Tuesday, May 23, 2017

InQuest Gamer's Top 100 Magic Creatures of All Time: 80 - 71

Last time around, we stopped off at Number 81 on the InQuest Gamer's Top 100 Magic Creatures of All Time (as of 2006), which was one of the most powerful elves ever printed, the Quirion Ranger. Numbers 80 - 71 include many creatures that were deck staples for Standard when originally printed and two classic creatures. Let's get this Countdown of a Countdown counting down once again!

80) Darksteel Colossus - Rare, Darksteel (April 2004)

Yes, this IS one of the 100 Most Powerful Creatures of All Time. In 2017.

While some of the later Eldrazi do much, much more for the cost of 11, there's something so simple about the Darksteel Colossus and how it never really dies. A favorite for ReAnimator decks since originally printed, there's always a chance that some Modern deck may bring the Colossus back into the spotlight at a moment's notice.

I also can not overstate how much fun it was when you were lucky enough to DRAFT one of these.

79) Solemn Simulacrum - Rare, Mirrodin (October 2003) 

Designed by Magic Invitational winner Jens Thoren, this guy was my favorite creature at one point. Colorless ramping that draws a card when it dies and is a 2/2 body? Is it any wonder that this guy is still a staple of Commander decks, getting a reprint in almost every Commander set and was selected as one of the Masterpiece cards for Kaladesh? 

I wish I still had my originals, but selling them for $10 a piece was also pretty satisfying back in the day. What could possibly follow one of the greatest card-advantage creatures of all time? 

78) Akroma, Angel of Wrath - Rare, Legions (February 2003) 

Oh. That's what could follow up a card-advantage machine, one of the absolute most powerful Legendary creatures of all time. Akroma's keyword buffet set a record at the time of her original printing by having the most abilities jammed onto one card. Just as with the Colossus earlier, Akroma has been a favorite of ReAnimator decks since originally being printed in Legions, one of the otherwise worst sets of all time. 

Akroma has since been reprinted nearly every time someone utters the word "Angels" and for good reason. I bet that right now, as you're reading this, someone at a kitchen table or at a Commander night, is windmill slamming Akroma onto the table and smacking an opponent in the face for 6. 

Hit the jump for the rest of today's list! 

77) Mother of Runes - Uncomm....wait..really? Yup. Uncommon, Urza's Legacy (February 1999)

I had honestly forgotten that the Mother of Runes was an Uncommon when first printed. Does that help get across how INSANE the Urza's block was? Here's a one-drop that can tap and give another creature protection from any color of your choice at a moment's notice. Crafty players at the time used the Mother of Runes to quickly put the kibosh on the Enchantress decks that were being experimented with after the Argothian Enchantress was printed. 

I can not properly describe how annoying the following combo was back when this card was first printed, but take a look at the following cards and try to feel my pain:

Mono-white control was a thing. It was very real and it won some major Pro Tour events. While Onslaught block would revive the concept a few years later, the INSANE Urza's block (both Pariah and Worship are from Urza's Saga) upended everything we had just spent the past year dealing with out of White (White Weenies with Shadow). 

76) Gorilla Shaman - Uncommon, Alliances (June 1996) 

Mox Monkey! 

That funky monkey! 

Do I have to explain what particular format the Mox Monkey was a nightmare in? How awesome must it have felt to destroy Moxes, Time Vaults and Sol Rings with a card that was basically worth .50 cents? 

It's the Magic equivalent of the Celtics winning Game 3 of the 2017 Conference Finals against the Cavs. 

75) Braids, Cabal Minion - Rare, Odyssey (October 2001) 

What's that? Sacrifices an artifact, creature...or land? Land!? And Braids only cost 4 in a color with serious burst mana potential (Cabal Ritual was printed in the same set!)? Why yes, Braids was a terror in Monoblack Control decks and helped make them a thing. The entire Odyssey block was very black heavy, especially upcoming expansion, Torment. Braids was a great combination of the perfect time to see print, with excellent flavor text and an ability that was unique in a color perfectly set up to abuse the symmetry. 

74) Phantom Centaur - Uncommon, Judgment (May 2002) 


Well, uh, here's an example of InQuest Gamer's list being from 2006. Being one of the best creatures in Odyssey block constructed means that if this list was redone today, the Phantom Centaur's invitation would get lost in the mail. 

73) Soltari Priest - Uncommon, Tempest (October, 1997) 

Protection from Red and basically unblockable for the cost of two White mana? This is more like it! The Soltari Priest helped usher in a new era of White Weenies and helped the deck take Top 8s all throughout Standard while Tempest was legal. Just looking at this guy fills me with warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia from ruling the kitchen table with him and his running buddy, the Soltari Monk. 

72) Juzam Djinn - Rare, Arabian Nights (December, 1993) 

And here's a classic! 

The Juzam Djinn was the most efficient creature in Magic for a long, long time and the original powerhouse for Black. That "drawback" doesn't mean much when he's swinging for 5 as early as turn 2. Classic artwork, classic design and one of the most iconic creatures in all of Magic history makes the Juzam Djinn well deserving of its number 72 sp.....72? Just based off of longevity alone this should be a top 50. I mean yeah, he's no Hurloon Minotaur, but come on! It's the original big D! 

71) Llanowar Elves - Common, Alpha (Summer 1993) 

InQuest Gamer refers to the Llanowar Elves as "a poor man's Birds of Paradise". 

Everyone else refers to it as "one of the greatest ramp enablers of all time". Tribal becoming an official focus really boosted the Elves as a whole, with their Alpha forebear shouldering most of the early turn workload. 

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