Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 12: The Answer is to Burn Everything!

(Worldfire | Art by Izzy)

Flyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Fly High To the Skyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Welcome back to this series where we rank every Battlecruiser card based on the number of decks on EDHREC. I write this in an airport with really terrible internet about three hours before I have to catch a flight.

That's not a joke. I wanted to come up with a joke, but honestly, I feel the need to comment on this oddity of my existence. My passion for ranking knows no bounds, even ones enforced by airport security and annoyed airport-goers silently seething at my hogging of the precious electrical outlet seats. I will sally forth to satisfy my search for knowledge and to entertain you all, whatever the cost!

Although we should probably hurry up before my flight takes off.

190: Tidal Force: 917 Decks

In a color of big sea monsters, you need to do a bit more than Tidal Force to stand out. In a random creature deck, there aren't going to be a ton of great things to untap with this thing most of the time. You can untap random lands, I guess? More likely, Tidal Force will tp down fairly large beaters instead, which, for eight mana, doesn't protect you very much. It’s no Stormtide Leviathan, let me tell you.

I am very surprised that I don't see Tidal Force show up on more of the EDHREC pages for commanders with tap abilities. Sure, it’s not amazing to play an eight-mana card just to gain a little value with your commander, especially when compared to a card like Illusionist's Bracers, but it gives you four triggers per round on any tap commander!

Let me say that again: it gives you four triggers for any commander with a tap ability. If you’re a blue commander that taps, and can conceivably activate multiple times, the potential for bonkers stuff to occur at least makes Tidal Force a consideration.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Wait, why have I never tried Tidal Force in my Jalira, Master Polymorphist deck? Excuse me a moment. *Does a CardKingdom*.

189: Worldfire: 957 Decks

I normally don’t talk about cards that are released within a couple months of my first article, since those cards haven’t had time to be put into decks yet. Someone could argue that should also technically apply Worldfire, too, since it got unbanned about two months before this series started, and therefore, I shouldn't be talking about it here.

Those people would be correct, but I don't care. I love this card. I'm gonna gush about it!

I’ve loved Worldfire since before it was unbanned. It checks two really important boxes for me. For one thing, it's splashy. You spend nine mana and you completely turn the game on its head. Destroy everything, Wit’s End everybody, and burn everyone to 1 life! Holistically, if you look at what cards actually do in a vacuum, I think Worldfire might be the card that does the most stuff.

However, there’s another reason I love Worldfire, while not being a huge fan of cards like Worldpurge or River’s Rebuke, and that’s because Worldfire fundamentally flips the game on its head. Cards that only set everyone back are either delaying tactics or glorified win cons. Obliterate either sets the game back to how it was on turn one, or it's basically a two-card combo with Heroic Intervention. Neither result is gonna be a game I'll remember for years to come.

Worldfire is different. Most of the time, when you cast Worldfire, the game is much more than just reset, it's a different game entirely. Suddenly, Llanowar Elves is an incredibly powerful Magic card. Suddenly, Chulane, Teller of Tales value engines look way derpier. Yeah, there’re two-card combos with Worldfire, too, but that’s not the spirit of the card I like. I'm a fan of the “fair” Worldfire, where you cast it and let the chips fall where they may. That's definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Worldfire absolutely invalidates everything anyone has done in the game before that point, so I completely understand why some people hate this card, but that game-flipping nature is why I love it. There are few to no decks that are prepared for a Worldfire that resolves. It makes even the most consistent combo deck improvise like nothing else.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Yeah, you can probably tell I'm incredibly happy this card got unbanned. Less happy about the price spike, but eh, it’ll come down eventually.

188: Decree of Savagery: 961 Decks

I bet you thought that with the Avatars and Winds gone for a while, we'd be done with old expensive weird cards, but no! May I present a whole new weird old cycle: the Decrees! You might have been able to piece together this cycle from seeing Decree of Pain and Decree of Annihilation, but they're all basically big spells with a Cycling ability. The only one we won’t see is Decree of Justice, which ironically saw the most play in Standard formats, and is the second most played of this cycle in EDH, but happens to be the only one that doesn’t fit the battlecruiser mold. The other four are big, splashy, and goofy - so they're the perfect mascots for this entire list!

Decree of Savagery is the least impressive of the five, and I still love it. It’s not Overwhelming Stampede, and the Cycling cost is fairly high, but it’s probably gonna win you the game every time you cast it. Any Doubling Season, Bramblewood Paragon, or Sigarda’s Summons, and this will probably be super duper mega lethal. You need a good reason to play it over Overwhelming Stampede, but the permanent nature of this effect does a lot of work.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: We can thank the precon reprint for the upticks in play this card is seeing. It’s not bad in the precon, but there’s a reason it’s the most removed card on the updates page. That said, I think it could be real fun in the right deck, and I wanna highlight that, even if the card itself is probably closer to a 'Just Right' than an 'Underplayed'.

187: Spawning Grounds: 964 Decks

If you’re only activating Spawning Grounds once a turn, then I don’t think it’s worth the eight mana. 

If you’re activating it multiple times a turn with something like Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, I can get behind that.

If you’re going full nonsense with Intruder Alarm + Natural Affinity, that’s the best level of goofiness, and is therefore worth doing.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: You see, there’s a hierarchy of needs for this card.

186: Ancient Brontodon: 967 Decks

Someday I’ll get to talk about the big scaly bois. Not today though, because I won’t spend this talk on a vanilla 9/9. It’s cute in Ruxa, Patient Professor, but you do not need an Ancient Brontodon in Gishath, Sun's Avatar. You have much better options.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: To steal a line from my shadow nemesis from the other side of the week, "don’t let your memes be dreams".

185: Bloodfire Colossus: 1,000 Decks

Eh. It’s a Giant, I guess, but beyond that, Bloodfire Colossus is a subpar creature and a subpar Wrath. Even cheating it into play with Purphoros is often going to be worse than Hour of Devastation. Play it in Aegar, the Freezing Flame, but skip it elsewhere.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I didn't mean for the middle of this article to be so snappy. You almost never get such quick, coherent thoughts out of me. You should savor this.

184: Hellkite Overlord: 1,010 Decks

I am upset. Hellkite Overlord is $4 for no discernible reason other than “Wizards forgot about it.” It is not even close to the best Dragon you can play. It’s certainly big and bulky, but if you really tune your Dragon deck, there're so many Dragons that hit harder or gain more value than this. Thus, there's been very little demand for a reprint. Other than a From the Vault and a The List printing (both of which don't really count), this card has remained a forgotten oddity.

But gosh dang it, I need a copy for Scion of the Ur-Dragon, and I refuse to pay $4 for it! I just wanna give Scion haste and firebreathing on the fly while also have a decent beater later. There’re other cards that can give Scion haste, but giving Scion the other abilities on Overlord make it one of the better options for this specific commander. Why the heck are you not capitalizing on my very specific niche, Wizards?

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I’ll give Hellkite Overlord some points for being big and scary. It's a fine card, but more-tuned Dragons decks do not need it at all.

183: Volcanic Salvo: 1,049 Decks

Why? Whyyyyy? Y? Why is Volcanic Salvo in 700 decks? Who is this for? The burn decks don’t want this because it’s basically a double removal spell for way too much mana. The big spellslinger decks, like Zaffai, Thunder Collector, are gonna have a real tough time getting the cost down, so it's still gonna be a double removal spell for way too much mana. The Cascade and big mana decks are probably the best place for this card, but at the end of the day, it's still going to be nothing more than a double removal spell for way too much mana.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I’d frankly take Shambling Attendants over this.

182: Reverse the Sands: 1,058 Decks

On one hand, Reverse the Sands is a bit of a relic from a bygone era. The modern Commander player base is pretty aware that there’s never a guarantee you’ll be able to win through combat. You need ways to not lose if someone plays a Glacial Chasm or a Constant Mists, so you see decks that win without dealing damage at all, or by dealing it all at once with Craterhoof Behemoth and such. This means Reverse the Sands has the potential to do nothing at all, a lot of the time.

Paradoxically, though, this weird age might mean that there’s never been a better time to play Reverse the Sands. Sure, the general idea that decks need noncombat damage outlets has weakened combat, but ironically, I think it’s actually made decks less prepared to randomly take incremental damage over the course of a game. Sure, you still have stuff like Propaganda in over 50,000 decks, but factors of the format have made it much faster, but also less resilient. You’ve got the increase in noncombat ways to win the game, which means decks are less incentivized to load up entirely on pillow fort pieces. You've got the increase in more durdly value decks that spend the early game getting value pieces they don’t want to risk in combat. You've also got an increase in mass removal over single-target removal, making it easier for random dorks to stick around. No one wants to Wrath of God against a single Butcher Orgg. This general microcosm means that you will often see life totals dip into the 30s and 20s way earlier than you would in the durdly nonsense days of yore.

All this is to say that there's a decent chance Reverse the Sands actually does something. It’s always gonna see play in the Selenia, Dark Angel decks that are built around paying all their life for fun and profit, but Reverse might have a home in less all-in decks, like Vona, Butcher of Magan, that pay a lot of life over the course of a game. Even Pillowfort decks could consider running this as a legit win condition thanks to the incremental damage being thrown around by everyone else. I wouldn’t call it a busted win con, but I think it can do work in some mid-power tables, which is a very weird sentence.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I honestly am not sure how to feel about this.

181: Deathbellow War Cry: 1,082 Decks

I don’t think any random eight-mana spell has been as improved by new cards more than Deathbellow War Cry was improved by the printings of Sethron, Hurloon General and Moraug, Fury of Akoum. You could assemble a pile of Minotaurs before those two, but it was probably something like Kragma Warcaller, Rageblood Shaman, Ragemonger, and Fanatic of Mogis, which are good, but not like Craterhoof Behemoth good.

Now, though, you get Kragma Warcaller, Sethron, Hurloon General, Moraug, Fury of Akoum, and Neheb, the Eternal, and with a land, the Neheb trigger, and the Sethron pump, I quickly lose count of how much damage you'll do. Commenters, figure out how much nonsense this is for me!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: When I was playing Minotaurs, my best line for winning was Rageblood Shaman and Felhide Petrifier. Be grateful for what you have!

Back In My Day, Planeswalkers Weren't Legendary!

I hear my flight boarding, so I'll make this fast! Let me know what you think about this batch of cards in the comments. Is there an even sweeter pile with Deathbellow War Cry? Do you have a rad Worldfire brew? Let me know in the comments. Until next week!

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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