Ulamog, the Defiler
Ulamog, the Defiler

Ulamog, the Defiler – Modern Horizons III

Date Reviewed:  June 26, 2024

Constructed: 4.63
Casual: 5.00
Limited: 4.75
Multiplayer: 4.38
Commander [EDH]: 4.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


There’s a lot of eye-catching text on this version of Ulamog. The effect of Traumatize on a gigantic creature; one of the harsher ward costs we’ve seen; asking you to count something we usually don’t. The point of milling so hard is usually that you don’t have to care about what got milled, but getting a benefit of this scale is a pretty good incentive. Like Kozilek’s new card, he potentially shatters the power-to-cost curve for Eldrazi, and the number will get hilariously high in mirror matches or in the right Commander metagame, all the way into Mishra-style “attack with me and win” territory. I should also point out that you can manipulate it in other ways than just the obvious one, like using Ugin’s Labyrinth or suspending something suitable with Jhoira.

In lore, Ulamog inspired Zendikar’s peoples’ earth gods, so I think it’s fitting that he’s very solid in most situations. You get something for casting him, you get something for your opponent removing him, you get plenty if you are able to attack with him. He is a good card by any reading, and I think this is what Magic’s formats will find too.

Constructed: 4.5
Casual: 5
Limited: 5
Multiplayer: 4.5
Commander [EDH]: 4.5

 James H. 


Out of the new Eldrazi titans, Ulamog, the Defiler was the one that caught the most attention, thanks to it bringing annihilator back in a big way. On paper, at least, but we’ll get there. It’s an interesting synthesis of past Ulamogs, keeping some of their strengths while bearing some of its own (but also losing some it had).

The main attraction here is Ulamog’s variable annihilator: it has a value equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on it, and it has a number of those equal to the highest mana value among exiled cards. His cast trigger can help set this up by nuking half of an opponent’s library…but in constructed formats, like Modern, you may only get to five counters. The word here that makes this potentially scarier, though, is “among cards in exile” and not specifying an opponent, and so things like pitch spells or Ugin’s Labyrinth can let Ulamog hit play with 10+ counters some times. While the library exile is the cast trigger, the counter entry is a comes-into-play trigger, and so you can cheat hm in to devastating effect; even if Ulamog is only a 7/7 at base, it’s rarely going to be a 7/7 on board. But even a medium-sized Ulamog will make a game functionally over on resolution, so an early swing can still hurt.

One downside compared to other Ulamogs, I would argue, is its protection. It does have it, but in the form of ward instead of indestructible. It’s not a strict downgrade, per se, but this may be the easiest Ulamog to keep from hitting you overall, as most decks will begrudgingly pay the ward cost. They still need to pay it, though, and this being killable doesn’t make it any less of an “answer me now” level threat.

Ulamog, the Defiler is my pick for the “best” of the trio, insofar as it’s the one that plays best with the least effort. Cards often go to exile freely across Modern and Legacy, and this can be cheated into play with things like Through the Breach and Goryo’s Vengeance to devastating effect. However you crack it, this is a creature that will usually blow a game open in one attack, and that’s worth being afraid of.

Constructed: 4.75
Casual: 5
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 4.25
Commander [EDH]: 4.5

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