#10 – Nullhide Ferox
– Guilds of Ravnica
December 18, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This card was #7 on my Top 11 list.
As longtime readers know well, I have a fondness for large green creatures. The problem is, it’s hard to design large green creatures: they either turn out to be fragile in the face of Ravenous Chupacabra and the like, or they get some measure of protection against those cards but become less interesting to play with and play against. From that point of view, Nullhide Ferox is one of the cleverest designs of recent “main canon” sets (Unstable is much more innovative than anything else near it in time).
Your opponent being able to turn off the Ferox’s hexproof ability looks like a disadvantage: isn’t it a bad idea to give your opponent too much choice? I actually tend to think of it less as giving an opponent options and more as a variant of a taxing effect. If they’re spending two mana on that, they’re not spending it on something else. Doom Blade, which I’ve heretically stated to be borderline overpowered, seems borderline mediocre when it costs four mana. And that anti-discard effect might fly under the radar a little, but I do hear that people like Liliana . . .
This card was unranked on my Top 11 list.
Nullhide Ferox is a big and hard-to-kill threat with a ruthlessly efficient death stroke and an interesting drawback that shakes up the game. While an opponent can try to get rid of it by paying 2 mana to remove its hexproof, it enables you to cast noncreature spells again…and, likewise, paying 2 mana to enable your noncreature spells opens up the Ferox to dying. It’s an intriguing drawback, one that makes for a lot of unusual gameplay lines while still being attached to a 4-mana 6/6 body.
And the discard protection matters a lot more than one might expect; Obstinate Baloth has shown up intermittently in Modern because it serves as a potent countermeasure to Liliana of the Veil (a very common discard source), and a free 6/6 is a pretty good way to go. The Ferox is an interesting deckbuilding puzzle that can make for unusual gameplay and big swings, and it’s a very fitting mythic rare all the same.
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