Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC- 2022 Edition
(Vanquish the Horde | Art by Grzegorz Rutkowski)
Tea Tasted Somewhat Weird, Almost Slick
Y'all, you'll never believe who came to visit last week while I was off!
Elesh Norn came by! It was lovely! She complimented my hair, she brought all sorts of goodies for an afternoon tea, she tried to consume my soul and conform me to the glory of Phyrexia. That's such an Elesh Norn thing to do. I love her, she's so wacky! I really need to invite her over more often. I haven't even met her children yet. (I hear there are a lot of them.)
Anyway, let's rank the Battlecruiser (8 CMC+) cards that came out in 2022.
Battlecruiser Cards of 2022
- Eligible Sets: Innistrad, Midnight Hunt; Midnight Hunt Commander; Innistrad, Crimson Vow; Crimson Vow Commander; Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty; Neon Dynasty Commander; Streets of New Capenna; New Capenna Commander; Commander Legends: Battle of Boulder's Gate; Dominaria United; Dominaria United Commander; Unfinity; Warhammer 40k Commander
- Previous Number of Lands: 326
- New Additions from 2021: 27
- New Number of Lands: 353
Battlecruiser gets to dip a bit more into 2021 since I didn't talk about Midnight Hunt in my original Battlecruiser series. Midnight Hunt sticks out only slightly more in my head than Crimson Vow, but really these sets make me miss Shadows Over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon. Yeah, remember those? They did not get the respect they deserved at the time, but they were infinitely more interesting to me than either Innistrad set in 2021. No respect for SOI block. None.
I feel like I've gotten off topic. Who are our big doofuses this year?
334: Yavimaya Sojourner: 94 Decks
Is Yavimaya Sojourner better than the other creatures ranked around it it, like Maelstrom Djinn, Flight of Equenauts, and Cognivore?
I don't know, probably.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I don't think anyone's gonna be debating the placement of Yavimaya Sojourner in the comments.
288: Meeting of the Five: 302 Decks
Everyone that plays Magic for a prolonged period of time has a 'kitchen table' phase, and that phase for me was populated by one type of content: the worst Magic cards ever. I saw all the greatest hits at the time: Starcitygames top 100 worst cards ever, Jmgariepy's worst cards according to Gatherer, Wedge's worst-card-ever series. I was an avid connoisseur of terrible Magic cards.
The problem with lists like these, of course, is that they're almost entirely populated with cards from the first 15 years or so of Magic design, when Wizards was still trying to figure out how the heck to design cards. You'd get the occasional Razor Boomerang, but anything past 2010 was a massive exception to the rule. By and large, cards are just exponentially better now.
Every once in a while, however, we get a card that, if it can't sit alongside Akron Legionnaire, is at least in very much the same spirit. Archangel's Light, Prism Array, Dungeon Descent, and, most recently, Meeting of the Five!
Let's assume you build your deck to maximize Meeting of the Five, and you're running only three-color cards because that's the only thing you can cast with it. If you cast Meeting as soon as you possibly can, it will get you, at most, three cards. Not even three amazing cards! Three cards that cost three to five mana. That's awful.
So let's say you go all-out and make infinite mana off Meeting of the Five. Your end result is that you draw ten cards, when cards like Genesis Wave or Villainous Wealth would just win you the game. Heck, Apex of Power does more than this card, and that's already something I'm not thrilled to play. This card is bad, and I love it.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: This card should be enshrined around Juju Bubble and Wood Elemental. 10 out of 10.
287: Molten Monstrosity: 302 Decks
The only reason I have Molten Monstrosity as its own write-up is because I wanted to kick Meeting of the Five down some more by showing that a 5/5 with haste is in more decks than Meeting of the Fivet. Monstrosity is fine.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Okay, I'll chill out about Meeting of the Five now.
223: Marut: 1,187 Decks
I don't know why the Treasure decks are interested in an eight-mana 7/7 trampler, but I don't think they should be. Marut doesn't even generate you Treasure, it just replaces Treasure you already had. There're way better things you can play in Treasure decks.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Seriously, have y'all looked outside your window? It's practically raining Treasure cards.
209: Shard of the Nightbringer: 1,645 Decks
Oooh, I like this. Shard of the Nightbringer out here casting Drain Life with an ability called Drain Life. Being a cast trigger neuters a lot of the true degeneracy you can do here, but black never has problems making lots of black mana, so surely we can find a slot for this as a treat.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: See, this is the battlecruiser fun that fuels me.
219: Sailors' Bane: 1,352 Decks
200: Walking Skyscraper: 1,841 Decks
Big beef for cheap! I don't really know if any deck actually wants a bunch of vanilla creatures with small upside, but Walking Skyscraper and Sailors' Bane seem fine for what they do. If you want big creatures for cheap, these aren't bad options, but they won't be anything more than that.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Sailors' Skyscraper... Walking Bane... Sailors' Walking... nah, I don't think any of these are working.
198: Myojin of Roaring Blades: 1,907 Decks
(20 Decks as a Commander, 1,887 Decks in the 99)
181: Myojin of Grim Betrayal: 2,359 Decks
(23 Decks as a Commander, 2,336 Decks in the 99)
167: Myojin of Towering Might: 2,794 Decks
(10 Decks as a Commander, 2,784 Decks in the 99)
154: Myojin of Cryptic Dreams: 3,377 Decks
(90 Decks as a Commander, 3,287 Decks in the 99)
151: Myojin of Blooming Dawn: 3,443 Decks
(22 Decks as a Commander, 3,421 Decks in the 99)
Myojin! I was very pleased that they decided to give these another go, and for the most part, I think these are a hit! The only one I'm not a fan of is Myojin of Towering Might. Eight counters is pretty low impact, but the other four definitely reward you for casting them without feeling overpowered. These are the big and splashy eight drops that I like to play.
The change to indestructible counters doesn't really matter that much outside of the odd Tyrite Sanctum synergy, but these new ones are much better to Proliferate. The only effect from the OG cycle of Myojins you wanted to do more than once was Myojin of Seeing Winds and even then, usually the first one was enough. Here, all of these are worth doing multiple times if you can. These actually seem like attractive choices for Proliferate decks. I'm a sucker for the classics, so these are probably my favorite for the year
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: If you wanna do the real challenge and run these as commanders, they certainly reward you as well! The white and blue ones will be the easiest to build around, though I like this brew from Ben for the red one.
194 (Tie): Hierophant Bio-Titan: 2,032 Decks
This just feels like a worse Ghalta, Primal Hunger. Hierophant Bio-Titan is big and pretty scary, but how cheap can you realistically get this? If you have the ability to remove four counters from your creatures, aren't those counters better suited on the creatures you already have? Wait, why are you playing a 12/12 in your counter deck anyway? Can't you just make 12/12s with your +1/+1 counters?
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: This is the type of card that I'll say is Overplayed, but then someone out there will draw it in the one scenario where it's the best card they could have, and they'll think I'm just a fool.
186: Explosive Singularity: 2,203 Decks
It's really only in Commander where you can say the phrase "I'm underwhelmed by this spell that can only deal ten damage." Ten damage is a lot, but in Commander, you're always vastly better off using an X spell, like Clan Defiance or Crackle with Power, that can scale up to the absurd life totals of Commander. Sure, sometimes Explosive Singularity costs less, but even at five mana, I'm not excited to cast this.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Want a spell that takes advantage of having a lot of creatures? Play Burn at the Stake. With five creatures, it's already dealing 15 damage to somebody.
184: Primeval Spawn: 2,255 Decks
Father Wizards heard about all the degeneracy running rampant in the format and decided they were gonna put their foot down. "No Primeval Spawn for you unless you cast it fair and square, and no free casting either! I've seen you playing with your Omniscience. Oh! And no blinking or reanimating it to get extra use of the LTB. You get one trigger, and that's final!"
Well, fine Daddy Wizards, but you still didn't stop me from casting this for one mana with Sphere of Resistance and One with the Multiverse! I will cheat and you cannot stop me!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It's certainly not the best thing you can play, but yeah, 10 mana for this effect still feels worth it.
147: Giant Ankheg: 3,757 Decks
I am not a fan of Archetype of Endurance. I'm also not really a fan of trample (though it's better here). You can probably guess my feelings on Giant Ankheg based on those two things.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: "The ankheg was a huge insectoid monster with many slender limbs and large antennae." In case you were looking to have trouble sleeping tonight.
143: Gorex, the Tombshell: 3,891 Decks
(192 Decks as a Commander, 3,699 Decks in the 99)
This is a lot of effort for a Raise Dead. Not sure I get the appeal of Gorex, the Tombshell. A lot of play seems to be coming from Zombie decks, but Zombos can also just play Gisa and Geralf or Phyrexian Reclamation to cast their Zombonies without the rigmarole of attacking with a big Turtle. Unless you want a Zambanie Turtle, I'm not sure what else you need here.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Anybody remember Meandering Towershell and Wandering Tombshell? Anyone at all? I'm not supposed to feel old at 23!
133: Majestic Genesis: 4,757 Decks
I'm all for these cards that care about high-CMC commanders, like Stinging Study, but I don't know about Majestic Genesis. Maybe it's just in comparison to cards like Genesis Wave or Kamahl's Druidic Vow, but the card seems... not bad, per se, but not the best thing you can do for a million mana. It reminds me a lot of Genesis Ultimatum, which is a card I'm always happy to cast, but it's certainly not the best thing you can do.
Then again, if you're playing a commander that costs eight, are you really committed to doing the best thing you can do? I guess not, and the card will put some good creatures into play. I guess I'll give it a pass.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Maaajjjjjeeeeestiiic.
129: Shadow of Mortality: 4,873 Decks
And here's another card in the vein Draco. Doesn't matter what the text on Shadow of Mortality is (and it's pretty mediocre text): doming opponents for 15 in Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow or Vial Smasher the Fierce makes it an excellent card purely because of that mana cost.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Although the life loss decks don't really seem like they need a two-mana 7/7. Not sure why cards like K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth are showing up on this card's page. It's really not great for those decks.
111: Avacyn's Memorial: 5,936 Decks
I remember there was a lot of bemoaning when Avacyn's Memorial was spoiled. Here's this eight-mana piece of protection that cost triple white and only protect a small subset of your board. I mean, comparing it to Avacyn, Angel of Hope certainly makes the card look silly.
But it's still very good, yeah? Like, okay, it doesn't favorably compare to one of the most powerful white cards in the entire format, boo hoo. It's still a strong piece of protection of any 'legends matter' deck. You almost always fold to a Wrath in those types of decks, so playing a way to shut off a good majority of Wraths seems good. It seems worse than other cards, yeah, but still altogether fine.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Understanding that this isn't even possible in the lore, how terrible an idea is a Zombie Avacyn?
105: Blood for the Blood God!: 7,069 Decks
"Oh hey, a card with an exclamation point in the title. Lol, how funny!" No! Not funny. How the heck am I supposed to use Blood for the Blood God! in a sentence? Look at that. I'm splicing my question with a freaking explanation point. They clearly weren't thinking of the poor internet-ranking-based EDH writers when naming this card.
So I'm not using the full name, and worse, Blood for the Blood God is actually kinda tricky to evaluate. This is where I wish I had more experience with the card because you really need the cost reduction to be active for it to be worthwhile. Paying more than seven mana for this feels bad when you could be playing one of the many cheaper alternatives. The eight damage does not justify this card if you're spending as much as you would for a Peer into the Abyss.
Obviously, though, there is a lot of upside. If you can get Blood for the Blood God for three mana, it seems fantastic! How, then, do we make sure that we can get a very good discount on this? It seems unlikely we'd wind up in scenarios where we want to Wrath with this card in hand. It's an instant, so we could leave it up for an opponent's Wrath, but that also seems fairly situational.
I guess that means we're playing this in a sacrifice deck, like Mahadi, Emporium Master? When are we gonna have six or seven creatures around to just feed to something, and also need to draw eight cards? I don't think that's impossible, but it does feel, once again, situational. I think Blood for the Blood God can be really good, but I don't know if it is really good a majority of the time.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Although really, I think I'm gonna reserve full judgment here until I see the card in action a few times.
86: Legion Loyalty: 8,954 Decks
Now this is some Battlecruiser Magic here! Most decks probably won't need Legion Loyalty to win the game, but that's gonna stop precisely no one from playing it. From all the ETB triggers it can generate to the massive deadly board it can produce, this card is absolutely the biggest flashiest boi, and I am all into it!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Also, more Myriad please!
77: Astral Dragon: 9,852 Decks
Two copies of Gilded Lotus, two copies of Frontier Siege, two copies of Temur Ascendancy, two copies of Dragon Tempest, two copies of Mana Reflection, two copies of Coveted Jewel, two copies of Aetherflux Reservoir....
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Two copies of Mirari's Wake, two copies of Beastmaster Ascension, two copies of Doubling Season, which, because they're creatures, can now have Infinite Reflection and Followed Footsteps put on them....
76: Earthquake Dragon: 10,244 Decks
I mean, this is just Timmy/Tammy at its finest. This is Ghalta, Primal Hunger, but for Dragons. Now, my inner Spike does feel the need to point out that you'll probably never actually recur this card. Single-target removal spells are never what sink the Dragon deck. Wraths are what sink the Dragon deck, and Earthquake Dragon isn't gonna do much to help with that.
But my Timmy has the perfect counterpoint: this is Ghalta, Primal Hunger, but for Dragons. He wins.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It's a 10/10 for two mana. Come on!
52: Organic Extinction: 15,520 Decks
Oh no! Organic Extinction is an expensive Wrath that blows up all nonartifacts. If I’m not playing artifacts, it won’t keep my things. What a pity. How will we solve this large problem?
Yeah, I know this was the same write-up I did for Soulscour. This is the 20th write-up in this article, I need to save space!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Unrelated: did you know Soulscour hits lands? I didn't before.
37: Ancient Silver Dragon: 18,339 Decks
Do I even need to talk about Ancient Silver Dragon? Card draw is to Commander players like Narcissus is to his own reflection. It does not matter how much you get or "need," it's never enough and you will always want more. People will get the natural 20 with this card, and still want to attack with it the very next turn.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: People will deck themselves with this Dragon... happily!
6: Vanquish the Horde: 55,648 Decks
This is the first (and hopefully only time), that one of these updates put a card into the top ten. That kinda sets the tenor for Vanquish the Horde's entire write-up, doesn't it?
I have conflicting thoughts about this card. I'm kinda compelled by Doug's argument, where I'm not sure such targeted powerful rare cards are good for the format. Sure, Vanquish the Horde is far from the only example of this, but it feels like the most evident. You cannot tell me the design process for this card was anything less than, "Hey, this Blasphemous Act card sees a lot of play in Commander. Let's do that again!" This is not really how I want cards to be designed. It is artificial rotation at its finest.
On the other hand, though, I kind of like what this card does for the format. It's not an auto-include even though it's very good. Blasphemous Act is the best red board wipe, but Vanquish has tougher competition. Austere Command and Farewell do more than Vanquish on average, and I'd also put Hour of Revelation in that top-tier category. Plus, there's flexibility to something like Cleansing Nova or Dusk // Dawn or Organic Extinction, and even Fumigate, to still give them their own niches. Vanquish the Horde might still be the best generic Wrath you can run, but it's a lot closer to Swords to Plowshares than Dockside Extortionist. It's a neat option, and it makes a lot of decks better without completely shutting out other options.
So I guess I have to give Vanquish the Horde a hesitant thumbs up, but this type of design worries me in general, and I hope to see less of it in the future.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: In order to get in the top five, the next card Vanquish has to pass is [elCraterhoof Behemoth[/el]. Not an easy card to pass, but not impossible.
Shed a Tear For Odric
Next week's article is a big one, so it might take me an extra week to get it out, but either way, next time we speak we'll be looking at the lands of 2022. In the meantime let me know what do you think about this batch. Does Vanquish bother you as much as it bothers me? Do you have a sweet Myojin deck? let me know in the comments! Until next week!