Nitpicking the Nitpicking Nerds (the best EDH cards from each set) [Article]


The Tentacled One
I was introduced to an hour-long video created by Messrs “The Nitpicking Nerds” covering the best cards for EDH from every Magic set to release new cards into the game. If these guys had merely selected their #1 pick from each set, I wouldn’t be commenting on it now. But they also threw in some honorable mentions and commentary that betrayed their unfamiliarity with some sets, especially older sets. I opined that this kind of presentation could be misleading, with inexperienced players (or ones unacquainted with older sets) walking away thinking that they’d just learned of the only two good cards in a set that had plenty more to offer.

I write this not to disparage the presentation in the video, which was quite nice. The Nitpicking Nerds are probably good players and it would probably be fun to play EDH with them. But I thought this could be a fun exercise and give people an alternative take on the topic. Before I get started, I’ll establish some ground rules for myself.
  • For each set, I’ll note my own #1 pick, which may or may not match that of the Nitpicking Nerds.
  • I’ll try to be as generous as possible when listing the honorable mentions that the Nitpicking Nerds provide. Sometimes they’ll post images on-screen as examples of mechanics used in sets, and sometimes those cards happen to be extremely good cards even though they don’t explicitly cite them as honorable mentions. Basically, if they showed or mentioned the card in any way, I cannot use it as a “missed pick” by them.
  • I’ll try to keep “missed picks” confined to cards that are broadly powerful or of especially high utility value. Some of my picks might seem a bit niche to count as honorable mentions, but I’ll try to minimize that. We’re showcasing the best that sets have to offer, not exhaustively listing all EDH playables.
  • This is going to run stupidly long, so in a desperate attempt to instill brevity, I’ll try to pass over cards that are useful primarily as commanders. There are all sorts of resources out there for getting information on specific commanders, and many sets (especially newer ones) have tons of legendary creatures to choose from. So I’ll stick to maindeck usage.
Limited Edition
We start off right away with a bit of an oddity: the Nitpicking Nerds split Limited Edition into its “Alpha” and “Beta” printings. For the purposes of a presentation like this, that’s bizarre. The distinction is important for evaluating physical cards and such, but they're different print runs of the same set, not different sets. Most differences between the print runs are typographical errors that were made in the “Alpha” printing and corrected in the “Beta” printing. As the Nitpicking Nerds correctly identify, two cards did get left out, which technically means that they’re “new” to the “set.” Anyway, they mention that this set has a lot of banned cards, and correctly identify most of the important EDH cards out of what’s left.

Their Pick: Sol Ring
My Pick: Sol Ring
Their Honorable Mentions: Counterspell, Wrath of God, Basalt Monolith, Birds of Paradise, Wheel of Fortune, Swords to Plowshares, Mana Vault, Timetwister, Demonic Tutor, the ten original “Dual Lands”
Missed Cards: Dark Ritual, Regrowth, Animate Dead, Armageddon, Wild Growth, Copy Artifact, Stasis, Winter Orb, Lightning Bolt

They did a decent enough job for the first set, and I can understand not wanting the list of Honorable Mentions to run on too long. After all, the full video does end up running over an hour despite editing. But missing Dark Ritual and Regrowth is pretty egregious, as they're two of the most effective and reliable staples to be running in almost any decks that use their colors.

Arabian Nights
Their Pick: City of Brass
My Pick: Bazaar of Baghdad
Their Honorable Mentions: Bazaar of Baghdad
Missed Cards: Sorceress Queen, Diamond Valley, Guardian Beast, Metamorphosis

This is a very small expansion and most of what were historically considered its best cards happened to be efficient combat-oriented creatures, now outclassed by power creep. Almost none of those are relevant in EDH.

Their Pick: Ashnod’s Altar
My Pick: Strip Mine
Their Honorable Mentions: Strip Mine, Mishra’s Workshop, Triskelion
Missed Cards: Power Artifact, Transmute Artifact, Candelabra of Tawnos

It was around this point in the video that I started to suspect that the Nitpicking Nerds didn’t have a good grasp on older sets. Cards like Regrowth get underestimated and wrongly left out of decks in EDH all the time, and at least they covered most of the heavy-hitters from Limited Edition. But failing to mention Candelabra of Tawnos is a mistake born of ignorance, not hasty editorialization.

Their Pick: Mana Drain
My Pick: Sylvan Library
Their Honorable Mentions: Land Tax, Concordant Crossroads, Sylvan Library
Missed Cards: The Abyss, Nether Void, Chains of Mephistopheles, Winds of Change, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Spirit Link, Arboria, Living Plane, Willow Satyr, Land Equilibrium, Moat

This being my favorite set, I had to resist the urge to rattle off every dubious EDH playable I could think of. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale is a favorite of mine, but Moat is probably the most egregious miss here.

The Dark
Their Pick: Blood Moon
My Pick: Maze of Ith
Their Honorable Mentions: Fellwar Stone
Missed Cards: Maze of Ith, City of Shadows, Tormod’s Crypt

I could argue for other cards as potential honorable mentions, but it seems reasonable to consign most of those to the “niche” box. However, missing Maze of Ith is ridiculous.

Fallen Empires
Their Pick: High Tide
My Pick: Night Soil
Their Honorable Mentions: None.
Missed Cards: Night Soil, Hymn to Tourach, Soul Exchange

While Fallen Empires has always been a somewhat low-powered set, it does have decent cards and part of its deficiency in EDH is specific to the nuances of the format: Order of Leitbur doesn’t scale well when making the jump from 1 opponent with 20 life to 3 opponents with 40 life each. Still, I don’t get why they hate on this set so hard. It’s a small, old set, and has a few decent niche cards. High Tide is certainly not the only “remotely playable” card in the set, and joking about how it’s only playable because they forgot to add stuff to make it bad is just mean-spirited. Also, Night Soil is a good card and is probably underplayed in EDH, especially judging from the amount of Necrogenesis cards I’ve been seeing.
Last edited:


The Tentacled One
Ice Age
Their Pick: Necropotence
My Pick: Necropotence
Their Honorable Mentions: Nature’s Lore, the five original “Pain Lands”, Demonic Consultation, Jokulhaups, the five Snow-Covered basic lands, Mystic Remora
Missed Cards: Brainstorm, Glacial Chasm, Fire Covenant, Songs of the Damned, Forgotten Lore, Tinder Wall, Pox

Underestimating Brainstorm must be one of the best litmus tests for telling an intermediate EDH player from an advanced one. These guys might have seen cards like Demonic Consultation and Mystic Remora do big, flashy things, so they note those cards. And the ubiquitous utility of the land cards from this set is well-known. But for some reason, even though they might know how good it is in Legacy, most EDH players tend to forget about Brainstorm.

Their Pick: Merchant Scroll
My Pick: Merchant Scroll
Their Honorable Mentions: None.
Missed Cards: Sengir Autocrat, Serrated Arrows, Didgeridoo, Memory Lapse

Even though the set as a whole is remarkably underpowered, there are some really useful cards here. For decks that abuse the Proliferate mechanic and/or move counters around, the potency of Serrated Arrows has surprised some of my opponents. And I was tempted to take Memory Lapse as my own #1 pick, but I do think that ultimately Merchant Scroll is the right choice.

Their Pick: Force of Will
My Pick: Force of Will
Their Honorable Mentions: Arcane Denial, Phelddagrif, Phyrexian Devourer
Missed Cards: Lake of the Dead, Lim-Dul’s Vault, Elvish Spirit Guide, Helm of Obedience, Kjeldoran Outpost, Thawing Glaciers, Varchild’s War-Riders, Browse, Storm Cauldron, Thought Lash, Soldevi Adnate

Some pretty egregious misses here. A big part of what motivated me to type all this up was seeing how in these early sets, the Nitpicking Nerds often totally omitted multiple cards that are generally better than their honorable mentions. Phyrexian Devourer is cool, but it’s really more of a niche card used in Necrotic Ooze combos, while Lake of the Dead is a key card in black mana-ramp. Phelddagrif is fun and I have my own deck with it as commander, but Lim-Dul’s Vault is one of the most powerful tutors in the format. Someone who used this video as guidance on which cards were the good ones from old sets would be correctly informed on Force of Will, but would be misled on almost everything else about this set.

Their Pick: Enlightened Tutor & Mystical Tutor & Worldly Tutor (3-way tie)
My Pick: Lion’s Eye Diamond
Their Honorable Mentions: Lion’s Eye Diamond
Missed Cards: Wall of Roots, Tombstone Stairwell, Forsaken Wastes, Cadaverous Bloom, Frenetic Efreet, Early Harvest, Polymorph, Final Fortune, Phyrexian Dreadnought, Rampant Growth

Some cards I might have called niche a few years ago, such as Frenetic Efreet and Tombstone Stairwell, have accumulated so many synergies that they’ve kind of become important keystones of EDH archetypes.

Their Pick: Vampiric Tutor
My Pick: Vampiric Tutor
Their Honorable Mentions: Natural Order, Uktabi Orangutan
Missed Cards: Necromancy, Squandered Resources, Anvil of Bogardan, City of Solitude, Sands of Time, Helm of Awakening, Tithe, Summer Bloom, Goblin Recruiter

Just because these guys are sleeping on some powerhouses doesn’t mean the whole EDH playerbase is! Squandered Resources has risen above $20 and I’ve noticed that it’s become more popular lately.

Their Pick: Personal Tutor & Sylvan Tutor (tie)
My Pick: Personal Tutor
Their Honorable Mentions: Wood Elves
Missed Cards: Endless Cockroaches, Theft of Dreams, Last Chance, Devastation, Gravedigger, Gift of Estates

It’s true that most of the good cards in this set were reprints, but there were more standout original cards than just the three named in the video. A few of them might be slightly niche. I don’t know whether Gravedigger warrants categorization as a strong card or whether being so heavily reprinted has made it overplayed enough to just seem like a staple, but I’m throwing it in.

Their Pick: Doomsday
My Pick: Veteran Explorer
Their Honorable Mentions: Aura of Silence, Buried Alive
Missed Cards: Veteran Explorer, Lotus Vale, Scorched Ruins, Mana Web, Abjure, Abeyance, Bubble Matrix, Argivian Find, Winding Canyons, Peacekeeper, Gaea’s Blessing, Call of the Wild

I do like Doomsday, but outside of optimized combo decks, it’s not nearly as prevalent as some of the other staples from this set. In their honorable mentions, the Nitpicking Nerds seem to have a pattern of omitting mana ramp and lockdown cards.

Their Pick: Ancient Tomb
My Pick: Harrow
Their Honorable Mentions: Altar of Dementia, the five cost-reducing “Medallions”, Goblin Bombardment, Humility, Intuition, Living Death, Lotus Petal, Reanimate, Scroll Rack, Time Warp, Wasteland
Missed Cards: Harrow, Earthcraft, Mirri’s Guile, Static Orb, Aluren, Grindstone, Reap, Tradewind Rider, Meditate

As the Nitpicking Nerds noted, this set has plenty of strong cards. Ancient Tomb is a worthy #1 pick, but my own choice would be Harrow, which doesn’t even get an honorable mention from them.

Their Pick: Mox Diamond
My Pick: Mox Diamond
Their Honorable Mentions: Sliver Queen, Dream Halls, Grave Pact, Hermit Druid
Missed Cards: Burgeoning, Volrath’s Stronghold, Constant Mists, Intruder Alarm, Spike Feeder, Evacuation

I don’t see much of a pattern here. They cited a few sensible honorable mentions, but omitted even more.

Their Pick: Survival of the Fittest
My Pick: Survival of the Fittest
Their Honorable Mentions: Coat of Arms, Mind Over Matter
Missed Cards: Oath of Druids, Curiosity, Spike Weaver, Manabond, City of Traitors, Erratic Portal, Cataclysm, Hatred, Reconnaissance, Mana Breach, Culling the Weak, Seismic Assault, Sphere of Resistance

Plenty of egregious misses here, even setting aside my bias on pet cards like Spike Weaver. Oath of Druids is bonkers and Curiosity is probably in even more combo decks than Mind Over Matter. I think they got the #1 card right, at least.

Portal Second Age
Their Pick: Temporal Manipulation
My Pick: Goblin Matron
Their Honorable Mentions: None.
Missed Cards: Goblin Lore, Norwood Priestess, Goblin Matron, Wildfire, Goblin War Strike, Sleight of Hand

They really got this one wrong, picking what was probably the second most important card as #1 and insisting that the rest of the set was worthless. Nope.

Urza’s Saga
Their Pick: Gaea’s Cradle
My Pick: Gaea’s Cradle
Their Honorable Mentions: Carpet of Flowers, Exploration, Gamble, Gilded Drake, Yawgmoth’s Will, Phyrexian Tower, Time Spiral, Turnabout, Windfall, Greater Good, Serra’s Sanctum
Missed Cards: Sneak Attack, Abundance, Victimize, Back to Basics, Fecundity, Exhume, Contamination, Voltaic Key, Lifeline, Tainted Aether, Smokestack, Priest of Titania, Argothian Enchantress, Goblin Lackey

I’ll give them credit for citing a ton of honorable mentions this time around. With a couple of exceptions, the cards I say they missed could be the ones that would be cut for length, as the set has so many excellent cards. So I guess I’m saying that they did a good job with this one.

Urza’s Legacy
Their Pick: Frantic Search
My Pick: Crop Rotation
Their Honorable Mentions: Goblin Welder, Grim Monolith, Karmic Guide, Memory Jar, Palinchron
Missed Cards: Crop Rotation, Rancor, Defense of the Heart, No Mercy, Defense Grid, Mother of Runes, Deranged Hermit

Missing Crop Rotation is pretty silly. Again, they correctly identified excellent cards here, and I have to give them credit for that. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that the honorable mentions here had to be trimmed for length, but Crop Rotation is an easy #1 for me. I’d also rate most of their honorable mentions, especially Grim Monolith, over Frantic Search.

Portal Three Kingdoms
Their Pick: Imperial Seal
My Pick: Riding the Dilu Horse
Their Honorable Mentions: Rolling Earthquake, Ravages of War, Loyal Retainers
Missed Cards: Imperial Recruiter, Three Visits, Capture of Jingzhou, Borrowing 100,000 Arrows, Overwhelming Forces, Riding the Dilu Horse, Burning of Xinye, Warrior’s Oath

“All the good cards are just slightly worse reprints of amazing cards.” And then they put Rolling Earthquake on screen, a card that is generally a better version of Earthquake, and follow it up with Ravages of War, which is a 100% functional reprint of Armageddon. This is just sloppy of them. Missing Imperial Recruiter and Three Visits is wrong. Missing Capture of Jingzhou after having identified Temporal Manipulation out of Portal Second Age is strange. In a competitive environment, their #1 pick is correct. For casual play, I’ve got to go with the amazing horse.

Urza’s Destiny
Their Pick: Metalworker
My Pick: Academy Rector
Their Honorable Mentions: Academy Rector, Pattern of Rebirth, Replenish, Urza’s Incubator, Yavimaya Hollow
Missed Cards: Repercussion, Treachery, Opposition, Donate, False Prophet, Gamekeeper, Iridescent Drake, Opalescence, Bubbling Muck, Elvish Piper

I’m biased because I really like this set despite it being so overshadowed by the other two Urza’s sets. Still, cards like Treachery and Opposition are definite missed picks here, and I’d rate most of my selections over Urza’s Incubator easily.

Their Pick: None.
My Pick: Grim Tutor
Their Honorable Mentions: None.
Missed Cards: Grim Tutor, Goblin Settler, Loyal Sentry

So it looks like they forgot that this set existed. It’s definitely a mistake and not a deliberate oversight, since they went on to evaluate stuff like Game Night, which only added five new cards to Magic. It seems that they either forgot about this product altogether or conflated it with Starter 2000, which did consist of 100% reprints. While the newly added cards from this set might almost be bad enough to pass over entirely, there are a few exceptions. And by “a few” I really mean exactly three.


The Tentacled One
Mercadian Masques
Their Pick: Food Chain
My Pick: Food Chain
Their Honorable Mentions: Dust Bowl, Bribery, High Market
Missed Cards: Gush, Nether Spirit, Rishadan Port, Black Market, Misdirection, Squee (Goblin Nabob)

I initially put Gush in as my #1 pick, but thinking on it some more, I’ll go with the proven power of Food Chain as an EDH staple. With the powerful new Landfall stuff in Zendikar Rising, I think EDH players are finally catching on to how strong of a card Gush is. Choosing two land cards as honorable mentions but leaving out Rishadan Port is unusual, and I disagree with that.

Their Pick: Skyshroud Claim
My Pick: Massacre
Their Honorable Mentions: Terrain Generator
Missed Cards: Tangle Wire, Seal of Cleansing, Massacre, Kor Haven, Saproling Burst, Rising Waters, Lin-Sivvi (Defiant Hero)

They missed Harrow, Veteran Explorer, and Crop Rotation completely, and they’d later go on to express disdain for the popularity of Cultivate. Skyshroud Claim is a fine card, but I’m a bit surprised that they’d rate it so highly, and have Terrain Generator as runner-up, given their apparent distaste for land-based ramp cards. This set has a bunch of cards that are either too niche or just kind of in the “above average” category. Not much to get excited about unless you can really take advantage of something like Saproling Burst or Rising Waters. I’d rate most of my selections over Terrain Generator.

Their Pick: Rhystic Study
My Pick: Rhystic Study
Their Honorable Mentions: Spore Frog
Missed Cards: Plague Wind, Overburden, Avatar of Woe, Abolish, Foil, Snag

Again, I have to give them credit here. They identified what must surely be the two most popular and prolific cards in the set. Most of what’s in Prophecy is poorly suited to use in Constructed formats with large card pools, including EDH. But there are some gems, and I’ve noted the ones I deem most important.

Their Pick: Phyrexian Altar
My Pick: Fact or Fiction
Their Honorable Mentions: Aura Shards, Sterling Grove, Captain Sisay, Fact or Fiction, Obliterate
Missed Cards: Rout, Fires of Yavimaya, Dueling Grounds, Spreading Plague, Sleeper’s Robe, Mana Maze, Phyrexian Delver

I love Phyrexian Altar and, for my own tastes, would sing its praises far more than the obnoxious enduring classic that is Fact or Fiction. But Fact or Fiction is still the best card in the set. Anyway, they correctly identified some of the strong cards in this set and missed some of the others. Not too much to say, really.

Their Pick: Diabolic Intent
My Pick: Diabolic Intent
Their Honorable Mentions: Eladamri’s Call
Missed Cards: Hull Breach, Cavern Harpy, Terminate, Orim’s Chant, Fleetfoot Panther, Meddling Mage, Quirion Dryad

This time, they overlooked absolutely everything that wasn’t a tutor, which really passes over some excellent cards. Diabolic Intent is an easy #1 pick, but most of the cards I’ve selected could be in contention for a runner-up spot.

Their Pick: “Enemy Painlands”
My Pick: Pernicious Deed
Their Honorable Mentions: Mystic Snake, Vindicate, Phyrexian Arena
Missed Cards: Pernicious Deed, Fire//Ice, Quicksilver Dagger, Spiritmonger, Life//Death, Whirlpool Warrior, Goblin Ringleader

They missed the best card in the set this time around. This is a weird set and a few of the strong cards have fallen out of favor in EDH over the years, but Pernicious Deed remains one of the most powerful removal tools in Magic and every once in a while I see inexperienced players get taken by surprise when they go up against it. Painlands are nice, but the best card in the set is still the best card in the set, 19 years later.

Their Pick: Entomb
My Pick: Entomb
Their Honorable Mentions: the five “Filter lands”, Seize the Day, Time Stretch
Missed Cards: Standstill, Deserted Temple, Squirrel Nest, Mindslicer, Tainted Pact, Traumatize, Shadowmage Infiltrator, Diabolic Tutor

I’ve bashed Diabolic Tutor for being too much mana, but in EDH where tutors are essential, it’s generally strong. I’ll honestly admit that I did not think of Seize the Day, and it’s a fine card, although I think my picks are better. Filter lands are bad and you should not use them.

Their Pick: Cabal Coffers
My Pick: Cabal Coffers
Their Honorable Mentions: Chainer’s Edict, Cabal Ritual, Fiery Temper, the four “Tainted lands”
Missed Cards: Basking Rootwalla, Plagiarize, Shade’s Form, Deep Analysis, Far Wanderings, Cephalid Illusionist, Mutilate

It might be argued that some of my picks are niche, but I don’t think I’m pushing it too far. On the other hand, the Nitpicking Nerds show a strong bias toward second-rate manafixing.

Their Pick: Mirari’s Wake
My Pick: Genesis
Their Honorable Mentions: Hunting Grounds, Krosan Verge, Anger, Worldgorger Dragon
Missed Cards: Genesis, Stitch Together, Wonder, Sylvan Safekeeper, Solitary Confinement, Sutured Ghoul, Riftstone Portal

Missing Wonder is the sort of thing I’d expect from someone who has never been killed by a flying army powered by the card, and that just seems like a shame.

Their Pick: “The original allied Fetchlands”
My Pick: Same.
Their Honorable Mentions: Skirk Prospector, Mana Echoes, the five one-mana “Cycling lands”, Weathered Wayfarer, Insurrection
Missed Cards: Patriarch’s Bidding, Blatant Thievery, Aggravated Assault, Enchantress’s Presence, Oversold Cemetery, Rotlung Reanimator

This felt like a pretty fair representation of the set and I have few qualms.

Their Pick: Seedborn Muse
My Pick: Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Their Honorable Mentions: None
Missed Cards: Caller of the Claw, Scion of Darkness, Windborn Muse, Glowrider, Akroma (Angel of Wrath)

Weird not to get any honorable mentions here. There are good creatures in this set. I initially had the same #1 pick as they did, but I’m revising it. Really, most of these cards could potentially be #1, as they’re all just generally useful.

Their Pick: Wirewood Symbiote
My Pick: Tendrils of Agony
Their Honorable Mentions: Bladewing the Risen, Dragon Mage, Dragon Tyrant, Eternal Dragon, the five “Decree” cards
Missed Cards: Mind’s Desire, Carrion Feeder, Forgotten Ancient, Pemmin’s Aura, Sulfuric Vortex, Fierce Empath, Siege-Gang Commander, Stifle, Tendrils of Agony, Call to the Grave, Dragon Breath, Xantid Swarm

For this set, they regurgitated something Mark Rosewater has said a lot, which I’ll rant about at some point. Anyway, some harsh missed picks here, and I don’t think I’m that biased to put Tendrils of Agony as my #1 for EDH, even though it usually doesn’t kill all three opponents.


The Tentacled One
Their Pick: Tooth and Nail
My Pick: Isochron Scepter
Their Honorable Mentions: the five original “Artifact Lands”, Chrome Mox, Gilded Lotus, Isochron Scepter, Lightning Greaves, Mindslaver, Oblivion Stone Sculpting Steel, Solemn Simulacrum, the five “allied Talismans”
Missed Cards: Thirst for Knowledge, Thoughtcast, Mesmeric Orb, Chalice of the Void, Goblin Charbelcher, Disciple of the Vault, Extraplanar Lens, Fabricate, Duplicant

This is another set with so many good cards that it seems understandable to be exclusive with the honorable mentions. I think they did a nice job with this one.

Their Pick: Skullclamp
My Pick: Skullclamp
Their Honorable Mentions: Darksteel Forge, Mycosynth Lattice
Missed Cards: Reshape, Sword of Fire and Ice, Whispersilk Cloak, Geth’s Grimoire, Trinisphere, Death Cloud, Arcbound Ravager, Aether Vial, Aether Snap, Darksteel Colossus, Darksteel Citadel

The hilarious brokenness of Skullclamp aside, this set really is packed with goodies, and some of my selections are totally better than the honorable mentions. Missing Arcbound Ravager in particular is strange.

Fifth Dawn
Their Pick: Eternal Witness
My Pick: Crucible of Worlds
Their Honorable Mentions: Crucible of Worlds, Krark-Clan Ironworks, Vedalken Orrery, Wayfarer’s Bauble
Missed Cards: Beacon of Unrest, Cranial Plating, Staff of Domination, Auriok Salvagers, Engineered Explosives, Lantern of Insight, Etched Oracle, Trinket Mage

Picking Eternal Witness as #1 in this set is fine in a vacuum, as it’s an amazing card. Picking it despite omitting Regrowth from honorable mentions in Limited Edition is bizarre. They also kind of insinuated that Eternal Witness is better than Regrowth, which is incorrect. Anyway, despite how good Eternal Witness is good and despite competition from other extraordinary cards, my #1 pick is Crucible of Worlds.

Champions of Kamigawa
Their Pick: Sensei’s Divining Top
My Pick: Sensei’s Divining Top
Their Honorable Mentions: Kiki-Jiki (Mirror Breaker), Kokusho (the Evening Star), Azusa (Lost but Seeking)
Missed Cards: Shizo (Death’s Storehouse), Kodama’s Reach, Yosei (the Morning Star), Hall of the Bandit Lord, Minamo (School at Water’s Edge), Uba Mask, Through the Breach, Reverse the Sands, Myojin of Night’s Reach, Glimpse of Nature, Forbidden Orchard

They downplayed how many good cards are in this set. Champions of Kamigawa is fine, if a bit awkward in places. It holds up pretty well as a set and has plenty to offer EDH decks.

Betrayers of Kamigawa
Their Pick: Hokori, Dust Drinker
My Pick: Umezawa’s Jitte
Their Honorable Mentions: None.
Missed Cards: Umezawa’s Jitte, Kami of False Hope, Ink-Eyes (Servant of Oni), Ninja of the Deep Hours, Goryo’s Vengeance, Threads of Disloyalty, Mistblade Shinobi

I’m just going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the list of cards in this set crashed while they were loading it to make the video and that they only saw the one card. Perhaps they were especially tired and failed to notice. Missing Umezawa’s Jitte is not the sort of mistake an experienced player would ordinarily make. It’s strange omissions like this that motivated me to write this analysis. Many, if not most, EDH players started playing only after this set came out. If they are unfamiliar with it and all they hear is, “Hokori, Dust Drinker” then they’re in for a rude awakening later when someone like me hits them with what is probably the most potent combat-oriented equipment card of all time. And sure, most of the rest of what’s relevant here is ninja-stuff, which most decks won’t use, but Jitte alone is a huge deal and overlooking it is inadvisable.

Saviors of Kamigawa
Their Pick: Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
My Pick: Twincast
Their Honorable Mentions: Sakashima the Imposter
Missed Cards: Twincast, Freed from the Reel, Enduring Ideal, Miren (the Moaning Well), Rune-Tail (Kitsune Ascendant), Oboro (Palace in the Clouds), Kami of the Crescent Moon, Sakura-Tribe Scout

The Nitpicking Nerds assert that this set offers more than Betrayers of Kamigawa. I firmly disagree. With a few prominent exceptions (mostly the cards I listed here), this set is almost entirely garbage that isn’t viable in any format, including EDH. Saviors of Kamigawa is one of the worst sets of all time, easily.

Ravnica: City of Guilds
Their Pick: Dimir Signet & Boros Signet (tie)
My Pick: Life from the Loam
Their Honorable Mentions: “Shocklands”, Life from the Loam, Chord of Calling, Doubling Season
Missed Cards: Dark Confidant, Cloudstone Curio, Copy Enchantment, Golgari Grave-Troll, Glimpse the Unthinkable, Gleancrawler, Flickerform, Sunforger, Putrefy, Farseek

Omitting good cards has been typical so far, but citing mediocre cards as #1 is new and took me by surprise. Signets are bad and you’re bad for using them. This time, I’d comfortably rate any card I mentioned here, and some I didn’t bother to, above the Nitpicking Nerds’ #1 choice.

Their Pick: Izzet Signet & Orzhov Signet (tie)
My Pick: Leyline of the Void
Their Honorable Mentions: “Shocklands”
Missed Cards: Leyline of the Void, Wild Cantor, Repeal, Ghostway, Shattering Spree, Angel of Despair, Skarrg (the Rage Pits)

Here’s a set that doesn’t have any amazing EDH powerhouses and has several strong cards that could vie for the #1 spot. Signets are not among them. My personal pick is Leyline of the Void, but one could certainly make a case for Repeal or even some of the other cards. Not Signets. Signets remain bad. Take them out of your decks.

Their Pick: Protean Hulk
My Pick: Protean Hulk
Their Honorable Mentions: “Shocklands”, Rakdos Signet, Azorius Signet
Missed Cards: Coiling Oracle, Dovescape, Sky Hussar, Bronze Bombshell, Stomp and Howl, Utopia Sprawl, Ghost Quarter, War’s Toll, Tidespout Tyrant, Trygon Predator

While Guildpact tends to have more useful cards for other formats, Dissension has its predecessor beat on EDH staples. In this case, the #1 choice is no contest at all and the Nitpicking Nerds got it right, despite their wrong insistence on giving Signets an honorable mention.

Their Pick: Commandeer
My Pick: Scrying Sheets
Their Honorable Mentions: Mishra’s Bauble, Zur the Enchanter
Missed Cards: Dark Depths, Juniper Order Ranger, Braid of Fire, Ohran Viper, Thrumming Stone, Thermopod, Sunscour, Allosaurus Rider, Scrying Sheets, Counterbalance, Boreal Druid,
Coldsteel Heart, Fury of the Horde

I’ve got to admit that I didn’t see their #1 pick coming, but that it was a card I like. I can respect this pick. They glossed over most of the other strong cards, though. Initially, I was inclined to go with something flashy like Juniper Order Ranger or Braid of Fire. But I’m going with Scrying Sheets because of how strong it is in grindy matchups. I wouldn’t have made this call in the past, but with the advent of Modern Horizons (which we’ll come to), Snow cards are worth considering in almost any deck, and Scrying Sheets has proven itself as one of the best control-focused lands in EDH.

Time Spiral
Their Pick: Saffi Eriksdotter
My Pick: Dread Return
Their Honorable Mentions: Harmonic Sliver, Krosan Grip, Terramorphic Expanse, Vesuva, Wheel of Fate
Missed Cards: Gemstone Caverns, Academy Ruins, Teferi (Mage of Zhalfir), Dread Return, Angel’s Grace, Paradox Haze, Flagstones of Trokair, Grapeshot, Ancient Grudge, Ancestral Vision, Stuffy Doll, Children of Korlis, Think Twice, Hypergenesis, Pull from Eternity, Mystical Teachings, Magus of the Candelabra, Smallpox, Sudden Spoiling, Reiterate

I’ll admit that their #1 pick is another card I really like. I do feel compelled to give my own #1 nod to Dread Return, which is a game-changer for multiple archetypes. This set has many great cards. Wheel of Fate isn’t one of them, but that’s a minor gripe.

Planar Chaos
Their Pick: Damnation
My Pick: Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Their Honorable Mentions: Urborg (Tomb of Yawgmoth)
Missed Cards: Simian Spirit Guide, Pongify, Kavu Predator, Vampiric Link, Keen Sense, Harmonize

Although they omitted several strong cards, I don’t think that they did too badly on this one. The two in the video are more powerful than the rest, at least mostly. So they did a good job here and I won’t quibble too much.

Future Sight
Their Pick: Coalition Relic
My Pick: Summoner’s Pact
Their Honorable Mentions: Grove of the Burnwillows, Horizon Canopy, Aven Mindcensor, Pact of Negation, Sliver Legion, Venser (Shaper Savant)
Missed Cards: Magus of the Moon, Dryad Arbor, Summoner’s Pact, Dakmor Salvage, Sword of the Meek, Tarmogoyf, Akroma’s Memorial, Delay, Riftsweeper, Edge of Autumn

This set has an embarrassment of riches and there isn’t one card that stands out as the best. I’m underwhelmed by their #1 pick, but some of their honorable mentions are strong contenders for me. Basically, this set has a lot of good cards. They captured that to an extent.

Their Pick: Garruk Wildspeaker
My Pick: Oblivion Ring
Their Honorable Mentions: Ponder, Cryptic Command, Mirror Entity, Gaddock Teeg
Missed Cards: Oblivion Ring, Mosswort Bridge, Sower of Temptation, Pestermite, Springleaf Drum, Thorn of Amethyst, Rings of Brighthearth, Imperious Perfect, Vigor, Thousand-Year Elixir, Mulldrifter, Shriekmaw

While it’s not the most egregious lineup, I did think that some of their misses were generally better cards than some of their honorable mentions here.

Their Pick: Reveillark
My Pick: Reveillark
Their Honorable Mentions: Negate, Scapeshift, Shared Animosity, Thornbite Staff, Idyllic Tutor
Missed Cards: Bitterblossom, Taurean Mauler, Vendilion Clique, Mutavault, Fertilid, Stonehewer Giant, Door of Destinies

I’ll give them credit for their #1 choice, which I agree with. But they go and ruin it by omitting Biterblossom, which should be a solid runner-up.

Their Pick: Woodfall Primus
My Pick: Painter’s Servant
Their Honorable Mentions: “Allied Filter Lands”, Devoted Druid, Mana Reflection
Missed Cards: Manamorphose, Kitchen Finks, Faerie Macabre, Painter’s Servant, Swans of Bryn Argoll, Pili-Pala, Wheel of Sun and Moon, Greater Auramancy, Murderous Redcap, Beseech the Queen, Steel of the Godhead

Just when I thought they were starting to get things right, they completely missed Painter’s Servant and a bunch of good cards in favor of a creature that never makes the cut in graveyard recursion decks and some second-rate manafixing lands. Ouch. I mean Woodfall Primus? Seriously?

Their Pick: Glen Elendra Archmage
My Pick: Bloom Tender
Their Honorable Mentions: more “Filter lands”, Bloom Tender, Helix Pinnacle
Missed Cards: Worm Harvest, Wake Thrasher, Figure of Destiny, Gilder Bairn, Cold-Eyed Selkie, Flickerwisp, Necroskitter

They spent most of their time on this one with a “PSA” about how Glen Elendra is a place name in the Lorwyn/Shadowmoor story and not the name of a person, which someone somewhere must have thought it was. So I’ll offer my own cheeky “PSA” regarding something from earlier in the video. The word “simulacrum” in the card name “Solemn Simulacrum” is pronounced like the real English word “simulacrum” and not like some garbled eldritch nightmare chanting. You’re welcome.

Shards of Alara
Their Pick: Ad Nauseam
My Pick: Ad Nauseam
Their Honorable Mentions: “Tapped tri-lands”, Sharuum the Hegemon, Tezzeret the Seeker
Missed Cards: Elvish Visionary, Knight of the White Orchid, Etherium Sculptor, Ethersworn Canonist, Bone Splinters, Relic of Progenitus, Elspeth (Knight-Errant), the Panoramas

At least we agree on the #1 pick, but this time, I have to strenuously disagree with the choice of lands in the honorable mentions. Those lands that enter the battlefield tapped are bad. The Panoramas are better and should have been mentioned instead.

Their Pick: Path to Exile
My Pick: Knight of the Reliquary
Their Honorable Mentions: Nicol Bolas (Planeswalker), Exotic Orchard, Noble Hierarch, Reliquary Tower
Missed Cards: Knight of the Reliquary, Sigil of the Empty Throne, Banefire

Well, they missed the best card in the set again. I guess someone hasn’t played against Knight of the Reliquary enough yet.

Alara Reborn
Their Pick: Wargate
My Pick: Qasali Pridemage
Their Honorable Mentions: Finest Hour, Lord of Extinction, Qasali Pridemage, Sovereigns of Lost Alara
Missed Cards: Thopter Foundry, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Bloodbraid Elf, Maelstrom Pulse

Not bad, really. Omitting Thopter Foundry would be unusual, but most of their other picks are probably what the EDH playerbase would settle on for top cards from this set. Wargate is fantastic and I only started appreciating the power of the card last year, but my #1 is still the versatile Qasali Pridemage. But I’ll give credit to the Nitpicking Nerds for a pretty good presentation on this set.

Magic 2010
Their Pick: “Allied Buddy Lands” aka “Check Lands”
My Pick: Same.
Their Honorable Mentions: Goblin Chieftain, Elvish Archdruid
Missed Cards: Sanguine Bond, Lurking Predators, Planar Cleansing, Open the Vaults, Doom Blade, Acidic Slime

I mentioned some potential missed cards that warrant mentioning, and those two enchantments are powerhouses, but I guess I come down agreeing with them on this one. Despite my tendency to avoid second-rate manafixing lands, the cycle here are actually worth playing in many two-color decks. They’re not especially exciting, but they’re reliable cards.

Their Pick: “The five Enemy Fetchlands”
My Pick: Same.
Their Honorable Mentions: Day of Judgment, Rite of Replication Felidar Sovereign, Bloodchief Ascension, Sorin Markov, Lotus Cobra, Emeria (the Sky Ruin), Expedition Map, Oracle of Mul Daya
Missed Cards: Rampaging Baloths, Khalni Heart Expedition, Eldrazi Monument, Vampire Hexmage, Valakut (the Molten Pinnacle), Beastmaster Ascension

They did well enough with this one that I thought, at this point in the video, that I might be done, that maybe they’d gotten to the sets they were acquainted with and would start to represent these sets better. That wound up not being true, but they did well this time.

Their Pick: Nature’s Claim
My Pick: Nature’s Claim
Their Honorable Mentions: Amulet of Vigor, Avenger of Zendikar, Bojuka Bog, Eye of Ugin, Everflowing Chalice, Jace (the Mind Sculptor), Stoneforge Mystic, Terastodon
Missed Cards: Basilisk Collar, Explore, Lodestone Golem, Abyssal Persecutor, Walking Atlas, Celestial Colonnade, Arbor Elf

Another nice job by the Nitpicking Nerds. They had more honorable mentions than misses this time around and the only really egregious miss is probably Basilisk Collar. Even that isn’t as good as some of their honorable mentions, though.

Rise of the Eldrazi
Their Pick: Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
My Pick: Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Their Honorable Mentions: Training Grounds, Recurring Insight, Evolving Wilds, All Is Dust, Eldrazi Conscription, It That Betrays, Pawn of Ulamog, Ulamog (the Infinite Gyre)
Missed Cards: Bear Umbra, Realms Uncharted, Splinter Twin, Kor Spiritdancer, Vengevine, Pelakka Wurm

For this entire block, it’s like these guys have known what they’re talking about. Missing Splinter Twin is possibly a blunder and I do have some more possible misses, but again, this was a nice job.

Magic 2011
Their Pick: Serra Ascendant
My Pick: Serra Ascendant
Their Honorable Mentions: Captivating Vampire, Cultivate, Fauna Shaman, Grave Titan, Inferno Titan, Leyline of Anticipation, Preordain, Sun Titan
Missed Cards: Reassembling Skeleton, Steel Overseer, Ajani’s Pridemate, Garruk’s Packleader, Viscera Seer

Yet again, the Nitpicking Nerds have things mostly right here, with the biggest miss probably being Steel Overseer.

Scars of Mirrodin
Their Pick: Genesis Wave
My Pick: Mox Opal
Their Honorable Mentions: Contagion Engine, Kuldotha Forgemaster, Myr Battlesphere, Mox Opal, Steel Hellkite
Missed Cards: Nim Deathmantle, Contagion Clasp, Inexorable Tide, Necrotic Ooze, Platinum Emperion, Ratchet Bomb, Wurmcoil Engine, Exsanguinate, Asceticism, Venser (the Sojourner)

Well, there were more misses again this time, and some curious ones. I’ve always found Contagion Clasp to be the more flexible card compared to Contagion Engine. It’s also strange that they’d offer honorable mentions in other sets that are obviously based on combos with Nim Deathmantle or Necrotic Ooze, but then to omit those cards entirely within their own set. Genesis Wave is great and should be a solid runner-up, but Mox Opal is the clear #1 choice here.
Last edited:


The Tentacled One
Mirrodin Besieged
Their Pick: Consecrated Sphinx
My Pick: Green Sun’s Zenith
Their Honorable Mentions: Blightsteel Colossus, Black Sun’s Zenith, Blue Sun’s Zenith, Green Sun’s Zenith, Sword of Feast and Famine, Tezzeret (Agent of Bolas),
Missed Cards: Darksteel Plate, Psychosis Crawler, Spine of Ish Sah, Phyrexian Rebirth, Phyrexian Crusader, Shimmer Myr, Phyrexian Revoker, Inkmoth Nexus, Knowledge Pool, Sangromancer

We’ve got even more misses this time and what I’d call a dubious #1 pick, but at least they did identify most of the strongest cards.

New Phyrexia
Their Pick: Birthing Pod
My Pick: Gitaxian Probe
Their Honorable Mentions: Elesh Norn (Grand Cenobite), Gitaxian Probe, Jin-Gitaxias (Core Augur), Phyrexian Metamorph, Praetor’s Grasp, Sheoldred (Whispering One), Triumph of the Hordes, Vorinclex (Voice of Hunger)
Missed Cards: Batterskull, Beast Within, Noxious Revival, Spellskite, Karn Liberated, Torpor Orb, Dismember, Deceiver Exarch, Phyrexian Obliterator, Mindcrank, Phyrexian Unlife, Urabrask the Hidden

Nothing too egregious here. Some misses, and it might have been easy on editing and brevity to just lump all five of the “Praetor” cards together as one thing, even though the red one is not quite as impressive as the other four.

Their Pick: Command Tower
My Pick: Command Tower
Their Honorable Mentions: Animar (Soul of Elements), Ghave (Guru of Spores), Kaalia of the Vast, Karador (Ghost Chieftain), Scavenging Ooze, Skullbriar (the Walking Grave), The Mimeoplasm
Missed Cards: Homeward Path, Flusterstorm, Chaos Warp, Hornet Queen, Stranglehold

Not too bad, but they did focus a lot on commanders and missed a few extremely important maindeck cards.

Magic 2012
Their Pick: Phantasmal Image
My Pick: Rune-Scarred Demon
Their Honorable Mentions: Buried Ruin, Garruk (Primal Hunter), Swiftfoot Boots, Warstorm Surge
Missed Cards: Rune-Scarred Demon, Sundial of the Infinite, Grand Abolisher, Adaptive Automaton, Angelic Destiny, Primordial Hydra

They’re basically missing about half of the good cards from this set, with no meaningful demarcation in apparent power between the honorable mentions and the omissions.

Their Pick: Blasphemous Act
My Pick: Snapcaster Mage
Their Honorable Mentions: Balefire Dragon, “Enemy Buddy Lands” (what?), Grimgrin (Corpse-Born), Kessig Wolf Run, Laboratory Maniac, Parallel Lives, Rooftop Storm, Snapcaster Mage
Missed Cards: Unburial Rites, Mentor of the Meek, Bloodline Keeper, Fiend Hunter, Past in Flames, Liliana of the Veil, Spider Spawning, Army of the Damned

Well, they got most of the good cards this time around and generally did a decent job identifying the goodies. It seems like when they really like a set, they list more of the good cards from it. But if they don’t know a set very well, they don’t bother to learn what it has to offer.

Dark Ascension
Their Pick: Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
My Pick: Faithless Looting
Their Honorable Mentions: Faithless Looting, Gravecrawler, Sorin (Lord of Innistrad)
Missed Cards: Thalia (Guardian of Thraben), Grafdigger’s Cage, Geralf’s Messenger, Havengul Lich, Tragic Slip, Increasing Vengeance

Not much to say here. They missed some cards, but the power level among these EDH staples is kind of evenly distributed.

Avacyn Restored
Their Pick: Craterhoof Behemoth
My Pick: Cavern of Souls
Their Honorable Mentions: Avacyn (Angel of Hope), Alchemist’s Refuge, Blood Artist, Cathars’ Crusade, Cavern of Souls, Deadeye Navigator, Gisela (Blade of Goldknight), Terminus
Missed Cards: Exquisite Blood, Ghostly Flicker, Conjurer’s Closet, Temporal Mastery, Angel of Glory’s Rise, Entreat the Angels, Moonsilver Spear, Wolfir Silverheart, Silverblade Paladin, Restoration Angel, Soul of the Harvest, Harvester of Souls, Reforge the Soul

The list of misses might be more attributable to how many strong cards are in this set than any special inattention here. Avacyn Restored has a lot to offer.

Planechase 2012
Their Pick: Maelstrom Wanderer
My Pick: Baleful Strix
Their Honorable Mentions: Baleful Strix, Sakashima’s Student,
Missed Cards: Dragonlair Spider, Mass Mutiny, Silent-Blade Oni, Etherium-Horn Sculptor

A few misses, but this isn’t too egregious.

Magic 2013
Their Pick: Omniscience
My Pick: Omniscience
Their Honorable Mentions: Disciple of Bolas, Krenko (Mob Boss), Spelltwine, Trading Post
Missed Cards: Archaeomancer, Boundless Realms, Cathedral of War, Faith’s Reward, Odric (Master Tactician), Liliana of the Dark Realms

Credit for a strong choice on the #1 pick, but they had some egregious misses this time around. I think Archaeomancer is the most popular and flexible card in the set, and Boundless Realms is a powerhouse.

Return to Ravnica
Their Pick: Cyclonic Rift
My Pick: Cyclonic Rift
Their Honorable Mentions: Chromatic Lantern, Deathrite Shaman, Rest in Peace, Rogue’s Passage, Sphinx’s Revelation, Supreme Verdict, Vandalblast
Missed Cards: Abrupt Decay, Worldspine Wurm, Counterflux

They called this one pretty much correctly. No nitpicking here from me.

Their Pick: Blind Obedience
My Pick: Thespian’s Stage
Their Honorable Mentions: Aurelia (the Warleader), Boros Charm, Consuming Aberration, Crypt Ghast, Diluvian Primordial, Sepulchral Primordial, Enter the Infinite, Prime Speaker Zegana, Rapid Hybridization, Thespian’s Stage
Missed Cards: Urban Evolution, Utvara Hellkite, Merciless Eviction, Molten Primordial

While perhaps not quite as thorough as their take on the first set in this block, they did a decent job here.

Dragon’s Maze
Their Pick: Notion Thief
My Pick: Notion Thief
Their Honorable Mentions: Render Silent, Ruric Thar (the Unbowed), Sire of Insanity, Varolz (the Scar-Striped)
Missed Cards: Voice of Resurgence, Wear//Tear, Possibility Storm, Lavinia of the Tenth, Progenitor Mimic

Not too many egregious misses here, although I’d definitely cite the omission of Voice of Resurgence as a bit glaring.

Magic 2014
Their Pick: Archangel of Thune
My Pick: Shadowborn Apostle
Their Honorable Mentions: Elvish Mystic, Rise of the Dark Realms
Missed Cards: Young Pyromancer, Strionic Resonator, Shadowborn Apostle, Ogre Battledriver

We’re back to having some egregious misses, mostly because there are no super-broken EDH cards here and we just have a generally strong stable of various options present in this set, most of which I think I’ve captured here. I remember a time when it seemed like no one could possibly forget Young Pyromancer, even in EDH, as the card seemed like it was everywhere.

Their Pick: Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
My Pick: Swan Song
Their Honorable Mentions: Ashen Rider, Burnished Hart, Erebos (God of the Dead), Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Purphoros (God of the Forge), five Temples, Swan Song, Xenagos (the Reveler)
Missed Cards: Bident of Thassa, Destructive Revelry, Master of Waves, Polukranos (World Eater), Daxos of Meletis, Voyaging Satyr

I’m seeing mixed results here. Some of the misses I highlighted probably outperform some of their honorable mentions, but nothing in particular stands out as a ridiculous miss by the Nitpicking Nerds.

Commander 2013
Their Pick: Toxic Deluge
My Pick: Toxic Deluge
Their Honorable Mentions: Bane of Progress, Derevi (Empyrial Tactician), Darksteel Mutation, Prossh (Skyraider of Kher), Primal Vigor, Tempt with Discovery
Missed Cards: Ophiomancer, Unexpectedly Absent, True-Name Nemesis

What actually stands out to me here is that they singled out two of the commanders options, but not necessarily the most powerful or the most popular, although both would get high marks in both categories. It’s not that Prossh and Derevi aren’t big hits, it’s that there are six more commanders from this set that tick the same boxes (Oloro is the most popular commander from this set and Jeleva is the most powerful). Also, I can’t tell whether omitting True-Name Nemesis here was deliberate or not.

Born of the Gods
Their Pick: Karametra, God of Harvests
My Pick: Courser of Kruphix
Their Honorable Mentions: Kiora’s Follower, Satyr Wayfinder, three Temples, Xenagos (God of Revels)
Missed Cards: Courser of Kruphix, Spirit of the Labyrinth, Perplexing Chimera, Archetype of Imagination, Brimaz (King of Oreskos), Whelming Wave

This set doesn’t have a ton of potent cards, and they managed to miss some of its best ones.

Journey into Nyx
Their Pick: Mana Confluence
My Pick: Mana Confluence
Their Honorable Mentions: Ajani (Mentor of Heroes), Dictate of Erebos, Eidolon of Blossoms, Athreos (God of Passage), Iroas (God of Victory), Kruphix (God of Horizons), two Temples
Missed Cards: Dictate of Kruphix, Sage of Hours, Dictate of Karametra, Nyx Weaver

They didn’t miss quite as many powerful cards for this set, but they did miss a few.

Their Pick: Dack Fayden
My Pick: Council’s Judgment
Their Honorable Mentions: Brago (King Eternal), Marchesa (the Black Rose), Scourge of the Throne, Selvala (Explorer Returned), Treasonous Ogre
Missed Cards: Council’s Judgment, Coercive Portal, Deathreap Ritual

While they only really missed three picks, this set doesn’t have a ton of new printings and the three that they missed are all generally powerhouses.

Magic 2015
Their Pick: Reclamation Sage
My Pick: Waste Not
Their Honorable Mentions: Garruk (Apex Predator), Genesis Hydra, Life’s Legacy, Perilous Vault, The Chain Veil, Waste Not, Yisan (the Wanderer Bard)
Missed Cards: In Garruk’s Wake, Goblin Rabblemaster, Boonweaver Giant, Chasm Skulker

Technically, they did fine on this one. What strikes me as a bit strange is that with all the bias I’ve noticed in the commentary of this video toward creature sacrifice loops, I’d have thought that Boonweaver Giant was a guaranteed honorable mention here. They talked up Karador, Saffi, Reveillark, Karmic Guide, Pattern of Rebirth, Archangel of Thune, and generally had me convinced that at least one of them was a Boonweaver Giant enthusiast.

Khans of Tarkir
Their Pick: Dig Through Time
My Pick: Dig Through Time
Their Honorable Mentions: Clever Impersonator, Jeskai Ascendancy, “Wedge tri-Lands”, Sidisi (Brood Tyrant), Treasure Cruise
Missed Cards: Villainous Wealth, Temur Ascendancy, Rattleclaw Mystic, Grim Haruspex, Altar of the Brood, Duneblast

There are a couple of notable misses, but they got most of the good stuff. Lands that enter the battlefield tapped are usually bad and you usually shouldn’t use them.

Commander 2014
Their Pick: Teferi, Temporal Archmage
My Pick: Arcane Lighthouse
Their Honorable Mentions: Hallowed Spiritkeeper, Myriad Landscape, Song of the Dryads, Commander’s Sphere
Missed Cards: Titania (Protector of Argoth), Containment Priest, Arcane Lighthouse, Masterwork of Ingenuity, Dualcaster Mage

This one was a bit egregious because most of the missed cards I’ve noted are considerably stronger on average than most of their honorable mentions.

Fate Reforged
Their Pick: Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
My Pick: Monastery Mentor
Their Honorable Mentions: Humble Defector, Reality Shift, Shamanic Revelation, Temur Sabertooth
Missed Cards: Monastery Mentor, Outpost Siege, Mob Rule, Whisperwood Elemental, Crux of Fate

It seems kind of like they picked half of the best cards in the set, but with no discernible pattern hinting at how they excluded the other half.

Dragons of Tarkir
Their Pick: Sidisi, Undead Vizier
My Pick: Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Their Honorable Mentions: Dragonlord Dromoka, Dragonlord Silumgar, Commune with Lava, Impact Tremors, Secure the Wastes, Shaman of Forgotten Ways
Missed Cards: Savage Ventmaw, Anafenza (Kin-Tree Spirit), Collected Company, Clone Legion, Inspiring Call, Narset Transcendent

They did a bit better for this set than they did with the rest of the block. I don’t think their misses this time around are that egregious.

Magic Origins
Their Pick: Tragic Arrogance
My Pick: Dark Petition
Their Honorable Mentions: Jace (Vryn’s Prodigy), Liliana (Heretical Healer), Nissa (Vastwood Seer), Alhammaret’s Archive, Dark Petition, Hangarback Walker, Sword of the Animist, The Great Aurora, Woodland Bellower
Missed Cards: Evolutionary Leap, Chandra’s Ignition, Archangel of Tithes, Vryn Wingmare, Kytheon (Hero of Akros), Flameshadow Conjuring, Managorger Hydra, Elemental Bond, Nissa’s Pilgrimage

This set has some great cards, and once again the Nitpicking Nerds identified about half of them. I’ve tried to be careful to avoid cases in which they curated a top list and I’m merely pointing out the cards they trimmed from their honorable mentions for length. Although I can never be sure I’m not doing that, I think this set is a good indication that these really are misses, as some of my selections really are just better cards than some (but not all) of their honorable mentions.

Battle for Zendikar
Their Pick: Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
My Pick: Omnath, Locus of Rage
Their Honorable Mentions: Blighted Woodland, Bring to Light, five “Tango Lands”, From Beyond, Oblivion Sower, Omnath (Locus of Rage), Void Winnower, Zulaport Cutthroat
Missed Cards: Greenwarden of Murasa, Retreat to Coralhelm, Gideon (Ally of Zendikar), Painful Truths, Sire of Stagnation, Emeria Shepherd

More of the same. They missed some great cards.

Commander 2015
Their Pick: Fiery Confluence
My Pick: Grasp of Fate
Their Honorable Mentions: Mizzix’s Mastery, Thought Vessel, Mystic Confluence
Missed Cards: Grasp of Fate, Command Beacon, Pathbreaker Ibex, Bastion Protector, Arachnogenesis

Some of the misses stuck out this time as being better than the honorable mentions. Also, this set didn’t add a ton of new EDH staples and they managed to miss most of them anyway.

Oath of the Gatewatch
Their Pick: Eldrazi Displacer
My Pick: Eldrazi Displacer
Their Honorable Mentions: Ayli (Eternal Pilgrim), Kalitas (Traitor of Ghet), Zendikar Resurgent, Kozilek (the Great Distortion)
Missed Cards: Reflector Mage, Crush of Tentacles, Mina and Denn (Wildborn), Expedite, Mirrorpool, World Breaker

I suppose that in this case, whether the misses are egregious depends on how you value legendary creatures, since all but one of their selections are legendary creatures.

Shadows over Innistrad
Their Pick: The Gitrog Monster
My Pick: Seasons Past
Their Honorable Mentions: Anguished Unmaking, Cryptolith Rite, Eerie Interlude, Tireless Tracker, Traverse the Ulvenwald
Missed Cards: Seasons Past, Open the Armory, Thing in the Ice, Silverfur Partisan, Ever After, Ulvenwald Hydra, Westvale Abbey

Overlooking Seasons Past, huh? Bold move. Now I’ll just use it to get a land, Mystical Tutor, Regrowth, Frantic Search, Spike Weaver, Time Warp, and Walk the Aeons. Have fun. Seriously though, Seasons Past is extremely powerful and I’m not just annoyed because it’s a pet card or something.

Eldritch Moon
Their Pick: Emrakul, the Promised End
My Pick: Eldritch Evolution
Their Honorable Mentions: Cryptbreaker, Eldritch Evolution, Selfless Spirit, Splendid Reclamation
Missed Cards: Geier Reach Sanitarium, Thalia (Heretic Cathar), Sigarda’s Aid, Eternal Scourge, Decimator of Provinces, Hanweir Battlements

Despite the misses I’ve noted, they did well with this one. If they’d thought to at least include the lands as honorable mentions, I’d have almost no grounds to gripe on this one.

Conspiracy: Take the Crown
Their Pick: Expropriate
My Pick: Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
Their Honorable Mentions: Queen Marchesa, Regal Behemoth, Recruiter of the Guard, Selvala (Heart of the Wilds), Selvala’s Stampede
Missed Cards: Palace Jailer, Subterranean Tremors, Daretti (Ingenious Iconoclast), Stunt Double, Custodi Lich

I’ll credit them for a better-than-average job on this one. Most of the cards I cited as misses aren’t quite on the same level as the best of the honorable mentions. I won’t bother to evaluate Selvala as commander vs. Selvala maindeck and how either of those really stacks up against the infamous Expropriate. Face it: Expropriate is boring anyway. Also, Expropriate is a payload that entails some amount of setup, where Selvala is an awesome setup card with lots of synergies.

Their Pick: Aetherflux Reservoir
My Pick: Aetherflux Reservoir
Their Honorable Mentions: Chandra (Torch of Defiance), Cultivator’s Caravan, Inventor’s Fair, Key to the City, Metallurgic Summonings, Padeem (Consul of Innovation), Panharmonicon
Missed Cards: Foundry Inspector, Noxious Gearhulk, Skysovereign (Consul Flagship), Dramatic Reversal, Fumigate, Authority of the Consuls

Another case of them missing almost half of the good cards. Giving Aetherflux Reservoir the #1 pick as an infamous combo card isn’t bad on its own, but doing so while omitting Dramatic Reversal entirely is strange.

Commander 2016
Their Pick: Thrasios, Triton Hero
My Pick: Sylvan Reclamation
Their Honorable Mentions: Deepglow Skate, Atraxa (Praetor’s Voice), Breya (Etherium Shaper), Kraum (Ludevic’s Opus), Tymna the Weaver, Vial Smasher the Fierce, Yidris (Maelstrom Wielder)
Missed Cards: Orzhov Advokist, Ash Barrens, Sylvan Reclamation, Selfless Squire

I do not actually want to dispute their #1 pick. But I’m trying to honor my stipulation that I’ll try not to give weight to cards as commanders (because it kind of opens the floodgates). Thrasios has proven to be the strongest competitive commander and has held that spot for some time. Ignoring cards as commanders, the #1 pick should be Sylvan Reclamation.

Aether Revolt
Their Pick: Walking Ballista
My Pick: Walking Ballista
Their Honorable Mentions: Heroic Intervention, Lifecrafter’s Bestiary, Renegade Rallier, Rishkar’s Expertise, Scrap Trawler, Spire of Industry, Yahenni (Undying Partisan)
Missed Cards: Felidar Guardian, Whir of Invention, Fatal Push, Baral (Chief of Compliance), Mechanized Production, Planar Bridge

Again I agree with their #1 choice, but see almost as many egregious misses as honorable mentions.
Last edited:


The Tentacled One
Their Pick: By Force
My Pick: Anointed Procession
Their Honorable Mentions: Anointed Procession, Approach of the Second Sun, Archfiend of Ifnir, “Cycling Dual Lands”, Liliana (Death’s Majesty)
Missed Cards: Combat Celebrant, Sandwurm Convergence, Manglehorn, As Foretold, Shadow of the Grave

Despite the popularity of lands that enter the battlefield tapped, they’re bad and you shouldn’t use them. The rest of their selections are fine, although I have some more that they missed, as usual.

Hour of Devastation
Their Pick: Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
My Pick: Ramunap Excavator
Their Honorable Mentions: Hour of Revelation, Hour of Promise, Swarm Intelligence, The Scarab God, Torment of Hailfire
Missed Cards: Ramunap Excavator, Solemnity, Abrade, Razaketh (the Foulblooded), Mirage Mirror

This time around, I actually think that the misses are almost all better than almost all of their honorable mentions and their #1 pick as well. I am thoroughly unimpressed this time around.

Commander 2017
Their Pick: Teferi’s Protection
My Pick: Teferi’s Protection
Their Honorable Mentions: Edgar Markov, Kess (Dissident Mage), Kindred Discovery
Missed Cards: Hammer of Nazahn, Alms Collector, Bloodforged Battle-Axe, Traverse the Outlands, Kindred Dominance, Disrupt Decorum

They did identify some of the best cards here, but didn’t bother to capture the rest of them.

Their Pick: Thaumatic Compass
My Pick: Hostage Taker
Their Honorable Mentions: Dowsing Dagger, Growing Rites of Itlamoc, Search for Azcanta
Missed Cards: Hostage Taker, Sunbird’s Invocation, Revel in Riches, Kinjali’s Sunwing, River’s Rebuke, Vraska’s Contempt, Vanquisher’s Banner

Focusing exclusively on the cards that transform into lands for this set is lazy and I expected better.

Rivals of Ixalan
Their Pick: Zacama, Primal Calamity
My Pick: World Shaper
Their Honorable Mentions: The Immortal Sun, Profane Procession, Journey to Eternity, Etali (Primal Storm), Nezahal (Primal Tide), Tendershoot Dryad
Missed Cards: Wayward Swordtooth, Storm the Vault, Ravenous Chupacabra, Twilight Prophet, Polyraptor, Zetalpa (Primal Dawn), World Shaper, Pitiless Plunderer

With how many big, dumb dinosaurs they selected for this set, I’m amused that they left out Zetalpa. But really, the best cards from this set are ones that generate considerable value and card advantage or tempo advantage for a moderate mana cost, specifically Twilight Prophet, Wayward Swordtooth, Polyraptor, Pitiless Plunderer, and World Shaper. Big, dumb dinosaurs are fun too, but there are better cards in this set.

Their Pick: Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
My Pick: Helm of the Host
Their Honorable Mentions: Blackblade Reforged, Helm of the Host, Muldrotha (the Gravetide), Teferi (Hero of Dominaria), Oath of Teferi
Missed Cards: The Mending of Dominaria, Jhoira’s Familiar, Voltaic Servant, Damping Sphere, Lich’s Mastery, Karn (Scion of Urza), The Mirari Conjecture, Squee (the Immortal), The Eldest Reborn, Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth, Karn’s Temporal Sundering, Marwyn (the Nurturer)

Contrary to what they said in the video, Helm of the Host isn’t overrated. I’m right and they’re wrong. Who are you going to listen to? Me? Or the guys who put Oath of Teferi in as an honorable mention over cards like Jhoira’s Familiar and Squee?

Their Pick: Spellseeker
My Pick: “Allied Battle Lands” (as they call them)
Their Honorable Mentions: Arena Rector, “Allied Battle Lands”, Last One Standing, Pir’s Whim
Missed Cards: Khorvath’s Fury, Bonus Round, Archon of Valor’s Reach, Thrilling Encore, Najeela (the Blade-Blossom)

Considering the proclivity displayed for situational or inferior manafixing options in past sets, I’d have thought that the Nitpicking Nerds would agree with me that the five “Battle Lands” or “Bond Lands” are the best EDH selection for this set. However, Spellseeker is an extremely strong card and I can’t fault them too much for picking it as #1. The misses here are typical for what we’ve been seeing, but it saddens me that my beloved Bonus Round isn’t getting any recognition here. I hesitated to mention Najeela, which is mainly known for being a commander.

Global Series Jiang Yanggu & Mu Yanling
Their Pick: Purple Crystal Crab
My Pick: Ancestor Dragon
Their Honorable Mentions: Moon-Eating Dog, Nine-Tail White Fox, Journey for the Elixir
Missed Cards: Ancestor Dragon, Mu Yanling
The unspoken joke here is that this product was full of extraordinarily weak cards and almost nothing here is viable in EDH. Cards were deliberately overcosted because WotC had some silly notions about tournament play and the whole “Global Series” concept was a mistake they quickly tried to sweep under the rug. I happen to have used one card from this set in an EDH deck already: Sacred White Deer. But that was part of a gimmick to do “Elk Tribal.” Ultimately, I contend that Ancestor Dragon is the most useful card from this set, although Purple Crystal Crab is seriously runner-up.

Core Set 2019
Their Pick: Nexus of Fate
My Pick: Sai, Master Thopterist
Their Honorable Mentions: Arcades (the Strategist), Elvish Rejuvenator, Goblin Trashmaster, Poison-Tip Archer, Remorseful Cleric, Satyr Enchanter, Stitcher’s Supplier
Missed Cards: Sai (Master Thopterist), Cleansing Nova, Desecrated Tomb, Colossal Majesty

This time around, they easily have more honorable mentions than misses. But they managed to miss what I’d consider the top two cards in the set: Cleansing Nova and Sai, Master Thopterist. Extra turn spells are powerful, but five-mana ones are better than seven-mana ones, which is why I use Time Warp more than I use Nexus of Fate in my own decks.

Commander 2018
Their Pick: Windgrace’s Judgment
My Pick: Windgrace’s Judgment
Their Honorable Mentions: Aminatou’s Augury, Nesting Dragon, Yuriko (the Tiger’s Shadow)
Missed Cards: Estrid’s Invocation, Saheeli’s Directive

Not bad. When they got the #1 card right and only really missed two cards, I don’t have much to complain about.

Guilds of Ravnica
Their Pick: Beast Whisperer
My Pick: Assassin’s Trophy
Their Honorable Mentions: Assassin’s Trophy, Knight of Autumn, Midnight Reaper, Mission Briefing, Plaguecrafter, Underrealm Lich
Missed Cards: Thousand-Year Storm, Divine Visitation, Mnemonic Betrayal

Not bad. I’d even give them some credit for picking something they thought was cool for #1 instead of just taking the card everyone has been calling the best since before the set came out. I’ll go against them on that and take the boring, efficient removal card.

Game Night
Their Pick: Avatar of Growth
My Pick: Rot Hulk
Their Honorable Mentions: Rot Hulk, Inspired Sphinx, Goblin Goliath, Militant Angel
Missed Cards: None.

I thought that Starter was a can’t-miss set, because it only introduced a few new cards that anyone plays at all. They managed to miss by missing the entire set. But they make up for it here. When a set only introduces five new cards, everything is an honorable mention! For my taste, Avatar of Growth ramps opponents a bit too much, despite my love of Veteran Explorer. What can I say? It’s complicated. The cards are different. But Rot Hulk is almost good, so it gets my pick.

Ravnica Allegiance
Their Pick: Smothering Tithe
My Pick: Smothering Tithe
Their Honorable Mentions: Awaken the Erstwhile, Guardian Project, Basilica Bell-Haunt, Frilled Mystic, Growth Spiral, Prime Speaker Vannifar, Rhythm of the Wild
Missed Cards: Wilderness Reclamation, Simic Ascendancy, Captive Audience, Verity Circle, Kaya’s Wrath, Hydroid Krasis

Although I’m with them on the #1 pick, I see that they’ve missed some of the best contenders for runner-up in this set.

War of the Spark
Their Pick: Bolas’s Citadel
My Pick: Narset, Parter of Veils
Their Honorable Mentions: Ashiok (Dream Render), Command the Dreadhorde, Cruel Celebrant, Dovin’s Veto, Fblthp (the Lost), Finale of Devastation, Jace (Wielder of Mysteries), Liliana (Dreadhorde General), Narset (Parter of Veils), Teferi (Time Raveler), Time Wipe
Missed Cards: Narset’s Reversal, Neoform, Spark Double, Emergence Zone, Dreadhorde Arcanist

Selections like these make me suspect that the Nitpicking Nerds are aware of cEDH, but don’t follow it closely enough to really understand it. Bolas’s Citadel is generally a card found in competitive environments. They gave it the #1 slot, suggesting an emphasis on cEDH, or at least on high-power gameplay. But no experienced cEDH player would ever miss Narset’s Reversal when covering this set. So the impression I’m left with is that they have some idea of what cEDH and high-power decks look like, but they’re a bit fuzzy on the details.

Modern Horizons
Their Pick: Urza, Lord High Artificer
My Pick: Force of Vigor
Their Honorable Mentions: Collector Ouphe, “Enemy Canopy Lands”, Force of Negation, Prismatic Vista, Ranger-Captain of Eos, “Enemy Talismans”, Yawgmoth (Thran Physician)
Missed Cards: Force of Vigor, Springbloom Druid, Echo of Eons, Ice-Fang Coatl, Rime Tender, Serra the Benevolent, Arcum’s Astrolabe, Hexdrinker, Wrenn and Six, Generous Gift, Winds of Abandon, Hall of Heliod’s Generosity

Choosing a #1 from this set is actually kind of tough, and a few of the misses here are very powerful cards. I’m torn deciding which one was the silliest card to miss here. My personal favorite is Echo of Eons. I almost gave the #1 spot to Arcum’s Astrolabe and still feel like I probably should. Some of these power-packed sets serve to showcase the gaps in knowledge. The Nitpicking Nerds knew enough to respect the power of Urza (flashy) and Prismatic Vista (subtle), because those cards are more famous in EDH. But they completely missed out on Wrenn and Six (flashy) and Springbloom Druid (subtle).

Core Set 2020
Their Pick: Field of the Dead
My Pick: Veil of Summer
Their Honorable Mentions: Corpse Knight, Kykar (Wind’s Fury), Agent of Treachery
Missed Cards: Veil of Summer, Flood of Tears, Mystic Forge, Elvish Reclaimer, Manifold Key, Moldervine Reclamation, Leyline of Abundance

They just didn’t pick very many cards this time around, selecting four total out of one of the strongest core sets of all time.

Commander 2019
Their Pick: Dockside Extortionist
My Pick: Dockside Extortionist
Their Honorable Mentions: K’rrik (Son of Yawgmoth), Sevinne’s Reclamation
Missed Cards: Ohran Frostfang, Song of the Worldsoul, Scroll of Fate, Bone Miser, Apex Altisaur

The #1 pick is kind of obvious this time and a few of the misses are kind of niche cards anyway, so the Nitpicking Nerds did a decent job here.

Throne of Eldraine
Their Pick: Arcane Signet
My Pick: Wishclaw Talisman
Their Honorable Mentions: Chulane (Teller of Tales), Korvold (Fae-Cursed King), Oko (Thief of Crowns), Emry (Lurker of the Loch), Fabled Passage, Mystic Sanctuary, Syr Konrad (the Grim)
Missed Cards: The Great Henge, Return of the Wildspeaker, Murderous Rider, Faeburrow Elder, Questing Beast, Wishclaw Talisman, Mirrormade

Here’s another set with a lot of power and a bunch of missed picks. Even though it’s obviously the favorite, I’m going to rebel and claim that Arcane Signet should not be #1. Sure, it’s in almost every EDH deck these days, but it’s basically a lot like Felwar Stone and other two-mana rocks. It’s boring and not really special. Most decks that run Arcane Signet could swap it out for another two-mana rock and hardly notice the difference. So while I’ll admit that it’s effective and popular, I don’t think that it deserves #1 in a set with so many powerful cards. My pick goes to Wishclaw Talisman because it is one of the most unique and nuanced “Tutor” cards ever, while simultaneously being strong enough to have a niche in the most competitive environments.

Game Night 2019
Their Pick: Earthshaker Giant
My Pick: Fiendish Duo
Their Honorable Mentions: Calculating Lich, Fiendish Duo, Sphinx of Enlightenment, Highcliff Felidar
Missed Cards: None.

Another Game Night product, so there are no misses here. I do find it a bit interesting that they rated the green card highest both times. The first time around, I could understand that. This time, the green one seems decidedly middle-of-the-pack, and the red one seems like a clear winner.

Theros Beyond Death
Their Pick: Thassa’s Oracle
My Pick: Thassa’s Oracle
Their Honorable Mentions: Heliod’s Intervention, Nyx Lotus, Thassa Deep-Dwelling, Kroxa (Titan of Death’s Hunger), Uro (Titan of Nature’s Wrath)
Missed Cards: Underworld Breach, Nyxbloom Ancient, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove,
Shadowspear, Heliod (Sun-Crowned), Klothys (God of Destiny), Setessan Champion

Once more, I’m left suspecting that these selections are based on a cursory understanding of competitive/powerful/optimized/whatever metagames. Thassa’s Oracle is mainly used in broken combo decks and is a totally respectable #1 pick on the basis of its performance in such decks. But if you choose to consider those decks, then Underworld Breach is arguably even more important. I waffled on including Heliod as a miss, since it’s infamous as the first successful mono-white commander for cEDH purposes (apologies to Sram enthusiasts). But the card is powerful as a maindeck inclusion too, so I’ll throw it in.

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
Their Pick: Luminous Broodmoth
My Pick: Drannith Magistrate
Their Honorable Mentions: Eerie Ultimatum, Fiend Artisan, Kinnan (Bonder Prodigy), Mythox of Snapdax, Nethroi (Apex of Death), the five “Wedge Triomes”, Ruinous Ultimatum, Whirlwind of Thought
Missed Cards: Drannith Magistrate, Zirda (the Dawnwaker), Jegantha (the Wellspring), Mythos of Brokkos, Kaheera (the Orphanguard), The Ozolith, Song of Creation, Rielle (the Everwise), Migration Path

I’ve been trying to avoid the dismissive phrase “rookie mistake.” But missing Drannith Magistrate really is a rookie mistake! Missing a powerful EDH card from a 90’s set is something I’d expect from a lot of today’s players, but something like this, I just don’t get. Ikoria came out in May of this year, and Drannith Magistrate as an EDH wrecking ball is well-known and even mildly controversial. How did these guys miss that? Despite the misses, I’ll credit them for using the Godzilla Series version of Luminous Broodmoth as their #1. I’ll also give myself a warning for listing Rielle as a miss, despite the card’s indomitable presence as a commander.

Commander 2020
Their Pick: Fierce Guardianship
My Pick: Fierce Guardianship
Their Honorable Mentions: Dismantling Wave, Manascape Refractor, Ravenous Gigantotherium, Verge Rangers, Cryptic Trilobite, Slippery Bogbonder, Daring Fiendbonder, Xyris (the Rising Storm), Flawless Maneuver, Deadly Rollick, Deflecting Swat, Obscuring Haze
Missed Cards: Surly Badgersaur, Species Specialist

They were uncharacteristically thorough this time around. No complaints.

Core Set 2021
Their Pick: Teferi, Master of Time
My Pick: Teferi’s Ageless Insight
Their Honorable Mentions: Angelic Ascension, Liliana’s Standard Bearer, Mangara (the Diplomat), Vito (Thorn of the Dusk Rose), Llanowar Visionary, Village Rites
Missed Cards: Teferi’s Ageless Insight, Garruk’s Uprising, Terror of the Peaks, Conspicuous Snoop, Chromatic Orrery, Peer into the Abyss, Fiery Emancipation, Brash Taunter, Conclave Mentor

Seeing some missed picks isn’t surprising here, but the elevation of a somewhat mediocre planeswalker to the #1 spot surprises me, as there are much better choices available. While my personal favorite is Conspicuous Snoop, that’s definitely too much of a niche card. Competition for the #1 choice here should rightly be between Garruk’s Uprising (which the Nitpicking Nerds missed) and Teferi’s Ageless Insight (which the Nitpicking Nerds also missed).

Their Pick: Allosaurus Shepherd
My Pick: Allosaurus Shepherd
Their Honorable Mentions: Witch of the Moors, the five “Thriving” lands, Emiel the Blessed, Tinybones (Trinket Thief)
Missed Cards: Bruvac (the Grandiloquent), Branching Evolution, Muxus (Goblin Grandee), Neyith of the Dire Hunt

The Nitpicking Nerds did much better with this set than they did with the core set right before it. It’s strange how inconsistent they can be with their picks. I can’t really complain about this one, although I’ll note that I’m not a fan of the “Thriving” lands.

Zendikar Rising
Their Pick: Agadeem’s Awakening
My Pick: Bala Ged Recovery
Their Honorable Mentions: Ashaya (Soul of the Wild), six “Pathway Lands”, Cleansing Wildfire, Coveted Prize, Confounding Conundrum, Felidar Retreat, Bala Ged Recovery, Glasspool Mimic, Hagra Mauling, Kazuul’s Fury, Malakir Rebirth, Sejiri Shelter, Emeria’s Call, Sea Gate Restoration, Shatterskull Smashing, Turntimber Symbiosis
Missed Cards: Ancient Greenwarden, Scute Swarm, Feed the Swarm, Roiling Regrowth, Nighthawk Scavenger, Forsaken Monument, Lithoform Engine, Murasa Rootgrazer

This set has plenty of great cards, most of which I haven’t yet had much opportunity to play with. In general, I do think that the EDH community might be overrating the utility of the double-faced cards from this set, but their #1 pick is pretty good and I’ll select another of the bunch as my own #1 pick. As an additional note, even though they didn’t mention the Zendikar Rising Commander Decks, which have their own set symbol and introduced more new cards than a “Game Night” product (barely), I’m willing to dismiss that and count those new cards as part of Zendikar Rising.

Well, that’s about as long as I thought it would be. I had misgivings about writing such a long piece on a topic like this, and there were several little things that, if different, would have held me back from doing so. If the Nitpicking Nerds had gone with just the #1 card for each set or made it a top five from each set, or just framed this as their favorite cards from each set, I’d have let it go without my own commentary. But the way that they’ll rattle off a bunch of cards from one set and only two or three from another set, missing some of the best cards in both cases, made me think that their presentation is just a bit too (unintentionally) misleading. Far more people will see their video than will ever read my commentary on it, so I’m not balancing that out. But if even a few people come across this and find it at all helpful, then it will have been worthwhile.
Last edited: