Creature — Elephant
Trample (This creature can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)
Other creatures you control have trample.
|Have (2)||DoctorScarf ,|
Printings View all
|Core Set 2020 (M20)||Rare|
|Core Set 2019 (M19)||Rare|
Combos Browse all
|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Latest Decks as Commander
Aggressive Mammoth Discussion
12 hours ago
Hello everyone. I’m DeinoStinkus, TappedOut’s resident crocodile and ultimate master of jank and underappreciated strategies. This is the article series Strange Tales, where we’ll be exploring everything custom, from the craziest custom cards and user-made formats to wild speculation and analysis of sets.
Today we will be viewing the wonderful (and sometimes controversial) world of custom cards. Custom cards are one of my favorite MTG activities. However, it is often difficult to design a custom card well, and this is why some people do not like custom cards. These people see custom cards as a waste of time and they think people make the most broken cards they can whenever they can just to show off. While this may be true of some custom card designers, it is certainly not true of all if not many creators. Many custom card designers are there to create fun cards, and try to keep them balanced. Of course, it may combo with this card or that, but this phenomenon happens all the time in real R&D (think Faeburrow Elder infinite combos or that god-awful Cauldron Familiar combo) so it is really not a viable reason to not like custom card design. However, there are a few people who devote much of their time to custom card design. TappedOut has an incredibly large thread known as the “Custom Card Challenge” which actually first introduced me to the idea of custom cards. Now I’ve been doing custom cards for over a year and I have to say it is a really sweet experience. However, there are some things you have to remember when designing a balanced custom card. These will be discussed below.
The first element of a balanced custom card is average mana investment. This is the average amount of mana one would pay for a certain ability, power, toughness, et cetera. For power/toughness, the general rule I go by is this:
The sum of the power and toughness divided by 2 is the mana cost. Toughness carries significantly less weight than power on this note, which is why Aegis Turtle exists but we have never seen a 1-mana 3/1. Additionally, as the mana cost gets higher, the mana cost will often be lower than the P/T. Vorstclaw is a good example of this phenomenon, but many green rares also fall under this rule. These include Gargos, Vicious Watcher, Aggressive Mammoth, Gigantosaurus, and Elder Gargaroth. While on the topic of the first three, another rule I hold by is this:
The more colored mana a creature has, the better its P/T can be for its mana cost. This is why cards like Niv-Mizzet Reborn are not analyzed as deeply, because the chances of having true rainbow by turn 5 or less is low enough so as not to break parity with the rest of the board.
Flying also contributes to mana cost. In fact, I have a pretty routine list of abilities and their average contribution to mana cost:
+1 mana: flying, menace, skulk, “: Add one mana of any color”, and double strike
+½ mana: the rest of the abilities, including but not limited to trample, first strike, reach, and vigilance
These are just examples of how much mana one might routinely put into these abilities, but what about other abilities? Well, that’s up to you. Activated abilities are more about balancing the mana cost of the ability itself rather than adding mana to the CMC, and triggered abilities are more subjective. In general, adding two mana for card draw is decent but not overpowered.
We’ve only been talking about creatures, but what about instants/sorceries? In general, here are the rules for balanced variables:
Lifegain: an average of 3 life per 1 cmc is fine, lower cmcs can have a lot (like Chaplain's Blessing). Card draw: one card per 1.5 cmc is general, adding other effects to a single card draw is acceptable (see Preordain). A general formula for drawing X cards is . Destroying creatures: 1 per 3 cmc, cmc decreases as more creatures get destroyed. Conditional effects based on P/T or cmc are usually 3 cmc while conditional effects based on color are usually 1 or 2 cmc, such as Deathmark or Doom Blade. Damage: Usually 1.5-2 damage per mana spent is pretty good. Artifact/enchantment removal: In general, removing one of the two specifically is one mana while removing either is 2 mana. I hope this clears things up about what mana costs typically apply to custom cards.
Now, custom abilities. Designers can often fall into the trap of designing custom abilities that are either way too complicated or way too pointless. I’d say that for a custom ability you should always at least try to envision how it would play out in a deck. If the ability dominates or just has no effect, cut it. An example of an effect that just feels meh is first strike. First strike was intended to be a decent ability for creatures to have. It can come in handy for some games (for example, Grim Initiate is a powerful common creature partly because of its first strike) but the higher P/T you have the less impressive first strike seems. However, first strike has its applications. Combined with deathtouch your creature becomes nigh untouchable. Glissa, the Traitor and Pestilent Kathari have these two abilities together. Combining a custom keyword/ability with another is often a unique way to bring life to a custom card. Custom abilities such as thoughtlink (whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, draw a card) are interesting and replace text that already exists (in this example, on cards like Curious Obsession and Sixth Sense). Meanwhile, there are many abilities with quite a bit of text that while incredibly difficult to understand at first glance make for really interesting gameplay. One such example from the main game is Mutate, featured on cards like Nethroi, Apex of Death and Migratory Greathorn.
Overall, custom cards can be built very well or they can be the ultimately powerful entities many people believe them to be. Personally, I see nothing wrong with designing a 13/13 with flying, trample, infect, menace, rampage 10, and afflict 10. If you’re designing it for play, obviously this will not make the cut, but there is no issue with people letting loose and designing an insanely broken card every once in a while. My version of this is redesigning powerful cards. Everyone has something different that
Thanks for reading my article! Feel free to leave some feedback below or contact me about any ideas you have for future articles, I plan them one in advance. My email is [email protected] if you want to reach me that way. If not, have a good day, be cool and kind to everyone, and GIVE ALL YOUR WORLDLY POSSESSIONS TO seshiro_of_the_orochi, a fabulous custom card designer from whom I have learned much about balancing custom cards. See you next time where we will talk about an issue in cEDH that plagues the whole format! See you then!
1 month ago
Hey, nice budget version of Kalamax. Several good upgrades you've made to the precon.
Chord of Calling with Kalamax to tutor for Pili + Architect for infinite mana is interesting. Consider more ways to draw into a win condition when you have infinite mana? Without the draw making infinite mana with Pili + Architect or with Scepter + Reversal doesn't do enough. Expansion / Explosion is another instant Fork or Explosion with infinite mana can draw a lot of cards. Pull from Tomorrow and Blue Sun's Zenith are other instants that draw X cards.
Nivix Guildmage with infinite mana can draw into your deck until you find a win condition as well as counters to protect the combo. Guildmage with infinite mana can also infinite copy an instant/sorcery you cast which can make Banefire a win condition since you can copy it for each opponent and target a different opponent with each copy. If you can some how get a third copy of Chord when you cast it then you can also tutor for Guildmage.
Some lands in the manabase could be upgraded. Life lands from the precon and Scry temple lands are not worth ETB tapped. Survivors' Encampment and Holdout Settlement are unique lands with Kalamax because they're repeatable ways to tap him. These lands are like Springleaf Drum, they make mana when you use them to tap Kalamax or another creature. But unlike Drum you can tutor for and put onto the battlefield with Crop Rotation. Having more ways to tap Kalamax without attacking while also making mana is beneficial.
Some other good lands that are reasonable price to consider adding are: Rootbound Crag and Shivan Reef. The Filter lands: Cascade Bluffs, Flooded Grove and Fire-Lit Thicket are at lowest price due to just being reprinted in Double Masters. Can get these lands for as low as $5 each. Bluffs is helpful since it can make or , important color combinations to want to consistently make to cast instants for Kalamax.
Cards to consider cutting:
- Rugged Highlands
- Thornwood Falls
- Swiftwater Cliffs
- Temple of Mystery
- Aggressive Mammoth
- Charmbreaker Devils
- Djinn Illuminatus
- Refuse / Cooperate
Good luck with your deck.
1 month ago
2 months ago
If you're looking for Trample enablers, Aggressive Mammoth is very good value and does not need the commander to be scary. God-Eternal Rhonas synergizes very well with your commander and can lead to lethal out of nowhere. Spellbreaker Behemoth can help against control matchups.
I really like the consistency of the build. Great deck!
2 months ago
multimedia oh boy I am playing the same deck and I have some suggestions on what to cut and suggestions on what to put in as well
BUT these are just a suggestion
2 months ago
2 months ago