Whelming Wave

Legality

Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Hero Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Heirloom Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Penny Dreadful Legal
MTGO Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Duel Decks: Elspeth vs. Kiora (DDO) Rare
Born of the Gods (BNG) Rare

Combos Browse all

Whelming Wave

Sorcery

Return all creatures to their owners' hands except for Krakens, Leviathans, Octopuses, and Serpents.

Latest as Commander

Whelming Wave Discussion

SynergyBuild on Why Cyclonic Rift is not ...

3 weeks ago

In EDH, when a player with a blue source and at least mana in other sources open on a field. It is a threat. It is a threat not because of a 7 mana spell, but a 2 mana spell, not a spell that deals damage, counters spell, destroys permanents, tutors, or cheats costs, but a bounce spell.

Cyclonic Rift , C-Rift, the big wave, whatever you call it, people know it as one of the strongest, most backbreaking spells in all of EDH, if not the best card in the format.

I am here to say that is isn't.


Part of my series on why other popular staples aren't good ( Phyrexian Arena , Rampant Growth ), or are simply not good in a specific way ( Rhystic Study ), I am not here to deny the power that a card like Cyclonic Rift has, but simply that it isn't a good enough card to warrant the hate or love that it receives.

Before I go over why it isn't good, I need to go over why at nearly every power level, it is good.


In casual EDH, the 50% or less, the Precons, the jank, lies it's the weakest state.

That is where all removal spells, sweepers, or countermagic is the weakest, especially bounce. If no one has threatening boards, why remove them. You'd rather spend 7 mana on a spell to improve yours most of the time, yet those games go long, the Cyclonic Rift acts as a Fog to save you, Sleep to get in for damage, or real removal if you use it on a player's end step if they have to discard just after.

Almost all cards that show heavy play at higher levels show some play at lower ones, and while the price-tag may limit it for most casual players, it does work.

At the 75% or the middle tiers of EDH, where I think EDH players mostly lie, it where it is the most powerful. IF it destroyed any number of target nonland permanents, it would be weaker, because of three reasons:

  • 75% decks often use permanent-based engines to support their gameplan. Think Beast Whisperer along with a deck full of cheap elves, or Paradox Engine in a deck will a lot of Temple Bell effects and mana rocks.

  • These decks and their creators often expect opponents to remove threats, so have many threats to remove.

  • They try to protect against sweepers, the only punishing cards for going so wide, with anti-sweepers, think Heroic Intervention , or Boros Charm , and protect against some single-target removal with effects like Darksteel Plate .

Because of this, and because indestructible and hexproof don't protect against a mass bounce effect, along with Cyclonic Rift being the only mass bounce at instant speed that doesn't affect you at all, and doesn't target, it is truly the best anti-75% sweeper by many standards.

In the competitive setting, while not bad, it is mostly relegated to being a 2 mana Chain of Vapor or a Into the Roil that doesn't draw a card, that can let a combo deck get through stax locks once in a blue moon.

Don't get me wrong, being relegated to a slightly worse Chain of Vapor isn't an insult. Chain of Vapor is possible the best removal in cEDH, as decks like Kess consultation or P-Hulk variants Laboratory Maniac wins, and for 1 blue mana, or two in the case of Cyclonic Rift , you get to bounce their wincon as they draw off an empty deck, so they lose...

That is some powerful stuff.


So why isn't it the best EDH card, an efficient spell in nearly any metagame? 2 options for removal, one that crushes many lists and the other a sleek and useful trick?

Because it isn't hyper-efficient, nor is it unbeatable, nor is it irreplaceable.

To start, many cEDH decks that run it run consistent amounts of countermagic to protect it's possible great effect, and numerous cards could fit the spot. It isn't alone. Blink of an Eye , the second Into the Roil has been used over it in many combo lists that more mana-efficient options and many forget the slot all-together, in favor of a cantrip or other removal spell like Abrade or whatever. It isn't very dominant there, and so is easy to explain why it wouldn't be amazing there.

In casual lists, Cyclonic Rift costs about as much as half of many of the casual decks, or even more than some entire casual decks that I have seen. Bringing money-cards wins there, as would a Consecrated Sphinx that costs less money, and I'd wager would have more powerful an effect. Again, an easy argument, but I believe it works.

The really hard place to argue against Cyclonic Rift on the surface is the middle tiers. The 75% lists. Legitimately, I think it is because in the 75% players don't consistently a highly interactive 'metagame'. They just prefer to be interactive 'ingame'.


This comes down to theory, however, when a deck, for example, an elf list abusing the Llanowar Elves style effects along with untap effects to keep making mana, dumping it into something like Ezuri, Renegade Leader . All of that deck and many others get shut down by Null Rod . While that card may be less powerful than other cards against any random deck, as many players know exactly what decks they face, they can play to those decks.

This means general removal, like Anguished Unmaking may be worse if artifacts and walkers don't see much play, you'd rather Mortify . Or if instant speed doesn't help you much, as a lot of City of Solitude / Dosan the Falling Leaf effects exist in your meta, Vindicate , etc.

This is pretty basic knowledge, however, the point here is that there are many, many replacements for Cyclonic Rift in different metagames, and I want to share the ones, only in mono-blue, that in the 75% are why Cyclonic Rift is overrated.

This isn't to say it isn't the best, but that if many, many replacements cost way less $$$ and are occasionally better, that one card shouldn't be considered the best in every situation.


Replacements:

Aether Gale , sorcery, only hits six things, has to hit your things if you don't have enough targets of only your opponents, targets, etc. Yes, there are reasons this is clearly worse.

Why is it better? Politically, you don't have to hit cards from players you team with. Similarly, if you like the Howling Mine on someone's field, don't bounce it. Someone Banishing Light ed someone else's threat you can't deal with? Don't bounce it.

Also, 18 cents. Compared to ~20 dollars and I think it is a steal for budget lists.

Also, it is 2 mana cheaper, despite not being an occasional Disperse .

Evacuation , the downside is simple, it doesn't hit non-creatures, and bounces your own things.

The upsides are for decks that want their own things bounced. ETB effects like Mulldrifter (You can respond to the sacrifice on evoke if you want!), Archaeomancer (infinite sweepers by returning Evacuation , or just recur another card), Duplicant , Solemn Simulacrum , etc.

It is 5 mana too, still an instant, and is only 2-3 dollars right now.

Other options for this could be AEtherize , Whelming Wave , Inundate , Engulf the Shore , Profaner of the Dead , or Scourge of Fleets if you just want mass creature bounce, each with ups and downs, some that only hit opposing creatures, some that are instants, some with graveyard synergies, etc.

For mass nonland bounce that doesn't target? There are tons of options, plenty with lower mana costs than Cyclonic Rift .

Take Coastal Breach . It does a mass bounce for just 4 mana (with 3 opponents), leaving you enough to rebuild first, and being able to be cast much faster, making up slightly for the sorcery speed.

Or Crush of Tentacles , 6 mana? 5 mana and an 8/8, it needs to be in a deck with enough cheap drops to hit surge to be worth it, but an option.

Devastation Tide is a personal favorite, if you run Aminatou, Brainstorm , a lot of scry, Mystical Tutor , Long-Term Plans , Jace, the Mind Sculptor , or are lucky, it is a 2 mana bounce everything. Really strong, however, sorcery (unless you cast it with Miracle on an opponents turn.

Run really high mana cards? Displacement Wave can be better,

Like a big creature attached? Kederekt Leviathan . It even comboes with flicker effects, or can be repeated for 2 mana with an effect like Animate Dead or 3 mana at instant speed whenever with Necromancy in black/blue.

Only need to target one player for political reasons? River's Rebuke .

A lot of one color in the meta? Wash Out

Artifacts/Enchantments? Reduce to Dreams

Even outside of bounce effects, Ixidron can do work xD


Point is, there are options. Even outside of blue, sweepers that can get around the normal protection is seriously strong. Terminus , Hallowed Burial , along with most mass exile effects in white from Play of the Game to Final Judgement / Descend upon the Sinful to the new Urza's Ruinous Blast , etc. Mercilous Eviction in W/B, the -x/-x effects in black like Toxic Deluge or Black Sun's Zenith , etc. in any color, Perilous Vault exists.

These are half of why I think Cyclonic Rift is overrated. Not because it isn't great at what it does, but that it isn't that much better than the rest.

The other half is simple.

Every color (sorry colorless) has answers to Cyclonic Rift off the top of my head.

White? Teferi's Protection , Lapse of Certainty it.

Blue? Swan Song it. Dispel it.

Black? Many lists abuse cards like Inquisition of Kozilek or other discard to remove powerful cards from opposing decks.

Red? Pyroblast or Red Elemental Blast are cEDH staples and are very efficient.

Green? Ugh... Yeah, I guess some colors don't have answers...

EDIT: griffstick said Seedtime . This is beautiful xD

(Gutteral Response if they ever make hybrid legal in mono-colored xD)

That's all. Thoughts?

simplebricks on $10 Deckbuilding Challenge - Storm

2 months ago

Whelming Wave is a cheap board wipe but was just a few cents too expensive to replace aetherize.

Vapor Snag and Shock are also cheap removal that might be able to replace some other card in the deck. Flame Slash is usually better as removal but can't be used as an instant-speed finisher.

Counterspells can be easily customized to hit creatures, instants or noncreatures within the budget. Choose what you want for your meta.

As for draw spells, Tormenting Voice is probably better than Whirlpool Rider against non-blue decks. Treasure Cruise is also within budget but needs an enabler. Anticipate is also cheap but I initially cut it in favour of the whirlpools based on the reasoning that they can draw you into anything if you have the combo set up (infinite mana means infinite displaces on archaeomancer+any other creature).

One final word on finishers, fireball has the same problem as grapeshot. They are sorceries. I would recommend switching it with Fall of the Titans or with Volcanic Geyser . Fireball is iconic but it sadly is not as good as other budget replacements.

Mj3913 on Slumbering Isles, Vacation Destination

2 months ago

With all the sea monsters have you considered Whelming Wave ? If you Ramp hard enough or cheat it out somehow (pretty sure you can still pay kickers on a free cast, don't quote me though) Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep works as a second Wave. Hope that helps some, +1 for ya, looks fun!

Scion_of_Darkness on GU Leviathan-Kraken-Octopus

2 months ago

I use a Mana Wall engine for mine. It plays monsters that matter and definitely makes good use of Whelming Wave .

Check it out. Maybe you can grab some ideas.

Lorthos, The Fresh Maker

wallisface on GU Leviathan-Kraken-Octopus

2 months ago

I’d be focusing on Ulas temple. If you can ensure a creature’s on top of your deck, you start winning T4 onwards. It also allows you to run stuff like Whelming Wave to deal with an opponent who’s gone wide

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Whelming Wave occurrence in decks from the last year

Commander / EDH:

All decks: 0.02%

Blue: 0.21%