Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 17: There're Too Many Cool Cards!
(The Great Aurora | Art by Sam Burley)
I Can Only Be So Amazing
Well, I got nothing.
Look, I'm on article "one-hundred and something" and there are only so many ways one person can say, "Welcome back to this series where we rank X thing, (in this case, Battlecruiser cards) based on the number of decks they appear in on EDHREC." I'm running out of ideas.
Wait a minute! I'm on a website full of clever people who play Magic; I'll just ask one of them to do an opening for me. Hey, Doug! You got any ideas?
"Welcome back to the series where we rank peanut butter versus chocolate, a race which should have a clear winner, but much like the Kappa Tech-Wrecker and the Vizzerdrix, has some unexpected results (those being their respective EDHREC scores, of course)."
Oooooookay, I think I'll write my own intros from now on
140: Borborygmos: 2,272 Decks
(781 Decks as a Commander, 1,491 Decks in the 99)
I've always liked Borborygmos as a commander, and with cards like Creeping Renaissance, Nylea's Intervention, Change of Fortune, or Storm Cauldron, it's super easy to make this commander super lethal....
Oh, sorry. I meant Borborygmos Enraged. Uh... yeah, this one's fine, sure.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Look, if you didn't think I was gonna make such an obvious Magic history joke, you clearly are new here.
139: Liege of the Tangle: 2,304 Decks
Liege of the Tangle will absolutely win you the game on its own, even if it's pretty risky. When you hit someone with Liege of the Tangle, you might be tempted to turn all your lands into threats, but if you do that, you’ll likely lose to any Wrath of God, or even *looks up terrible Wraths* Guan Yu’s 1,000-Li March. You can therefore either play conservatively with the trigger, to see if you can make a lethal board while still leaving yourself some noncreature lands as a safeguard, or you can go full-throttle and hope no one can deal with you. That’s a dicey scenario, but the upside is that, again, this card basically wins the game on its own if no one stops it. For eight mana, that’s probably worth considering in your typical green deck.
If you’re not into that, then just play it for the ability to do nonsense. I’m a Jolrael, Empress of Beasts player at heart, so you bet that I’ve been playing this there for the theming and synergy. Titania, Protector of Argoth doesn’t really need the help, but why not try this? What's the damage to Titania is your million 8/8s die? They’ll just become a million 5/3s. Not silly enough? Jam Liege in Yedora, Grave Gardener for infinite sac fodder, or do it in Ashaya, Soul of the Wild where even the creatures can be 8/8s. I actually don’t know what happens if you put an awakening counter on Ashaya. Play it and find out for me!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: It's also seeing play in a bunch of Elemental decks, because sure.
138: Nicol Bolas: 2,418 Decks
(356 Decks as a Commander, 2,062 Decks in the 99)
If the Elder Dragons played a part in creating the mythos of the Commander format, then you probably have to credit most of that to Nicol Bolas. His trigger was terrifying when he was printed. If Bolas hit you, you were very likely going to lose. He doesn’t have a ton of evasion against flying creatures, so it’s not easy to deal damage, but if Bolas was a flying version of The Abyss, that was also probably going to win you the game in 1995.
Even today, he can still be a real threat if you can get around his upkeep cost. OG Bolas will always hold a slot in my Scion of the Ur-Dragon deck because making greedy control players discard their hand feels incredible. There's a similar idea with a lot of the stuff on the card's EDHREC page: Sedris, the Traitor King loves to Unearth Bolas, and The Ur-Dragon has enough haste enablers that Bolas is still worthwhile even if all he does is hit an opponent once. The Elder Dragons will always see play for the respect they demand from Old Fogeys like me, but Bolas is still absolutely a credible threat in the modern Commander era.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I once hit someone with a copy of this card, and then threw a bunch of ten cent coins at him. He said, "Gee, I'm getting Nicol and Dimed!"
137 (Tie): Magmatic Force: 2,444 Decks
We've been on a streak of cards that I really like, which is fantastic, but I think that means I need to not gush about Magmatic Force, because otherwise, this article is gonna be as long as all of the Capenna set reviews combined.
It's obvious why this card's seeing play, right? It Lightning Bolts four times a turn cycle! Yeah, it's not the best thing to cast for eight mana, and you probably won't be able to protect it super well in mono-red, but it Lightning Bolts something on every player's turn! Come on!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It's also super awesome when you Transmogrify into it on turn 3, and it sits there throwing Bolts while you look for your Reality Scramble to find your Blightsteel Colossus and... okay, okay, I know, we need to move on.
137 (Tie): Draco: 2,444 Decks
Well, we found the most battlecruiser of battlecruiser cards! Draco is the only card in the entire game that costs a whopping 16 mana. Is the card good? Nope! The best thing Draco can be is a 9/9 flyer for six mana. If Avatar of Fury often doesn't make the cut as a two-mana 6/6, Draco might as well just die as soon as he comes into play for all the good he'll do you.
No one cares though, because of course they don't! This is the only card that costs 16 mana! It’s the "strictly best" effect you can get off of Volrath the Fallen, Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, or whatever other "CMC matters" commander you need. If you're only looking to play the most powerful cards in these decks, Draco probably isn't what you want. When you don’t have your commander, Draco does actual-factual nothing, but if you want to say the phrase "everyone take 16 off my Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow trigger," then Draco is the only way to do that.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I find myself sympathetic to a lot of the cards in this series. Even if they aren't that great, they're doing things I love.
135: Sproutback Trudge: 2,485 Decks
Phew! We finally found a card I don't like! Hey, you know what my lifegain decks wanna do? Cast a random 9/7 from a graveyard over and over again. Yeah, because when I think of lifegain in EDH, I think big beater aggro! Wooooooooo!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It’s super resilient, which is neat, so maybe if you have a reason to play a 9/7 in a lifegain deck, I guess you can use this?
134: Herald of the Forgotten: 2,503 Decks
Herald of the Forgotten seems fine. Cycling decks win conditions tend to be either Living Death, Astral Slide, or New Perspectives. Herald doesn’t do much with the latter two, but it does seem okay in a deck that dumps Cycling creatures into the graveyard to get back later. There’s a good chance this card wins the game when you cast it in that style of deck, although it also seems like there’re plenty of opportunities for this card to not be worth the asking cost, and there are so many other cards that do what Herald does.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: That's a pretty soft "overplayed." The data on this card shows that most of the play here is people keeping it in the precon deck, where it seems fine, but not very exciting.
133: Myojin of Life's Web: 2,545 Decks
(28 Decks as a Commander, 2,517 Decks in the 99)
As we reach the last Myojin, I realize that I haven’t really talked about the Myojins as commanders. At first glance, they're kind of anathema to the format as a whole; you have to cast them from your hand, which means you’ll never get the divinity counter from casting these from the command zone. Of course, any Phage the Untouchable player will tell you that's an easy work-around. In fact, Myojin of Life’s Web is one of the easiest to get a divinity counter onto it: Stampeding Serow, Temur Sabertooth, and Erratic Portal get it back in your hand from the field, and Road of Return and Command Beacon get it in your hand from the command zone. Heck, That Which Was Taken skips the minigame entirely. If you're willing to try, you can make it work.
Plus, Myojin of Life’s Web can certainly reward you for it. In any other format, you probably won't have many cards to put into play with this card when you get the nine mana to cast it, but I can absolutely envision an EDH deck that draws enough cards to make this trigger truly explosive. After all, you're already running a bunch of cards that return creatures to hand, so maybe you can play a mono-green bouncy castle deck with a bunch of ETB triggers that you can reuse and abuse with the Myojin. That sounds fun! It’s a ton of work, especially when you could just play a normal ramp deck, but there are so many green commanders to lead a normal ramp deck, and I appreciate people that commit to something harder, flashier, and uniquer!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Myojin's also doing very similar thing in the 99 of deck, without all the command zone minigames. I've seen it do good work in Captain Sisay or Mayael the Anima as alternate ways to dump a bunch of baddies you've naturally drawn into play. It's neat!
132: The Great Aurora: 2,558 Decks
I feel like anything I say about The Great Aurora will fail to convey what this card actually does to games. I have seen this card cast twice across my time playing EDH, and both games were some of the most swingy, insane, memorable games I've ever played. Unlike other combo cards, even if you build around The Great Aurora, there's no guarantee it's going to win you the game. You can slant it towards your favor by floating a bunch of mana with Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant, or you can make a bunch of permanents to shuffle in off of Boundless Realms or Avenger of Zendikar, but none of that will help you if you draw into 80% lands, or if an opponent finds Cabal Coffers + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, or any mono-blue opponent happens to be sitting across from you. It usually provides some strategic advantage for you, so it's not a pure chaos card, but it's not often a bona fide win condition, either. Most of the time, it's just bananas.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I wonder if I should be giving this an 'overplayed' since it's probably underperforming from a power level point of view, but I'm also not gonna tell people to stop playing The Great Aurora.
131: Decimator of the Provinces: 2,618 Decks
For a budget Craterhoof Behemoth, Decimator of the Provinces is pretty good. I'm not sure I'd run it over End-Raze Forerunners, though. The upside on Emerge will rarely come up in big green Elf-ball deck, so you might as well run the card that cost less mana (and less money). That said, Decimator is fine if you need multiple budget Createrhoofs or if you happen to own this one instead of End-Raze Forerunners. They're pretty equivocal in the end.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Plus, maybe there's a weird deck where the Emerge will actually come up!
He Takes The Provinces And Goes "Om Nom Nom."
Well, I guess I have to come up with more openings. While I do so, let me know in the comments what you think about this batch of cards! Any good stories with The Great Aurora? Have you ever gotten hit with the Nicol Bolas trigger? All those and more, put them down there! Until next week!