Totentanz, Swarm Piper – Wilds of Eldraine
Date Reviewed: September 27, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.87
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
“Totentanz” might be the easiest and most obvious name possible for a Pied Piper, but there’s a degree of guile in his gameplay applications. He lets you attack with much less fear than usual and perhaps confuse people in the process, and you can exercise a great degree of control over the token generation with cards that everyone plays in these colors anyway. It might seem like a letdown at first reading when all of his abilities want you to be attacking, but we should remember that attacking is what black-red decks should usually be doing anyway. And it almost goes without saying that he combines really well with Magic’s 30-ish years of rat creatures from other sets – just when you thought Ink-Eyes couldn’t get any scarier.
Commander [EDH]: 4
Here to sing the song of his people, Totentanz, Swarm Piper is here to help you out-rat your opponents, replacing all fallen creatures with Rats and letting you turn an attacking rodent into a heat-seeking rodent death missile. Rats are here as an archetype with some legs, and Totentanz is good at keeping the gears spinning and keeping the rats leaping, even if his body is a bit lacking on its own. Still, on-command deathtouch is good at making trades more fraught, even if the rats start out small, and it can do a lot if you already have some friends.
The only issue I have with Totentanz is being two color, though he is usable enough as a Commander in a pinch…while rats have usually wanted to stay as mono-black swarm archetypes, he can do things both in a dedicated Rat deck and as a fun back-up plan for a deck in his colors. He’s intriguing enough, and I imagine he’ll have some legs in Standard.
Limited: 4.5 (I think this is a lot nastier than it looks at first)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We would be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉