“What could today’s title possibly mean? It’s usually stupid pun, or something you don’t explain until the last paragraph,” I’m pretending you’re thinking. Well today, I’m going to rank the box toppers. The ones that are better in EDH are the ones I’m going to say I like more. Accordingly, I am going to do a stupid clickbait thing where I start with the worst one first and make you read the whole article to see what the best one is. Awww boo. You drove me to this, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Not you, personally, the collective you. Society. You as an individual are a lovely person and I’m so glad you’re reading my article.
This is part art part science. EDHREC ranks the cards by the percentage of total decks they could be in and are, but it also lists the raw number of decks. I’m going to take both of those numbers into account and do some “I have spent a lot of time thinking about EDH” math and then I’m going to determine the order. If it sounds not entirely scientific, that’s because there is subjectivity to what people are going to buy in the future, imo, and experience matters so I’m leveraging mine. Feel free to create your own ranking and post it in the comments. What’s that? It’s a lot of work and you don’t want to do a bunch of work just to argue with me? That’s what I thought. I’d love it if you did, but I get it if you don’t.
Some Questions I Think You Might Ask
Q: How are you determining the rankings?
A: I’m going to rank them by raw number rather than percentage, check the synergy score with the top 3 decks the card is in to see if it’s a format staple or a pet card in a really popular deck that people might not build forever and stop moving the cards around when the order “looks right.” It sounds goofy but this doesn’t have to be perfect since the difference between #12 and #13 doesn’t matter as much as the difference between #25 and #4 and I can’t imagine looking at lots of factors would make me flip those or something.
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: I want people who don’t play a ton of EDH to know which cards matter to EDH. The boxtoppers weren’t necessarily 100% made with EDH in mind but that doesn’t mean they don’t affect the format and people might not realize how much certain Legacy staples see play in EDH despite it being billed as a casual, bulk rare format.
Q: Yeah, but why are you doing THIS?
A: I’m trying to win “Article of the Year ” at next year’s content creator awards.
Let’s rank some cards, shall we?
40. Goblin Guide
Gobby Boy is just straight trash in EDH. 411 decks are probably playing him because there is Goblin synergy. This is a fine card and the repeated printings bringing the cost of a playset to $20 makes this an accessible deck to build in Modern, but this is the worst box-topper in terms of EDH and that’s what we’re looking at, right?
39. Meddling Mage
I’m surprised this doesn’t get played more in EDH, honestly, but that doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t, and this is the real stinker boxtopper to get for any format. Goblin Guide is going to go out as a 4-of and make players of other formats happy, but this seems to be for no one. Humans in Modern? I don’t know.
38. Fatal Push
There are certainly formats where this card shines and EDH is not among them. A lot of people just have these from Standard and they put them in the deck because they have it, but I can’t justify playing this in EDH. This is in so many decks for as narrow as it is.
Damaging yourself to get 1 card from 1 hand 1 time? This isn’t an EDH card, and that’s fine.
This just isn’t that impressive in EDH. As a creature it’s pretty average and as an equipment it’s even more average. I’d be excited to open this boxtopper as a financier but I’m not keeping it unless I build a Kemba deck or something dumb like that.
35. Sword of Body and Mind
Artifacts throw off any attempt to do a standard numerical ranking. Of course any artifact is going to be super low in terms of percentage of eligible decks and super high in terms of included decks – both numbers are skewed. However, this is in a low absolute number of decks compared to the other artifacts and it’s the worst sword. It’s where it belongs. This is a bad box topper considering no other format really plays this card and EDH doesn’t want it much.
34. Sword of War and Peace
Compared to Body and Mind, this is much better, but it’s still in a pretty low number of decks. At least Body and Mind makes your creatures unblockable to the best decks, this makes your creatures unblockable by the worst decks. This sees more play outside of EDH than Body and Mind, which is to its credit, but EDH doesn’t care much outside of equipment tribal. Life gain and loss scales poorly into EDH.
33. Sword of Light and Shadow
All of the swords are just a little too fair in EDH. That said, this feels like it’s low on the list but it was hard to justify putting it any higher given the quality and good inclusion metrics of the rest of the cards. They didn’t make any truly abyssmal cards into box toppers so there will be good cards low on the list. The swords with numbers on them don’t scale as well in EDH 3 life, 1 life, mill 20. This can’t hang with Fire and Ice or Feast and Famine.
32. Karn Liberated
Karn is in a lot of decks because it can go in a lot of decks. Maybe you flip this and sword, I don’t know. It’s pretty wishy-washy in the middle but you are just starting to scroll a little faster by this point anyway, who cares?
31. Sneak Attack
There are better ways to cheat things into play and keep them. This card was also priced out of people’s collections forever, so that affected its inclusion a bit, and now that it’s cheaper, people have sort of moved on. This isn’t Legacy where you hit them with Emrakul and they can’t recover.
30. Kaalia of the Vast
You sort of have to ignore the inclusion numbers on this one. Kaalia is the #36 commander built on EDHREC in the last 2 years and it was very expensive. This maybe should be even higher on the list, especially since this is only an EDH card.
29. Council’s Judgment
This is played a lot outside of EDH but it’s still quite good in EDH. This is a very political card and can get rid of the permanent of each person’s that is annoying everyone, but one player can double up on their vote to mostly negate it, making this interesting every time. It’s a cheap card and not a great choice for box topper, but it will be a good card forever.
28-26. Tron Lands
These were included to let Modern players have more upgrade options for the lands and while it’s much better to have 12 lands in a 60 card deck, people have found some success with 3 Tron lands in a 99 card deck. These are no worse than a Wastes when you don’t have Tron and then they get quite good, even in EDH, when you assemble Tron, meaning there is no real downside to them. There are a lot of colorless commanders, hence the high inclusion numbers.
25. Blightsteel Colossus
This was basically a card for whales before because it was always over $50 and most players couldn’t afford it. Cards for whales are nice choices of cards to upgrade and this should free up some of the cheaper, non-premium copies. Not every deck wants these, but the decks that do REALLY want them. 2% doesn’t seem like a lot, but that’s 2% of all of the decks in the database. 1 in every 50 decks runs Blightsteel. That’s a lot for a card that was commanding a $50 price tag and beyond.
24. Sword of Fire and Ice
This is the second-best sword. 2 damage is pretty meh, but protection from relevant colors and drawing a card is good. I personally think this is overrated and Light and Shadow is underrated, but Fire and Ice is very expensive and desirable and the art on the box topper is insane.
23. Jace the Mind Sculptor
I have literally never once in my life had one of these played against me in EDH, but apparently 1 in every 25 Blue decks is packing this card that used to be a straight Benjamin. This is the most powerful Planeswalker ever, but you have 3 other opponents in EDH. Still, this is in a lot of decks, so who am I to argue?
22. Stoneforge Mystic
This is in the same number of decks as Jace? I should check to see how much Squadron Hawk is getting played in EDH. I should check our code to see if we’re accidentally scraping MTG Top8. A 3rd joke.
21. Blood Moon
Don’t play this card in EDH. You can, a lot of people do. But don’t.
20. Dark Confidant
Baffling. I can’t believe this many people play this card in EDH. Phyrexian Arena exists. I really can’t justify a card like this where board sweepers are played every turn and your best cards cost 5 mana.
19. Noble Hierarch
Bant is very good in EDH most of the time and 1 in every 9 Bant decks packs this card. That’s good because no one is playing Modern in paper right now and this is below $20 right now. This card needs all the help it can get. Sure glad I bought a bunch of these for like $20 each and didn’t sell in time. I mean, I kind of am glad, actually. I love this card, and we’re getting White Omanth soon.
18. Wurmcoil Engine
This is a reason to play EDH and a reason not to play Dark Confidant all in one card. Is there anything it can’t do? Teysa Karlov decks love this, Daretti decks love this. Unspecified future decks are going to love this. This is a very, very EDH card.
17. Academy Ruins
Gonna be a lot of Blue cards from here on out. Blue is the best color in Magic and it’s tied for the best color in EDH. I just bought a bunch of these box toppers because they look great and I like getting my cards back after someone blows them up.
16. Sword of Feast and Famine
This is the best sword and the second-best equipment in the set. No one would have complained if instead of making Sword of Body and Mind, they had made a Sunforger box topper instead. But hey, what do I know? I make bad decisions all the time.
15. Mox Opal
It’s not super exciting but this card is just fine in EDH, especially since metalcraft and colored mana go hand-in-hand in that format more than most others. I like this being under $50 even though that’s temporary.
14. Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice
This is the #1 commander built in the last 2 years. It’s in 2357 decks where it’s not the commander, which is nuts in and of itself. This might have been higher because it’s only for EDH but every other card in the top 13 is too good to displace.
13. Avacyn, Angel of Hope
This is in 7% of white decks with other commanders. Avacyn is insanely good in EDH and the box topper looks… well it looks like something you’d see airbrushed on the side of a van, but lots of people are into that.
12. Phyrexian Metamorph
This is in a lot of decks and for a good reason. Non-EDH players will be thrilled to crack one of these but EDH players will be especially stoked. This is a great card and while the price on the non-box topperis low from reprintings, it’s still a solid card to look at long-term.
11. Doubling Season
I remember opening this in a pack and being mad that I got casual garbage instead of a Plague Boiler. This is casual garbage but it turns out that just means that if there is ever a format full of casual garbage, something has to be the kind of the casual garbage. This is the EDHiest card of all time and I am glad I never got rid of the copies I was upset to get back in 2005.
10. Crop Rotation
This is a 1 mana tutor that puts the card you wanted into play. This is a 1 mana tutor. And it gets you any land. And it puts it into play. A 1 mana tutor that finds Nykthos or Cabal Coffers. Oh, and this was trash for like the first 5 years it was a card. Crop Rotation isn’t even in the Top 5 box toppers in this set, that’s how bonkers the rest of the set is.
The regular copies of this card should not be under $20. I see no reason not to buy as many of the box toppers as you can afford, honestly. We’re about to go back to Zendikar and you can get an Exploration for under $20. The box topper is about as insulated from reprint as you can ask of a card and it looks better than this version, which itself looks fine. I’m bullish as hell on this.
8. Force of Will
This may not seem like an EDH card but it turns out you tap out a lot more as a control player when you need to keep countermagic mana up on 3 or 4 turns that aren’t yours instead of just 1. This is in 1 out of every 10 decks that play Blue and that’s half of the decks in the database.
7. Expedition Map
It turns out ways to get Cabal Coffers for 1 mana are popular, who knew? Being colorless, this can go in decks that don’t have Green making it even more versatile than Crop Rotation, a card that is, and I have to restate this, so, so good in EDH. Map gets played in non-EDH non-Legacy formats, so it has that over Crop Rotation, also. Super glad to have this as a box topper. The art isn’t that much of an improvement, though.
6. Chrome Mox
It turns out cards that are good in general are good in EDH. This gets played a ton and with good reason. It gets play outside of EDH which is good, but since EDH is basically the only format played in paper right now, strong EDH demand should be a factor you weigh heavily when selecting a box topper to invest in, and Chrome Mox ticks all of your boxes.
5. Toxic Deluge
I think in one of my articles I said this was played in Modern because I was thinking of Dead of Winter. This does NOT, in fact, see play in Modern, but it does NOT see play in Legacy because nothing sees play in Legacy. EDH demand is what is keeping this box topper from going in the trash, but there is a LOT of that. Roughly 40% of the decks on EDHREC are Black and this goes in 1 in every 8 of those. That’s a lot.
4. Mana Crypt
If you shelled out for foil copies of this when it was first reprinted and you’re upset that it’s being reprinted often, remember that the non-foils keep going back to $100 and also, the box topper is the new hotness so don’t worry so much, Moby Dick. WotC is well aware of who you are and what you’re about.
This is a card that gets more play than it probably should, but I guess Aminatou is a thing. I think this is overrated in EDH but it’s easy to jam in a deck, it’s under a buck for most versions, it gets reprinted in EDH sets sometimes and also, it is the ugliest box topper of all time. Seriously, what were they thinking?
This is so bad. It looks like a cutscene from a 90s PC game. This is what you see when you die to the last boss in Shandalar. This is what the guy who made that Dire Straits Money for Nothing video has been up to lately. This is… Ron Spencer? OK, I’m going to let this one slide.
2. Lighting Greaves
1 in every 4 decks built by a person has a copy of Greaves. They can keep printing to get the baseline version under $5 every couple of years, but giving the whales who aren’t excited about the Judge foil something to aspire to was a great idea.
The art even looks good. I’m all about this.
1. Cyclonic Rift
I bet a lot of you guessed this right and a lot of you guessed wrong. Rift is the best EDH card out of all of the box toppers and it’s not even remotely close. Other formats get 0 use from this card but that doesn’t matter because it’s so good in EDH that it blows every other card away. This is a pure EDH box topper and accordingly, it might be undervalued by a segment of the whale population, meaning it could have a steeper growth curve that cards people pick up for Modern. EDH is a behemoth and getting box toppers just for the format shows WotC knows it.
That’s all for me this week. I hope this informs your box topper shopping and if you want me to never do this format again, I understand. If that’s the case, leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading, everyone. Until next time!