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How Good is Void Winnower in Magic the Gathering?

Void Winnower from Magic the Gathering’s Battle for Zendikar set is quite an odd Eldrazi. All “can’t even” and other “odd” jokes aside, the mythic rare Winnower is pretty unique in its abilities. Nine mana for an 11/9 body is already pretty good. Being unable to be blocked by creatures with even converted mana costs gives it a rather unusual form of evasion. 

But, Void Winnower goes even beyond that, preventing opponents from casting spells with even converted mana costs. Obviously, this is a Limited bomb that you can likely drop before turn nine in the typical draft or sealed deck, thanks to all of the colorless mana ramp available in that set. But, how good is it in Constructed?

For starters, creature tokens can’t block Void Winnower, since they have a 0 CMC. According to an official judge ruling from Wizards of the Coast, 0 is considered even. Mathematical debates aside, it’s going to be fairly tough to chump block this guy. Then again, plenty of removal options exist at odd converted mana costs, so there are definitely ways to deal with this behemoth.

What Void Winnower seems best at is being a metagame answer to the big even converted mana cost spells in Standard. At the time of Void Winnower’s release, these were Ugin, the Spirit Dragon at 8 mana and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger at 10 mana being the chief concerns. With Eldrazi Ramp a legitimate deck archetype, especially in Modern, Void Winnower became a legitimate candidate for sideboard play. It can randomly hose a number of decks if their key cards have even converted mana costs.

Void Winnower Makes Things Not Even in the Pioneer Format

While Void Winnower made a few Top 8 appearances in 2015 and 2017 in Modern, it took awhile for the true power of Void Winnower to be realized. This was a card that for years could be had for as little as a couple of dollars. But, in 2019 with the invention of the Pioneer format – which includes cards from Return to Ravnica forward in its card pool – Void Winnower would soon find new life.

It took until 2020 with the release of Fires of Invention to truly see Void Winnower suddenly become a competitive powerhouse. Fires of Invention is a silly enchantment that gives you the ability to cast just two spells in a turn, but it can be any spell with a mana cost equal to or less than the number of lands you control. That means by turn 9 you can play the Void Winnower and another card in one turn. By that point in the game, it’s going to be tricky to stop the Winnower from taking over the board.

In 2021, Void Winnower started appearing in Indomitable Creativity decks as one of that powerful sorcery’s four targets. While Emrakul, the Promised End is the one you usually want to hit, the Winnower is on the same power level as Ashen Rider and Dragonlord Kolaghan. Beyond those Pioneer appearances, it’s been tried in a fringe Transmogrify deck in that format. So, while it’s not a major player in the format, it’s certainly something to watch out for indeed.

In April 2024, there was even a Modern Creativity deck that ran a copy of Void Winnower, albeit as part of the Hareruya tournament scene in Japan which always produces some curiously creative (no pun intended) decks on a regular basis.

Void Winnower in Commander / EDH

In EDH, Void Winnower is a “just say no” card that will lock some Commanders out of the game. It’s a pretty mean card in the format. While someone will probably find an answer to it in a multiplayer game, it will wreak havoc while it remains in play. It may come down to using Swords to Plowshares on it and gaining the controlling player 11 life. The fact it can help your team get through for extra damage is also another big consideration. Also, because it’s colorless, Void Winnower can be included in a wide variety of decks.

Naturally, the Commanders that will want to use Void Winnower the most are those that can sometimes cast him for free (Rakdos, Lord of Riots and Animar, Soul of Elements) or cheat him into play (Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy, Mayael the Anima, and Jhoira of the Ghitu). In the competitive EDH (cEDH) scene, Void Winnower is a staple in 1v1 Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy decks.

Also, with the release of Commander Legends, Void Winnower found a new home in Belbe, Corrupted Observer decks. Belbe’s ability can net you a ton of colorless mana, making Void Winnower easy to cast. 

It also helps that Commander Legends also released Apex Devastator, a ten-drop Green creature that cascades 4 times – literally allowing you to play 4 spells that cost 9 mana or less for free in a row straight from your deck. Void Winnower is an obvious include in any deck that features the Devastator.

Modern Horizons 3 brought with it many new Eldrazi, including the Commander exclusive Ulalek, Fused Atrocity. No doubt Void Winnower will see a rise in play with this and many other new Eldrazi legendaries and creatures being introduced into the format.

Pretty much any Commander deck can make use of Void Winnower if you can somehow get him into play on the cheap. Because it doesn’t have an on-cast trigger, it’s actually a big threat and always worth putting into play no matter how you do it. Void Winnower is definitely a keeper.

Overall, Void Winnower lived up to its promise in the long term. While there are certainly stronger creatures to cheat into play, the “can’t even” Eldrazi has become a staple in Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy competitive EDH (cEDH) decks and has found its homes in Pioneer. For a mythic rare from one of the weakest Magic sets, Battle for Zendikar, it’s certainly become the most valuable, surpassing even Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger! What else can you ask for from a card from that set?

~ Amelia Desertsong

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Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy. Personal Website: https://www.thephoenixdesertsong.com

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