Shriekmaw– Commander Legends
Date Reviewed: December 17, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Mechanically, Shriekmaw is obviously closely related to the 90s cards Nekrataal and Dark Hatchling (and presumably a predecessor of the surprisingly divisive Ravenous Chupacabra from Rivals of Ixalan). Those cards always benefit from any way to repeatedly get them out of and back into play, including reanimation, and a big part of Shriekmaw’s appeal is that it has a built-in way to get it into your graveyard. In 2007-ish Standard, it was one of the cornerstones of a deceptively powerful deck that used Makeshift Mannequin, also from Lorwyn, but in modern casual play, you have the metaphorical (and possibly literal) embarrassment of riches. In addition, while five mana for a 3/2 creature doesn’t always look stellar, even with an evasion ability added, the tempo swing and flexibility can just destroy an opponent when timed right: even in decks that can’t reanimate or blink it, Shriekmaw is a good choice.
Shriekmaw is an interesting creature thanks to its flexibility. A sorcery-speed Terror that also potentially triggers death effects is pretty decent if you need something dead now, but it also can hit the board as an evasive 3/2 in a well-supported tribe if you’re willing to (or able to) wait on it. While neither mode is amazing on its own, they sum up to a pretty strong card overall, and it’s been a staple of casual play for years. It even sees sparing amounts of Modern play; while Terror isn’t good enough for the format these days, it plays well in decks with reanimation shenanigans, like Living End-centric builds.
Constructed: 3 (its day has passed, but it would be very powerful in Standard today)
Limited: 4 (as long as you’re scooping up the black, this will get the job done)
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