SCG Daily – The Eight-Mana Men

Mr. Romeo continues his investigation of the Wobbily Monsters of Magic. Today, the Top Ten (or twelve) Eight-Mana Creatures. Just what can you buy for the price of four Wild Mongrels? Click here to find out!

As the week goes on, the casting costs gets higher. Today is Wednesday. That must mean we’re talking about creatures with a converted mana cost of eight, regardless of whether anyone ever paid that much for them. No honorable mentions today, either. I’ve decided to go Top Twelve today. Why? Because it’s my list, that’s why.

Eight-Mana Critters — The Top Twelve

12) Crash of Rhinos — Now, this is the kind of st00pid Green creature you want for eight mana. Power equal to its mana cost, and Trample. Grrrr. For your information, a crash is the actual name for a group of Rhinos. Also, sharks travel in shivers, and crows move in murders. Man, I love the interweb.

11) Devouring Strossus — This is another one that I’m overly fond, of simply because of the successes I had with it, especially in Limited. When this thing hit, you either won or lost, period. If you had the creatures to sacrifice to it, you had a 9/9 flying Trampler. If not, your game was probably lost anyway. In addition, it usually only took two swings to end the game with this because something had done two points of damage somewhere along the line. It might have been a pain land. It could have been that Rat or Zombie that you’d be sacrificing to the Strossus the next turn. Whatever it was, it only took two licks with a Strossus to get your opponent’s chewy center.

10) Tidal Kraken — In terms of evasion, what’s better than Landwalk, flying, Trample, or protection? Just being unblockable. Nothing tricky here. No special abilities to combo someone out. Just a 6/6 beater that won’t be stopped. I mean, except by some creature kill spells. And Faith’s Fetters. But you’re playing Blue when you cast this guy. You can’t stop Faith’s Fetters?!

9) Avatar of Will — Okay, so, I’m probably overrating this guy, too, because the first Constructed tournament that I ever won was on his/her back. I think most people would agree that a 5/6 flier for two mana is a great deal. Of course, I know that Avatar of Fury has an actual activated ability where Avatar of Will is “just” a 5/6 flier. However, emptying an opponent’s hand is more significant to winning than an opponent having seven or more lands in play. In fact, seven or more lands might mean that they can deal with your Avatar of Whatever. No cards in hand means that they pretty much have to draw an answer (other than permanents already on board that can do the trick, of course). Avatar of Will points us toward discard, which points us toward Black. Yes, Black and Blue work well together. That’s how I won my first tournament.

8) Bosh, Iron Golem — Even when reckless Goblins and even more reckless Modular artifact creatures were ruling the earth, this guy showed up to end some games. Even if he could only toss himself at you, he was a house and you were the Wicked Witch of the East. (True story: I was playing in the last round of a Sealed tournament, having done well thanks to Bosh. In the last round, so did my opponent, and he got Bosh down in both games the turn right before I would have cast mine. Today, that wouldn’t have mattered. I’d have just been blowing up both of them. This, however, was before Kamigawa Block changed the Legend rules. So, I held a dead Bosh in two games. I’m glad they changed that rule.)

7) Symbiotic Wurm — This is yet another in a long line of big, costly critters that almost never got cast (except in Limited). He was used mostly in Reanimator decks. What a pain he was, too. As bad as Penumbra Wurm’s droppings were, that Wurm only left one creature. It was a 6/6 Black Trampler, but it was still just one guy. Symbiotic Wurm left seven Insects. Ewwww.

6) Cognivore — When this guy hit the environment, I tried my darnedest to break him. I’m just not good enough to do it. Justin Garry, though, he won Pro Tour Houston with a deck whose only creature was Cognivore. I knew this guy was good. His power and toughness are each equal to the Instants in all graveyards, and Blue lives on Instants. How could he not be good? (“Because he costs eight mana.”)

5) Sundering Titan — I’m sure that when R&D created this guy, they never expected him to be so devastating because of his cost. Surprise! I hope they learn as much from cards like this and Umezawa’s Jitte as they did from the “free” spells in Urza’s Block. If an ability is a game breaker, players will find a way to break it.

4) Nicol Bolas — There haven’t been a lot of pre-Rath Cycle cards on these lists. That’s mostly a function of the fact that I never played with or against them. I have seen the Elder Dragon Legends in play, though, and, if you’ll pardon the pun, Nicol Bolas is heads and tails above the others. The reason is simple. His ability is huge. The other Elders have Rampage or can increase their power or toughness. Nicol Bolas hits an opponent and forces him to dump his hand. It’s not even close.

3) Verdant Force — Some guy you might have heard of used this once upon a time to make a name for himself by winning some stuff. I forget his name or the deck’s name. I’m told it was good. I dunno. It’s in Ninth Edition, so it’s Standard legal now, but nobody’s using it. Whatever.

2) Avatar of Woe — Clearly, the best of the Prophecy Avatars, when she hit the board, she ruled the game. You either dealt with her quickly, or you probably didn’t deal with her at all.

1) Akroma, Angel of Wrath — You’d think that costing eight mana with no alternate casting cost, no way to make her cheaper, and no way to use Astral Slide to get her into play would have made her unusable on the tournament scene. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. She was even worse than Avatar of Woe. Dealing with her was nearly impossible for a couple of reasons. First, Black and Red couldn’t touch her. Second, the spells that could deal with her, like Pacifism and Wrath of God, were usually countered since Akroma usually came packed in a Blue and White deck, not mono-White. I was happy to see White get a good, costly creature. I wasn’t happy that everyone decided to play her.

Thursday means nine-mana creatures. Are you stoked?

Chris Romeo