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October 3, 2018

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Guilds of Ravnica Standard Deck Tech – Golgari Undergrowth

This week I’ll be doing a Standard Deck Tech for each of the five guilds from Guilds of Ravnica. Today I’m putting my hat in the ring to make a Golgari Deck. There is an obvious theme of utilizing cards from the new set that have the Undergrowth mechanic to build a sweet creature deck. Today I’m going with the norm because it looks like a ton of fun to play with. That being said, there are plenty of ways to build a Golgari Undergrowth deck. The key to this deck is in trying to maximize the number of impactful creatures in your deck while also finding ways to use your graveyard as a resource.

I first want to start off with a list of cards from Guilds of Ravnica that I believe could possibly be a good fit in the deck. These could include main deck cards and cards that would eventually end up in the sideboard.

Potential Guilds of Ravnica Cards for the deck

Golgari-WandofVertebraeGolgari-DsitrictGuideGolgari-Plaguecrafter

Golgari-PeltCollectorGolgari-MidnightReaperGolgari-GruesomeMenagerie

Golgari-PriceofFameGolgari-DoomWhispererGolgari-NecroticWound

Golgari-KraulHarpoonerGolgari-GlowsporeShamanGolgari-MausoleumSecrets

Golgari-CharnelTrollGolgari-ASsassinsTrophyGolgari-UnderrealmLich

Golgari-StatusStatueGolgari-GolgariFindbroker

Golgari-IzoniGolgari-Vraska

Now that I’ve pulled out the best from Guilds of Ravnica, I want to turn my attention to the card pool from the rest of Standard. There are plenty of cards to choose from, so let’s see what list I’ve come up with of potential cards to put in the deck.

Potential Existing Cards from Standard

Golgari-DuressGolgari-VraskasContemptGolgari-CAstDown

Golgari-MendingofDominariaGolgari-VraskaRelicSeekerGolgari-Multani

Golgari-VineMareGolgari-ReclamationSageGolgari-JadelightRanger

Golgari-ThornLieutenantGolgari-MerfolkBranchwalkerGolgari-LlanowarElves

Golgari-WindgraveAcolyteGolgari-BoneDragonGolgari-TwilightProphet

Golgari-RavenousChupacabraGolgari-PlagueMareGolgari-IsarethTheAwakener

Golgari-SeekersSquireGolgari-StitchersSupplier

Golgari-SlimefootGolgari-PoisonTip

Now that I have a list of cards to choose from to make the deck, it’s now time to decide what goes and what stays. What I like to do first is break them down by their casting cost with creatures and noncreature spells separated. Let’s see how that breakdown looks below.

Golgari-ByCastingCost

1-Casting Cost Spells

I knew immediately that Duress would be a card best suited for the sideboard. Wand of Vertebrae seems like it could help when it came to graveyard synergies, but overall is a do-nothing card. I’d rather play a card that has more of an impact on the game. Necrotic Wound seems like it will be a perfect removal card for this deck. There will be times where you won’t have enough creatures in your graveyard to kill what you need to kill, but there are enough ways to get creatures into your graveyard to make it playable.

When it comes to creatures I was looking to have between 6-8 one-drop creatures. Stitcher’s Supplier seemed like an obvious choice thanks to its synergy with a lot of the cards in the deck. It’s also a great creature to sacrifice with Plaguecrafter or Vraska, Golgari Queen. Now comes the decision between the two green 1-drop creatures. They both could be deemed aggressive cards, with Pelt Collector gaining power and Llanowar Elves helping you cast your spells quicker than usual. I decided to go for the power that comes with Pelt Collector. There is nice synergy with them and creatures that explore like Merfolk Branchwalker, since Merfolk Branchwalker has two power when it enters the battlefield but could have three power when it dies.

2-Casting Cost Spells

I’m going to start off talking about creatures that could be in the deck. Thorn Lieutenant is a powerful creature, but I want to have them in the sideboard to come in against removal heavy decks. Kraul Harpooner didn’t seem like a fit, even out of the sideboard, but that could change depending on how the metagame shifts. Glowspore Shaman was an obvious choice as it helps fill your graveyard while also helping you hit land drops if you need to. Now it comes down to the two creatures with explore. I decided to go with Merfolk Branchwalker because of the chance for the increased power to give it more synergy with a card like Pelt Collector.

When it comes to spells, I decided to leave Cast Down out of the deck and sideboard as I liked Necrotic Wound and a card I’m about to talk about better. That card I mentioned is Assassin’s Trophy. Being able to destroy anything on the battlefield is very powerful for only two mana. Giving your opponent an untapped land is a drawback, but most times you are using this spell when one of their better threats are on the battlefield. The card I’m most excited to try out is Mausoleum Secrets. In the mid to late game it allows you to search for anything in your deck other than the 9 green creatures. It allows you to get your largest and most impactful creatures, any of your removal spells and (spoiler) your two planeswalkers in your deck.

3-Casting Cost Spells

All the cards in this mana slot are creatures, so let’s get right into it. Two creatures that I would like to come out of the sideboard in certain matchups are Plague Mare and Reclamation Sage. Midnight Reaper was one I wasn’t sure about, but in the end, I decided there just wasn’t room for it in the deck. With a bunch of explore creatures and Glowspore Shaman I didn’t think I needed District Guide in the deck to get lands. Now for two creatures that take creatures out of your graveyard, Isareth, the Awakener and Charnel Troll. I decided to go with a couple copies of Charnel Troll since it used less mana to make it work. I also believe that an unchecked Charnel Troll can take over a game quickly. Jadelight Ranger just seems like a perfect fit for the deck. It can help get lands for your late game threats while potentially getting more creatures into your graveyard with its double explore ability. I’m becoming more and more of a fan of Plaguecrafter since it also forces your opponent to sacrifice their planeswalker if that’s all they have left on the battlefield. Slimefoot, the Stowaway is a fun creature but doesn’t seem to fit in what I’m trying to do with this deck.

4-Casting Cost Spells

Since I wanted to have some impactful 5 and 6 mana creatures I didn’t have many slots for four mana creatures. I decided to go with the one that I believe would have the most impact on the average game and that is Ravenous Chupacabra. Price of Fame is a fine card, but not as good as the other removal in the deck. This might be a controversial choice, but this deck including its sideboard will have zero Vraska’s Contempt. The deck has multiple ways to kill creatures and the few you need to exile can be exiled with Necrotic Wound. When it comes to planeswalkers you have the two options of Plaguecrafter and Assassin’s Trophy. I do want to include in the main deck, 1 copy of Vraska, Golgari Queen. There is only 1 copy of this, but thanks to Mausoleum Secrets it can be searched for if needed.

5-Casting Cost Spells

Windgrace Acolyte has a lot of text, but we already have cheaper options that will help us get creatures into the graveyard. Bone Dragon is a threat in the air, but we might not have 7 cards we want to exile from our graveyard. Doom Whisperer seems like a great choice for the deck. It can add to your graveyard thanks to its repeated Surveil ability and is a clock in the air. Underrealm Lich is a keeper and provides great card selection, adds to your graveyard, and it very hard to kill. I decided to pass on all the 5 mana noncreature spells, although I was on the fence with Gruesome Menagerie and might add it in the future if I feel the deck needs more card advantage.

6-Casting Cost Spells

When it came to the creatures, both could have a large impact on the game. Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar could become large with all the lands that might start to get into your graveyard. I decided to go with Izoni, Thousand-Eyed for a couple of reasons. First off, I believe that going wide in this format could be harder for your opponent to deal with than having one large threat. Izoni, Thousand-Eyed can also provide card advantage by using your creatures as a resource. It can also be searched for with Mausoleum Secrets, where Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar cannot. Finally, I wanted to put in 1 copy of Vraska, Relic Seeker as another versatile removal and late game threat.

Lands

There aren’t many lands to choose from, but here are the ones you could use for this deck.

Golgari-SwampGolgari-ForestGolgari-GolgariGuildgate

Golgari-OvergrownTombGolgari-WoodlandCemetery

In going over the breakdown of the casting costs of the cards in the deck it made sense to have an even distribution between the two colors. Having 8 dual lands are nice and will help keep the spells flowing in the early going.

Now that we’ve figured out what cards to use, its now time to build the deck! Here is what I came up with for quantities for the final deck list.

Golgari Undergrowth

Creatures (26)
Stitcher’s Supplier
Pelt Collector
Merfolk Branchwalker
Glowspore Shaman
Jadelight Ranger
Plaguecrafter
Charnel Troll
Ravenous Chupacabra
Doom Whisperer
Underrealm Lich
Izoni, Thousand-Eyed

Planeswalkers (2)
Vraska, Golgari Queen
Vraska, Relic Seeker

Spells (8)
Necrotic Wound
Mausoleum Secrets
Assassin’s Trophy

Lands (24)
Overgrown Tomb
Woodland Cemetery
Swamp
Forest

Sideboard (15)
Assassin’s Trophy
Duress
Plague Mare
Reclamation Sage
Thorn Lieutenant
Ravenous Chupacabra

So, it looks like Golgari will be jamming the battlefield with creatures while filling up the graveyard to get more value. This deck has a lot of interesting synergies and I can’t wait to test it out. Thanks again for reading this Standard Deck Tech on Guilds of Ravnica deck tech week. Join me again tomorrow for a new guild and a new Standard deck.