Too-Specific Top 10 - Overrun
(Overwhelming Stampede | Art by Steve Belledin)
It's All a Bit... Overwhelming
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 Blossoming Bogbeast is the only Overrun effect that can simultaneously gain you life?)
So, you've gone wide. You've got a horde of tokens and creatures that's splitting the sides of your playmat and making people scratch their heads about which ones can and can't attack this turn, and yet you still don't think you can push enough damage through to force someone out of the game. What now?
Top 10 Overruns
How about some trample? Maybe a buff to go with it? Overrun hasn't been with Magic since the beginning, but with its first printing in Tempest, it might as well have been. Over that long haul, it's always been a great option to turn a horde of tiny creatures into a win, although the triple green has more or less kept it restricted to mono-green. It's actually not the first Overrun effect that was printed, however. That particular accolade goes to Stampede, out of Ice Age. Since then, we've had no end of options to make your creatures spill over the sides and over the top of would-be blockers, from a Stampede Driver, to the the first green Kamahl, to the newest green Kamahl to Ellywick Tumblestrum's emblem.
Which begs the question: which of those is the best?
Criteria: Cards that grant a power or toughness boost and trample to multiple creatures you control without targeting them specifically. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.
10. Blossoming Bogbeast
(4,674 Inclusions, 2% of 211,725 Decks)
While it's not for every deck, there's a reason this Witherbloom staple has made the list despite just being printed in Strixhaven. Blossoming Bogbeast gives lifegain decks a huge threat, even if they only have a few creatures. Routinely I'll see a small board of just two lifegain creatures, like Soul Warden and Ajani's Pridemate, and then Blossoming Bogbeast comes down. Immediately the tone at the table shifts. let's do some quick math for the next turn to see if we're dead or not.
Right now, the lifegain player has a 1/1 Soul Warden, a 3/3 Ajani's Pridemate (it got a +1/+1 counter from Bogbeast coming into play), and another 3/3 in the form of Bogbeast itself. If they went straight to their attack step, those would become a 3/3, a 6/6, and a 5/5 respectively, all with trample, for a total of 14 possible damage. How much worse can that get if the lifegain deck actually, you know, gains life?
Well, in this specific scenario, gaining one life prior to combat would result in 18 possible combat damage. Two would be 22, three would be 26, and five would be 41, and that's with just two of the most common lifegain creatures on the board. If you have three or more creatures, things get out of hand, fast. Which is sort of the whole mantra of Overrun, isn't it?
9. Kamahl, Heart of Krosa
(Partners 1,368 Decks; 5,051 Inclusions, 2% of 264,187 Decks)
If you'd rather not jump through hoops to get hypothetical damage rolling, however, then Kamahl, Heart of Krosa is just the thing. Whether you play him in the 99 or in the command zone, as soon as he hits the field he grants an immediate Overrun at the beginning of combat. Sure, you can get that same deal (or better) for a mere five mana, rather than eight, but then you wouldn't be doing it every turn, turning your lands into 4/4 trampling, vigilant, indestructible threats, and you'd have to actually draw your spell, rather than just having it right there in the command zone.
8. Song of Freyalise
(7,023 Inclusions, 2% of 387,899 Decks)
Song of Freyalise is usually played much more for its first two chapters than its last one, as evidenced by Cryptolith Rite seeing play in 21,053 decks as opposed to Song of Freyalise's 7,023. Honestly, though, I'm not so sure if I'm on board with that simplistic world. Don't get me wrong, on turn two, you're probably going to be happier with Cryptolith Rite the majority of the time, as it will stick around for the long haul, but on pretty much any turn after that, I think two turns of making all your creatures into mana dorks is more than enough time to get a full board, at which point you'll be ecstatic to then get a free alpha strike that makes all of your creatures bigger forever. A single +1/+1 counter probably won't win you the game like an Overrun would, but it will definitely deal out some damage to the table without you having to fear a crackback, and that's pretty darn good!
7. Garruk Wildspeaker
(8,255 Inclusions, 2% of 388,626 Decks)
In similar fashion to Song of Freyalise, Garruk Wildspeaker is much more often used for his +1 and -1 abilities than his Overrun ultimate. That said, it's really not very difficult at all to plop him down, +1 him to get half of your mana back and play something to protect him, and then untap and send a horde of trampling critters across the table. While you'd probably much rather just have an actual Overrun at the ready if that's all you're playing him for, his flexibility of being a mana rock, a token-generator, and an Overrun all at once is exactly the kind of flexibility that makes for a great planeswalker.
6. Pathbreaker Ibex
(8,727 Inclusions, 2% of 387,899 Decks)
While my unabashed love for Blossoming Bogbeast surely shone through earlier in this list, there is a very good reason that it's not playable in just any deck. Despite its automatic +2/+2 and trample for your team, there is another option for a mana more that guarantees +3/+3 and probably a lot more on every attack: Pathbreaker Ibex. Long considered just a budget backup to Craterhoof Behemoth, its $25 price tag means that it no longer fulfills the budget role, and that's probably correct, given how good this thing is in its own right. Sure, it doesn't have the immediate impact that a Craterhoof does (unless you have a haste enabler, that is), but it's two mana cheaper and gives you the team boost on every attack. Sure, it probably won't live long enough to do it even once, but when it does it will win you games, and when it doesn't... well, there's worse things than forcing people to use their removal, right?
(9,917 Inclusions, 3% of 388,626 Decks)
The original (all respect to Stampede) comes in at #5 on our list. While there have been higher ceilings with more manageable mana costs printed since this came out in Tempest, you can't beat the price in a budget deck, and most of the time, +3/+3 is more than enough for a token deck. With that in mind, I would expect the OG to keep hanging around the 10,000 inclusion mark for a long time coming, despite it being difficult to splash and more limited in just how big it can make your creatures.
4. End-Raze Forerunners
(17,406 Inclusions, 4% of 387,899 Decks)
Speaking of being a bit budget and having a lower ceiling, here's End-Raze Forerunners! At the exact same mana cost of Craterhoof Behemoth, it doesn't make quite the same splash, but with the vigilance rider, it also keeps your creatures around to block, including itself, and that's not even to mention that it has a bigger power and toughness! This means it plays into a smaller board much better than a Craterhoof does, all while making sure you stay alive as opposed to getting killed in a crackback.
Let's be honest, though: the reason you're playing this thing isn't the vigilance, it's the 79-cent price tag. And that's okay. Honestly, the format as a whole might be a bit better off if we were playing the under-a-dollar versions of the $50 staples a little more often.
3. Triumph of the Hordes
(24,211 Inclusions, 6% of 387,899 Decks)
If you'd like to lean into some game-winning debauchery, one of the best means to do so in a go-wide deck is Triumph of the Hordes. Cheaper than just about every other Overrun varient, it tends to be just a tad less lethal unless you have a truly monumental board state. Which all seems to check out, right? Less mana for less lethality? Well, let's just say that when you do have the right amount of beef out for this thing to go the distance, people can get a bit testy about it, and leave it at that.
2. Overwhelming Stampede
(27,620 Inclusions, 7% of 387,899 Decks)
If you're looking to wipe out a table and you're not sure whether you've got the right amount of beef for a Triumph of the Hordes to handle it, or if you'd rather just avoid the whole Infect conversation, then Overwhelming Stampede is for you! For the same mana as an Overrun (only a little easier to splash), a green deck will almost always be able to do better than +3/+3, and you can swing out on an entire table to try and finish it off. Just watch out for those Fogs, okay?
1. Craterhoof Behemoth
(29,015 Inclusions, 7% of 387,899 Decks)
It's probably been obvious for a while now what the #1 card on this list was going to be, if it wasn't already obvious the very second you saw the criteria. Craterhoof Behemoth is the boogeyman of casual EDH, and for good reason. My old playgroup's mantra was "no need for math, you win", and more often than not, when someone insisted the math be done, that mantra held true. What does trouble me is that I often see this infamous Beast forcefully waded into the power level discussion by high-power and combo players, asking how their way of winning is any different than someone laying down a Craterhoof. And you know what? It's not. They're completely correct.
However, in my mind, I think that's a reason that less of us should be paying the $70 to keep up with the Joneses via a Craterhoof and a Tooth and Nail, not a reason that we all need to be powering up our decks even further.
Many out there were probably wondering why this list wasn't a bit more specific, and the only answer for you is: I tried!
Top 10 Instant and Sorcery Overruns
- Overwhelming Stampede
- Triumph of the Hordes
- Titanic Ultimatum
- Dinosaur Stampede
- Tromp the Domains
- Volcanic Rush
Unfortunately, we were surprisingly just short of a top ten when restricting things to just instants and sorceries, and picking another arbitrary type like planeswalkers seemed to be a lot of hoops to jump through, just to end up with a list that predictably ended in Overwhelming Stampede rather than Craterhoof Behemoth.
As for what didn't quite make the cut in the full version, there's been no shortage of these effects pasted onto permanents:
Strixhaven continues to be a never-ending source of new niche goodies, with Lisette, Dean of the Root being almost as much of a boon to a lifegain deck as her Witherbloom co-dean. Dragon Throne of Tarkir has been mostly relegated to Traxos tech these days, but it does look great there in addition to just about any other deck that goes wide and has some beef in it. Speaking of, if you're looking for a cheap way to get a Craterhoof in play, then Decimator of the Provinces can handle that for you.
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?
I wouldn't be who I was if I wasn't trying to stir up some controversy, so...
Finally, what is your favorite Overrun? How do you feel about how common this win con is for the go-wide strategy? Do you play Overruns in your decks, or is it not your cup of tea?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the banquet table that sits fifty and is honestly a bit too wide for Magic, if we're being honest.