Ahead is the TOP primer for Old Rutstein on tappedout! There will still hopefully be updates, but will always keep striving to make it compete among the best Golgari decks there is!

This deck is built as a classic creatures mill deck that seeks to mill as many cards in your graveyard as possible to allow for very a potent turn 5-7 win. While the amount of creatures isn't the exact win-con with something like Spider Spawning, but instead is used to fuel the explosive 2 card combo that this deck primarily focuses on (Lord of Extinction + Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord). There are NO backup wincons as the deck is very reliable at protecting or pushing through with its game plan, similar to a Gitrog style deck (the original commander).

As a general rule of thumb, I like commanders who offer some form of card advantage when building my favourite/ strongest decks, as most decks that aren't strong are because of this rule (like Ishkanah, Grafwidow). However, the stronger and more infamous a commander is, the harder it can be to pilot it in a casual FNM game. For example, The Gitrog Monster, probably the strongest golgari commander ever printed to date. There aren't gonna be too many people at the table who don't recognise that name, and even less that don't know it should be killed/countered on site. Thus, it can be often unproductive to have to use deck space to just protect your commander who only wants to further your game plan. What about just using Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord as the commander? While he is one of the two pieces required to win, not only is that too obvious, but he offers nothing to your build up. He gives no value or advantage other than being a decent blocker. Thus I have come to love Old Rutstein. Not only is he an easy to cast commander (Turn 2 even), but makes your deck incredibly consistent. He gives mana for turns that you choose to be explosive on, he offers chump blockers and sacrifice outlets for tutors, and gives looting to either improve your hand, or make sneaky plays with your graveyard. While he doesn't offer card advantage in the true sense, his value is worth in Gold when it comes to tempo and game fluency.

So we want roughly 10-15 mana to get the Extinction win. If you think that's hard in any way, don't! All you need is a third of the deck in your graveyard, along with a couple of lands, a tutor, or a mega ritual. The deck plays itself after that. Usually this deck is ready to win by turn 5 onwards. By then, you'll have gathered enough resources and milled enough to have the win set up. Almost every card in this deck is connected somehow to one of these parameters. For instance, there are flashback cards that allow access to key parts of the deck (Dryad's Revival or Magus of the Will). Jarad can bounce to your hand from the grave, there are plenty of recursion spells for either of the duo, plenty of tutors for anything needed in the deck, and a few crazy card draw engines to go overboard (The Gitrog Monster + Underrealm Lich). The deck plays very much like most toolbox decks, so don't feel too disheartened if you're not efficient with it yet, as you need to know almost the entire list to play successfully.

I've uploaded this primer after 3 years of perfecting this deck archetype, so unfortunately I don't have my notes yet as to how I got here, but any improvements onwards from here will be very small or expensive upgrades. Possibly even situated to my FNM playgroup. Check out myayboard or sideboard for any budget options of cards Ive previously used in older versions! But also feel free to let me know if you think you can improve my deck better than I can!!!

If you clicked on this deck Tech, you had to know this topic would come up. The bane to every graveyard player is graveyard hate. Not only is there ZERO graveyard protection right now (Not counting Endurance or Riftsweeper), but there are 2 or 3 new hate pieces being printed every year. Luckily commander doesn't have a sideboard, and a majority of players don't respect graveyards enough to put in specific hate, but almost every precon comes with an included Bojuka Bog. Thus until we get something that can potentially phase out our graveyard, we're stuck with just "getting good". In comparison to all that I just said, this deck is pretty tough against such hate. The only real way this deck can lose, is if BOTH Lord of Extinction and Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord get exiled. If one is, Riftsweeper can easily return one, and the grind continues, if both are exiled, the chances are close to zero of casting Riftsweeper twice. But of all the years of playing, that isn't the problem with hate. The worst scenario isn't even a bog or specific exile, but cards that have activated exile effects. The reason being as your deck can be held hostage until you find removal for such a piece. If anyone can stop your continuous mill grind, you stop producing value, and will then thus lose. But despite that, this happens very rarely.

There's a good amount of removal in the deck, so there shouldn't be too many permanents that give you trouble. There aren't alot of board wipes, so token decks can run you over, but that would be your fault for not removing what ever insane token generators they have that isn't instant or sorcery. There's Gnaw to the Bone to help even soften our blows and get us to the late game against decks that race life totals. That leaves only control decks. No one will ever counter or remove our commander, and there usually isn't anything that people worry about until we win (Except Mesmeric Orb, people hate that card). And when we try to win, they will most likely counter the wrong spell. Usually people don't counter ritual spells and tutors, but that's the wrong choice for this deck, as countering the lord or a reanimation spell doesn't do anything but use a fraction of the 30 mana we can potentially have available. However, if the pods you play against are good at stopping you constantly, then you can always put the mono Green protection package like Veil of Summer and Autumn's Veil.

SAFETY FROM EXILE I recommend never playing either of the Creature Duo except when attempting to set up a win. Even if you think you can one shot a player with Lord, it's not worth the risk of a potential exile. Removal is totally fine, but with cards like Path to Exile and Baleful Mastery it's just not worth the risk.

BLOOD TOKENS Usually the blood tokens created are cracked when you have the extra mana in any early turns to make every turn as optimised as possible. I usually only save treasures and blood if there is a card that I'd like to take advantage with, otherwise I'll continue to ramp and fix my hand on curve.

COLLECTOR OUPHE Obviously this stack piece prevents you from using your tokens, however, the reason it's so good, is it's completely up to you if you think it'd be good or not. A generally good example is you have a good enough hand to continue with your mill strategy and a possible win, so the OUPHE is played ahead of time to stop others from ramping or using MOST graveyard artifacts hate. Pretty much 80 Percent of all graveyard hate are artifacts, which need to be activated. If you feel you think you really need the treasure and blood, simply don't cast it and discard it away. A card I never regret drawing, as I will always feel more safe with it knowing it's just a tutor away. -a side note, even if you cannot activate your tokens, culling ritual will only abuse these tokens instead for you, so OUPHE I think is not even that much of a nonbo in this deck.

HERMIT DRUID When playing lands, always keep the number 6 in mind, as that's the number of basics you have (Please keep this number secret from others, no reason to tell them the number, just say it's not one or two to make them feel safer). Usually I fetch 1 basic of each to combat surprise blood moons, and then fetch the rest of my non-basic fetch targets since there is a Prismatic Vista in this deck, and it's best to grab what you need before you mill cards you can no longer fetch (Ive trolled myself once or twice as a result of this). Know that the closer to 6 you are, the closer you are to insta milling your entire deck if you decide to reanimate or cast the druid.

TOP TUTOR TARGETS Excluding the obvious win-con duo, I don't usually tutor for them, as they usually fall into your lap after milling and drawing. Instead I almost every game tutor for Songs of the Damned. This card gives such a ludicrous amount of mana (20ish) that you can cast your entire hand along with some really good cheat spells. Whether going into more rituals, flashbacking any card in your graveyard to your hand with Dryad's Revival which only furthers your storm of card advantage and eventual win. This is why a third of the deck is so flexible, as getting one of a few ritual cards, unlocks a path to pretty much anything and everything. -Another great tutor path, is instead of getting your combo into your hand, instead get Gitrog and Lich for essentially your entire deck into your hand if left alone for a turn. Even if one of these cards are removed to stop the card draw combo, you'll still get tons of card advantage with a single one of them. A very safe grind tutor game plan.

And that concludes my Primer for the time being! I'm switching countries, so I have to test out all my decks against new FNM groups but will update all my primers after Ive adjusted. Again, be sure to let me know if you have better ideas for the deck than I do! Hope you enjoy playing Rutstein as much as I have. It has easily given me an 80 Percent Winrate among power level 8 decks.


Updates Add

With the newest planeswalker to the golgari family (Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler), it gives some extra thought to if it would be a great addition to the deck. It's a decent CMC that isn't too high for mid games, and it offers normal mill value. HOWEVER it's true value is resurrecting and immediately activating Hermit Druid potentially milling the rest of our deck if setup correctly. I don't know what I'd replace it with, hopefully someone can help, but I'll test around and see if it's worth taking up a slot for a very specific Reanimator. But no matter what, I love the card! Definitely a must have in Gitrog combo decks.


Top Ranked
Date added 2 years
Last updated 11 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

11 - 0 Mythic Rares

48 - 0 Rares

22 - 0 Uncommons

13 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.73
Tokens Blood, Eldrazi 10/10 C, Insect 1/1 G, Treasure
Folders Other People's Decks I Like, aaThislookslikefun, look later
Ignored suggestions
Shared with