Hey y’all! Wizards has foisted a choice of one from eleven different Dragons from varying eras in Magic’s history on the public. Rather than debate against somebody (sorry Pugg! You’re railing against the wind this week!), I’m going to tell you a little something about this vote, from my personal perspective.
Alphabetically, here are the eleven Dragons up for the vote, with a description of each:
Brimstone Dragon (Portal II): Brimstone Dragon and Volcanic Dragon are essentially the same vote, except one is 6/6 for eight and one is 4/4 for six. They will end up splitting their vote, and neither will do that well.
Clockwork Dragon (Mirrodin): Dragons, as it’s been told, are among Magic’s most popular creatures. Big, dumb, rare dragons have always fetched a premium at a set’s release. With that said, Clockwork Dragon is one of the least popular Dragons ever printed, and will finish in the bottom percentile of this vote.
Crimson Hellkite (Mirage, 6th, 7th): If you could divide the Dragons in this vote into four categories, they would be: Hasty Dragons, Dragons that kill creatures, Firebreathing Dragons, and other. Crimson Hellkite falls into the "Dragons that kill creatures" category. It is very bad at reaching play, given that it costs nine mana. It has been around a couple of times, but was supplanted in 8th Edition by Two-Headed Dragon.
Dragon Mage (Scourge): If you put Wheel of Fortune on a creature, you’d figure it would be popular. If you put it on a big, flying dragon, you figure that card would break the bank. This is not the case – Dragon Mage was overshadowed by several other Dragon cards in its block (including Rorix Bladewing and Kilnmouth Dragon) and was never really appreciated. I expect the residuals of this unfair derailment in popularity to carry over, even if it isn’t warranted.
Hunted Dragon (Ravnica): Hunted Dragon has the advantage of being the most recently printed dragon up for vote. Unfortunately, it will have to duke it out against Brimstone Dragon and Volcanic Dragon in the Haste category. None of these three will win.
Rathi Dragon (Tempest): Back when people played less bounce, and/or Sligh was a powerhouse, Rathi Dragon was an appropriate finisher. Nowadays, Rathi Dragon is a huge drawback, and has not seen any Standard play since being printed in 9th Edition. It will finish near the top on recognition factor, but will not win.
Shivan Hellkite (Urza’s Saga): One of the most popular Dragons ever, I expect Shivan Hellkite to be one of the two Dragons that ends up in the top two. If I had to guess, I’d say that Shivan Hellkite has the best chance of winning – it’s one of the most playable (if not the most playable) cards on this list for competitive play, has an ability that casual players love, and fits decently into certain reanimator builds.
Tek (Invasion): See Clockwork Dragon, except long forgotten and more maligned. I don’t see White mages voting for a 2/4 dragon, Blue mages voting for a 2/2 flying dragon, Red mages voting for a 2/2 first-striking dragon, Green mages voting for a 2/2 trampling dragon, or Black mages voting for a 4/2 dragon. I don’t see people seeing this card with combined colors either.
Thunder Dragon (Starter 99): This is the card that should win the vote, as it is A) the rarest to find and most in need of reprinting, and B) is as playable as Shivan Hellkite, if not more so. Players aren’t overly familiar with Thunder Dragon outside of niche builds (in fact, I’d bet that over 75% of the people who are voting in this poll didn’t know Starter 99 existed before the vote), and so it will suffer because of that.
Two-Headed Dragon (Mercadian Masques, 8th): If Shivan Hellkite doesn’t win, Two-Headed Dragon will. It’s basically Shivan Dragon on crack, tournament playable, and huge with casual players. That’s three check marks, and no strikes against.
Volcanic Dragon (Mirage, 6th, Anthologies, Portal I, Starter 99): The most printed dragon on this list, and it will receive many votes because of that. A 4/4 hasty flyer for six mana is actually sub-par in modern days. It compares unfavorably to Niv-Mizzet, Keiga, or Ryusei, which will hurt it in the vote.