Ranking Every Battlecruiser Card (8 CMC+) with EDHREC – Part 9: Why You Should Play a Two-Mana 6/6
(Iname as One | Art by Stephen Tappin)
Um, hello... why are you here?
You must be confused. I finished all my 2021 retrospectives; I don't have anything else. It's all about Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty now and all the sweet things you can do with that set.
Ah! You were probably looking for someone who's talking about that and you just got lost. Here you go! Glad I can help you get back on your way.
What? You want me to rank every 8CMC+ card based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC? Are you sure? That sounds weird.
Okay, then, if you want it so badly, I'm sure I can throw something together! Ummmmmm, I guess let's start with...
220: Iname as One: 405 Decks
(61 Decks as Commander, 344 decks in the 99)
I have a question: have you ever wanted to pay 12 mana for a worse Diabolic Tutor and a worse Zombify on an 8/8 with no other abilities that cannot be abused in any way?
Okay, I have another question: why does this exist?
Iname as One baffles me. Sure, for the power level in 2004, I could imagine that if you actually took Demonic Tutor plus Reanimate and stapled them onto a creature, you could justify making it cost 12 mana. That’s not what this does though; Iname as One has watered-down versions of Demonic Tutor and Reanimate, which feels like the exact opposite way that card should have been designed. Is not the whole point of building tribal to be rewarded with cool synergies for less than their market value? Cateran Summons is a one-mana tutor for its tribe, and Mercenaries suck! Why the heck do we need to power a Spirit tribal payoff down to the point where you’re paying 12 mana for effects that would be watered down if they didn't have any restriction at all?
So Iname is very clearly not scoring well for me on good design or power level, but can it at least get some brownie points for being terrible and unique? Maybe a few. I mean, it's not as if the card has a particularly special effect, but it's the only way to get both of these effects together on the same card. Iname is a one-card tutor and protection for a specific niche but one that features some powerful cards, like Kodama of the East Tree. You’re probably gonna be able to assemble some weird synergies with Iname if you try hard enough. I could see Iname as a hipster commander, like Ormos, Archive Keeper, where it's a powerful effect when the stars align, but you have to really bend over backwards in deckbuilding to make it happen. I guess that's neat, but even there, mostly what it's doing is stuff like 'going off with a Kokusho, the Evening Star'. If I'm going cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs to make my 12-mana commander work, I feel like my payoff should be less dull.
In the average Spirit deck, there’s just no point to this card. Unless you’re really committed to playing every card that says Spirit, there were better ways to support your strategy than a 12-mana 8/8 in 2004, and there are absolutely way better ways to do so in the modern era. Iname as One feels like such a waste for what it could have been. It's a 12-mana Spirit tribal card! I don't even want it to be good, I just want it to be interesting, not to make me feel bad for playing Spirits.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Works with Stinging Study, I guess?
219: Skarrg Goliath: 446 Decks
How damning is it for Skarrg Goliath that it's supposed to be the card with the biggest buff of Bloodrush, and Rubblehulk is going to be a better buff basically every time for less mana? Pretty damning, I’d say.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It’s not awful, since Bloodrush is uncounterable and instant-speed and... wait, Bloodrush is just Channel, isn't it?
218: Death Mutation: 448 Decks
How many tokens does Death Mutation need to make for you to be happy with it in a Saproling deck such as Slimefoot, the Stowaway? Clearly the tokens aren’t going to be worth eight mana if they're just random 1/1s, but in a deck that has synergy with the creature type, you might be able to justify it a little bit more. If this made six tokens that you can sacrifice to your Nemata, Grove Guardian and trigger your Slimefoot while also killing the biggest creature on the board, I think you got your mana's worth here.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Also part of a four-card cycle that’s costed way more appropriately. I do love me a good Artifact Mutation.
217: Bringer of the White Dawn: 468 Decks
Bringer of the White Dawn is the Bringer that feels the most restricted by its color identity. If this were purely mono-white, I could imagine a lot of random artifact decks that would play it, even at nine mana. However, you need to be some sort of five-color artifact deck for this, and... is that even a thing? Well, okay, let me rephrase that, since Ladies Looking Left tribal is a thing, so there's surely some five-color artifact deck out there somewhere. Rather, I should ask: is five-color artifacts a worthwhile theme to build around?
Like, if there's an artifact deck for this card, it's probably going to be very good. The effect on this Bringer at nine mana is decent, the effect for five mana is nuts. Getting back Mindslaver, Magister Sphinx, or Triplicate Titan every turn sounds very fun. The problem is that there's not really a reason to be a five-color artifact deck; Breya, Etherium Shaper gets you most of the way anyway, and even if Breya is too mean for you, there's very good Partner combos that give you most of, if not all the same colors.
What does adding green get you? Basically nothing. On the five-color artifact page, the only green cards I saw worth talking about were Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy & Glissa, the Traitor, for obvious reasons, Mana Reflection, for extra indulgence, and Doubling Season, for... Darksteel Reactor, I guess? None of that makes me that inclined to jump aboard the full five-color train. Two-thirds of the decks on the five-color artifact page are either Reaper King Scarecrow tribal decks, which are barely artifact decks at all, or they're old Golos, Tireless Pilgrim decks that haven't been erased from time yet. All of that paints a picture of an archetype that would love to have Bringer of the White Dawn but that also can't really find a spot for it.
Hmmm, maybe I’m thinking about this wrong. Maybe we need to not think about a deck made of artifacts and instead think about one big artifact with an entire deck built around it. Like, the first thought is obviously Door to Nothingness. If you’re gonna build a deck around that, Bringer feels like a slam-dunk. Anything else? Uhhhhhhhhh... I mentioned Mindslaver already, but that’s pretty dull to build an entire deck around, and it can be done a variety of other ways. I guess you could Memory Jar every turn to draw through your whole deck. Don't see a payoff for that, but it's neat... Scourglass perhaps?
Yeah, outside of Door, I’m not seeing a lot here either.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I really want to like this card, but there’s no home for it.
216: Angel of Deliverance: 470 Decks
I’d be more into this if it didn’t need Delirium to trigger. If it was just a traditional damage trigger, I’d play it in Angel tribal decks because all your other Angels cost a million mana anyway. We might as well play another silly card for the silly card pile. It even has special synergy with double strike! Exile two creatures a turn? Delicious!
However the Delirium trigger is a lot harder to make work in the Angel decks. They don't normally fill the graveyard, so they probably aren't going to be able to trigger Delirium consistently enough to make this worthwhile. Non-Angel tribal decks might be able to make Delirium happen easier, but having something cost eight, not win you the game, and also needs additional resources to make work is pretty unappealing.
That just pushes it into my favorite archetype: mono-white Reanimator! I love this deck, and therefore would probably play this, but that’s not a wide archetype.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It does trigger off any damage, so you can build around it a bit more with Viridian Longbow, but that's a lot when you could just play Sword of Kaldra.
215: Mockery of Nature: 474 Decks
211: Vexing Scuttler: 544 Decks
I mentioned how good Emerge is as a concept, and here are a couple of good Emerge cards that demonstrate that idea a bit more! Both Mockery of Nature and Vexing Scuttler have super relevant triggers for Commander. Sure, if you want these effects at their most efficient and powerful, Reclamation Sage and Archaeomancer are much better than these, but there are a ton of cute tricks you can do with these Emerge cards that you can't do with anything else. They trigger your Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty, they’re colorless to be cast off Kruphix, God of Horizons's mana pool, and they have synergy with death triggers or big expensive creatures you want in the graveyard, like Kederekt Leviathan. There're a lot of small things that might push the needle enough to be worthwhile.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: You’ll be happy to have these types of card when you want them.
214: Avatar of Fury: 490 Decks
Alright, before we bid the Avatar cycle goodbye until a million parts in the future, where we'll get to the one member of the cycle that everyone knows, let's end on a good one: Avatar of Fury is usually a 6/6 flyer for two mana. Any big stompy deck that wants to hit with giant creatures likes that. I see Xenagos, God of Revels on this Avatar's EDHREC page, and that's the type of home this card needs! It’s a two-mana 12/12 with Firebreathing! That's absurd, isn't it?
Well, sometimes. It is a very strange world where a two-mana 6/6 flyer with upside doesn’t go in every deck, but in Commander, that can often be the case. You need to be both combat-focused, to care about dealing damage, but also very synergy-focused, because pure stats always pales in comparison to synergy payoffs, like Shared Animosity. Generally, other big creatures, like Moraug, Fury of Akoum, will do way more, but those cards don’t push Avatar of Fury out completely. This card can still end games, and just because raw stats are never going to hold a ton of sway in Commander doesn't mean a 6/6 flyer for two mana isn't going to be a very scary card on a lot of board states
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: As silly as it sounds, you kinda have to ask if your deck wants to play a two-mana 6/6. A majority of decks might not want that, but a lot of decks probably still do.
213: Bringer of the Red Dawn: 523 Decks
Phew, Bringer of the Red Dawn is much easier to evaluate than the one we saw before. It’s not quite Dominus of Fealty, but ironically, it might be easier to cast a WUBRG card in a five-color deck than five U/R pips in an Izzet deck. Plus, five-color decks can better take advantage of the trigger, and will happily jam this as a big beefer to steal opposing big beefers. If you want to play a random Bringer, this is a good choice. If you have no soul and just want to play the best cards, you can leave this one out.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I still think we’re gonna get a Paradox Haze commander someday, and if that commander is five-color, these cards are gonna get silly expensive.
212: Razia, Boros Archangel: 532 Decks
(21 Decks as Commander, 511 decks in the 99)
Well, we're certainly ending this article on a Magic card
I’ve legit been staring at Razia, Boros Archangel for, like, twenty minutes, just trying to think of what to say. It’s an eight-mana Angel commander that prevents damage and makes it target other things instead, which, like… good for her, I guess.
What do you want from me? Razia costs eight and doesn’t do anything unless people attack you. I can't think of anything cute to do with this. You can try and combo it with Brash Taunter, but then people will simply not attack you, and even if they do, it’s only three damage per activation. Just play Nomads en-Kor to deal all the damage to Taunter! There’s so much text on this card and none of it does anything. How the heck am I supposed to end the article on this?
Maybe I'll just steal a joke from a friend: "Did you hear about the comedian who specializes in plays on words? All his jokes were pun-ishingly bad!"
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Liz, what do you mean I have to pay you royalties for the joke?
Her Jokes Really Pack a Pun-ch
Wait, you're telling me you want this every week? Okay, you're the boss. I guess while I work on next week, you can let me know in the comments what you think about this batch! Do you have a deck for Avatar of Fury? Did you crack the five-color artifact code? Convey your thoughts to me through whatever medium works best. Until next week.