Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 24: The Real Slinn Voda

(Praetor's Counsel | Art by Daarken)

If I Had Time, I Would Have Written Two Articles

Hello, the future! Welcome back to our series where we rank Battlecruiser cards based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC. I'm sure y'all are enjoying the full Double Masters 2. I'm stuck in my normal position of writing before the set has actually been spoiled yet, so I have very little idea what's actually in it.

However, I do know what tends to get reprinted: cards that have never been reprinted before, and those are public knowledge. Therefore, pulling cards from that list, I predict with 100% accuracy that Double Masters 2 will contain:

You can print that with 100% accuracy. I'm sure Horobi, Death's Wail players are trembling with anticipation now.

70: Storm Herd: 8,075 Decks

I've often see Storm Herd played in lifegain decks, and that's always felt a little odd. I can kinda see the idea: if you’re getting up to 200 life, then this is making you 200 1/1s. That's cool, but uh, 40 1/1 fliers is probably going to kill people just as well. Storm Herd doesn't need lifegain to be good, and really, do lifegain decks need a ten-mana sorcery that makes a bunch of fliers to win the game? Not really.

Honestly, this seems better in a Jodah, Archmage Eternal deck that can cheat this into play early on, or a Jetmir, Nexus of Revels that might have ways to boost the tokens and even give them haste for a same turn kill. I'm gonna call it overplayed, but it's not because the card is bad. It's because there's a ton of decks that can use this card much more efficiently than the lifegain decks can.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Obviously if you can make the tokens and also care about lifegain, like Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, then that’s the best world for this.

69: Inkwell Leviathan: 8,147 Decks

You could maybe argue that Inkwell Leviathan is another fallen titan from the times of yore. Another card that used to be the best thing to Tinker into play before Blightsteel Colossus and Bolas's Citadel were printed. Another Commander, Cube, and casual all-star that hasn’t kept up with the times. Another card that people play because they have nostalgia for the power the card once had.

Except that for a card that people are only playing because it's old and cool, the card is still a pretty legitimate threat. It’s definitely not for every deck. Paying the full nine for this on turn eight or nine is less than ideal since it's a pretty slow card at that point in the game, but being reanimatable or refurbishable or rampable makes this pretty decent payoff for all of those. Like when Sphinx of the Steel Wind eats a Swords to Plowshares, that feels like a card that isn’t scaling super well to modern EDH. When Inkwell Leviathan eats a Wrath of God, that sucks, but it feels like a more palatable exchange. I would definitely expect some of the play here to be from old fogeys from 2010, but I also think there’re probably a lot of decks here playing it because it's decent.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Although it definitely ought to see a little less play in Runo Stromkirk. He makes a copy of a target attacking creature. No making duplicates of Inky here.

68: Fevered Suspicion: 8,967 Decks

I'm a sucker for any instant or sorcery that costs a million mana. I'm a sucker for Rakdos cards that do more than burn the world down, and I'm a sucker for cards that scale based on the power level of the table. All of that is to say that, yes, I'm a sucker for Fevered Suspicion.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: What do you think that Beholder is saying? "Gwaaaaaaaaah"? "Bleeeeeeeeeh"? "Nomnomnomnomonmonmonm"? I can’t decide.

67: Insurrection: 8,967 Decks

I don’t think there’s a ton I can really say about Insurrection. Not because there isn’t a ton to say about it, but because Trent from Reconstruct History basically said it all for me. There’s not much I can add to this thorough breakdown, so if you haven’t read it already, give her a read.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Only thing I might add is that Insurrection is still totally playable. There are still a lot of games that come down to who has the biggest beater, and if you’re looking for good spells to cheat into play, this is still a good option.

66: Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep: 9,003 Decks

(131 Decks as a Commander, 8,872 Decks in the 99)

There are too many fish that are basically soft Wraths. Think about it: we've already seen Lorthos, the Tidemaker, Breaching Leviathan, Kederekt Leviathan, and now Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep. There's another sea creature we haven't seen yet on the this list that also soft locks creatures, and when we include cards that aren't on this list, there’s Scourge of Fleets, Whelming Wave, and even Tromokratis. We have too many fish that only exist to slow down some creatures.

Some of these have got to go, and I wonder if one of those is supposed to be Slinn Voda. The card's essentially a Plague Wind, which is very good, but it’s ten mana and it’s a cast trigger, which is kind awkward compared to a cheaper card like Scourge of Fleets. I can see the argument for keeping it, but then you have to pick three of the other fish on the list to cut instead, and I don't know which ones to pick. Someone look at this problem and get back to me. I’ve got middle manager stuff to do.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: And maybe a retroactive 'Overplayed' to Breaching Leviathan? Not Kederekt Leviathan, though. I love my self-mill durdles. Plus, I just found out about the combo with Animate Dead. Thanks to commenters for that one!

65: Clone Legion: 9,342 Decks

I wonder how much I could argue that Clone Legion is the modern day Insurrection. In the same way that Insurrection was the battlecruiser finisher that took a creature deck and used their own forces against them to win the game regardless of the board state, Clone Legion takes the value-town board states of the modern Commander era and basically creates that for you on the spot.

Just like Insurrection, Clone Legion does not win in every scenario. There’re tons of board stats where Legion doesn’t do anything, but just like Insurrection, plenty of decks jam this card in, agnostic of theme, for the chance to make an army on the spot and steal a game they had no right to win. The only thing really missing from this scenario is that Clone Legion doesn’t have the same reputation as a casual bomb, but give it a few years and it might reach that status eventually.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: If there’s a card that can actually be expected to be good in Commander forever, it might be this one. 

64: Aminatou's Augury: 9,491 Decks

Aminatou's Augury looks kinda odd at first glance since it’s an eight-mana spell that needs you to get a little lucky, but the secret is to play it with other cards that cheat on mana costs. Play this in Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge, or Cecily, Haunted Mage, or Jodah, Archmage Eternal, and you basically get to double-dip. Your one crazy spell that you wanna get into play is actually three spells. It makes the investment a lot more worthwhile.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Are we ever going to see Aminatou in the lore again? Wizards, you can’t just introduce omnipotent God child into your lore and then never comment on it again!

63: Woodfall Primus: 9,610 Decks

Woodfall Primus is the perfect example of a workhorse card. It’s not the type of card you usually play to win you the game; you most often play it simply to accrue value. It blows up a thing, and then it sits there as a big creature to attack and block and apply pressure. Later, it'll probably comes back and blow up another thing. What more do you want? You can say that Woodfall Primus doesn't have the same impact of a card like Craterhoof Behemoth, but that's only because you're comparing a win-condition to a card that exists to buy you a metric ton of time.

Now obviously, the faster and more synergy-driven the format gets, the worse it becomes to play an eight-mana creature for value and nothing else, but it’s also not like Woodfall Primus is devoid of synergy. Even if you ignore the infinite combos with Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Grumgully, the Generous, it’s prime sac fodder for Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire. It’s delicious as top-end in Prime Speaker Vannifar. It’s a good target for a Sneak Attack, or a Corpse Dance, or a Rite of Replication. Again, none of that is going to win you the game, but it’s all good stuff to be doing that affects the board. The fact that Acidic Slime still floats in over 50,000 decks demonstrates that Primus will always have a home in the format even if its piece of the pie gets smaller as time goes on.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I like living in a world where Woodfall Primus is 50 cents. I don’t know how long we’re gonna live in this world, but I like it a lot.

62: Praetor's Counsel: 9,616 Decks

I'm not sure I'm equipped to talk about this card, because Seasons Past is one of my favorite cards of all time. I've sent people to the shadow realm off of Demonic Tutor + Seasons Past loops enough that I will now play Seasons Past whenever I can justify it, and so because of that, I’ve never actually needed Praetor's Counsel before.

Now, if you did something like threaten to drop my Zedruu the Greathearted deck off a spaceship with my tears unable to stop the raging fire it makes as it enters the earth's atmosphere, I might concede that Praetor's Counsel is better than Seasons Past. It costs more than Past, but there’s no limit to the stuff you can do. You can get back 10 to 20 cards, and if you go full lunacy and Traumatize yourself, then Counsel is obviously insane.

Then again, you often don’t need 30 cards from your graveyard to win. Usually when I see someone cast Counsel, they need the Hydra Omnivore, the Rush of Knowledge and the three counterspells they cast earlier. The extra cards are just gravy. If you only need four or five cards, then perhaps you should go with Seasons Past since it's cheaper and doesn't exile itself? Maybe? I dunno. Guess you're gonna have to go buy a spaceship and figure out where I keep my personal decks.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Really, this whole argument is pretty pointless. You can pick either of these expensive mass Regrowth spells (or even pick Wildest Dreams or Long Rest) and it will do what you want it to do. Which one you pick comes down to what suits your fancy.

61: Mnemonic Deluge: 9,635 Decks

I consider Mnemonic Deluge a spellslinger finisher, since when you cast Deluge, it tends to gain you a game-winning level of value. However, it only technically meets that bar, since it doesn’t win the game by itself. You need to have another game-winning spell in your graveyard, like Emergent Ultimatum or Expropriate (which exiles itself when cast, so I hope you're self-milling). If you're casting Jeska's Will three times, it's still very good, but it’s not going to win you the game on the spot. Deluge needs other cards to actually be as busted as it can be, so the question is: do you really need it? Is it doing anything for you that simply having Emergent Ultimatum doesn’t do for you already? 

Maybe not, but I think getting three Emergent Ultimatum is incredibly fun even if I really only need one to win the game. Plus, occasionally, you really do need three copies of a card to overcome some monster board state. Repeat after me, class: if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Now it’s time for another installment of “very niche decks that only I care about.” This week, Spell Reanimator. Play a bunch of expensive sorceries, like Storm Herd, that you have no intention of hard-casting, and want to cast them through Spelltwine instead. I've been having a ton of fun with this brew!

And Thus The Article Goes Full Circle

Well, I hope you all are having fun building around Zhou Yu, Chief Commander, which was very definitely 100% reprinted in 2X2. When you finish your sweet brews, let me know in the comments what you think about this batch of cards. Do you still see Insurrection or Clone Legion at your table?

Let me know somewhere on the internet. 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.