Planeswalker (1)


I worry sometimes that this deck might be too subtle.

Ruric Thar is an amusing card - as soon as I saw it, I knew I'd love to try to make a Commander deck around him. So when I noticed that the EDH points binder at my old LGS had a foil Ruric up for grabs, I promptly nabbed it and went home to do just that, and came back the next day with a horrible mess that I've been improving or otherwise modifying ever since.

The original version was more of a pile of cards pulled from my available card pool than a constructed deck, so there were a bunch of underwhelming vanilla dudes in there thanks to my limited collection (I'd only started playing Magic in February of 2014 and I "built" this deck a couple weeks later). The current incarnation is not hideously expensive (or at least if you put the deck together without foiling basically every card in it that can be it's not, I would be lying if I described the version I own as inexpensive) but certainly no longer a budget deck slapped together over night, and now that it's about as done as a Commander deck I own ever is (ie, depends on what new cards come out) I can go into the reasoning behind why various cards are in there without worrying that I'd just end up replacing those cards a day or two later.


The Basic Conceit of the deck's construction - the Commander

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed will punch anyone who casts non-creature spells in the face, whether that's your opponents or you; he's an equal opportunity face-puncher. So rather than play around Ruric's abilities and build a more "normal" Gruul deck with the typical ratio of spells to creatures, I built one where Ruric won't be punching me because there is literally only one thing in the entire deck that breaks the following design constraint:

Any effect I might want from a non-creature spell in the deck can only be included if it can be found in creature form.

It might seem like a bit of a cop-out to run a planeswalker in my otherwise "all creatures" gimmick deck, but all of my Commander decks have at least one planeswalker in them so that's just me being consistent.


  • Domri, Anarch of Bolas - This particular (and apparently, last) iteration of Domri is just a versatile little toolbox, that checks boxes across several categories.
  • Dryad of the Ilysian Grove - Letting me play an additional land per turn and completely fixing my manabase at the same time is great; the only downside to this card is that it doesn't also bring with it a way to get more lands into hand.
  • Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma - when basically everything in your deck is a creature with 4 or more power, reducing how much those spells cost by is bonkers. This card featuring additional text is just gravy.
  • Grand Warlord Radha - possibly the most Gruul ramp card ever printed, attacking to make mana is just the best.
  • Gyre Sage - somewhat conditional ramp since she taps for all of nothing until she gets a counter, but since virtually everything else in the deck triggers evolve, in actual practice she winds up tapping for quite a bit of mana once things get rolling. She can also double as a fairly decently sized body I can attack with if I don't need the mana later on in the game.
  • Karametra's Acolyte - by itself, it's a 1/4 for 4 that taps for - with any additional green devotion it can get nuts.
  • Migratory Greathorn - tutoring up a basic and putting it directly onto the battlefield would be worth running as a 1-shot effect, so the potential to do that more than once by mutating again? Yup, get in my deck.
  • Mina and Denn, Wildborn - playing more than one land per turn is great, and their activated ability that grants trample (relevant) while bouncing a land back to my hand means that even without a second land in hand to play (or any land for that matter), I can still get multiple landfall triggers and/or re-use various utility lands in the deck, making them quite versatile.
  • Nikya of the Old Ways - Effectively doubles mana production with a downside that's almost entirely irrelevant to a deck running a solitary non-creature spell.
  • Nyxbloom Ancient - The "Mana Chonk" seems like the sort of thing that would be "win more", but I tested this extensively - turns out tripling the results of tapping anything for mana is just always good.
  • Oracle of Mul Daya - What's better than playing 2 lands per turn? The ability to play those 2 lands per turn even with none in hand, provided the top cards of the library are lands. Showing people all the cards I draw is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.
  • Radha, Heir to Keld - a 2/2 body that either generates to sink into other creatures or to pay for activated abilities if I have the opportunity/reason to swing her.
  • Regal Behemoth - semi-reliable card advantage (past the initial turn at least), combined with semi-reliable mana "essentially doubling but not actually" on a decently sized body with a relevant ability = get in my deck. Enticing people to attack me with the promise of drawing more cards if they hit is barely even a downside in this deck; if anything, now I have even more excuses for attacking them back afterwards.
  • Savage Ventmaw - not exactly ramp per se, but considering it only has to attack once to completely refund its casting cost, I have ways to give things haste and/or additional combat steps per turn... yeah, when I saw this spoiled it was basically a snap-include.
  • Selvala, Heart of the Wilds - in a vacuum the new Selvala is broadly similar to her previous incarnation, in that she's (kind of) group-hug in the form of card draw for everyone, and conditional ramp for me. Except this version may not actually give them any cards at all and the ramp is incredible (albeit less impressive on an otherwise empty board state).
  • Shaman of Forgotten Ways - a decently sized body with a very flexible mana-producing ability that comes with a downside that's almost irrelevant in a deck that pretty much just runs creatures. Also, the ability to cast pseudo-Biorhythm every once in a blue moon for profit is not nothing.
  • Shefet Monitor - essentially, this is a 4-mana instant speed ramp spell that puts a land onto the battlefield untapped and also draws a card, which is "almost" impossible to counter. Also, every once in a great while, it might be a creature instead.
  • Zhur-Taa Druid - for the cost of an additional , I get an Elvish Mystic that pings everyone else at the table when I tap it for . It's also the only X/1 creature in the deck, for reasons.

  • Cavern of Souls - Cavern is a staple of tribal decks, which this is not - it's in this deck just so I can name "warrior" and laugh at the player sandbagging any number of counterspells for when I try to cast Ruric. Making a few other warriors in the deck unable to be countered is really just an added bonus.
  • Domri, Anarch of Bolas - The "creature spells you cast this turn can't be countered" rider attached to the mana he generates with his +1 kind of becomes "spells you cast this turn can't be countered" when literally every other spell in the deck is a creature.
  • Prowling Serpopard - I was so very happy when I saw this card spoiled (and all the bitter complaining about it by blue mages), because in this deck it practically reads "none of your spells can be countered" (were it not for the planeswalker I run, it would actually say that). My only "slight" complaint about the Serpopard is that I would have liked it if they switched the power and toughness, but I understand why they didn't.

  • Arashi, the Sky Asunder and Jiwari, the Earth Aflame - two sides of a coin, with the option to cast them either as creatures that provide targeted removal on a stick, or channel them and hit everything in the air or on the ground, depending on the situation. The channel mechanic also bypasses cards that impose timing restrictions or otherwise prevent casting, while being "almost" impossible to counter, since using channel is activating an ability of a card and not casting a spell.
  • Balefire Dragon - even without the ability text, it's a 6/6 flier, but of course this is a creature capable of hitting someone for 6 and also hitting every creature they control for 6 at the same time, which by itself is a scary effect. I run him in a deck with plenty of ways to ensure it gets through and/or hits for a bunch more than base damage; people without answers in their hands tend to visibly wince when this hits the table.
  • Domri, Anarch of Bolas - Domri's -2 ability that turns my creatures into removal means he fits this category as well.
  • Dragonlord Atarka - I'd been telling people at my LGS that I would windmill slam the new version of Atarka into this deck no matter what it actually did solely on the basis of it being "an elder dragon in my colors", and it wound up dealing 5 damage divided as I choose among creatures and/or planeswalkers I don't control, and then leaving an 8/8 trampling flier afterwards. What's not to love about that?
  • Gemrazer - a measly 3 mana to blow up an artifact or enchantment, and either make something bigger in the process or just give something already big some relevant keywords? That would be good on its own even if I never draw the other Mutate card and get to potentially do that again.
  • Gruul Ragebeast - on his own, he's a one-shot fight effect if I target something that hits back in his weight class (sometimes you just have to spend 7 mana and a card to kill something). If he lives past that initial fight though, things just get silly as every creature I cast and any token I generate from that point on for as long as he's on the table turns into targeted removal. The fact that the effect is not optional is also why my smaller creatures tend to have at least 2 toughness, as trading a mana-dork for some jank token is a real "feels bad" moment.
  • Hateflayer - I have a soft spot for weird old mechanics, and the Untap symbol certainly qualifies, but even if Hateflayer tapped to punch a creature or player with Wither (for whatever its power happens to be at the time, gotta love abilities that get better when you buff the creature they're attached to), the ability to remove indestructible creatures alone would probably make it worth running. But it Untaps instead, so I get to attack with it, zap something, and still have it untapped to block.
  • Kogla, the Titan Ape - a non-mandatory 1-shot ETB fight effect stapled onto repeatable artifact/enchantment destruction with a solid body? Sounds good to me - in this particular deck the activated ability won't be relevant super often, but there are still scenarios where it might be, so bonus value there.
  • Omnath, Locus of Rage - Omnath 2.0 turns making a land drop into a free 5/5, which is sweet, but turning the death of himself or any other elemental into lightning bolts (whether the ones he makes or the other elementals already in the deck) in addition to just spitting out 5/5s from dropping land (in a deck that is either going to draw a creature or a land 99% of the time) makes him pretty ridiculous.
  • Steel Hellkite - destroys just about anything, provided it can hit the player controlling the problem permanent(s) and I have the mana available to sink into that ability.
  • Terror of the Peaks - It's not "exactly" Warstorm Surge, but stapled to a dragon... but it's basically Warstorm Surge, stapled to a dragon. I was so very happy when this got spoiled.

  • Courser of Kruphix - helps me hit my land drops/kind of play with an additional card in my hand (provided that one is land) and provides incidental life-gain at the expense of losing the element of surprise by showing opponents everything I draw, but that's a drawback I'll happily take.
  • Homura, Human Ascendant   - a just terrible creature (4/4 for that can't block? Bleh!) that is actually completely awesome; if your opponents can't continuously chump block or block with a creature that won't die and won't kill Homura in turn (or have some other shenanigans), then that's 4 damage they're just eating every turn. Because when it dies (and oh do I ever want it to), it comes back as an enchantment giving all my stuff +2/+2 and flying and also fire-breathing - without ever needing to cast it as an enchantment and take 6 from Ruric. Homura is the one creature I'm always extremely happy to have around prior to a board-wipe.
  • Klothys, God of Destiny - Graveyard hate that's also ramp or damage + lifegain - Klothys is going to do "something" useful almost all of the time, and in a deck with zero ways to utilize any of its cards that wind up in the graveyard (and stay there), it essentially comes with no downside whatsoever.
  • Nylea, God of the Hunt - worst case scenario, I get an indestructible enchantment that gives my team trample and serves as a mana-sink, without Ruric punching me because Gods are always creatures in every zone except the battlefield; best case scenario I get all that and a 6/6 body.
  • Nylea, Keen-Eyed - Cost reduction for creature spells? An activated ability that lets me get more creatures into hand? There was no way I wasn't running this.
  • Purphoros, God of the Forge - like Nylea, at worst it's an indestructible mana-sink that turns casting any creature (or generating any of the various tokens the deck makes) into a Shock that hits each other player at the table, which is already really good. Attacking and blocking with it is really just icing on the cake.
  • Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded - Indestructible "haste for the team" stapled to "somewhat overpriced and conditional Sneak Attack" is pretty sweet.
  • Tempting Licid - I get a repeatable Lure effect that Ruric will never punch me for because it's always cast as a creature and then turns into an enchantment (and possibly back into a creature to later enchant something else), what's not to love? It's also essentially immune to any form of enchantment removal that doesn't also hit creatures provided I have available, even spells with Split Second like Krosan Grip (ending the effect is a special action, which doesn't use the stack), something a few opponents have learned to their cost.
  • Xenagos, God of Revels - yeah, doubling any creature in my deck's power (and possibly its toughness, it depends on the base stats) and giving it haste is pretty rad. Doing that to my commander is just mean, so that's generally what I do when I get the option. I'm never ever sorry to see Xenagos around, even if it never gets to be a creature.

  • Domri, Anarch of Bolas - Domri's static banner effect boosting my creature's power brings the total number of categories he slots into to 4.
  • Elderscale Wurm - aka, "conditional immortality wurm". I once survived someone blowing up all my lands and then taking 4 turns in a row thanks to this card; it's certainly not an insurmountable obstacle, but the times I can stick this and then my opponents literally cannot kill me are pretty memorable.
  • Hellkite Charger - this is a deck that I'd love to run Aggravated Assault in, but as I've already reached my quota for non-creature spells, a dragon that does roughly the same thing for more mana while also being a dragon seems like a natural fit.
  • Moonveil Dragon - like having an enchantment that reads "Pay : creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn", except that enchantment is a 5/5 flier, and also a dragon.
  • Obsidian Fireheart - a funny card that makes opponents' lands start pinging them, which is useful, but due to the mechanics involved it's actually possible to be eliminated from a game and take somebody out posthumously (the effect doesn't rely on the creature still being around and counters placed on permanents your opponents control don't get removed when you lose the game, unlike pretty much everything else). The potential to kill people from beyond the grave is why I'll probably never swap this card out (particularly since I've actually done it more than once).
  • Ohran Frostfang - provides the same effect I could only get previously by running Bow of Nylea, except even better because it also turns all my creatures attacking with deathtouch into card draw engines.
  • Pathbreaker Ibex - it's Overwhelming Stampede on a stick, where the downside of relative fragility and lack of immediate impact one gets by stapling that spell onto a goat are handily outweighed by the ridiculous upside of how it interacts with other cards in the deck that grant extra combat phases.
  • Questing Beast - there is just so much great text on this creature, but the specific reason this is in the deck now is the part where it says "Fogs don't work anymore" (not in so many words, but that's what it means).
  • Radha, Heart of Keld - Offers mana smoothing, synergizes wonderfully with the extra lands per turn creatures that don't also come with ways to play them when they're not in your hand, and can be a mana-sink that gets huge and swings in the late game - each new iteration of Radha keeps finding its way into this deck.
  • Rhonas the Indomitable - pumps up other creatures, ludicrously easy to "activate", intrinsically has deathtouch so all the other effects that give creatures trample in this deck become bonkers... and all of that for a measly 3 mana? Yes please.
  • Soul of the Harvest - every creature spell in the deck "essentially" becomes a cantrip when this is in play; I don't have any way to abuse the ETB trigger via flicker or re-animator effects of course, but that doesn't stop other people from doing those things for me (albeit probably as a side effect and not purposely). Also it's a solid, trampling body with a relevant creature type.
  • Vizier of the Menagerie - when a deck has only 1 non-creature spell in it, effects like what the Vizier provides really get to shine. Fixing my mana is also nice, but it's the ability to cast 1 or more creatures without necessarily needing any in hand that is the real draw here.

  • Elder Gargaroth - the only downside to this creature is that it doesn't have an ETB, so it's a removal magnet without an immediate impact on the board state. If I get to attack or block with it though, well that's just a 1-way ticket straight to "value town", there's rarely ever going to be a scenario where at least one of the 3 things it lets me pick from isn't something I'll want to do at any given point in a game.
  • God-Eternal Rhonas - solid stats, comes with its own recursion, but that bonkers ETB is why this is in here now. Doubling the team's power and attacking with vigilance is going to break up some board stalls.
  • Hellkite Tyrant - the alternate win condition is pretty much never happening, but punching someone to take all their artifacts without a corresponding clause to at any point give them back? Yeah, that's well worth running all on its own.
  • Ilharg, the Raze-Boar - combining a solid recursive creature with the ability to "bring a friend" (potentially over, and over again) made this a very easy include.
  • Moraug, Fury of Akoum - yes I would like to have bonus combat steps per turn - that first untap all of my creatures - for every land that I play, thanks for asking. Moraug also being a "lord" and making creatures progressively hit harder each time they attack per turn (starting with the 1st!) is just icing.
  • Quartzwood Crasher - an undercosted trampling body that turns itself and any other tramplers in the deck into token generation? Also those tokens themselves trample and can potentially be enormous? Also, you get one for each opponent you hit with trample creatures (real good in a multiplayer format), and it's each time you happen to do that with one or more creatures (so... multiple combats are pretty tech)? Yeah, this card is nuts.
  • Scourge of the Throne - the only downside to this creature is that eventually the player with the most life, should it stick around to do its thing, is just going to be me. Until that point though, extra combat phases for doing something I was going to do anyways is rad.
  • Skyline Despot - definitely drawing a card, and potentially a whole bunch more while also (essentially but not really since one is on the upkeep and the other is at end step) simultaneously making additional dragons? Sounds great to me!
  • Stonehoof Chieftain - an indestructible trampling 8/8 for is fine on its own, that it also makes any of my creatures gain trample and indestructible when they attack (and thus can come down and have immediate impact on the board) is why this is kind of bonkers.
  • Thundermaw Hellkite - a solid flying beater that, barring reach or shenanigans, is going to get in there and hit someone the turn it comes in - nuking all the X/1 flyers and tapping down the rest in the process can make for some game-ending swings.
  • Utvara Hellkite - a 6/6 flier that makes other 6/6 fliers whenever it attacks is pretty rad, the fact that it actually just cares about dragons attacking, so the tokens it makes and all the other dragons in my deck (and the tokens they would make) all themselves make tokens for attacking, well that's almost gilding the lily. Things can quickly get out of hand if it gets to stick around for a couple turns.

  • Bonders' Enclave - repeatable card draw for not all that much mana with an absurdly easy hoop to jump through? This was a snap-include if I ever saw one when it got spoiled.
  • Castle Garenbrig - okay(ish) "ramp" with an essentially meaningless condition to its bonus mana is fine by itself, but the way it interacts with Nyxbloom Ancient is why it's in the deck - tapping 3 lands to make 20 mana feels really, really good.
  • Fabled Passage - it's just like all the other lands that crack to go find any basic, except it also comes with an untap clause.
  • Grove of the Burnwillows - this piece of fixing has a downside that in this deck is either irrelevant, or actually becomes an upside because Dethrone is a thing that exists now. Enjoy your life gain suckers!
  • Kessig Wolf Run - it's essentially a fireball effect on a land.
  • Labyrinth of Skophos - in one sense it's "fixed" Maze of Ith, but the fact that it hits blocking creatures as well, actually removes things from combat instead of simply preventing them from dealing or receiving damage, and doesn't untap them makes that payment worthwhile.
  • Mosswort Bridge - there are times when I play this and swear I'm going take it out of the deck, and then there are times I get to cast 8-drops at instant speed for a single green mana, and so I never wind up cutting it; when it works, it really works.
  • Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx - my entire deck is comprised of permanents, so even in a 2-color deck the devotion-land generally winds up tapping for some silly amounts of mana.
  • Oran-Rief, the Vastwood - out of the 61 creatures in the deck, only 17 are mono-red, so a land I can tap to add +1/+1 counters to 43 of my creatures (and most of my tokens) after they enter the battlefield is pretty decent.
  • Raging Ravine - this particular man-land I'd run even if my deck didn't originally have a sub-theme of animating lands back when I built it (still some pieces of that kicking around in the current version), because it's another R/G multi-land, just like all the other ones I'm not mentioning because the reason they're in my deck is fairly obvious (yay fixing) - at the absolute worst, it's a guildgate with utility stapled on. It doesn't get animated super often, but the times where I have tend to be pretty funny.
  • Rogue's Passage - this plus Ruric is a win condition (albeit not necessarily a one-turn win condition depending on other factors), and even if he's not around making something unblockable is a very relevant effect.
  • Scavenger Grounds - Graveyard hate on a colorless permanent isn't new, but attaching it to a land that my gimmick deck can actually tutor for and place directly onto the battlefield at instant speed (and then potentially use right away, also at instant speed)? That's kind of rad. The effect itself is technically repeatable but in actual practice probably won't be as this is the only desert in the deck. Still worth it though!
  • Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep - basically a mountain with additional utility stapled on that lets me screw with combat math sometimes (you would think people would see on-board tricks coming, but experience teaches otherwise).


General deck strategy

Smash all the things. Also, be sure to cast Ruric as soon as you possibly can in 99% of scenarios, because Ruric is just super good at making friends; you can tell that it's working by the resounding groans and overt threats, aka, the sounds of friendship. Spread the love!

Suggestions

Updates Add

Given the frequency that new cards from core sets make their way into this particular deck (ie, I was only playing 3 cards originally from a core set in the entire 99), I was honestly not particularly expecting Core 2021 to give me even 1 card I would immediately want to slam into this deck, let alone 3 of them, but Elder Gargaroth, Radha, Heart of Keld, and Terror of the Peaks are exactly the sort of cards I'm all about. Reworking the deck to include them also made me reconsider my planeswalker slot, and the slot that Xenagos has occupied for years is now filled by Domri, Anarch of Bolas.

Comments View Archive

Top Ranked
Date added 6 years
Last updated 1 day
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

35 - 0 Mythic Rares

43 - 0 Rares

6 - 0 Uncommons

4 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 4.90
Tokens 5/1 Elemental, */* Dinosaur Beast, 4/4 Beast, 4/4 Dragon, Monarch
Folders Commander decks that exist, Commander, EDH, Ruric EDH, milldeck, Cool EDH Decks, Commander, Clever EDH Concepts, EDH, EDH Deck Ideas, See all 42
Votes
Ignored suggestions
Shared with
Views