Ghave, Guru of Spores

A little background: I started playing Magic just after the release of the Commander 2016 decks, and I purchased the Saskia the Unyielding precon deck. I never cared much for Magic at the time, just a tabletop sport to do something with my family. As I learned the basics of the game, learned the stack etc. I realized how much I enjoyed the Saproling syngery inside the Saskia deck. I started searching for Saproling based Legendary creatures to build my own edh deck. I came across this bundle of joy: Ghave, Guru of Spores , and I instantly became enthralled. Within the first year of steadily working on the deck, it was complete trash. Never built my own deck before, knew nothing about the inner workings and nuances of Magic. Mind you, the people I played with at first were super casual, so I guess it didn't matter....but I never had fun because I lost too much. Eventually, I started getting better, amassing huge amounts of tokens and counters and learning how interchangeable they are with Ghave. After the first year of piloting my home brew deck, I realized just how good Ghave is. My brother always said "Ghave is a combo king", and I never fully understood "combo" in Magic until I went down the same rabbit hole of combos most cedh players do. Anyways, long story short, this is my Ghave deck built for cedh.
In this section, I'm going to go over what a good beginning hand should look like, and how to navigate the early game. I haven't seen other primer's explain what a good opening hand looks like, nor how to navigate the lines, and I myself have been confused a lot and navigated wrong way. So I hope to cover it here for all you Ghave players. Depending on your meta, and competitive level of the other decks, a solid opening hand in this deck should look like this: A green mana source, Chrome Mox with something to pitch or another mana ramp spell, a Root Maze or similiar stax to be played early, a tutor, a mana dork, and draw spell like Dark Confidant or at least a way to dig deeper, a combo piece and/or a solid piece of removal for interaction. The opening hand, as any Cedh player knows, is crucial to navigate T1-T3 into being either close to winning, shutting someone else down, or at the very least just being relevant. If I'm playing against a Turns Narset, Enlightened Master that's in my meta, I'm looking for an Ethersworn Canonist or Root Maze , or something I can drop early to hinder that player. They're just much faster against our mid-range combo deck. If there's another mid-range combo deck, I want to see a piece of removal or solid ramp, to get there quicker than them, or to shut them down so I can get ahead. If I'm playing against a Breakfast Hulk deck, I hope for the same stax and such. In short, Cedh is consisted of mostly faster combo decks than us, so a stax piece is almost always warranted. My meta plays another Ghave deck built around Protean Hulk lines, a The Gitrog Monster deck, a Prime Speaker Vannifar glass cannon deck, a Narset, Enlightened Master turns deck, and several others. Each pod fluctuates the choices to make and hands to keep, so just have to know the other decks and players. After I have some stax pieces out, I want to be able to cast Ghave by T3-T5, while also having some mana open. He's the center piece of the combo lines in this deck, and is also just a good beater and blocker. If the Breakfast Hulk player has their Tymna the Weaver out and is drawing cards, I want Ghave out to pump up defending creatures, or attacking creatures to kill Tymna, and vice versa for Narset, Enlightened Master . Once you have Ghave out, and can stabilize until your next turn, navigating into the mid-game shouldn't be hard.
You've untapped with hopefully a handful of mana, a solid board state, maybe a combo piece already out with a stax or two on board. If you have a combo piece out already, or in your hand, the goal is to tutor for Ad Nauseam and cast it during your mainphase, or more safely at the EOT passing into your turn. Let's say I have Ghave, Guru of Spores , Earthcraft , a hate bear, some mana dorks, and either Ad Nauseam in hand or a tutor to get it. If it's in my hand, typically I cast it, and hope it resolves. It resolves, and I start revealing off the top, with hopefully enough life to dig deep. What we're looking for are rituals, Young Wolf or Strangleroot Geist and Blood Artist or Corpse Knight , or at least creature tutors to get them in play that turn. If we're casting Ad Nauseam at EOT, which IS the BEST way to do it. As Lerker says, mainphasing an adnaus is HARD. Who by the way, I give all credit to in inspiring this list. EOT Adnaus, we're basically looking for the same things. Rituals, free mana, combo pieces or tutors to get them into play after we untap and draw. I want to say though, eeot adnaus is always safer to do.
I should note though, that if you're casting Ad Nauseam you should win the game. If it looks like your opponent is closer to winning, don't bother. Just do your best to shut them down first. I've cast an eot adnaus and my opponent, in response, won the game.

The two abilities of Ghave, Guru of Spores are the bread and butter of the deck. They allow you to turn creatures into counters, and counters into creatures. Many experienced "Ghave" players call this uppercase "Ghave" and lowercase "ghave", where uppercase "Ghave" is the natural energy of counters converting to his Saproling spawns and lowercase "ghave" is the energy of the land converting back into counters. Having Earthcraft + Ghave, Guru of Spores + Young Wolf is the easiest way to assemble infinite tokens and infinite +1/+1 counters. I've done this passing into my turn, untapped, drew and swung into everyone for lethal. The way it works is abusing the "Undying" ability on Young Wolf . You can tap him using Earthcraft to untap a basic land, which is best utilized if the land is enchanted with an aura to gain infinite mana as well. You use the untapped basic land to tap for mana, using the mana to sacrifice Young Wolf to put a +1/+1 counter onto Ghave, Guru of Spores . Undying will trigger, bringing the wolf back untapped with a +1/+1 counter on him. You tap the wolf using Earthcraft again to untap the basic land again. Use the land to tap for mana to remove the +1+1 counter from Young Wolf , creating a lovely Saproling token untapped. Now, you tap the token using Earthcraft to untap the basic land. Tap the land, sac Young Wolf to put a +1/+1 counter onto Ghave or the token, or whatever else. Undying triggers again, and you can repeat this an infinite number of times to create an infinite number of tapped Saproling tokens and distributing +1/+1 counters onto everything infinitely. That is the core of it, and isn't always reliable unless you do this at EOT because everything will be tapped. However, if you have Blood Artist or Corpse Knight out, the sacrificing of the humble wolf will trigger one of them and you can drain everyone of life and win the game. You could also add Blasting Station to do the same thing, which I took out of my deck. I change it sometimes, but the core of the deck is always the same. If someone kills your Young Wolf or exiles your graveyard in response to Undying, you can use Strangleroot Geist to accomplish the same combo. And in some circumstances Geist is even better because of haste. If you can't find Earthcraft , it can easily be replaced by both Ashnod's Altar or Phyrexian Altar to achieve the same thing, but are higher converted mana cost. The key is to just have a way to create mana to activate Ghave, Guru of Spores over and over. All three can also serve as mana ramp if you don't have the combo out. Which is why I run so many mana dorks, they can tap for mana, then be sacrificed to one of the altars for mana. The great thing about these combo lines, is that most people don't really know how the combo works, or just how important they are. Unless you've played the same people over and over and over, they finally get it. Or if they're just familiar with Lerker's lists. I've played several games and won because my Ashnod's Altar was countered while I had Earthcraft in hand, or no one could stop the combo once I showed them, or just didn't know that I had the win on board until I activated it. It's a dense combo deck, focusing on just these combos and staxing out my opponents. The other combos are Earthcraft + Ghave, Guru of Spores + Strangleroot Geist which is the same as the Young Wolf loops. EC can be replaced by either altar. There are situations where all you can do is make infinite saps and infinite mana. This is where both Skullclamp and Generous Patron come in, with any Ghave combos we can draw our deck and find Blood Artist to close out the game. We also run Earthcraft + Squirrel Nest , and with the addition of Corpse Knight from Core 20, it can win on the spot and through most stax hate.

This primer isn't to say that Ghave, Guru of Spores is the best deck in the world of cedh, because that's not fucking true. Nor is it the fastest, most resilient deck ever either. But, it is a very good deck that requires critical thinking, timing, threat assessment, and the know-how of stack exchange and combo iterations. Being a tier 2 deck, this deck can stand against the upper tier Breakfast hulk, Tazri, Yisan and those crazy, super OP decks that win quickly as possible. Just takes practice and proper analysis of the board state. Also..a great opening hand. So, this is my primer for Ghave. I hope it helps some other or newer players gettting into the format and want to play this deck. If any of you have questions, suggestions, whatever just message me or leave a comment. Tudols.


Updates Add

-1 Brushland

-1 Woodland Cemetery

+1 Prismatic Vista

-1 Praetor's Grasp , wasn't doing enough.

+1 Force of Vigor seems really good as we usually have a mana dork or something in hand to pitch.

-1 Summoner's Pact never seemed useful.

+1 Ranger-Captain of Eos seems decent enough to tutor out Young Wolf and Silence on combo turns. Still testing.

-1 Wall of Roots while still a decent card in our deck, didn't feel fast enough anymore. Still a consideration.

+1 Bloom Tender replaced wall of roots. Seems like it could be slower, but we run permanents of all 3 different colors and more often than not we'll have 2-3 mana after casting. And being an Elf is relevant.



100% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 11 months
Last updated 1 week
Splash colors W
Key combos

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.83
Tokens 1/1 Squirrel, 1/1 Spirit, 1/1 Saproling, 1/1 Warrior
Folders Potential, Uncategorized
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