Thragtusk?!? And Rancor?!?

Bennie is super excited that green is getting some powerful cards in M13, with Thragtusk and Rancor at the top of his list. Prepare for green’s resurgence in Standard this summer!

A Right Worthy Beast

Two weeks back I wrote a column talking about some cards from M13 I was pretty stoked to see coming to Standard…and by the time the column went live, two more green cards were previewed that totally blew my mind and ramped my excitement up into the stratosphere.

Thragtusk! Seriously, Thragtusk—how is this a real card? It feels like all the frustration and aggravation I’ve felt towards Standard as of late has been soothed by the heavens opening up and this five-drop green creature descending into my life.

I’ve long felt that R&D needs to assign someone the role of "sanity check," specifically when it comes to blue cards. No other color in the history of Magic has had so many "oops, we made that too powerful" mistakes (Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Snapcaster Mage, and Delver of Secrets being the latest offenders); seems that it would be worthwhile to dedicate someone to provide extra scrutiny to the blue cards that come out of development. Someone who would demand answers to the question, "Why is this not too good?" It seems painfully obvious there’s no one wearing that hat up in Renton.

Conversely, sometimes I get the feeling there’s someone in Magic R&D who’s rooting for the green cards. I don’t think he’s heard or seen often enough, but sometimes you just know someone’s saying, "Can we make this better?" Thragtusk screams out as being such a card. Like, I can see a card coming out of development that’s a four-drop 3/3, gains four life when it comes into play, and when it dies you get a 3/3 beast. Seems very green, very expected…and reasonably okay without blowing up anyone’s skirt with excitement. And green’s inside man—I like to think perhaps it’s Aaron Forsythe himself — looks at it and says, "Can we make this better?"

We think it’s fine as is…

"Can we make it better?"

Well sure, I suppose we could…

"Make it better."

Voila! Thragtusk. Let’s make it a 5/3, gains five life, and gives you that token creature no matter how he leaves play—dies, gets bounced (eff you Vapor Snag), gets blinked. You get something on the front end when he comes into play, get something in the interim while he’s on the board (a 5/3 body), and you get something on the back end if he’s dealt with—win/win/win! I mean, maybe it’s just me, but that seems insanely good when measured up against what green typically gets in its goodie bag. My only beef is how it clashes with some other really great green cards at five mana (Wolfir Silverheart and Acidic Slime), but complaining about an abundance of riches is unseemly.

Of course, the very best Thragtusks are the annoying ones that are only going to cost 1U, but we have to suffer that indignity for only a few months.

When Thundermaw Hellkite was previewed, it was quite obvious this card had been given the Baneslayer Angel Treatment—a card not just pushed, but flat out accelerated in value-to-cost ratio. Do I think Thragtusk was given the BAT? It’s good, really good…but probably not that good. No, it needed something like trample to really push it up to Baneslayer good…

If You Liked It Then You Should Have Put a Rancor On It

Well, well, well…speaking of trample…

@earthdyedred: This might surprise you, but I *hate* Rancor

@blairwitchgreen: hee hee, I see what you did there 😉

Rancor’s a card that I’ve often fantasized about returning to Standard for years and years. It’s one of the few cards from green’s past that is obviously super-powered, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to powered cards past…and yet likely would be just fine in Standard today. Now, we finally get to see if that’s true.

I had the privilege to play Rancor back when it was legal for Standard (called Type 2 back in the day), and let me tell you it was an awesome way to turn your weenies into threats and turn your threats into game-winners. What’s even more awesome nowadays is that Rancor is going to make it easier to deal with planeswalkers, who are often protected by various and sundry token chump blockers or who might be able to tap down the biggest threat you have on the table. Being able to trump all those little 1/1 token creatures with a one-mana green spell is going to feel oh so good!

And since I like Thragtusk so much, I’m gonna have to put a Rancor on it—yeah, a 7/3 trampler sounds good—real good! And when it leaves play, you get to put the Rancor on the beast token—a 5/3 trampler sounds real good too!

Let’s also not forget that there are cards that really like a power boost… Cards like Garruk, Primal Hunter. Rancor means two extra cards drawn with the -3 ability—and hey, maybe you’ll draw another Rancor—woot!

One subtle consequence I believe will be making regeneration just a little bit better. A Doom Blade in response to targeting your Strangleroot Geist with Rancor will fizzle the Rancor even though your Geist comes back, but if you have 1G open you can enchant Wolfir Avenger without fear of the Doom Blade being anything more than a Fog.

Lastly, we’ll want to keep our eyes peeled for the creature ability that’s the peanut butter to trample’s chocolate—deathtouch! A single point of deathtouch damage is lethal damage, so all the other power on a trampler gets to smash right on through to the next blocker/planeswalker/player. I know I personally can’t wait to enchant Glissa, the Traitor and Wurmcoil Engine with Rancor for the few months they’ll share together in Standard, and we’ll have Acidic Slime around for another year. Grave Titan and his deathtouch rotates, but there is Harvester of Souls who would love +2/+0 and trample with his deathtouch.

I tell you, I’m super stoked to play both of these new green powerhouses, especially in light of the rise in success of mono-green lately featuring Revenge of the Hunted, with Carrie Oliver first kicking open that door when she punched her ticked to the World Magic Cup:

Just this past weekend, Randy Sheffield nearly cracked Top 8 at the SCG Standard Open in Detroit with an evolution of the deck, folding in the "fight club" ideas from the Innistrad Block deck:

I could see Rancor and Thragtusk fitting right into this style of deck. I have to admit, while I’ve had four Dungrove Elders since the card was printed last summer, I’ve not really played with it much at all because, quite frankly, I love non-basic lands too much to mess with it. However, Rancor and Thragtusk have tilted me more towards mono-Forests. I mean, now you don’t need the awkward Kessig Wolf Run to punch through the mass of annoying 1/1 token chump blockers—just rock the Rancor!

How about Predator Ooze with Rancor? That’s what I’m talking about! Check this out:

Does this look damn scary or what? THIS is Fight Club! Rancor means even the littlest guy can take down something big with Ulvenwald Tracker. Ooze, Geist, Dungrove, Silverheart—Rancor means that power is getting through baby, smacking your opponent’s life total down in large chunks. Rancor means you don’t need to mess around with clunky Bellowing Tanglewurm; you can play the awesome Thragtusk instead.

I can’t necessarily go completely mono-Forests this summer, though. As I mentioned above, I can’t wait to add Rancor to my Glissa and Wurmcoil Engine decks. Here’s how something like that might look:

I’m kinda grooving on Disciple of Bolas as well—coming down on a Thragtusk enchanted with Rancor drawing seven cards and gaining seven life, getting back Rancor and leaving behind a 3/3… Well, sounds pretty awesome to me.

@blairwitchgreen: It feels like M13 has the implied subtitle of “We never want to hear Bennie Smith complain about Green in Standard again” #missionaccomplished

So tell me…what plots and schemes are you hatching with Rancor and Thragtusk in the new Standard?

Last but not least…

Before I go, I wanted to give a shout-out to some peeps in the Twitterverse for picking up and running with the humorous speculation brought about by this preview card from WotC:

Yes, we’re apparently getting a card that makes a 0/1 Goat token in M13. None of the previous Goat-making cards fit in the name/number crunch for M13, so it’s something new. What’s it going to be?

I kicked things off with:

@blairwitchgreen: Fingers crossed for Goat Within

@realmlord1: Goat Within would be awesome, along with Goat Sun Zenith

@derfington: Goatblossom

@travishall456: Form of the Goat

@derfington: Goat Eruption

@steve032: Rhys the Goatherder

@A_Magrini: Goatbender

@steve032: Goat-venger of Zendikar

@Fensaris: Empty the Goatpens

@derfington: Entreat the Goats

@travishall: Delver of Goats/Goat Abberation

@A_Magrini: Goat Nest

@GarethLewin: Release the Kids

@GUDoug: Rampaging Goats? Goat Queen? Verdant Goat? Deranged Goat Herder?

@steve032: Ram-paging Baloth

@travishall456: Goats of Kher Keep

@GUDoug: Sacred Pasture

@steve032: Maaaaa of the Herd

@Fenaris: Goat Spawning


Apparently you can get your Goats at the Trading Post. Sweet!

Take care,


starcitygeezer AT gmail DOT com

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