Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Finale: The Top Ten Biggest Ships

(Terastodon | Art by Lars Grant-West)

Everyone Raise a Glass! Whoaaaaaaaaa!

Welllllllllll, comrades

We've had our fun

Lived, laughed... and loved.

Friends of my youuuuuuuuuth

When shall we meet again?

I'm going abroaaaaaaaaaaad.

I'd keep this going, but the meter for the song gets a bit weird after this.

Welcome to the finale part of this series where we rank every Battlecruiser (8+ CMC) card based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC. Let's get this series into the carriage, shall we?

10: Terastodon: 33,861 Decks

It is fairly refreshing to see Terastodon still hanging onto its Top 10 spot. This was top dog in the format for a long time both for its efficiency and for its synergy in graveyard and blink decks. This card can be disgusting in a lot of scenarios even if it never really won you the game, and even the 3/3s can sneak up on you if you go too overboard on the ability.

Jump to today, and I maintain that the card is still good. Ought it be considered amongst the Top 20 green creatures of the format? Likely not, but it’s a good card. People are playing Meteor Golem to blow up one permanent, after all, and Terastodon is way better than Meteor Golem. Yes, it doesn’t literally win you the game at eight mana, but it kills three things on top of being a 9/9. That’s a good card, regardless of wherever our format might be 10 years from now.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Few better feelings than casting Rite of Replication on Terastodon. Well, for you anyway.

09: Vilis, Broker of Blood: 34,243 Decks

(686 Decks as a Commander, 33,557 Decks in the 99)

Anytime I see Vilis, it practically feels like it's a Yawgmoth's Bargain with all the upside and also all the detriments of being a creature. It dies to removal, but it's gnarly with a Reanimate. Thankfully, it costs eight, and the vast majority of decks are not equipped to truly go off with it. Sure, go ahead, draw your 15 cards off Vilis, that’ll be real good, but unless your hand is full of Dark Rituals and Sol Rings, you’re probably only casting two or three of the cards in your hand and then discarding a bunch. Vilis is basically a repeatable Necrologia, and most people probably didn't even know that card existed.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: This card is not Yawgmoth's Bargain, and that's a good thing.

08: Avacyn, Angel of Hope: 34,861 Decks

(1,154 Decks as a Commander, 33,707 Decks in the 99)

What’s the general feeling on Avacyn, Angel of Hope now? I feel as though I’ve seen it move through several phases. First, it was all like “Woah! Avacyn! She’s super cool and flashy. She’s the card that’s worth casting for eight mana in my Angel deck.” 

Then it was like “Ugh, Avacyn, I hate that card! People are never doing anything cute with her. They’re always cheating her into play with Kaalia or Jodah, and she blanks all my interaction. I hope to never see the card again."

Then it was, “Well, Avacyn is fine, but her mana cost really restricts her. She’s not even that great to cheat into play because if she's exiled, she doesn't do much for you. You only want her in the most battlecruiser of Magic decks.”

Now, I don’t know what she is. Do people still like her? Is she worse now with Farewell and stuff running around? Is she better now because of mono-white’s rise to new heights? Am I gonna catch salt for jamming her out? I don’t know what the central vibe is anymore. I guess I’ll keep my ears perked up.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Every time, I see her, she does some pretty good work, so maybe I should be less of a sheeple and just trust my own instinct.

07: Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: 34,703 Decks

Oh, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon! I didn’t expect to see you. Uh, how ya doing, buddy?

Good, good. Been a while since we last chatted. I’m a little surprised how well you're keeping up with your slimmer brother, but I guess a reprint in a Modern set will do that to you. 

Still seeing play across the board in all Commander decks for being a flexible Wrath that doubles as a wincon? Great! I’m sure you’re letting people have loads of fun....

Uh, when will you see me at a Commander game? Y’know, I don’t think I’ll have time to catch a game anytime soon. 

What? No, no! It’s got nothing to do with me having miserable experiences playing against you. It’s just that... uh... I don’t really play Commander anymore. I moved on to…. Tiny Leaders. Yeah! It really got so much more refined when everyone stopped playing it....

Well, gee, look at the time. Gotta go!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Don’t stress about keeping up with me, Ugin. I know you’re very busy.

06: In Garruk's Wake: 37,249 Decks

See, everybody’s all like “Oh, Decree of Pain is too expensive for a Wrath, and you shouldn’t play it over stuff like Farewell,” but nobody ever seems to point that same criticism at In Garruk's Wake. Probably because everybody already knows that In Garruk's Wake is not a Wrath - it’s a value spell. It puts you in a position to win the game. This is why a bunch of the decks playing it are ones like Cecily, Haunted Mage that want to cheat the mana cost, or Sisters of Stone Death (who could care less about the mana cost).

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: No one is playing this as a Wrath of God. That’s not the point. They’re playing it for shenanigans.

05: Craterhoof Behemoth: 50,602 Decks

One of the upsides of a series like this is that I really getting to dig into the whole breadth of a subset of Magic cards. However, the downside of that is I eventually have to talk about Craterhoof Behemoth and I cannot provide anything new to that conversation.

What do you want me to say? “Craterhoof Behemoth is a good creature that is good in any green deck because it often wins the game if you have a good board state.” Great! Cool! Glad I’m here to impart this wisdom onto y’all that you definitely couldn’t get from reading the card and thinking about it for two seconds!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I guess if I have anything to say, it’d be that I'm not mad the card exists. Is it anti-climatic when someone casts Avenger of Zendikar and Craterhoof to auto-win the game? I guess, but when the Elf player has 15 cards and 20 creatures, they might as well just end the game quickly. Plus, there’re so many budget replacements for Hoof at this point that you absolutely don’t need it to win.

04:Dig Through Time: 52,250 Decks

03:Treasure Cruise: 53,246 Decks

I am not sad to see Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time at the top of this list, because I love both of these cards. However, I acknowledge that it might be a bit of a downer to some of you that we end a series on big splashy cards with two hyper-efficient draw spells that usually aren't cast for more than three mana, much less eight. The perception of the format right now is that there’s no more room for slower decks filled with weird oddities that populated the format in days of yore. Okay, let’s talk about that, because if there is one thing I want people to take away from this series, it's that Battlecruiser Magic is not only alive, but it thrives in the current EDH format.

I won't even get into how EDHREC data is slightly slanted towards higher-power stuff anyway (that's a topic for another day), but even in this slanted data set, the spirit of casual, big, splashy Magic is alive and well. We went through parts and parts and parts of a bunch of weird cards sitting at 100 decks, 200 decks, 500 decks. No one is playing Crush of Wurms because it's the hottest win condition on the citadel. They play it because it does something cool and they like it. Sure, 100 decks is a far cry from 50,000 decks, but those numbers add up. The decks playing Crush of Wurms are rarely the same decks playing Silver Seraph or Tyrant of Discord or Baron Sengir or the bringers, or Worldfire, or Sisters of Stone Death.

Then, if you move up the list, you'll continue to find players playing things for fun. Gishath, Sun's Avatar is the most popular Naya commander. The Ur-Dragon is the 7th most popular commander ever. Both of those Commanders lend themselves really well to big splashy eight-drops, like Utvara Hellkite and Polyraptor. Eldrazi populate the top 100 like crazy. Leviathans are a staple of most mono-blue decks you see. Expensive sorceries, like Clone Legion and Aminatou's Augury, hold pretty high spots. Old favorites, like Terastodon and Insurrection, are still played in thousands of decks, and those are just general archetypes you can find on the list. Sandwurm Convergence, Verdant Force, Decree of Pain, Zetalpa, Primal Dawn, Army of the Damned, Eldrazi Conscription, Storm Herd, Conflux, Treacherous Terrain. All of these cards put a super large smile on my face, and all of these cards are just ones I plucked out of the top 100. Again, none of these touch the top of the heap cards like Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time, but that doesn’t mean Dig and Cruise eliminate or destroy the Battlecruiser spirit of the format.

There’re clearly tons of people that find Battlecruiser Magic to be fun. I'm not saying nothing has changed. To expect Terastodon to remain the most powerful thing to cheat into play is blind to the way that TCGs function on a fundamental level, but to be aware of the new cards, to keep building new decks while still following the spirit of playing big splashy cards, and to build massive board states over the course of two hours can still be done and is still done everywhere if you’re willing to look for it.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Here’s to you, Battlecruiser players. May you be a part of the format for the years to come!

02: The Great Henge: 67,222 Decks

Ah, yes. Hello again to my favorite “non-mana-rock-that-everyone-else-thinks-is-a-mana-rock and that I begrudgingly ended up including in my mana rock series because I needed to correct for a data error but that I still adamantly believe does not belong in the same category as Sol Ring.”

I need a shorter title for my nemesis, but you get my point!

Actually, besides my feelings on its status as a mana rock, my feelings on The Great Henge have diminished since we were last here. Last time I talked about it, I was annoyed that they jammed so much generically good text on this card, and that it was forever going to be the greatest mono-green card draw engine, but, like, oh, no, green can draw cards. What a horrible and unfathomable world we live in. How tragic. 

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I really can't summon much emotion for this thing now. It’s very good, but it’s not any more offensive than Beast Whisperer, and you absolutely do not need it. If you have one, play it, and if you don’t, you can definitely find a replacement.

We've got only one card left (and due to the nature of article content, you can see it if you look down, but don't do that! We gotta build suspense!). After 325 cards before it, the most played Battlecruiser card is....

01: Blasphemous Act: 203,933 Decks

While it's not particularly in the spirit of Battlecruiser Magic, I do enjoy seeing Blasphemous Act at the top of this list. I’d be more annoyed if the card wasn’t so cheap right now. At $2, I think it’s great that any red deck, regardless of budget, can have such an efficient way to control the board. It’s a great way to level the format between the enfranchised spenders and the budget players by giving them both a flexible tool to deal with almost any board state. Blasphemous Act is an intrepid ally to those people trying to jank people out with Blessed Wind, and I imagine it'll be doing that for a long, long time.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: As for Vanquish the Horde, we’ll talk about that some other time.

But Wait, There's More!

You know the drill. We gotta cap off the series with a Top 10 Overplayed/Underplayed list. Entirely my opinion, please don't crucify anyone in the comments, this article is already too long, let's go!

Top Ten Overplayed Battlecruiser Cards

HM: Reiver Demon, Bedlam Reveler, Dead Drop, Ghoultree

Top Ten Underplayed Battlecruiser Cards

HM: Blessed Wind, Stratadon, Silver Seraph, Overwhelming Forces.

Got the Top of Our Curve Covered

Normally, this is where I would have a poll deciding what our next series will be, but I have sort of a different plan this time, as well as a general announcement.

This next series is going to be my last ranking series, at least for a while. There are a few personal reasons for this (most of which I don't intend to bore you with), but suffice it to say, my life is getting pretty busy, and I don't know if I can keep this up in the future, so we're gonna plan to send this off to the sunset before things get too crazy.

That said, we're gonna go out with a bang. I'm gonna go on break for the next two-ish months to prep (with a bonus article or two I did ahead of time to tide you over during the break) but when I come back, we're gonna be ranking every Magic mechanic!

Until then, I want to give a huge thanks to Joey and Jack, our editors (I apologize for the length of these articles but make no promises about shortening them), and a hearty thanks to anyone that reads, comments, shares, or silently enjoys these articles. Comments for this series in particular were a ton of fun to read. People had a lot of good stories and attachment to these expensive haymakers that were a joy to see, and would have been reason enough to write these on their own.

What do you think about this series as a whole? Got any overplayed or underplayed? Is the top ten reflective of your playgroup? Let me know in the comments. Until next time!

Joseph started playing in Theros Block but decided that the best way to play the game was to learn every single card and hope that would somehow make him good at Magic. It hasn't. He is a college student in Santa Fe, New Mexico and also enjoys reading and other games of all shapes and sizes.

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