It's been a while since I last put up an installment of my analysis of Magic's creatures, subtype-by-subtype, in alphabetical order. That last time, I talked about a now-little-used class type, Barbarians, and appended Badgers since there simply weren't enough of them to merit their own article. Tonight the alphabet moves us on to another "species" type, and a particularly deadly one. Basilisks are classic mythological monsters, reptilian creatures notorious for their ability to turn their enemies to stone with their vision. Magic has had eleven of them, all of them green and all of them monocolor except for the red and green Rock Basilisk. They've existed since Alpha, and sadly, despite how flavorful and immediately resonant the Basilisk trope is, they're few and far between in the sets since.
BASILISKS' DEAL: Killing creatures in combat. Even before deathtouch was keyworded, green got its creature removal in the form of variations on "Whenever this creature deals combat damage to/blocks/is blocked by a creature, destroy that creature." Many of those kinds of abilities, especially in the early days of Magic, were on Basilisks. Basilisks range from quite small (there are 1/3 and 2/2 Basilisks) to midrange-fat (the two largest are tied at 4/5).
THE STRONGEST: Stone-Tongue Basilisk, expensive though it may be, has a pretty devastating threshold ability. Swing with it with seven or more cards in your graveyard and not only are your opponent's blockers all tied up by the Lure effect, if the combat damage that gets through doesn't kill them, they're going to have to deal with losing most or all of their blockers, especially if you've pumped your Basilisk. It's obviously almost unheard-of for green to get mass creature removal, especially of the one-sided variety, so Stone-Tongue Basilisk is especially valuable for that reason.
THE WEAKEST: Thicket Basilisk. This was printed long before appropriate power and toughness ratios for creatures were established, and it shows. It also has the weakest variety of combat-auto-kill among all of its fellow Basilisks; since it only kills the creatures it blocks or is blocked by at end of combat, it's going to take combat damage (unlike the even-first-strikers-can't-touch-me ability of the usually superior Thicket Basilisk) and potentially die from it. The fact that it doesn't work on Walls just adds insult to injury.
THE WEIRDEST: In terms of Basilisks printed in "normal" sets, Rock Basilisk certainly gets a few "huh?" points for the seemingly pointless addition of red mana to its cost (what about it is non-green I will never know), and for its beefy size compared to most of its fellows. But Stone-Cold Basilisk from Unhinged takes the cake in terms of oddness for its never-doable-in-a-million-years-outside-of-Un-land player-"stoning" triggered ability.
MY FAVORITE: Simic Basilisk. I'm partial to the graft keyword already, and the fact that this guy can share the always-deadly-combat-damage love makes it a lot of fun to use. Plus, it's hard not to smile at its grumpy facial expression and the eyes that cover its scales.