Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 10: Diet Tergrid

(Prince of Thralls | Art by Paul Bonner)

Interior: A Dimly Lit College Dorm Room

Joseph took a sip from his coffee as he considered how to write the opening for his article.

"Hmmm," he thought, "How do I come up with a funny way to say 'Welcome back to this series where we rank every Battlecruiser card based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC' this week? Oh! I know. I'll do a 3rd person intro with a narrator. That would be funny!" 

And thus, Joseph constructed the intro. It was very funny.

210: Kuro, Pitlord: 545 Decks

(17 Decks as a Commander, 528 Decks in the 99)

I feel like if you get Kuro, Pitlord in play, you shouldn't have to pay the quadruple black upkeep cost for it to be worth the nine mana. It’s not K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth broken, but it is a nine-mana build-your-own Plague Wind where any creature that bothers you is basically dead, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

That's the base rate as a nine-mana sorcery. When you can keep Kuro around, or when you play him with lifegain effects, that's obviously absurd. Basically, no creature gets to exist anymore. That's the type of nonsense I enjoy having in the command zone. Kuro can be like a mono-black version of Selenia, Dark Angel, where you fill your deck with Magus of the Mirror and Profane Transfusion effects, all while having a nine-mana way to lock creatures out forever. I'm into the lols.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: In general, he's not a great reanimation target, but for decks like Kaalia of the Vast that can get him in play, or decks that can afford to hard cast him, it doesn't take much for him to say, "You win the game."

209: Crush of Wurms: 555 Decks

Okay, it's mostly Wurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrms on Crush of Wurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrms's page, but it’s not all Wurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm. There are a couple of cool commanders here that can get some decent use out of this card. Ruxa, Patient Professor is the primary one. Six 6/6s is hard to beat in that deck even if it does cost a million mana. For similar reasons, you have decks like Trostani, Selesnya's Voice on the page to synergize with all the beef that Crush of Wurms generates.

There're also a few Jodah, Archmage Eternal decks, and that’s a bit sketchier. This is in no way the best thing to cheat into play, but it is a pretty good spell to copy with things like Reiterate in a Spellslinger version of Jodah. I could imagine it in quite a few homes, cuz overall, it's more flexible than it looks.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Again, though, it is mostly Wurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrms!

208: Distended Mindbender: 566 Decks

I wish Distended Mindbender did more. If there’s a color that can abuse a big expensive Emerge creature while also gaining value off the sacrifice synergies, it’s gotta be black. It's not just for Volrath the Fallen (is my subliminal messaging to get people to play Volrath working yet?). Your average black deck probably has a few expensive creatures, like Demon of Dark Schemes, that you don't mind dying and buying back later to get value off a real good Emerge trigger.

And, to be fair, Distended Mindbender's trigger isn't bad. Stealing two cards from one player's hand can stifle that player pretty hard, especially if you have synergies with the discard like Tergrid, God of Fright or Nath of the Gilt-Leaf. There’s lots of synergy here for decks that want it.

But Gosh Goodie Gumdrops, why can't you do more, Distended Mindbender? It's fine, but single-target discard is never gonna make anyone jump for joy in a multiplayer format. It's certainly not something I'm going to go out of my way to find room for in a deck.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: It's good enough to see some more play, but not good enough to be a hardcore hidden gem like I want it to be.

207: Gate Colossus: 588 Decks

As someone who's ranked all the Gate cards before, I can tell you that Gate Colossus is definitely one of the weaker payoffs. It’s not awful! It'll often be a two- or three-mana 8/8, and that can't really be a bad card, but it’s not what the Guildgate decks want to do.

Gates decks either like to win through Maze’s End or Crackling Perimeter, or through a Scapeshift into Field of the Dead if you wanna throw your theming completely out the window. None of those involve attacking with a single dorky creature. Blocking with Colossus is better, since it recurs itself, but you have to put it on top of your library, which means you give up drawing a more relevant card. If it went to hand, I’d give it the OK, but I don’t think it makes the cut as is.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: For those curious, the top tier of Gate cards is Circuitous Route, Guild Summit, Maze’s End, and Crackling Perimeter. Feel free to yell at me in the comments for this.

206: Prince of Thralls: 601 Decks

I think Tergrid, God of Fright single-handedly killed any chance Prince of Thralls had at being a fun card in EDH. The people who don't care about the reputation of Tergrid are probably not going to want to faff about with a weaker, three-color version of the card, while everyone else has collectively decided that Tergrid is pretty unfair to play against. People expect Tergrid into Rankle, Master of Prankles, Pox, or Death Cloud. Now imagine telling those people, “Hey, how about we take Tergrid, ditch the discard bit, and add a way to stop the ability, but now make it work for any destroyed permanent, and also give it the ability to pair with Jokulhaups!” Yeah, that's much worse, but you can see why that might be a tough sell.

I had an interesting discussion with fellow EDHREC authors where someone asked, “How bad is Prince of Thralls as the centerpiece of a deck?” For instance, if playing Demon’s Herald and tons of other ways to find Prince as fast as possible, and trying to combo off with that ASAP, how much are you gonna be into that? Personally, I'm kinda torn on that question. On one hand, I would totally dig playing with that deck. Prince is way more open to interaction. It’s certainly not going to come down as fast as a Tergrid to lock the board out. You might eventually have a bonkers turn with Prince that would rival Tergrid's dominance, but that won't happen without a fight from your opponents, so I think there's some unique merit to this card.

On the other hand, Prince of Thralls has all the same feel-bad moments as Tergrid, but amplified to 11. Prince catches any permanent that gets killed, which is incredibly constricting for enemies. It locks out basically any removal until your opponent gets rid of it. It’s the things people hate about Tergrid but for everything they own, and again, you now have two extra colors to play around with. Yeah, you might not be playing Prince to abuse it with Obliterate, but your opponents don't know that. So yeah, I’m guessing that despite the unique aspects here, most people are gonna boo this card off the table immediately.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: That said, I do hope a few people take inspiration from this article and build a Prince of Thralls deck. Go for it. Maybe your playgroup will let you keep it longer than two games.

205: Dead Drop: 604 Decks

Assuming you’re on board with playing a derpy Delve card like Dead Drop, I have to imagine Sibsig Muckdraggers and Necropolis Fiend are gonna be better than this. Single-target sacrifice is not good, even if you get two creatures, and especially when it costs four to six mana.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Also, how the heck are you gonna Dead Drop a Catacomb Crocodile? 

204: Sisters of Stone Death: 628 Decks

(169 Decks as a Commander, 459 Decks in the 99)

Let’s first acknowledge the primary (and kinda boring) use for Sisters of Stone Death, which is just Gorgon tribal. There’s technically also Damia, Sage of Stone as a possible commander for that strategy, but every one of the other 19 Gorgons (real barn-stomper of a tribe here) is black or green, and Damia doesn’t really match the janky feel of the tribe. Sisters fits the general vibe of the tribe better, so I'm a little surprised to not see it on the EDHREC tribal page.

I wouldn't cry too much over that, though, because there are way cooler things this card can do. Sisters of Stone Death can technically enable all its synergies by itself. Provided you ramp enough, this can exile any creature on the board for three mana, and steal any creature for six mana. That’s battlecruiser Magic at its finest. Sure, it’s super fragile, but if it survives, it’s gonna wreck any board it comes across. I'd enjoy slamming this card into any random, derpy, Golgari battlecruiser deck.

Not only that, Sisters of Stone Death is a lot better if you build around their abilities a bit more! They still cost eight, so you have to ramp like heck to get them into play, and then ramp like heck again to activate these triggers, but if you can give them a Lure ability, then it becomes much easier to eat any creature you please. They also really benefit from protection effects, like Daring Fiendbonder, to keep them around on the turn you cast them. When you put the effort in, they can be pretty nutty on any board. You have to be playing in a creature-dense meta, but the payoff is real good.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Far from a top-tier strategy by any means, but I’d like to see a few more of these decks in the wild.

203: Alpha Brawl: 631 Decks

Ever wanted to just really, really, really screw over one person in particular? Then Alpha Brawl is the card for you! Some might say that only targeting one player is a downside, since it only hurts one player. To them I say, "You don’t understand! That’s the entire point!" You're gonna extort your opponents to pay for your expensive sushi dinner or else they’re gonna get their board demolished! If that's your jam, this card is your friend.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I will give it a pass in those decks and Toralf, God of Fury for the absolutely ludicrous potential. Anywhere else, you’re better off with Volcanic Vision. (By the way, play more Volcanic Vision!)

202: Vitalizing Wind: 650 Decks

It's time to say goodbye to the other janky cycle from Prophecy until way, way later on in the list. Goodbye to the Winds! The rest of the world may not understand you, but you'll always hold a special place in my heart. Take solace in being infinitely better than the Avatars.

Anyway, Vitalizing Wind is ironically probably not going to be the biggest Overrun effect you could play. That honor goes to Overwhelming Stampede, although Klothys’s Design is a close personal second. Vitalizing Wind doesn't pack the same potency as those cards, and that's not even considering stuff like Titanic Ultimatum or Return of the Wildspeaker, which don't pump as much but are way better cards. Not much of a reason to play [/el]Vitalizing Wind[/el], unfortunately.

Well, unless your name is Ruxa. Yep, this fella is, once again, responsible for most of the play this here spell sees in EDH. Ruxa can’t do Overwhelming Stampede, or Pathbreaker Ibex, or anything else that grants a keyword, so Vitalizing Wind is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It’s got one home, and that's about as much as cards from Prophecy can ask for.

201: Bookwurm: 677 Decks

I do love me a Pelakka Wurm. It’s flashy enough to fit in a lot of decks, but tame enough to not put a huge target on my back. Blink decks love it, Clone decks like it, big creature decks love it, and graveyard decks love it. If you need to power down your deck a smidge, find a spot for a Pelakka Wurm. It's still value, but not overbearing value.

Wait, what am I doing? Oh silly me, I’m supposed to be talking about Bookwurm. Okay, let me try again. Ahem.

Bookwurm is not as good as Pelakka Wurm. Have you tried Pelakka Wurm? It’s great.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: There're probably some weird decks that want to mill their entire library but don't wanna play Memory's Journey. Outside of those, though? Well, have you tried Pelakka Wurm yet?

It Draws a Card, Y'all!

"Well," Joseph proclaimed, "due to some technical issues, I will be taking next week off, so to tide me over until then, let me know in the comments what you think. Is Prince of Thralls cool enough to overcome the stigma? Do you have a sweet deck for Sisters of Stone Death? Let me know in the comments!"

And the reader did so, because the narrator has now put that fact into existence, and one can never disobey the narrator's cosmic powers. He will see you next article.

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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