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Ghave, Guru of Spores

Description

"Saprolings need only a host to feed upon. Numbers will take care of the rest" - Ghave, Guru of Spores

Ghave, Guru of Spores is a fun, powerful commander in the color pie who offers an unparalleled token and +1/+1 counter strategy. This deck may be for you if:

  1. You enjoy a 5/5 beater in the command zone
  2. You like strong mid range value
  3. You like commanders that combos with anything that "sneezes in his direction"
  4. You want a deck that while does try to win through an infinite combo, combat damage is always a reliable win
This deck may not be for you if:
  1. You enjoy playing
  2. You like more complex, time consuming combos like The Gitrog Monster
  3. You don't like thinking of numbers too much
  4. You don't like token strategies
  5. Ghave, Guru of Spores is my all-time favorite commander, my pride and joy. I've been playing this commander as an Ad Nauseam hate bear deck for the past few years, mostly in comparison to the infamous cedh brewer Lerker. However, I've reconstructed this deck to use Razaketh, the Foulblooded as a power house tutor machine and win condition in my meta, and to more success post Sushi Hulk.

    Being in , we have access to the best ramp, tutors, removal and hate pieces in the format. Ghave, Guru of Spores costs us five mana to cast, so having the advantage of playing Carpet of Flowers in cEdh propels us, along with the many mana dorks and mana rocks we can run.

    1. We get to run the best removal i.e. Nature's Claim, Assassin's Trophy, Abrupt Decay etc.
    2. We have access to black tutors, best creature and enchantment tutors. Imperial Seal is a staple, along with Vampiric Tutor and Demonic Tutor. Finale of Devastation, Eladamri's Call are powerful and staples in these colors. We have the best.
    3. There's also cards that Ghave, Guru of Spores can take advantage of that other commanders cannot. For example, Gaea's Cradle paired with Ghave, Guru of Spores generally means we can swarm the board with Saprolings and overrun our opponents. We can pump up our dudes fast, or pump opponent creatures if we want to kill a Tymna the Weaver or force in damage. Politics is your friend here.
    4. Ghave, Guru of Spores also has amazing synergy with Earthcraft. With Ghave and Earthcraft out, it means we'll have four extra mana next turn. All of our creatures represent an extra mana of what color basic we have. And if the land is "enchanted" with say a Wild Growth, things get stupid.
    1. Lose access to
    2. Ghave, Guru of Spores combos general include two other pieces. And then an additional third piece to actually win the game. However, the main combos always include Ghave which is always available.
    3. Because of that, Ghave naturally lends himself to a slow combo/mid range strategy where we employ early threats, and accrue value through card advantage engines.
    4. We don't run a whole lot of removal, and no good counter spells in our colors. What this means in cEdh is that we usually always have to depend on other people to control everyone else. For instance, in a pod of us, The Gitrog Monster, Urza, and Sushi Hulk, we're the slower, "underdogs" at the table. We ramp out, save our removal for truly important things, and let Sushi Hulk and Urza counter each other or Gitrog. Then when the coast is clear, we can usually sneak in some wins.
    5. Grave hate is our enemy, and decks that run Linvala, Keeper of Silence. If someone has a Rest in Peace, Grafdigger's Cage or Linvala out, it becomes extremely hard to pull out a win. We usually have to sit, and wait to draw into an answer or revert to the Ghave beat down plan.
Earthcraft, Ashnod's Altar, and Phyrexian Altar are core components to this deck, and are Ghave, Guru of Spores staples. Since Ghave needs mana to use his abilities, these cards allow us to convert +1/+1 counters into Saproling tokens, and tokens back into +1/+1 counters. Below I'll go over each one individually, because they can get confusing if you're unfamiliar with how they work with our commander.
Description Earthcraft is a busted ass card, and Ghave, Guru of Spores is about the only commander that can really abuse it. Marath, Will of the Wild tries, but it's nothing compared to Ghave. Earthcraft requires us to have a basic land, so it's important to use your fetch lands accordingly. Generally, it's always better to fetch a basic Forest when you can.
  1. Earthcraft + Ghave, Guru of Spores + Wild Growth This innocuous combo creates an infinite "enter the battlefield" and "leave the battlefield" effect. We can tap the enchanted basic land for one color of whatever land it is, and Wild Growth or any land enchantment, adds an additional. So two mana in our pool. We use one to remove a +1/+1 counter from Ghave to make a 1/1 Saproling (1 mana floating). We tap the Saproling to untap the basic land with Earthcraft. Use the floating mana to sacrifice the Saproling using Ghave to put a +1/+1 counter back onto himself. Rinse and repeat. If you add in a payoff card, you can win on the spot. The land enchantments also help to just ramp out into big turns. Like playing Ashnod's Altar and Academy Rector in the same turn and can win from there.
  2. Earthcraft + Squirrel Nest This makes infinite 1/1 tapped Squirrel tokens. With the printing of Corpse Knight, this opens up the Squirrel craft combo to be a win condition. Classic combo.
  3. Earthcraft + Ghave, Guru of Spores + Undying creature This is the bread and butter of a Ghave deck. Having an undying creature like Young Wolf allows us to go infinite with Earthcraft and Ghave in a multitude of ways. We can tap a basic land to sacrifice Young Wolf, and put a +1/+1 counter onto Ghave or any other creature without hexproof/shroud. Undying triggers from the battlefield, returning Young Wolf with an additional +1/+1 counter. We can tap Young Wolf to untap a basic land using Earthcraft. Tap the basic land, and use the mana to remove the +1/+1 counter from Young Wolf to create a 1/1 Saproling token. Tap the token to untap the basic land, and use it to sacrifice Young Wolf again. Rinse and repeat. This combo results in infinite +1/+1 counters distributed however way, infinite tapped Saproling tokens, infinite enter the battlefield and leave the battlefield effects. Having a payoff card wins us the game.
Description Ashnod's Altar vs Phyrexian Altar. Each one has its upsides, downsides and are usually pawns for counterspells.
  1. Ashnod's Altar + Ghave, Guru of Spores + Young Wolf This results in infinite mana, infinite +1/+1 counters, 1/1 untapped Saproling tokens, enter the battlefield and leave the battlefield effects. Having a payoff card wins the game.
  2. Ghave, Guru of Spores + Phyrexian Altar + Young Wolf This results in infinite mana of any color, +1/+1 counters, 1/1 untapped Saprolings, enter the battlefield and leave the battlefield effects. Having a payoff card wins the game. Basically, if you can create infinite tokens with an Altar, you'll have infinite everything else Ghave cares about by sacrificing tokens to the Altars for more mana.
The downside to Ashnod's Altar is that it only makes two , as opposed to the one mana of any color provided by Phyrexian Altar. Sometimes the colored mana is better, sometimes the two colorless is better. It just depends on what you're trying to do. Often times, you cast these before you try and resolve an Earthcraft, and hope they eat removal/counter spells to clear the way. If they get resolved then you can just try and win with an Altar. These can also be used as a free sac outlet for a resolved Academy Rector. This gorgeous older lady finds Pattern of Rebirth, which can find us a combo piece to win or go straight for finding Razaketh, the Foulblooded and win from there.
Since our commander Ghave, Guru of Spores can remove +1/+1 counters from creatures we control to create more creatures, there is a plethora of cards he combos with. Most things with Bolster abilities, Champion of Lambholt, Juniper Order Ranger, Woodland Champion, tons of shit. For cEdh however, we only care about the creatures with Undying abilities as they have a built-in, recursive synergy. There's a few in our colors we could play including Butcher Ghoul and Geralf's Messenger(which is a win condition with an altar). There are only two we care about in this deck, which are Young Wolf and Strangleroot Geist. The reason for this is that they are cheap, easy to tutor for via Green Sun's Zenith and are the most slot efficient. Undying is the real reason to ever play Ghave as your commander.
Young Wolf and other creatures with Undying, or give that give Undying, are the real reasons to ever play Ghave. They're unique to this deck and this deck alone, other than Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. With Ghave out, Young Wolf is a recursive source of +1/+1 counters, meaning he also provides a source for token generation. It takes two for each iteration of sacrificing Young Wolf, undying trigger, and then removing the +1/+1 counter to make a Saproling.
  1. Earthcraft + Ghave, Guru of Spores + Young Wolf This combo generates infinite etb/ltb effects, +1/+1 counters and tapped Saprolings, as mentioned already. Having a payoff card wins the game.
  2. Gaea's Cradle + Ghave, Guru of Spores + Young Wolf This isn't an infinite combo, but more of an abusive way to make tokens and pump our field up at end of turn, or during combat before damage.
Lerker once said "ghave is the collective term for +1/+1 counters and 1/1 creature tokens, and Ghave the general ensures conservation of “ghave” the resource" which is a brilliant way to think of our commander. Cards like Young Wolf is the source of conversion and help to preserve both "ghave" and "Ghave". Ghave, Guru of Spores is just one big utility machine, and Young Wolf helps to manage these utilities. It can block twice without Ghave, get Tymna the Weaver triggers early game and can be tutored into play easily via Green Sun's Zenith. Description
Strangleroot Geist works the same as Young Wolf, except it has haste which can be converted into a one-shot kill.
  1. Ashnod's Altar + Ghave, Guru of Spores + Strangleroot Geist Results in infinite mana, etb/ltb effects, infinite 1/1 Saproling tokens and infinite +1/+1 counters once we have achieved infinite mana. We can start putting +1/+1 counters on Strangleroot and attack someone without blockers to kill them, say a blue player. Sets us up to win on the next turn. With a payoff card, wins on the spot.
  2. Earthcraft + Ghave, Guru of Spores + Strangleroot Geist This results in infinite etb/ltb, infinite tapped Saproling tokens, and infinite +1/+1 counters. With a payoff card we can win right there. If the basic land is enchanted with a Wild Growth effect, we'll have infinite mana as well and can kill a single person with Strangleroot Geist.
We can also use Strangleroot paired with Gaea's Cradle to swarm the board slowly with +1/+1 counters and tokens to overrun the board. Description
Blood Artist and Corpse Knight is how we usually win with general Ghave combos. You could also run Zulaport Cutthroat and Cruel Celebrant, but they're not as good, in my opinion. Blood Artist is good for our own combos, and can ward off other people from winning. They can also be used against us. Say a Prossh player has a Mayhem Devil out, but because of priority they're creature will kill us before our Blood Artist will kill them. We can wsit on their upkeep, and combo off so that our Blood Artist ability will resolve before theirs, and we can win. Corpse Knight being printed really helped the deck a lot. It opened up the Earthcraft + Squirrel Nest line to just win there. Description
Description Razaketh, the Foulblooded, the demon that ties everything else together. There are many lines you can do in this deck with Razaketh to win the game. It all depends on how many creatures you have to sacrifice and how much life you have. Thankfully, since our commander is an instant speed token generator, having creatures out isn't a problem. This is our main, and only reanimation target unless we're trying to get an important pieces back. Our reanimation effects include:
  1. Reanimate
  2. Animate Dead
  3. Life / Death
  4. Necromancy
  5. Loyal Retainers
Two of these can be used as an infinite combo loop with Leonin Relic-Warder to win the game with a Blood Artist effect. There are many other ways to cheat Razaketh, the Foulblooded into play. He's 8 cmc, so we don't really want to cast him, but we can if need be. We can discard him via Survival of the Fittest, tutoring Loyal Retainers to reanimate him for free. Using Razaketh as the main tutor line, we also run Academy Rector to fetch up Pattern of Rebirth>>Razaketh, the Foulblooded. Similiar to old fashioned Protean Hulk decks. If we have a reanimation card in hand, Entomb is another way to get Razaketh into our graveyard. Below, I'll go over the different Razaketh, the Foulblooded lines and ways to pivot towards a victory.
With an already nice setup, we can use Razaketh, the Foulblooded to assemble any Ghave, Guru of Spores combo in the above sections. If we're using Earthcraft it's even easier to assemble a game winning combo. You generally already need Ghave on the field and at least 2 other creatures in play after you summon Raza.

Suggestions

Updates Add

I've cut Apprentice Necromancer, as the games I've had it in play I've never used it. And the times I drew it, I never needed it. So I put in Imp's Mischief in its place. I cut Mana Vault for Culling the Weak to test it. It can ramp more into Raza, or sacrifice Academy Rector to try and go off. Seems decent.

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Top Ranked
Date added 11 months
Last updated 6 months
Key combos
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

9 - 0 Mythic Rares

52 - 0 Rares

19 - 0 Uncommons

16 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.92
Tokens 1/1 Saproling, 1/1 Spirit
Folders Uncategorized, edh brutality, Inspiration, Deck ideas, Abzan
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