– Time Spiral
April 10, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
You don’t always hear so much about Greater Gargadon nowadays, unless you encounter a certain style of deck in Modern (see below). But there are actually still plenty of uses for him. For one thing, red doesn’t always get top-tier ways to sacrifice artifacts, creatures, or lands any time it wants without having to use another color. For another, an early suspended Gargadon is a pretty good deterrent to Wrath of God effects, or even removal spells for any of the relevant types of permanent. People will have to play differently when everything they do brings the day of getting hit in the face by a 9/7 haste creature closer. He’s not the sort of card you play as recklessly as some red creatures – I still remember the FNM where I sacrificed all my lands to get him out because my 2007 Gruul deck had to win before Korlash, Heir to Blackblade hit play, and he got hit by Terror. But the Gargadon is a very solid aggro creature, and a surprisingly effective combo creature.
If you’re just going off of the surface, a 10 mana 9/7 with no abilities is not a great deal. One mana for a 9/7 with haste in 10 turns is a better deal, but still not ideal. Where things get interesting is that activated ability, one that has helped form the basis of a competitive deck in Modern.
In particular, Greater Gargadon pairs well with Restore Balance in a deck tailored to cheat on the sorcery’s mana cost, like with cascade or with spells like As Foretold. If you cheat your way into casting the spell, you can sacrifice lots of permanents to strip Greater Gargadon of time counters and make Restore Balance hit harder. They’re left with nothing, while you have a 9/7 with plans to rearrange their face in increasingly violent ways.
Greater Gargadon can be cast normally, but 10 mana is not a good deal. There are ways to make him work for you…sacrificing creatures that were getting ready to die as an insurance policy is one, and a surprise 9/7 is the best 9/7. It’s a card you need to play around as much as you play with it, but the rewards can be pretty legit.
Constructed: 3.5 (has a home in one Modern deck, but that’s still really solid)
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