Archetune-Up - Muldrotha's Green New Deal
(Muldrotha, the Gravetide l Art by Jason Rainville)
Give Them Land, and They'll Bury Themselves in It
Hello, and welcome back to Archetune-Up, an article series devoted to using the Theme pages on EDHREC to help tweak a reader's submitted deck! In this article we will be getting down and dirty with Leighton Villanueva's (@DLCompleteTrash) Muldrotha, the Gravetide Lands deck! Muldrotha is the most popular commander from Dominara, racking up an impressive 1600 decks on the site in under a year, nearly 500 decks over the second most popular Dominarian legend, Jodah, Archmage Eternal!
Let's waste no time and take a look at Leighton's deck:
Muldrotha Lands by Leighton
This is already pretty solid. It has a good amount of ramp, card draw, threats, etc. When talking with Leighton about his deck though, he mentioned that it had a tendency to spin its wheels, which prompted him to add in the Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir + Knowledge Pool lock, and Mindslaver + Muldrotha lock. I'm personally not a fan of locking people out of the game, so I will be looking for efficient or more thematic ways we can close out a game with this list.
While it's solid, the deck seems like it has one leg in traditional Muldrotha strategies (with cards like Animate Dead, Plaguecrafter, and Terastodon), and the other leg in the lands build (with Tatyova, Benthic Druid, The Gitrog Monster, and Rampaging Baloths). This isn't 'incorrect' by any means, but if we want to call this a "Muldrotha Lands" deck, I'd like to focus on the land synergies more.
With that in mind, let's jump into the site's Theme pages and see what they have to offer us! We're going to start off with the theme that gives us the greatest number of goodies.
Treading Upon Familiar Soil
The Lands theme unsurprisingly has an incredible amount of cards for us to use. We could construct a deck entirely from the cards found here if we really wanted. As much as we need to build around our theme, we have to also consider our commander and our available colors. While building around our theme is important, we will need to make sure we build in synergy with our commander.
The first three cards I added were Crash of Rhino Beetles, Avenger of Zendikar and Retreat to Hagra. These cards fix Leighton's key issue right away; they help close out the game.
Crash of Rhino Beetles is consistently a 15/15 for five that can be repeatedly cast from your graveyard, courtesy of Muldrotha. It isn't fancy, but it is effective. A creature of that size is enough to keep one opponent busy, especially if it keeps coming back.
Avenger of Zendikar, while not an auto-include in every green deck, is definitely a force to be reckoned with in dedicated land-based strategies. Our plan is to always have a land enter the battlefield every turn, which makes Avenger a perfect inclusion. With the token-making ability strapped to an enter-the-battlefield trigger, Muldrotha can allow you to cast it over and over again for extra value.
Retreat to Hagra is a very underrated card in land decks. A one life drain may not seem like much, but when you ahve one or two lands entering the battlefield each turn, dealing 30 damage collectively to your opponents and gaining 10 life isn't out of the question. Retreat to Hagra also pairs well with Exsanguinate, which is also included as a finisher. Once you cast Retreat, it should never be off of the board for more than a turn, thanks to Muldrotha. An added bonus is that its first triggered ability can put Muldrotha into the three-hit-club (7 total power, meaning three hits will take out an opponent with commander damage), giving you another axis with which to assault your opponents.
Horn of Greed and Nissa, Vital Force excel when you have lands consistently entering the battlefield. Horn has the downside of helping your opponents, but you will always be getting the better end of the deal since your deck is built to take advantage of it. Nissa is a better version of Horn if you can protect her for a turn. Even if you are unable to, Muldrotha gives you plenty of do-overs to keep trying to get her emblem.
The Lands theme has many effects similar to Exploration; from Oracle of Mul Daya to Wayward Swordtooth, there are many effects that allow you to play multiple lands a turn. The issue is, Muldrotha's ability only lets us play one permanent of each type per turn, and these effects do not bypass that ability; even with the ability to play up to 4 extra lands per turn, Muldrotha can only play 1 land from the graveyard. Due to this, only Exploration made the cut. These cards are all strong, but I focused my efforts on different ways to ramp, rather than the ability to play multiple lands per turn. As a result, Crucible of Worlds and Ramunap Excavator also did not make the cut. While Crucible and Excavator do not have Muldrotha's restriction and they have more synergy with the Exploration variants, if I am not running a surplus of one, I'm not going to run the other, especially when Muldrotha is practically a Crucible on her own.
Courser of Kruphix halts early aggression and also frees you up from drawing unwanted lands by letting you play them off the top of your deck. The incidental life gain on top of that is just a bonus! The reason why I chose Courser over something like Oracle of Mul Daya is because of its card types. Being both a creature and enchantment allows us to choose to cast it from our graveyard as either one with Muldrotha, adding a bit of flexibility when reanimating.
The final inclusion from this theme is Squandered Resources. This card does disgusting things. It can provide a burst of mana if you need an explosive turn to put the game away, or it can give us consistent Landfall triggers for things like Avenger and Retreat to Hagra when combined with our commander, or it can just give you one or two extra mana when you need it. Its versatility cannot understated. It is one of the best cards available in land decks that include black.
Throw Enough Dirt and Some Will Stick
I would be remiss if I did not take a peek at the Graveyard theme. This theme is full of strong cards that any other Muldrotha deck would love. If we were a standard Muldrotha deck, this is probably where we would have started, but in order to keep us on track, I only grabbed two cards that that fit into our land synergy.
Sylvan Safekeeper fits perfectly into our deck. We love the ability to play lands from our graveyard, and Sylvan Safekeeper is a mana-less sacrifice outlet that also can protect Muldrotha and friends from targeted removal. Add the fact that it only costs one mana, and it is easily one of the best utility cards in our deck.
Life From the Loam allows us to grab excess lands from our graveyard and restock our hand if necessary, while also being able to Dredge cards into our graveyard. Cards in our graveyard are essentially cards in our hand, so even if we are only casting Life From the Loam to mill three cards into our graveyard every turn, it is still worth it.
Mill or be Milled
Coming in hot off the heels of Life from the Loam is the Self-Mill theme! Like I mentioned, our graveyard is practically a second hand, and if we know anything about Magic, it's that drawing cards - or in this case, dumping our library into our graveyard - is incredibly powerful.
Mesmeric Orb is a casual favorite, and for good reason: set it, and forget it! For a mere two mana, we will be able to mill our opponents (and ourselves) for an incredible number of cards. It's an all-star.
I'm sure you're wondering, "What happens if we eventually run out of cards?" That's where Perpetual Timepiece comes in! Early in the game, it will allow us to mill ourselves, while saving us from milling out later in the game. It being an artifact makes it even better, as Muldrotha can cast it from our yard if one of our other spells mill it. There is only upside to this card, and more decks like this should be playing it.
The final three cards from this theme I included are Search for Azcanta, Forbidden Alchemy, and Dig Through Time. All three of these cards perform some kind of card selection. Whether it is Search for Azcanta filtering draws and then transforming into Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, Forbidden Alchemy selecting cards from the top of our deck and dumping the rest into the graveyard, or Dig Through Time using unneeded cards in our yard to cast it, each one provides a necessary role at each part in the game to help our deck run more smoothly.
Digging a Bit Deeper
Let's look at a few other interesting inclusions to the deck. I'd like to start off with the Sagas from Dominaria.
The Mending of Dominaria is included in 35% of all Self-Mill decks. I am not a fan of it though, since I think it is a bit too pricey mana-wise, but it did get me thinking about other Sagas and how well they work with Muldrotha. In the end, I included three of them.
- Phyrexian Scriptures puts Muldrotha into the three-hit-club, wipes the board of everyone but her, and then exiles all other graveyards, hampering opposing graveyard strategies. It does everything we could ask for.
- The Eldest Reborn will continuously tax your opponents' boards and hands, allowing you to reanimate the juiciest pieces from them later.
- The Mirari Conjecture is here for the first two triggers, allowing us to Regrowth instant and sorceries to our hands, which we normally cannot do. The third chapters can also be used to double a game-winning Exsanguinate or a large Villainous Wealth.
There are a few other cards that I want to mention too:
- In my quest to add Eldrazi into every deck, I added the underrated Sire of Stagnation. It's a step below Consecrated Sphinx level. In other words, it's fair. It will usually draw you a few cards and get some groans out of green players. What more could you want?
- I swapped in Necrogen Mists to replace Monastery Siege because the discard disproportionately affects our opposition more than it affects us. Liliana of the Veil is another option for those with a larger budget.
- Yavimaya Granger, Dawntreader Elk, and Diligent Farmhand are ramp spells that I chose on account of their replayability with Muldrotha. These can easily be swapped out for more efficient cards like Signets or Rampant Growth variants, should you want cheaper mana costs over synergy.
Stick the Land(ing)
There are plenty of other themes I could have used for this article; Dredge, Mill, Discard, Landfall, etc., but for the sake of the length of this article, and because we are only allowed 100 cards, I had to trim it down to the most focused themes and cards, so make sure you check out my list below and let me know what you think!
Make sure you have your swords and shields ready, and send your prayers to Acacyn, because next time I'll be breaking down an Odric, Master Tactician list!
Thanks for arche-tuning in!
Playing in the Dirt
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