Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
– Rise of the Eldrazi
October 3, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Ulamog may have been defeated by the Gatewatch the last time we visited Zendikar, but he still casts a long shadow over various Magic formats. Annihilator is an ability that feels cruel to many players, and the reasons why are understandable; still, there’s nothing better at cementing a win or dragging you back into a game where you were behind (along with his cast trigger). You’ll feel a lot more secure spending lots of time ramping to ten mana when you know that Ulamog can take down planeswalkers in various ways. Indestructibility can sometimes be bypassed relatively easily in casual formats, where people tend to look for exile effects and other non-standard forms of removal, but it’s surprisingly relevant in a lot of matchups against red and green decks. It’s a little crazy to think that this card may no longer be the most powerful ten-mana creature, or the most powerful Eldrazi, or even the most powerful portrayal of Ulamog; comparisons in Magic can, though, be taken too far, as the Infinite Gyre still wins games and always will.
Rise of the Eldrazi is a set that cast a fairly long shadow after its release: it redefined the meaning of “bomb creature” with its big, tentacled abominations; it had one of the most unique limited environments ever unleashed; and it wound up introducing colorless spells that weren’t artifacts (previously limited to Ghostfire). High above the rest of the Eldrazi brood were the three “Titans”, mythic-rare behemoths that ruined everyone’s day when they resolved.
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre is an interesting amalgam of abilities. It has the smallest body of the Eldrazi titans, but it’s remarkably hard to kill, and it also has Vindicate as a cast trigger. And while it’s just a 10/10, it’s also a 10/10 that chews up four of your opponent’s permanents each time it deigns to attack. The last bit of text is an interesting take on the “anti-reanimator” clause: it’s not a replacement effect like on Darksteel Colossus, but it’s a triggered ability that can be responded to. It actually has a use in some Commander decks as a failsafe against mill shenanigans.
While Ulamog 2.0 has generally rendered the original “obsolete”, it’s not entirely without merit, thanks to things like the “anti-mill” effect and annihilator eviscerating boards. It’s always been an awe-inspiring and terrifying creature, and it continues to unleash tentacled horror upon the unsuspecting even today. (Plus, nothing says you can’t run both Ulamogs together.)
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’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Visit the Magic Card of the Day Archive! Click here to read over 4,000 more MTG Cards of the Day! Daily Since 2001.