Allosaurus Rider isn’t a bad card. Yes, it costs 7 mana to cast, but it can have pretty high power and toughness, due to the fact they are based on how many lands you control. That’s OK. But you can also put the Rider into play by exiling 2 cards from your hand instead of paying its mana cost. That’s all well and good. It’s pretty awesome in a casual game, right?
Well, there are actually a couple explanations for the price spike. It has to do with a couple Eldritch Moon Spoilers and a new mechanic.
Decimator of Provinces (current translation) (10)
Creature - Boar
When you cast Decimator of Provinces, creatures you control get +2/+2 and gain trample until end of turn.
Basically, what we have here is a “fixed” Craterhoof Behemoth. In some ways, though, this card is better. It’s all about Emerge. What Emerge essentially does is let you sacrifice a creature and reduce the Decimator’s casting cost by the converted mana cost of the sacrificed creature.
By “casting” Allosaurus Rider with removing two 2 Green cards from your hand, you then only have to pay 3 Green Mana to Emerge a Decimator of Provinces. That’s pretty nasty.
Is that the only reason for the Rider’s price spike? Nope. There’s an even better one. And it’s due to yet another Eldritch Moon card.
Because you can search out a creature with converted mana cost X or less, you can get any creature of converted mana cost 9 or less and put it straight onto the battlefield. And in Modern, what better choice is there to get than…
That’s right. A turn two Griselbrand.
Now how consistent is this combo? I have no clue. But that is, well, pretty good. Obviously, there are other things you can do with Eldritch Evolution, but I can’t imagine too many people beating a turn 2 Griselbrand.
If an entire deck around this strategy emerges and can be made relevant, it would be pretty awesome. Grishoalbrand, a Modern deck built around Goryo’s Vengeance, Nourishing Shoal, and the Through the Breach, has been a fairly consistent winner in Modern. But Eldritch Evolution gives a whole new engine to build around. Allosaurus Rider seems like a silly target, and you probably won’t always have a copy in hand at the beginning of the game, or by turn two. As with any combo deck, there’s going to be variance. But this is the beginning of what could be a new archetype.
So goodbye all you Allosaurus Riders. See you when everyone realizes you’re not a $15+ card... Although, if everything breaks right, you might just be!