Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 15: Into the Scrambleverse

(Spawnsire of Ulamog | Art by Izzy)

They Made a Whole New Cycle of Myojin, Like Come On!

Howdy, y'all! Welcome back to this series where we rank every card based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC. I just finished a super cool Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty draft, so I'm once again reminded how sweet this set is! Look, I'll be honest, I was not super excited for a return to Kamigawa, but they completely nailed the world design with all the artifact and enchantment creatures, and they have so many sweet callbacks, like the mythic Dragons, and Satoru Umezawa and....

Wait, what? I'm supposed to be excited for Streets of New Capenna now? Mmmmmmmmmmm, no. I'm still having fun with this set! I'll come back to New Capenna when I'm ready, but for now, I'll be enjoying all the sweet Kamigawa cards. I mean, have you seen Kosei, Penitent Warlord? Imagine all the sweet things you can do with that! If you need me, I'll be over here brewing!

160: Spawnsire of Ulamog: 1,621 Decks

Okay, here’s the tricky thing about Spawnsire of Ulamog: I know there’re some people playing this for the 20-mana ability, which is up there with one of the most explosive things you can do with any Magic card ever. Normally, EDH rules don't allow cards that grab things from outside the game to work, but all it takes is one group going "Sure, you can have a sideboard for this card" and bam! The card is bonkers now. If your playgroup is up for it, Spawnsire of Ulamog is really only limited by the number of Eldrazi you can buy. Imagine if you own a card shop and just dumped your collection onto the playmat. How can you not love that?

The issue for me is that I have no idea how many decks playing Spawnsire are doing that. Whether or not a group is into that is on a playgroup-by-playgroup basis. That isn’t something that can be reflected by EDHREC data, so I'm completely blind as to how many decks are playing Spawnsire for that ability. I don’t think it can be that many decks (most of the play here seems to be from generic Eldrazi decks), but I don’t think it can be zero, so what then? 5%? 10%? 20%? I really have no idea.

If you're not allowed to play like Ruen Brothers and break the rules, then you're basically playing a 7/11 that has Annihilator 1 and not much else. Yeah, for an Eldrazi, this feels pretty tame in EDH without the bananas 20-mana ability, so I guess I give this an 'Overplayed', but by how much, I cannot tell you.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: The first ability also technically goes infinite with Training Grounds and Heartstone, but Spawnsire costs 10. I think you can get something going faster than that.

159: Play of the Game: 1,675 Decks

Assist is one of those mechanics where you really need to play with it to know how much it's going to do for you. There are a few Assist cards, like Vampire Charmseeker, where no one will ever help you get the card out. No one wants to help you get back your Expropriate, but with a lot of the cards like Play of the Game, it’s easy to imagine scenarios where players' interests will align. When there's an archenemy at the table, I could see many cases where Play of the Game is much better than a traditional Wrath.

The question is how often and how much? Sure, people might be inclined to help you, but when you show that you have the Wrath, how political can you really get? Few people will often have the six mana to make this work, and even fewer will want to pay six mana for your strategy when you can pay that mana perfectly fine on your own. Really, when are people going to leave mana up for no reason? Sometimes, but not very often. My gut inclination is that Assist is never going to do much for you, but maybe it does enough or introduces a fun enough mini-game that it makes it worthwhile? I don’t know.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I guess? *Shrug*

158: Dread Cacodemon: 1,693 Decks

Never have I been so glad they put a “if you cast it from your hand" rider on something than Dread Cacodemon, because then it would be absolutely miserable in Kaalia of the Vast. Mmm. Nope. Nope. No, thank you. Mm.

The obvious comparison to Dread Cacodemon is with Plague Wind and In Garruk’s Wake. These two cards being sorceries gives it some specific use in Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge decks or some specific synergy with Epic Experiment and such, but for most decks, that's not going to be a huge factor.

Most of the time, it comes down to whether the downside of tapping your creatures on cast is going to matter, and for a lot of decks I don’t think it will. Unless you can kill your opponents right away, the upside of being an 8/8 feels like it's going to matter more. Cacodemon being a creature lets it do things outside of it sitting uselessly in your hand on an empty board, like Plague Wind would. Maybe if you’re a weird aggro deck, the downside on this card will be a problem, but then an aggro deck probably shouldn't be playing a ten-mana Wrath creature anyway.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: More of a side grade than an upgrade for Plague Wind, but a side grade more decks could take advantage of.

157: Myojin of Seeing Winds: 1,706 Decks

(23 Decks as a Commander, 1,683 in the 99)

Kinda surprised I’ve never seen a Myojin of Seeing Winds in play before. In the realm of absurd card draw spells, it’s pretty hard to get more absurd than Myojin of Seeing Winds. The most likely worst-case scenario here is that you’ll have enough mana sources to cast Myojin and no other permanents in play, and that’s still probably like 8-10 cards, and then the upside is like 30 or 40 cards if jank Santa smiles upon you. Yeah, I’m into this!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

156: Sphinx of the Steel Wind: 1,707 Decks

What am I supposed to say about Sphinx of the Steel Wind? What shall I say about a card that was the biggest, baddest artifact when it released? The card that was, and still kinda is, a Vintage power player as a Tinker target that can close out games very quick, and keep you alive, and also has protection from two colors that are most likely to destroy artifacts?

What can I say about the fact that even outside of the general power creep that has been happening over the past 13 years, Sphinx of the Steel Wind still wouldn’t quite have that same level of power in Commander when life totals start padded and get only more padded? Where an artifact version of Akroma, Angel of Wrath is going to be slower, more disruptive, and less effective than artifact finishers in other decks? What can I say about how despite that problem, Sphinx is still here fighting the good valiant fight as not the best win condition, but a win condition nonetheless that is particularly funny with cards like Mirrorworks?

Hmmmmmm. That. I think I’ll just say that.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I mean, Sphinx of the Steel Wind still does something and does it very well, so any artifact deck can slam it in the 99, even if it isn’t the best card.

155: Greater Gargadon: 1,746 Decks

Greater Gargadon is a very funny card in other formats. Any Restore Balance fans can tell you that. I don’t think you need it in EDH, though. There’re so many other sac outlets that you can use, and Gargadon is honestly kinda limited in Commander. 10 counters is a lot, but it’s not the infinite number of sacs you can get out of Viscera Seer. There's some weird stack shenanigans you can use if you really want to sac something infinite times to this, but those are way harder to pull off than Martyr's Cause, and frankly, Gargadon doesn't do as much.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Well, maybe it's fine in Bell Borca. Man, he makes the weirdest cards playable.

154: Godsire: 1,747 Decks

With Godsire, we shall say goodbye to the eight-mana bombs from Shards of Alara. Godsire is definitely a good one to go out on, though. It’s slow, but it’s an army in a can, and vigilance means you don’t have to choose between attacking with an 8/8 or making an 8/8! Not a ton of decks are really into that, but if you like Beasts, or multicolored creatures, or most likely, tokens, then you’ll probably be into Godsire!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It’s hard to dispute 'big'.

153: Licia, Sanguine Tribune: 1,779 Decks

(964 Decks as a Commander, 815 Decks in the 99)

There are some legends, like Yarok, the Desecrated, that are made for Commander, and there are other legends, like Licia, Sanguine Tribune, which are made exclusively to be commanders, and nothing else.

First off, she costs eight mana if you’re not gaining life, so you very clearly not going to play this outside of a dedicated lifegain deck. That's already niche, but then you also have to protect and keep Licia around for a while for her to do anything. She's a very fair card with the rider that she can only get three counters a turn. I’m not complaining about that; we don’t need more Edgar Markovs in the format. Still, that's a big time commitment, and once you do commit that time, then whoops! She paints a target on herself pretty badly. Better stock up on Lightning Greaves, Mirror Shield and Hammer of Nazahn to keep her alive.

On top of that, you kinda also want to have Voltron/evasion pieces to supplement her. Licia can get very big, but it’s a little bit scary to pay 15 life into this without ensuring that she cannot also deal damage with the lifelink and return your investment. First strike helps her get in, but again, she’s kinda slow by herself, so if you can start swinging before she’s massive, that’ll certainly help. While you’re at it, why not play some other ways to increase her power to give you a much larger return on investment?

So at this point, we’re looking at a lifegain deck with lots of ways to protect yourself and Licia that also has an evasion and Voltron sub-theme. That’s basically just a Licia Commander deck.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It’s a very good deck, just to be clear, but it doesn’t leave her much space to see play elsewhere.

152: Bearer of the Heavens: 1,803 Decks

It’s Obliterate but with extra steps. I’d love to say something more about Bearer of the Heavens is, but I’m not sure I can. It’s a Giant, so you might wanna play it with Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas. There’re some combos you can do with Kaya’s Ghostform or Gift of Immortality to be really mean, but all of that is set dressing for what is ostensibly an Obliterate that you have to kill to make happen. You can do it, it’s not hard, and if you want it, you probably have a way to win the game. If you don’t, why would you touch this card?

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: The flavor's cool, I guess.

151: Scrambleverse: 1,817 Decks

I have actually resolved Scrambleverse in paper multiple times across my Commander career, back when I was in my "No-Win-Con Chaos" phase of Commander. (I was an edgy teen, what do you want from me?) Even if you're into that type of thing, I still wouldn’t recommend this card. From a gameplay point of view, it’s not really going to change the board state. The same cards are going to be running the game, it just changes who control the threats, which could be you, but speaking from experience, it's never you.

From a “let’s play a wacky card and see what happens” point of view, it’s way less fun to resolve than other common chaos cards, both logistically and in terms of overall game feel. It takes forever either way, and unlike Thieves' Auction, there’s no strategy or “screw you” power here, since it’s all random. Even if you like to watch the world burn, this isn’t the way to do it.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Play Grip of Chaos, Psychic Battle, or Thieves' Auction instead. Yes, I did just suggest all of those cards.

Maybe I Never Stopped Being An Edgy Teen

Well, I've got about 300 cards for a Shigeki, Jukai Visionary deck, so you better leave me to the rest of my afternoon. Let me know what you think about this batch of cards in the comments! Did you find a deck for Licia, Sanguine Tribune? Do you have some insight into Assist? 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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