The Battle Mammoth is an Elephant creature card from Magic the Gathering’s Kaldheim set which features the Foretell mechanic. Early in Kaldheim spoiler season, the Legendary Creature Ranar, the Ever Watchful was spoiled as the head of one of two Commander decks to be released alongside Kaldheim. It wasn’t revealed what the Foretell mechanic actually did, so the revealing of Battle Mammoth finally spoiled what exactly it does.
Foretell allows you to exile the card face-down for 2 generic mana. You can then cast that card from exile on a future turn for its Foretell cost. In the case of Battle Mammoth, you can cast it later for 4 mana – 2 generic, 2 Green. Foretell doesn’t give a card “flash,” so you can’t simply play it at any time you could play an instant. But, playing a 6/5 trampler for 4 mana is generally good. The downside is that you’re paying 6 mana for a 5-mana creature. But, is that actually a downside?
Battle Mammoth is already a powerful body with 6 power and 5 toughness, and having trample makes him a formidable presence on the battlefield. He also has the ability that whenever an opponent’s spell or ability targets a permanent you control, you draw a card. This is similar to the second ability of the notorious Legendary creature Leovold, Emissary of Trest, although the Mammoth doesn’t have his oppressive first ability of preventing opponents from drawing more than one card per turn.
At a base level, Battle Mammoth essentially replaces itself if it’s targeted by removal that can kill it in one shot. But, more importantly, you get to draw a card when an opponent targets any permanent you control, whether it’s an artifact, creature, enchantment, token, or land. This ability can be much more powerful than it appears.
The issue that many players have with Battle Mammoth is that there are simply better creatures at the 5-mana slot in Green. The Mammoth enters a Standard format where Elder Gargaroth is the chief 5-mana Green creature, and Gargaroth’s upside is much higher, allowing you to activate an effect whenever it attacks or blocks. Elder Gargaroth also has vigilance and reach, meaning it doesn’t need tap to attack and can block creatures with flying. Battle Mammoth has neither of those keyword abilities.
All that being said, Battle Mammoth is a good card, even if he isn’t one of the more exciting mythic rare creatures we’ve seen in awhile. Keep in mind that Magic players have been spoiled by quite a few sets in a row printing extremely powerful and format-warping creatures at mythic rare. Generally, this is a pretty good card, and while paying an extra mana to be able to cast it from exile seems bad, it might prove better than some players think.
Foretell seems a better mechanic for cards that can be cast at instant speed. The cool thing is that the Foretell card is exiled face-down so that your opponent doesn’t know what it is. Having a face-down card in exile is just like having an extra card in hand. Honestly, Battle Mammoth is going to be very good against decks with plenty of interactive spells that target things you control. It won’t be so good in decks that are less interactive. Does Battle Mammoth find itself stuck in sideboards? At the very least, I can see this guy surprising a lot of people and drawing more than one card while he’s on the battlefield, which seems well worth it to me.
How would you play Battle Mammoth?
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