Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 3: Dragon Dragon

(Zodiac Dragon | Art by Qi Baocheng)

Indecisiveness and Pomp

Hello, and welcome back to this series where we rank every Battlecruiser card based on the number of decks they appear in according to EDHREC.

Hmmmmm. That looks odd to me. When I started this series, I just called it 'Ranking Every Card with 8+ CMC' in my head. I'm just using 'Battlecruiser' as a neat way of saying that, but it's not 2015. Nobody even knows what Battlecruiser means anyway, so I might as well go for clarity. Okie dokie! Welcome back to this series where we rank every card with 8+ CMC!

Wait, they don't call it Converted Mana Cost anymore, do they? What is it now? Mana Value? Guess I should probably stay consistent. Welcome back to this series where we rank every card with mana value 8+? Ew. Who ends a sentence on 8+? Maybe I should stick with CMC, but if I'm doing this for clarify than it doesn't really make sense to not use Mana Value. Hmmmm....

What? Oh, article's below, I have some schematics to work out. Don't wait for me.


300: Flight of Equenauts: 47 Decks

I have a question! What the heck? Why is Flight of Equenauts this high? I’m gonna chalk this up to being from a recent set because the other cards around it are kinda cool, and this card is just a bland toast of a card.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It's not even technically 300th anymore. It lost a deck since last article was published, and it deserves it!


299: Sanguine Praetor: 49 Decks

I put Sanguine Praetor in the first draft for a lot of lists, but I always cut it long before my final draft. I really love this card, firstly because I never see it played and I'm a dirty hipster, and secondly because it can absolutely take over a game! Get out an Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder and you can eliminate all tokens; get recurrable threats like Nether Shadow and you lock out all two-drops forever; play theft cards like Molten Primordial and use your opponents' own creatures to eat your opponents' permanents!

It’s so close to the jank I love, but it never quite gets there. I sadly love this card mostly in theory. You need specific creatures for specific threats. Finding a five-drop you want to sacrifice to kill the Seedborn Muse is pretty difficult. It’s almost always gonna be worse than Grave Pact shenanigans. If this cost, like, five or six mana, it'd be a lot more effective. If you got to choose a number and blow up that specific CMC, this card would be awesome. As is, it doesn't do quite enough to be worth it.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Can go in Avatar tribal, at the very least.


298: Leviathan: 53 Decks

Coming at you all the way from The Dark, it’s the OG Leviathan card: Leviathan. Hey, you have to start naming these somewhere.

Similar to Deep Spawn, we do have to give a little bit of nerd cred to Leviathan for starting the sea monster trend and for giving us a glimpse into the Magic world of the past. A time when just being a trampling 10/10 was enough of a draw that you could staple a million downsides to it and still have it be a fan favorite. You gotta love it!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Nowadays, we get Gigantosaurus, which is a 10/10 for five, and no one bats an eye. Even if you never played during Alpha, you have to feel nostalgic for a simpler time!


297: Aladdin's Ring: 54 Decks

Ah! Here’s the original do-nothing artifact coming at us all the way back from Arabian Nights. Aladdin’s Ring struts into play for eight freaking mana, but it doesn’t do anything on its own. No, no, no! You have to spend another eight mana, and once you spend 16 mana total, you can Flame Slash something. Whoop dee doo for you! Oh, you also have to tap the Ring, because it would be insane to let you spend 24 mana in one turn to deal four damage to two things, or, Erebos forbid, eight damage to one thing! Really now. Be sensible.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Even Xanthic Statue does more than this.


296: Scaled Wurm: 61 Decks

More Wurms. We should move on from this card before I start gushing about how cool Wurms are. Scaled Wurm doesn’t even have any text on it, and I still somehow wanna gush about it. It's got this derpy presence, like “Look, I cover this whole forest. I'm so big! Doopa doop." Don’t you just wanna play Wurms after this?

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: While I’m here, have you all seen Streetbreaker Wurm? It looks like it’s belting out opera.


295: Fire Dragon: 61 Decks

I really wish Fire Dragon could hit players. Spawn of Thraxes is in over 2,000 decks, so a slightly more expensive version would have a very wide home.

That said, I don’t hate this card. Yeah, it costs nine, which is a lot for what’s essentially a Ravenous Chupacabra, but a 6/6 flyer that murders a thing is definitely gonna impact the board. It works really well in copy decks, like Delina, Wild Mage, and hey! If you have a Brash Taunter or a Repercussion out then you can even live the dream of one-shotting an opponent with it!

It's certainly not even close to the best thing you could be playing, but it's the perfect card to add if you want to tone down your Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker deck but still wanna play cool cards. Five dollars for this is a lot, but I think it can be worth it.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Ah yes, a Fire Dragon, as opposed to all those very common non-fire dragons.


294: Thousand-legged Kami: 63 Decks

Thousand-legged Kami. Isn't that a name that gives you warm fuzzy feelings? Chew on that for a while. Mmmmmmm.

Soulshift is such a weird mechanic. Okay, sure, you could maybe make an argument for playing Thousand-legged Kami in a slightly less all-in Spirit tribal deck. There’re some good creatures you can return to your hand with it, I guess... or you can just play a card like Young Necromancer and get back any Spirit directly to the battlefield. Maybe even a non-Spirit if you’re feeling punchy. I don't know about you, but I find that choice an easy one to make.

So you gotta be, like, all-in on Soulshift to really justify it, and that means you gotta play all the Soulshift cards. At that point, though, you’re playing, like, 30 cards that do nothing but buy back other Spirits, so what does your deck actually do at that point? It's the definition of spinning your wheels for no benefit. The Soulshift deck just does Soulshift for the sake of Soulshift. For people who ask why it took so long to return to Kamigawa, this mechanic is part of the reason!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: If you wanna play a kinda cool Soulshift card, play Forked-Branch Garami. That card’s actually kinda cute in a soft Spirit tribal deck since it gets two things back for five mana.


293: Qumulox: 73 Decks

286: Chromescale Drake: 80 Decks

People usually remember all the cheap busted Affinity cards like Frogmite, Myr Enforcer, and Thoughtcast, but nobody ever recalls the big, silly Affinity cards, like Qumulox and Chromescale Drake. They’re about as fair as Affinity gets. Sure, you can have a 5/6 flyer for two, but it’s always gonna be two blue mana, so no free creature shenanigans here. You’ll get slightly cheap flyers instead of completely free flyers and you will like it!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Both of these are pretty mediocre in regular EDH. If you wanna abuse stuff like Neoform in your artifact decks, I guess these are fine, but that’s kind of a niche market.


293 (Tie): Avatar of Hope: 73 Decks

Avatar of Hope is at least a more relevant creature than Avatar of Will. The ability to block a million dorks can be good with all sorts of effects like Indestructibility to never die through combat. It’s niche, but it’ll come up.

Unfortunately for Avatar of Hope, there are a lot of other cards that do this same thing that won’t cost eight mana. You’re never gonna hit the cost reduction unless you’re on Selenia, Dark Angel life loss tribal, so basically, it's eight mana for a niche card with many cheaper alternatives. You can prolly piece together my thoughts from that.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: We’re 0 for 2 on this cycle. That's not an auspicious sign.


291: Devouring Strossus: 76 Decks

I love Dimir House Guard. It’s a free sac outlet that also protects itself, can tutor for four-drops if you need it, and it also can often attack with impunity on the board. Would I love Dimir House Guard if it cost eight mana, made you sac a thing every upkeep, but was also a massive, beefy boi?

Maaaaaaaaybe?

It’s definitely a lot worse. I mean, compare Devouring Strossus to Razaketh, the Foulblooded, and it’s real sad. However, in the spirit of Battlecruiser cards, I’m pretty enraptured here by the massive body, and Regenerate means it’s gonna be a lot harder to kill than the average big dumb creature. You definitely need to be playing more casual than Ashnod's Altar to even consider this, but I would be giddy if you played Devouring Strossus against me.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Sometimes you need more beef in your decks.


291 (Tie): Brimstone Dragon: 76 Decks

How the heck is this seeing play over Fire Dragon? At least Fire Dragon affects the board. Brimstone Dragon is just big, but not as big as I want it to be.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: What the heck is with these names? Brimstone Dragon? Fire Dragon? Wizards really gave up in 1998.


289: Zodiac Dragon: 76 Decks

Hey, the Zodiac cycle from Portal Three Kingdoms! A cycle that probably doesn't even crack the top five weirdest things in Portal Three Kingdoms. It's a cycle of twelve creatures, each based off one of the Chinese Zodiac signs. If this suddenly spurs you to get brewing around this really unique cycle, I have two pieces of bad news. One, outside of Zodiac Dragon, this cycle is very boring, and two, this is Portal Three Kingdoms, the set full of cards so bafflingly reprinted in a normal set. Did you see the $800 price tag on Zodiac Dragon? Do not buy this card. Buy 100 copies of Sorin Markov, 800 copies of Lightning Skelemental, or 2,285 copies of Share the Spoils. All better uses of your money than this.

It's a shame, because Zodiac Dragon is super weird. There are a few other cards that fit this mold, like Immortal Phoenix and Shivan Phoenix, but you could build a deck around all these cards. There's probably some infinite combo of some variety, like an Omniscience + Goblin Bombardment. That’s not a good infinite combo, but I live for originality, and it’s certainly a way to kill the whole table that no one will expect. If you own a copy of this card, then there might be a cool spot for it.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: If anything, I hope someone starts building around Immortal Phoenix and Shivan Phoenix since those cards are pretty cool, and are not $800.


288: Shambling Attendants: 77 Decks

Stuff like Gurmag Angler and Hooting Mandrills see far too much play in EDH, in my honest, humble, objectively-correct-and-you-can't-claim-otherwise opinion. Not only are they fairly mediocre creatures for Commander, but they aren't even the most expensive cards you can play. You play cards with Delve to get extra value out of stuff, like Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder, so why not go full ham and play a more expensive dork like Shambling Attendants? If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Attendants isn't even that good a Delve card, but it's gotta be better than big fish and hooting monkey.


287: Liege of the Pit: 79 Decks

Ah, a classic Lord of the Pit callback! Definitely not gonna do much in EDH. It’s big and beefy and will hit hard, but it’s lackluster in the value-engine decks that now define the Morph archetype. It's a lot better than the Maelstrom Djinn we saw last week, so it might have a little more space in Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer, but even still, it doesn't do enough for 95% of Morph decks.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It’s fine.


Real Talk Though, Lord of the Pit: Underplayed

Alright, I'm still working on that intro. "Welcome back to this series where we rank every card that cost eight or nine or ten or eleven or...."

I'm gonna workshop this a bit more. While I do so, let me know what you think about this batch of cards! Do you have a cool combo for Zodiac Dragon? Are you a fan of Soulshift? 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.