Challenge the Stats – Slimefoot Gets Saucy
(Slimefoot, the Stowaway l Art by Alex Konstad)
Hello and welcome to the brand new EDHREC series Challenge the Stats, based off of the wonderful segment on the EDHRECast by the same name. In this series, we will challenge the percentages of 10 cards in a deck on EDHREC. Our goal is to highlight cards that we think are seeing too much play or too little play, and classify them as overplayed, underplayed, or sleeper picks (not showing up at all on the commander's page, but really should).
Our first article will be on Slimefoot, the Stowaway. This is a great example of a commander whose page has cards that are worthy of a challenge. We will be discussing cards in the deck that we think are seeing too much or too little play. Keep in mind these suggestions are to optimize the deck, but inclusions made by flavor, budget, art, or anything else important to you as the deck brewer are always legitimate.
Slimefoot is a mana sink for producing Saproling tokens, and he drains our opponents for one life when they die. So his M.O. is to produce lots of little Sappies and then sacrifice them for value or to drain our opponents.
There are two ways to effectively produce Saprolings that aren’t mutually exclusive, but we’ll want to emphasize one for optimal deck synergy:
- Spore counters. Most Fungus creatures get spore counters and then turn three spore counters into a Saproling token. This build relies on Proliferating those counters to make an army at will. Effects like Doubling Season and Winding Constrictor are especially helpful in this build.
- Big mana into Slimefoot. There are some great redundant effects for ol’ Slimey like Jade Mage and Nemata, Grove Guardian. Use green’s expertise at producing big mana to make lots of Saprolings.
Saprolings have taken many forms over the years, shown here from oldest to newest:
Let’s dive right into the picks!
Sporemound – Overplayed (76%)
Sporemound doesn’t fit into either of Slimefoot’s strategies. It’s a Fungus but it doesn’t give itself spore counters, and it only gives us roughly one Saproling per turn (not accounting for ramp or missed land drops). We can play this on turn six to play a land and get... one Saproling. That’s four power worth of stats for five mana and one Saproling per turn after that. In Commander, that’s just not going to cut it, and it’s being played in far too many decks. Sporemound looks better suited to a Landfall deck. I will admit, the Svetlin Velinov art is really awesome, so if you’re playing it for that reason, more power to you.
Golgari Germination – Overplayed (47%)
A big-mana build of Slimefoot might not have many non-token creatures, but let’s discuss this in a spore counter build where we’ll have a higher creature count. The ceiling on this card is that we recover faster from a boardwipe by turning our dying Fungi into Saprolings. The floor is that our consolation prize for someone sniping a key creature is… one Saproling. That’s not much of an insurance policy. No thanks! Like Sporemound, this is one that seems like it should go in a Slimefoot deck, but in reality, underperforms. This would do much better in a Golgari Aristocrats strategy.
Yavimaya Sapherd and friends – Overplayed (34%)
This deck wants to make lots of Saprolings efficiently, but we should strive for repeatable effects. One-shot Saproling production effects have to really be worth it to warrant a slot. Yavimaya Sapherd, Deathbloom Thallid, and Tukatongue Thallid are too vanilla to warrant being in 35%, 30%, and 24% of decks, respectively. There are much more reliable and repeatable ways to produce Saprolings over the course of the game, such as pumping big mana from Cryptolith Rite into Jade Mage. In a spore counters build, Thallid may be unassuming, but Proliferating more counters onto it and each Fungus we control with Evolution Sage is just the kind of Commander shenanigans Doctor Slimefoot ordered (he’s a podiatrist, by the way). Go with repeatable token production instead of these one-offs.
Fungal Sprouting – Overplayed (41%)
While the art on this card is phenomenal, the floor on this card is far too low. With Slimefoot on the battlefield, we can reliably count on making only two Saprolings. Most Fungi are similarly low-powered, with the exception of very few (Savage Thallid, Sporesower Thallid, and Sporoloth Ancient). There’s also Verdant Force at 7 power, but it has a high mana cost, and we can’t count on any of these being out on the battlefield when we want them. Finally, if we’re going to use spell-based token producers, they should be at instant speed like Spore Swarm, or better yet, instant speed and repeatable, like Sprout Swarm. The more instants we have in our deck, the better we can take advantage of Slimey’s activated ability while holding mana open for answers.
Heartstone – Underplayed (11%)
This card will be taken most advantage of in 'big mana' Slimefoot decks, as it reduces the cost of Slimefoot activations by one generic mana. Not only that, but we have Jade Mage and Nemata, Grove Guardian to reduce as well. For the latter two, going to down two mana to create a cute little Saproling feels great. Perhaps people are scared of the symmetrical effect, but of EDHREC’s top commanders, only five have activated abilities that cost mana, so most of the time we’re going to use this better than anyone else.
Keen Sense and Snake Umbra – Underplayed (<30%)
We’re going to lump these two together because we like them for the same reason – they draw bonkers amounts of cards when they’re attached to Slimefoot! However, they are both played in less than 30% of decks! Both cards have the text “whenever this creature deals damage to an opponent, draw a card”. This isn’t combat damage, it’s any damage, so each Saproling that Slimefoot sees die will draw us three cards for three opponents!
Perhaps people aren’t aware of the interaction or are afraid of using Auras because they are fragile. However, if we think of these as spells, paying one mana for Keen Sense to draw three cards is an amazing rate, even if we don't get any further value from it. All we need to do is play these with a single Saproling and a sac outlet on the board (which is easy to do in this deck), and we’ll get that value right away. If you’re nervous about using Auras, try out Snake Umbra since it’s budget-friendly, and you’ll at least get Totem Armor out of it. I guarantee you’ll never be sad to see it in your hand.
Gift of Doom – Sleeper (0%)
This Commander 2019 card is a great fit for this deck. I like it as an important piece of protection alongside the likes of Swiftfoot Boots, since this deck doesn’t really need the haste (also, I have a hard time imagining mushrooms wearing boots). Additionally, 70% of Slimefoot decks are already running the Morph creature Thelonite Hermit, so our opponents will expect our face-down card to be the Hermit, which will allow you to catch them off-guard. If your playgroup knows there’s only one Morph in our deck, it’s no surprise what it is. Adding just one more makes it a much more dangerous guessing game. All Gift of Doom needs is one other little Saproling to sacrifice and it’s a three-mana counterspell, boardwipe protection, or surprise deathtoucher. So much fun, and so much value!
Perilous Forays – Sleeper (0%)
Compare this card to Thallid Omnivore, which sees play in 37% of decks. They both let us pay one generic mana to sacrifice a creature for benefit. The Omnivore will get a temporary buff and maybe gain us some life, whereas Perilous Forays will ramp us! Also, it’s an enchantment, so it’s harder to get rid of.
Wail of the Nim – Sleeper (0%)
Mass regeneration is so helpful in this deck. We want to kill our Saprolings, but on our own terms, not our opponents’. Golgari Charm is played in 48% of decks and Wrap in Vigor is played in 9% of decks. Wail of the Nim is a great modal regeneration spell, also giving us the option to deal 1 damage to each creature and player. It may be able to wipe some of our opponents’ small creatures, but more importantly, this acts as a pseudo-sacrifice outlet, same as Golgari Charm. In this deck, we need to be able to kill all of our Saprolings on demand. Someone may try to prevent us from winning by removing our sacrifice outlet, but Wail of the Nim acts as a surprise 'sac outlet' for all of our 1/1s. It should be played alongside Golgari Charm, so consider it as an alternative to Wrap in Vigor and similar spells.
Seedborn Muse – Sleeper (0%)
This one was just reprinted, so it’s a great time to pick it up. Regardless of the Slimefoot strategy we’re playing, we’ll always have a mana sink in our command zone. Untapping our lands on every players’ turn will allow us to quickly build a Saproling swarm.
Let's do a thought experiment: with a reasonable eight lands in play, we can play Seedborn Muse and Slimefoot, then untap and make two Saprolings every upkeep after that. If that lasts just two turns around the table, we'll have 14 Saprolings. If we have 12 lands, we'll make over 20 Saprolings, and if we have a Heartstone or Jade Mage with 12 lands, we would make over 30! If that isn't Slimefoot's jam, then I don't know what is. It will always be phenomenal with him on the battlefield, and anything else we have out to untap is just gravy.
Let's wrap up these picks with a decklist!
Slimefoot’s Spicy Saproling SalsaView on Archidekt
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
There are so many choices for Fungi, Thallids, and mushrooms, that you can easily make this deck budget, tribal, or combo. Take it in whichever direction you want with the cards and budget you have. The decklist above focuses on big mana and value, and does contain some pricey cards like Doubling Season. If you don’t want to shell out for it or don’t have one, there are plenty of other sleeper cards out there that will still make Slimefoot shine. All you have to do is dig a little deeper into the data, and challenge those stats!
What do you think of this new series? Do you have a suggestion for a commander you want challenged? Let me know in the comments!