Size Matters

Posted in Arcana on September 8, 2015

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

Yesterday, Mark Rosewater debuted one of the giant Eldrazi found in Battle for Zendikar, the Desolation Twin. While it's only printed as a 10/10, it is, effectively, 20 power worth of creature in one card.

That got us thinking about the biggest monsters of their time—the serious monstrosities whose main calling card is just how big they are—and what in the otherworldly R&D was thinking when they created them.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

MP 8/3/2009: Annihilator upped from 5 to 6.
MP 8/5/2009: Added "protection from spells of all colors."
SW 8/6/2009: I would prefer to move the protection to someone like the path maker.
GM 8/10/2009: The cost jump is jarring . . . Why do we go from thirteen to seventeen cost? Just to have the "highest cost ever"? That no longer feels worth it to me. We should either lower this guy's cost or get a few more of them up into the fourteen- to fifteen-cost range.
MP 8/13/2009: Cost dropped from seventeen to fifteen.
KEN 8/27/2009: Why annihilator 6 over the more aesthetically-pleasing annihilator 5? Five is still more than other Eldrazi.

Why annihilator 6? Because Emrakul, that's why.

Tron decks everywhere should also be thankful R&D didn't go with the casting cost of seventeen. That might have been out of reach, even for Tron.

Death's Shadow

KEN 1/21/2009: 11/11 -> 13/13 so that it defeats rival one-drop Phyrexian Dreadnought.
MJ 1/30/2009: Strange . . . This combos with Platinum Angel.
KEN 2/2/2009: Vampire -> Insect. Math seems easier as a 20/20, but that opens a couple combo doors with something like
Cragganwick Cremator.
KEN 3/26/2009: Too many d00ds at rare. Can this do the same shtick as an enchant creature or something?
KEN 4/1/2009: This is another of the "one-drop 1/1 with a hoop that turns insane midgame" of the Bloodhall Ooze variety.
GM 4/9/2009: This was surprisingly uninteresting for me in a deck that paid life to draw cards.
KEN 4/22/2009: Mons has been using this to stabilize against aggro somewhat effectively.

I kind of love that Death's Shadow was specifically made to be larger than Phyrexian Dreadnought. Take that, Stifle!

Krosan Cloudscraper

The biggest creature ever.

There wasn't much in the file on Krosan Cloudscraper except this note. At the time, this was true. In the wake of the Eldrazi, not so much.

Darksteel Colossus

RB 5/2/2003: Might be nice if this was the biggest creature in the block—11/11 would accomplish that. (We had 10/10 for cheap on Leveler)
HS 5/2/2003: 11/11? How daring! How bold! Let's doo eeet.
HS 5/28/2003: 11/11!
DL 6/12/2003: Typesetting can handle the {o11} symbol. PB—let the Magic Online folks know?

Darksteel Colossus might not have held the mantle of the largest creature even in its day, but it did purposefully get made to be the largest creature in the block. And its status as an 11/11 would certainly become important when Blightsteel Colossus came along and mimicked its stats.

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