Bartel Runeaxe may look like a cross between one of the aliens from the movie Signs and a grainy photo of Bigfoot, but he’s tough as nails. In my article on Old School MTG 93/94 Commanders, Bartel barely missed the cut as the best Jund (G/R/B) Commander, based entirely upon his high mana cost. However, he’s also a pretty darn good win condition and/or sideboard option as a 2-3x in regular play! Last week, we Cracked the Vault on Knowledge Vault. This week, let’s bust Bartel out of Hammerheim.
“…CANNOT BE THE TARGET OF
ENCHANT CREATURE AURA SPELLS”
What’s so great about this line of text?
He can’t be targeted by Paralyze, he can’t be targeted by that cheeky defensive use of Spirit Link that everyone forgets about, and he definitely can’t be targeted by Control Magic.
He can’t be targeted by Weakness, Immolation, Demonic Torment, Brainwash, Takklemaggot, Imprison, Spirit Shackle, Backfire, Cocoon, Creature Bond, Gaseous Form, Merseine, Tangle Kelp, Venerian Gold, or Wanderlust.
Finally, although this is really only relevant in Brawl, Bartel can’t fall victim to that stupid (read: hilarious) Ramses Overdark / Puppet Master infinite bounce combo.
Bartel is Black, and consequently immune to both Terror and Hellfire, so put Hellfire in your deck.
Five toughness is a big deal in Old School MTG 93/94. He can’t be killed by Psionic Blast. Similarly, he can’t be killed by Pyrotechnics or Aladdin’s Ring.
Popular creatures, such as Erhnam Djinn, Serra Angel, Sengir Vampire, Derelor, Phantasmal Forces, Su-Chi and several Commanders, are just chump blockers to him. He just keeps thundering down from Hammerheim.
There are only six cards in Old School MTG 93/94 with Vigilance and, of those six cards, Bartel Runeaxe is the only Black card and the only Red creature. For [R], Eternal Warrior bestows Vigilance upon a creature. By that logic, the [G][R][B] Bartel is a 6/5 for five ([G][B]) that can’t be the target of Aura spells. That’s getting past “Craw Wurm with upside” and into Spiritmonger territory.
After Bartel thunders down from Hammerheim, when he finally hits the beach, he’s an avid surfer.
At the end of all of this, you end up with a nearly indestructible 6/5 Vigilance for six. Not too shabby for 1994. Old School Jund decks that could use him as a castable creature, a reanimation target, or sideboard option include, but are not limited to:
Unfortunately, he is still susceptible to Swords to Plowshares, Wrath of God, and Oubliette like most everything else.
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