Too-Specific Top 10 – Even Demon

The Big Even

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 Sakashima’s Protege is the only blue card with an even mana value that also has flash and Cascade?)

For every yin, there is a yang, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise that in the wake of the “I can’t even” memes of Void Winnower we got a Companion for both the odd and even mana values of the world. Last week we covered all the odd damage cards that Obosh, the Preypiercer loves, so it’s only fair we hit the other side as well with Gyruda, Doom of Depths!

Of course, Gyruda doesn’t just want any old even card, no more than Obosh wants just any random odd-CMC card. Let’s see if we can’t narrow things down a bit, shall we?


Top 10 Even-Costed Dimir Creatures That Are Also Expensive

First off, outside of its Companion requirement specifically, what Gyruda really cares about is even-costed creatures, not just any old even card. So I started there, given that Gyruda can reanimate a creature from any graveyard, of any color. I want to include some of my original lists before I narrowed down our criteria for this week’s Top 10. Here was the first search for any and all even-mana creatures that Gyruda could pull out of the depths:

Top 10 Even Creatures

  1. Solemn Simulacrum
  2. Sakura-Tribe Elder
  3. Dockside Extortionist
  4. Sun Titan
  5. Beast Whisperer
  6. Zulaport Cutthroat
  7. Blood Artist
  8. Thassa’s Oracle
  9. Rampaging Baloths
  10. Spark Double

To put it mildly, I was unhappy with this list. You have to go down nine cards on it before you find something that doesn’t make your eyes glaze over, and a lot of the creatures would be extremely displeasing for Gyruda to settle for. That’s exactly why folks invented that old adage of “make your plan around your deck, not your opponents’ decks”.

With that in mind, I whittled the criteria down a bit further to include just the Dimir options, just as we did for Obosh (including eliminating colorless options to really get down to what makes Gyruda Gyruda).

Top 10 Even Dimir Creatures

  1. Zulaport Cutthroat
  2. Blood Artist
  3. Thassa’s Oracle
  4. Spark Double
  5. Pitiless Plunderer
  6. Archaeomancer
  7. Notion Thief
  8. Crypt Ghast
  9. Ravenous Chupacabra
  10. Phyrexian Metamorph

Unfortunately, this list has essentially the same problem as the one before it. Sure, in a lot of decks you’d probably be fairly happy to pay six mana and end up with a Gyruda and a Pitiless Plunderer or a Ravenous Chupacabra, but you’re not exactly ecstatic. As for much of the rest of the list, if your deck isn’t built around these cards, then you’re not happy at all! Archaeomancer with no targets is awful, Crypt Ghast is underwhelming if you’re not heavy on Swamps, and fair Thassa’s Oracle is decidedly, well… fair.

No, what you’re looking to get back off of a Gyruda is a huge, game-changing monster of a creature from someone’s graveyard, starting with great options in your own, so our list should reflect that!

Criteria: Blue or black creatures that have an even mana value of six or greater. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.

Alright then, just the expensive Dimir options. Let’s take a look!

10. Massacre Wurm

(11,980 Inclusions, 4% of 307,579 Decks)

See, this is exactly what I’m talking about. If you mill four and see a Massacre Wurm, you’re going to be absolutely ecstatic! Getting a 6/5 into play that immediately wipes half of your opponents’ boards and their life totals? That’s just a game-winner right there, as Massacre Wurm often is. Sure, it’ll miss most of the commanders and huge problems on the board, but it’ll also wipe out all of the mana dorks, utility creatures, and tokens on the board, probably outright killing that token player along the way. What’s not to like?

9. Noxious Gearhulk

(12,118 Inclusions, 4% of 307,579 Decks)

Noxious Gearhulk is kind of the opposite of the crowd-pleaser that is Massacre Wurm. Rather than coming down, wiping out all the small stuff, and putting pressure on opponents’ life totals, Noxious Gearhulk instead comes down and takes out the biggest problem at the table, then gains you life equal to its toughness. The two approaches each have their pros and cons, depending on the board state, but there are very few board states you’d run into in your Gyruda deck where you’d be unhappy with either option, not to mention the huge bodies that come with them!

8. Kokusho, the Evening Star

(Helms 135 Decks, Rank #693; 12,642 Inclusions, 4% of 308,299 Decks)

If you’d rather just go straight for the big life total swing stapled onto an evasive Dragon, then there’s always Kokusho, the Evening Star! You’ll still have to find a way to get Kokusho back into the graveyard, but the good news is, once you do, all you have to do is continue to find ways to trigger Gyruda’s enter-the-battlefield ability to keep on draining the table!

7. Razaketh, the Foulblooded

(Helms 71 Decks, Rank #858; 12,844 Inclusions, 4% of 308,299 Decks)

Unlike the six-mana options, Razaketh, the Foulblooded passes the eight-mana test of “should probably just win you the game outright” with flying colors. An 8/8 with ‘flample’ has enough impact on a board state already, but in addition, the more or less unlimited Demonic Tutors that you can use the moment Razaketh hits the battlefield should have even the most rudimentary of decks drowning in enough value to win on at least the next turn, if not immediately.

That said, if you are playing the friendlier deck, you might steer in another direction. Games do have to end, but the first thing you usually want to do if you’re powering a deck down is get rid of tutors and increase your variance. Combine that with the sheer amount of time that several tutors can take to resolve – along with having to find simple solutions to the board state rather than just comboing out for a win – and Razaketh might have both you and your average table bored before long.

6. Harvester of Souls

(13,017 Inclusions, 4% of 308,299 Decks)

It seems like we get more and more Dark Prophecy effects with every set release, but Harvester of Souls was the original that let you draw cards when your opponents’ creatures die, in addition to your own. Liliana, Dreadhorde General has since been printed to give you another six-mana source for that effect, and is widely regarded as the better of the two options. Unless, of course, you’re putting together a creature recursion package! While we’ve seen some options you’d probably be happier with as far as seeing them flipped off the top with a Gyruda trigger, Harvester of Souls is a more unique effect that you can use if you absolutely need to dig for some answers. The fact that it works in conjunction with several of the big removal creatures just shows how easy it can be to have your cake and eat it too. After all, who doesn’t love wiping a whole board and then drawing 30 cards?

5. Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

(Helms 236 Decks, Rank #532; 13,087 Inclusions, 4% of 308,299 Decks)

Most of us are probably so used to seeing Mikaeus, the Unhallowed paired with Triskelion for infinite damage that we’ve never actually stopped to just look at the card on its own merits before. It turns out, those merits have… more than a little merit. Getting double enter-the-battlefield/dies triggers is nothing to be taken lightly, especially when combined with Gyruda itself! Intimidate on a 5/5 body also goes a long way, and Mikaeus’ No Mercy ability for Humans is just innocuous enough that people will forget about it and attack in anyhow! (Although most tables aren’t usually too stickler-y about take-backsies in Commander). Alternatively, if you’d rather not take the damage, you can always graciously offer them a chance to rethink their attack.

One thing I would suggest if you’re not playing in the higher power levels, however, is to not play Mike & Trike together, so that when you do plop down Mikaeus, you can be truthful when people ask and not be targeted down by the whole table (even though you probably should be anyhow).

4. Grave Titan

(16,418 Inclusions, 5% of 308,299 Decks)

Grave Titan is one of those old staples of EDH that simultaneously gives me a wave of nostalgia anytime I see it, and also makes me question whether or not I should be. Don’t get me wrong, 10 power and toughness spread across three bodies for six mana is still an excellent rate, but I’m not sure that it’s actually impactful enough on the board state anymore compared to other six-mana options. Outside of Harvester of Souls, which really does nothing on its own, I would actually say that Grave Titan is the least impactful creature we’ve seen in this entire list so far when it comes having an immediate effect on the battlefield. All of which has me questioning if Grave Titan should really still have the status it does in a world where there are all sorts of three- and four-mana options for creating tokens, along with much more impactful reanimator targets.

Still, at the end of the day, if you’re looking for a few bodies in your Gyruda deck, you could do worse.

3. Deadeye Navigator

(18,228 Inclusions, 6% of 307,557 Decks)

Hey, guess what’s really, really good with a commander that has an enter-the-battlefield ability? An on-demand flicker effect! Deadeye Navigator may raise some hackles and roll some eyeballs, but it is also without a doubt one of the best cards you could ever rip off the top in a deck playing Gyruda, whether it be in the command zone or as a Companion.

2. Vilis, Broker of Blood

(Helms 528 Decks, Rank #317; 17,727 Inclusions, 6% of 308,299 Decks)

Griselbrand is still banned, so until it’s not, Vilis, Broker of Blood is a fine backup for those that would like to draw their whole deck and lose their whole life total all at once. The nice thing with Vilis is that you don’t even have to draw into your removal. You can just draw two cards every time you use it! While I’m not surprised that it’s only the #2 card on our list, if I was doing this based on my own opinion of what you want for a Gyruda deck, this is your number-one target. It’s hard to do better than an 8/8 flier that draws you two cards and kills a creature every time you pay a black mana.

1. Consecrated Sphinx

(19,503 Inclusions, 6% of 307,557 Decks)

However, if you’d rather draw all of the cards while keeping your life total intact, there’s Consecrated Sphinx. It won’t have the immediate impact that Vilis, Broker of Blood will, since he gets started right away with even just a little extra open mana, but there is absolutely no doubt that the Sphinx will draw you cards or eat a removal spell within mere moments. Most likely, it will do both, which doesn’t sound like too bad a deal.


Honorable Mentions

Those that were around when Companions were plentiful in 60-card Constructed formats will probably be more than familiar with the main strategy employed with our favorite Even Kraken Demon: Clones. For those that weren’t around to see this wonderful deck in action, the strategy was essentially to put Gyruda in as your Companion, and then load down an entire deck with Clone cards. You then play Gyruda, Doom of Depths, mill four off the top, and put a Clone onto the battlefield as a copy of Gyruda, milling four more off the top and reviving another even-mana creature, such as another Clone….

You get the idea. Given how fun this strategy was in Standard and Brawl, a lot of folks have translated it to EDH too, so much so that it’s now the most popular archetype with Gyruda in Commander as well. So, with that in mind:

Top 17 Even Clone Creatures

  1. Spark Double
  2. Phyrexian Metamorph
  3. Clever Impersonator
  4. Phantasmal Image
  5. Sakashima of a Thousand Faces
  6. Progenitor Mimic
  7. Sakashima the Impostor
  8. Stunt Double
  9. Clone
  10. Vizier of Many Faces
  11. Altered Ego
  12. Evil Twin
  13. Wall of Stolen Identity
  14. Sakashima’s Student
  15. Dack’s Duplicate
  16. Sakashima’s Protege
  17. Gigantoplasm

Why 17, you ask? Simple: because that’s all there are! There are some other creatures that create copies of other creatures, obviously, but if you’re looking for that OG Clone “enters as a copy of” ability, these are the only 17 cards in the game that do it, so make sure to get them all in!

Outside of Clone brews, we made the controversial decision for the second week in a row to eliminate colorless cards from contention, just to keep things uniform. So as long as we’re doing that, we might as well apply our criteria to the artifacts again in the Honorable Mentions, right?

Top 10 Even, Expensive Colorless Creatures

  1. Steel Hellkite
  2. Duplicant
  3. Wurmcoil Engine
  4. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
  5. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
  6. Blightsteel Colossus
  7. It That Betrays
  8. Soul of New Phyrexia
  9. Kozilek, the Great Distortion
  10. Desolation Twin

Well, that was… predictable. Other than the fact that Duplicant is still somehow one of the most played colorless creatures in all of Magic, that is.


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?

Long-time readers will know I’m somewhat of a Companion junky, so it may come as little surprise that I’m one of the few people out there looking for Companions in EDH to utilize their abilities as the text states on the card (which is to say, before the errata change). However, I am well aware that there are some feelings out there when it comes to the Companion mechanic, even if Commander is the one format it never broke. Which way do you prefer?

Finally, what is your favorite Gyruda target? Are you playing it as a Companion or commander? Do you think you can pull off a proper Gyruda Clone deck with only 17 real Clones to pull from?

Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you at the table that gets dug out of the basement when a weekend barbecue becomes an impromptu Commander night.

Doug has been an avid Magic player since Fallen Empires, when his older brother traded him some epic blue Homarids for all of his Islands. As for Commander, he's been playing since 2010, when he started off by making a two-player oriented G/R Land Destruction deck. Nailed it. In his spare time when he's not playing Magic, writing about Magic or doing his day job, he runs a YouTube channel or two, keeps up a College Football Computer Poll, and is attempting to gif every scene of the Star Wars prequels.