Fanatic of Xenagos – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Fanatic of Xenagos is a very strong creature card from Magic the Gathering’s Born of the Gods set. With the Fanatic, you either get a 3/3 Trampler that gains haste and +1/+1 until the end of turn that he’s summoned, or a 4/4 Trampler if an opponent pays his Tribute cost of a +1/+1 counter. This is pretty sweet. Not only was he a fantastic card in Limited, but he could slot right into an aggro deck in Standard.

The Fanatic continued a trend of aggressive strong creatures being introduced into Magic. When he was first spoiled, I was very much on the Xenagos bandwagon! In the same set was the very popular God, Xenagos, God of Revels, who has since become a mainstay in Commander and has appeared in other formats, too. But while “Xenagod” had staying power, Fanatic of Xenagos really only became a Standard role player.

While Fanatic of Xenagos was a good creature in Standard, he didn’t dominate the format in the way that many players first expected. He primarily saw play in one deck, Gruul Monsters, which was a very good deck. But he was more of a role player alongside Standard mainstays such as Boon Satyr, Goblin Rabblemaster, Heir of the Wilds, Polukranos, World Eater, and Stormbreath Dragon. He’d surface in the occasion Naya or Jund Aggro deck, too.

Gruul Monsters (Standard)

Lands

6 Forest

3 Mana Confluence

7 Mountain

4 Temple of Abandon

4 Wooded Foothills

Creatures

2 Ashcloud Phoenix

4 Boon Satyr

4 Elvish Mystic

4 Fanatic of Xenagos

4 Goblin Rabblemaster

4 Heir of the Wilds

2 Polukranos, World Eater

4 Stormbreath Dragon

Spells

3 Crater’s Claws

3 Lightning Strike

2 Chandra, Pyromaster

SIDEBOARD

2 Ashcloud Phoenix

3 Barrage of Boulders

4 Destructive Revelry

4 Hunt the Hunter

2 Magma Spray

The good news for Fanatic of Xenagos was that he saw play for pretty much his entire life in Standard. He was still being played as late as April 2015 in Gruul Dragons, which is basically Gruul Monsters, but with Rattleclaw Mystic and Thunderbreak Regent.

Gruul Dragons (Standard)

Lands

7 Forest

2 Mana Confluence

6 Mountain

4 Temple of Abandon

4 Wooded Foothills

Creatures

3 Ashcloud Phoenix

2 Boon Satyr

4 Elvish Mystic

4 Fanatic of Xenagos

4 Goblin Rabblemaster

4 Heir of the Wilds

3 Rattleclaw Mystic

4 Stormbreath Dragon

4 Thunderbreak Regent

Spells

3 Crater’s Claws

2 Roast

SIDEBOARD

1 Barrage of Boulders

2 Courser of Kruphix

1 Destructive Revelry

2 Roast

3 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

4 Wild Slash

2 Xenagos, the Reveler

Since then, he’s faded a bit into competitive obscurity. The Fanatic does still see some play today at the kitchen table, although in Commander he’s pretty much limited to purely Centaur Tribal decks led by Stonebrow, Krosan Hero. That very modest success followed by pretty much complete obscurity explains why he’s never been that valuable of a card. Fanatic of Xenagos’ price peaked at $1 at release, and even the Friday Night Magic promo version never broke $2. Being an uncommon and not a rare certainly hurt his price ceiling, though.

If you’re looking to build a casual Red/Green Aggro deck to play with your friends, Fanatic of Xenagos is a nice card to consider. He may not be the best three-drop creature that you’ll find, but with such a low price tag, he’s a fun card to play.

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