Cryptid Nation, MetaZoo’s premiere set, is brimming with powerful pages, from artifacts to discover and potions to brew, to astonishing and devastating beasties to contract under your control. With the metagame starting to evolve and with future sets such as Nightfall, Wilderness, UFO, Ouija, and the mysterious Yokai Island block on the horizon, here are my top 10 beasties of Cryptid Nation, based purely on the power of the card, and not its impact on the game so far. This is because with such a limited card pool some archetypes even with powerful cards simply do not have enough support, but these powerful beasties will surely shine in the future.
Honorable Mention: Metal Man of Alabama
Metal Man of Alabama showed early on that it was a force to be reckoned with. The tinfoil 4th wall effect of the card made it so it was a two-drop, and compounding that with the two traits it has, fleet and first strike, it became a fast and hard hitting two-drop for lightning decks. Metal Man of Alabama has the highest life points of any two-drop beastie and higher attack than most. Almost immediately after it started seeing play, radios started to pop up in everyone’s 4th wall item list, because it essentially made Metal Man into a vanilla card with decent stats. Sometimes lightning decks can catch an unknowing opponent without a radio prepared, but for the most part Metal Man is a splashable two-drop with 70 life points and 50 damage on its attack. This is still decent, as it allows Metal Man of Alabama to take out most one-drops when given the chance. The reason Metal Man of Alabama deserves the honorable mention is because even the threat of the card showing up is enough to force every player to take up a slot in their fourth wall item list with a radio.
#10 & #9: Jersey Devil and Loveland Frogman
Jersey Devil and Loveland Frogman are two extremely different beasties and are both so good that I simply couldn’t bear to knock either of them out of the top 10. Jersey Devil is a four-drop in dark, and while the lower life points for a four-drop is noticeable, it is not as important as it does not take any damage from other beasties attacks. It also gives you tempo with its fear trait, giving you a 50% chance to bounce an opponent’s beastie. Not only is it hard to kill, but it can dish out a brutal attack. With both terra boosts active, Jersey Devil’s attack deals 100 Damage, and inflicts burn, meaning it can both explode a gumberoo or make your opponent more wary of attacking you. In addition, the guaranteed burn can dish out some extra damage to opponents running low to the ground aggro decks. The only real drawbacks of Jersey Devil are the higher cost and the low spellbook limit, meaning you cannot reliably expect to draw your Jersey Devil. I cannot overstate the importance of board control more in MetaZoo and having a resilient beastie with high damage output and tempo is perfect for any dark deck looking for a curve topper.
Loveland Frogman is a fragile card and the fact that it is a water page accentuates that, since Forest, Frost, and Lightning beasties will all deal additional damage and most likely be able to take it out. However, if you are able to have your Loveland Frogman last even only to your next turn, drawing that additional card each turn is huge, especially for water decks, whose main focus is drawing lots of cards, churning through your deck, and dumping out beasties. The power of Loveland Frogman is also enough to completely demolish most beasties, or at least prevent it from doing anything for a few turns. With Lightning in a Bottle, you can use this power on Loveland Frogman’s first turn in the arena. It having Magiproof also gives it some defensive qualities and gives it a higher chance to last, but the fact that it doesn’t have any real effect immediately along with the fragility makes it unable to finish above Jersey Devil, and the lower immediate impact of the card prevents it from being better than many of the cards above it in this list. As more water pages are printed, it is possible that the right defensive cards can be found to make Loveland Frogman much more powerful.
#8: Ball Lightning
Ball lightning comes in at #8 due to its relatively cheap cost, powerful ramping effect, and evasive abilities. Being able to have an additional aura each turn is powerful, and playing Ball Lightning turn two into a turn three three-drop such as Quetzalcoatlus is a play that will almost always put you ahead of your opponent. Ball Lightning is a great example of a ramp card since it has flight, making it harder to hit, especially on the early turns of the game. Ball Lightning also has an above average body, the 30 health just being enough to avoid the common 25 damage dealing 1 costing spell that most aura types have, and the paralysis that comes with its attack can come in handy in niche situations. With a Lightning Storm out, Ball Lightning is also able to deal a respectable amount of damage. While no one component of this card is outstanding, the fact that it has so many above average aspects puts it on the list, but those missing shining qualities is what prevents it from climbing higher.
#7: Piasa Bird
Piasa Bird is a perfect card for flame decks looking to be as aggressive as possible. It’s immediate impact makes fireballs completely free, and more flame spells are certainly to come which Piasa Bird can help. As long as you have a candle or another fire, Piasa Bird attacks as hard as Lava Bear with a volcano and can stay alive for a bit longer due to having 90 life points and flight. It also still has a powerful presence when morpheus’d or frozen due to the spell cost reducing effect. It is only a one-of however, so you cannot rely on this effect consistently or to make a combo with cards such as Gaasyendietha.
#6: Walking Sam
Walking Sam is a three-drop that can turn your opponent’s beasties against them, all while staying protected itself. It has the spirit and unblockable traits, which besides protecting Walking Sam allows it to attack your opponent directly each turn, and if your opponent does not have any beasties for you to copy you can get in some free damage. This also makes Walking Sam a great target for Powerup Red. Its copy ability can basically steal your opponent’s beastie for a turn, and then have a chance at making your opponent lose tempo. Based on the current metagame and card pool, we can assume that future metagames will likely be dominated by beasties, not spells, so walking sam will almost always have a good target and will be hard to take out. Walking Sam having a spellbook limit of 1 is what prevents it from being better, as you cannot consistently rely on having Walking Sam in a game.
#5: Mothman (Promo)
Topping off our chain of three-costing beasties with a spellbook limit of 1 comes the promo Mothman, which is by far the most powerful of the two mothmans, because it gains you a massive amount of tempo while being able to win you the game with its powerful attacks. The fear trait can remove an immediate threat to yourself or to promo mothman, and then giving every beastie your opponent contracts the ‘scared’ effect, which makes your opponent have to replay it 50% of the time, which could increase aura costs and could make them not able to play all of their beasties. Promo Mothman’s attack having paralyze is also a nice bonus, and can gain you further tempo and board control. While all the cards in the bottom half of this list have been extremely powerful, what ends up separating them from the top 4 on this list is the loss in consistency that comes with having a lower spellbook limit, and also having a higher cost.
Roperite is an aura dork (a cheap costing beastie that generates aura) that we did not deserve. Having a one aura costing beastie that has convert is already exceptional, especially with cards like Lightning in a Bottle being able to put that convert beastie to work on turn one, but Roperite has a decent attack and tribal boost, giving it the capability to be a heavy hitter in the late game, and help dump out your other tribal boost beasties. What really gives roperite the edge and pushes it into #4 is that you can fatigue it to remove flying from another beastie, so you can then hit cards like Quetzalcoatlus, Piasa Bird, or Mothman with tribal boosted beasties, or gain tempo by recoiling them with Gumberoo. While Roperite by far has the most utility of any beastie on this list, its sheer power and board presence does equal those of the beasties above it. The spellbook limit also greatly increases your consistency, as with 6 in your deck you have a 76.4% chance of having at least 1 roperite on turn 1.
Gaasyendietha takes the #3 spot due to its insanely powerful effect that will only get better over time. Already with just a single set a Flame/Spirit list featuring Gaasyendietha, Fireball, and Morpheus is good enough to have a solid spot in the metagame, and with more spells being made every set Gaasyendietha will simply get better and better. While it is very fragile with only 50 LP, if you play Gaasyendietha right you can avoid being killed by Quetz or other beasties. The only reason Gaasyendietha is not higher on this list is consistency. With only 2 Gaasyendietha in your spellbook you cannot always rely on getting it when you need it, and due to its fragility it is easy to be defeated by spells your opponents have, and since it is so integral to the deck once both copies of Gaasyendietha end up in your limbo it will be much harder to win the game.
Gumberoo is in my opinion the best one-drop beastie available. It cannot be destroyed in combat, and its recoil attack allows you to gain tempo on the offence or the defence, and once you have enough fearsome critters you can use tribal boost to deal upwards of 100 damage with Gumberoo. While it is fragile against flame decks, I believe that the risks of running Gumberoo are greatly outweighed by the benefits, as you can simply side-deck them out for the second game. With cards like growth and new years, it isn’t uncommon to get 3 or 4 of your 5 Gumberoos in a game, so even if your opponent has a high beastie count it would be difficult for them to have a beastie stick for long enough to take back board control.
Quetzalcoatlus, or Quetz, is easily the best beastie in Cryptid Nation. Its three traits, Fleet, First Strike, and Flight, give it evasion, immediate effect on the board, and combat advantage over other beasties. Along with its terra boost it can deal on average 90 damage on the first turn it enters, and the paralysis and first strike gives it a very small chance of losing in a fight. Although it does cost 4, making it tied for the highest costing beastie on the list, the supporting cast of lightning cards make it easy to play on turn three or two, with ball lightning, lightning glass, and shock aura ramping, and chibi quetz giving a higher consistency of getting Quetz. What really puts Quetz above not only Roperite, Gaasyendietha, and Gumberoo, but also all the other powerful higher costing beasties like Piasa Bird and Jersey Devil is the fact that it has a spellbook limit more than one. If Quetz had only 1 per spellbook instead of 4, it would see significantly less play and definitely not be capable of having a deck around it.
I hope you found this top 10 list helpful and informative, and I look forward to making more content and articles to help you become a better caster!