better known by its nickname, “Fiction or Fact” (based on the fact that this is a reverse version of FoF). I’ve used this card in several decks, most notably in Sedris, as that deck has a strong recursion element, so you can recur any creatures you’ve discarded. This, like most of the U/R card-drawing spells, is also a great budget option.

 

Noggle Ransacker, Cerebral Vortex, and Nin, the Pain Artist:
U/R cards that force opponents to draw are rare, and thus I’ve grouped them together here. They are worth noting mostly because of a newer general who’s been making waves at a lot of EDH tables (and whom I have mentioned several times already today): Nekusar, who wants his opponents to be forced to draw more cards, and take more damage for those cards. Each of these cards goes well with him, and as an added bonus, all are great budget options.

 

“Looting” card drawing spells — Dack Fayden, Thoughtflare, Spellbound Dragon and Nivix Guildmage:
Of all the R/U Merfolk Looter effects, these are some of the most recent, and the most potent. Looting in multiplayer can be quite potent, it can be a great strategy in any sort of Reanimator build, where you want to discard giant creatures, only to reanimate them later on. I currently have plans to add Conspiracy’s Dack Fayden to our Sedris deck, since that deck is great at reanimating dead creatures.
Worth noting is that Spellbound Dragon gets bigger when you discard a card to it, making it extremely dangerous in multiplayer. I’ve seen the Dragon do a ton of damage to people, especially when you discard things like Crush of Wurms, Time Stretch, Darksteel Colossus, or any other gigantic card to it.

 

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius:
These two card-drawing Dragons do their things in different ways, but they’re both good sources of drawing extra cards, so I figured I’d list them together. Each Dragon both deals damage and draws extra cards, making them great finishers as well as ways to get extra cards into your hand. The Firemind version is more potent than the Dracogenius, and I’ve run the Firemind in our Nekusar deck to great effect. Both of these are great creatures, as well as card drawing.

 

Squee’s Revenge:
To round out the list today, we have this little gem from way back in Invasion block. I have used this card before (most notably, when I’d first put our coin-flipping deck together, Ruhan of the Fomori was the general, and this was one of the card-drawing spells).
I find to best use this card, you choose either one or two as the number, since one coin flip is easiest to win, and if you can win two, you get to draw four cards, making this a better Tidings. If you’re looking for a wacky card to add in to a chaotic deck, check this one out for sure.

 

Conclusion: So there you have it, that’s a quick look at half of two-color multicolored ways to draw extra cards in EDH! Later this week, we’ll be looking at the second half of this article, and then the three, four, and five-color card drawing spells. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see everyone here then!

 

One thought on “Hidden Gems #15: Multicolor card drawing spells, Part One

  1. “(like my friend Darby, who woefully tends to get attacked by me an awful lot more than he likely deserves)”
    I knew it! 😀

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