Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 14: Snake. Snake?! SNAAAAAAAAAAKE!
(Patron of the Orochi | Art by Christopher Moeller)
There's Some Streets of New Capenna... or Something, IDK
Hi there. Welcome back to this series where we rank every 8-CMC+ card based on the number of decks that they have on the fancy website with the deck stats or whatever, I don't know.
Look, I'll be honest, if you couldn't tell by my typed-out yawn, I'm feeling a little tired this morning, but that's okay! There's ranking to be done, and I will power through! I'm the one with the writing skills... and the type-y type-y powers.... and... and the very, very heavy head... and... boy, this keyboard looks awfully comfy right now.
No! No no! I'm good, I'm good. We can do this... we can do this.
170: Curse of the Cabal: 1,452 Decks
Curse of the Cabal is bad. I know it might look like a fun political card where you’re like, “Oh, if you don’t put two counters on this, I might pick you when it resolves. Woooooooooo....” No. That’s not how this works. How it works is every other turn cycle a random opponent will sac a land they don’t need, or a random token, or a Kokusho, the Evening Star they wanna get in the graveyard, and you stare at this in the suspend zone forever. It’s not fun, it’s not good. It’s bad. Don’t play it*.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: *I mean, unless you want to, do what you want, I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life. I’m just expressing my opinion, which is that this card is hot garbage, but you can make your own life choices, and maybe you'll find it better than I thought. You are a good person and I value your existence, okay thanks, bye.
169: Ghoultree: 1,463 Decks
Here’s another Helm of the Gods-esque card where the decks that can enable Ghoultree can’t do much with it. There’s definitely decks like Selvala, Heart of the Wilds that would want to play a cheap 10/10, but those decks aren’t known for filling the graveyard very well, so it probably won’t be cheap for them.
On the flip side, Meren of Clan Nel Toth and friends can probably make this cost two or three mana, but those decks don’t care about the beef. They would much rather have a creature with an ETB trigger, so the decks that can power up Ghoultree the most by reducing the casting cost also aren’t going to care about it. Outside of Treefolk tribal, it’s a sad world for Ghoultree.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Maybe it’s okay in Kathril, Aspect Warper since it can give Ghoultree evasion and cast it for cheap?
168: Bedlam Reveler: 1,466 Decks
I’m not a huge fan of Bedlam Reveler in EDH. It's cute to play a creature that potentially could cost three or four mana and give you a fresh new hand, but there’re way easier ways to wheel in Commander. Even Chandra, Flamecaller or freaking Chandra Ablaze are going to be more impactful pound for pound than this card. Sure, Reveler is probably gonna be cheaper than those card, but that's not happening until the late game anyway. Why not simply play a card that wheels without jumping through any hoops?
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Goodness, I'm starting this article off as a bit of a Negative Nancy. I need something I can be positive about to counteract this.
167: Living Hive: 1,472 Decks
Ah, here we go! It's pretty hard to not be happy when looking at Living Hive! Sometimes I'll remember that in the same set they printed artifact lands and Mindslaver, they also printed a 6/6 that makes you a bunch of 1/1s when it deals damage to you. Something about this card is just pure, simple, Battlecruiser Magic printed in an ocean of synergistic, achromatic, combo-enablers. It fights the good fight, y'know?
That said, I think it's far too fair for most random creature decks. They often won't have uses for the 1/1s and so not much use for the card as a whole. There’s exactly one deck where I’m really excited to play Living Hive, and it’s in Esix, Fractal Bloom. Not only can Esix ramp to it pretty hard, but imagine what you can do with it? Hitting for six damage, make six Risen Reef tokens seems good. Hitting for six and making six more Living Hives seems even better.
Aw, now I've taken the simple Timmy card and I'm using it for degeneracy. I'm sad now.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Esix plus all the Insect tribal decks do enough to justify the high play on this card. Mad respect to all the Grist, the Hunger Tide players. I continue to enjoy the card even if I think it doesn't do anything. Okay, happy again!
166: Scion of Darkness: 1,478 Decks
I’m kinda surprised I don’t see more out of Scion of Darkness. I've definitely seen it before, but it's always in five-color Cycling decks, where almost any creature with Cycling is a debatable card to run. Scion of Darkness just looks silly next to Rampaging Hippo and River Serpent because it actually affects the board quite a bit when you cast it! If you manage to get Scion in play, it will probably be a very large threat. The ceiling on Scion is super high, and it still has that very definite floor that when you don’t need it, you can pay three mana and Cycle it away.
So why are we restricting it to only seeing play alongside Angel of the God-Pharaoh? Let's play it in non-Cycling decks! Granted, I still wouldn’t play Scion of Darkness in any old mono-black deck. It’s gonna be best when you either need things to discard or if you can reanimate it. Since it puts itself in the graveyard, you can jam it in Balthor the Defiled or Sedris, the Traitor King and get people with your jank fairly often. Maybe it's even okay in Satoru Umezawa since it'll deal damage most of the time. I don't know. It's not an amazing card, but I feel like it'll do work if you can get it into play
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Or just play it with Dark Supplicant in the Shadowborn Apostle deck.
165: Arcbound Overseer: 1,492 Decks
Modular fans can thank the stars for Modern Horizons 2. Not only did it almost double the number of Modular cards, but it got a dedicated commander for the entire strategy in Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp. It’s like a Modular renaissance except I don’t think there was a time when Modular was ever super good before this, so it’s a Modular Renaissance for the first time. A "Modular-aissance”, if you will.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: There aren't many other reasons to run Arcbound Overseer outside of a dedicated Modular deck, but if you’re all-in on Modular, this is the best card you could ask for.
164: Baleful Force: 1,503 Decks
Ever stare at your Phyrexian Arena and go “Gee, this isn’t giving me enough card advantage or killing me nearly fast enough.” Well, do I have the card for you!
Much like the other forces, Baleful Force is obviously good if it survives for more than a turn. It draws you a new hand in two turn cycles! I shouldn’t have to explain why that’s good. It’s obviously worse if it eats a removal spell right away, though, so you’re gonna want this in decks that can protect it. It’s not your generic Kumena’s Awakening card advantage engine that you slam and hope no one notices. You better be equipped to fight over this with Counterspell or have protection like Privileged Position so that you can live the dream and not the meme.
I suppose the other option is you can try and cheat it into play early on. It’s a kind of awkward cost for Belbe, Corrupted Observer, but that’s the type of deck that it's going to excel in. Any deck that can get Baleful Force out early in the game won't feel quite as bad even if it gets dealt with after only drawing you a couple cards since it's early enough in the game for that to still be one of the best things you could be doing at that moment. Something like Victimize or Exhume on this early on is gonna be real good. It’s definitely fair and slow, but not fair and slow enough that I’m turned off from trying.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I'm not sure how strongly I'd say this card is underplayed. It does seem fragile, but I haven’t seen this card in play, and I’d kinda like to.
163: Patron of the Orochi: 1,508 Decks
(92 Decks as a Commander, 1,416 Decks in the 99)
I often forget that Patron of the Orochi has Snake Offering. I can’t think of a time when it’s come up when I’ve played it, and when other people use it for that purpose, I’m like “Oh! Right, you can do that.” I mean, if you want to jam this in your mono-green Changeling/Snake deck, go ahead. It doesn’t have much synergy with those decks, but I don't see any reason you shouldn't!
But also Patron of the Orochi is just good as an eight-mana friendo. If you love things like Caged Sun or Nyxbloom Ancient, this is basically that in mono-green with upside. Oh my gosh, imagine it with Nyxbloom Ancient; you’ll have that Helix Pinnacle up to 100 counters in no time!
I tell you this fact about it basically being a mana-doubler to convince you it's a good card because it is, and some decks can take advantage of this card in that way, but that’s never how I use this card. I use this card in Jolrael, Empress of Beasts. Tap all your lands for mana, then untap them and swing in with them! That’s the jank in my life and is the jank I recommend. Do you have any green creatures you would like on every players turn since Patron uncaps itself with its own ability? Yeah, now you're speaking my language. Is it worth it? I don’t know, but it also gives you a bunch of free mana too, so it's powerful enough to justify my jank desires.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: This is really me just trying to justify my love of this card.
162: Molderhulk: 1,547 Decks
Molderhulk is an odd one. I’m all-in on Petrified Field, and Lord Windgrace is a monster, but outside of those two, I’m never a huge fan of Restore-esque effects especially ones that costs nine mana.
It is a little bit less tonally confused than it looks since Landfall decks usually are graveyard decks in disguise with lots of ways to fill or fuel the graveyard that will make this cost less. Even still though, there’s gonna be times where this is six or seven mana, and to get one land back, that’s pretty mediocre.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Also “Molderhulk” sounds like a C grade WWE wrestler. “Molderhulk is coming for you with his signature finisher: the Landfall Leaper! Rahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"
161: Nicol Bolas, the Deceiver: 1,562 Decks
I feel as though I’m stuck in a time loop. This is ostensibly the 3rd time that I’m talking about Nicol Bolas, the Deceiver. Why must I recreate this song and dance for you once more? Why must I once again recite my diatribe against one of the worst plus abilities ever printed on a planeswalker that basically sinks this card on arrival, but then still give it a Just Right since Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is basically a tribal Nicol Bolas deck and a Nicol Bolas is a Nicol Bolas even when it's a Nicol Bolas that will die the moment it hits play? What more would you like me to say?
Oh wait, I know.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Did you hear about the ribbon that Bolas bought for five cents made by a brand known for curly hair? It was a "Nickel Bow-LUS."
I Will Never Escape the Puns
Well, I better wrap this up before my head falls straight onto my keyboard, so let me know in the comments what you think about this batch of cards. Got any cool for... Faleful Borce? Do you have any... sweet shenanigans with... with... mr. snake man? Let me know... in the comments. I'll read them soon. I promise. Until.... next wee;ogijneaio;gj;eanfiemwfeopsgj