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Hey there gamers! It’s another Magic the Gathering week this week! Recently, Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro released a ban/restricted list update where they addressed the powerful The One Ring card and how it’s everywhere and dominant and possibly too powerful. As it turns out, WOTC sees these things as a bonus. Buy more cards!
So The One Ring is going to be everywhere for the foreseeable future. Great! Or as I meant say, Groan! I haven’t had the pleasure of playing against Post Malone’s Folly myself, but I do have some thoughts to share on how to beat it. Or you could join it. Copies are just $50+. Let’s beat it.
We Are All Frodo
Some of these entries are a lot more obvious than others. I’m sure I’ve missed stuff, too. It’s getting tough with all these new cards all the time. Feel free to post your Samwise-guy comments below.
10. Exile the Ring
This is the most obvious solution, and the one players have already embraced. There are a decent number of options, from Haywire Mite and World Breaker to Forsake the Worldly and Crush Contraband, to Dreams of Steel and Oil for right after the tutor. Blue even has cards like Resculpt and Ravenform, which might get a lot of looks even though they gift tokens.
Some of these cards have a lot of flexibility, like Cast into the Fire and Tear Asunder, and some can even provide a lot of repeat value, like Act of Authority or Devout Chaplain. You can also use any of the cards that will exile any permanent, even if they have some downside, like Excise the Imperfect. Almost anything you could give them instead is a downgrade from The One Ring.
In Commander, Masked Vandal is a great option for any green deck based around a creature type. Cards like Return to Dust, Ruinous Intrusion, and even Kalemne’s Captain are better in a big mana format. Sylvan Reclamation and Angel of the Ruins can help your mana if the Ring fails to show.
Want to take all the artifacts out at once? Consulate Crackdown sort of gets there, and Farewell or Merciless Eviction leave no doubt. Cabaretti Confluence and Furnace Dragon are expensive but might suit your deck somehow. Into the Core and Dust to Dust aren’t the worst.
You can also force a sacrifice, though that’s usually pretty difficult and they can reanimate the Ring. It does get around indestructible, though. Visions of Ruin or Balor are a great example of why it’s difficult, as the opponent chooses what to sacrifice. Scrap Mastery, Energy Flux, Kataki, War’s Wage and Wave of Vitriol are probably the most effective options.
9. Deactivate the Ring
Several cards from Magic’s long history turn artifacts into useless lumps while not destroying them at all. How? By stopping their abilities from happening. The one we really want to stop is the ability to tap The One Ring to draw cards. If it already has burden counters, the Ring is going to hurt them without giving them any benefit.
There are plenty of ways to disrupt a single activation as well, though few are good. Voidslime and Disallow do alright as modal spells, and Stifle will always do work against stuff like fetchlands, but the rest is hardly worth mentioning. Bind, Squelch and Interdict cantrip, and Interdict shuts the Ring off for the turn, which is cool, but it’s tough to find room for cards like that in any real deck. Trickbind doesn’t cantrip, but split second adds value.
It’s tough to imagine what the jankiest way to stop the Ring is, but contenders probably include Ayesha Tanaka, Lavinia of the Tenth (or other detain card), Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate, and Rust. Big, big points for getting The One Ring to Rust.
There are 3 hidden gems I left to last. First is Repudiate//Replicate, a split card with a ton of applications. It’s cheap to cast, and cheap to get. The colour pair is super common in EDH, too! And it also takes care of triggered abilities if need be, like the one that give The One Ring caster protection from everything.
Second is Opportunistic Dragon, which is well costed and also great at stealing human Commanders.
8. Enchant the Ring
According to the upcoming Wilds of Eldraine expansion, auras are back, or something.
Many players, especially those who played in the 90s, have a special place in their heart for auras. They were called ‘enchant creature’ or ‘enchant land’ or whatever in those days, and we played them because we played most or all of the cards we had. Nowadays we know that auras are often card disadvantage, and only a few are ever worth it.
But you might have a legit aura strategy. Maybe you’re just going enchantress, where you draw cards for every enchantment you play. Whatever it is, there are auras that will work on The One Ring. To be fair, all of these could have been mentioned in the previous section, but janking the Ring out with auras was stupid and juicy enough for its own section.
While all of Bound in Gold, Detention Vortex, Faith’s Fetters, Intercessor’s Arrest, Planar Disruption, Realmbreaker’s Grasp, Stasis Cocoon, and Suppression Bonds will do the trick, the one you want for maximum level of opponent disruption is Encrust. Gross! Go ahead and put it on now, Post, or Bilbo, or whoever you are.
7. Steal the Ring
Theft cards are another easy and obvious way to deal with something shiny and pocketable like The One Ring. From the classic Steal Artifact to Memnarch to Aladdin to Master Thief, there are no shortage of fun options. Wake the Dragon is a recent one that seems pretty cool. Moldy oldie Magus of the Unseen borrows the Ring to add burden counters, but will also help their draws. The issue as always is finding a way to shoehorn cards like this into your deck.
Some are good enough to see a lot of play by themselves. Cards like Hostage Taker, Commandeer, and Hellkite Tyrant. If you want to be really nasty, an early Thada Adel, Acquisitor or Acquire can steal the Ring right out of their library. Also, lol, Eternal Dominion.
Possibly the best way to steal the Ring is with Mirage’s Kukemssa Pirates. Why? The Ring grants protection from everything, which stops the player from receiving combat damage, but doesn’t stop them from being attacked. So the pirates can attack, choose to not do combat damage that the Ring would prevent anyway, then take the Ring for their troubles.
6. Steal their Draw
Why be content with taking the Ring, when a card like Notion Thief takes the card advantage instead, leaving them with the burden counters!
There aren’t a lot of comparable cards to Notion Thief in this regard. Plagiarize only sort of gets there, so this isn’t the most ready option, but there is a similar thing we can also do, and that’s stop extra draws altogether. Cards like Narset, Parter of Veils and Spirit of the Labyrinth stop extra draws cold.
Stopping extra draws has proven to be a very powerful ability, and EDH has banned both Hullbreacher and Leovold, Emissary of Trest because they interact with spells like Wheel of Fortune and Echo of Eons to empty an opponent’s hand completely. Otherwise they might help against the Ring, too.
5. Overburden the Ring
A common strategy, if you go by the most popular commander option on EDHrec.com, is proliferate. The commander is Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, and proliferate can totally be used to add burden counters to the Ring.
While you run the risk of giving your opponent a mittful of cards, upping the burden counters on The One Ring is going to take them down fairly quickly. This is best combined with something that keeps the Ring tapped down or deactivated, like Encrust.
If you’re really serious about doing something like this, the envelope-pusher is Paradox Haze to give the opponent a second upkeep to get dinged by the burden again.
4. Attack their Draw
While you might not be able to stop The One Ring‘s player from drawing a pile of cards, you can hurt them for doing so. While 3 colours, 5 mana, and totally outclassed as an EDH bogeyman, Nekusar, the Mindrazer is still the gold standard for punishing opposing draws. Nekusar’s Howling Mine-like addition of an extra draw for all players gives you an advantage, and moves the game forward.
Outside of black, there are few options on punishing card draw, but we have janky nonsense like Storm Seeker, Sudden Impact and Runeflare Trap which might actually kill someone in EDH who’s still too into their Reliquary Tower to notice.
Last of course is Chains of Mephistopheles, which messes with extra draws in a way that can only be described as ‘complicated’. The demon in the artwork looks super-pumped to get a chain on ya.
3. Attack their Artifact Usage
It’s not just The One Ring. Treasure is all over EDH, and so are so many other artifact strategies, incidental artifact usage, and many artifact commanders. You might as well be prepared for all that.
It’s useful to note that artifact destruction, like with Shatterstorm, Vandalblast or even Bane of Progress, doesn’t do much against a lot of current artifact strats. Treasure just gets sacrificed in response, and is likely back again next turn. Artifact commanders go back to the command zone, but will return. The One Ring is indestructible, and so are things like Mithril Coat, Darksteel Plate, Darksteel Forge, Darksteel Reactor, Blightsteel Colossus…
Well anyway, it’s good to think about ways to punish artifact usage that isn’t just destruction. A good place to start is the Reserved List. Haunting Wind, if you can get your hands on it, is a great way to ding treasure hoarders and Ring bearers alike. Harsh Mentor and Immolation Shaman can do a similar job.
While it’s not much against The One Ring, the damage from Ancient Runes can really add up against an artifact-heavy strategy. Fathom Fleet Swordjack and of course Dockside Extortionist benefit from opponents with lots of artifacts, and yes: Gaea’s Avenger is a card.
Forcing artifacts to enter the battlefield tapped, like with Manglehorn, Kismet, Blind Obedience, Root Maze, or Frozen Aether can really slow down treasure hoarders, and should stop at least one use of the Ring to draw a card.
2. Break through their Protection
So far this list has been mostly concerned with The One Ring‘s ability to draw cards, but it’s also great to have game against that pesky ‘protection from everything’ ability. Luckily, the Ring can’t be blinked for value, but it can be bounced and recast, which is probably someone’s plan.
You can stop the Ring’s ETB trigger flat out with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, as well as some cards mentioned above.
But even better than that, you can let them get the trigger, have their protection from everything, and then pull out a card like Flaring Pain, Skullcrack, or Fear, Fire, Foes! These cards make it so damage can’t be prevented, which is one of the key parts of protection from everything.
There are a few more of these cards out there, but the usage is narrow. Stomp, the adventure part of Bonecrusher Giant is a standout, as are both the afore-mentioned Flaring Pain and the Insult part of Insult//Injury, which also doubles your damage that turn.
1. Ignore their Protection
What better way to defeat The One Ring than to run a strategy that doesn’t even care about it? The protection from everything aspect, at least.
Protection from stuff does a lot, but it doesn’t stop something critical: untargeted lifeloss. Need an example?
A very heavily played little card, both in EDH and the Standard of its time, is Zulaport Cutthroat. I’ve had that guy in at least a dozen decks. He has a triggered effect that is sometimes called ‘gaindrain’ because you gain life and the opponent(s) lose it. The gain is nice, but the drain is sneaky-good, because it doesn’t target, and bypasses stuff that cares about damage. Like protection.
It’s not like I want EDH to be a game of linear, non-interactive strategies, but if you get a few copies of the Cutthroat out with some other dorks, and wrath the board, you might just win on the spot, regardless of who’s got what Ring.
It’s not just Zulaport Cutthroat. Bastion of Remembrance is basically the same card. Suture Priest in white is another cheap, easy-to-leverage effect that doesn’t do damage. Kambal, Consul of Allocation and Bloodchief Ascension are particularly nasty. Wound Reflection, among others, doubles down on lifeloss.
There are lots of lifeloss effects available, including the extort keyword, which is oddly not affected by colour identity rules because the mana symbols are part of reminder text. This means some of those cards might be more playable than you realized, like Crypt Ghast being fine in mono-black, for example.
Lifeloss is not just a great way to combat protection from everything, it’s a great way to win games in Commander overall.
Congratulations, adventurer, on reaching the end of this journey of words. You are now fortified with strategies both legit and jank, and are ready to sally forth and take on the greatest enemy of our time, the ultimate wielder of The One Ring, Post Malone.
Thanks for reading!