September 13, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way right at the top: this creature has a beneficial ability, not a drawback. Even if your opponent enchants it with Pacifism or something, the Slum will sit there and damage everybody; at the cost of one life per turn, you’ll get an effectively unstoppable one damage straight to your opponent which, although small on each given turn, really starts to add up. And if they don’t, he will stomp over the majority of things any color could play in about the same time frame. The 5/5 for four mana actually has a long history in Magic – this damage ability is even similar to Juzam Djinn – but there are few quite as aggressive as this card, even in the modern era.
The fact that Rumbling Slum is considered slow in Modern is more of a reflection on Modern than on Rumbling Slum. The format has become, in my opinion, insane and twisted. In more open (in every sense) large card pools, cast this guy and get ready for some savage beatings!
Rumbling Slum very clearly is meant to enable the Gruul mechanic from Gatecrash, bloodthirst. They take damage, your creatures come in bigger as a result. So a guaranteed hit of 1 damage to everyone will ensure that you get bloodthirst triggered in a timely manner!
And besides that, it is a four-mana 5/5, which reminds me slightly of the legendary Juzám Djinn from Arabian Nights. It’s efficient, though asking for three colored mana symbols makes it less so, but a 5/5 for 4 has always been at least passable. Especially one that enables a whole strategy! I don’t think Rumbling Slum is quite up to snuff in the modern game, but it’s a fun bloodthirst enabler all the same.
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