Too-Specific Top 10 - Big Bois
(Ancient Brontodon | Art by Jakub Kasper)
Large and In Charge
Welcome to Too-Specific Top 10, where if there isn’t a category to rank our pet card at the top of, we’ll just make one up! (Did you know that Ghoultree is the only 10/10 you can cast for one mana?)
Every player has a little bit of Timmy or Tammy in them, and in my humble opinion, that isn't celebrated nearly enough, so this week, we're doing an homage to the little kid in all of us by taking a look at the biggest creatures you can lay down on the board.
Top 10 Green Baddies
Far from being just a plague on the multiverse itself, the Eldrazi have become a much more specific ailment for me and my lists. My initial thought for this list was going to be a simple "anything bigger than a 7/7", but upon performing that search I immediately forehead-slapped myself with how obvious the results were:
Top 10 Big Bois
- REDACTED (Due to being on the real list)
- Avacyn, Angel of Hope
- Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
- Artisan of Kozilek
- Razaketh, the Foulblooded
- Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
- Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
- Void Winnower
- REDACTED (Due to being on the real list)
- It That Betrays
Okay, that's not quite as bad as I described it with the whole "Eldrazi Plague" thing, but it's still pretty bad. Six out of ten entrants would've been Eldrazi, and the less otherworldly entrants on the list are a means to give your creatures indestructible and repeatedly tutor, which also didn't really seem to fit the mold that I was thinking of when dreaming of a top ten list of big dumb creatures.
So, how do you make things bigger and dumber when it comes to creatures? Go to the color of brawn and make things green. Let's go to the list.
Criteria: Green creatures with power and toughness both greater than 7. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.
(1,860 Inclusions, 1% of 196,164 Decks)
Wizards has recently been experimenting both with what the upper limit on bigger creatures with lower mana costs is, while simultaneously experimenting with extra mana pips to complicate those efficient cards. Gigantosaurus seemed like the exact kind of result that both of those experiments would come to, only it might not actually be the end-game given that Gigantosaurus didn't really make a dent in any particular format, much less break any of them in half. It turns out that being a huge vanilla dude isn't really enough these days. You need some sort of keyword soup or relevant ability in addition to being large and in charge, or at the very least some trample. That said, Gigantosaurus does have a couple things going for it outside of its huge frame: Vanilla tribal decks, like Jasmine Boreal and Jerrard of the Closed Fist, and some absolutely epic Steve Irwin flavor text.
9. Impervious Greatwurm
(1,867 Inclusions, 1% of 196,164 Decks)
It doesn't get bigger or dumber than the original box-topper, Impervious Greatwurm. This thing does nothing but be huge and indestructible, other than use a little help from its friends to come down a bit easier. That said, Convoke is often underappreciated in go-wide and token decks, so I was a bit surprised to find that most of the 1867 inclusions seen here were from much more general "big dumb green" decks like Selvala, Heart of the Wilds and God-Eternal Rhonas.
With that said, I can't help but appreciate the 31% inclusion rate in Grothama, All-Devouring decks. Drawing sixteen might seem a bit Magical Christmas Land, but considering that you can do it the same turn that Grothama comes down, and that Grothama decks tend to have a fight subtheme, having a 16/16 indestructible Wurm seems like it could come in handy just about all the time.
8. Moldgraf Monstrosity
(1,925 Inclusions, 1% of 196,164 Decks)
If one big creature isn't enough for you, Moldgraf Monstrosity may just get you two more upon shuffling off this mortal coil. Either that, or it will immediately be killed after it's cast, randomly rewarding you with a seven-mana combination of Sakura-Tribe Elder and Dryad Arbor. That said, I've never really understood the fear of random in EDH. We play a format based upon the idea of variance and either embracing or eliminating it. Moldgraf Monstrosity embraces variance in spades for those of us on the battlecruiser side of the spectrum and is easily worked around in the case of decks that want to be a bit more consistent.
Speaking of making Moldgraf Monstrosity more consistent, this might be the most fun tech for a commander that no one's ever heard of ever. Hua Tuo, Honored Physician only has 51 decks total, but actually comes in at the highest inclusion percentage for Moldgraf Monstrosity at 35% of said decks. A strange reverse Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, this Portal: Three Kingdoms holdover looks like hilarious fun to build around, easily allowing for you to tailor your graveyard to bring back a devastating combination from the graveyard upon Moldgraf Monstrosity's death.
7. Aggressive Mammoth
(1,992 Inclusions, 1% of 196,164 Decks)
Speaking of things that are handy to have with big creatures: trample! Aggressive Mammoth cleanly provides trample to every creature you control, and then comes at an almost criminal rate of six mana for an 8/8 body. The triple green does make casting a bit of a headache outside of mono-green decks, but if your deck can handle it and has a history of large creatures then this massive pachyderm is more than worth a slot. The best part is it being under a dollar, however, allowing this to be a budget staple for green decks across the format.
6. Stonehoof Chieftain
(2,536 Inclusions, 1% of 196,164 Decks)
While not quite as competitively costed as Aggressive Mammoth in either mana or dollars, Stonehoof Chieftain handing out indestructible in addition to trample is absolutely devastating for decks looking to send big creatures into the red zone.
The king of sending big creatures into the red zone these days is Xenagos, God of Revels, although Mayael, the Anima might do a better job at actually getting said huge creatures into play. Stonehoof Chieftain cleanly killing Grothama, All-Devouring while having both itself and each other creature you have fight it survive is probably the most solid use of this card, however, and the numbers back that up at a respectable 47% inclusion rate.
5. Worldspine Wurm
(3,067 Inclusions, 1% of 196,164 Decks)
If you weren't expecting Worldspine Wurm this high on this list, then you might be underestimating just how much people fear or hate mill. While usually the Eldrazi of the world take the hit as the single slot in the deck dedicated to making sure you get to shuffle your graveyard into your library and keep on keepin' on, Worldspine Wurm manages the same thing in green decks while being bigger than even the various flying spaghetti monsters (and providing tokens for just as much power and toughness on death).
4. Apex Altisaur
(3,726 Inclusions, 2% of 196,164 Decks)
When it comes to board wipes in green, it can be slim pickings. While there's lots of great options that don't hit creatures, like Wave of Vitriol, getting rid of creatures typically involves a lot of mana or jumping through hoops, or even both, as is the case with Polukranos, World Eater.
If you aren't looking to go full-on The Great Aurora, however, then Apex Altisaur is one of your best options for blowing creatures off the board. Quicker than the old-school staple of Nevinyrral's Disk and more recurrable than Ezuri's Predation, Apex Altisaur allows you to get ten targeted toughness worth of creatures off the board in short order. While that's not exactly world-breaking for nine mana, it can be a huge boon for decks that can cheat mana costs or repeatedly get this Dino back from the graveyard to the battlefield. In fact, for me that's the most confusing part of this thing's EDHREC page: the complete lack of Golgari. While I'll admit that there might be better nine-mana targets, there's still no doubting that this thing coming in and out of the graveyard repeatedly will win you games. I'd give Apex Altisaur another look if you've got a deck playing the Whisper, Blood Liturgists of the world.
3. Hydra Omnivore
(4,665 Inclusions, 2% of 196,164 Decks)
When you look up equity in the dictionary, you find Hydra Omnivore. Combine that with yet another recent experiment in placing power and toughness at numbers way above their rate on "expensive" creatures, and you've got quite the gut punch. Looking through its EDHREC page, however, it's about what you'd expect: Hydra Tribal with a side of big dumb green.
What did surprise me, however, is the complete lack of Blade of Selves on its page. Don't get me wrong: sometimes it feels like half of the creatures in Magic do something stupid with Blade of Selves, but this particular version is my personal definition of hilarious. For those wondering how the math works out on this in your typical four-player game, you attack with your Equipped Hydra Omnivore, which makes two more Hydra Omnivore tokens attacking the other opponents. Assuming that none of the various Hydras are blocked, each deals eight damage to each opponent and triggers to then deal eight damage to each other opponent. So basically, you get eight damage on each opponent for each copy, ending up with a nice little package of 24 damage to each of your opponents. Not quite as spicy as a single Triumph of the Hordes, but infinitely more entertaining, at least in my opinion.
2. Ghalta, Primal Hunger
(Helms 620 Decks, Rank #203; 9,014 Inclusions, 5% of 196,164 Decks)
Ghalta, Primal Hunger is the epitome of a big dumb green creature. It doesn't do anything fancy, it doesn't finesse your way into a win. It's just a 12/12 that you can cast for two if you've put enough power down on the board. My favorite part about it, however? Being able to cast ultra-efficient creatures as "mana dorks" to get Ghalta out faster.
Gigantosaurus not only acts as a backup commander, but also gets Ghalta's initial mana cost down to two green pips for a mere five mana. Steel Leaf Champion is a little less impressive, but nonetheless good clean living. What will really get people grinning about the fact that you've slammed down Ghalta for two for the fifth time is the versions of Ghalta based around Vehicles, however. Being able to put down a few creatures and a Smuggler's Copter, Skysovereign, Consul Flagship, and a Consulate Dreadnought will not only keep your Ghalta cheap, but also ensure that your creature-only board wipes leave you with a completely salvageable board.
(13,739 Inclusions, 7% of 196,164 Decks)
A lot of us have tried to get our significant others involved in our hobby, with mixed results. My main memory of trying to do so with Commander was a game where I loaned my wife my Sapling of Colfenor deck in a game that unfortunately came down to her and my Phelddagrif Group Hug. I say 'unfortunately' because I had rather pillow forted myself with a Glacial Chasm and was throwing 20 or so counters on a Helix Pinnacle each turn in addition to having enough cards to deal with most problems. I didn't have an answer to the entwined Tooth and Nail she eventually threw down, however, and didn't do a good job of holding back the fact that I knew there was an answer in her (my) deck, which got her rather annoyed.
Now, I totally understand her perspective there; no one likes to be told the answer to the puzzle they're figuring out, but, in my defense, anyone that's played Commander for a minute or two instantly thinks of the might that is Terastodon when it comes to spells that can turn a game on its head. Nine to eighteen power can do that on its own, without even getting into the ability to destroy the three most impactful permanents on the board all at once.
Anecdote aside, Terastodon is one of the most powerful and flexible cards you can cast as a green mage, only you can also get it onto the battlefield free, repeatedly, or both. That's a heck of a package for a lone Elephant.
Even without actually being on the actual list, Grothama, All-Devouring came up repeatedly in this article, along with being on the most popular commander list for almost every card. It turns out that five mana for a 10/8 with a "drawback" is still a pretty good deal, to say nothing of said drawback often translating to more than seven cards in immediate fashion. Grothama is perhaps the most inventive version of large green creature we've ever seen in Magic, and it coming in at number twelve on the list is a bit disappointing. With that said, disappointing is not the same thing as surprising. As much as the rate is great, that's not really enough outside of a Ghalta deck, and you really have to build around Grothama's ability for it to be fully worthwhile.
While Liege of the Tangle isn't part of the new "more power than mana cost" club, I still expect it to move up this list (from its current number thirteen spot) in quick fashion with the printing of Ashaya, Soul of the Wild and the rush of creature-land decks that will probably come on its heels. Eight mana is nothing to a deck throwing out lands and land-creatures that fast, and making all of your lands 8/8s will end a game quickly if you can do anything about opposing creatures. Provided you can avoid a board wipe, that is.
I include Ancient Brontodon here not because it's good, but rather because it's not and is still in the number 19 slot. Don't let your memes be dreams, folks.
Nuts and Bolts
There always seems to be a bit of interest in how these lists are made (this seems like a good time to stress once again that they are based on EDHREC score, NOT my personal opinion), and people are often surprised that I’m not using any special data or .json from EDHREC, but rather just muddling my way through with some Scryfall knowledge! For your enjoyment/research, here is this week’s Scryfall search.
What Do You Think?
How is your inner Timmy/Tammy feeling? Are you filled with the power of green? Or are you a tad mad that Greater Good and other more "useful" uses for big dumb green creatures didn't come up a bit more? Either way, take your intellect out on this week's poll:
And finally, what are your favorite huge green creatures? What large, leafy beef are you throwing down on the daily?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the huge mahogany table that your rich friend has in their gaming den that's honestly kind of hard to reach across, but you ain't hatin' on that flex.