Ghired, Conclave Exile - Triple Dipping Naya Lards

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

Ghired, Conclave Exile

Triple Dipping Naya Lards

"Image"
Naya lards, Naya lards, what are they feeding you?






Foreword
A Hyper-Abridged History of Tokens

An acceptable prototype, needs more colours
Creature tokens are as old as Magic itself - The Hive squirrelled itself away somewhere in the corner of Alpha, justly forgotten in favour of more exciting cards. Nevertheless, the tradition of allowing cards to create non-card permanents was born, and would blossom through the years. The flavours would vary - from small goblin squadrons to quintuple clones, from sacrificial saprolings to landfall beefslabs. The concept got welcomed into EDH with open arms, as it was a way to get a board in a can without the need to commit many cards. This turned out to be of relevance since the format's early battlecruiser slog days, and has held up with time. You're likely to encounter some tokens in each game you play, be it from a goodstuff'y wide, sacrifice shenanigans or a person trying to count to 20.

That said, conventional tokens are one thing. RTR opened up a whole different can of worms, introducing the world to populate. While on the surface it was just a way to get extra value from regular token generation, the Johnny side of the EDH populace soon figured out that this interacted favourably with token copies of nontoken creatures. The flexibility of the mechanic continues to make waves in the format, with Trostani being the most popular Selesnya commander. It certainly helped that the deck got various support pieces over the years, e.g. Helm of the Host or C15's myriad mechanic. In spite of those developments, {g/w} continues to limp when it comes to tokenising existing creatures. That tends to be the domain of blue/red. Add some of black's solid ETBs, and you get murmurs of a cute rainbow populate shell. For now, populate got to spread into red out of the command zone with Ghired, Conclave Exile.

Part Brudiclad, Part Gyrus
Ghired and His Various Modules

Ethan and Glenn left me unfinished!
C19's shtick were mechanics, much to pure Melvin me's joy. In spite of the extra colour, Ghired got the short end of the stick here. The fact he has to go into combat and populate the token as an attacker may feel quite red, but is also the biggest design concession of all, reeking of Gyrus-style playtest nerfing to prevent stomping on builds centred on less EDH-relevant mechanics (such as morph). You can also smell toned down bits of Brudiclad DNA, offering general payoff in bonus copies of guys you tokenise. Don't expect any particularly crazy fireworks from Rhino Man, but lower power fun can still be had.

Ghired decks that want to pursue nontoken creature copying need to focus on three primary modules:
  • Actual creatures to copy. A mix of low-CMC ETB utility and high-impact, high-CMC bodies tends to work pretty well here. Bonus points for stuff that scales well with extra copies of itself. The fact Ghired brings along a 4/4 tramply friend allows you to be quite picky in token production and body copying, as you'll usually have Rhinos to fall back on.
  • Copiers. This is the deck's main advantage over prior populate powerhouse Trostani, as red offers up a plethora of fantastic options to assist here.
  • Combat survival. This destabilises the deck's consistency relative to Trostani, as you need to account for the fact your commander's puny 2/5 body plus whatever he copies will end up in combat and you have to help them survive. It's not all bad, as you can go for some aggro-minded options to simultaneously help kill people.
Conscripts are so passé
As you can see from this surprisingly meaty list of ingredients, Ghired needs a lot of things to come together to have the deck start doing fun stuff that isn't copying tramply 4/4s. It's not uncommon in EDH land to find builds jamming a single operational module (for example, Daxos plus various enchantments), or a simple A/B design ("Fodder, meet outlet" - Korvold). Having three separate constituents increases variance, and forces you into a shell with plenty of draw and a helping of tutoring to help get the missing pieces. The card selection itself also needs to be very utilitarian, you're not granted the liberty of going for situational effects. The pieces need to be universal and impactful, every last one aiming for consistency. Each high-end beatstick should offer to win you the game if left unchecked.

When constructing the deck, you also need to be acutely aware of the rather narrow time window when the commander's ability is the most relevant. Ghired may formally tick the box of an EDH aggro leader by cheating in more board state than you formally have resources to make, but one extra token a turn isn't that big a deal compared to the bombastic plays the format tends to devolve into as the game progresses. The pieces need to enable swift operation, getting online quickly and having impact the moment they land. Designing for late game relevance is difficult, but you can try to cheat the system a bit with some particularly explosive buff piece interactions, anti-wipe tech and the occasional cheeky infinite. Ghired life is rough, but you're not here to have it easy. Golos/Wanderer board barf is too cliché. You're here because one Thunderfoot Baloth just isn't enough, and you want to make more with style.

Ghired and Me
Various Threads Coming Together

Greatest goat of all time
Ghired was a deck birthed out of necessity. Prior to C19, I was stuck slinging my Daxos the majority of the time, seeing how it is the most power level compatible with the rest of the group, and seeing the same speed-bump'y deck for most of the weekly sessions had the guys grow tired of it. Ghired was the third C19 proposal, after two prior offers (Greven lifeloss/voltron.dec, Marisi perma-goad shadow incorporated) got shot down. Thankfully, the deck managed to accomplish what it set out to do - I can pull it out, stomp around mightily while roaring, and get brought down while still having fun playing it. It rarely wins, but it always does splashy stuff, matching the archetypical EDH aggro experience outside the very best commanders for it. It's easily the weakest deck in my arsenal.

The list started out as a Precon Improvement Quest - I netdecked the contents of the box once they went live, and started fiddling around with its composition using my collection and local trades. That's how Daxos started out in 2015, and I think back to that time fondly. That said, I exhausted local resources within three batches of updates before the decks even hit the shelves. There are some nice little throwbacks to various prior failed designs in the 99 - Archangel of Thune was in a hyper-aggressive Bruse Tarl/Tymna list, Boomgoat is a pet card that was a major wincon of a short-lived Hug Slug draft, and I've been trying to make value Kiki work in sketches ranging from Jund reanimator to Xantcha remote voltron. I guess the longer you play the format, the more baggage of various dead decks you accumulate, and each new attempt in matching colours can bring some memories back.



Deck Overview

The Deck Ranking
General Attributes
  • Quick Game Likeness - depletes life totals pretty quickly and reliably, leaving a lasting impact on the game
  • Newbie Feasibility - "Hey kid, turn creatures sideways at people and keep making tokens of stuff"
  • Commander Dependency - Ghired is a reliable, if feeble, populate engine; the deck can also populate via other means or function as a crappy beats list
  • "Scare" Rating - you make creatures and turn them sideways at people, understandably spooking them
  • Multiplayer Mode - not fast enough for conventional 1v1, runs few multiplayer scaling options
  • Expensiveness - requires a number of 10-20 dollar pieces, can obviously ingest perfect mana and expensive utility options

Game Play Attributes
  • Acceleration - responds very well to Sol Ring effects; tries to get to five mana quickly, tailoring ramp accordingly
  • Library Searching - a few conditional options, mainly for creatures
  • Board Control - some staple removal spells, plus a bit of potentially reusable ETB control
  • Spell Control - some anti-wipe tech, both proactive and reactive, to try to ensure board survival
  • Card Advantage - packs a number of draw options to keep itself topped up in the face of disruption
  • Linearity - you'll be copying creatures, but there are a number of options to copy and various support pieces to further diversify the experience
  • Combo Potential - has a few multi-piece infinite setups, but they're nontrivial to get online, requiring additional support to kill the table

Strengths and Weaknesses
The Deck's Strengths
  • A cute low-power Johnny-flavoured aggro deck, jumping through hoops to make extra copies of various things and beating face with them.
  • Bend the rules of EDH a little and attack with multiple Kalonian Hydras or Archangels of Thune, tapping into crazy scaling from multiples of the creatures.
  • The commander packs his own Rhino, giving you something sensible to populate while you wait for your copy engine to come online. An army of Rhinos is nothing to scoff at!
  • Once you set up a token copy of something, you can keep populating it, growing your board for no additional card investment. Manage your resources smartly in case a wrath jumps out from around the corner!
  • Fights wraths pretty well for a Naya deck - a nontrivial helping of draw to stay topped up and relevant, and a few indestructibility tricks to avoid death.
  • Sports a surprisingly engaging early game due to the potential sequencing of Ghired and various support pieces. You'll still spend a lot of it playing ramp, but when do you work in the Idol of Oblivion? When do you let people know you're holding Beastmaster Ascension? Exciting!
  • Did you draw (and hopefully copy) Vigor and Blasphemous Act? Oh boy!
  • Can sometimes win without bothering Ghired if a particularly feisty bunch of beaters and support pieces come around.
  • A good way to learn basic stack interactions, as often it's beneficial to set up the attack triggers (including Ghired's populate) in particular ways.
  • Helm of the Host leads to a funny, if relatively ineffective exponential barrage of multiplying Ghireds. The resulting Rhino swarm comes in to clean up later.

The Deck's Weaknesses
  • Not as good at pure faceroll aggro as stronger dedicated options.
  • Would have probably been better with blue in it for Rite of Replication and various other permanent tokenisers; dismissed by the design team as "too easy".
  • Takes a nontrivial amount of hoop jumps to get an effective setup going on, all of which require resources and are easy to trip up. Johnny senses may tingle, but it's all ultimately quite inefficient and fragile for the investment.
  • The forced modularity of the deck can lead to inconsistent performance, as you will likely need multiple different pieces to come together and may have trouble finding some.
  • Sits in a weird zone of a mid-sized board of mid-sized creatures, rendering traditional tall/wide draw options relatively ineffective.
  • Sufferer of classic token world problems, particularly devastatingly poor responses to bounce effects. At least nontoken aggro decks can redeploy to a similar standard after a Rift.
  • While you'll impact most games you play, you'll likely win few. The beauty of scaling worse than classic EDH value engines, nothing you can do. It sometimes feels like you have no end game.
  • Has to go a bit light on somewhat situational effects (recursion, extra combats) that would strengthen a more linear aggro deck, but would further hurt draw consistency here due to the existing modularity.
  • Can sit around doing literally nothing, or try to politically grovel for a populate swing not resulting in attacker death, if it fails to find a combat protection piece in the face of a gummed up board. Those times feel particularly bad.
  • Can elicit salinity if you come out cracking fast and focus-kill single targets, as they may feel they never had a fair shot at the game yet other parties still get to play.

Other Commander Options
Naya
Does this thing roar in harmony?
  • Mayael the Anima - When I think Naya, I think Mayael. I may admittedly be a bit biased, as there's been a Mayael in my group since its inception in 2014, but she's nevertheless a solid legend. Sure, the deck may be one-dimensional, but your choice of fat can lead to fun responsive activations that pop out Avacyn before a wipe or Blazing Archon as you're staring down an angry foe about to lethal you. Ghired's C19 friend Atla Palani is a similar concept with slightly different execution.
  • Marath, Will of the Wild - A Swiss army knife of a commander, bringing an ever-increasing number of activations of a range of abilities to the table. Give him deathtouch and you've got solid board control, bust out some ETB counters and a more ridiculous dumb is going to happen. Could very theoretically helm an inefficient enrage deck, but that'd be a waste of potential of both him and the dinos he'd be pinging.
  • Zacama, Primal Calamity - Talk about a centralising commander! Zacama decks are all about crazy levels of ramp/doubling, not even shying away from symmetrical effects, trying to get the dino out as quickly as possible and get the wildest possible ritual out of the cast. Sprinkle in some bounce and appropriately responsive draw engines, and you start chewing through the deck at great pace to keep the chain going. Or, if stuff fizzles, just pour all the mana into board control. Spending three mana to bolt a creature is not that bad when you're sitting on a gigantic stockpile of floating bits.
  • Uril, the Miststalker - A bit of a bogeyman of the early days of the format, now gathering some dust in the corner. This is not really his fault, voltron has fallen a bit out of favour due to the fragility of a single creature with a bunch of enhancers that cost resources to get there. Especially if those resources are auras that fall off if you die. That said, Uril still grows monstrously fat if given a few enchantments, and he even got a nod in Leadership Vacuum. Some good his hexproof was at dodging whatever happened there!
  • Marisi, Breaker of the Coil - One of the more interesting Naya options, as poking your foes with anything starts a crazy cascade of them slamming into each other and being open for further poking, which in turn continues the goading. Fits quite handily with what an aggro deck wants to do while avoiding the crackback. Sports the highest include rate of Soltari Foot Soldier in the EDH-verse, which makes me happy - that little guy served me well back when I ran Tymna and deserves a lot more attention than he's getting.

Aggro
WHATMMMGUNNAGET
  • Maelstrom Wanderer - "More gun" incarnate. While usually seen at the helm of weaponised goodstuff, Wanderer's arguably the format's premier faceroll aggro legend on raw potential alone. He comes stapled with two of the things EDH aggro decks like most - mana cheating and card advantage. That double cascade is no joke. Oh yeah, and there's mass haste too, for good measure. Cast Wanderer, flip Scourge of the Throne and Pathbreaker Ibex, it's possible you just killed the table for eight mana.
  • Kaalia of the Vast - While you may lose Wanderer's craziness and card advantage, you still retain the mana cheating, all while coming on a low-costed body. Prematurely chase out a high-impact haymaker and you should be able to ruffle some feathers. Comes with the downside of actually needing to swing (and have something cheat-worthy in hand). Has been known to dabble in taboo stuff like MLD to maximise the asymmetry of the trigger.
  • Xenagos, God of Revels - A ridiculous Hulk smash machine, thrives on disproportionately gargantuan fat (Malignus comes to mind) which can get hasted and doubled in size to pummel unsuspecting opposition out of nowhere. Can get super fast kills on single targets, but has progressing difficulty with getting stuff done the longer the game lasts as the boards gum up. Classic aggro problems. At least there's green for land ramp and refuelling.
  • Aurelia, the Warleader - A bit of a sidegrade to Xenagod, as instead of making one dude particularly beefy you potentially get double damage out of your entire board. However, one particularly beefy dude also dies a lot less easily in combat than a bunch of scattered, smaller guys. The perfect commander to milk various Boros on-attack triggers (Hero of Bladehold says hi). Being Boros means your ramp is fragile and you have to get creative with your refuels though.
  • Marchesa, the Black Rose - While Marchesa may be primarily associated with various sac loop value, she also makes for a pretty potent aggro commander. Attack the player on most life, get board-wide counters, and you've got some pretty solid wrath insurance going on. It's actually fascinating how many different build styles she effortlessly supports - there's also a modular-like take on her. Plus probably a bunch more I don't even know of.

Populate-Style Tokens
It's funny because my Juggernauts are huge
  • Trostani, Selesnya's Voice - Already brought up a bunch in this write-up, not a ton left to add. Having populate on an activated ability allows her to skip the entire combat survival module Ghired needs to jam to be effective, but as a trade-off she's stuck with {g/w}, which lacks options in the "copying nontoken creatures" department. This has gotten better over the years though, as mentioned. Plus you get a gross interaction with Phyrexian Processor to make up for it a bit.
  • Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer - Probably the most conventionally explosive of these token options, all it takes is one sensibly beefy token and your entire swarm of mass-produced 1/1s or treasures turn into a ridiculous board. Note it doesn't say creature token, by the way - a friend bought the precon last year, added some random bulk he had kicking around, and smothered the table with a quick combo out of nowhere. However, there are likely to be a nontrivial number of artifacts kicking around, which opens you up to blowouts from relevant sweepers.
  • Riku of Two Reflections - One of the original Temur goodstuff machines, he can copy both spells and creatures, granting you coveted build flexibility. With that level of versatility and available colours, he can do various gross value things with token doublers, or just go off with Palinchron. Thankfully, he's a 2/2 for 5 to compensate, and I can tell you from experience that 2/2s are not long for this world in EDH if your foes decide so.
  • Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker - Mainly renowned as an infinite combo piece in other decks (including a very clean-looking Flash Hulk line that runs no dead cards), Kiki comes with a bit too much stigma for the strength of his deck. Sure, there are still some infinite combo possibilities, including Zealous Conscripts, but this is mono red we're talking about here. If you're after that sort of interaction, you're better off doing it in another shell. Command zone Kiki is more likely to be a value Kiki, focusing on various ham-fisted faux-value things red copies can do.
  • Feldon of the Third Path - C14 had some zany ideas in the off-legends. Mono red reanimator? Sure, why not. A Feldon shell is likely to pack various loot/rummage effects to get potent red/colourless fat into the bin, where Feldon's ability can reach it and chase it out ahead of its time. Experimenting with this guy around the time of his release made me realise just how disgusting annihilator is as a mechanic and I haven't touched it since. Plus, let's just remember real quick that back in those days it was okay to reprint Wurmcoil Engine in an EDH precon.



Deck List

proliferate.cod

Protective Shenanigans


1 Heroic Intervention
1 Teferi's Protection
Approximate Total Cost:




Card Options

The following subsections feature a sizeable list of options for each card group, including cards I currently run, cards I ran in the past and cards that will likely never grace my 99. My opinion isn't be-all, end-all, and whilst I can go for face smash and skimp on Aura Shards and Yosei in the interest of table-wide enjoyment, there are certainly Ghired build concepts where these will work fine. Also, all Ghired-copiable options have been stripped out of their relevant subsections, as indicated, and live in Decent Bodies.

Saving Money
EDH deck construction is a fickle financial beast. Staple prices have been on the rise due to Commander's ever-growing player base, and high-end desirables such as lands often see additional demand from other formats. It's trivial to sink any amount of money into a deck, optimal lands, perfect acceleration and utility staples sure ain't cheap. As such, it becomes important to differentiate the core engine pieces of the deck, the stuff that makes the strategy come online, from various support and mana pieces that smooth out the experience but are not mandatory. Ghired comes with the downside of having a few double-digit dollar cards that fall into the former category. In particular, the creature copiers are non-debatable. Options are finite, these are the good ones, you need them. Other expensive pieces that could be qualified as core are some of the beatsticks (Archange of Thune, Kalonian Hydra) and the four mana token doublers (Anointed Procession, Parallel Lives). All this stuff really makes the deck pop.

That said, there are quite a few cards that can be shaved from the primer list to save money. The land suite is full duals and fetches, there's a Mana Crypt and a Three Visits. All this can go away, saving almost two thirds of the deck's cost instantly. Slot in some other land ramp (Yavimaya Dryad comes to mind) and whatever untapped multicolour lands you can acquire, plus a whole bunch of basics. I'd definitely recommend running the bicycles - they may not be fancy untapped stuff, but they respond to land-type fetching, which will still be a thing in the fetch-free list. I'd argue most other expensive lands will be worth your while, as they'll retain relevance in other decks you'll build going forward. Hall of the Bandit Lord is the most cuttable.

The deck makes use of a few format stables which have ballooned up in price, but can potentially be cut for further savings. Of these, Enlightened Tutor makes the best case for itself due to its ridiculous format-wide ubiquity and power within the shell - a Sol Ring proxy if in the initial seven, access to all key support modules later. Sylvan Library and Wheel of Fortune are good quality of life, but you can just replace them with other draw and be largely fine. Teferi's Protection may be the only reactive anti-removal tech to dodge mass bounce, but if you're okay with giving that up for saving a nontrivial chunk of money you can just run a different reactive board protection spell instead as the main thing you're trying to shield are your creatures. On similar grounds, Avacyn, Angel of Hope is a luxury item and the list won't immediately stop working with her gone. Doubling Season is nearly strictly worse than the four mana token doublers here, making it an easy cut when combined with its bloated price tag.

1. (Non-Body) Rampano
Ghired costs five, impactful copiable bodies cost some too, as does the copying itself. The deck needs to be able to get to 5+ consistent mana pretty quickly and reliably, leading to most of the ramp taking on the form of 2-3 CMC land spells. We're in green, may as well make use of it and not be soft to artifact removal.
Show
Play me turn three, guaranteed Ghired turn four
  • Arbor Elf - One of the better one-drop dorks, as his untap ability interacts well with mana-boosting land auras. However, he is a dork that natively ramps by one, making him not worth the squishiness in this particular build.
  • Birds of Paradise - Another one-drop dork, still too squishy. You're not trying to power out a three-drop commander, so you can go for more resilient ramp options.
  • Carpet of Flowers - A solid option for competitive metas, benefitting from all the fancy dual Islands. In all honesty, Ghired has no place at tables like that.
  • :check: Cultivate - Cultivate variants shine in decks with 5 CMC commanders. You cast this thing turn three, you get a basic into play and a guaranteed land drop for next turn into your hand, and out comes your commander. A bit overplayed otherwise, sitting in that weird middle ground between one-land two-drop and two-land four-drop ramp which both do things very efficiently.
  • :check: Farseek - The beauty of land type ramp is it fixes like a champ if you have the foresight to pack typed duals. Which you should - you're in Naya, the perfect colour combination to make good use of them. Three cycles' worth are affordable, go wild, enjoy.
  • :check: Joraga Treespeaker - Oh would you look at that, a one-drop dork. In contrast to the other ones, this one single-handedly ensures a turn three Ghired. Given the fact the deck really wants to get online as quickly as possible, the fragility of the creature can be forgiven.
  • :check: Kodama's Reach - Another Cultivate variant. In fact, given the fact this came first, maybe these should be called... oh, I see. It doesn't roll off the tongue quite as nicely. In spite of that shortcoming, just as decent as its near functional reprint cousin in this build.
  • :check: Mana Crypt - The deck wants to go fast. This allows the deck to go fast. It's a good fit. Unfortunately, it costs a ridiculous amount of money, so feel free to cut it if you don't have access to it.
  • Mana Vault - The deck wants to go fast. This allows the deck to go fast. Once. That's not what you want, you want sustained mana.
  • Mirari's Wake - Sure, double mana is nice for chasing out whatever you need. Is it worth spending a card and five mana to set up though, given the various supportive action at four and haymakers kicking in at the same CMC as this?
  • :check: Nature's Lore - The beauty of being in Naya is that the Forest is the "central" land in the distribution, granting you access to both white and red via shocks, tangos and bicycles. Even budget-conscious mana bases can make good use of this little ramp nugget.
  • Nissa's Pilgrimage - Hey look, another Cultivate variant. However, the fact it can't fix us makes it less desirable than the originals. One for the mono-greens, I'm afraid.
  • Overgrowth - The upside of the premier land auras is the good ratio of ramp to cost, the downside is that they're perishable enchantments. Given how the deck tends to sequence its plays, I've found land ramp sufficient. There's nothing stopping you running these.
  • Skyshroud Claim - Due to the fact the deck's support pieces start kicking in at 4 CMC, playing ramp spells that compete with them in sequencing is not going to lead to a smooth gameplay experience. One for the bigger mana decks. Still a hell of a card though.
  • Smothering Tithe - Another hell of a ramp card that suffers from the 4 CMC curse. A little less desirable here than normal given green's land ramp, but still a solid option.
  • :check: Sol Ring - Holla holla get ring. The format's most ubiquitous card strikes again, and this is a lovely home for it. The quicker you get some mana online the better, you can get Ghired out and start piecing together the various engine pieces to start copying stuff.
  • :check: Three Visits - Hey look, a second Nature's Lore! Printed ages ago, in a super limited release set, and sporting a ridiculous price tag as a result. Easy cut if shaving the expensive pieces.
2. Decent Bodies
An umbrella category for all sorts of cool things for Ghired to copy. This features everything, from your low-cost utility dudes to your curve topping haymakers, as this is one of the deck's key function modules and keeping all the options collated for an overview is good for transparency. Watch out for attack triggers, as Ghired populates a copy directly into combat, skipping that step.
Show
Nothing like a bit of good old exponential scaling
  • :check: Archangel of Thune - At first glance, seems like a questionable include. The angel connects, you get a +1/+1 counter board-wide... yay? This thing comes online when copied, as each angel is an instance of life gain and a source of the anthem trigger. If you get multiples going, your board will be fatter than the eye can see soon enough. Can make key pieces fat enough to survive a Blasphemous Act! The crazy lifegain is nothing to sneeze at either.
  • Archon of Valor's Reach - A sensible evasive beater with a nasty, game-warping ETB. This is one that's being consciously left out for table-wide enjoyment reasons, as a couple copies of this could shut some narrower decks. However, you're also known to run a diverse portfolio of support spells, so it would be a minor inconvenience to you too.
  • :check: Aurelia, the Warleader - Silly Rumpy, what's a legend doing here? You don't copy legends, silly. Or do you? Get a token copy of her online (let the original die to the legend rule), swing. Have Ghired's populate resolve before Aurelia's untap/extra combat trigger, keep the new Aurelia, then have her untap and proceed into the extra combat. As far as the new Aurelia's concerned, she hasn't attacked yet, so repeat this procedure until the table is dead. Also goes just as infinite with Helm of the Host here as she does everywhere else. Outside the infinites, extra combats are a fantastic way to go for extra damage and shorten the clock, so getting one of those each go around is pretty solid for pressure.
  • Avenger of Zendikar - A ridiculous board gummer that scales super well with extra copies of himself (more plants, more landfall triggers). That said, he is a bit on the slower side, as the bodies take a while to lose summoning sickness each time, and Ghired copies are measly 5/5s thrust into combat. Nevertheless a solid option.
  • Cavalier of Dawn - An interesting value town support option. Pop a thing on entry, with the resulting 3/3 being of little relevance to your board. On death, potentially recur a relevant artifact/enchantment support piece. However, he does come with a hefty five mana price tag, which makes him a bit difficult to justify if I'm complaining Avenger is slow.
  • :check: Duergar Hedge-Mage - The best Reclamation Sage variant, as the benefits of a sculpted land base include easy access to typed lands, making this guy a 2-for-1. Hey, you might be aggro, but you should still pack some efficient answers to stuff.
  • :check: Eternal Witness - A smidge of recursion is a good thing to have, particularly on a body in a deck specialising in copying creatures. A reasonable use of idle Twinflames and creature tutors, allowing you to get them back immediately (along with some other stuff, maybe). However, this does notify your opponents of those options in your hand.
  • :check: Farhaven Elf - It's a body, it ramps, and it responds well to copying if you feel like it (which you sometimes will). Seems like a pretty good idea to run some of these effects.
  • :check: Garruk's Packleader - He's a utility piece at five mana, which is a bit of an awkward spot for the deck to be in. However, he is one of the deck's most reliable draw outlets, as decently powerful creatures will be landing repeatedly. Can theoretically be copied, for funny refuelling results.
  • Giant Adephage - Producing tokens on its own is good, as it gives you some level of insurance if the conventional engine fails to cooperate. However, he takes a while to wind up, and costs a hefty seven mana to get out.
  • Greenwarden of Murasa - A beefier Eternal Witness. Keep in mind his death trigger won't work in token form as he vanishes when state-based actions are checked.
  • Herald of the Host - The myriad guys from C15 are quite cute, as they self-tokenise and offer a decent clock. While their table-wide damage may be respectable, they have little impact on any individual opponent and still take quite a while to wind up. The white one being a fancy Serra Angel is good for emergency defensive uses.
  • Inferno Titan - Get a few of these guys going and the freely spreadable bolts will add up to a good degree of board terror. It's nice that the damage also comes out on ETB, making populated copies immediately impactful.
    Git dem lands up in here
  • :check: Kalonian Hydra - Looks innocent enough on the surface, especially given the fact it's an attack trigger. Quickly reveals itself to be a horrible, uncontrollable monstrosity in multiples. Given the right support pieces in an opening hand (think Aurelia or Helm of the Host), it might actually be more efficient to forego deploying Ghired and just go for a Hydra-based table stomp. Can sometimes accidentally pump other things on your board. Two Kalonian swing triggers renders them immune to Blasphemous Act. Crazy, crazy card.
  • Knight of Autumn - A flexible Reclamation Sage variant, in that if you don't need to pop a thing you can just gain some life instead. The +1/+1 counter mode is likely not coming online.
  • :check: Ogre Battledriver - Haste is a good thing to have in aggro decks. This comes out before Ghired, and even offers up a little welcome pump. Stack a couple copies of these guys and each new arrival will have an uncomfortably high power, putting your opponents in annoying combat scenarios.
  • :check: Ohran Frostfang - Granting all attackers deathtouch is a good incentive to skip blocking your guys, and can even let some of your utility dorks get in if you point them smartly. And when your stuff does get in, you get a crazy refuel. Apparently stapling the static bits of Bident of Thassa and Bow of Nylea together leads to a good card. Multiples allow for disgusting grip sculpting. Interacts superbly with trample, which your Rhinos handily come with.
  • :check: Pathbreaker Ibex - Another attack trigger so ridiculously strong that the card gets in anyway. Sure, the board may not feature any super tall creatures, but get a few exponential Ibex stacks and it won't matter. A sublime game ender off a "kicked" Finale of Devastation.
  • :check: Sakura-Tribe Elder - Hey, the land may not come in on ETB, but that doesn't make Steve any worse a copy target. Fine, I guess it kind of does, as he's most likely dead for the cause before there's even a chance to copy him, but keep it in mind in case you're slightly stalled out and a Steve shows up late.
  • :check: Selfless Spirit - Board protection on a body, just sacrifice to get online! Less costly and more evasive than Dauntless Escort. Not the sort of thing you'd typically want to copy, but I have done so in the past to try to shield my board from interaction. It ended up working, so there's that. Don't forget this guy exists if someone's in the process of wiping you and you've got a Chord up.
  • Skyscanner - A cheap ETB cantrip. While marginally more expensive than Elvish Visionary, it does fly, which helps ensure it'll still be there for another Ghired copy in later combats if need be. I haven't found myself desiring this sort of effect much in recent builds of the deck, but it is an option at your disposal.
  • :check: Subjugator Angel - Honestly, how many of you remembered this card before stumbling into this thread? Not that many, I'd guess. I'd like to think I have a good knowledge of the card pool, yet I was baffled when Jivanmukta pointed me to this thing. Sure, six mana is steep, but guaranteed connecting with your whole army feels worth it. Often a late-game tutor target to try to cheese the last bit of damage in.
  • :check: Thunderfoot Baloth - The perennial casual beefslab gets to have a welcoming home. Sure, the scaling may only be linear, but the teamwide pump and trample is pretty good for pressuring people. If you're going to be relying on him, be mindful of needing the actual original Ghired on board, and not a Flameshadow Conjuring copy.
  • :check: Vigor - Making your team turn all damage into counters is a pretty good proxy for unblockability. People will be aware of the inevitable return of the fatter swingers, and will avoid blocking you unless absolutely mandatory. Copy this guy for complete impunity swinging, and hey - a 6/6 trampler is better than a 4/4 trampler. Makes silly things happen with Blasphemous Act, as usual sillier if you've got some copies sitting around (on account of not losing the Vigors to the wipe, they unfortunately don't stack as it's a replacement effect).
  • :check:Wood Elves - The best of the three-drop ETB dorks, as this one can yield a typed dual land, and it does so untapped. It's not uncommon at all for me to get some copying going on this guy for those reasons.
  • Wurmcoil Engine - Some wrath insurance and an unpleasant body to handle on the board. However, it is just a 6/6, with no room to grow anything.
  • Yavimaya Dryad - A nearly strictly worse Wood Elves, as the Forest comes in tapped and the cost is more restrictive. The forestwalk is largely irrelevant.
  • Yosei, the Morning Star - Keep on copying this guy and shipping copies to the graveyard to lock people off untaps. Another instance of making the legend rule work for you. Crazy unfun though, so left out in spite of the power.
  • Zealous Conscripts - Rather unimpressive as a standalone body, even if tokenised and populated by Ghired. However, she is a combo piece with Kiki and Splinter Twin, so you could run her for that explicit purpose.
3. Initial Token Generation
The second main functional module of the deck is turning actual creatures into tokens. Thankfully, the addition of red to populate's prior colour range results in some solid support options to choose from here, and is the main benefit of going for Ghired as a populate commander.
Show
You get a Baloth! You get a Baloth! Everybody gets a Baloth!
  • :check: Blade of Selves - The more immediately applicable take on myriad, which grants it to anything that you put this on. Pretty good for applying table-wide pressure and getting (temporary) extra copies of things with bogus scaling, but skips attack triggers to compensate. The relatively low play+equip combo of six mana allows you to often keep this out of sight until the moment's just right. Does absolutely nothing in the final 1v1, if it comes down to that.
  • :check: Bramble Sovereign - Hey look, they printed half of Riku on a standalone green dude. The token's permanent, unlike most copiers Naya can reach, which is also nice. To compensate, you need to front the two mana overhead the turn you play the guy you want to copy, which might occasionally be a bit of a problem in the mid game. Note you can theoretically copy Ghired with this for an extra Rhino, and you can even keep the original if you want.
  • Feldon of the Third Path - A solid token producer, but a bit on the situational side. You need to have a stocked graveyard, i.e. lose a bunch of your stuff in battle already. Given the deck's push for consistency in any scenario, Feldon got deposited on the curb. That said, if you're in a wipe'y meta and you know you'll get good use out of him, by all means slot him back in.
  • :check: Flamerush Rider - Worst case scenario, this is a one-shot copy on similar terms to Blade of Selves (and then the Rider dies). If you have some combat survival stuff going on, this turns into a repeatable value engine and helps put pressure on people. If there's nothing good going on, you can do a Bramble Sovereign-style Ghired copy for an extra Rhino.
  • :check: Flameshadow Conjuring - Somehow, being one mana cheaper to spin up than Bramble Sovereign makes this feel a lot easier to operate. You'll find yourself doing the Ghired copy trick here a lot more often, as it nets you two extra Rhinos for your trouble. Just be mindful of doing that in a bounce-heavy game, as the fact the final Ghired is a token means he just vanishes and you have to front commander tax for the original you let die.
  • God-Pharaoh's Gift - Oh man, seven mana for a graveyard probe engine. Time for a sigh of relief that we're not Trostani and don't have to stoop to this sort of stuff to get our engine humming.
  • Hate Mirage - The option to reach for your opponents' creatures is nice and all, but you're building the deck with creature copying in mind. It seems quite probable that whatever you have available as options is going to be more worthwhile to put through the machine than whatever you can steal off your opposition. Keep it in mind if your meta's heavy on ridiculous bombs you'd like to see on your side of the field.
  • Heat Shimmer - Three mana for a one-shot copy is not that bad, but this is from a time when they stuck the red temporary creature suicide directly onto the token. As such, any populated copies will retain said clause, and blow up at the end of the turn. No go.
  • :check: Helm of the Host - Ridiculously expensive to get online, but ultimately worth it for the permanent, non-legendary copies. It even works well with just Ghired if you get nothing else going on, barfing out an exponential barrage of barely relevant 2/5s (that breed a matching army of 4/4s in the back). Goes crappily infinite with Kiki and less crappily infinite with Aurelia.
  • :check: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker - A crazy workhorse piece for the deck, spitting out a copy a turn without the need to endanger himself in combat. The fact this bugger has haste means you can often tutor him out of nowhere and get your copy engine online without anyone expecting it. Don't forget the wonky "beginning of the next end step" wording, feel free to hold off making a copy of a guy until the end step before your turn if you don't need it immediately. Then the token won't go away until it's the end of your go. If you've got a particularly juicy bit of scaling in sight, feel free to have Kiki make another copy in your turn and go wild in combat for maximum value. Recommended.
  • Mimic Vat - Similar story to Feldon, but can formally pick up other people's stuff. Shaved in the name of consistency streamlining, doesn't make it not worth your while in more removal-heavy groups.
  • Mirror March - A card for people who like to live dangerously. There's a fifty percent chance it will leave you with nothing, and it has the audacity of costing six to get online. I'd still be a little torn at four, but six? Come on.
  • :check: Splinter Twin - The old time Modern bogeyman gets to make a rare EDH appearance. Slap it on something with a good ETB and don't worry about Ghired's populate needing to make a copy that survives combat to continue the fun next turn. No infinite combos with it here though.
  • :check: Twinflame - While willingly devoting a card to a single shot of copying may seem like lunacy, having it cost two mana and come out of absolutely nowhere is a great way to surprise the opposition. The strive mode is not going to be used too often.
4. Token Double-Dip Extravaganza
Time for a brief moment of respite from the main functional modules and a quick look at ways to get extra value out of tokens. This encompasses both conventional doublers and alternate populate engines, the latter of which help you depend a bit less on Ghired's combat populate or just get some extra value. Don't forget that doubled tokens go into whatever predicament the original is in, including being forced into attacking.
Show
Twice the Rhinos, twice the fun
  • :check: Anointed Procession - This sort of effect is no joke. Twice the tokens, twice the clock. Suddenly even the Rhino plan is appealing, as making eight power with each swing is pretty decent. The fact it costs 4 also helps it in sequencing.
  • :check: Doubling Season - The downside of costing 5 is real, as you will need to slow down the deployment of any non-Rhino action by a full turn to accommodate this most of the time. That said, doubling the counters is actually surprisingly relevant for the list's premier haymakers. A simple copied and populated Kalonian Hydra turns into five 216/216 tramplers for you to distribute as you see fit, and Archangel of Thune grows the board to the point where each creature becomes a one-shot machine. Seems worth the sacrifice.
  • Growing Ranks - Hey cool, populate every turn, and with the much beloved CMC of 4. The problem is that this happens in the upkeep, making it not work with most creature copiers. If this thing triggered in the end step instead, I'd be jamming it.
  • :check: Parallel Lives - Another token doubler for 4. In it goes. Good stuff.
  • Primal Vigor - Okay, enough's enough. This is a similar tempo hit and payoff to Doubling Season, but the effect is not limited to your guys only. You're not that explosive, the rest of the table could potentially make use of this to your detriment in the meantime.
  • Rhys the Redeemed - The fact this guy can pop each turn to keep exponentially growing your board state makes him feel like a sensible supplement to the deck's functionality. The ability's high cost soon reveals itself to be a problem though. In most scenarios when I'd topdeck him in the mid/late game, a Second Harvest would have been better.
  • Second Harvest - However, Second Harvest only does its thing once, which makes overcautious engine crafting me tentative to run it. The window where you feel comfortable popping this is quite narrow, and requires a developed board. It doesn't help you get there, ergo it's a situational option, and you ain't got the flexibility of going for many of those.
  • :check: Selesnya Eulogist - Hey look, it's a populate engine. The fact it slurps creatures out of 'yards to do its thing is supposed to be upside, as you get to interact with graveyard decks, but sometimes you won't have anything to eat with this. Still, the risk should probably be worth it for the combination of furthering your game plan and slightly interacting with others. Note that it can operate the turn it comes out.
  • Trostani, Selesnya's Voice - Note that she can't operate the turn she comes out. Perfectly okay if sequenced before Ghired, but a rather questionable topdeck later. Sure, there's a bit of immediate lifegain to sweeten the deal, but there's no denying she's overall a bit too slow for what she'd need to accomplish here.
  • :check: Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage - The winner of Precon Improvement Quest. A card I likely would not have considered running if I built the list from the ground up, yet performed okay and stayed. Four mana is no slouch, but it can help set up some extra bodies or alleviate some of the reliance on Ghired. A classic backline utility card.
5. Combat Enhancers
Back to our regular scheduled show. Ghired's populate only happens in combat, and he's a measly 2/5 that has to venture into the red zone to get things done. As such, the final functional module of the deck are various ways to help make sure he doesn't die out there. It doesn't need to be defensive stuff only, mind you - pump up your team enough, and blocking them out of existence will become troublesome. Going for a wide range of effects here can help the individual options stack for increased oomph.
Show
Twice the damage, twice the fun
  • :check: Avacyn, Angel of Hope - Permanently indestructible creatures make for confident swingers. The added wrath protection is pretty solid as well. The hefty mana overhead is not ideal, but the resulting degree of board security is fantastic. You don't run enough wipes to make her unpleasant.
  • :check: Beastmaster Ascension - A board-wide +5/+5 is pretty good for ensuring your swingers are fat enough to not just fall over and die, all while doubling up as a good way to speed up the clock. You want both those things. That said, it can sometimes take a turn to "rev up" as the deck doesn't natively make a particularly wide setup. It's worth it though.
  • Dolmen Gate - Being mana-cheap is great, but the effect is redundant with a number of other options already in use. The card offers nothing else. In the interest of maximised performance in case multiple combat enhancement pieces are drawn, the Gate's skipped.
  • Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite - The wild power swing this thing applies board-wide is commendable. That said, it's also quite unpleasant for the opposition, so Elesh is sitting this one out.
  • Frontline Medic - Similar story to the Gate, there are plenty of other options that net functional indestructibility on swing and other things on top of that. Plus the Medic has to actually swing, making him a poor topdeck later.
  • :check: Gisela, Blade of Goldnight - The combination of static effects on her is beastly, not only making your guys effectively doubly statted in combat but also buffering you from harm. One of these days I'll sneak Helm of the Host on her and Ghired populate the token, offering a one-shot sized angel to everyone in the four-man pod.
  • :check: Iroas, God of Victory - Iroas does things that aren't just combat invincibility. Menace is nothing to sneeze at, and the fact he's an indestructible enchantment makes him a pain to deal with. He becomes a body quite often, needing three pips once the commander is in play. In those scenarios, it's often correct to leave him back on anti-crackback duty due to his indestructibility.
  • Marisi, Breaker of the Coil - Now here's an interesting option. You connect on someone, now they have to swing into your opposition. This accelerates the game, lets you swing into them again, and also prevents crackback. Get the whole table goaded and you're in business. However, Marisi's quite situational. You have to connect in the first place, while this chunk of cards tends to focus on making that happen.
  • :check: Odric, Master Tactician - Granting you full control over blockers is a hell of a strong effect. You can use it as removal and slurp small utility dudes, or you can ignore all that stuff and just ride in uncontested. This is likely the mode you'll end up pursuing most of the time. That said, he does need to swing to offer this benefit, unlike most other enhancers that offer static effects. Still, complete combat control is so strong that he can be used as a measuring stick to evaluate other slow payoff.
  • :check: Reconnaissance - Turbo vigilance is just as good here as you'd expect. Swing and get blocked? Yoink your guy out of combat before he goes down. Get in for damage? Great, move to end of combat, remove him from combat anyway. This is an actual thing.
6. Tutor Friends
Darn, that's a lot of things you need to get online for the deck to pop off. Never fear, your old friend the tutor is here! Helping fill out various gaps in the setup is going to smooth out the experience. Naya specialises in creature fetching, which is thankfully compatible with the constituents of your functional modules.
Show
We getting the Kiki or we saving up for Boomgoat?
  • :check: Birthing Pod - A bit of a strange include at first glance, as this is typically a mainstay of graveyard value decks. That said, most of your creatures live in the 3-6 CMC space, and a Pod activation or two can get you a functional setup that you can work with. Don't forget that the temporary red-derived tokens make for fantastic fodder to chuck at this. Common target goals include Kiki to get a proper engine online, or just Iroas to populate Rhinos with impunity while you fiddle around with your draw constituents to get something going.
  • :check: Chord of Calling - The instant speed is well worth the slight mana overhead (which you can likely make up for via convoke anyway). Nab a surprise guy with pseudo-haste in the end step before your turn, get a piece of emergency removal to stop yourself from dying, pull out Selfless Spirit (or Avacyn, if swimming in mana) if you got caught unprepared by a wipe. This thing's been an all-star in every single Gx deck I've ever put together, and that still holds true here.
  • Defense of the Heart - The effect on this sure is powerful, as you get to pull out two creatures directly onto the field. However, it needs to live unimpeded for a full turn cycle to accomplish this, and your opponents have to get some creatures to pop this. Too many variables left in hands that aren't yours. That, and it elicits a fearful reaction that your combo-light aggro heap won't manage to live up to.
  • :check: Eladamri's Call - The fact this doesn't slap on the creature cost overhead immediately is actually surprisingly nice sometimes. Hold a couple mana up, be it for real or bluffed wipe interaction, and then just pull a guy out before you untap. It's nice that the card goes straight to hand, saving you the trouble of drawing it.
  • :check: Enlightened Tutor - That said, being a hyper cheap way to get something you can't otherwise tutor to the top is still pretty good. Most early copies turn into Sol Ring variants for turn two deployment. Later on can get vital pieces that aren't copy-worthy creatures, or a token doubler.
  • :check: Finale of Devastation - Damn, what a beast of a card. You'll use up most of these getting Kiki in the mid game, but occasionally you'll manage to save up 12 mana without needing to expend this. When you do, you pull out Boomgoat and immediately end the table's life. Don't forget this can also serve as recursion in a pinch. Just when you thought this couldn't get any better.
  • Godo, Bandit Warlord - Essentially a second copy of Helm of the Host, which also happens to win the game on the spot if undisrupted. If disrupted and they went after Godo, you still get to keep the Helm, which is good news for you. If they went for the Helm... well, he functions as an Aurelia if you also happen to have Reconnaissance out, I guess?
  • Idyllic Tutor - Still has the power to get something out of the key categories Enlightened Tutor can reach, minus the early Sol Ring leg-ups. Couple that with needing to front a three mana tax for the tutoring and you've got a pretty good reason to skip this one.
  • Tooth and Nail - Getting two pieces of the puzzle immediately onto the pitch is nice and all, but it comes online a bit too late at nine mana.
7. Bonus (Non-Body) Cardboard
Another thing known to help consistency is card draw. Keep yourself topped up and find various missing pieces, extra ramp, what have you. This ain't your first rodeo, most likely, you know how card draw works in EDH. That said, the list is a little awkward due to conventionally setting up a mid-sized board of mid-sized bodies, making the typical tall/wide draw options both a bit inefficient in their own way.
Show
Nice, each token shall now nab a card.
  • :check: Elemental Bond - Say what you want, I like a steady trickle of bonus cardboard. Makes you constantly have some more options, doesn't force you into discard decisions, doesn't attract as much attention as a gigantic one-shot draw. Bond's the best for that here, as it's a cheap out of the way enchantment that tops you up a little each time you make a Rhino or most anything else. The best class of draw for this deck, as evidenced by the fact I'm willing to pay five for this too if need be.
  • Genesis Wave - A lovely little board in a can that generates crazy card advantage if you can sink enough into this. Thing is, you kind of can't. The deck runs early game ramp, and mana acceleration slows down as you head towards the higher parts of the single digits. This would often sit in hand and want more mana to do its thing than you can afford to spare it. At least you can always cash in Finale of Devastation for something without "kicking" it.
  • :check: Greater Good - Hello and welcome to tall draw, where you get cards based on how big your things are! Your default mode of operation is Rhino, which is four tall. That lets you go four deep in search of whatever you may be missing to do things that are a bit more exciting than Rhinos. Sure, you then have to pitch three cards, but you still get to keep whatever interests you. Another cool thing is that the activated ability is instant speed, so you can do this whenever. Eat a doomed Rhino that got blocked by a bigger fish, chew through your board as a wipe sits on the stack, get some extra juice from a temporary red-derived token that's about to vanish. It does things and smooths out consistency.
  • Guardian Project - Most creature-based trickle draw takes the form of this sort of effect, where you get to refuel off a nontoken creature being cast/entering. That's not the best for us, you tend to have a bunch of meaty tokens come in, which these sorts of options ignore. That said, this is the best of the bunch if you feel like giving it a shot.
  • :check: Harmonize - Four mana, three cards. No questions asked, no conditions, no nothing. A typical shadow dweller that does okay things and helps run the show.
  • :check: Idol of Oblivion - Super cheap to get out, pretty easy to enable in here given the various copying and populating, and rewards you with my beloved trickle draw. A bit lower impact than most of the other draw engines, but still functional.
  • :check: Life's Legacy - Your default mode of operation is still Rhino, obviously gets better if you have something disposable with more power. Two mana for four cards is pretty good. I'll take it.
  • Momentous Fall - Hold on, I just established two mana for four cards it a good thing to do with Rhinos. Why would I pay four mana for the same thing? Sure, there's a smidge of lifegain and the potential of reactive use, but the deck values its playmaking and mana too much to hold this up most of the time.
  • :check: Rishkar's Expertise - So, continuing the whole Rhino mana efficiency train, two mana for four cards is good. So if you play this and then use the second part of the effect to chase out a four-drop spell, you met the criteria. And you even get to keep the Rhino! Costing six is not that much of a bother, Ghired costs five and it's not like you'll be doing this pre-Ghired. Bonus points for casting something stupid like Kiki or Kalonian Hydra.
  • Shamanic Revelation - Wide draw. I don't feel comfortable running this sort of effect here, as it's relatively mana intensive and and only properly comes online if you're doing very well for yourself. Sure, that way it can provide insurance if you get wiped, but what about all the scenarios when you're just trudging along, trying to get something good going?
  • :check: Sylvan Library - A tried and true utility option, granting fantastic card selection in the face of repeated shuffling off ramp/tutors/fetches. Can also repurpose some life for extra cards in a pinch.
  • Tireless Tracker - You're a deck with lands, you'll play lands, you'll get clues. However, you then have to spend two mana per clue to cash it in for a card. Sure, sometimes there's some spare mana floating around, but often this is just a touch too slow for the deck's quick ambitions. Could nominally be copied, but I never got through all the clues a single Tracker made, let alone if there'd be a copy.
  • :check: Wheel of Fortune - A good backup mechanism to refuel like mad while disrupting your foes a bit. It's okay to not play this if you're already doing fine for cardboard. Don't go for any of the later redesign attempts like Reforge the Soul if you don't happen to own one already.
8. Protective Shenanigans
Wipes happen in EDH. Wipes will happen all the more once you get your gears aligned and barf out an imposing board state. Given the fact your game plan revolves around your creatures, you should pack various reactive anti-blowout tech to survive those situations. Adjust proportions to taste depending on meta wrath tendencies.
Show
Poof!
  • Boros Charm - The non-protection modes don't interest you too much here. And as far as plain indestructibility goes, there are more exciting things you could be doing. A sensible include if expanding the number of these effects, but not one of the forerunners.
  • Eerie Interlude - A very nice way to circumvent anything your foe might be throwing at your beatsticks, but tokens come with the nasty habit of vanishing into thin air if moved anywhere that isn't the battlefield. As such, this will only preserve the bare bones essentials of your board state. Still potentially acceptable if you have a way to generate another initial token of whatever it is you're copying at the moment.
  • :check: Heroic Intervention - What's better than straight indestructibility? Hexproof and indestructibility! This grants you the power to potentially blank particularly problematic pieces of spot removal as well, if need be.
  • Rootborn Defenses - Hey cool, straight indestructibility and a populate. That said, costing three is a little more taxing than costing two, requiring more resources held up. You're not super heavy on mana sinks that can guzzle this mana if you don't need to protect yourself. Easily the best option the list isn't running at the moment though.
  • :check: Teferi's Protection - Hey, how's this fair? Rootborn Defenses got dismissed for costing three, yet this gets in? This is just a crazy catch-all answer though. -X/-X, bounce, weird fog shenanigans for non-wipe plays. As long as you're holding this, you almost certainly haven't lost. One of the few legitimate EDH bones white has had thrown at it over the years. Much appreciated.
9. (Non-Body) Interaction
Some amount of removal is to be expected in most any deck. Seeing how you're the aggressor, you should focus more on offering threats for the table to scramble against than trying to blow things up yourself. As such, the answer package is quite lean.
Show
Board is kill. Or is it?
  • :check: Beast Within - I like this general class of removal spell. You expend three mana, you answer anything that needs answering. They haven't printed too many of these over the years, but each one that comes out is an instant EDH classic and gets automatically shoehorned into every single one of my builds that can support it. That said, Beast Withins are admittedly a little clunky within this particular shell, as the deck likes to spend its mana on developing its board state. Still worth slots due to versatility.
  • :check: Blasphemous Act - Another auto-include, potentially blows up the world for a single red mana. That sounds like pretty good value. The list has potential to make this somewhat asymmetric, as on top of regular indestructibility you can grow some stuff on the board enough to survive the 13 damage, or you can have Vigor turn this into a crazy alpha blowout.
  • Chain Reaction - The Blasphemous Act lines still apply here, and this should probably be your go-to option if you choose to add a second wipe to the deck.
  • Chaos Warp - This is a bit of a necessary evil of a card, the sort of thing you jam if you're not in white or green for better options. Might just be me and my permanent-heavy meta, but I've never gotten particularly good mileage out of this.
  • Decimate - Taking out four things is nice, but it comes with a slew of drawbacks. You can't cast this without having legitimate targets for all four options. It costs four, competing with the deck's array of support pieces. It's sorcery speed. Don't get me wrong, it's a hell of a card, but it just doesn't feel like it belongs here.
  • :check: Generous Gift - Check it out, they reprinted Beast Within in white! Thanks Ethan!
  • Hull Breach - A bit like a one-shot Duergar Hedge-Mage, you can use this to pop two things at once. And it costs a very reasonable two mana as well. A pretty sensible potential include.
  • :check: Path to Exile - One mana to surgically remove a problem creature for good, as it's pretty tough to come back from exile. Sure, they get a Rampant Growth for their trouble, but that's likely no compensation for what you're taking away.
  • :check: Swords to Plowshares - Just in case you thought giving out land is too strong, you can just give out a bit of lifegain instead. Thankfully, due to its lack of modern legality, this thing is dirt cheap.
10. Lands
Fielding an aggressive three-colour deck with some fussy colour requirements (Kiki has the audacity to demand RRR in an otherwise red-light build) leads to the need for a solid mana base. Thankfully, being in Naya means good support for land type ramp. Try to run as many land-type dual cycles as you can, and whatever untapped two-colour lands you can get your hands on.
Show
Hello I am a commander deck
All colours:
  • :check: City of Brass - The life loss may not be ideal, but at least it grants unconditional access to any colour you may need.
  • :check: Command Tower - A commander deck that's not mono-colour? Yes? In it goes.
  • Jungle Shrine - An acceptable budget option, as granting any colour is very handy. Run this ahead of all the karoos and whatnot for this very reason.
  • :check: Mana Confluence - Same idea as City of Brass, comes with the upside of occasionally dodging the life loss if someone's got an Urborg out and you don't need the coloured access.
  • :check: Path of Ancestry - Slapping an occasional scry onto Jungle Shrine is pretty decent value. There are some humans and shamans (even human shamans!) in here, so this will fire off outside of commander casting in most games.
  • :check: Reflecting Pool - I've always been quite partial to this land, and believe it to be underplayed. As long as you run a good spread of multi-colour lands, not even necessarily of the fully spruced up fetch-based variety, this should do good things in most games.
Fetches and fetchables:
  • :check: Fetches - They get the lands with the land types, allowing you easy access to colours at any stage of the game. If only they weren't so horrendously expensive...
  • :check: Original Duals - The original land type lands, very good, ridiculously pricey. I'd recommend skipping these unless you already have access to them.
  • :check: Shocklands - The gold standard of fetchable lands in EDH for most mana bases, automatic include here. Thankfully quite affordable due to ample reprints due to ample Ravnica returns.
  • :check: Tango Lands - For a while around the middle of the 10's, R&D were quite happy to print land type cycles. Unfortunately they remain incomplete, but as a shard you get access to two of each. These have the upside of coming in untapped if a few basics come around, a single Cultivate's worth will do the trick.
  • Bicycle Lands - The second of those mid-10's land type cycles, this one has no trick to come in untapped. You can theoretically cycle them away later though, so there's that. Still a reasonable include, and you should probably run these if you're not sitting on original duals.
Land type get!
Two colour cycles:
  • Filter Lands - Very solid fixing, allowing for managing two colours with ease. Come in untapped. Unfortunately, they're quite pricey to compensate.
  • BBD Lands - A horribly whiffed opportunity to grant EDH its own cycle of OG dual replacement. Why are there no land types here? That said, this is a very solid cycle, left incomplete like all too many have been. Still, Naya's a shard, as previously mentioned. You get two of these, both with green in them, in a green-focused shell. They'll work.
  • Checklands - Given the focus on land type lands to work with the various ramp options, these guys will almost certainly come in untapped and do their thing. Solid option.
  • Painlands - By now we're slowly drifting off towards necessary evil territory. Dinging without all-colour access is not the best, but sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do.
  • Signet Lands - Another reasonable cycle that never got completed. The mandatory filtering may be awkward at times.
  • Temples - Try to stay away from tap lands. You should have enough options to find something within your reach before you stoop to these. If a land comes in tapped, it should either do something crazy, offer all colours of mana, or come with land types.
Other options:
  • :check: Ancient Tomb - Sure, I mentioned the deck being fussy with its colours. However, I also mentioned how well it responds to fast starts. This is the land version of a fast start.
  • :check: Exotic Orchard - A bit tough to classify, as it might tap for all your colours, or none. That said, you've got three colours you want, so this is likely to pick up something of relevance from the rest of the table. Probably worth running in most 3+ colour lists.
  • Gaea's Cradle - A somewhat controversial omission. Thing is, the commander costs five, and the creature curve really starts at three. While the highs Cradle would offer would be quite good, it's far from earth-shattering here, and is quite variable in performance. Consciously adding variance is undesirable in a shell made of as many moving pieces as this one.
  • :check: Hall of the Bandit Lord - Coming in tapped telegraphs the haste it will grant, but still - haste on a land, without any extra mana overhead. Pretty good value. That said, that three life does add up, so be careful with using it.
  • :check: Krosan Verge - Putting the ability to nab two land-type lands directly on a land is rock solid. Fixes like a champ, all while actually ramping you.
  • Myriad Landscape - The balanced all-colour version of this effect is far less glamorous, not only being restricted to basics but also forcing them to be the same type. Still, a case could be made for it as it is still technically ramp.



Piloting the Deck

Deck Strategy in Shellnut
  • The goal of the deck is to turn creatures sideways at people until no people remain. While doing so, you'll be making extra creatures that already come in sideways off Ghired's ability. This is a cool and relevant thing to do in the mid game.
  • The deck requires a few key pieces to function correctly. You need something interesting to copy. You need a mechanism to create your initial token of the interesting thing that Ghired can then continue to propagate. You also need a way to stop all your guys dying in combat by pumping or shielding your army.
  • If you haven't quite managed to piece all of those together, you can usually limp along at decreased efficiency and still feel like you're doing something. Ghired comes with a 4/4 tramply Rhino friend, you can keep populating that until something better comes along. You may need to bust out some political shenanigans to avoid combat death if you don't have appropriate protection/enhancement pieces online. This makes that module arguably the most important one to get online.
  • The deck lives and dies by combat, and that's where most of the gameplay nuance kicks in. You need to balance bringing your foes down with keeping the panic meter at a manageable level, being mindful of crackback, preparing your board to maximise the benefit of future plays... rarely does EDH place so much emphasis on the red zone.
  • Wipes are rough. There are a few reactive options to make them not blow you out completely, but most of the time you're stuck proactively drawing cards to ensure a steady grip to rebuild from. Ghired can make a single body go a long way once it's copied, be sure to calculate whether it's worth it to deploy any additional guys onto the board at any point.
  • Another option for dodging interaction comes in the reactive use of combat. Blindly focusing a person who ruined some aspect of your setup until they're dead is a great way to discourage people from messing with your stuff, and works particularly well when playing the deck repeatedly within the confines of a stable playgroup.
  • The list responds extremely well to fast mana, as its red zone game plan really likes being accelerated by two turns out of the gate. Popping a turn one Enlightened Tutor for Sol Ring is usually correct.
  • On principle, you want to get Ghired out pretty quickly. Even if you're not fully deployed with the various copying or other support machinery, you can start swinging at people to generate more Rhinos that may be of use later. The only real reason to delay casting Ghired if given the mana to do so would be setting up an ETB draw piece like Garruk's Packleader, and that's only if you're using your mana efficiently to set it up.
  • If given the opportunity to copy one of the smaller utility creatures, it's often correct to do so. It's not as splashy a play as going for one of the high-CMC haymakers, yet it yields you value. It lets you drop off the radar a bit while improving your resources. That said, I'd recommend against using up your one-shot copiers here.
  • Given the deck's game plan of fair beats, it shouldn't be too surprising that it gets left in the dust when EDH's more explosive value engines come online. It can sometimes feel like you have no late game when caught against a densely valued up board. There's not a lot you can do in times like these. There are a handful of infinites to beat the odds and sneak a win, but they don't come online too reliably. Subjugator Angel can help sneak the last few points of damage through.

1. Early Game (Turns ~1-4)

Everybody loves Sol Ring!
The first stage of the game is acquiring a keepable hand. The most important thing you're looking for is mana - you're after four units, ideally split between lands and ramp. Your ramp suite caps off at 3 CMC and is engineered to get you to the five mana zone quickly and reliably, as that's where the commander and his various copiable friends live. A little acceleration should be able to get you there in time for a turn four Ghired cast, moving up to turn three if you got lucky and opened a Sol Ring variant. This deck sure likes its repeatable 2 mana's worth of ramp that can be deployed before turn three for a single-handed enabling of Ghired, and the strongest draws will likely feature one of those cards to get you into gear quickly. You should treat Enlightened Tutor as a virtual Sol Ring in situations like these, and fetch it out immediately turn one. The rest of the hand is more flexible, good things to have are draw to find various options, tutors to find specific pieces you're missing a bit further down the line, and members of the combat enhancement module to ensure you can swing Ghired with impunity and populate stuff as you look for outs.

The first couple of turns of the early game will play themselves - you pop out a land and hopefully ramp a bit. Typically once you hit four mana (either due to a Sol Ring start or a two-mana ramp spell), you can scout your hand for various support pieces to set down ahead of Ghired. As a rule of thumb, try to prioritise those with the biggest impact (Anointed Procession) or that take a turn to "wind up" (Ogre Battledriver). The stuff that doesn't quite do enough yet (Odric) or offers an immediate beneficial static effect that is currently irrelevant (Iroas) is best kept out of sight for now, if you have other plays to make. The less your opponents know about what's coming, the better.

Another important thing to keep in mind in the early game is the sequencing of fetchable lands. This is most prominent when ripping fetch lands, but also extends to land-type ramp. Getting a land that comes in tapped when you have no putative plays to follow up said fetching is a good use of potential resources, granting you the option to go for the untapped land later. That said, each of the land type cycles may play a slightly different role depending on your available resources. If you've got access to a bunch of basic lands or are sitting on a Cultivate variant, the tangos suddenly become perfect untapped duals and should be treated as such. If given access to ABU duals, you have the luxury of potentially treating shocklands as tap duals, whereas in their absence they're often your best bet for an untapped land on the fly. It's just a good thing to keep in mind and plan for the future as you go digging in your library.

Your primary early game goal is to get in the range of five mana and get Ghired out. This should typically happen by turn four, given the density of ramp in the list. Ideally, you managed to sequence some cheap support stuff into the early game setup as well, giving your future actions more impact. It's typically not worth delaying Ghired to get the support pieces online before him, with the notable exception being Garruk's Packleader-style incremental draw. Hey, bonus cardboard is important to remain relevant in the face of answers in a deck like this. Delaying him to six mana with Flameshadow Conjuring out (you copy Ghired, keep the token, swing, populate the Ghired copy, end up with a token of your commander and two extra Rhinos for a single red mana) is also a good idea. Once you've got Ghired out, you can move on to the mid game!

2. Mid Game (Turns ~5-8)

The power of math!
Ghired lives for the mid game. This is the time when the deck's engine is the most effective, providing relevant payoff in the context of what tends to happen at the table around this time frame. Getting a free populate of a relevant, nontrivially expensive body allows you to get ahead on resources and start aggressively pressuring life totals. This is where the titular "triple dip" comes into play. When you manage to connect the pieces and copy a beefslab, you'll most likely be sitting on three copies of said creature - the original, the initial token copy, and then the copy Ghired just populated. Some creatures respond very well to existing in multiples like that. For example, each Archangel of Thune that connects is an instance of lifelink, and then also an instance of team-wide counter granting, scaling quadratically as the numbers increase. Some options, like Kalonian Hydra, are even crazier and scale exponentially as the totals go up. That said, the exponential guys tend to require attack triggers to get their thing going, keeping them in check. The copy Ghired makes is already attacking, so it won't get to fire off its own copy of the trigger.

There's a little bit of science in stacking your attack triggers with the deck. In general, you want to put all non-clone attack triggers at the bottom of the stack, then Ghired's populate trigger, and any possible on-attack clones (Blade of Selves, Flamerush Rider) on the very top. This nets you the tokens to work with for populating purposes, and then allows the widest possible range of bodies to benefit from whatever cool attack stuff may be happening. Far from the hardest thing in the world, but once again just useful to keep in mind for maximising benefits.

There are various flavours to going into the red zone with the deck at this stage of the game. It's likely correct to focus your efforts on whomever you feel is the biggest threat in terms of your ultimate success, be it because of removal density, overall deck potential or whatever. You're already likely to attract early attention due to your growing board state and life total pressuring, so you're not all that likely to draw that much more immediate in-game ire for doing this. I tend to avoid this and just distribute damage evenly around the table, unless someone's explicitly far more threatening than the others. It may be suboptimal, but it is overall more enjoyable to the remaining players, and lowers the risk of salt-based retaliation in future games. It's also useful to wield the power of reactive focusing at your disposal. If somebody messes with your stuff, you just beeline them until they stop existing. It's in flavour for the deck, and works as a reasonable deterrent in established groups. Don't forget about the potential of crackback. You're stirring the pot, getting stuff going, and it's likely that if you leave yourself open the table may join forces and try to take you out.

Anything, anytime!
Your plays follow a similar priority to what they had in the early game, with acute awareness of mana efficiency sometimes incentivising you to move some stuff around. Your main priority is to make your guys swing with impunity, once you have that enabled (a single enhancer/protection piece usually does the trick) you should probably deploy incremental draw and token doubling. The actual sequencing of the copy-worthy creatures and the copy outlets depends on what you've drawn in terms of the latter, place whatever needs to be on the board to work on the board and keep the second one hidden. As usual, the less your foes know, the better. The only time when it's acceptable to have both a copy target and copy outlet on the board without immediately threatening replication is Helm of the Host. Nine mana is no slouch, just chase the Helm out whenever convenient and then equip it as appropriate. Try to reveal your plays as they become relevant, avoid charging up Beastmaster Ascension unless you have no perspective of seven swingers, cast Odric when he'll be able to grant you mass evasion next combat. That said, most support stuff of that nature comes with immediately relevant static effects (Gisela).

All through this, you need to remain acutely aware of the possibility of a wipe. Mercilessly overextending only to get all your committed plays blown up is a horrible thing to happen, so you need to play around it. Keep drawing cards at every opportunity, avoid deploying unnecessary beefslabs when you're already busy copying one, and be mindful of the exact impact creature-based combat enhancers bring to the table. You've also got a few reactive options to stop you getting blown out, strongly consider holding mana up for them, even as a bluff if you don't have much else going on. Leaving a couple guys and lands untapped can hint at both a Heroic Intervention and Chord of Calling (for Selfless Spirit), making the more cautious of your opposition wary of interacting with you.

Note all this assumed you had your engine online. That's not guaranteed - you need to find a copy-worthy creature, a copy piece, and some combat enhancement. Missing any of those can be a bad time. Don't fear popping tutors for whatever you're missing, that's what they're there for. If granted the luxury of mana to support it, consider Eternal Witness (picking up the tutor you just used) into Kiki for maximum flexibility. A simple yet cool Chord trick is waiting until the end step before your turn to fetch the guy out, granting the thing pseudo-haste. This is particularly relevant for the prime scaling beefslabs in a game state where you can copy them immediately. Keep drawing. If lacking combat protection and staring down a set of reasonably developed boards capable of offing Ghired, consider bartering with others at the table for letting your Ghired and fresh populate bounce off in peace. It may be worth to lay low for a little while, making extra copies of stuff, building up real estate for a take-over attempt later. That said, this won't fly with any of the conventional beefslabs, and only really works with Rhinos or copies of small value dudes.

3. Late Game (Turns ~9+)

How cute, they left up blockers
Ideally, you won't get to see the late game. The very value engine that makes you a reasonable midgame contender starts fizzling out in comparison to what your opposition is likely to be doing. Once someone overtakes you, you're not likely to be able to claw back ahead of them. That said, there are some lines of varying levels of sneakiness that you can try to employ to steal a game that's getting away from you.

There are a few infinite combos in the deck, but they are quite hard to assemble. A tokenised Aurelia can lead to infinite combats with Ghired (just keep the one that Ghired makes, which is not aware that she's attacked already, so you get to swing with her again in the next combat and repeat ad nauseam), but as with most of the deck it also requires you to have some combat protection online. There are technically infinite lines with Helm of the Host involving Aurelia and Kiki, the latter of which is one of the clumsiest infinites in existence. The non-legendary Kiki copy can't make an immediate game-ending swarm in the start of combat phase when he's created, so he needs to live through a full turn cycle without a board wipe (he can just replace himself if someone tries to spot remove him, so there's that at least), going turbo wide in the end step before your turn. The tokens will only go away in your end step due to the way his ability is worded, allowing you to kill everyone. The clumsiness goes away with a token doubler.

Most other late game lines involve stacking power pieces and pump. You can find Boomgoat with a "kicked" Finale of Devastation, turning your Rhinos into 28/28s out of nowhere if there's nothing else around. You can make your guys huge, swing multiple times with Aurelia, slam twice as hard with Gisela. You can suddenly render your foes blocker-less with Subjugator Angel and sneak in that last bit of damage. You can rip an asymmetric Blasphemous Act with Avacyn or, better yet, Vigor. A combination of individually powerful pieces can make your board a late-game force, but it's not guaranteed to happen.

Even if the game goes long and people out-value you, subsequently leaving you in the dust, you still had an impact. You came out reasonably quickly, started multiplying a board of things that have no business being around in multiples. You stomped around, you roared, you probably dealt most of the damage that was needed to end the game. If you got all the way there, well done! If you did not, don't worry. EDH is not exactly the best format for straight-faced aggro to do its thing. But hey, you got to copy creatures for fun and profit.



Kudos
  • Ebline - Any time I rustle something up, they are there every step of the way to bounce ideas off of or siphon for suggestions. Even if I don't end up using some of the best ones as they'd be mean. Thanks.
  • My playgroup - Creating a fun and supportive environment for me to cook up and refine my jank heaps in.
  • Dominicus - A very insightful conversation into what Ghired should be aiming to do, culminating in the addition of juicy tech like Birthing Pod and Splinter Twin.
  • Jivanmukta and MorganeLeFay - Putting up with various nagging over Discord, and helping me see the light on some stuff I both should and shouldn't be running. I didn't even know Subjugator Angel was a thing!
  • Greendawg - Enduring the deck in testing, and rustling me up another cool banner. Don't blame him for it, I asked for it to be this way :P
  • The thread posters for chipping in with suggestions and sanity checks. Skello496 for making me realise I haven't actually read a card I was running.
  • Everybody not mentioned who provided their opinions/feedback at any point of the time-space continuum, or even made it down here. You rock!



Changelog


Where applicable, the deck change header is clickable to take you to the relevant discussion post in the thread.
Changelog
Show
The Quest Begins!
Show
The Quest Begins!

Planeswalker


1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
Approximate Total Cost:

16.08.2019 Changes
Show
19.08.2019 Changes
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

25.08.2019 Changes
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

30.08.2019 Changes
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

04.09.2019 Changes
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

14.09.2019 Changes
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

21.09.2019 Change
Show

Out:


1 Mimic Vat
Approximate Total Cost:

08.10.2019 Changes
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

Rumpy is Bad at Giem
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

15.10.2019 Change
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

16.10.2019 Change
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

26.10.2019 Change
Show
Approximate Total Cost:

Last edited by Rumpy5897 3 weeks ago, edited 131 times in total.

Tags:

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

The magic of Cockatrice has allowed me to get a head start on tweaking the precon. For the first few rounds I'm going to try to use stuff I'm already sitting on, avoid my standard fetch etc proxies, maybe try to trade for some cards within my group. I played the precon a few times, and noticed a worrying pattern - Ghired poops out 4/4 tramply rhinos, which are pretty decent tokens on their own. As such, the deck just sat back and played second fiddle, not really contributing much as a rhino army grew in the background. While it's good to know that there's a super slow rhino swarm backup in case things go haywire, I'd like to make more exciting tokens. For that to happen, a few things need to come together:
  • There need to be more exciting opportunities for tokens in the 99. As far as actual generated tokens go, that's gonna be a bit rough, so a lot of support for just pooping alternate tokens will get cut. Need to put in some exciting bodies that can get cloned and populated.
  • The whole "cloning bodies" engine is limping out of the box, so need to considerably sauce up that department, preferably via repeatable means. I broke the rule of precon improvement quest and bought Bramble Sovereign, Flameshadow Conjuring and Minion Reflector within two minutes of the precon list going live, pre-empting a spike. As such, I have these at my disposal.
  • Ghired's not super good at this combat thing. While this is not a gigantic problem now, as this is pathetic power-wise and I can easily strike up a deal where someone lets me bounce off their sub-5-power blocker, I nevertheless need to consider this avenue going forward.

The cuts fall into a few broad categories: Replacements also fall into a few broad categories:
Last edited by Rumpy5897 3 months ago, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

Two updates, one day? Sure, why not if there's stuff that changed. I was able to flag my meta guys down for some Cockatrice testing, and get a chat in with Ebline and Dominicus (two fellows whose opinions I greatly respect) about potential lard to include. This gave the deck a bit more direction.


Looking at the deck split up by function made me realise the thing was quite deep into draw. Thing is, some of said draw was quite mana intensive to get online, and depended on board state. As such, Garruk, Primal Hunter and Shamanic Revelation out, replaced by cheap ETB cantrippers Elvish Visionary and Skyscanner. Of the pair, Skyscanner is more likely to stick due to the flying - Ghired still makes his tokens go into battle, so being able to hover over some poor soul's ground gum is a nice bit of upside. A mild lard reshuffling occurred, with Dragonmaster Outcast, Luminate Primordial, Terastodon and Wingmate Roc getting pulled for general low impact. The ETB removal would be nice, but it didn't really sequence super well at this stage. Ghired's Belligerence seems great on paper, but it creates a weird dynamic that pulls you in different directions and doesn't quite cut it. Lightning Greaves and Intangible Virtue are okay, but don't really accomplish a ton. Rampaging Baloths is outclassed massively by Avenger of Zendikar in the board gum department, and he doesn't do much else. The slots largely went to various fat dudes that would be fun to copy, with the exceptions being shield all-star Avacyn, Angel of Hope and consistency booster Shared Summons. Archangel of Thune is pretty solid as far as five drops go, and gets a synergy buddy in token barf machine Wurmcoil Engine. Ebline suggested the C15 myriad dudes, and they make sense (at least at this stage of the deck's life), so Caller of the Pack and Herald of the Host in. Cavalier of Dawn is a more contained take on removal - hey, some control still needs to happen. Dominicus suggested Greenwarden of Murasa and Ulvenwald Hydra due to their relative combat prowess and useful ETBs. I don't own the latter, but the former can go in. It won't be as swole as the Hydra, but it won't care if it dies as much - more recursion! I snubbed the precon's crazy land count a bit to a sensible 37, and took out two taplands for Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares.

At this stage, the deck's playing okay. I slung it against some meta decks and wasn't left in the dust. I'll probably harvest some more data and see how things hold up, mess with proportions. There are still quite a few cards I want to fit in here.
Last edited by Rumpy5897 3 months ago, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

Continued testing reveals the deck to be a temperamental beast. There are draws where everything locks into place perfectly, and things are humming beautifully. And then there are draws where nothing really happens and I can't even go rhino plan as everybody has thick boards. And then there are draws like this...

"Image"

Essentially what happened was an uncontested swing with three Archangel of Thune tokens, so I popped a Second Harvest in the declare blockers step for 18 +1/+1 counters spread team-wide. Delicious.

I thought back to my previous Precon Improvement Quest, and realised Daxos got off the ground to some extent once his mana base got decent. As such, I may as well bring Ghired up to an acceptable standard of sub-ABU fetchables plus fetches, to not falsely disqualify cards as clunky when it's the mana base that's bringing them down. Plus may as well proxy the Mana Crypt, as that's also gonna be proxied. Time for some further swaps to go along with this.


In terms of non-land swaps, a bit of removal (Cavalier of Dawn, Hour of Reckoning) and populate (Full Flowering, Song of the Worldsoul) get trimmed. A ton of decks in my meta are token-based, so the wipe did little. I'll ultimately get and field a Blasphemous Act to complement the Wrath of God, but that's for later. And the ETB removal guy just sat in my hand and I was reluctant to use him, given how restrained I've become with actually answering stuff. I will eventually fit a bit more removal in, but for now I'm trying to get the system to pick up consistency in its main game plan. The high-end populate options are cute as hell, but ultimately winmore. Full Flowering would have a bit of an argument for staying if it were instant speed. Shared Summons was deemed inefficient given available alternate options, and Greenwarden of Murasa's death trigger doesn't work in token form. As such, may as well just shrink him to Eternal Witness size, pilfering her from the fifth-in-the-pecking-order Kumena list. The list also generously donates Chord of Calling, Defense of the Heart and Heroic Intervention. Chord should be nice here, I often wish I had haste to pull off a game-ending alpha with Pathbreaker Ibex or something of the sort. This emulates faux-haste by flashing things in the end step before my turn, plus doubles as potential reactiveness if need be. Defense will be a crazy value explosion (at no point will this get a straight game-winning combo, those will be avoided in the 99 at all costs), and Intervention is about as good as nope'ing gets in Naya if you don't mention phasing. Fires of Yavimaya is another way to address the haste concern - by literally granting stuff haste. Rhythm of the Wild would be nice, but misses tokens. We live by the tokens. Vigor is a nice piece of lard that responds okay to being copied. Survival of the Fittest was taking a time-out in my binder after being busted in previous decks that attempted to run it, but given the solemn promise of no combos it should be fairer here.

The vision of the deck is crystallising further - the top end need to be made up of good haymaking creatures that can stand alone, but also respond well to being copied. This should give the deck the highest chances of meaningfully contributing to games. The low end needs to be various good utility stuff, solid ETBs that would similarly not mind being copied. That said, a lot of these categories are quite green-heavy. It's nice that the list is not 100% Ghired-dependent, and doesn't fall apart the moment combat becomes too scary for a 2/5 to venture into. I'm not sure how much longer I can continue this Precon Improvement Quest format - I have depleted local resources quite quickly, arranging trades for a few missing pieces, and I feel I've hit the limit of what I can do with them. As such, I'll probably gradually pull out the stops in future updates - Daxos had three improvement quest updates, so did this, more less. Except I kind of cheated on the mana base in this one, but it was for a good cause ;)
Last edited by Rumpy5897 3 months ago, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

I'm seeing parallels to Daxos's early life again - I caught wind of good stuff happening, I stripped myself of the Precon Improvement Quest chains in the fourth update, and I set off for the seas with the wind in my sails! It was fun while it lasted, but now it's time to scratch the itch...


...huh. Turns out there wasn't even that much of an itch left to scratch. A few all-colour lands to improve consistency (currently sitting on 13 basics, unsure what to make of that given the fetch and ramp spell density), Ogre Battledriver as an improvement to Fires of Yavimaya due to potential copy shenanigans, and a couple of rock-solid cards I knew I wanted in here since day one:
  • Anointed Procession and Parallel Lives are wonderful in a token-focused shell, and should work well here with the copy-ready fattos.
  • Rhys the Redeemed is Harvest Season plus perk on legs. The repeatable activated populates have been all-stars in the 99, and this is that on steroids.
  • Helm of the Host costs an arm and a leg to get online, but it is a repeatable way to generate non-perishable token goods. Plus it theoretically gets around legendariness, but we don't really do anything about that. Unless... glances at Elesh Norn
  • Guardian Project is the least killable of the new-school creature draw spells, which makes me like it. Sure, we could copy Beast Whisperer or Soul of the Harvest, but this is a bit more resilient.
  • Reconnaissance is pretty handy for a deck that doesn't want to have its commander (or other value creatures) perish in combat.
Took out the myriad fat (Caller of the Pack, Herald of the Host) on account of them being relatively vanilla, some low-end redundant ETBs (Elvish Visionary, Farhaven Elf), and some utility spells that only really come online when the deck's already humming. Growing Ranks needs a perma-token to be around already, whereas populate options need to be versatile timing wise to potentially catch value off Hate Mirage/Heat Shimmer/Twinflame. It would be a pretty solid consideration if it said end step rather than upkeep. Momentous Fall chomps spare rhinos and not much else.

The deck may well be getting the best reception a new list of mine has ever had in the meta. Nobody minds playing against it, in fact my regular playtest partner who has endured the most of my tuning over the years says he actively likes it and it's made for some of the funnest games we've had in testing. That's good news. I like it too.
Last edited by Rumpy5897 3 months ago, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ISBPathfinder
Bebopin
Posts: 418
Joined: 6 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Location: SD, USA
Has thanked: 30 times
Been thanked: 59 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by ISBPathfinder » 3 months ago

I have not played or seen it played yet but from the get go I was kind of concerned that Ghired looked sort of like a 5 mana Geist of Saint Traft in that you are splitting your damage output and have a low powered commander who probably needs assistance to get through midrange boards but also has incentive to attack.

What are your experiences so far on this? I have not read all of the content yet but will see if I can catch up. I was just curious to hear your thoughts on it so far. I just got Trostoni up and running this week and have been really enjoying her so far. My opponents had a hard time when my life total went over 100 last night lol.

I know people hate auras and for good reason but I have been growing a bit more fond of:

Angelic Gift
Pentarch Ward
Unquestioned Authority

All three of them cantrip and would give some great elasticity to the commander. Obviously there is the bummer when someone spot removes you in response but I have found that usually people aren't that eager to shut these effects down with spot removal as they aren't like huge haymakers and they let you sort of sneak by with your commander in combat.
Expand Signature
[EDH] Sram (auras) | Edgar Markov | Bruna | Jori En | Heliod | Sai
[Modern] Allies

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

I actually like that Ghired is not imposing in combat. There are a number of slots in the 99 designated to grant attackers survivability, your Iroases and whatnot become even better here. On the whole, I haven't found myself crutching super hard on his ability, which makes for a refreshing change of pace given my typical extreme levels of commander reliance. There are various populate effects, including Trostani herself, which can help catch the most urgently duplicate-needy tokens even if Ghired lacks the support to go into the red zone. It's not uncommon for multiple support pieces to come together and completely eclipse the commander's contribution to the board state.

Yep, I can see why you'd enjoy Trostani. She's a similar class of deck to this, you get to shave off the "make Ghired not die in combat" module at the cost of not getting red's token support. As a result, probably less variable in performance level. An interesting trade-off is that you get a 4/4 trampler here by default, so you can afford to be super picky with regards to potential alternate clone targets. In fact, maybe I'm being too stringent...

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Another day, another update. I keep getting games in with my group, so I get to see stuff in action and try to improve overall performance. The new stuff has predictably been on point, with the token doubling in particular being great utility. The deck's annealing quite quickly, given how far it's gone since it was a mere precon netdeck a few days ago. By now so little of the original deck is left in here that I'm better off just scoring the singles. Sad, but it be like that.

16.08.2019 Changes
Approximate Total Cost:

I feel the list has hit enough of a stride where I can put the desired removal in. Cavalier of Dawn is still the best single-target mauler, and his death clause has become relevant with the advent of a large flock of rock-solid support artifact/enchantment pieces. Duergar Hedge-Mage is a surprisingly deep cut (3% of eligible EDHREC decks, versus Reclamation Sage's 23%!), yet has been nothing short of fantastic in Feather. Blasphemous Act is one of the format's premier wipes, plus every now and then we'll get to do a stupid with a Vigor or two. Thunderfoot Baloth may not be quite as back-breaking as Pathbreaker Ibex or Archangel of Thune, but he has one benefit the other two don't - immediacy. He also synergises cutely with Ohran Frostfang. Three Visits in as more ramp wouldn't hurt. Given the deck's distribution of utility pieces and lack of overt reliance on the commander, 4 mana is a sweet spot where you get to play various cool things. This helps get there.

Sifting a few stragglers that slipped through the cut cracks. Soul Foundry looks nice on paper, given its re-use potential, but is oddly resource intensive/clunky in execution. Plus it takes away from the surprise factor. Selesnya Eulogist is the most conditional of the populate legs, as it needs creatures to slurp to activate. This is theoretically supposed to be upside, as you grave-hate someone while getting a token out of the deal, but I've found the inconsistency in this being operational to be more of a deterrent. I misread Hate Mirage and thought the card was 3 mana, plus the situational argument comes around again. I'm usually perfectly content with just copying my own angels/goats or whatnot. Avenger of Zendikar sets a standard so high for 7+CMC lards that Avacyn, Angel of Hope is the only one to clear it, with Giant Adephage perishing in the trimming and some possible includes (Hornet Queen) taking a step back the priority chain. Skyscanner is just not a thing I could ultimately get myself excited about copying.

I'm a bit worried about the deck's curve and reliance on 4-drop spells. However, trying to find cuts is a bit troublesome - the two weakest 4CMC things currently in the deck are Second Harvest and Guardian Project, which is saying something. The queue for possible includes has also considerably emptied, with most desirables being added in the previous swap. Blade of Selves maybe?

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Hello, crickets! The deck seems to have congealed into a playable form, and nothing stuck out quite hard enough to merit immediate cut action in the games it has seen since I last rambled here. However, I'm still a little perturbed by the ridiculous curve, so I took some minimal action to address it. That, and I broke a rule set out at the onset of the deck's life.

19.08.2019 Changes
Approximate Total Cost:

It's not that Guardian Project is a bad card, but it gets outshone spectacularly by Elemental Bond in here. You can also copy Garruk's Packleader and Ohran Frostfang, which is more amusing than practical. Heck, I'd even take Idol of Oblivion over it. As such, away it goes, and in its place arrives Enlightened Tutor, granting access to whatever artifact/enchantment functionality may be desired.

When I pitched the idea of the deck to the meta, around the same time I was smitten by various playgroup-inappropriate nonsense such as Anje Falkenrath Worldgorger Dragon, I did some mental reconnaissance of what the most busted stuff the commander would natively support would be. This led me to infinite combats, in the form of Aurelia, the Warleader and a lesser extent Breath of Fury. You tokenise the Aurelia, you swing with Ghired and stack the triggers so the populate resolves before the untap, and you're in business baby! However, quickly into Ghired's life as a commander I realised things aren't quite that peachy, as that's a 2/5 that has to repeatedly wade into combat. As such, this will also require a protection piece to come online. And sans combo scenarios, Aurelia's going to be a monster in this deck. Taking out Vigor as he's the least good 6+ drop. Sure, we had some fun with getting wild pump off a Brudiclad's Sarkhan, the Masterless dragon hoard, but this should be better in a vacuum. My group's a bit nonplussed about me back-pedalling on this declaration, but I pointed out how I could theoretically be running a swarm of tutors and Kiki infinites, and how benign this is by contrast. If the infinite combat aspect becomes too dominant, I'll take her out, I guess.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Time for a minor change of perspective on the list. Dominicus brewed his own take on Ghired after I bugged him about it (not the first time this has happened - he put together a Bruse Tarl + Tymna after I sent him my list for feedback). This guy knows what's up - he introduced me to the idea of putting discard in Daxos, and acknowledged the importance of going ham on hatebears and Pengine in Feather. His take on Ghired strips down the modularity of my design, and puts a lot of faith in Ghired himself to get the populate rolling. Pretty much no combat protection, zero alternate populate, just bodies, copiers and a truckload of tutors. In a perfect world, this would be a fantastic direction to take the deck, but my meta's quite board gum happy. I can't just follow his advice and swing at the guy with no blockers. Everyone has blockers. It becomes a choice of whether I'd rather have Ghired die to constructs or rats.

That said, I learned quite a bit from how he structured his list. His ramp abruptly cut off at 3, which is not that surprising given Ghired's 5 mana cost. I'm not sure just how much I'll take from his choice of bodies, there was a bunch of damage hurling in Flametongue Kavu/Inferno Titan, the general ETB unpleasantness of Archon of Valor's Reach, and Realm Razer that makes all the prior stuff look benign. Oh yeah, and he has Kiki/Dualcaster infinite support, which I find cliche and would rather avoid. The discrepancy between what I'm doing and the correct build puts a bit of a damper on my considerations to primer this out.

Nevertheless, changes!

20.08.2019 Changes
Approximate Total Cost:

4CMC ramp becomes 3CMC ramp. It's a bit of a pity, I was happy about my land type ramp suite, but ultimately 4 is the spot where stuff starts to happen and the ramp suite needs to weave itself around it. I had a brief phase of running Arbor Elf and land auras in these slots (with extra Cultivate/Kodama's Reach cuts), but I went with the three-drop ETB dudes instead as possible synergy for Ghired copying and Tireless Tracker clue making. That's also a thing that's being introduced - I've noticed myself blanking a bit too much recently, with more focus on running smoothly than having options, so I'm peppering a little more draw in to help with this. Life's Legacy eats rhinos even more efficiently than Momentous Fall, and I'm pretty ok with paying 2 less for the loss of reactivity. Dominicus's list reminded me Splinter Twin is a thing. I'm still used to thinking of it via its modern stigma, which is weird - I was able to consider Kiki as a perfectly adequate value piece forever. Maybe the fact Twin just parks itself on one thing made me forget about it. Still, it allows for a nice value trickle to be had. Taking out most of the one-shot populate stuff to make room. I can hear Ebline grumbling already, but Second Harvest only comes online when you're already doing well and adds inconsistency/modularity to the deck's draws. For context, upon finding out I'm running Sundial of the Infinite, Ebline suggested I also include Chance for Glory :P I'm not quite baller enough to go after the reusable populate yet. Dominicus only kept one of my combat protection pieces - Vigor. While I may lack the cute synergy where I damage my own stuff with it, it's still ultimately one of the better beefslabs I could be running and I cut it too easily. Taking out Wurmcoil Engine as it's the relatively least impactful of the six-drops in here at the moment. Its main upside is acting as some form of wipe insurance with its on-death body barf, and the keywords are nice, but ultimately it's a less impactful body than the other options - Vigor is damage shielding, Thunderfoot Baloth is immediate stackable pump, Pathbreaker Ibex and Aurelia, the Warleader are tremendous alpha roars. Savage Ventmaw is the most debatable with its on-attack mana, interacting poorly with Ghired, but the mana boost is nontrivial. It's hovering around the outskirts if I come up with something better to run. Or maybe you can help me with some impactful lard suggesstions? Some people read this thread, help a brother out here :P

As usual, need to get more games in. Need to see when the populate options come online, when the protection pieces work and when they don't. Need to keep streamlining the design a bit, whatever I can given the need to maintain the combat protection suite.
Last edited by Rumpy5897 2 months ago, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Got some more games in. The deck is now quite firmly in its stride, I don't recall the last time the list was shafted by a dismal non-screw draw. Something always happens. Was starting to doubt the populate side pieces a bit until I got a pretty cute draw where I Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage'd an Archangel of Thune copy so hard that my board lived through my own Blasphemous Act. I won that game without even playing my commander, a feat unheard of in my other decks. What is this?! :P

The deck got the missing singles ordered today. While browsing CardMarket and trying to outsmart the somewhat sloppy heuristic of the shopping wizard, I did a little thinking on my choice of a few support spells.


Defense of the Heart is ultimately a bit of a polarising card. The fact it comes out and sits there as an enchantment means it feels bad if it gets popped, yet also feels a bit bad if it lives in a "you let this happen, guys" sort of way. Meanwhile, Survival of the Fittest reveals itself, yet again, to not be quite as braindead an autoinclude as one would believe. It worked fine in my Zig Zog deck, as that had draw out the wazoo and combos. It worked fine in my short-lived commander-agnostic Jund reanimator pile, as that interacted intensely with its graveyard. It worked fine in fishsticks, as that also had draw out the wazoo and combos. However, there is less draw here, less need for individual silver bullets due to overall redundancy, and less opportunity to abuse Feldon for fun and profit. As such, the tutor choices get adjusted. Finale of Devastation is best friends with Pathbreaker Ibex, which as far as I'm concerned is a win. I sang its praises in my old Sally Patron of the Orochi thread, that card is bonkers and will do good work here. Eladamri's Call is just a solid utility option. Chord of Calling is staying on account of being wicked good, especially given the fact the board goes a little wide sometimes.

Speaking of the board going a little wide sometimes, Odric, Master Tactician is a good hybrid protection/evasion piece that will work great here. The commander making a bunch of bodies should help the four-man threshold, and then he's safe to wander into battle and keep making more friends. Taking out Sundial of the Infinite as the worst member of the general protection club. Sure, sometimes it allows us to keep some temporary red tokens, but its brand of Ghired protection is the most invasive. Swapping Rootborn Defenses for Teferi's Protection as it kind of does the same thing but better. Sure, we won't get the bonus token off this, but the fact the reactive umbrella's so much wider makes it an acceptable sacrifice to make.

I remembered Kalonian Hydra is a thing while pondering the composition, and that's hovering around as a potential include. Same for Mirari's Wake, or maybe even Zendikar Resurgent. Could be decent. I'll keep an eye out and see what happens.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Think I can stop prefacing update posts with sentiments about the deck being operational. It works well within meta test games, I even wandered out into a few Cockatrice pubs that were explicitly flagged as casual and largely held my own. As one would expect, the deck is not super keen on being wiped. As such, I figured I'd look to existing beatstick commanders to see how they go about this sort of thing.

Xenagod is the one that immediately comes to mind as a beefslab legend. In a way, this deck exhibits some conceptual similarities - try to make one original body go a long way. True, they may be more about a single tall whereas this thing's more about additive mid-size wide, but further focusing on creatures that enable this sort of behaviour should make it easier to bounce back from disruption on account of requiring less card commitment. Couple that with sensible draw density (Tireless Tracker has been a house!) and you should stay in business.

25.08.2019 Changes
Approximate Total Cost:

Kalonian Hydra is designed to be threatening on its own. You swing, you got an 8/8 coming in hot, and it's just going to keep growing and pressuring life totals. Now picture having multiples. This thing will single handedly steal games if copied and left unchecked, which is in line with the one-card threat mentality previously pursued with Archangel of Thune or Thunderfoot Baloth. Sure, it's just beef. But the beef stacks exponentially with the deck's game plan. Sure, it'd probably be correct to run a bunch of ETB nastiness instead, but this is more fun :P Taking out the earmarked Savage Ventmaw as it supports the polar opposite game plan - make a ton of mana, probably spending it on casting stuff unless Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage is around. As Dominicus wisely remarked when asked about why his list wasn't running it, "What do you even need all that mana for at that stage?"

Another way to get around wiping adversely affecting your day is building various safeguards into your own deck that prevent you from losing your whole board to your own resets. As mentioned in the previous post, a particularly thick board lived through Blasphemous Act with no outside assistance. There's more innate resistance to damage wipes in the list, with options that help against regular destruction being joined by the aforementioned gigantic board growth and Vigor. As such, Wrath of God becomes Chain Reaction. It'd probably be correct to run both. I'll keep adding a bit more interactivity in mind going forward, but I'm trying to keep the list from being fun police.

Also adding a couple painful lands that I hear are useful. Ancient Tomb is quite good, I believe, and this deck is not coloured-heavy enough to have it get in the way too often. Hall of the Bandit Lord is the most mana efficient way to grant something haste, so hopefully the life ding can be survived. Taking out a couple basics, think that's about as far as I can stretch this. Hopefully these new lands will be worth it.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

The rapid update cycle has largely ran its course. Looking at the list in search of potential cuts seems like aggressive nitpicking, as any time I seem to pinpoint something I can slash out (Naya Charm? Selfless Spirit? Rhys the Redeemed?) the card proceeds to ridiculously impact the very next game. At this point I just need loads of games under my belt to figure out how this runs and what it needs to smooth out any remaining bumps. Myriad Sword keeps poking me about a slot. I'm leaning towards writing this up. Going full ETB nasty wouldn't even be that good here, as Ghired only populates in a single copy of a thing in combat. I guess I can rustle up a box about spicing the list up with combos and call it a day.

30.08.2019 Changes
Approximate Total Cost:

I recalled that one of the guys from my group is sitting on a spare Taiga, so a bigshot trade with me surrendering Survival of the Fittest and a Vampiric Tutor (plus some filler) has been agreed upon. Nobody could have foreseen that running duals would be good. Taking out the AKH bicycle lands, as those are the worst cycle. Keeping the tangoes as the deck's quite heavy on land type fetching. Down to 10 basics, which feels a little iffy.

yeti1069
Posts: 27
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Been thanked: 2 times

Post by yeti1069 » 3 months ago

Playing a similar version of Ghired, just one game so far. Naya Charm won me the game by tapping down the Ur Dragon player's crazy board before he could swing for lethal.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Yep, Naya Charm's a stupid versatile card with a "fail case" of instant-speed Ewit. That's one hell of a fail case. I've had it do similar alpha-related wipeouts, and I even used the bolt once to slap a Marchesa before she got all countered up. It's crazy good, and I need to stop forgetting this obvious fact. Feel free to toss your list up somewhere, I'm new to this whole "Naya face smash" thing and am still looking around for obvious misses from this build.

A couple other general observations from how this thing runs these days:
  • Two mana ramp is important. Four mana is where most of the support stuff kicks in, so that everything is nice and prepped for Ghired's arrival with some good utility awaiting to kick things into gear. It'd probably be correct to find a spot for Joraga Treespeaker.
  • There's no shame in being on the rhino backup plan. People don't tend to care a ton if all you do is swing and make a 4/4, but those do add up if left unchecked. Plus, they can start doing actual stuff once proper team support lards show up later.
  • As a corollary of sorts to the above, Anointed Procession and Parallel Lives are stone-cold nuts in here. Pointing Heat Shimmer at a simple Steve, followed by a commander swing, resulted in a quadruple Rampant Growth from a single card. Ghired entering the field and swinging once set up everything Rhys needed to turn sideways to spit out 32 tramply power on turn five. Part of their charm is that they cost four. I'm not sure whether Doubling Season would sequence as effortlessly. On the other hand, I've often delayed Ghired a turn to set up Garruk's Packleader...

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

I'm quite inexperienced at this whole "three colour mana base" thing, so here's me fixing a rather obvious oversight. Also, I ran the list past another MTG-playing friend who made the mistake of coming online, who pointed out an interesting dynamic.

04.09.2019 Changes
Approximate Total Cost:

Thing is, when I look at Path of Ancestry, my mono/two-coloured lizard brain thinks "tribal deck", not "strictly better tri-colour tapland". Gonna have to try to remember this going forward, if any more 3+ colour decks await me. And as for the other swap, the friend made a good remark - with this sort of build, I'll typically be the aggressor, and I won't be super incentivised to wipe. True, I have shenanigans that can ensure that my stuff lives, but those are not guaranteed. As such, for the time being I'm down-sizing to one wipe and slipping in Beastmaster Ascension, which is kind of a protection piece of sorts. I mean, swinging in with a 7/10 Ghired is a lot better for survivability than his default 2/5 bod. I'm trying to keep my protection pieces stackable, so that I can keep using them if I crack multiples. For example, Iroas still grants menace if Avacyn comes out to roost. The only one that kind obsoletes the rest is Odric, but given the scale of the effect I'm willing to forgive that :P

yeti1069
Posts: 27
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Been thanked: 2 times

Post by yeti1069 » 3 months ago

I'll try to get around to posting my list soon, but in the meantime...

some cards that have done well by me:

Hate Mirage - copied Kaalia player's Karmic Guide and Angel of Despair. Drew out two removal from them to keep me from making copies of those tokens using...

Selesnya Eulogist - hated on the graveyard deck player while repeatedly making high value copies of Eternal Witness (off Flame Shadow Conjuring; think I made 4 Witness copies in total over 3 turns, which is definitely what got me the win), and 2 copies of Regal Behemoth , which actually sealed the deal in allowing me to do crazy stuff, such as tutoring for, then copying Kolonia Hydra 7 times to win with over 3,000 damage on the swing.

Flamerush Rider - I initially thought I'd dump this guy, but the Dash ability worked quite well in two games I played, as it allowed him to dodge boardwipes, and with Flame-Shadow, I was able to spend 5 mana to bring him out, copy him, then attack with both, copy each other, and swing for 12 almost out of nowhere.

My takeaways from the games tonight and a few days ago were:
  • need to maximize the number of effects that copy my creatures
    need to include some more cheap utility creatures
    need some targeted land destruction, as the deck just folds to Glacial Chasm
    need some more significant grave hate
    Populate at instant speed/on demand is nuts, and I want more of it!
    Karmic Guide likely belongs in the deck
    I want more than 1 creature that grants Haste that I can tutor for

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Your thoughts sound quite similar to some of my early updates here ;) I can foresee a conceptually similar path of development of your deck - you'll jam your own copiers and streamline the list, you'll eventually shave Hate Mirage because you pack higher average quality of creatures and copy them reliably, you'll end up in a tug of war between flexibility of a very modular design and the more consistent performance of focusing more on direct synergy with the commander's combat populate. I expect you to turn to the Iroases of the world soon enough ;) Improving a precon is a gradual quest - stuff you think is the absolute nuts now may show itself to be a variable underperformer relative to the rest of the list a bit further down the line.

You do bring up an interesting point about big mana and Karmic Guide though. I'll need to keep both of those in mind. I tend to like having the deck snuggle up at around 8 mana or so in the mid game and just do its thing comfortably, avoiding crazy overextending and milking whatever the creature of the day is for maximum value. It might well be correct to go for a few doublers, especially given the nontrivial draw component.

yeti1069
Posts: 27
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Been thanked: 2 times

Post by yeti1069 » 3 months ago

The only mana double I put it in was Regal Behemoth, since he's a good rate at a 5/5 trample for 6, draws at least one card, and isn't legendary, so copying him is relevant. He's also the best doubler for a tri-color deck, I think, since he makes mana of any color irrespective of the land being tapped.

I definitely play with people who will regularly have more ridiculous stuff than I do to copy, like eldrazi nonsense.
Also, I feel like Hate Mirage making two tokens is a lot of value for 4 mana.

Given how nuts Eternal Witness was in that game, I'll definitely be putting Karmic Guide in. If I had had KG, I would have had some even MORE bonkers turns!

I've included Iroas and Reconnaissance already, since I've had success with them in other decks that really want to attack, but not lose attackers. Haven't drawn either, but I know they'll be solid.

For the most part, I've been able to get in a swing with Ghired each turn without losing him, but once he starts making tokens, I've been targeted with hate, and boardwipes have been a problem (particularly back-to-back wipes). Going to change out some of my 2- or 3- mana tutors for a couple 4+ that are ramping 2+ lands to keep up with Ghired's high starting cmc.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Huh, that's the reverse of what I've ended up doing - dedicating 4 CMC to utility stuff and keeping the ramp at 3 and below. Maybe you don't have the embarrassment of riches at 4 that token doublers and whatnot else bring quite yet. Still haven't seen the list - feel free to just chuck it on TappedOut or something if that'd be easier.

I guess that sort of stuff is quite meta-dependent. I once got a Borborygmos Enraged coupled with a Vilis, Broker of Blood off Hate Mirage, which was kinda cute, but ultimately not that much better than just doing my stuff. Note that you have one Ghired combat populate, so you only retain perma-value if you get a second populate thing going. Speaking of that, there's not that much grave stuff in my meta, and we're not super wrath heavy, so Selesnya Eulogist was quite unreliable. Playgroup differences!

You've made quite a good case for Regal Behemoth as well. It's cool that populating him nicks back monarchy regardless of where at the table it may be, and it stacks nicely with extra copies. Probably need to test him out.

yeti1069
Posts: 27
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Been thanked: 2 times

Post by yeti1069 » 3 months ago

Haven't had a chance to sit down and copy the list. A lot is similar to yours.

I was just noticing that with 2 mana ramp spells, and the 3 mana fetch elves, I also felt starved for resources--recasting Ghired, activating Bramble Sovereign, etc... I want to see if fetching 2+ lands at a time will help alleviate that a bit. I do agree that there's a lot of action at 4 and 5 mana, so I'm not sure I really want to be doing that...

With Regal out, I was tapping a land for 3 mana, and if I had taken the time to do the calculations, I should have made 2 more copies, to tap each for 5 mana. I had 7 mana open, which was 21 with 2 copies, and would have been 24 in the pool if I had made a 3rd copy, and 26 in the pool (1 floating from activating Eulogist) with a 4th copy. Ended up not mattering, but good to remember for the future.

Yeah, there's pretty big playgroup circle, so run into a lot of different stuff, but a contingent skews toward cEDH, so even when they don't play a strictly competitive deck, they're bringing the hard stuff, which pushes most of the rest of the players to run stronger decks with more removal and wipes.

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Yeah, Bramble Sovereign requiring mana on the turn can be a little clunky sometimes. However, the token is forever, which is nice. Overall, the deck is quite modular - you need your Ghired, or other populate engine. You need your body to tokenise. You need the clone ability. All those pieces take up mana to come online, so it takes a few turns to get set up. Thankfully smart fatty choice can lead to good scaling and a resulting beefy army, rewarding you for all the setup hoops.

I've noticed that this deck responds extremely well to Sol Ring/Mana Crypt starts, so it might be wise to try to pursue a bit more low cost explosive ramp. Seeing how your meta sounds quite sculpted, you'd probably get good mileage out of Carpet of Flowers in anything green going forward. I've been toying with the idea of a Joraga Treespeaker as well.

yeti1069
Posts: 27
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Been thanked: 2 times

Post by yeti1069 » 3 months ago

Were you thinking of using Joraga to gain additional mileage out of the mana tutoring elves?

User avatar
Rumpy5897
Tuner of Jank
Posts: 670
Joined: 5 months ago
Pronoun: he / him
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 104 times

Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Her main mode of operation would be as a Fyndhorn Elder that you can spread across two turns if need be, single-handedly powering out a turn three Ghired Sol Ring style. I guess level five's a weird fail case scenario if nothing better to do shows up. However, if you seriously have nothing better to do with eight mana, then that's trouble :P

Upon further examination, I'm a little worried about Regal Behemoth due to his relative dwarfism compared to the other lards. One time I had a guy throw 10+ power of board away just to stop me having a permanent Thunderbalon token around, and I'm pretty sure that a five power stackable mana doubler will get people pooling chumps to offer up in trades. Kind of like how I was psyched for Tendershoot Dryad for a second before realising she's a 2/2. Guess I'll just have to test and see.

The deck earned its metaphorical stripes yesterday as it 3:0'd a Golos that would quite routinely chomp early versions of the build. He may not have had the best draws, but the deck got its stuff going quite efficiently each time and started pressuring the life total quickly. Kalonian Hydra continues being a ridiculous beatstick, Beastmaster Ascension has an interesting dynamic that responds to the stage of the game. Some part of me wants to jam in more extra combat stuff as Aurelia has been pretty good at fuelling ludicrous alpha roars. However, that'd create yet another sliding part module in the deck, soaking up mana and card space and only properly responding once there's already a somewhat developed board.

That said, I've also noticed an unfortunate mindset problem when piloting the list - if the pieces don't come together and I'm stuck populating rhinos, I tend to view the deck as having failed even if I win the game. That's not that bad by itself, but I tend to respond poorly to getting interacted with in those scenarios, viewing it as a case of kicking me when I'm down. I just had a game where I landed an Elemental Bond plus Parallel Lives setup, drawing fistfuls of nothing. In retrospect, the table getting spooked by this made sense, and I shouldn't have gotten salty at the zinging of Ogre Battledriver. I was sitting on an unrevealed Rhys, which would have combined with the Battledriver for a game-stealing wall of rhino. Yet that somehow doesn't feel valid, as it's rhinos and not Thunderbalons or whatever. No idea how to fix this - each time I think about the rhinos my mind just shortcuts to it being a fail case preventing me from doing absolutely nothing, and not a valid line of play that can ever make me threatening. Ah well. Hopefully it'll get better with time now that I've acknowledged it, or I'll figure out some angle to make it go away.

KMA_Again
Posts: 12
Joined: 4 months ago
Pronoun: Unlisted

Post by KMA_Again » 2 months ago

Precursor Golem.

This guy is the nuts in any deck you can play copy effects like Heat Shimmer, targeting one of his Golem buddies. You should be able to churn out hundreds of golems without an issue in this deck consistently.

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic

Return to “Decklists”