Ox of Agonas
– Theros Beyond Death
February 18, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 2.92
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I mentioned in one of my Mystery Booster articles that red gets a much larger and more interesting range of effects nowadays than it did ten years ago. Ox of Agonas is a great example of that – and it’s a great example of just how powerful red’s new abilities can be. We’re far past the point where discarding your entire hand is always a disadvantage, which is something I’d have called you crazy for saying ten years ago. But consider even the simplest example, which is that discard fueling the Ox’s future escape shenanigans. A creature that just keeps coming back, even one with “normal” stats like this one, is something a lot of decks just aren’t prepared for. On top of that, you can consider how he interacts with sets like Shadows over Innistrad, often getting you to the delirium stage in a single turn. And then there’s the real ox in the room: discarding a bunch of cards with dredge and immediately using the draws to put about twenty more cards into your graveyard. Just like that, red becomes one of the most interesting colors to play. Take advantage of it!
Large and angry, Ox of Agonas offers red a way to refuel their clutch of cards and fuel further escape shenanigans. If you look at the ox as “five mana to draw three cards” in red, it looks a lot more promising! Dumping your hand can be a benefit as much as a cost, but getting a clean start is good in a color without reliable late-game gas. That Ox of Agonas is a 4/2 body isn’t half bad; it’s fairly inefficient anymore, but it’s workable.
It does have one more trick: escape, for a fairly steep exile cost (eight other cards!), but this is where the bull shines. Two mana for a 5/3 that draws you two more cards is also pretty powerful, and it deserves mention that Underworld Breach’s alternate escape cost can make the exile part fairer overall. Still, the ability to get another spurt of gas late is good, though eight cards is a very real cost that will limit you to one or two shots.
Ox of Agonas is decent overall, but there are ways to make it shine brightly. Red likes a bit of extra gas when its flames run low, and so a warm body that gives cards is even better. Definitely worth considering, but it’s unlikely to be a star.
Hello everyone and welcome back to Pojo’s Card of the Day! Today we’re looking at a big ol’ beefy Ox-boy!
So at first glance Ox of Agonas seems to be a decent creature, the stats are below average but his ability is one to consider. When it enters play you discard your hand and draw 3 cards, and for Mono Red and Chonky Red style decks this isn’t too much of a drawback since you’re looking to dump your hand anyways.
What makes it relevant is the fact that it can escape, and it’s quite an escape cost. RR but it takes 8 other cards for it to chew its way back to life and that might be the only thing that prevents it from shining.
For a lot of red decks this is simply superfluous since they have access to much more efficient draw engines like Experimental Frenzy and the amazingly efficient Light up the State, so I don’t think this card will be seeing much standard play until those two have rolled out of Standard. In Pioneer and Legacy, I could possibly see it as a one of in Izzet Phoenix with the glut of cards that go into the graveyard in that deck it’ll be easy peezy for him to chomp his way out.
In Limited this guy is a bombshell, drawing cards is pretty awesome in Draft and being able to do it more than once can be a heavy advantage your opponent can’t come back from. This card already has escape on it which makes it a recurring threat in a format where you’ll at least be able to pop him back once and hopefully in a clutch situation. While it’s going to prevent more escape shenanigans for later, a 6/4 creature and three fresh cards should be able to get you through.
Commander isn’t going to be very appreciative of this card, especially with all the Time Twister Effects that can go on in that format and exiling your graveyard means that you won’t be able to play with those powerful effects again. Also on top of that drawing three cards at the cost of your hand in a format where there’s tons of card draw (Mind’s Eye) means that his ETB isn’t always great.
I’ve also been considering this card in Cube as a bit of reach for the Mono Red Decks but normally the mono red decks want to be in the area of winning when this card goes live. It’s interesting and might make the rounds at a later date but I’m still torn on this card.
Constructed 3/5 – He might see play if Mono Red runs out of awesome card advantage engines like Experimental Frenzy and Light up the Stage
Limited 5/5 – Drawing cards is good in Draft. This guy does it a lot with a fat body on top of it.
Commander 2/5 – It depends on your playgroup as always for Commander, but this doesn’t seem like a hot bull here.
Cube 2/5 – While this steak sizzles from the fires of hell, I’m unsure of when or if I want to take a bite off this card.
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