Colossal Dreadmaw | Ixalan | Art by Jesper Ejsing
28, May, 24

One Of Magic's Biggest Memes Returns In New MH3 Common!

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Magic: The Gathering has brewed a seriously rich culture over the years. Whether it’s specific powerful cards, top players, or product features, there are countless little nods and winks that unite millions of players worldwide. Leaning into these inside jokes helps Wizards foster MTG’s famous sense of community. With Colossal Dreadmask, a new MTG Common from Modern Horizons 3, they’ve done just that.

This is a fairly unremarkable card on the surface, but devoted fans will see it for what it really is. That is to say, a reference to one of Magic’s best, longest-running memes. If you look at Colossal Dreadmask and see only Limited fodder, then read on, as there’s a lot more that makes this card truly special.

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Colossal Dreadmask

First, the card itself. Colossal Dreadmask is a six mana Equipment with the Living Weapon ability. For the uninitiated, this creates a 0/0 Germ token and equips the card to it as soon as it enters. Essentially, Living Weapon cards are Equipment that play like standalone creatures at first.

What does this Equipment do? It provides +6/+6 and Trample. If you lose your Germ token along the way, you can also equip it to another creature for five mana. The numbers on this aren’t terrible for Limited. A 6/6 Trample for six is often more than acceptable, and this plays exactly like that, while also providing additional value if your opponent has creature removal. It’s even a Common, which means you’ll be able to Draft it fairly regularly.

The fact that there are so many Eldrazi Scion generators running around in MH3 Limited gives this card a real shot at seeing play, even with its high cost. Beyond that, it’s a tougher proposition. The card isn’t even good enough to see play in Standard, never mind Modern and Legacy. Why all the fanfare, then? Because Colossal Dreadmask is a direct callback to Colossal Dreadmaw, one of Magic’s most notorious meme cards.

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The Origins Of Colossal Dreadmaw

Never heard of it? Then let us fill you in. It’s time for a story within a story. A real Shahrazad situation, if you will. Colossal Dreadmaw was first printed in Ixalan, back in 2017. The card was very simple: a 6/6 Dinosaur with Trample for six mana. At the Common rarity. It was a solid card in Limited but didn’t see any play in Standard or eternal formats.

Fast forward to Rivals of Ixalan, the next set in the Ixalan block, and Colossal Dreadmaw rears its mighty head again. It appears in the set, completely unchanged from its original Ixalan appearance. Clearly a design so good they had to print it twice. While it’s strange to see a card reprinted so soon after its first printing, the fact that Ixalan was a Dinosaur-heavy Plane does explain it to an extent.

What it doesn’t explain is the card’s appearance in the next MTG set: the non-Ixalan-related Masters 25. This was an anniversary set designed to celebrate 25 years of Magic, packed with nostalgic reprints from every era of the game. Despite being just a few months old, Colossal Dreadmaw earned a slot in such an esteemed expansion. In fact, it was the only Ixalan card to do so.

This trend continued into the 2019 Core Set and M21, but the fuse was already lit by Masters 25. Colossal Dreadmaw’s inexplicably frequent printing, alongside its Common rarity and solid performance in Limited, made it something of an icon. Much like Storm Crow, the card’s power level is frequently exaggerated for comic effect. Like much else in MTG, the community took this idea and ran with it.

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From Dream To Meme

Colossal-Dreadmask-MTG-The-Meme

You don’t need to slash your way through a jungle thicket to find evidence of the Colossal Dreadmaw love in the Magic community. A simple Reddit search reveals plenty. There’s a dedicated r/ColossalDreadmaw subreddit, with just under 2000 members. Here, players share memes and screenshots of their best Colossal Dreadmaw moments, both in-game and out.

On YouTube, Tolarian Community College hosted a special Commander game where Rachel Weeks played ‘The Colossal Dreadmaw,’ a playtest card that let her play any card as though it were the iconic six drop. Commander’s Herald tried something similar, brewing a Colossal Dreadmaw Typal deck out of six mana 6/6 beaters.

During MH3 preview season, players even created and leaked a fake ‘Colosseldrazimaw’ card, an Eldrazi retrain of the concept. Clearly, they never got the memo that an actual Dreadmaw callback was coming in the set.

Wizards themselves haven’t been shy about leaning into the joke, either. Beyond the hilariously frequent reprints, there have also been two new versions of Dreadmaw released. These were Phantasmal Dreadmaw in Modern Horizons 2, and Earthshaker Dreadmaw in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

Both are almost certainly more playable cards, but neither are quite as iconic as the original. Speaking of, the O.G. Colossal Dreadmaw managed to land a Secret Lair printing, as a Bonus card in the Secret Lair x Jurassic World: Life Breaks Free drop. It also made an appearance on Colossal Chorus, a huge spell from Alchemy: Ixalan.

All of this to say: Colossal Dreadmaw is an iconic and beloved meme in the MTG world, and Colossal Dreadmask is a fun reference to it that will likely do similar work in Limited. This kind of deep-cut callback is the kind of thing Modern Horizons sets were made for. Forget the broken cards: I want to see more community in-jokes like this.

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