Radha, Heart of Keld - Always Snooping at your Library

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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

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This is my first real pure Gruul deck, so I'm really excited about this one.
I looked at making a Klothys, God of Destiny a while ago, but it just didn't look inspiring enough.
I've already noticed some people comparing Mina and Denn, Wildborn as the alternative commander to Radha, Heart of Keld, which is understandable considering you want to play additional land cards, but as I'll show you these commanders are wildly different in context.

My pile of potential includes to construct around Radha, Heart of Keld was around 180 cards..without lands. So I had to get really disciplined when it came to coming up with a 99 that I felt did justice.

Playing lands AND creatures off top of library
However there were a couple of cards that I knew I wanted to center around and that was Vizier of the Menagerie and Vivien, Monsters' Advocate.
This means that as long as you have a heavy creature centric deck, between these and Radha, Heart of Keld you can play most cards off the top of your library.
So given this, unless a non-creature card is amazing for the theme I had to cut them. In this manner if I can find a creature that performs a similar function that a non-creature card does, no matter how good I'll prioritize the creature cards.

Playing with perfect information
Playing lands off the top of your library is obviously great for card advantages, especially when combined with cards that allow you to play additional lands.
However this is only half of what Radha, Heart of Keld can provide. Knowing what your top card allows you to play a number of cards and ways to make sure that you gain advantages and have a lot of chances of drawing cards that you do want.


Shuffle effects is one of the easier ways to get a fresh look at the top of your library. If you don't have a land on top with a land drop to go, then shuffling your library can give you another chance at it. Also if its a card that you don't want to draw.
Essentially you will never want to draw a land for your draw step.
There are 10 fetch-land that search for other lands, so these shuffle your library.
Madblind Mountain allows you to shuffle if you have say Radha, Heart of Keld and another Red permanent.
Scrying Sheets is normally a bit hit or miss, but with Radha you will only activate it when you have one of your Snow-Covered Basics on top.

There are tons of tutor effects between creatures and lands, and not only do these give you access to further card manipulation, but they'll also shuffle your deck for a fresh look.



Top of library advantages
There are lots of ways to take advantage of the fact that you know the top of your library.

Bomat Courier will remove the top card, and you can track exactly what it contains in the case you want to sacrifice it.
Orcish Librarian will get a look at the top 8 and then you'll get 4 at random to then put back. You will organize them so that you draw non-land cards and during your turn you will have a land on top to play with Radha.
Bloodline Shaman can name a creature type that is on top. This card is basically just "t: draw a card" in this deck.
Duskwatch Recruiter and Nylea, Keen-Eyed allow you dig for a creature and their cost reductions are great for a creature heavy deck and that you are looking to cast multiple creatures each turn.
Hermit Druid is not used to mill too many cards into your graveyard as there are a lot of Basics in the deck. But simply milling cards you don't want on top is gerat when you also pick up a land to hand for your troubles as well. It might be that a Basic is the top card of your library and you don't want to draw it for the turn, so activating it in upkeep might be the play.
Dryad Greenseeker can clear off lands from the top of your library as you might not want to draw it for the turn, or you have your other enablers in Vizier of the Menagerie and Vivien, Monsters' Advocate going.
Nissa, Vastwood Seer can always nail a land with perfect information.

There are a bunch of non-creature cards that manipulate the top card of your library for new looks.
Mirri's Guile, Sensei's Divining Top, Sylvan Library allow manipulating the top 3 cards of your library to order them in the best possible way.
Enter the Unknown uses explore to change the top card, and it allows you to play another land for the turn.
Growing Rites of Itlimoc gets a fresh look and when transformed is a powerful enabler to cast much of your deck.
Experimental Frenzy is another way to cast creatures from the top of the library, and can be a backup to Radha if she has been shut out some way.

Voltron with Radha, Heart of Keld
It is possible to use the 4rg ability of Radha to give her large stats bonuses.
Without trample more often your opponents will be able to chump block, but Mina and Denn, Wildborn will give you the option of giving trample.

Not so obvious inclusions
Underworld Breach is not a combo card in this deck, but just a cheap value card. Getting back a card or two can give you some additional scope, and if you've used Hermit Druid to some effect you might get more depth of play.

Noxious Revival can even return a land to top of library if you really wanted to hit a land drop for turn with Radha.

Burgeoning doesn't actually help with playing additional lands off top of library, but as you are manipulating your library so that you don't play the lands from your hand you do draw, you can make use of the Burgeoning to get those lands into play. Great for fast starts as well.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth might seem like a very unusual include, but I've played quite a few top manipulation decks in my day.
There are going to be instances where you don't want to sacrifice your fetchlands as you want the card on top, so Urborg means that you can still tap them for mana. Also helps if you get into a situation where there are no more fetchable lands.



Goblin Package
Show
Conspicuous Snoop and Goblins
Another element that I wanted to have fun with is using Conspicuous Snoop as its a new card and I like trying new things.
I ended up not playing this Goblin package due to not wanting to have infinite's in the deck and keeping it a bit more casual. But here is a run down of what you could play to extend the top of library theme a bit.
There is a combo with using Goblin Recruiter to specifically get Conspicuous Snoop, Skirk Prospector, Torch Courier, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Siege-Gang Commander in that order.
You can cast Goblins off the top of your library and also Conspicuous Snoop has the activated abilities of your Goblins.
Once you cast Conspicuous Snoop you can sacrifice the Goblin Recruiter to get r to cast the Skirk Prospector.
Then cast Torch Courier and to give Conspicuous Snoop haste. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker is now the top card of your library. You can make infinite Conspicuous Snoop as it has Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker ability and you can make a copies of itself. They will all be tapped except one, but with Skirk Prospector you can sacrifice to get as much r as you want, and simply cast Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker when you are ready. Now Siege-Gang Commander is the top card and you can sacrifice your Conspicuous Snoop copies to kill opponents with damage.


Radha, Heart of Keld

Commander


Additional Lands (Non-Creature)


Removal (Non-Creature)


Card advantage (Non-Creature)


Graveyard (Creatures)


Graveyard (Non-Creature)


Protection (instant)


Artifact Mana


Approximate Total Cost:

Last edited by darrenhabib 1 year ago, edited 6 times in total.

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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Radha, Heart of Keld has been another recent deck that I've been loving. It plays great and having top of library information cannot be understated how well that helps in actual game play. Radha is more powerful than you might imagine.

I decided to take out infinite combos as I've been playing this among more casual playgroups. So I've taken out the whole Goblin package.

Zendikar Rising has some great additions with Moraug, Fury of Akoum playing additional lands amazing.
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild is great with make all your creatures Forest for additional mana and also providing landfall triggers from playing your creatures.
Valakut Exploration being one of the new landfall cards that greatly benefit from this type of thing.


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Stapler
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Post by Stapler » 1 year ago

This deck actually inspired me to try to build a non-combo version of it back when you posted it, so it's funny that you ended up on the same plan eventually. I put it on the backburner and never ended up with a version I was totally happy with, but I've been slowly acquiring the core cards to the deck like Orcish Librarian, so maybe I'll get around to working something out.

There's three "top of the library" cards I didn't see mentioned here that I think are worth considering for a slot, whether that be replacing current top of the library cards or making room for more. Millikin is the best of these, as outside of the nonbo with Collector Ouphe, it's just a manadork that also happens to work great with your general, as well as Life from the Loam, Underworld Breach, etc. There's also Fa'adiyah Seer, which IMO is an upgrade over Dryad Greenseeker ignoring the mostly irrelevant loss of toughness, as the Seer gives you the option of milling an unwanted nonland card off the top, performing a similar service to Millikin. Seer is awkward against opposing Smothering Tithes and such, but in a vacuum I think the card's stronger, though my last draft of the deck is running both. Finally there's the new Magmatic Channeler, though I'm less convinced by this one since it requires a bit more of a commitment to manipulate the top, but I thought I'd mention it.

I'll also say that Hermit Druid is mentioned twice in the OP but isn't anywhere in the decklist, dunno if that's an omission from the decklist or old inclusion or what have you.

How have you been winning games with the deck? Finding good, efficient, non-combo finishers is one of the major issues I've had with my build and I'm not sure I'm seeing how your current build is closing games outside of just putting piles of lands and creatures into play (Moraug, Fury of Akoum is one possiblity, but I'm assuming you haven't played with it yet unless you proxied it?), so I'm probably missing something. It seems like voltroning with Radha is one of the primary ways the deck can win, but I only see one evasion-granter in Mina and Denn, Wildborn, so I might suggest Footfall Crater and Kessig Wolf Run as some potential includes. Finally, I'll just toss in that Jolrael, Empress of Beasts is the one card I was very happy to discover as a finisher for the deck, weaponizing our land ramp into a horde of beasts while also putting anyone who tries to wrath under the threat of mutual destruction (notice she says target player!). She also seems like she can do some silly things with Moraug, Fury of Akoum.

EDIT: Ah, one more card. Another closer I was happy about finding is Brash Taunter, as you can pump Radha to the stratosphere and then use the Taunter to fight her, letting you blow a player up outside of combat, a somewhat rare thing for a Gruul deck to get to do.
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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

Stapler wrote:
1 year ago
There's three "top of the library" cards I didn't see mentioned here that I think are worth considering for a slot, whether that be replacing current top of the library cards or making room for more. Millikin is the best of these, as outside of the nonbo with Collector Ouphe, it's just a manadork that also happens to work great with your general, as well as Life from the Loam, Underworld Breach, etc. There's also Fa'adiyah Seer, which IMO is an upgrade over Dryad Greenseeker ignoring the mostly irrelevant loss of toughness, as the Seer gives you the option of milling an unwanted nonland card off the top, performing a similar service to Millikin. Seer is awkward against opposing Smothering Tithes and such, but in a vacuum I think the card's stronger, though my last draft of the deck is running both. Finally there's the new Magmatic Channeler, though I'm less convinced by this one since it requires a bit more of a commitment to manipulate the top, but I thought I'd mention it.
Fa'adiyah Seer is a straight upgrade to Dryad Greenseeker, good call.
Millikin actually can just replace Life from the Loam as I've not been using it at all actually.
I'll also say that Hermit Druid is mentioned twice in the OP but isn't anywhere in the decklist, dunno if that's an omission from the decklist or old inclusion or what have you.
Oh yeah just looking at my actual deck with the list posted here and seems like I just didn't update it at sometime.
So it actually has these differences..
Includes; Finale of Devastation, Genesis Wave, Hermit Druid, Kessig Wolf Run.
Doesn't include; Mox Diamond, Birthing Pod, Summer Bloom. Scavenger Grounds.
How have you been winning games with the deck? Finding good, efficient, non-combo finishers is one of the major issues I've had with my build and I'm not sure I'm seeing how your current build is closing games outside of just putting piles of lands and creatures into play (Moraug, Fury of Akoum is one possiblity, but I'm assuming you haven't played with it yet unless you proxied it?), so I'm probably missing something. It seems like voltroning with Radha is one of the primary ways the deck can win, but I only see one evasion-granter in Mina and Denn, Wildborn, so I might suggest Footfall Crater and Kessig Wolf Run as some potential includes. Finally, I'll just toss in that Jolrael, Empress of Beasts is the one card I was very happy to discover as a finisher for the deck, weaponizing our land ramp into a horde of beasts while also putting anyone who tries to wrath under the threat of mutual destruction (notice she says target player!). She also seems like she can do some silly things with Moraug, Fury of Akoum.

EDIT: Ah, one more card. Another closer I was happy about finding is Brash Taunter, as you can pump Radha to the stratosphere and then use the Taunter to fight her, letting you blow a player up outside of combat, a somewhat rare thing for a Gruul deck to get to do.
Closing has been no problem. I have used Finale of Devastation as a Craterhoof Behemoth effect to finish off opponents all in one go.
Shaman of Forgotten Ways is another way I'll get one turn kills on opponents.
But the main thing to this that I basically just overwhelm opponents by end up playing most of the deck between the top of library casters in Vizier of the Menagerie, Experimental Frenzy, Vivien, Monsters' Advocate and Radha combined with the additional land plays means that you literally just keep putting cards into play until your run out mana and of course it's an exponential mana due to playing out so many lands.

I haven't updated the thread at all with explaining how the deck plays (since I've started playing it), and yeah Radha as Voltron has been the real deal which I didn't plan for in terms of actual game play at all really. So I have been playing Kessig Wolf Run and I've literally killed players with a single Radha hit.

I've been lazy with this thread because nobody had commented. so you tend to only put in what you get back.
I'll try and make this thread more explanatory as Radha has ended up being waaay better than I first imagined in terms of both fun and how good it is.


NotARooster
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Post by NotARooster » 1 year ago

List looks like a lot of fun! Do you have any suggestions for a more budget manabase, specifically for the lands? I'm working on getting a copy of each fetchland but I only have a few of them right now

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 year ago

NotARooster wrote:
1 year ago
List looks like a lot of fun! Do you have any suggestions for a more budget manabase, specifically for the lands? I'm working on getting a copy of each fetchland but I only have a few of them right now
You can get away with a pretty heavy basic lands build I reckon. You still want to consistently have rg on Turn 3, so you do need more of an even split between red and green mana even though the deck is actually a 84% Green / 16% Red.
So aim for something like 2:3 ratio Red:Green, meaning that for every 2 Red only lands you should have 3 Green only lands.

Obviously you want as many fetches as possible, so those are about the only ones you really need to focus on as far as expensive lands.

Winding Canyons is really the only unique land that does something "special". But the deck works fine without it.

To be honest I never even remember activating Scrying Sheets, so don;t worry about that interaction either.

You can replace Mana Crypt with Joraga Treespeaker.

If these are too expensive for you; Dockside Extortionist, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, Ashaya, Soul of the Wild, then you can just look at some alternative mana dorks.
Try the classic Elvish Mystic, Llanowar Elves, Fyndhorn Elves.

As far as cheaper untapped dual lands, this is a list.
Pretty much you don't want to skimp on the "Additional Lands Creatures" with Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, Wayward Swordtooth, Oracle of Mul Daya, Mina and Denn, Wildborn. Save your pennies for those.

The tutors in Gamble, Worldly Tutor, Survival of the Fittest, Green Sun's Zenith, Finale of Devastation are all incredible expensive as well. My suggestion is to retain at least shuffle library effects, and creatures are better for advantages for Vivien, Monsters' Advocate, Beast Whisperer, Vizier of the Menagerie, Nylea, Keen-Eyed, Bloodline Shaman, Duskwatch Recruiter.

So given this look at cards like Alpine Guide, Burnished Hart, Dawntreader Elk, Diligent Farmhand, Farhaven Elf, Fertilid, Migratory Greathorn, Oashra Cultivator, Silverglade Pathfinder, Solemn Simulacrum, Treefolk Harbinger, Yavimaya Elder, Yavimaya Granger as substitutes for any given expensive card you can't afford and the deck will maintain great synergy. Also remember that the more of these land search creatures you have you can afford to go down a land or two.

Hope that helps, let me know what other cards are too expensive for you and I can try and come up with substitutes.



Another thing to look for is using some of the new modal spell/lands as you can play them with Radha off the top of your library as the land mode.
I actually only realized this today. Given this I'm going to try some to see how they go in the deck.


NotARooster
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Post by NotARooster » 1 year ago

Thanks for the suggestions! I've got most of the expensive nonland staples, only missing Wayward Swordtooth and the new cards from ZNR. Can't wait to try the deck out!

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