Thrulls. The name may not sound fearsome to most of you but to me, they are my Magic: The Gathering beginnings. When I first started playing Magic, Fallen Empires had just been released. The images of these pitiful servant creatures sparked my imagination.
Fallen Empires featured two factions per color. For black, it was the Order of the Ebon Hand and the Thrulls. Thrull (name coming from Thrall, meaning slave) were odd little creatures, created from carcasses and bred by the Ebon Hand as sacrifices to the Ebon Praetor. They were also used as armor as well as expendable soldiers. As years went on, Thrulls were trained to do more intelligent things including wizardry and combat. With this new found training, the Thrulls revolted and overcame their oppressors, assassinating it’s leaders, as well as going on to take over Sarpadia.
Soon after Thrulls were printed in the Tempest block. These Thrulls were under the command of Volrath, the nemisis of the crew of the Weatherlight. The power level of the Thrull cards ticked up a bit as some competitive decks were now including them as support creatures.
Many years later, Thrulls made a huge return during the Ravnica sets. These new Thrulls had the same purpose as the Fallen Empires versions although they has no wishes for revolt as the Orzhov guild had them well under control. Orzhov controlled Thrulls tend to do more intelligent work including money collection, guard duty as well as spies and assassin work. Orzhov Thrulls cover their disgusting faces with masks where as Rakdos Thrulls have no reservations to show how grotesque they are.
I have many fond memories of Thrulls doing my bidding in my decks over the years. They are highly underrated creatures and many can serve their purpose in casual and budget decks across kitchen tables everywhere. Let’s have a look at my top five Thrull cards.
Blood Pet was used in many mono black aggro decks in the 90s. He made a fine blocker and assisted in boosing your mana base for a turn to cast Dark Ritual or other removal spells like Terror. Sadly this Thrull has taken a backseat over the years in favor of more mana gain options.
A Thrull that can pick your opponent’s brain. His mana investment and ability only being played as a sorcery knocks him down in my rankings but at one time this fella was feared by many.
Oh, the years I spent sacrificing Thrall tokens to Lord of the Pit! Thinking about this small combo takes me back to the early days of Magic. In today’s game, this enchantment has lost it’s luster but I would be doing Thrulls everywhere a disservice if it hadn’t been mentioned.
This guy was an early favorite of mine, for both purpose as well as artwork. As a fast effect you can tap to sacrifice this guy for an immediate boost to any creature you control. This makes chump blocking a bit less painful as the Armor Thrull’s bonus lives on for whoever wears his armor. When I first started playing, I could envision one of the Ebon Hand striking down the Armor Thrull and peeling away his carapace for armor in a pinch.
This guy is an absolute freak. For three mana you get a creature that must be blocked. Losing three cards to this creature was never an option in it’s day and it still powerful in today’s game. Finding a way to boost this Thrall or even make it evasive isn’t difficult and can allow you to take advantage of his mindstabbing ways.
With all these Thrull cards available, is making a Tribal Thrull deck even possible? You better believe it and it’s a blast to play and a tricky one to play against.
The object of the Thrull deck is to use Thrull Surgeon to discard Treasury Thrull from your your own hand. You heard me right, discard your own creature. Then, using Soul Exchange, bring the Treasury Thrull back into play as soon as possible with an additional +2/+2 counter. If attacking with a 6/6 Thrull early in the game wasn’t bad enough, opponents have to contend with the Treasury Thrull bringing sacrificed Thrulls as well as spent Thrull Retainers back from the graveyard. Recasting this cheap enchantment will also ping your opponent with Extorts as you go.
Cover of Darkness aids your Thrulls in battle, especially your Necrite and Mindstab Thrulls, granting them evasion to score additional board control and hand destruction. This deck is a tremendous amount of fun to play and is nerve racking to play against.
Fear the Thrull.
Some say Aiokii is a Thrull. He has yet to be sacrificed but if he was our guess is creme filled doughnuts would appear in place of black mana. If you would like to contact Aiokii Tweet at https://twitter.com/TheAiokii or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thepaperchampionblog or message or post in the comments below.