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Commanding Carth the Lion


Hello folks! I hope that you are having a brilliant day today! Have you been taking a deep dive into the Modern Horizons 2 spoiler? I have been! Today I want to build around the third Lion Legendary dork - the first is Mageta the Lion and the next is Syr Alin, the Lion's Claw. I loved Carth's name, and I wanted to build around him!

This is my second legendary dork to build around from the set! First, I built around Yusri, Fortune's Flame! This deck is rife with cards that flip coins and care about flipping coins like Krark's Thumb and Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom. It was awesome and you can check it out here!

As a fun challenge today, I won't be looking at Carth over at EDHREC.com as I want to stretch my muscles. Typically, I look at EDHREC and use that as a foundation for my own brew, and then I highlight cards I added that weren't on the page. But this time I just want to lean into my pre-EDHREC.com days and create the deck separately.

Let's look at Carth.

Carth the Lion

Check him out! He's a great Golgari-themed guy that plays into new space. He's 4 mana and 3/5, so he's fine on the mana curve. When he arrives to the party (or when a planeswalker you control dies) you dig 7 cards deep. You can reveal a 'walker and put it into your hand. And then your loyalty abilities will get you an extra +1 loyalty! I adore Carth the Lion a lot as Golgari Friends wasn't really a thing until now right? Right! We need those planeswalkers!

How am I expecting to build around Carth?

  • Planeswalkers - The first thing we need are a ton of planeswalkers! According to Gatherer, there are 61 planeswalkers that are not Blue, Red, or White that can fit into my brew. We'll likely dig deeply into them. When they die (common in Commander or any multiplayer game) they'll replace themselves. Unfortunately, many of the options in Green care about creatures like Jiang Yanggu and Vivien, Champion of the Wilds that won't work in a Friends build like this one. Our key friends are Vivien, Garruk, Nissa, Vraska, Nixilis and Liliana and many aspects thereof. Each of those six 'walkers should have at least three appearances.
  • Counter Manipulation - We are in Green, a color of counter manipulation. We'll toss in cards with abilities like proliferate and Doubling Season as well.
  • Planeswalker Loving - There are a few cards out there that care about planeswalkers. Most are in White, but a few are colorless.
  • Planeswalker Protection - We won't have that many creatures for blocking, so we'll need ways to keep us and our friends from dying in combat all of the time, like Maze of Ith. You might see some deathtouchers to trade up or some indestructible dorks to jump in front of attackers as well. We'll see.
  • Support - We'll lean into support for things like mana ramping, removal, and card drawing. Instead of normal spells like Beast Within and Maelstrom Pulse, we'll run creature-based removal that can jump in front of attacks that might take out a key planeswalker.

And there we have it! Ready to get started with Carth the Lion? Let's do it to it!

Grist, the Hunger Tide

Let's start with a fellow Modern Horizons 2 gold card, Grist. Check out this swarm of insects. It's one of the most unusual planeswalkers ever printed. You can tutor it with something like Worldly Tutor, fetch it with Tooth and Nail, and more! It's brilliant fun in this brew and I love that it can arrive on the third turn, which is big for planeswalkers. You can +1 to make a 1/1 dork and that's better than other 3 mana +1 token makers that make defenders or 0/1s. You can also sacrifice an Insect or another creature like Solemn Simulacrum or Ravenous Chupacabra for killing of a dork or 'walker.

Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury
Vivien Reid
Garruk, Apex Predator

In addition to leaning into creatures for removal, I'll also lean into planeswalkers that will double as removal. Check out this trio as a good example of removal. Freyalise can +2 make tokens that are essentially Llanowar Elves to block and ramp. But she can also -2 to Naturalize. Backup artifact and enchantment removal is valuable. Then turn to Vivien, the Firstly Printed. She can +1 to dig four and keep a creature as well as a land, but that's less likely here in this brew. You may not successfully use it that often. You can -3 her to Naturalize or kill a flyer. Then check out the most expensive Garruk. As you can see, he is 7-mana for a 5-loyalty walker of the planes. You can +1 to churn out a 3/3 with deathtouch which can trade up and play keep away nicely. You can also +1 him to kill a planeswalker and -3 to destroy a dork and gain some life after munching on it. Great set of versatility with these tree walkers, and they are just three.

Nissa, Genesis Mage
Vraska, Regal Gorgon

Check out these two 7-drops. Nissa is from the Hour of Devastation Planeswalker deck printed back in 2017. I love her a lot and have run her in my Commander Cube and elsewhere. Her +2 can untap two dorks and two lands which is at least 2 mana maybe more if that land is something like the bounceland cycle or Temple of the False God. If you have mana dorks like Freyalise's Elves or something that's not in this build like Birds of Paradise, you can have a lot more mana.

She's great in Simic with dorks that tap for abilities like Archivist. She's great in decks that have a Commander that taps for an ability. I love her a lot for mana ramp, untapping after you swung to keep you back as a blocker, and more! Also don't sleep on that -3 to +5/+5 something named Carth to help with a Commander Damage Kill.

Now check out Vraska! This is also a planeswalker deck from Guilds of Ravnica. Five loyalty on a 7-drop with a +2 ability, in her case putting a +1/+1 counter on a dork and netting it menace for the turn. I like it on Carth to amp him up and give him some form of evasion since he has none. I also love the -3 to take out a creature and Murder something. Both have -10 abilities that will help the team, although I prefer Nissa's in this brew as a heavy planeswalker as there may not be that many in your graveyard for counters with Vraska.

Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools

Check out Szat! This is this first appearance as a big bad! He's a nice 5-drop with 4 loyalty and he'll +2 to 6 loyalty on the first turn and crunch out two 0/1 blockers (or swingers with a Vraska, Regal Gorgon +2). You can sacrifice a token dork your many planeswalkers, or Szat, make and draw two cards with a +1 to this 'walker. You can sacrifice Carth for an Ancestral Recall amount of mana, which you may want to do draw three cards and if you have the mana to recast him and trigger his ability again. And if you can get to 10 loyalty? That's a game-winning ultimate.

All right, let's leave behind planeswalkers and turn to other cards.

Blood Reckoning
Cunning Rhetoric

Marchesa's Decree
Sandwurm Convergence

I don't want to be attacked by stuff! I also don't want my friends attacked as well. I initially had Koskun Falls in this brew, but it wouldn't stop attackers to my planeswalkers, so I pulled it. But these all tax folks that are swinging at me or Carth's Buddies. The Decree and Reckoning will tax life for each creature that comes your way, easy early on but that tax adds up into a steeper tax as the game progresses. The Decree will replace itself as you become the monarch, and it's the only one of those in this brew. The Convergence will prevent any flyers from swinging your way or looking askance at your planeswalkers and it also churns out free 5/5s during your end step which you can play keep away with as well as swing with. The Rhetoric is awesome! As folks swing your way you net a free card from the top of their library. That's a big hit and I doubt many are going to want to do that.

Now add in Basilisk Collar, one of our two pieces of Equipment. I love it here as it will give any equipped dork deathtouch. After filling out my deck with key removal, defense, and planeswalkers, I didn't have much space for deathtouch or indestructible and I have 68 non-lands so I don't have any more space. My only natural deathtouchers are Acidic Slime and a card we'll look at below. You can drop this on the first turn and then equip it for just 2 mana. Deathtouch on a key dork like Shriekmaw can keep away folks that don't want to trade down their better 6/6. I also love this on Nekrataal with first strike. When you do trade up you keep your equipment as well. It's not being run here for lifelink but that's not bad either.

Sylvan Ranger
Borderland Ranger

District Guide
Civic Wayfinder

Forget classic cards like Cultivate and Kodama's Reach. I didn't want sorceries and instants in this brew - I wanted creatures so I tossed in four creatures that will net you a basic land on arrival to the battlefield and put it into your hand. I also tossed in Solemn Simulacrum which you wouldn't normally see in a Green deck as you have better ramp spells available, but in this case the bodies are needed to block attackers on friends that would otherwise be lethal. This four-set is great at adding bodies to the game! Check out the Guide! It can fetch a basic or a Gate, so I tossed in Golgari Guildgate to fetch two colors in one card. This set will love Basilisk Collar.

Timeless Witness
Eternal Witness

I am also running my recursion into these two bodies. The two Witnesses are both 2/1 Human Shaman that will Regrowth a card on arrival to the battlefield. They'll also love a Basilisk Collar to trade up. When the Timeless Human Shaman dies (likely given the need to chump block combined with its toughness) you can eternalize it for a 4/4 Black Zombie that also Regrowths on arrival, so you'll net a lot of card advantage from it! From the two Regrowths to the trades and the bodies you'll net serious card advantage here. I adore this duo!

Let's turn to one more pair of creatures and then more on to other types in this brew.

Vengeful Pharaoh
Vivien's Grizzly

Check out these two forgotten cards! The Zombie can trade up with deathtouch, although 5/4 is enough to kill a lot of folks anyway. You'll want to kill it regularly. When someone dares to deal combat damage to you or one of your precious planewalkers then you can destroy that creature if the Zombie is in your graveyard and place it on top of your library, so you'll draw it again for more trading. Pretty nice, right? And I love the budget common Bear Spirit. You can spend 4 mana and then look at the top card of your library. Is it a planeswalker or creature? Likely! Then put it into your hand! Otherwise send it to the bottom of your library and try again!

Let's get to lands!

Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

This pair were the first two non-basic cards that I tossed into the deck! Yavimaya duplicates the powerhouse of Urborg, which is heavily played in this format. Urborg is the best Swamp ever printed as it works on itself, and ditto Yavimaya is now the best Forest ever printed. Both will really help with the mana requirements and if you have them both out at the same time then you win some coolness points!

Darkmoss Bridge
Mobilized District
Interplanar Beacon

I am leaning into the two War of the Spark lands that care about planeswalkers. The first will let you turn one generic mana into a Black and Green mana for planeswalkers as well as tapping for colorless. The second card will let you turn it into a 3/3 vigilance and that cost is reduced from 4 mana based on the number of legendary dorks, like Carth the Lion, and the countless planeswalkers in this build. Have you seen the new land cycle from Modern Horizons 2? I love the Bridges! I love their common-ness. I tossed in one Bridge into this build as well.

Moving on!

Heart of Kiran
The Chain Veil
Rings of Brighthearth

Check out the two legendary artifacts! I adore Heart here as it can be crewed by loyalty counters. What makes it pass the must-play-test is that you can activate it on your turn, swing with it flying for four damage. Then it remains untapped with vigilance and you can crew it again when someone might be tempted to swing and it's 4/4 and flying can kill a lot of potential attackers. Liliana's Chain Veil is awesome in any planeswalker deck as you'll let you double your loyalty abilities for 4 mana and a tapped Veil.

Check out Rings of Brighthearth. I love it in my heavy planeswalker decks. Did you activate a loyalty ability? Awesome! Copy it for a pair of generic mana. It's another way to keep up the card flow in this beauty!

Spread the Sickness
Sword of Truth and Justice

I have a bunch of proliferate in my build! From Karn's Bastion to Evolution Sage, we are loaded with it! Check out this pair. The sorcery acts as removal and will destroy a key annoying creature. And then? You'll proliferate all day long and load up loyalty counters! Check out the first Modern Horizons Sword of Truth and Justice! Toss it on a dork! Swing! Did you hit? Likely with the two protection from colors! Now proliferate. And toss a counter on Carth the Lion first so he'll net two overall.

Let's leave artifacts!

Oath of Nissa
Oath of Liliana

Check out this pair of Oaths. The former will, on arrival to the battlefield, will dig three cards deep and let you reveal a land, critter, or 'walker and then reveal it and put it into your hand so it's card equilibrium. I have... 77 lands, 'walkers and non-Commander creatures in my build so the likelihood of unearthing at least one is really high. Then once it's on the battlefield you can spend mana of any color or colorless for mana for your planeswalkers, so it's useful to ensure that your planeswalkers are playable no matter if you have the wrong colors. Check out the latter Oath. On arrival each opponent is Edicted, and as you drop planeswalkers, in your end step you'll make a 2/2 Zombie to block potential attackers, but just once a turn no matter how many 'walkers you made.

Kamahl's Druidic Vow
Settle the Score
Yawgmoth's Vile Offering

Like I said, I don't have many spells in this build. Ever since planeswalkers were changed to legendary things like the Legendary Sorceries here can be more easily played. They are easy to cast in a deck like this one. My preference is the powerhouse of Kamahl. It's a useful mana sink and it's heavily played in the format with 4,242 of them registered over at EDHREC.com. You can dig down deeply and, in this brew, toss out many of the planeswalkers and lands you uncover. Yawgmoth's sorcery will let you recur a key dork or 'walker onto the battlefield under your control while also adding to your removal of a dork or 'walker that a foe controls. It's card advantage. Settle the Score will turn exiling creature removal into two loyalty counters onto your best planeswalker. Might I suggest Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools?

Let's look at one more spell and then we'll call it!

The Elderspell

I love this thing here! In one spell you can destroy all planeswalkers your foe's control and then load up the best ultimate you control with enough counters to dominate. You can also destroy your own stuff that is about to die or was better in the early game and then add more counters onto your best game winning ultimate such as Liliana Vess's Rise of the Dark Realms that could get you enough creatures to win the game, or Vraska, Golgari Queen that can turn combat from your dorks into a game-winning attack on a naked board. Or Vraska, Relic Seeker that can turn someone's life to 1 and then you can kill them Sorin Markov's +2. There's a lot of ways to win the game with ultimate and The Elderspell. Enjoy them!

Enough flirting! Let's look at my 100!

Carth's Buddies | Commander | Abe Sargent

And there is my 100!

Here are some relevant numbers:

  • 6 - My instant and sorcery count
  • 15 - My non-Commander creature count
  • 30 - My planeswalker count
  • 7 - My enchantment count
  • 9 - My artifact count
  • 1 - My equipment count

I hope that you enjoyed my 100! And my Golgari Friends build! Anything in here that I missed or that you enjoyed seeing? Just let me know and have an awesome day today!

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