Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant – Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Date Reviewed: November 15, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
As if Craterhoof Behemoth wasn’t scary enough, green now has a second creature in eternal formats that can add 25 power to the table just by coming into play. Ghalta is less intrinsically aligned with the gameplan that Craterhoof Behemoth decks like: you tend to ramp into the latter card with creatures, who then get boosted by the effect and attack for the win. With Ghalta, you need to have other creatures in your hand, and presumably ones that you want to cheat into play, which means you might not have things to let you ramp into Ghalta. But an effect like this is extremely tempting for a deck that can access it – you don’t even have to cast it. And decks along the lines of Hypergenesis and Living End sometimes have to warp their creature base because they can get creatures in their hand without the cheat card, using weaker creatures with cycling and similar effects. The existence of this effect changes that equation; just how it changes will be down to experimentation, but regardless, Ghalta is a card that begs to be built around.
Commander [EDH]: 4
An effect like the one on Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant will always turn heads. A large, implacable death lizard that also brings a lot of friends with is dangerous enough, but Ghalta also brings friends along for the ride if it’s cheated in. An effect like this is already going to turn heads, but Ghalta is also a 12/12 with trample, which is a good way to break a board in short measure.
Ghalta’s an interesting card to put into context; it’s threatening on its own or with friends, and while it’s very much a “dies to Doom Blade” thing, if you have more friends, losing one isn’t so bad. Eight mana is an investment, but between green’s pretty solid card draw in recent times and the many ways to cheat it out, it’s an investment worth making in many cases. Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant seems like the potential candidate for “this card will be broken in exciting and unusual ways”, given that the various tricks to trick out other creatures work just as well on this majestic beast.
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
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