This is the second article in my series about cheaper alternatives to more expensive cards. First, I want to write a little bit about some of the feedback I got on my pilot article, which received some helpful critique, specifically on the title of the article: Is Stoneforge Mystic Really that Good? Many people disliked the title because I didn’t really cover why Stoneforge wasn’t very good, I mostly focused on why Godo was good. The second criticism was that I was comparing a white card to a red card, because I was comparing Stoneforge Mystic to Godo, Bandit Warlord . I’ll try to address these concerns when talking about Deepfathom Skulker in this piece.
Today, I will compare Deepfathom Skulker , a new card from Oath of the Gatewatch to Bident of Thassa . Thassa’s Bident are cards played in many unblockable themed Simic decks, including Edric, Spymaster of Trest and some versions of Kaseto, Orochi Archmage commander decks.
So, at first glance, Deepfathom Skulker seems to be a two in one, a Thassa, God of the Sea and a Bident of Thassa mashed into one card. Thassa herself doesn’t see much play in Edric and Kaseto because of the fact that Kaseto already makes your creatures unblockable, and Edric’s creatures generally already have evasion. But, Bident of Thassa, on the other hand, sees a lot of play because it gives you tons of extra value when you attack with unblockable creatures.
Let’s take a look at how much the Bident is played in Kaseto and Edric. According to EDHREC, the Bident is played in 82% of Kaseto decks, and is played in 51% of Edric decks, which makes sense because Edric already does what the Bident does.
After looking over the Bident and Deepfathom Skulker , it kind of seems like Deepfathom Skulker is actually pretty bad, because it’s basically the Bident, but it costs 2 more mana and is more vulnerable to removal, because it’s a creature, and the second ability doesn’t seem awfully relevant because as I said before, Kaseto already is able to grant unblockability and Edric’s team usually already has evasion naturally.
Both Kaseto decks and Edric decks are extremely commander-centric, because without Kaseto, the deck cannot function because you can not get your creatures in to hit for value. But, with Deepfathom Skulker , even if Kaseto is too expensive to recast, you don’t just lose. Deepfathom Skulker allows the deck to still function, albeit at a lower power level.
Edric decks are also very commander-centric, because without Edric, you can’t grind out any value. Deepfathom Skulker allows the deck to still generate value, which Bident of Thassa also does. But, for two extra mana, Deepfathom Skulker lets your creatures without native unblockability to hit for extra value.
One last thing that we haven’t talked about yet is the Bident’s second ability. When you’re playing this sort of deck with a bunch of really small creatures that swing for value, you never really want to have someone to swing with all, most likely at you, because you were the one who forced them to do so in the first place, so it’s irrelevant in 99% of games.
Edric Commander Deck
Next, let’s analyze how well Deepfathom Skulker can replace Bident of Thassa in this deck. We have to look at two things in this deck. First, the availability of colorless mana and the number of creatures without native unblockability, which can be granted unblockability with Deepfathom Skulker to hit for extra value. This Edric deck, generated from user submitted decks on EDHREC, has 5 colorless sources, which is more than enough when you’re drawing so many cards with Edric, so you’re almost guaranteed to find to find a few of them to repeatedly activate Deepfathom Skulker a few times every turn to keep your deck functioning.
Next, let’s look at our second commander deck, Kaseto, Orochi Archmage . Again, generated through EDHREC:
Kaseto Commander Deck
So, let’s see how well Deepfathom Skulker would replace Bident of Thassa in this Kaseto EDH decks generated through EDHREC. There are 6 colorless sources in the deck, which is a decent amount to be able to use Deepfathom Skulker as a replacement for Kaseto. I would throw in a few more mana rocks into the deck if you were to replace Bident of Thassa with Deepfathom Skulker because without Kaseto, your deck literally can’t function at all, where as in Edric, the deck can still function without Edric.
To maximize Deepfathom Skulker , you’ll want to include 8-10 colorless sources to repeatedly activate it. Though Deepfathom Skulker and Bident of Thassa are both inexpensive, I think Skulker can beat the Bident at its own game.