Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 23: RAWWWWWWWWWR!
(Gishath, Sun's Avatar | Art by Zack Stella)
Duh-duh-duh duh duh-duh-duh duh-duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Many Magic: the Gathering Players Ask The Question: "Is it worth it to rank every Battlecruiser cards based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC?"
Yes. Yes, it is. I don't know why so many players were asking. Do you think I would be devoting hours of my life to making this series if it wasn't worth it? Clearly, I must get some enjoyment out of it if I've done it for 23 parts already! Also, why the heck did you all come up with the same idea if you hadn't heard of this series before? Is this something you sit around and think about in abstraction waiting for some random internet writer to answer? Really, what's wrong with you?
80: Worldspine Wurm: 6,689 Decks
My friends, it is a sad day, for Worldspine Wurm is the last Wurm on this list. There’s technically one other Wurm-themed card, but this is the last Wurm creature we’re gonna see in this. A moment of “wurm” to pay respect to these wonderful doofs:
Anyway, Worldspine Wurm is big. Like most big creatures, it folds pretty hard to removal and pillowfort cards. If they kill it, you get three 5/5s, which is good, but not as good as a 15/15, and if they exile it or tuck it, you get stone nothing. There are games where you cast it and it won’t do anything.
However, when the worst thing I can say about a card is that it isn’t great against answers tailor-made for its card type, I think that’s probably a good sign. Kinda like Progenitus, Worldspine Wurm will end games given enough time. Not many decks are gonna have a board state to fight a 15/15, and if you can pump it with something like Xenagod, then hoo-boy, your opponents are in for a bad time. The card smashes face. If you don’t wanna smash face, then why are you even looking at any of these Wurms in the first place?
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I demand more good Wurms for Commander, Wizards! There’re dozens of us Wurm fans, Wizards!
79: Time Stretch: 6,754 Decks
So Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Echo Mage, Storm King's Thunder, and Time Stretch walk into a bar. I'd love to tell you what they were talking about, but I can't because the conversation is still going. The bartender is shriveled and in agony, the bar is broken from years of abuse, and yet the drinks continue to flow.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Do I need to tell you that taking two extra turns is very good in Commander provided you can get around the mana cost and/or the salt of your opponents' tears? No? Good.
78: Enter the Infinite: 6,873 Decks
Enter the Infinite is in a similar category for me as Jace, Wielder of Mysteries and Cabal Coffers: a card that I know has to exist, but I wish didn’t exist like this. I understand that there would be a “best” instant or sorcery to cast for free off things like Spelltwine and Mizzix's Mastery if Enter the Infinite didn't exist. If it wasn't this one, it'd be Expropriate or Time Stretch. I get that something has to be the spellslinger "reward" card.
But this one is so borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in a Fblthp, the Lost control deck or a wacky Jegantha, the Wellspring spell reanimator deck, Enter the Infinite is the automatic "best card to play", and it's too efficient at that job. At least, if the best card to cast was Time Stretch or Expropriate, the things that I was doing on my extra turns would change from game to game. When you have your entire deck in your hands, you’ll usually construct the same set of cards to win every game, likely involving Laboratory Maniac or something like that. It was cool when I first saw it, but now it’s so streamlined that I’ve grown bored of it, and there’s not much else you can do with it either. There’s no such thing as a fair Enter the Infinite because you’re going to lose on your next turn otherwise. It’s either win the game when you cast it, or don’t bother, and thus, I often fall into the latter category.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I don’t fault anyone for playing this at all. It’s splashy, and it's the best tool for its particular job. I personally have simply moved on weirder avenues.
77: Verdant Force: 6,952 Decks
The last of the Forces is also the original one that started the whole dang cycle. Verdant Force was really the first creature that scaled well to multiplayer. When your competition for the first 20 years of Magic's history was Craw Giant and Mossbridge Troll, it's easy to see why Verdant Force was one of the top multiplayer threats you could play.
And in the modern EDH format, it still holds up… kinda. Cards like Dragon Broodmother, Beledros Witherbloom, Koma, Cosmos Serpent, and especially Tendershoot Dryad outshine this card in basically every way, but y’know what? Verdant Force is way cheaper than all those cards, and it does exactly what you want it to do. It makes a 1/1 every player's turn. Doesn't matter that it costs eight; four tokens a turn cycle in any deck that cares about tokens is going to be a haymaker. Plus, the tokens are Saprolings for whatever Slimefoot, the Stowaway shenanigans you'd like to get up too! Yeah, it’s not even close to the best anymore, but it gets the job done. Long live Verdant Force.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Of the cycle, I think Baleful Force and Magmatic Force are going to do more, but it stands alongside them well.
76: Breaker of Armies: 7,088 Decks
Ah! Here we go. Here’s a decent budget Eldrazi. It’s still not amazing. It probably takes out two or three creatures, and then dies, but it wreaks havoc on any board state, and if it survives, or if you can give it indestructible, it can be just as terrifying. If you want a budget Eldrazi for your colorless shenanigans or if you want your colored decks to have a little bit of Timmy/Tammy fun, this is a good choice!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I look forward to the companion of this card: the Breaker of Sleeve-ies
75: Avatar of Woe: 7,177 Decks
When you can cast Avatar of Woe for two mana, it absolutely justifies its place in your deck. The challenge is getting to cast it for two mana in a reasonable timeframe. It probably will cost two mana eventually. Ten creatures after a wrath is pretty easy, especially if you have other ways to fuel your graveyard.
The bigger issue is casting it early; otherwise it’s far too slow to really be a large threat. If you aren’t filling your own graveyard, you kinda have to cross your fingers and hope another deck at the table is filling their graveyard, which is never a great strategy. Even if you are filling your graveyard, you're still probably looking at a bit of a lagtime before this comes down and starts doing work. When the stars align for Avatar of Woe, it’s very good. Often, I find they don’t really align for it, and most of the time, I'll end up cutting it from even the most mill-centric of decks.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: More like “Avatar of-Woah, dude! That’s a real cheap Visara the Dreadful you have. Ayeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
74: Gishath, Sun's Avatar: 7,120 Decks
Gishath, Sun's Avatar is currently the 26th most popular commander on EDHREC. To put that into perspective, he's above Kalamax, Teysa, Urza, Najeela, Feather, and freaking Lord Windgrace. When I tell this to people, they tend to be pretty surprised. Why the heck are Dinosaurs so popular? Well, as a convert to Gishath, Sun's Avatar fairly early on, I think I can explain why Dinosaurs became one of the most popular tribes in EDH.
You see, Dinosaurs hit this perfect trifecta of being cheap, easy to build, and powerful, and I argue that most of that can be attributed to Gishath. Simply put, Gishath makes lethal boards entirely on his own. Provided Gishath has enough Dinos to hit in your deck, you are guaranteed to make some very impressive board states off of simply casting Gishath and attacking with him.
That meant that when Gishath was released, it didn't really matter what Dinos you played in the 99. Anyone could build Gishath regardless of their playstyle or budget. Are you a new player who got into Magic with the Ixalan block? Great! Slam all those Thundering Spinebacks and Charging Monstrosaurs you opened from your prerelease into a deck; if you can ramp to Gishath, your deck will smash face. Are you a more enfranchised player looking to play something higher power? Perfect! Swap in Ghalta, Primal Hunger and Etali, Primal Storm. Gishath scales to the power level of the Dinosaurs you can hit off it. Are you not much for stompy decks and are more into synergy machines? Slot in Silverclad Ferocidons and some support cards like Pyrohemia, and now it's an Enrage deck. Basically, Gishath was easy enough to build with whatever Dinosaurs you had available, but powerful enough that you could tailor Gishath to whatever best suited your needs. Heck, I don't like playing tribal decks, and even I built a Gishath deck because it looked fun, and it was incredibly easy to do when Rivals of Ixalan released!
I argue most of that still holds up today although the price of a lot of the random Ixalan Dinos makes it a tough sell. Gishath’s $20 pricetag makes it harder to organically do so, but I argue he's still the only card you need to have to play Dinosaurs. While it sucks that cards like Polyraptor have shot up in price, Gishath still remains a threat entirely on his own. Even if he's surrounded by Fungusaur and Sky Terror, he still spits those creatures out at a rate to make them dangerous. Plus, with Ikoria and the occasional random Dino printed in a recent set, he'll never run out of budget options to cheat into play. I think Gishath is one of the most cleanly designed legends of all time for EDH. He singlehandedly created a long-lasting archetype basically by existing, and he's powerful and unique enough that you can run it in almost any meta with a little bit of tweaking.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I will be sad if Gishath ever falls out of the top Naya commander slot. We’ll see if Jetmir has it in him.
73: Beacon of Tomorrows: 7,288 Decks
Hey, you newborn babies! I was trying to enact Nexus of Fate loops before it was cool! It was called Beacon of Tomorrows, and all I needed was an empty deck to take infinite turns…
and eight mana…
and I needed this all to happen on my turn…
and the card didn’t really do anything when I wasn’t going off…
and yeah, I can see now why you’re using Nexus of Fate. Carry on.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Not so much for the infinite turn potential, but more because any extra turn spell is valued at a premium in EDH, and Beacon of Tomorrows is actually one of the cheaper ones, price-wise.
72: Tidespout Tyrant: 7,391 Decks
Some people were saying that Hullbreaker Horror eclipses Tidespout Tyrant since it can also hit spells and has flash. I say that while Horror is its own brand of miserable, the people saying that have never been in games with Tidespout Tyrant where it was bouncing people’s lands and leaving them forever in the shadow realm. I think both are gonna be fine.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I waffle between needing to get a copy of this for my Jalira deck and not wanting to insert this evil into my life.
71: Archfiend of Despair: 7,567 Decks
I did expect Archfiend of Despair to have passed Wound Reflection at this point, but I guess being $50 will do that to you. I think Archfiend is a much better card than Wound Reflection. Being a creature and thus weaker to removal is a downside, but being easier to protect and hitting for twelve by himself is a huge plus. If you own a copy, great! If you don't, well, Wound Reflection got a reprint a couple years ago, so I think you’ll still be able to kill people if you can snag a copy of that instead.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: What the heck is he holding? A scythe? A whip? That’s gun blade levels of indecisiveness there. “I want all the spiky-death-themed things!”
I'm Sorry, FFVIII Fans
I hope very much this article has been of some help to you. You can help me out by letting me know what you think about this batch of cards. Do you have a cool combo with Enter the Infinite? Are you a Dinosaur fan like I am? Let me know some place on this article. Until next week!