Fall of the Thran
April 25, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The Thran were the great ancient empire that Yawgmoth was a part of. He went far off the road the rest of his people walked, and became something more than a mortal or planeswalker and less than a god, the ruler of the artificial plane of Phyrexia. As I alluded to when we reviewed Phyrexian Scriptures, there is a lot about Phyrexia’s origin which is still mysterious to us even after so many years of Magic’s story, which I actually sort of like. It invites speculation and maybe even further investigation; as you’ll be familiar with hearing if you ever watch the fantastic History Channel program Ancient Aliens, it’s risky to assume there’s nothing more to learn about history.
But as far as gameplay goes, Fall of the Thran is a very interesting card to build around. Even if it were just a six-mana Armageddon effect, that might be worth playing. As we’ve discussed recently, the common use for Armageddon effects is to get ahead and prevent your opponent from catching up. I haven’t suggested Odyssey‘s Terravore for a while, but this seems like a good place to do so. The way this saga restores lands later on can be built around at least as much – and its symmetry can also be broken. You might use something like Tormod’s Crypt to make your opponent have nothing to return, or perhaps cast Teferi’s Protection in response to the first trigger. Its position in Standard will depend on what sorts of angles the various midrange strategies decide to take, but in general, it is going to be very appealing to synergy decks of various kinds.
It’s basically a six-mana Armageddon. That’s always an interesting starting point on a card; mass land destruction has largely been phased out of the game, and even a (generally) weaker Armageddon is cause to take notice. The idea behind it is to basically nuke the board to enable you to go for an unanswerable alpha strike, or to use that time to forfend your board to where they can’t come back.
The second and third verses of Fall of the Thran are technically minor downsides, since both players start getting their lands back from the mass destruction effect. You do get first crack with the returned lands, so it’s still a general benefit. But it also ensures you can keep playing things after you shake up their board.
Fall of the Thran will probably see some play, since Armageddon is still a thing. I don’t think it will be ubiquitous, but it will be a force in Standard.
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