Today I’d like to focus on what was once, for a time, the King of Beasts in Standard, the mighty Thragtusk.
Appearing in the M13 core set, Thragtusk had a lot going for it — a 5/3 for 5 CMC, this creature also gained you 5 life once it hit the board and, when it left the battlefield, gave you a 3/3 beast token.
Not surprisingly, Thragtusk became a fixture on the Standard scene while it was still in rotation, and the card reached nearly $20 on the market in it’s time, according to TCG Player.
It was, essentially, the Tasigur or Siege Rhino of its day — If you weren’t playing Thragtusk, or playing around him, you were toast.
Indeed, a StarCity Games article from late in 2012 asked “What makes Thragtusk such a good card and something basically every other deck in Standard wants to build around?”
After rotation, however, Thragtusk suffered the fate of many cards that were powerful in their Standard meta, but simply can’t find a place in most other formats. It price plummeted; the old fellow is currently listing at between $4 and $5 online.
What killed Thragtusk? First, its 5 CMC cost basically put it out of place in much of the Modern meta, where 4 CMC is essentially the top of most decks’ mana curves. Secondly, with 3 toughness, this critter dies to Bolt very easily, as does the 3/3 beast it creates once it gets knocked off the board. Third, there are better options out there, like Kitchen Finks, that gain life and keep coming back for cheaper. Fourth, there’s a new Big Bad out there haunting Abzan Standard and Modern, that being the aforementioned Siege Rhino, which gains you life, hurts your opponents, and also is tougher to kill at 4/5 for just 4 CMC.
That doesn’t mean that ol’ Thraggy is down for the count — the fact that he’s still listing at over $4 means that others are still using him, possibly either for casual play or, I suspect, to spice up their EDH efforts.