Recross the Paths - Wort, the Raidmother

(Wort, the Raidmother | Art by Dave Allsop)

Is it Wort(h) Playing This Deck?

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Recross the Paths, the series that gives commanders a typal twist.

Let's get straight to the point of today's deck tech: Slime Against Humanity. In fact, as soon as they revealed this card, I thought I needed to build a deck around it, but I couldn't really decide which commander should be leading it. In the end, I opted for Wort, the Raidmother as the general for this list for two main reasons. On one hand, it is a green commander that cares about instants and, most importantly, sorceries. This means that it interacts positively with basically all the creatures we are running, given that they spawn from sorceries. On the other hand, it grants us access to red mana, a color that offers even more support to noncreature-spell-based decks. Let's dive in!

Stage One: The Deck

Step One: Oozing Around

As mentioned before, the whole deck revolves around the recently-printed Slime Against Humanity. This three mana sorcery allows us to create increasingly stronger creatures and all of them come with a really handy ability: trample. As the game goes on, they will get stronger and stronger, meaning our combat steps will become even more threatening.

Sadly, there isn't much to say about other Oozes: there aren't many creatures with this creature type and most of them are stand-alone cards. This means that they don't really generate synergies with other cards, but rather function as engines on their own; a primal example of such a card is Scavenging Ooze, which doesn't care at all about its type but works perfectly as a graveyard hate piece. The only Ooze creatures to present positive interactions with our gameplan are Oran-Rief Ooze, Biowaste Blob and Biogenic Ooze. The first one makes sure our army is ever-growing, putting additional +1/+1 counters on each attacking creature. Then, Biowaste Blob is more of a late-game card, as it rewards us for keeping our commander around. We won't achieve this quickly, given that its mana value is a bit high. Lastly, Biogenic Ooze makes an immediate impact on the board, perhaps helping us rebuild after a mass removal.

Still, the vast majority of our creatures come from the 33 copies of Slime Against Humanity we are running. Moreover, we must not underestimate the typal synergy each of these cards imply. In fact, given that the Ooze tokens' stats depend on the number of Slime Against Humanity we've cast throughout the game, each one of them can be considered as an anthem effect as well, granting following tokens higher power and toughness.

Step Two: You Can Count on the Counters

Our whole squad comes with +1/+1 counters, which means we get incidental support from several cards printed throughout Magic's history. In fact, starting from the more recent additions, they count as modified creatures, given that they have counters on them. For this reason, Invigorating Hot Spring, Kodama of the West Tree and Akki Battle Squad will grant us hasty creatures, ramp and additional combat steps respectively.

Then, we can obviously rely on dedicated +1/+1 counters cards as well. For example, Court of Garenbrig will reward us with a lot of stats and cards if we keep the monarchy; Inspiring Call will also draw us many cards, while also protecting our board. Lastly, Uncivil Unrest will straight up double our damage output, which can get out of hand pretty quickly.

We can also take advantage of other characteristics of our creatures. Roar of Resistance rewards us for playing creature tokens, while also working as an interesting political tool. Evolution Sage is good old friend that reliably keeps on putting counters on our board. Lastly, Primal Vigor represents the best of the two worlds; it both doubles tokens created and +1/+1 counters put on creature, working as a true cornerstone of our build.

Step Three: Ooze Flood

Given how peculiar our deck is, we can also get our hands on some cards that shouldn't work in a normal commander build. First off, Thrumming Stone already became popular when Dragon's Approach was printed, but it can obviously do a lot of work here as well. On the same note, Twinning Glass allows us to play the second copy of Slime Against Humanity each turn for as cheap as one mana (or perhaps snipe someone else's Sol Ring or Rampant Growth, but it's a very niche situation). Lastly, once we get Pyromancer Ascension online, we will be getting a two-for-one special sale on our Oozes.

Also, we get to play additional ways to chain multiple copies of the same spell. Goblin Anarchomancer and Primal Amulet discount our token-generating sorceries, with the second one also eventually flipping into a spell-doubling land. Lastly, Harness the Storm is another way to play two Slime Against Humanity at once, if we have enough mana to do so.

Step Four: The Complete Decklist

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Stage Two: The Data Room

We're on to the last part of this deck tech: the data room. Was this deck idea actually unique? Let's compare this list against both the average Wort and the average Ooze deck to see what we gained (and lost) in the process.

Step One: The average Wort Deck

Wort is currently the 15th most popular Gruul commander, with 2625 decks registered on EDHREC, which also means it is the 383rd most built commander overall.

Looking at Wort's page on EDHREC, it is possible to see how it lacks a proper building direction. In particular, the main problem seems to be a lack of balance between spells to copy and creatures (especially creature tokens) to be used to copy said spells. For example, the Goblin typal builds of this commander are powerful for sure, but they are also pretty exclusively creature-centric. This means that the instants and sorceries that are getting copied are either ramp spells like Cultivate, some nice-but-niche burn spell like Massive Raid or interactions like Beast Within.

While all of these targets are pretty sweet when copied, they don't really fit with the rest of the deck overall. I mean, does a Goblin deck need to ramp even more once its six mana commander is out? Does it need to surprise one-shot an opponent when the whole point of the deck is to do so through an overwhelming number of attackers? Does it need to give up on two attackers to remove a second problematic permanent (that perhaps someone else could take care of)? All in all, doubling spells in this kind of Goblin builds is obviously a play that generates more value but also slows down a gameplay that is supposed to be lightning fast.

On the other hand, Wort can be built as a spellslinger commander, shifting the focus of the deck on powerful instant and/or sorceries that we want to copy. In this case, we run into another extremely evident problem with the commander: Why would I spend six mana on a commander that will allow me (if it stays alive) to storm off the following turn, when I could already be storming off with said six mana? In other words, it's really hard to find a proper spot to play Wort while also trying to chain multiple cheap spells. Most of the time, it will feel like an awkward expensive play. Moreover, in order to function, this commander needs multiple creatures on the board, so that it is possible to actually copy them with conspire. Hence, the spellslinger version of Wort seems more of a storm-with-extra-steps deck which is also extremely slowed down by an expensive commander. All in all, I know that it gets boring to always play the same old Thousand-Year Storm and perhaps it is funnier to go crazy with Goblin Anarchomancer and conspire triggers, but it may just be a tad too slow to be a proper storm deck.

On the other hand, I think that a slower version of this commander works best. Rather than going fast while doing so not efficiently, I think it's better to acknowledge the higher mana value of our general and build our deck accordingly. For this reason Slime Against Humanity seems to me as a good plan here: it is obviously a slower strategy but it grants us the possibility to get the most out of Wort.

Step Two: The Average Ooze Deck

For what concerns Ooze deck, Aeve, Progenitor Ooze is the most played one, with 1018 decks registered on EDHREC. Needless to say, this is not a very popular typal strategy, mainly because of the actual lack of creatures. There are only 42 legal Oozes in the whole format and they don't share any kind of synergy, aside form some sort of +1/+1 counter sub-theme. Nonetheless, most of them are just stand-alone cards, like Scavenging Ooze being a good graveyard hate piece, Green Slime being some sort of "gotcha" tech for triggered abilities or Necrotic Ooze being a staple of layered graveyard-centric combos.

Yet, the only creatures that actually care about other Oozes are those included in our list: Biogenic Ooze (which sees play in 64.3% of Aeve decks) and Biowaste Blob (which is played in 68,6% of these decks). Other than them, Aeve as well cares about its fellow Oozes, but it seems more of a stand-alone card like the ones mentioned before: the true goal while playing it is to get to a storm count high enough to flood the board with huge bodies, without really caring about Ooze creatures already in play.

In conclusion, it seems to me that there is a complete lack of interest in this creature type: there are not enough cards to justify a build around it, said cards don't even interact positively between them and many of them are straight-up bad, like Chaotic Goo, Gobbling Ooze or Mwonvuli Ooze. For these same reasons I think a high number of Slime Against Humanity actually work as a proper typal deck: each of them cares about how many were cast before, meaning that each creature is also an anthem effect for the others. Moreover, all of this is attached to trampling bodies that can actually threaten our opponents' life totals.

Takeaways From Today's Article

  • Slime Against Humanity is an extremely fun card to build around! It paves the way for a high number of possible builds and deck styles. In this case, I opted for Wort as a commander also to revitalize it, since it seems a bit old-fashioned and power-crept out of the format. Nonetheless, there are obviously possibilities for Temur builds, with generals such as Kalamax, the Stormsire, Riku of Two Reflections or The Swarmlord. The mono-green variant lead by Aeve, Progenitor Ooze has already been mentioned as well, but there could also be Simic builds with Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios or a Sultai one with Xavier Sal, Infested Captain. Obviously, there are countless more possibilities and it's up to all of us to discover which one we prefer and have the most fun playing!
  • On the other hand, Ooze is just not a true typal archetype. While in the past there have been situations in which a certain creature type actually were just a few pieces away from being an actualy synergic group (for example, Elementals), in this case there is nothing to work with. Some creatures are actually powerful but don't really care about their type (Scavenging Ooze) and those who do so (Biogenic Ooze) are surrounded by luckluster and basically unplayable ones (Mwonvuli Ooze);
  • Lastly, Wort, the Raidmother is struggling to keep up with the higher power level of the format. It's hard to deny how hard it is to justify running a six mana commander that needs a lot of additional cards to start doing something. For this reason, I find it a perfect fit for a slower, fun-oriented deck, which doesn't claim to be a fast storm deck. Rather than focusing on speed while being held back by a steep mana value in the command zone, I centred on the late game, when our Oozes start to become really scary and it's easier for us to have some engine going that allows us to produce two or more of them at once.

That’s all from me for the moment. I hope you enjoyed this deck tech, but now it’s on to you: what do you think of it? Would you have changed anything? Or there’s something you particularly liked? Most importantly, do you believe this was a true innovation? Let me know in the comments below!

Read more:

Top 10 Cards For A Slime Against Humanity Deck

Recross the Paths - Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes

Jonathan is an Italy-based Magic enjoyer that has been playing, although with some pauses, ever since Mirrodin released. His passion for EDH bloomed in 2018 and, with it, the love for exotic and underrepresented builds. When he is not complaining about an “unfair” removal, you can find him fiercely defending his Delver of Secrets at a pauper table.

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