It’s that time of year, when we give thanks for the important things in our lives. Like family, friends, the roof over your head…and the handful of cards that have saved your ass on more than a few occasions.

What, you don’t think of Magic on Thanksgiving? For shame.

In all seriousness, I really I’m thankful for Magic in general; it’s introduced me to an amazing community, allowed me yet another creative outlet that I can enjoy with friends, entertained me, challenged me, and given me inspiration for costumes. But there are some specific cards that I’m particularly thankful to have in my arsenal.

Not necessarily my favorite cards of all time, these are the top five cards that make me say, “Oh thank the gods…” when I draw them.

5. Malfegor/Bladewing the Risen

I know, I know. I’m starting out with a tie. Not the best way to start off a Top 5 list, right? But look, I could have made number five dragons in general (and believe me, I wanted to) so cut me some slack. These two really do come as a pair.

I run a pretty effective B/R zombie dragon deck (which uses my boy, Sarkhan the Mad), and when I built it I put these two awesome dragons in it just because I thought they were cool. Little did I know how destructive they could be together. I do a lot of dumping cards in the graveyard with this deck, so usually one or both of these guys end up in there. With a quick Rise from the Grave[/c], I can get Bladewing out, followed by Malfegor (and usually Bladewing’s Thrall), dump my hand, watch my opponents sacrifice most (if not all) of their creatures, and be left in quite the comfy position for next turn. All that for a measly five mana.

4. Rage Extractor

A personal favorite of mine, I built a deck around this card that simply destroys people. But if I don’t draw one early on, it becomes a whole lot less effective, to say the least. I kind of hold my breath until it shows up…and once it does there’s a sigh of relief. Even better if I draw a couple, or a Phyrexian Metamorph.

Two, three, or even four of these out at once?

Yes please.

mtg_moltensteeldragon3. Moltensteel Dragon

…alright, so it’s another dragon. But this dude’s special! I swear. He makes Rage Extractor particularly dangerous, but also prevents that deck from being weak in its absence. In a pinch, I’ve played him for four mana and four life, just to have a threat on the board…only to later attack and pay a mana/life combo to take out my opponent.

The power shift when he enters the battlefield never ceases to please me. An apocalypse in dragon form, indeed.

mtg_phyrexianobliterator2. Phyrexian Obliterator

Do I really have to explain this? Yes, I’d like to make you think twice about attacking and/or blocking me. And of course I’d like to also equip Lashwrithe, how did you know? This dude is a total game-changer, and I’m always happy to see him. Coupled with Entomber Exarch, go ahead and kill him if you want. I’ll just bring him back again. And again. And again.

And I’ll just be praying you’re not running my number one pick…

1. Surgical Extraction

When I starting considering the cards in this list, Surgical Extraction was the first thing that popped into my head, and rightfully so. Aside from having what I consider to be the best art from New Phyrexia, it’s one of the best answers in recent memory to any combo deck out there and has found its way into quite a few of my decks. If I start with this in my hand, I’m a Duress or Despise away from dismantling my opponent’s plans…or getting rid of those pesky Mana Leaks. (Because god damn are they annoying.)

The best part? I don’t even need mana to cast it. Not only does that mean I can play this whenever I want – hell, I can play it before I’ve even taken my first turn – it means I can run this in literally any deck I have, regardless of color. No library is safe from it! The amount of times that this card has removed the likes of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, Bloodchief Ascension, or Vorapede from the game make it the clear winner for card I’m most thankful for.


And that wraps it up! In hindsight…perhaps I should have just said I’m thankful for New Phyrexia as a whole. And dragons. It probably would’ve been simpler. Oh well!

I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving! I suppose this signals the start of the holiday season, so good luck to all of you Black Friday shoppers; may the lines be short and your elbows swift.

And if you’re looking for an early gift to yourself, Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 and all the expansions are on sale for 50% off! The sale goes until Nov. 26 on XBL and Nov. 27 on PSN and Steam. Pick it up now!