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A cEDH Gitrog Primer


Hell on Earth.

For this primer I will be referencing my Gitrog Monster cEDH Library document that has complete walk-through's on not only the main combo but also a host of other interactions that you may come across while playing the deck - so be prepared when I reference specific sections when discussing the inner workings of the deck (you can also print it if you feel it helps, too). And yes, this deck is that complicated when you get down to the nitty-gritty. If you have any questions or suggestions, please hit up The Git Frog Monster Discord!

There is also a companion piece to this primer: The Resilient Frog. It is designed to win through as much interaction as possible, such as an Anafenza, the Foremost on board. If you're looking for a Gaea's Blessing build, look there.
Note: We're revising both primers soon - the Gaea's Blessing archetype Primer will be folded into this one and that page deleted when its done. We have new lines not here or in the Documentation that we're currently brewing with that change the deck dramatically.


The total list of changes is in the Changelog at the bottom of the primer below.

Introduction - All Hail The Hypno Toad

The Gitrog Monster is one of the most egregious attacks on Magic players' sanity ever conceived - both for your opponent and yourself. In order to pilot the deck effectively, not only do you need the traditional skills expected in competitive environments such as threat assessment, Who Is The Beatdown?, hand analysis since we run Thoughtseize effects, and understanding how to play around and pilot a combo deck in a combo format - but also how to execute what is one of the most infamous combos in the entire EDH format. Even as a lifelong combo player in standard, modern, and legacy, I can't recall another deck quite like this one.

Why Play This Deck?

Pros:

  • Highly consistent and fast combo compared to many of its peers - outside of Flash Hulk.
  • Can combo at instant speed.
  • Grinds through stax well.
  • Extremely hard to interact with.
  • Has very budget-friendly builds (as far as cEDH decks are concerned).

Cons:

  • Little to no stack interaction (counterspells & the like). Note: significant in the current meta.
  • Requires commander on board to combo.
  • Very creature dependent.
  • Inexperienced metas can overreact excessively in the face of repeated frog wins.

You may enjoy this deck if you like:

  • Intricate combos.
  • Fast combos.
  • Enjoy on-the-spot problem solving.
  • Learning and utilizing the game's rules to your advantage.
  • Enjoy casting/relying on your general.
  • High creature density.
  • Holding your deck in your hand a lot.

You may not enjoy this deck if you dislike:

  • Anything listed above.

Important Notes

  • The Gitrog Monster is the single most powerful Golgari commander in the game. If you want to push that archetype to the limit, this is the commander and strategy to do so.
  • This is not a lands deck. We do not play cards like Explore or Burgeoning and we do not abuse lands like Field of the Dead. Our land synergies are based entirely around sacrificing them, not powering them out.
  • This is not a graveyard or dredge deck necessarily. We use Dakmor Salvage as a combo piece that essentially instantly wins the game, Golgari Grave-Troll as a pseudo-tutor to find Dakmor Salvage, and Life from the Loam because its just straight up busted with our commander. That's it.
All Hail the Hypno Toad.

"At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice The Gitrog Monster unless you sacrifice a land."

Due to the last clause on the card, this is not a downside but an upside since it allows us to draw an extra card a turn essentially - though it can be used against us in some rare situations (its also a kickin' reference to older black cards like Lord of the Pit).

"You may play an additional land on each of your turns."

Extremely helpful given that our commander costs 5 to cast in the first place - quite expensive for cEDH, generally speaking. Don't always feel forced to play out all your lands however as its sometimes correct to keep them in hand for discard outlets. More on that in a bit.

"Whenever one or more land cards are put into your graveyard from anywhere, draw a card."

This is what we're here for. This is the crème de la crème. This is one of the most absurd lines to ever exist on a Magic card - especially since Dakmor Salvage exists. Lets get into how this works:

  • It triggers when a land hits the graveyard from the battlefield. This is especially absurd with fetchlands as it turns them into a ridiculous card advantage engine.
  • It triggers only once when multiple lands are destroyed at once by a single effect (such as Armageddon). This rarely comes up in cEDH as mass land destruction is quite rare in such a meta, but when it comes up you have to be aware of it.
  • It triggers when a land hits the graveyard from your hand. This turns all the lands in your hand into free redraws with a discard outlet on board (such as Noose Constrictor) and its what makes Dakmor Salvage such a combo monstrosity in this deck.
  • It triggers when a land hits the graveyard from the library. This is an integral part of how the combo allows us to draw our entire library and set up infinite loops when its all empty.
  • It does NOT trigger even once if The Gitrog Monster gets put into the graveyard or leaves the battlefield at the same time as the lands enter the graveyard from anywhere. This has to do with the wording of the text. An example of this happening would be from Obliterate. Just know about it and don't fret over it.

The Last Thing They Ever See.

The Great Mistake

702.51. Dredge

  • 702.51a Dredge is a static ability that functions only while the card with dredge is in a player's graveyard. "Dredge N" means "As long as you have at least N cards in your library, if you would draw a card, you may instead put N cards from the top of your library into your graveyard and return this card from your graveyard to your hand."
  • 702.51b A player with fewer cards in his or her library than the number required by a dredge ability can't put any of them into his or her graveyard this way.

Dredge is a mechanic that honestly should have never existed. The decks surrounding it have been hit by bans in nearly every format of Magic over the years. Those decks warp our understanding of card and mana advantage to become utterly meaningless as their player's graveyards escalate out of control. However, this The Gitrog Monster deck is not a dredge deck - at least like none ever seen before. We do not play out of the graveyard; instead, we use our graveyard and the dredge mechanic as mediums to draw our library and establish infinite combos. This makes us immune to the traditional forms of grave hate such as Tormod's Crypt or Grafdigger's Cage as if they weren't even there. Our inherent ignorance of traditional forms of grave hate and our lack of reliance on non-creature spells makes us extremely hard to interact with for most decks - and that, coupled with the sheer speed we can assemble the combo, has made us one of the most notorious decks in the cEDH metagame (along with mind-bendingly complex loops).

Now, its time to drop the dressing and get into it. Its time for me to start referencing the Document I mentioned at the start.

Assembling the Combo

The first thing you'll need are the combo pieces:

  • Dakmor Salvage in hand.
  • Any discard outlet on the battlefield.
  • The Gitrog Monster on the Battlefield.

The deck is crammed full of ways to assemble these pieces. From generic tutors like Demonic Tutor to creature-specific ones to grab outlets like Green Sun's Zenith we have plenty of ways to get it all together in a timely manner.

The Combo

Drawing the Library

Reference page 2 of the Document, under "Drawing the Library". This process assumes one of six states at any given time - all of which are beneficial to us and will eventually lead to drawing the entire library. This section of the document will cover each state and what exactly you need to do next until the library is drawn. Note: the process is different when drawing the deck with Chains of Mephistopheles, which is covered on page 3 under "Drawing the Library with Chains of Mephistopheles".

Generating Infinite Draw Triggers to Loop Cards

Reference page 4 of the Document, under "Koziland". This process generates an arbitrary amount of draw triggers for you to use to loop instant speed cards with. Looping cards at sorcery speed is covered at a different place within the Document, but this method is still integral to know in order to utilize those as well.

Stripping All Hands, Destroying All Permanents, and Winning the Game

Reference page 5 of the Document, under "Empty Library Loops". First you generate infinite mana thanks to the Koziland method and a ritual effect, then crack Emergence Zone to make all your cards have Flash, then you strip all your opponent's hands using Duress and/or Thoughtseize before destroying all their permanents using Assassin's Trophy. The final punch is unnecessary at this point as your opponents are left with nothing, but you do have Deathrite Shaman loops (covered later in the "Empty Library Loops" section of the document, specifically at page 6) and infinite combat damage left at your disposal once they are left in such a state.

Opening Hand

First thing's first, you're looking for mana. Our commander costs five whole mana and we intend to win by turn 3 if we can. At minimum your hand must contain a mana dork or some artifact fast mana - if not both. The next thing we're looking for are combo pieces and/or tutors in order to quickly assemble the combo and execute it. After this is some form of protection for the combo - this isn't necessary, but preferred, especially if you know your opponents have some interaction ready for you. The last thing we're looking for is card advantage of some sort to help you get any sort of effect you feel you're missing by going up on resources in some way.

However, not all things go to plan and in reality the best way to describe any keepable hand is simply Mana + Resources.

Whatever form these resources take, doesn't usually matter. Our Commander in the worst case can grind value if we can protect it, and all card draw effects and no tutors will eventually draw us a tutor of some kind. Lastly, a hand full of interaction will slow the game down enough for us to assemble things anyway. You must also not underestimate the power of Ad Nauseam, Necropotence, and Life from the Loam in our opening hand.

The Game

Quickly establish your mana base by playing your land for turn, and whatever elf (or elves) you can get out on the first turn. Only establish the artifact fast mana when you can immediately use it that turn, or the sequencing rewards you for having it out a turn early. You must also establish your card advantage engines early as possible if you can - an extra card or two a turn can be integral to repairing after a failed combo, or amassing the resources necessary to combo straight through interaction. You should be aiming for the combo by turn 3 if possible, but you're not required to force it by then. By reading the table you should come to the decision whether to go off immediately or try and grind more value or take out key stax pieces before trying to win the game. Simply by threatening the act of the combo could keep up one or multiple player's mana and actions locked up at the table for some time. If it doesn't: punish them and win immediately. As the game gets longer, get ready to abuse Ad Nauseam, Emergence Zone, and the instant speed nature of the combo when we actually have Gitrog + discard outlet on board to win in response to a fight over someone else winning. This happens more often than you'd think.

Matchups

  • Up against a lot of fast combo decks? You're likely to be the predator, and it's often a matter of racing to victory as fast as possible.
  • Up against multiple blue control decks? Let the opposition hold up their counters and slowly accumulate value through your engines while looking for a window to combo off.
  • Up against stax? Look for an opportunity to either combo through the stax pieces or to remove them through your removal suite.
  • Up against a mixed table? Your plan may vary.

This is Leptys's rule of thumb for matchups. The first point has a caveat though: Flash Hulk. They're the predators of the entire metagame in terms of fast combo, and often value. You're usually better often treating them like 'blue control decks' to play against them effectively.

I'll post a detailed matchup list down below at a later time, with Noobzaurs help since he has the most experience piloting the deck versus a wide field.

Tainted Pact

Double Titan

The two main archetypes of The Gitrog Monster are Gaea's Blessing and Double Titan builds. This deck is the latter. Each has its own strengths, but Double Titan tends to be better against a blind meta and is generally faster thanks to its access to powerful efficient tutors like Tainted Pact and Plunge into Darkness that it gets to run thanks to the redundancy of having two instead of one Eldrazi Titan. There isn't much to be said here that can relate to you how to use these powerful tutors - you have to play with them yourself since their usage is extremely contextual and rely on on-the-spot critical thinking to make the best use of them. These cards are used in a variety of other cEDH decks as well, so Gitrog players aren't the only ones you can rely on for experience in order to learn how to utilize them properly.


Bazaar of Baghdad

Bazaar of Baghdad

  • 120.2 Cards may only be drawn one at a time. If a player is instructed to draw multiple cards, that player performs that many individual card draws.

Just covering the best-case scenario alone should let you know how ridiculous this card is: With two dredgers in the graveyard such as life from the loam and Golgari Grave-Troll and a Bazaar activation, we can dredge Loam for the first draw, milling 3 cards with at least one being a land, then dredge GGT for the second draw, milling 6 cards with at least one being a land, then discarding both dredgers again and a land, leaving us with 3 draw triggers on the stack. Dredge both dredgers again for the first two draw triggers, each revealing at least one land once again, and then draw 3 more cards after them. This essentially makes Bazaar of Baghdad tap to put 5 cards in your hand. Even without any dredgers, by discarding a land to the discard 3, the land essentially reads draw 3 discard 3, which is absurd.

Other cards will be added at a later date should people have specific questions about them that I find relevant to answer here.

Flex Slots

Possible Additions

Interaction:

Grind:

Anti-Mirror Tech:


The Resilient Frog

Commander / EDH forgottenkane

SCORE: 13 | 9725 VIEWS | IN 5 FOLDERS


If you are interesting in this competitive The Gitrog Monster list but lack the budget and cannot proxy? Have no fear! These lists are not only budget in nature, but offer a direct path of upgrading in their descriptions, card for card, organized not only by card type but more importantly order of preferred upgrades:


Budget cEDH Gitrog ($250)

Commander / EDH forgottenkane

SCORE: 18 | 3 COMMENTS | 11097 VIEWS | IN 10 FOLDERS



Budget cEDH Gitrog ($500)

Commander / EDH forgottenkane

SCORE: 8 | 2 COMMENTS | 5901 VIEWS | IN 4 FOLDERS



Budget cEDH Gitrog ($1000)

Commander / EDH forgottenkane

SCORE: 5 | 5827 VIEWS | IN 2 FOLDERS


Mind you, these are single-titan lists that use Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and Gaea's Blessing for budgetary concerns. The decks are still entirely functional (and even have their upsides versus a Double Titan list like this one - albeit very niche upsides).

Scryfall

MTGGoldfish

A huge thanks to Leptys, Noobzaurs, Kiebitzen, Bendinguy, and the rest of The Gitrog Monster Discord for guiding me on my frogging journey thus far. You're all incredible.

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Top Ranked
Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 week
Exclude colors WUR
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

15 - 0 Mythic Rares

49 - 0 Rares

18 - 0 Uncommons

14 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.89
Tokens 1/1 Spirit
Folders Deck References, meine, 3 Primer Reading List, z Future, cEDH primers that I play, Interesting Decks, edh, cEDH Ideas, frog, cEDH, See all 35
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