Creatures are summoned.
Creatures go to the graveyard.
It's the circle of life in Magic (deep, I know). In most games, we're accustomed to casting small creatures. A 2/2 for two mana? That's not too shabby. But what about the biggest of them all?
Today, in honor of Emrakul's reveal on Monday, we're taking a look at the most colossal creatures in Magic's history—the good, the bad, and the ugly (well, they're all kind of ugly) of the most expensive creatures in Magic.
Creatures that cost nine mana:
Few creatures in Magic are bigger than the Eldrazi titans themselves. Their spawn, although slightly smaller, are still enormous creatures. Nine mana is a hefty price to pay for Hand of Emrakul. Luckily it can be cast cheaply by sacrificing four Eldrazi Spawn instead. Also, is it weird that this card is named Hand of Emrakul when Emrakul clearly has tentacles for hands? The truth is out there.
That's what I'm talking about! Not only is this effect great, you also get the bonus of cracking endless jokes when this card is in play. Void Winnower inspired one of the best rulings that Gatherer has ever published:
"Yes, your opponent can't even. We know."
It doesn't get better than that.
Paying nine mana to untap Colossus of Sardia is just too high. It improves with cards like Voltaic Key that allow you to untap it cheaply, but we're still looking at a creature that dies to a wealth of removal spells. You may be large, my friend, but you're not too scary.
Suncrusher, at most, enters the battlefield with five +1/+1 counters, but once you're done using its counters you can return it to your hand and recast it. It's an expensive effect, but it will allow you to kill creatures in a pinch.
Blazing Archon is a sweet one. Your opponent better have ways to kill this lion, or they're in trouble.
The Bringer of Dawn cycle also sits at nine. These creatures can be cast for relatively cheap if you pay one mana of every color. They also have a relevant ability of the color they represent. If you're unable to cast them for WUBRG, you can always take the hard route and cast them for nine.
Last but not least, we have Iona, Shield of Emeria. Her effect can be game-ending, and decks will often be looking to reanimate her to get her into play.
Creatures that cost ten mana:
Both old and new Kozilek sit at ten mana. After years of butchering the truth, Kozilek has acquired an affinity for drawing cards. On a completely unrelated note, what's up with Kozilek's new hat?
Card text can't be more elegant than "Protection from everything." If at any point you wonder how your creatures, spells, and abilities will interact with Progenitus, the easy answer is this—they don't.
Jin-Gitaxias is one of the five Phyrexian Praetors. Casting him for ten mana is ambitious, but reanimating him from the graveyard is easy enough. He lets you draw seven cards on your end step! How could you turn down so much value?
Greater Gargadon takes a long time to come off suspension, but this drawback is often used as a resource. Greater Gargadon provides a sacrifice outlet that cannot be disturbed while it's suspended. When the time counters run out, you end up with a beefy 9/7 for your troubles.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger has an appetite for attention. The new printing of the Eldrazi titan has found homes in Standard ramp decks and Modern Tron.
Creatures that cost eleven mana:
Ulamog has always enjoyed wrecking your board.
The death ability on Worldspine Wurm turned it into a popular creature in Eternal formats. Getting this Wurm into play with Sneak Attack or Through the Breach means you attack for 15 trample and you get to keep three baby Wurms.
Some people might call Darksteel Colossus the original Eldrazi. It's an iconic Magic card that was eventually replaced with the printing of Blightsteel Colossus. For just one more mana, Blightsteel Colossus has the same stats but also gets the keyword infect.
Creatures that cost twelve mana:
Speak of the devil. Here's Blightsteel Colossus. You know what finishes a game of Magic quickly? An 11/11 creature with trample, infect, and indestructible.
Whoa...spoiler alert. You know what feels sketchy? Playing a twelve-mana creature named It That Betrays. Let's just hope it's actually on my team. Having to sacrifice permanents to annihilator already feels bad enough; giving them to your opponent afterward is even worse.
Creatures that cost thirteen mana:
You saw this, right?
Creatures that cost fourteen mana—none yet!
Creatures that cost fifteen mana:
Oh snap. You saw "fifteen mana" and immediately thought the card would be Emrakul. Autochthon Wurm is the underappreciated fifteen-drop in Magic, and it deserves some love too. The fact that it has convoke means that most people have not actually paid fifteen for it, but it still shares the fifteen-drop slot with only one other creature.
She costs fifteen, she's uncounterable, she takes no prisoners. Few cards are as iconic as Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Since she can't be countered, most decks have no ability to interact with her. Taking an extra turn as soon as she's cast means she has pseudo-haste, and annihilator 6 can typically decimate most of your opponent's board (quite flavorful if you think about it). Protection from colored spells means that very few things will ever interact with her, and you can usually chalk up a win when she's in play.
It's exciting to see new Emrakul joining the ranks of the biggest creatures to exist in Magic!
PSA: There is a creature that costs sixteen mana in Magic
When people think of the biggest creature in Magic, they always think of Emrakul. Sitting at a converted mana cost of 16, however, Draco is technically the most expensive card in Magic. Once you put him in a rainbow-color deck, Draco becomes much easier to cast, but to this day, he still one-ups all other creatures when it comes to highest converted mana cost.
Hope you enjoyed learning about Magic's biggest creatures. Did I miss any of your favorites? How excited are you for Emrakul, the Promised End? You can let me know on Twitter @gabyspartz, or on my stream at twitch.tv/gabyspartz.