5 Underplayed Equipment in PDH
21 Oct 2021 - 10 min read
Equipment is a polarizing card type. Either it’s much maligned for the very broken constructed powerhouses like Skull Clamp and Batterskull , or there’s a bored groan when every set has yet another cumbersome and unplayable version of Bonesplitter . This is even more prominent while playing PDH because you don’t have access to the busted mythic rare powerhouses and you usually have to settle for things that give a paltry stat boost. However, despite a few known quantities in Pauper Dragon Highlander, common equipment is generally slept on and that’s a damn shame. So here are our picks for 5 underplayed equipment that should definitely be seeing more action in your PDH 99.
Horned Helm: Chev
The instant-speed attachment cycle from Fifth dawn contains TWO already known absolute all-stars with Cranial Plating and Neurok Stealthsuit , but I’m here to petition that there is a third: Horned Helm. While not as flashy as shroud or a ridiculous power buff, Horned Helm elevates your ability to make impactful attacks in a color that can really take advantage of instant-speed trample. Being able to switch which attacking beast has trample based on targeted removal or chump blockers can have a drastic impact in a format so dominated by combat.
While I don’t think there is enough support for a Proud Wildbonder or Hornbash Mentor PDH “trample tribal” deck, I would still love to see one. And in the meantime, consider slotting this in any deck that tries to get through with big creatures. 6cmc tribal is a notable standout commanded by Brinelin, the Moon Kraken and Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood , and if you’re REALLY feeling dangerous - something like Fynn, the Fangbearer would be incredibly spicy. Remember, only one one point of damage needs to target a creature to be considered lethal with deathtouch…
Boots of Speed: Chev
Okay, before we dig into the merits of a repeatable 2-mana haste enabler….y’all need to check your decklists and tell me why Crystal Slipper is seen in twice as many decks as our Boots here. These objectively better shoes are made for pounding the pavement and turning your Savage Ventmaw into something truly terrifying. In fact, the only argument I’ll take for Crystal Slippers over the Boots is the incredibly entertaining notion of a Dargo, the Shipwrecker running full speed in heels. Those people get a pass, but they’re on thin ice.
Seriously though, haste is an incredibly powerful ability that I routinely undervalue in ALL forms of EDH. At their best, Boots of Speed lets a commander who cares about combat like Ventmaw or Reyav, Master Smith get their strategy running a turn early. At their worst, Boots of Speed help you recover from a wrath faster than any opponent. Either way, they’re going to leave a mark.
Thieves’ Tools: Chev
We can’t all be Whispersilk Cloak , but this underappreciated gem from AFR really does take a stab at it. A lot of very powerful “attack” or “deal combat damage” triggers exist on creatures power 3 or less, and being able to rely on those abilities turn after turn can be super valuable. Whether you’re trying to lose friends using creatures like Scourge Servant , Corpse Cur , or Priests of Norn for an infect victory or just amassing resources with the likes of Moonblade Shinobi or Hoard Robber , Thieves’ Tools has got you covered.
Where I really see Thieves’ Tools shining is with three specific commanders: Azra Oddsmaker - being able to consistently draw two cards per combat and filling your graveyard for flashback-esque effects is incredible value. As we’ve talked about ad nauseum (not the card, that’s a rare), PDH very quickly comes down to access to card draw and there are few synergies as powerful as this. Krydle of Baldur’s Gate - Krydle himself gives you access to one unblockable creature, but being able to sneak in an extra creature is fantastic in UB, the two colors that care about attack triggers most. With an army of Library Larcenist and Okiba-Gang Shinobi -esque effects, you’ll really be able to emphasize a card advantage. Blizzard Specter - A flying, aggressive threat that with the right tools can bounce an opponent’s creature every turn. Blizzard Specter continues to prove the power of aggressive Dimir builds. Now if only WOTC would print a common equipment with double strike….
Goldvein Pick/Prying Blade: Julian
This pick is a two-for-one special because these cards are very similar. While Goldvein Pick is better due to the lower equip cost and extra toughness buff, both it and Prying Blade are incredible thanks to their ability to generate treasure whenever your creature connects. In fact, use those aforementioned Thieves’ Tools and guarantee that you’re ramping and fixing every turn, even outside of green. The mana advantage is already excellent, but this doesn’t even consider strategies that care about tokens or artifacts.
Where I really see these equipment shining are in a deck like Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator / Dargo, the Shipwrecker which utilize treasure to power out an early Dargo to beat face. Other hot picks are things like a Fathom Fleet Swordjack deck where you can continually ramp up damage as you attack each turn, or a Whirler Rogue build so you continually have artifacts to tap to get in for damage, perpetuating the cycle.
I’m sure there’s other nasty combo territory you can get into, but even just in a simple country midrange deck, do not underestimate this pair. The seven dwarves would be proud (Hi Ho Hi Ho, it’s off to combat we go).
Explorer’s Scope: Julian
That’s right, I’m frickin’ talking about ramp disparity again which is even more prominent in pauper than in regular EDH. And what better way to even the playing field than with a card that ramps you while saving you from blank draws?. Perfect for aggro and midrange decks alike, the Explorer’s Scope is perfect to smooth out draws and keep your deck flowing all while getting into the red zone.
Where this card especially shines is in any deck that has a Landfall theme. For something like Grove Rumbler or Canyon Jerboa it’s a massive combat trick making blocks even harder. For Tunneling Geopede it’s a drastically increased clock and for Tireless Provisioner it’s more dirty value. No matter what deck you’re playing, the scope is here to help you see further and be more prepared.
And that’s that! 5 equipment that should certainly be seeing more play than they are AND a few deck ideas to utilize them in. Let us know if you play any of these cards, have a home for them, and which equipment is your favorite in PDH!
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