Fathom Feeder – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Fathom Feeder is an Eldrazi creature card from Magic the Gathering’s set Battle for Zendikar that started out hot, but quickly fell from grace. This little guy saw immediate play in Standard Esper Control, Bring to Light, and Grixis Control decks. But, within three months, and the release of the next set in Oath of the Gatewatch, Fathom Feeder disappeared entirely from competitive play.

What did Fathom Feeder do for it to be so popular early on? Its main purpose in control decks was to serve as a 1/1 body with deathtouch. The Ingest ability which activates whenever he connects with a player is a nice bonus, making that player exile the top card of his or her library. The Feeder’s activated ability for 3UB (3 generic, one Blue, one Black) to draw a card and also exile the top card of each opponent’s library is also useful. So, Fathom Feeder is a good creature, but where does he fit into a competitive Eldrazi deck?

Once Oath of the Gatewatch released, plenty more Eldrazi creatures were printed. These included the colorless Eldrazi Mimic (also two mana like Fathom Feeder), Matter Reshaper, and Thought-Knot Seer. Immediately, because Fathom Feeder required two different mana types, it was pushed out of even Blue and Black decks in favor of the new colorless options. It’s not that he was suddenly a useless card; there were just more impactful cards with a similar mana investment that fit into more decks.

Also, while many Eldrazi cards are popular among casual players, Fathom Feeder simply didn’t do enough for two mana versus the three and four mana creatures from Oath of the Gatewatch that also required only generic and colorless mana. So, because of a lack of demand from the casual crowd, Fathom Feeder faded away from the mind of many Magic players and found homes in bulk boxes in game stores and collections.

Fortunately, like many cards that saw some competitive play early in their release cycle, Fathom Feeder does still see occasional play in Commander. It found homes early on in Phenax, God of Deception mill decks, as sort of a pseudo-mill card with its exile ability, but as better mill cards have been printed it’s been power crept out. One deck it’s continued to see play in is Circu, Dimir Lobotomist, which has a similar effect himself, as whenever you play a blue spell or a black spell, you exile the top card of a target player’s library. Since Fathom Feeder is two colors, you get to remove two cards from a library whenever you cast it.

More recently, Umbris, Fear Manifest Commander decks have adopted Fathom Feeder on many occasions. Since Umbris cares about cards in exile, Fathom Feeder helps power him up. Unfortunately, Fathom Feeder isn’t a Nightmare or Horror, so he doesn’t trigger Umbris’ second effect to exile even more cards from opponent’s libraries. Also, with Ninjitsu becoming a much more powerful mechanic in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Ninja decks have begun to experiment with Fathom Feeder. While it’s neat to put Fathom Feeder directly into play tapped and attacking with his ability to give all creatures in your hand Ninjitsu, four mana to get Fathom Feeder’s combat damage ability is a bit inefficient.

Battle for Zendikar was a set full of a lot of weak rare cards, but Fathom Feeder was one that actually showed promise. Unfortunately, it’s one of the more underwhelming Eldrazi creatures, especially with Oath of the Gatewatch redefining the tribe just three months later. Fathom Feeder does still have some niche homes in certain Commander decks, though, and that’s more than can be said for many other cards from the set. Eventually, there may be a more permanent home for Fathom Feeder, but as it is, it’s a perfectly good creature in a few decks.

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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