Magic the Gathering’s New Phyrexia booster set has a few valuable uncommon cards. But, Triumph of the Hordes became an $15 card based on the fact that it literally can make a deck triumph. Thanks to the controversial infect mechanic, it’s easily one of the most dangerous pump spells in Magic. It became especially more deadly when the Infect-like Toxic mechanic was released in the Phyrexia: All Will Be One set.
Triumph of the Hordes is a perfect example of an “oops, I win” card. It decimates blocking creatures with -1/-1 counters and tramples over to give opponents the required 10 or more poison counters to take them out of the game. That’s not even to mention the +1/+1 boost it gives your creatures.
What’s most impressive about Triumph of the Hordes is that its demand is almost entirely based on EDH play. While most of these decks are not built around the Infect Mechanic, it shouldn’t be surprising that Fynn, the Fangbearer and his Infect Tribal synergies plays this Instant spell quite often. On the other hand, in the competitive EDH (cEDH) environment, Titania, Protector of Argoth is the Commander who uses Triumph of the Horde most. She’s not an Infect focused commander, but Triumph is a potential game-ending combat trick.
Like with Titania, many other Commanders can find a way to work Triumph of the Hordes as a finisher in a “go wide” game plan. The top ten Commanders that use Triumph of the Hordes in EDH in 2022, according to EDHREC, are:
- Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
- Ezuri, Renegade Leader
- Melira, Sylvok Outcast
- Fynn, the Fangbearer
- Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons
- Multani, Maro-Sorcerer
- Seshiro the Anointed
- Titania, Protector of Argoth
- Rhys the Redemeed
- Ezuri, Claw of Progress
Note that a few of these Commanders lead creature-based decks, and Ezuri and Rhys often lead Elf Tribal decks. With how much mana Elf decks can create early in the game, Triumph of the Hordes can end a game fairly early. It’s always been a bit of a head-scratcher that Wizards of the Coast allows a player in EDH to be eliminated with just 10 poison counters even when life total start at 40. You would think the rule would be adjusted closer to 15 or 20 just to make infect cards like these more fair in the format; yet, the Commander rules committee has never bothered to tweak that rule.
At just four mana, it’s a bit surprising that we haven’t seen this card in more go-wide strategies in Modern. Occasionally, someone will slip it in, as it’s actually quite a mean card. Fortunately, a four-mana Overrun is a bit too slow for the extremely mana efficient Modern format. In any case, Triumph of the Hordes is actually a miserable way for an opponent to lose a game. What do you think of Triumph of the Hordes?