Crush of Tentacles – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

When Magic the Gathering players first heard about the fact that Two-Headed Giant would become more supported as a format due to mechanics in the Oath of the Gatewatch set, the news seemed to rub many the wrong way. However, it turned out that the Surge mechanic introduced in Magic’s Oath of the Gatewatch set is not only good for Two-Headed Giant and team play. Surge is actually useful in traditional one-on-one Magic, too. Enter Crush of Tentacles, the first card ever spoiled with the Surge mechanic.

Surge gives you an alternate casting cost for a card if you or a teammate has cast another spell this turn. Paying the Surge cost also gives you an added benefit. Crush of Tentacles on its own is little more than a Devastation Tidetype effect – making everyone scoop up all of their nonland permanents. But when it’s cast with its Surge cost for 3UU, it not only does that, but also puts an 8/8 Octopus token into play for you. That’s a pretty solid card right there.

Crush of tentacles magic the gathering card

One of the really good decks featuring Crush of Tentacles was Blue/Green Crush during Shadows Over Innistrad (SOI) Standard. Here’s a deck list for U/G Crush that went 5-0 in a Competitive Constructed League on Magic Online at the time:

Blue/Green Crush of Tentacles Deck (Shadows Over Innistrad Standard)


3 x Blighted Woodland

1 x Evolving Wilds

10 x Forest

4 x Island

4 x Lumbering Falls

1 x Rogue’s Passage

2 x Yavimaya Coast


2 x Bounding Krasis

3 x Den Protector

3 x Elvish Visionary

2 x Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound

2 x Nissa, Vastwood Seer // Nissa, Sage Animist

4 x Sylvan Advocate

1 x Ulvenwald Hydra

1 x Void Grafter

1 x World Breaker


1 x Kiora, Master of the Depths

4 x Crush of Tentacles

2 x Nissa’s Pilgrimage

1 x Nissa’s Renewal

1 x Sight Beyond Sight

2 x Traverse the Ulvenwald

2 x Pulse of Murasa

3 x Oath of Nissa


1 x Bounding Krasis

1 x Den Protector

1 x Void Grafter

2 x Displacement Wave

4 x Jaddi Offshoot

2 x Negate

1 x Sphinx of the Final Word

1 x Surrak, the Hunt Caller

2 x Void Shatter

Just one set later, with Eldritch Moon, the deck would gain a big boss monster in Emrakul, the Promised End – one of the best cards to ever be in Standard. Her presence would lead to a much different sort of list.

U/W Crush (Eldritch Moon Standard), as run by Steve Rubin at the 2016 World Championship


3 Den Protector

1 Emrakul, the Promised End

1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer

3 Sylvan Advocate


1 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

4 Anticipate

3 Crush of Tentacles

4 Explosive Vegetation

1 Hedron Archive

4 Nissa’s Pilgrimage

2 Nissa’s Renewal

4 Part the Waterveil

4 Pieces of the Puzzle

1 Traverse the Ulvenwald


1 Blighted Woodland

9 Forest

8 Island

4 Lumbering Falls

2 Yavimaya Coast


1 Aerial Volley

2 Dispel

3 Gnarlwood Dryad

1 Orbs of Warding

2 Retreat to Kazandu

2 Spell Shrivel

1 Sphinx of the Final Word

2 Summary Dismissal

1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Crush of Tentacles would see some play in rogue Standard decks all the way until Aether Revolt, although losing Emrakul, the Promised One to the banlist really hurt U/G Crush. Still, the card kept seeing play throughout its Standard life. Also, Crush of Tentacles saw play in a rogue build of Legacy Delver. As a Mythic Rare, Crush of Tentacles doesn’t blow anyone away, but it’s certainly a playable card. It was very playable in some competitive Control decks during its time in Standard.

While Modern hasn’t been kind to Crush of Tentacles, the sorcery has found its way into the odd Pioneer format deck recently as 2020. There has been at least one Omnath Ramp deck found playing a copy in a Magic Online Pioneer League. It’s never going to be a major player in the format, but knowing it could drop out of a ramp deck in the format is good to keep in the back of your mind.

Fortunately, like many mythic rares with splashy effects, Crush of Tentacles is a very good card for Commander. In EDH, the card is particularly strong in Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper Land Tribal decks, some Mizzix of the Izmagnus builds, and Thassa, God of the Sea Control decks. Crush of Tentacles is going to be a very fun card in casual and Commander play for years to come.

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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