Magic is full of iconic creatures of all kinds, large and small. Given this, I wondered to myself what the most iconic creature at each stat line and mana value is – so I decided to do my research and try to come up with definitive lists for each creature with square stats (1/1, 2/2, etc.) with equivalent mana values! This time around, we’re looking at five-mana 5/5s!
There is no shortage of five-color Sliver commanders, and Slivers remains a very popular EDH tribe – but who to choose as the general? Sliver Overlord is the most popular, as tutoring out the perfect Sliver for any given situation is very powerful. The First Sliver quickly saw a lot of play after its printing in Modern Horizons and is the second-most popular Sliver commander.
Sliver Hivelord, while less popular than both Sliver Overlord and The First Sliver, is still a respectable and reasonably popular choice, and you have to admit it’s well suited to a format so dominated by sweeper effects. Sure, Sliver Hivelord doesn’t protect the team against things like Terminus or Merciless Eviction, but having all your creatures be indestructible – particularly in a creature-based deck – is big game.
Sliver Hivelord, interestingly, is the only WUBRG Sliver general that is a 5/5 rather than a 7/7. The two we mentioned before along with Sliver Legion and Sliver Queen are all 7/7s. Sliver Legion doesn’t see too much play as a commander, as its cumulative +1/+1 ability lacks nuance, and Sliver Queen also doesn’t see too much play, but that’s because as a Reserved List card it costs an order of magnitude and then some more than all the others!
Since the banning of Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, Kenrith, the Returned King has claimed his throne as the format’s most popular five-color commander. And it’s not too surprising why – he offers flexible, reasonably costed abilities that are useful on more or less any battlefield, and these abilities allow you to branch into all five colors, so you can play all the wonderful nonsense you choose.
As a jack-of-all-trades – or a king-of-all-trades, I suppose we should say – Kenrith enables more or less any strategy you choose (unless you want to get really aggressive, in which case there are options like Najeela, the Blade-Blossom). I was interested to learn that, according to EDHRec, the most popular form of Kenrith deck is Birthing Pod-type strategies – but after that come the archetypes you’d expect, with politics and group hug style decks.
Kenrith was also a role-player during his time in Standard, as people will remember. Particularly of note was his role in Fires of Invention lists, where all the extra mana you’d have left over thanks to Fires would be dumped into his activated abilities, alongside cards like Cavalier of Flame. It was really gross, but hey, that was Throne of Eldraine for you.
Weeks ago, Baneslayer Angel scraped into the list of all-time Angels at number five – but there’s softer competition amongst the five-mana 5/5s, it seems. As I mentioned back then, Baneslayer was utterly dominant in Standard when printed in M10 and M11, but after its most recent printing it saw next to no play at all.
It once set the bar for what you could expect out of a five-mana card – with its beefy stats and exceptional combat abilities on both offense and defense, it was the five drop for quite some time. These days, it’s a different story. These days, there’s Goldspan Dragon, Wrenn and Seven, and Lier, Disciple of the Drowned. Nonetheless, it remains an iconic card – not just because of its Constructed dominance, but also the fact that it cost just shy of $100 at its peak.
In last week’s article about four-mana 4/4s, we talked about this card’s partner in crime, Thought-Knot Seer. Thought-Knot Seer was the opening act, and Reality Smasher was the headliner that piled on absurd amounts of pressure while also tearing apart your hand as you tried to deal with it. With what is almost today’s ward ability, Reality Smasher came down on turn three, got in for five, and cost them two cards to kill. Gross.
I talked about Eldrazi Winter in the previous episode – have a read of that to get caught up on Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Mimic and all the rest of it – but Reality Smasher was and still is a big part of Eldrazi strategies. These strategies aren’t dominant at all these days, thank goodness, but it would be terrifying to think these otherworldly, Lovecraftian horrors might raise their… heads? Do they even have heads?
The Scarab God is an immensely divisive card for many, thanks no doubt to people remembering its power in Standard and still suffering its wrath at the Commander table. The Scarab God makes playing any kind of creature-based strategy an absolute nightmare in EDH, as it can copy cards out of everyone’s graveyard, at instant speed, often giving them a stat boost, for just four mana.
This card is as horrendous to play against as it is fun to play with, and I’ve seen many EDH tables torn asunder both on the battlefield and amongst the players themselves when The Scarab God does its grim reaping. I am not a fan of this card at all, and I make no secret of it – I was very worried when it was added to Historic, given the card’s pedigree across both Standard and EDH.
Thankfully, my fears came to nothing, and it hardly sees any play. It does cost five mana, after all, which is a lot in Historic, so perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Whatever the reason, I’m glad my graveyard isn’t being munched up by this card. Also, does no-one else mind that The Scarab God has legs growing out of its head? No-one seems to be addressing this. I can’t be the only one.