#9 – Abrade
– Hour of Devastation
December 19, 2017
Commander [EDH]: 3.58
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This card was ranked 4th on my Top 10 list.
Abrade may not be the flashiest card, but it was probably the most-needed card in Hour of Devastation. After the artifact-heavy Kaladesh block distorted Standard with its brutally efficient pieces, Abrade came along to give decks an actual answer that didn’t feel so bad when in the mainboard. While being forced to mainboard a dedicated artifact removal spell feels bad, being able to run a creature kill spell that also blows up artifacts made this a staple in any deck with red in it. You don’t need to be flashy to be good, and Abrade has since been a steadfast presence in red decks, able to keep artifacts from getting too degenerate and offering a burn spell alongside Lightning Strike to keep creature decks honest.
This card was unranked in my Top Ten list.
Versatility is a lot more valuable than we sometimes realize. For example, go back to the Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash card lists and take a look at the ten guild charms. I doubt there will be even one that you could never imagine yourself using in constructed or casual, even though every one features one mode you generally wouldn’t use in casual or constructed if it were alone on a card. It’s not so common to maindeck a Shatter effect outside of a Standard like the current one; meanwhile, three-damage spells that don’t hit players are generally chosen more by niche defensive decks than aggressive ones. But when you have them both together and can be ready for an expanded range of situations by using only one card, you have a card that any deck would want.
This card was unranked in my Top 10 list.
I don’t understand why people were excited for the reprinting of Lightning Strike when we already have Abrade. The three things that make this card appealing are versatility, instant speed, and cost. Sometimes you want to kill a creature, sometimes you want to shatter an artifact. Now you can do both without having to sideboard. My main gripe is that 3 damage feels too powerful, but its the Lightning Bolt “2.5 damage” argument all over again. Sure it can’t hit your opponent like Shock or Lightning Strike but with Kaladesh artifacts running a muck, a pure upgrade on Shatter is very welcome.
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