Saryth's Magnificent Trampling Circus

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Rumpy5897
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 months ago

One day around 2001/2002, I went to lunch. Two of the kids pulled out two mono green piles, likely inherited from older brothers, and started slinging. I watched in awe as Rabid Elephants and Whiptail Wurms started landing and crashing into each other, with the game going long and turning into a stalemate between a lethal-sized Lhurgoyf and a Stone-Tongue Basilisk. Alas, the game never reached its conclusion as the lunch break was over, but once some classmates got a bit more actively into Magic around 2005, I had one thing on my mind. I pieced together the coolest green fat I could find, augmenting it with Blanchwood Armors for good measure. The deck wasn't great, to put it gently. A fact that I was all too often reminded of by my most common play partner, who was rocking what may well have been a proper Extended Psychatog list. While I drifted away from the game, the memory of the deck remained.

As such, once I got into EDH, I kept an eye out for opportunities to pay tribute to the wurm deck of yore. Grothama was kind of similar in spirit, but too explosive in practice. Selvala, Explorer Returned had good acceleration, but lacked direction. And then MID rolled out, I saw Saryth, and was committed to building her the second I reached the bottom of the card. It's been a while since a legend turned my head to this extent, the last one was Feather. Saryth is actually quite an interesting commander in practice, not quite the one-dimensional deathtouch + trample with hexproof backup pile I was expecting. The ability to untap creatures or lands incentivises some exploration of tap abilities and land auras. However, the wurm deck spirit is definitely there. One of the deck's first games, where I got to double Nantuko Mentor the Rootbreaker Wurm and blast into someone for 24, got me grinning like crazy. Soon after Colossification landed on said Wurm, and the smile didn't go away even after I got taken out by a dragon horde. Fun times.


The choice of cards is predominantly dictated by coolness rather than trying to be the very best at what the deck does. Yeah, Battle Mammoth is better than Rootbreaker Wurm, but it's the latter that I rocked in my 2005 deck and have nostalgic memories of. The main problem is insufficient top-up prowess. However, green draw is hardly "cool"; pretty much any half-viable card has been played to death. I need to up the draw a bit, likely at the expense of some of the first strike equipment. A little of it seems interesting, but the intent was to put it on mana dorks and have them become first strike deathtouch threats. This hasn't really been happening, the only time the first strike came in handy was when I put it on a swinger and smacked into a bigger board. That feels like it could be jankily addressed with "more gun" incarnate like overkill pump auras. There's still room to make this run smoother within its constraints, need to figure out how though.

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Last edited by Rumpy5897 3 weeks ago, edited 4 times in total.
 
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Chromaticus
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Post by Chromaticus » 2 months ago

If there was ever a deck to bring back Basi-Lure this has got to be the one!

Your commander plus any reasonable beater and Lure is a one-player Plague Wind .

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 months ago

Yep, Lures are something I'm keeping in mind. However, they strike me as rather mean, given the power level the deck wants to operate at - sending a one-sided board demolition bludgeon into a single player will probably kneecap them a bit harder than I would like. We'll see how the deck shapes up. For now, I've got some other swaps going on.


This bunch of changes addresses two main concerns with the deck - the variable returns of the first strike equipment, and the list running out of gas quite aggressively. Stuff like Sharpened Pitchfork is great on paper, as it can be used to swing into threatening boards or threaten very favourable blockers, but then in practice it didn't do a lot. A better approach was just to "more gun" the hell out of the situation. A massively pumped deathtouch trample swinger that requires a hefty board presence sacrifice to answer tends to work pretty well :P This also leans into memories of the original 2005 wurm deck, where I'd stack unnecessarily many Blanchwood Armors on a beefslab. As such, more pump! Curving out a beatstick into a crazy overpriced pump aura is also a quicker way to deliver the punch, and Saryth helps make everything work as intended by offering hexproof on tap. Mythic Proportions, Prodigious Growth and Soul's Might all lean into this angle. Trying to find nonstandard green draw was more challenging, as anything worth its salt is played all over the format. I asked a friend about cool options and he said Colossal Majesty. It's honestly amusing how a Phyrexian Arena clone is so far down the pecking order. I tried Augur of Autumn, but found it unreliable, so I sold out and added another tall draw in Return of the Wildspeaker because it's cheap to get. Cuts included some cards that didn't spark joy - somehow I never bothered chasing out Llanowar Tribe, despite its synergy with Saryth. I didn't like Multani's art :P The inferior Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer stayed in because of old-border cool. I'm never going to cast Titanoth Rex at any meaningful time in the game when I'm supposed to start mounting pressure. In addition, the group expressed a dislike of Storm the Citadel, pointing out it's a very high variance card that can potentially completely destroy someone's game plan. Given this response, my hopes for Lures going in are quite low :P Added Naturalize instead as I remember the original deck running it back in the day.

Need to play the deck some more and see how it handles now, how the proportions play out. There are plenty of variably cool constituents for most of the categories I can call on. The game after I cut most of the first strike equipment, Viridian Claw did massive work enabling a Keen Sensed Phantom Nantuko to keep collecting cards, before allowing a massive Rampaging Brontodon to bludgeon into a very developed board with impunity. Does the fact I was stuck putting the draw aura on the Nantuko mean that I need more fat? Need more data!
 
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 months ago

Last week, the 2014/2015 gang got together to rip a box of Mystery Boosters, scored in the before times of early 2020. In one of the drafts, I opened Roar of the Wurm in pack one, and got passed Blanchwood Armor as pick two. Did I do poorly? Why yes, I did, but I lived the wurm deck dream :P I scored some cards that make sense as includes from that box, and then found some more cool stuff while going through my chaff looking for things I knew were lurking in there.

02.10.2021 Changes
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The original 2005 green fat deck was quite wurm heavy, and apparently a-few-years-ago me picked up random dirt wurms he'd locate... somewhere? I have no recollection how Carnage Wurm ended up in the bulk box, but this way I don't have to fork over whatever trace amount of money for it. I also found Duskdale Wurm and Pelakka Wurm - both pretty cool wurms. Panglacial Wurm came out of the Mystery Boosters. Needed to make room, so took out objectively better fat in Crash of Rhino Beetles, Froghemoth and Regal Behemoth. Sometimes you just need to let your inner Timmy take the wheel and judge a card's coolness. None of the cards I'm cutting is particularly cool to said inner Timmy, but all the new wurm friends certainly are. I also located Elderscale Wurm, but it didn't go in for two reasons - for some reason it lacked the cool factor in the art, and it would actually be nontrivially gross with Saryth's hexproof powers. Boreal Druid was also part of the Mystery Boosters, so in true "play what you have" fashion that led me to include the Curiosity variants I put it in over Fyndhorn Elves, which I regretfully don't. I found my Patron's old Coldsnap snow forests in the bulk box, so adding Rime Tender for another land untapper over Vastwood Surge. The deck's shtick is land auras rather than land ramp, so may as well lean into it hard. Ruinous Intrusion seems like a fun card, adding another layer of utility/shenanigans to the Naturalize. A friend looked at the list and recommended swapping out Traproot Kami for Colossus Hammer, so I did so.

I'm not sure these changes make the deck better. The wurms in particular are objectively questionable, but subjectively cool. The thing plays like a hot mess, often not applying enough meaningful pressure, sputtering out of gas. Perhaps it needs more first strike, it certainly needs more tall draw. But I'm not trying to squeeze every last drop of performance out of this list, and a lot of the cards that would help it are quite staple'y.
 
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 1 month ago

There hasn't been a lot of cardboard happening lately, but I got part of the gang together for some 3-man action yesterday. In the first game, I got to voltron up Argothian Wurm with Blanchwood Armor, One with Nature and Sixth Sense, until it perished in Ravos + Tana's Star of Extinction. While I got out a bit of replacement fat, the fact Jhoira had her own fat come off suspend promptly ended up giving that player the game.

Jhoira then swapped to Kazuul ogre tribal as a more appropriate foe for this deck, and in game two an early ramp cumulation got me a 29/29 Neverwinter Hydra after fronting X=7. Ravos+Tana was the inherently scarier deck, so that's where the Hydra went first... while Kazuul somehow got together enough various buffs to offer to one-shot me with commander damage out of nowhere. Huh. Ram Through took quick care of that, splashing 28 damage onto the guy in the process. Rampaging Brontodon came out to support, and once it got back to me I offered a table kill by sending the Brontodon at Kazuul and Hydra at Ravos+Tana. The partner deck left a lot of mana up, and offered to Beast Within the Brontodon. Interesting move, killing the swinger going at the other guy. I activate Saryth to untap/hexproof the Brontodon, looking at the Wrap in Vigor in my hand and expecting another removal spell going at the Hydra. Alas, I forgot that many colours means access to a lot of good interaction, and Utter End this did not stop. Kazuul perished, and the partner deck had a bit of stuff going on with Cathars' Crusade and some guys, a couple of deathtouching insects to potentially eat my Brontodon, but the Wrap in Vigor actually did its thing here and allowed me to swing enough times through the deathtouch blockers to bleed out the victory before the crackback took care of me. A rare win!

There's still plenty of knobs to twiddle if tuning up the deck were to be desired. Land ramp would be nice for the Blanchwood Armor variants, but the land auras plus untapping is a cool angle that's less commonly pursued with this degree of depth. There's obviously the better fat/draw. But I just like the deck in its current state, with its feeble attempts at creature overkill emulating the good old days.
 
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Post by Gamazson » 1 month ago

Stone-Seeder Hierophant and Viridian Longbow with Saryth, the Viper's Fang will let you kill a creature each time you have landfall.

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Post by pokken » 1 month ago

The nice part of running a deck with a lot of threats I think is not having to run mana dorks that get caught up in the sweepers that bashing with a 7/7 requires.

I think I'd run more higher impact land untappers like Krosan Restorer than Boreal Druid. I like the land aura package but it's got some risks, so could add Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and some Crop Rotation effects to give you an alternate plan.

I think I like more Cultivate effects as well just because they provide some card advantage and help bridge if you get whomped early game with a sweeper, but could be wrong.

This is almost surely a Rishkar's Expertise deck too. I think you probably could use some creature based draw effects like Guardian Project and The Great Henge and such, or maybe even Beast Whisperer.

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Post by Gamazson » 1 month ago

I have been messing around with my own build. Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood looks good as ramp / draw candidate. I am also going to track down a Nature's Chosen. There are ton's of card in the deck that will benefit from both abilities.

Kogla, the Titan Ape looks good too. Creature removal on ETB, destroy an artifact or enchantment on the attack step and has an activated ability that can be used to protect both Saryth and himself.

Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma is stepping away from the Jank sub-theme, but the cost reduction on creature that gives itself trample is worthwhile to include.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 weeks ago

Sorry for the lack of response, the deck has transferred to paper and is every last bit as clunky and inefficient as you'd hope. So far the highlight of its paper existence has been pulling out seven d6'es to execute Neverwinter Hydra and just piling them on the card without even counting what I rolled. The deck's yet to win in paper, but its digital wins are so scarce that it might take a while. It did manage to enter a mutually assured destruction stand-off once, but came out ultimately losing due to having fizzled out of cards. Needs some more kooky draw!

11.11.2021 Changes
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Good point that the one-drop dorks do little. Thing is, Fyndhorn Elves is a nostalgia card for the 2005 deck... but I don't even have Fyndhorn Elves and these ones aren't as nostalgic :P This opens up a few slots, and one goes to Sculptor of Winter, a land untapper I forgot exists. Another one goes to Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood - an excellent suggestion, which I didn't think of as the bugger costs three mana and only ramps by one. Also because I already have a deck co-manned by him :P Thing is, he's anything but your go-to green goodstuff draw, and responds well to a Saryth untap, mana permitting, so in he goes. The last slot went to Mask of Memory as I remembered I have one, which is as good a reason as any :P

I'd quite like to see your build, @Gamazson - you got it anywhere?
 
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Post by Gamazson » 3 weeks ago

Sure, I do my deck work on Archidekt, though I think you'll find it pretty familiar; I am prone to using decks I find online as a foundation, and tweak them as I see fit. It is also very good stuff oriented.

https://archidekt.com/decks/1976525#Saryth

When I saw your decklist, I realized I had found a home for my copies Nyxbloom Ancient, Regal Behemoth, and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. I have been hoarding these card for a while. Too good to trade away, but not a natural for my other green decks. Yeah those cards work in any deck, but I enjoy synergy. A deck based around combining trample and deathtouch that wants lands to tap for multiple mana to cast big creatures is a perfect fit at last!

I haven't had a chance to give it a spin yet, but it should be mostly ready for FNM next week. It is always the obscure cheap cards like Mark of Sakiko that are hard to track down.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 days ago

Yeah, those look like better creatures than my Rootbreaker Wurm :P However, here's an interesting point to consider - imagine you're the defending player, and you're in the process of absorbing a Saryth'd Boringclex. My gut instinct is to throw enough of my board away to kill him, an instinct that does not kick in as the Rootbreaker Wurm is coming in for the same amount of damage. So the fact your creatures are better is a bit of a double-edged sword, as it's quite feasible the opposition will be more willing to block them down. You can of course build around this fact, add some more first strike or survivability shenanigans.

The easiest way to sauce up the deck would be to dime the tall draw. This build is missing Soul's Majesty and Rishkar's Expertise, and you could even consider Greater Good. The deck really starts humming when you follow up one of the crappy wurms with a massive refuel and suddenly have options for later.

I'd like to thank you again for the Gilanra recommendation, he's proven to be super fun in the shell, and is very far off the beaten path of typical green draw. Not a ton else to report. I could quite easily de-clunk the deck a nontrivial amount by streamlining the fat to be lower cost and better stats. However, I prefer the giddiness of holding the Rootbreaker Wurm in my hands again.
 
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