Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 5: Homelands! (Please Don't Leave)

(Baron Sengir | Art by Pete Venters)

Let's Get a Move On, I'm Late!

Welcome back to this series where we rank every Battlecruiser card based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC. I have maybe 30 minutes before I have to go run and do something else, so if we could just get going, that'd be splendid.

Wait, you still want the traditional opening joke? Ugh, look, I really don't have time this week to faff about. Can't we skip the formalities this time?

Alright, alright, fine! I'll get you the dang joke. What do you call an eight-sided shape that receives a PHD? A doc-tagon! Woohoo.

Look, that's all I got, let's just be happy and move on!

270: Arcades Sabboth: 117 Decks

(21 decks as a commander, 96 decks in the 99)

Is Arcades, the Strategist a bit too powerful for you? Are you too much of a hipster for it? Then Arcades Sabboth is the commander for you! It’s like new Arcades, but hard mode, since you’ll need an effect like Huatli, the Sun’s Heart to actually make this card work, and if you’re playing Walls, you’ll need a card like Wakestone Gargoyle to get around the defender aspect of the card. Basically, you’ll be playing all the cards I’d tell you not to play in Arcades, the Strategist.

That said, it’s probably still pretty good. It needs a lot more work, but you can still kill with 2/10 Walls very quickly when they hit with their toughness, and hey, your commander has defensive Firebreathing, so it's even thematic! If you’re in the mood for a hipster choice, go for it!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Let’s just ignore that the untapped ability won’t work on attacks. It’s about the theming!

269: Body of Jukai: 121 Decks

I’m not sure why Thousand-legged Kami is only in half as many decks as Body of Jukai. Jukai is better-ish. It’s a better body, and might deal damage, but you’re only gonna play it in Kamigawa Spirits, and if you’re playing Spirits, then you might as well play all of them together so you can get the full Soulshift chain.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Ultimately, I’m not sure if Body of Jukai is overplayed, or if I was supposed to call Thousand-legged Kami underplayed…? Eh, I’ll just give it the 'Just Right' and let you all sort it out.

268: Chromium: 124 Decks

(50 Decks as Commander, 74 decks in the 99)

Chromium has to be next to Palladia-Mors as the one with the ability that matters least. The Rampage number isn't even the best you can get (foreshadowing), and it has no other abilities. I think the only reason it’s got more decks than Arcades & Palladia is because of the players who want to build an old-school EDH deck and pick Chromium specifically for the colors.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Maybe also for the art. It's hard to get more metal than a metal Dragon.

267: Furnace Dragon: 127 Decks

There’re few cards that behave like anathema to their own strategies as much as Furnace Dragon does. You’d think cards with Affinity would want to see play in decks with lots of artifacts, but then Furnace Dragon comes down and Merciless Evictions your whole board, so what the heck is this supposed to be?

I guess this is just supposed to be a nine-mana Vandalblast on a stick, which isn’t a bad rate. Vandalblast is incredibly good against artifact decks; Vandalblast that also exiles is probably going to eviscerate their very existence. Nonartifact decks aren’t gonna care though, so you’re gonna need a very specific meta for this.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It’s very cute with Mycosynth Lattice to exile everything, maybe floating some mana so you can play creatures right after the board gets melted, but then again, what doesn’t combo with Lattice?

266: Teeka's Dragon: 129 Decks

Raaaaaaaampage! Another mechanic in the dustbin of Magic history, but unlike Phasing, it's probably never gonna be saved from the dustbin of history. It just does very little most of the time. Double blocks happen maybe one out of every 50 games, and this mechanic basically just prevents an already niche scenario. It's kinda like first strike, in that it’s entirely reactionary and is only good when opponents choose to make it good, so it’s never gonna matter. If they made Rampage so that it caused a buff whenever the creature got blocked at all, then it might be better... oh wait! They did, and they called it Bushido, and that mechanic did very little as well. Rampage: a worse version of a mechanic no one cares about!

Given that background, here's Teeka’s Dragon, the creature with the biggest Rampage number. Ironically, the flying kinda hinders this card a lot; if you wanted to abuse Rampage, you’d play it with cards like Lure that force blockers, and hey, the Dragon even has trample, so the +4/+4 would end up mattering even if you force someone to block with tons of tiny tokens. That's all great - except that having flying limits the number of creatures that can block this thing. Even if you go all-in on this card to try and make it work, you’re still not even gonna have the biggest creature on the block. Hard boo.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Why are Dragon decks playing this?

265: Vaevictis Asmadi: 133 Decks

(45 decks as Commander, 88 Decks in the 99)

Compared to Chromium, Vaevictis Asmadi looks like the sweetest legend ever. He probably has the best ability of the five OG Elders (other than the obvious one we won’t be seeing until much later). Firebreathing for any color can make it pretty dang lethal in a lot of scenarios. It’s still not gonna be great, but if you wanna play an old-school Dragon, this is probably the best option.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Honestly, I’m reviewing these mostly for show. 95% of the decks playing this are doing it for the ethos. They could do literally nothing (like Chromium) and people would still play them.

264: Din of the Fireherd: 136 Decks

Back in ye olden days of 2020, I took inspiration from MTGradio and theory-crafted a five-color mono-red deck around Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. You played a bunch of red mana pips, then used Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to ramp into a bunch of red hybrid cards, like Wort, the Raidmother and Deus of Calamity. I loved the idea because there’s a ton of random hybrid cards, like Din of the Fireherd, that are unique and have potential to do a ton, but don’t scale well to Commander. Individually, Din probably doesn't do enough, but if you cast it and then, like, seven other comparable cards, that’s probably as much value as one Expropriate, right?

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Like, if Din cost a couple less mana, or if it worked on each opponent, it’d prolly see way more play. As is, it’s awkward.

263: Vampire Charmseeker: 139 Decks

It seems very unlikely for anyone to Assist you in casting this. I guess sometimes the table needs a Wrath and you might find an opponent who's willing to buy you out of a jam, but a lot of the time you’ll wanna use this to buy back a Time Warp, a Keep Watch, or a Demonic Tutor, and nobody is gonna help you get those back at all. You might as well just skip the mini-game and play a Possessed Skaab, an Archaeomancer, or a Young Necromancer rather than an eight-mana card like this.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I notice the Will of the Council cards are on this card's page for... reasons.

262: Lashweed Lurker: 141 Decks

Lashweed Lurker is probably the best card we've seen for decks that need high-CMC stuff and wanna cheat on mana costs. The trigger can be real freaking annoying in a lot of scenarios. Sure, it’s not Vindicate, but worst case scenario, it gets rid of anything for a turn. Getting rid of something like No Mercy for even one attack cycle is often enough to encourage the table to rumble. Plus, there are so many random things that turn this effect into hard removal. Any shuffle or mill effect and the target's gone for good. This is all on top of Emerge being a fairly powerful mechanic anyway, so I could imagine a lot of decks that want this thing.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: I still wouldn’t recommend Lashweed Lurker in decks that don’t care about high-CMC cards, but something like Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty loves this thing!

261: Feral Incarnation: 144 Decks

This isn’t a terrible rate. It’s not a good rate, but compare it with Scatter the Seeds, which can often be free in good token decks. Three 3/3s for just four or five mana is pretty legit, and any token-doublers or token pump effects are gonna work very nicely with this card. I dig it.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Not great, but I could see myself playing it.

260: Skeletal Wurm: 145 Decks

Wurm… but also Skeleton. Two jank tribes. Mmmmmmmmm.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Horrifying art, though.

259: Baron Sengir: 146 Decks

(15 decks as a commander, 131 decks in the 99)

I think you could make a very strong argument that we would not still have legendary creatures without Homelands. Sure, the first set with Legends was the aptly named Legends, but I don’t think that set created this precedent that legendary creatures were going to be a large part of the game. Legendary creatures were a set gimmick, and back then, there was no guarantee that those gimmicks stuck around. Heck, the precedent was probably not to keep them around. Cumulative Upkeep didn’t become a long-term thing. Enchant World didn’t become a long-term thing. Snow mana didn’t become a long-term thing. Real characters as Magic cards didn’t become a real thing (well, not yet anyway; give them a few years to run out of Secret Lair ideas). There’s absolutely a parallel universe where legendary creatures are just a weird mechanic from this set that they chart out for nostalgia every ten years.

Instead though, we got Homelands, probably the worst Magic set ever made on several metrics, but one that took lore that people loved from Alpha, and expanded on it. The casual players that loved Sengir Vampire now had an entire world built off of that love, and this is how you end up with Baron Sengir. It’s a card that does very little. Even during the time, it was a pretty poor lord, and it was a mediocre flyer for eight mana. You’d probably play Sengir Vampire over this card, and yet, these are cards that absolutely matter to people! People still remember Baron Sengir to this day. He was an iconic character that you could actually play with, and frankly, Wizards quickly forgot this lesson. Why did Gerrard Capashen not get a card until six years into his storyline? Why did Teferi and Jhoira not get represented until years after their storylines concluded? Why did it take almost three decades for Urza to get a single non-"Un" Magic card? I argue that legendary creatures matter because Homelands made a cool story for the characters and then put those characters on physical Magic cards!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: We don’t get Commander without the Elder Dragons, but I also don’t think we get Commander without Veldrane of Sengir either.

258: Tombstalker: 153 Decks

The trend of 'fine cards that are absolutely better than other cards' continues! Being a derpy flyer has to make Tombstalker a lot better than Shambling Attendants or Gurmag Angler. It’s still not great, but if your budget deck needs more high-mana creatures, then this card is a fine alternative.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: This has to be the derpiest Demon art ever. Okay, maybe behind Kothophed, but it's a close second.

257: Angel of Salvation: 156 Decks

Why five damage? Why not all damage? I know it's a reference to Bogardan Hellkite, but so what? I don’t think Angel of Salvation would be busted if they just made it a better Haze Frog. This card's just sad. Like, the reward for using the Convoke on this card should be that you get something genuinely cool. It costs eight mana and it's basically on Healing Salve duty, for crying out loud!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Eight mana! Eight!

256: Denying Wind: 162 Decks

I've gotten some good use out of a Jester’s Cap or Sadistic Sacrament aimed at players who get a bit too comfortable going off with Reveillark infinite loops. I don’t think I would pay nine for it, though. Like, by the time you can play this, they'll have already gotten all the good cards out of their deck, yeah?

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I guess it's a bit cuter in Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge when you can get someone with it on turn five or something. If you really wanna screw over one opponent for the lols, I can't fault you.

Denying Your Ability to Play the Game Since 2000

Aaaaaaand done! Now I gotta run! I should have more time when this goes out, so let me know in the comments what you think about this article.

Have you ever seen an OG Elder Dragon? Have you ever gotten someone with Denying Wind? Let me know in the comments. See ya!

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.