Too-Specific Top 10 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Everything
Zebras in a Half-Shell?
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 Battering Krasis is the only Fish Beast to live out of water?)
With the teasers from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths all over the place and actual spoilers up this weekend, it's hard not to have a sense of excitement about this completely new plane of monsters! With that said, of all the hints that we've been given, the one that has personally gotten me the most excited is the return of strange animal mashups. While we were getting a slow trickle of Turtle Hydras and Elemental Skeletons for a moment, that entirely dried up in Theros Beyond Death, leaving us only memories of Simic mutant weirdness. That Simic placement at the top of the podium would seem to be in danger with the coming of Ikoria, however. With Maro's tease that the new set will have a Dinosaur Turtle, Shark Beast, Demon Kraken, Elemental Otter, and a Hellion Horror, followed by Gavin Verhey's teaser video stating there would also be a Goat Hydra, Cat Nightmare, and a Badger Dinosaur, Ikoria looks to be taking direct aim at being the king of fun creature types mashed together.
Top 10 Creature Mashups
With that in mind, let's celebrate the crazy creature types we already have! I'm not just talking about Mutants (although there are some fun ones), but rather about crazy animal creature types mashed up with other crazy animal creature types!
Maybe animal is a bit too specific, however. As we see with Vigean Hydropon, Plants definitely qualify as well, and while Mutants are kind of the basis of the category, they also aren't really animals, necessarily. Combine that with the upcoming Cat Nightmare, Hellion Horror, and Demon Kraken and it's obvious we have to expand out a bit. Rather than expanding, however, what if we instead tried eliminating? For instance, while Prime Speaker Vannifar is indeed a strange mashup of Elf, Ooze, and Wizard, she doesn't really seem to elicit the same kind of excitement as say, Sharktocrab. Why is that?
Well, for myself, I'd say it's definitely not the Ooze portion of our intrepid Simic speaker. That is strange, out there, and definitely spliced on in some fashion to make our resident Birthing Pod-on-a-stick qualify for exactly this sort of weird criteria. Only, I don't think it actually got there, and the reason is that the other two creature types. Elves are decidedly normal humanoids, only with pointy ears and fantasy lore. The same can be said for Wizards, only they're more a job description or a Dungeons & Dragons class than anything else. While neither exist in the real world, they've both been normalized to the point that they don't really qualify as "strange" anymore. The same cannot be said when it comes to the real mashups out there.
So then, let's eliminate the things that make Prime Speaker Vannifar "normal". No humanoid races, and no job descriptions. That just leaves us with "Ooze". Which is certainly strange, but not really a mashup anymore. I may not know much, but if Pitch Perfect and Girl Talk have taught me anything, it's that a proper mashup means mixing or stapling two different things together, hopefully with completely different and epic results.
So, let's pull up a listing of creatures that have no job description, no humanoid races, and that have at least two creature types. Actually, that last part isn't really doable with any search service or string I've ever seen, so let's just pull up the list without the "two creature types" stipulation and see where we're at.
First result... Solemn Simulacrum. Wait... do Golems and Constructs count? Would a "Golem Spider" be a weird mashup, or simply a clockwork spider?
Actually, I think that would be more a Construct Spider. Either way, I'm not sure that machines or non-biological beings should count, no matter how spicy the Myr Jellyfish R&D has coming down the pipeline is. While we're at it, the undead might not be a great idea, either. A Zombie Hound isn't really a mashup so much as just a state of being for a dog to be in, no matter how much I'm hoping for a Zombie Crab or a Boar Lich. Actually, this list is getting a little excessive...
With that in mind, instead of our normal criteria this week, let's dip into an actual list with which to clarify our list:
- Must Have at Least Two Creature Types, One of Which is an Animal.
- No Job Descriptions (Pirate, Druid, Wizard, etc. Sorry, Frilled Mystic!)
- No Humanoids (Elves, Humans, Giants, etc. Sorry, Frilled Mystic!)
- No Machines (Constructs, Golems, Servos, Thopters, etc.)
- No Undead (Zombies, Skeletons, Liches, etc.)
- No Illusions (Illusions, Nightmares, etc.)
- No Changelings
- No Eggs
- Has to Say the Creature Types on the Actual Card
- Must Be the Only Combination of Those Creature Types in Magic (Sorry, Felidar Sovereign and Felidar Guardian!)
- As is Tradition, All Results Are Ordered by EDHREC Score.
And finally, to keep in the spirit of ridiculousness that comes with creature mashups, I've decided to GIF the first thing that shows up when I type the creature types involved into YouTube for each member of our Too-Specific Top 10 this week. I hope it brings you as many giggles as it did me when I was making them.
10. Elder Deep-Fiend
(1361 Inclusions, 1% of 161631 Decks)
While an eight-mana 5/6 may not be wowing anyone, even if you can flash it in, Elder Deep-Fiend's cast trigger of tapping four creatures when it enters the battlefield can be a mini-Sleep. Add to that the mana cost is negotiable by sacrificing a creature to Emerge it, and you can have a real surprise on your hands with this Eldrazi Octopus. Just remember, you have to declare you're going to tap someone's creatures before they actually declare what they're attacking with or who they're attacking. Doesn't mean you can't talk it over first, though...
9. Thieving Amalgam
(1481 Inclusions, 1% of 159750 decks)
The highlight creature mashup out of Commander 2019, Thieving Amalgam really pushes the envelope of how weird Magic can get. The weirdness doesn't just stop at Ape Snakes, however. Thieving Amalgam allows you to Manifest the top card of each opponent's library every upkeep, placing it face down under your control as a 2/2 that only you can know the identity of. Is it a land? An Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre? Only time will tell!
Well, time or you sacrificing it to drain that player for two.
8. Centaur Vinecrasher
(1765 Inclusions, 1% of 149791 Decks)
I'm not gonna lie, I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around this one. Centaur Vinecrasher appears to be a man stapled to a horse-body that is made out of Plants. I must have missed that one in the Druid handbook, although it does seem like it would be useful in a pinch.
Mechanically, however, Centaur Vinecrasher is pretty straightforward. If there are lands in graveyards, it comes into play huge. If it dies as a result of said hugeness, then you need only wait until a land dies, at which point you can pay two green to have him return to the battlefield, all the bigger still for the extra land in the graveyard. Still, all things considered, the popular logic at this point seems to be that planning on your opponents putting lands into graveyards isn't the most efficient path, so you might want the capability to put a few dozen there, yourself.
7. Decimator of the Provinces
(1837 Inclusions, 1% of 148958 decks)
All kidding aside, I'm actually surprised that I haven't seen more of Decimator of the Provinces. Go wide decks are always looking for more Overrun effects, and not only is Decimator of the Provinces substantially cheaper than Craterhoof Behemoth in dollars, but it can be in mana as well with the proper creature sacrifice. Granted, that means you'll be one big creature down, and +2/+2 isn't as big as the +13/+13 you might be used to from a Craterhoof, but it still seems like it would be more than enough to take out a player early...
6. Sliver Overlord
(1310 Decks as Commander, Rank #57, 776 Inclusions, 3% of 24093 Decks)
Well, not all the GIFs can be spot on, I suppose.
Sliver Overlord continues to be the most popular Sliver commander despite the attempt at a coup from The First Sliver, and it's not really a surprise. Being able to tutor for any Sliver over and over again is a recipe for easy wins, and for the most part that seems like more what the Commander community is looking for these days. For myself, I think the increased variance from The First Sliver should be pumping those numbers up a bit. Ulimately, however, it probably doesn't matter. You're going to be targeted first for being The Sliver Player no matter who you flip over in the Command Zone.
5. Hydroid Krasis
(2097 Inclusions, 3% of 78707 decks)
Is it just me, or should this Jellyfish Hydra Beast's X cost have been XX? If you're rounding down each time, the only real flexibility you're getting here is an extra +1/+1 counter, and it's not like R&D didn't already know this card was going to be stupid good. Cut the power and toughness in half again, and this card still cuts the mustard in many a deck. Well, it would in many a white deck, anyway.
In any case, Hydroid Krasis is stupid good, and as a result, it's seeing quite a bit of play in the Simic decks of the world which care about gaining life, drawing cards, or +1/+1 counters. My only real surprise is that that's apparently only three percent of them. Might it have something to do with that $17 price tag? Doesn't seem like it would have that if you were paying four mana for one card, one life, and a 1/1 Flample...
4. Plaxcaster Frogling
(2241 Inclusions, 3% of 78707 Decks)
A three-mana 3/3 is already a decent rate, but the fact that this little Frog Mutant hands counters out as other creatures enter the battlefield is almost enough for this to be decent all on its own. Plaxcaster Frogling's last ability is really where it gets pushed over the edge for +1/+1 counter decks, however. Two mana to give pretty much any creature you own shroud at will is just plain good. Even if someone had another piece of removal to try and get rid of your Vorel of the Hull Clade or Ezuri, Claw of Progress, you could just pay the two again to give it shroud again in response!
Now that's security, even before we get into how good this is with Experiment Kraj, specifically...
3. Wasitora, Nekoru Queen
(186 Decks as Commander, Rank #382, 2164 Inclusions, 6% of 37704 Decks)
First of all, the game is called Cat Gone Fishing.
Now that that's out of the way, Wasitora, Nekoru Queen is a Cat Dragon that makes you more Cat Dragons whenever she deals combat damage to a player. I don't really feel like I need to go into more detail than that, and neither did Wizards, I imagine. People play this card, both in the command zone and in their Dragon decks, which just happens to be the most popular tribe in EDH. She doesn't usually make the cut in Cat decks, mostly because those tend to green and white, but I feel like more people should be making the attempt, you know?
2. Whiptongue Hydra
(2724 Inclusions, 2% of 148958 Decks)
Come with me to a world. An alternate world, in which you're playing green, and the player across from you is playing Angels, and the player across from them is playing Dragons, and the player across from them is playing Birds. It's a circular table.
Whatever the seating arrangements, you're a green player with no fliers at a table full of fliers. A bad set of circumstances, to be sure. That is of course, unless you have six spare mana and a certain Chameleon (read: Lizard) Hydra! In that case, you're more looking at a one-sided board wipe and a huge threat that can still block anything else that gets played down.
Granted, our alternate reality is probably best called Magical Christmasland, and Whiptongue Hydra will be much more likely to hit three to four fliers than a table full of them. Bane of Progress, this is not. That said, it is still pretty darn good, and can be a real weapon in recursion decks looking for a repeatable way to deal with fliers.
1. Prowling Serpopard
(5879 Inclusions, 4% of 149791 Decks)
It is fitting that one of the weirder combinations is also the most played creature mashup of them all! That is, of course, unless you do subscribe to the thought that Prowling Serpopard is just an overgrown ferret. Regardless of how you feel about Cat Snakes and the weasel family, however, Prowling Serpopard's ability to make all your creatures immune to Counterspells can be absolutely crucial, especially since it, itself, can't be countered. Check out last week's Game Knights if you don't believe me. Combine all that with a 4/3 body for three, and you really have a lanky threat that can help out any creature deck.
This is one of the crazier, in-depth, and silly searches I've ever put together, so with that in mind, I figured I'd also share the full list of creature types I had to manually eliminate to come up with this list, after which I still had to look through cards line by line to pull the ones that had multiple creature types out.
Keep in mind, this is in no way a conclusive list of all the creature types that would have to be eliminated to find every creature mashup in Magic. Instead, I merely removed creature types as I saw them, in EDHREC order. As a result, you might have some fun trying to figure out what the most popular card for each of these creature types is (or alternatively, how low some of the most popular creature types actually are in the Creature EDHREC rankings).
Ah, who am I kidding? Y'all are just gonna give me crap over which creature types you feel should have been included.
...Which you're free to do, down in the comments. If you're nerdy enough to care about which creature types should and shouldn't count as true weird creature mashup contenders, then you seem like the kind of person I want to talk to.
You may have noticed that for the main list this week, I threw in a last-minute rule that each creature must be the only example of that specific mixture of creature types in the history of Magic. As you might imagine, it's quite the different list without that stipulation, and since I had already put it together before making that decision, I figured you might want to see it.
Top 31 Creature Mashups, Without the Uniqueness Requirement
- Felidar Sovereign
- Genesis Hydra
- Prowling Serpopard
- Felidar Guardian
- Hooded Hydra
- Whiptongue Hydra
- Wasitora, Nekoru Queen
- Plaxcaster Frogling
- Hydroid Krasis
- Sliver Overlord
- Chromeshell Crab
- Krosan Tusker
- Decimator of the Provinces
- Centaur Vinecrasher
- Deathmist Raptor
- Feral Hydra
- Thieving Amalgam
- Steelbane Hydra
- Elder Deep-Fiend
- Experiment Kraj
- Mold Shambler
- Cloudfin Raptor
- Grave Sifter
- Renegade Krasis
- Bloom Hulk
- Bounding Krasis
- Chakram Retriever
- Marath, Will of the Wild
- Honored Hydra
- Fungus Sliver
A top 31, you ask? Well, call me the SEC on ESPN (that's a football joke), but Sharktocrab deserves the inclusion.
What Do You Think?
All right, you've imbibed enough lists about lists that clarify other lists for today. Before I let you go, though, let me at least find out your opinion on our topic today.
And finally, what's your favorite creature mashup? Is it actually any good, or is it that you just like to say "Fish Beast!" whenever you play it?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the combination craft/scrapbook/gaming/sewing table in the