Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 7: A Truly Epic Article

(Endless Swarm | Art by Jeremy Jarvis)

Soaking In the Chill Vibes

Ahhhhhhhhhh... so relaxing....

Oh, hey there. Welcome back to this series where we rank every battlecruiser card based on the number of decks on EDHREC. I'm going to take this article very slow. We're stuck in the limbo zone between Christmas and New Years and that is prime "do-nothing" zone for me. I'm gonna be a lazy butt because, gosh dang it, I deserve it, and frankly, you do too!


Wait, New Years? Oh shoot, it's the end of the year! I got stuff to do. I'll see you at the bottom of the article! Enjoy!

245: Searing Wind: 214 Decks

Look, look, look, I know Searing Wind is not a good card. 10 damage isn’t gonna kill most of the time in a 40-life format. If you’re gonna burn people out, you’d probably rather have a variable way to deal damage, like Crackle with Power. At face value, this card is pretty poor.

However, this card is one of the few instants that are also expensive, and you'd be surprised how often that comes up! There’s few better things to put on a Spellbinder, few better things to cast off of a Sins of the Past, few better things to Vial Smasher the Fierce with on an opponent's turn. There's not many eight-to-ten-mana spells you can play, especially ones that are less than 50 cents, and Searing Wind still does something worthwhile! It works really well with copy effects or damage-doublers, or sometimes you have an opponent at 17 and this card gets you the little bit of extra reach for the table to kill someone. Searing Wind might not look like much, but it is the perfect budget gotcha card.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Of the cards with buff people on them, this is definitely one of the best.

244: Hoverguard Sweepers: 219 Decks

Scourge of Fleets, this is not. There are some weird loops you can do with Hoverguard Sweepers since it bounces itself, so you can bounce something every turn… for eight mana. Yeah, this isn’t even as cute as the Denizen of the Deep loops.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: The art is terrifying, though.

243: Necropolis Fiend: 223 Decks

I think Necropolis Fiend is worse than Sibsig Muckdraggers? The ceiling is certainly higher on Fiend, but when you exile seven cards from your graveyard, you probably aren't gonna have a ton left to activate the ability on this. Doesn't really matter. Budget "high-CMC matters" decks probably need both, so just throw them both in the pot and move on.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Long live Volrath.

242: Overwhelming Forces: 234 Decks

Before you get too excited, the oracle text reads “Destroy all creatures target opponent controls.” Yeah, Overwhelming Forces only hits one player, so it’s less like a mass removal spell and more a generic value/political favor card.

That's not a bad thing; Overwhelming Forces could potentially have more upside than a Decree of Pain. Sometimes you pick the Xenagos, God of Revels deck and get rid of the strongest player anyway. Even better, you often open the door for your opponents to get rid of a problematic player while you stock up on cards. There’re probably a ton of control decks that can take advantage of this card, so give it a shot if you can afford the $35 price tag.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: If you think the price tag on this looks bad now, the original printing of this card still goes for a couple hundred dollars. The judge promo is a lifesaver.

241: Chorus of the Conclave: 235 Decks

(59 decks as Commander, 176 Decks in the 99)

Chorus of the Conclave as a commander might be one of the weirdest generals you can build around since the introduction of the modern frame. Your commander costs eight, and then you also need to cast additional creatures for Chorus to do anything at all, so you gotta be like a crazy ramp deck for this to actually work, but then Chorus gives you counters, so presumably you need to also play cards that care about counters, like Doubling Season, and Cathars' Crusade, and then since Chorus makes thing bigger than normal, I guess you’re also also running things like Dryad Sophisticate that scales well with the counters, or maybe you play creatures that can remove counters, like Shinewend, and your brain trying to process all the things in this run-on sentence is like my brain trying to build around the seven million aspects of Chorus of the Conclave. I’ve never seen a commander that feels so scattered when you’re just trying to build around the printed text!

Honestly, I think the home for this very specific card came out 15 years later than the card itself: Hamza, Guardian of Arashin. It helps make Chorus cheaper, and then Chorus pays it back by giving you an outlet for your mana when you don’t need the cost reduction. If nothing else, Chorus has one real solid home.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Although I do wanna see the Chorus of the Conclave EDH deck that ties together all the disparate aspects of the card.

240: It of the Horrid Swarm: 237 Decks

I spotted Grist, the Hunger Tide on this card’s page, and now I just wanna play an Insect tribal combo deck and assemble some sort of weird mill machine that mills, like, 30+ cards for some payoff with Dread Return and Diregraf Rebirth, but I don't know what that payoff is. Hornet Queen? Crash of Rhino Beetles? Nantuko Husk? There must be something we can do with Grist “Insect tribal” combo, but when I figure out what that is, I'll let you know.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: None of that has to do with It of the Horrid Swarm. Uh, the name’s real freaking metal!

239: Heroes Remembered: 239 Decks

Hot take, I think this is way worse than Blessed Wind. Wind had a cute Sorin Markov-esque ability, and Heroes Remembered is just a bad life gain spell, and not even a good bad life gain spell like Invincible Hymn. The one upside is if you draw it turn one, you can suspend it and gain life 10 turns later. That’s the best case scenario. Oh joy.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It’s kinda cute in Bell Borca, Spectral Sergeant, but I also feel like there must be better options.

238: Avatar of Might: 257 Decks

Even if Avatar of Might always cost two mana, an 8/8 for two mana is only gonna see play in certain decks anyway. An 8/8 that’s gonna cost eight unless you’re losing by a lot also is gonna do very little.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: How much would a vanilla 8/8 need to cost to be a good card in EDH without being broken? Four? Three? It'd have to be something real ludicrous.

237: Krosan Cloudscraper: 264 Decks

I still maintain my general complaint that Morph decks are way too durdely for random big Morphs, but even the most durdely of decks can surely have one big monster as a treat, yeah? It’s a 13/13! Nobody's ever gonna expect that, and if you Flicker it, then you get a 13/13 for free! The upkeep cost isn’t even that bad! Surely you can make room for this card, right? Right?

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Also some fun application in decks like The Mimeoplasm.

236: Endless Swarm: 265 Decks

Hey, Epic! This is quite a footnote of Magic history. It’s a mechanic printed on a single cycle of cards that lets you cast the same spell every turn on your upkeep at the cost of being able to do nothing else. I love the idea in concept. Your mind goes to some incredible places when you hear it. What kind of spell do you need to cast with Epic such that you would be happy not casting any other spell for the rest of the game? Think of the possibilities!

Then stop thinking of them because this was Kamigawa block, and so the answer was apparently things like cast Sadistic Sacrament over and over again with Neverending Torment, or dome people for six every turn with Undying Flames. The mystique of the mechanic is kinda diminished by the card quality, is all I'm saying.

I'd imagine if they ever returned to the mechanic, they’d have to make it way more powerful, but it’s really difficult to do so. We're not gonna see the most popular Epic card on this list, Enduring Ideal, but this card is basically a one-card win condition in the right deck. Anything slightly more powerful than that, and you’re definitely playing with fire. With the upcoming Kamigawa, Neon Dynasty, we might see a card with Epic or two in a very specific Commander deck, but I'd be shocked if we ever see a cycle like this again.

Endless Swarm is somewhere in between Neverending Torment and Enduring Ideal. It will win you the game if your opponents all pass out while the game is going on, but it's very easy for opponents to kill you through it. You aren’t gonna wanna play this in the average EDH deck, though you could play it with cards like Spellbook that allow you to stock up on cards, and cards that pump your tokens, like Collective Blessing? It’s not bad, but do you really wanna commit the rest of your gameplan to a bad Orochi Hatchery?

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Maybe you can play it with all the other Epic cards.

235: Celestial Force: 278 Decks

Okay, we’ve been dealing with cycles like the Avatars, which generally don't live up to the mana costs they tout. Let’s talk about a cycle that actually is really fun that also has elements of old-school nostalgia! Way back in Tempest, they made a creature called Verdant Force. It’s a pretty mediocre card now, but it was a casual staple. People loved this thing because it was the biggest dork to ever dork, and it scaled really well to multiple players. Fast forward to Commander 2011 where they decided to take that same feeling that Force embedded, but then made the critical revelation that maybe they needed to be scaled up a bit power-level-wise. Thus, the force cycle was born!

It's only four cards (green’s already got a member, you goose), but all of them are fantastic pieces of cardboard and I love them. How can you not love Celestial Force? It gains you 12 life a turn cycle! If you have any Timmy/Tammy blood within you at all, then you can’t help but love the doofiness of a card like this. Yeah, nowadays this card doesn’t do much of anything. It dies to a lot of the removal spells in the format, but I can’t fault people for playing this, because if it sticks around, it’s gonna feel magical.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I think if you hate these, you kinda have no soul.

234: Vampiric Dragon: 287 Decks

Vampiric Dragon... Vampiric. Freaking. Dragon. Why must you hate me so?

Okay, I mentioned last week that there were some data things that happened, and for some reason, they affected this card more than any other. I don't know if it was due to the recent precon printing, or if the art on this card makes everyone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but this card would not sit still. It's gone from 330 decks, to 170 decks, to 250 decks, and then I gave up. Whatever number is up there when I publish this article is probably not the number it'll have if you go to the card's page.

I had a lengthy write-up for this card planned too, but you know what? This card has made an enemy of me, and I must enact whatever petty vengeance I can get.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Vampiric Dragon is a mediocre card for Dragon and Vampire decks with some decent synergy in Strefan, Maurer Progenitor and Kazarov, Sengir Pureblood. That's all I dignify this card with.

I Am Spiteful

Gosh, I blinked and it's almost the end of the year. Well, I'm sure long-time fans know what that means: it's time for the 2021 retrospective lists, where I talk about cards that recently came out and weren't eligible for the many ranking series I've done, right?

Well, let's talk about that. I've done five ranking series so far: lands, mana rocks, planeswalkers, Equipment and Battlecruiser cards. We're 100% doing a 2021 lands article. That's my bread and butter, and I'll probably do those until I die. On the flip side, we're probably not gonna do a 2021 Battlecruiser article since the only cards eligible for it are three cards from Midnight Hunt, and that's not substantial enough to be an article on its own.

That leaves the 11 Mana Rocks, 20 Planeswalkers and 40 Equipment (good gravy) that came out in 2021. Each of those is an article in and of itself, so if I did all of them, we'd be looking at four weeks away from this series to do those. That's a lot, and I'm not sure there's enough interest in these end of year retrospectives to justify taking that much time away from this series, sooooooooo...

I'm not sure what poll results I'd need to do four retrospectives, but I am a friend of spreadsheet, and was crazy enough to suggest doing this in the first place, so it's probably not much. 

As always, let me know what cool tidbits you have on this batch of Equipment. Do you have any cool ideas for Epic cards? Do you have a sweet Chorus of the Conclave deck? Let me know in the comments. 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.

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