Emrakul, the Aeons Torn – Double Masters
Date Reviewed: July 22, 2022
Commander [EDH]: Banned
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Rise of the Eldrazi was, in the main, an experiment to see how far the designers could push expensive creatures, in terms of both power level and just how expensive they could get. Emrakul is actually the joint second-most-mana-expensive black-bordered card, behind only Draco from Planeshift. In her defense, though, you get a lot more for that mana, fitting for a being who inspired Zendikar’s almighty sky goddess Emeria. For those who haven’t seen it before or don’t remember, “annihilator” means the number of permanents the defending player has to sacrifice every time she attacks, and alongside the rest of her text box overflowing with cool stuff, this makes her probably still the best creature to pair with Sneak Attack. That’s plenty devastating enough for most formats, but sometimes you don’t even have to pay 15 mana to cast her: Jodah, Jhoira, and Elvish Piper work very well indeed (though, in another Lovecraftian concept, I don’t know how those characters would feel about such an event!).
One of my favorite things about Emrakul is the Shadows over Innistrad web story where she communicates telepathically with Tamiyo and Jace and seemingly wants to be put into Innistrad’s moon. The implications of this were not revisited in the recent Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow sets, but you have to feel they will be at some point.
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is banned in Commander, so don’t get any funny ideas.
In many ways, Emrakul represents the alpha and omega of big battlecruisers, packed with more abilities than should be allowed to be on a single creature. Protection, uncounterability, a Time Walk effect stapled to it, evasion, and the ability to chew up an opponent’s board every time it attacks…she might not have every key word, but she more than makes the most of the ones she has, and a resolved Emrakul means that your opponents are going to be in trouble. The library shuffle rider makes it harder to reanimate her (but not impossible, since it’s a trigger and not a replacement effect), though she’s always been one of the best targets for abilities and spells that cheat creatures directly in. You might not get the extra turn, but who cares when you demolish your opponent’s board then and there?
Emrakul’s certainly a daunting investment, whether in cheating her out or just playing to get to 15 mana, but she has more than enough to suggest a worthy return on investment. She might be one of the most horrifying creatures to face down, and while she’s not completely unstoppable, she demands particular answers that players may not have ready access to. She’s also justification in and of itself as to why Channel can never come off of ban lists, but that card needed little further help in that regard.
Constructed: 5 (the caveat here is that she is not for every deck…but if you’re going to cheat a creature into play or build towards a big one, there’s no better one to do than Emrakul)
Limited: 4 (hard to cheat her in in most environments, but ends the game if she’s cast)
Commander [EDH]: lol
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