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Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 4: A Return to Elder Dragon EDH.
Real Quick, Before We Start...
Welcome back to Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card with EDHREC. "Battleball" is a terrible nickname for , and thus, it should be eratta-ed in order to change the name of the card to because it's funnier to say.
I will not be taking questions at this time.
285: : 83 Decks
Ooh! Can I talk about Mono-White Reanimator? My favorite deck I’ve never built! You get to play all these weird reanimation cards, like , , and , to return creatures like , , and to the battlefield. Granted, it's a little hard to get these creatures into the graveyard - there’s some good stuff like or , but you’ll quickly have to resort to and to help smooth things along, and it’s why most people move into blue or green (or black, but that kinda eliminates the entire point).
This is all to say that is a perfect card for this very specific deck. With any mill engine, this is always gonna be on, and it’s gonna be a very big flyer with the more fun half of attached. It’s the type of card that’s worth reanimating, and also worth casting late game if you have to.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I guess I should promote more than my random pet decks and say that has some less janky application in random Angel decks. You do need to have decent assurances that Threshold will turn on, but you can definitely get your mana's worth for the cost here. It’s gotta be better than the s of the world, at the very least.
284: : 87 Decks
You know what commander I think is greatly underrated? . It’s absolute jank, but there’re tons of cool shenanigans with , , or effects. You get to knock out people with a very silly creature, and you should do it more.
Does Jiwari basically make obsolete? Yes. Yes it does. Go build Jiwari!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Maybe Hellkite can go in a mono-red deck?
283: : 88 Decks
This one’s weird because a lot of the decks playing Giant decks. That doesn’t sound odd, but besides costing eight, Hearthcage isn't gonna do a much in Giant decks because those decks are running very few Elementals. The sac ability is probably only gonna get used twice, so it really only gives a Giant +6/+2. That's not bad, but when you have cards like that actually do something, you don’t need this card. are
However, I do like the Elemental decks. It still costs eight, which is still gross, but it can do a lot more. Elemental decks already kinda want to reanimate their Elementals over and over again, like or the new Evoke cycle from Modern Horizons 2. Hearthcage is a free sac outlet for all those cards that also hits for a bunch, works well with blink cards like , and can even one-shot someone on the right board. It’s at least worth considering. in
Where you really wanna play the 'Everything Tribal' decks. In those decks, the second ability basically reads “sac a creature, give a creature +3/+1.” With all the random derpy Changelings, it seems very easy for Hearthcage to give a lot of power to certain creatures, and it makes combat super difficult to parse. I think it could be very good there., though, is in
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Little hard to justify this one since it’s also seeing playing in Giant decks where it’s mediocre, but the upside in both the Elemental and 'Everything Tribal' decks is hard to ignore.
282: : 90 Decks
If/when we get some Commander-focused Emerge cards, I would guess those cards are gonna see a ton of play in our format. Emerge lines up really well with our format, but the mechanic ended up being mostly for Limited, so we get a lot of mediocre cards, like , where, yeah, you can cheat this into play early, but why bother? It's got great synergy in decks like , but it also has an incredibly mediocre effect. Boo.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I'm sure some decks just want an Emerge threat for some reason and don't care about the text at all.
281: : 90 Decks
Pretty sure 80% of the decks playing Cure for the Common Game. He's a sucker for the classics, and is generally better than the other big dorks of the time period, like . It’s not quite , but, y’know, not everything can be that busted. are just decks from
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: There also does seem to be a Golem tribal theme, and that tribe's surprisingly deep.
280: : 92 Decks
I could have sworn I talked about this card already. Oh! No, that was wasn't it? Boy, I sure am glad we got two crazy expensive Aladdin-based artifacts in the same set!
at least does something useful for less than a million mana, unlike . Don't get me wrong, it's still a lot of mana, but you can use it as a funky every turn, which could be good. I still can't think of any deck that wants a ten-mana artifact that requires you to draw a card and spend more mana every turn and tap it to get one-shot card selection, especially when you could just run , but I guess I can't say there isn't a deck that should play this card, sooooooooooooo... improvement?
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Still bad, though.
279: :93 Decks
(25 Decks as Commander, 68 Decks in the 99)
The original Elder Dragons of Elder Dragon Highlander! Before Strixhaven’s Elder Dragons, Ikoria’s colossal Beasts, Rise of the Eldrazi's rising Eldrazi, and Onslaught's old fogies, we had a bunch of old, derpy legendary Dragons from Legends. I’m sure it’s a story you’ve heard before, but the original idea for the EDH format came from these five old Dragons from Legends. You picked one of these Dragons (and these were the only legends you were allowed to use), built a 60-card 'highlander' (a.k.a. singleton) deck, and smashed face. That was EDH in 1996.
I think you could argue that the Elder Dragons were not really the ultimate cause that moved the format from Adam Stanley's small crew of friends to Sheldon Mennery, and then eventually to the multiplayer juggernaut it is today. When Sheldon adopted the format, the Elder Dragon restriction was long gone, which I think we can agree was a solid move. These Dragons are certainly big, but they got outclassed very quickly. I already mentioned the Onslaught Dragons, which were much, much better than these, and that set released in 2003. Heck, even in Legends, there were cooler legends to build around, like , , and . The Elder Dragons are big and they fly, but the format migrated away from them quickly and for good reason.
Still, they straight -up named the format, and provided a lot of the flavorful ethos that gave the format room to grow, so we ought to give them a bit of credit.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Of the five, is probably the least impactful, but even she deserves a little bit of the nerd cred.
278: : 100 Decks
I’m glad I can keep pushing off any discussion about Assist until later. I really don’t know how to decipher this very strange mechanic, but is often gonna be a poor whether Assist does its work or not.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Then again, if you get someone to pay seven for this card, that’d be a fun story, if nothing else.
277: : 101 Decks
I think would see way more play if it just had “this creature enters with three +1/+1 counters" instead of having Sunburst; yet another reason that Sunburst is such a nothing mechanic. I mean, if you can get counters on this, this does a reasonable impression of , except that it costs mana to activate. That's fairly bad, but it’s got value if you’re able to put counters on it. If it came with three counters, I might try it in colorless decks since those decks always need removal. Of course, the world is unfair, and you either need Sunburst, or you need to be able to put counters on it yourself to make this work. At that point, I just throw my hands up and move on.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: If you are an avid reader of this series and you haven’t read Jeremy’s colorless Sunburst article, you need to get on that.
276: : 102 Decks
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Wurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm....
275: : 107 Decks
is one of those cards that has the silliest applications, and I love it. You increase its power and suddenly it becomes a one-sided wrath. You give it indestructible and it becomes a repeatable kill spell for anything. You play it with , and it gives you an Enrage trigger every turn. You play it with or , and you can possibly kill the entire table. It requires a lot of setup, but when the stars align, it hits this level of jank I just adore.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I love this card, but it's not a very good one. There’s an argument for playing it in as a 'Wrath' effect, but the average deck isn’t gonna do much with it.
274: : 108 Decks
Ah, yes, it’s again... again. Of the three green Morph creatures we've seen, I guess is the best. The stats are the best of the three, and Morph means it could sneak in some combat trickery, but again the Morph decks are far too busy for a random 9/9 to really matter.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: That mono-green Morph deck is getting better and better each article!
273: (Tie) : 108 Decks
Here’s another big fish that was supposed to be in that traditional vein of 'giant creature with massive downside', except they ended up giving it a real weird application. If you can’t abuse , then the downside is probably on the level of , but this creature could have a ton of fun synergy in Blink decks. Imagine the Magical Christmas Land scenario where you flash this in with in response to a Wrath, and it saves your entire board, and then, on your turn, you bounce Denizen with and you create the silliest value loop you’ve ever seen, reusing your and every turn.
On average, this card is going to be much, much, much worse than that. There’ll be some board states where you can't even cast Denizen for fear of sending yourself back to the Stone Age, but there’s not many other creatures that can mass bounce like this, and I’m sucker for originality.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: When you want this nonsense, you’ll know.
272: : 111 Decks
Hrmmmm. That’s, uh, that’s basically just two 4/4s for eight mana. I mean, that’s not horrendous, and the token decks want 4/4 tokens, but like… there are so many other, better tokens you can make. Why would you waste time on this?
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I used to play when I didn’t know how the rules worked, and I assumed that Populate made a copy of all my tokens, not just the one I choose. That has nothing to do with anything, but I felt like I need to share it.
271: : 113 Decks
I was a little worried about ending on since it's hard to be anything but ambivalent toward a 7/6 with reach, but then I decided that ambivalence would be the write-up. Sometimes you need a little bit of apathy in your life, so here, take some for the road.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Might play it in Spider Tribal, I guess?
I have absolutely nothing to answer for, but do feel free to let me know what you think of this article. Got a janky combo with or ? Have you tried or in anything fun? Let me know in the comments. Until next week!