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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
Creature — Treefolk
Whenever a player casts a noncreature spell, each of that player's opponents may draw a card.
2 months ago
One of my favourite things to do in Meren is to ramp (my deck is on the clunkier side, and it runs very few lands), and one of the better ways to repeatedly ramp is to use more stuff like Sakura Tribe Elder, variations include Diligent Farmhand, Dawntreader Elk, Yavimaya Granger, and maybe Burnished Hart/Fertilid. All of these can find a Swamp for you, each sacrifices itself and thus they have some nice synergy with Meren. I think the only Meren decks that don't want multiples of that effect is if they are building a very high powered list, where this kind of play 'isn't advancing your board' sufficiently. I often find that farming XP isn't a waste of time early, so these recursive ramp sources offer that as well. I think it's very hard to justify running land ramp Sorceries when you can run creatures that do the same thing, and arguably do a better job of it. I would also shave stuff like Arcane Signet or the Talisman for creature ramp, Meren can't recur your rocks for you when they get blown up. In addition to Meren there are tons of things that synergize with creatures, stuff like Beast Whisperer and Liliana's Standard Bearer can draw lots of cards via creatures, and you don't get that synergy with a 2 mana rock. Using Meren to recur Liliana's Standard Bearer is a pretty impressive bulk draw option.
Some generically good cards for a Meren list that I love are Buried Alive, Final Parting, and Jarad's Orders, each of these offers real tutoring power, and none are especially pricey. Buried Alive can find a whole combo for you to win with. Old Stickfingers is probably worth a look for the similar reasons, Meren feels really weak if you have no creatures in your yard to reanimate. I'm not sure if it's too high budget, but Fiend Artisan has a lot of synergy with Meren. You don't have to dig out a combo piece for the card to do useful things.
In my Meren deck it's a much better Rhystic Study (I run a very high creature count), but I suspect you'd get some value out of Lurking Predators. There is also Heartwood Storyteller, in my experience both belong in a deck with even more creatures but they could still be useful I think.
In my limited experience Callous Bloodmage offers pretty good graveyard hate on a very low budget, and if you don't need that it can do other stuff, it's a great card to use in infinite loop since it can do a few useful things.
Mitotic Slime offers you a ton of bodies for only 5 mana, it's not especially hard to go infinite with as a result. I like using it with Demon of Dark Schemes and Pitiless Plunderer (and a sac outlet) to win, the nicest part about using a combo like this is that each piece is independently good. Phyrexian Altar is better than Plunderer, but it's even more money (though the difference has dropped sharply).
Dawnstrider is an extra Spore Frog, one that doesn't require reanimation but offers a discard outlet, letting you put creatures in your graveyard. Silverglade Pathfinder is another discard outlet, but offers ramp instead.
I hope this isn't too try-hard for your deck, Meren is a very fun Commander to build.
5 months ago
I also think Gnolls are cool and approve of this premise! Here are my thoughts about the deck, hope they're helpful.
If you ever want to raise your budget a bit, Pathbreaker Ibex has huge synergy with your deck.
When I was testing out your deck I found that you seemed to be short of creatures for a deck that runs lots of creature payoffs and generally can't win without them. In a deck that's very creature centric I like to run closer to 40, if not more, Gruul has really, really good creatures to choose from. For example, you can run Wood Elves, Farhaven Elf over artifact ramp, these give you a creature body while also permanently ramping you (land ramp is much more stable than artifact ramp anyways). Creature buffs can be stapled to a creature, there are options like Thunderfoot Baloth, Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma or maybe Blossoming Bogbeast or Kamahl, Heart of Krosa. You can use creatures as a great source of removal with options like Thorn Mammoth, Ulvenwald Tracker, Kogla, the Titan Ape, Gruul Ragebeast, Steelbane Hydra, Viashino Heretic, and Outland Liberator Flip are all pretty decent at getting things off the table for you while also offering a physical presence. Not sure if they quite fit, but depending on your meta Silklash Spider and Squallmonger are pretty nasty surprises for decks that use Flying a lot, Squallmonger can even kill huge flyers with another player's help, or allow several players to quickly eliminate an archenemy that is lower in life.
There are a few good ways to double your power in Gruul, the new Two-Handed Axe is very interesting, the surprise Double Strike ability works well with your Commander, and the power doubling effect definitely does. Inquisitor's Flail is an incredible equipment if your Commander is either very big or has First Strike, yours can easily get big enough to justify the risk. Berserkers' Onslaught is really strong, even if it's 5 mana, Enchantments tend to stick around for awhile.
I think you should run more sources of Trample in here (there are some listed above as well), but with a budget restriction that does make it more of a challenge. Your Commander is really strong if he has Trample, but can be chumped by a 0/1 goat token without it (funny image, maybe he got hungry?). Garruk's Uprising is a really good card if you have enough creatures with power 4 and up, but the Trample is the real perk here arguably. Kessig Wolf Run might do the trick, and it's on a land. Brawn is pretty budget, but it can be hard to get it killed. War Cadence isn't exactly Trample, but it can easily let you swing with unblockable creatures if someone is tapped out, but remember this can also be used to create chaos on other people's attacks if you've got nothing better to do. It's also not Trample technically, but Siege Behemoth can bypass blockers for your attackers.
With a relatively low budget in Red, I feel like Rite of the Raging Storm is a very underrated card. Those 5/1s are never coming your way, but they will swarm anyone who can't deal with it on their opponent's turns, and yours gets the buff from your Commander fwiw. Breaker of Armies is a good way to clear out potentially a whole board worth of stuff of a vulnerable player, it can deter attacks vs you if their defenders are all going to be stomped by an Eldrazi.
If you can get your creature count high enough, you could sneak stuff like Lurking Predators in, which is pretty impressive card advantage over time in many metas. There is also Heartwood Storyteller, which is very good if you don't run many non-creatures.
8 months ago
When I built my Meren deck, I found that even with a pretty Black heavy deck, it was nice to run more Green than Black mana sources, since my Green ramp fixed my Black mana. I also cut lands for repeatable (and potentially repeatable) ramp like Diligent Farmhand or the Dawntreader you're considering, these can not only help get Meren out early, they give her something very useful to do with her ability as soon as she's out. There are quite a few now, but I only run ones that can find swamps. I also run a couple cards like Wood Elves, which don't sac themselves but can be sacrificed for value as soon as Meren is out. Using these types of cards allows my fairly low land Meren deck to be extremely rampy if Meren stays out. You can also run lots of 1 mana dorks in Meren, including Elves of Deep Shadow and knock-off Llanowar Elves.
I also find it's hard to run enough card draw, stuff like Grim Haruspex and Midnight Reaper or Beast Whisperer can draw a bunch of cards, and all of them are creatures. This brings me to another point, I found that in Meren that it's hard to run too many utility creatures of various sorts, you can do an astonishing amount of stuff with creatures in Golgari, I presently have 55 creatures in the 99, which makes cards like Lurking Predators insane and Heartwood Storyteller lots of fun, because Meren decks are also pretty good at pressuring the board, it's hard to know how many of the various Demon's Disciple family of cards you should run, but they feel pretty decent in Meren in my experience, if a bit obnoxious. There are also more cards like Grave Pact, Dictate of Erebos, as well as Savra, Queen of the Golgari, these are all super-obnoxious in a deck that likes to sacrifice stuff. One really weird 'one creature toolbox' is Callous Bloodmage, this can do a bunch of stuff and can be worth recurring if you can get it killed.
Not sure if you've ever come across these, they are old and rare even in Commander, but I find Ritual of the Machine and Helm of Possession can do work in Meren, the Helm is a sac outlet that grabs the best creature on the board. It rarely lasts too long, but it's a very strong effect if you're not worried about running artifacts. Ritual is nice and compact, you sac something you want dead to steal the best thing in a way that's hard to interact with for many decks. Final Parting is an interesting card in Meren, you can put a Protean Hulk or Razaketh, the Foulblooded, maybe Sheoldred into the graveyard and a Reanimate into hand, so it's 6 or 7 mana to put your best creature into play from the library.
If you want any ideas about infinite (or non-infinite) combos that can win games, I read a lot of Meren deck Primers, so I might have some ideas if you want to have that option.
Very good deck so far, hope you enjoy testing it!
9 months ago
Currently Gruul is thought of only by its' brutish Ravnica origin & there is alot of missed opportunity there, as about all the other color pairings have branched out since Strixhaven. I think of Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient currently as representative of Gruul.
Some good ideas for future direction of Gruul.
1) I would love to see some bomb redirect effects in Gruul... Ward "copy & retarget a spell"? Maybe a Grip of Chaos commander that spawned redirect targets for the table? Maybe replacing instances of creature destruction, sac, exile into artifact & enchantment somehow?
2) Gruul could fill a unique space of group-gifting & hug-into-slug for anti control decks. Playing with fire by making the table difficult to control. Think of the unique way that Oath of Druids floods the table with creatures until spellslingers are left pulling their hair, maybe add a little incentive to slap players that can't hang. So now you are combined punishing artifact/enchantment heavy decks, while gifting their opponents. Also, Heartwood Storyteller does this in an unusual way, making the table benefit from playing your game while also causing an out-of-control boardstate. I have great love for Kibo, Uktabi Prince in this sortof hug-into-slug design space.
3) Seems like alot of opportunity to "control" a game direction by making it more difficult for any one player to actually control things, while promoting a "come at me bro" attitude with permanents. I've done this type of play pattern before, there just isn't a ton of feasible support for it yet & it seems like would be the right home for it.
9 months ago
Here's a good list to start from, based on the EDHREC page for Darigaaz:
Thoughtseize isn't good in commander unfortunately, since you're only removing one of your opponent's cards in hand. There are also a solid amount of Black Vise effects to choose from, love seeing some group hug and slug that isn't Nekusar!
Besides those more fun cards, I think it is super important to include as much ramp as you can for this deck, you'll want as much as possible to get away with all the junk!
Hope this helps and keep Junding em out!
11 months ago
I think there is some contention whether Yggy is a yew or an ash. If you want to take the depictions with "traditional leaves" then you would say it is an ash. But, some depictions certainly look like a yew.
My wedding tree is a little witch-hazel that we shaped indoors for a year & planted, what a cool, tough little tree.
1 year ago
I think Heartwood Storyteller should probably be cut from this - you have way more noncreatures in here, essentially you're giving cards away with it. I'd replace it with something like Sixth Sense or Snake Umbra - unless of course you want to be friendly and political with the table.
Family's Favor is another possibility for draw if you think Thrun needs more protection, but I doubt it does.
1 year ago
I LOVED Heartwood Storyteller in my Surrak deck! However I leaned into flash and playing ONLY creatures.