Whenever it feels safe to do so - after a rotation, a new set, or a banning is introduced into Standard, for example - I love to brew decks from scratch to see how they fare in the new environment. I've definitely done this before and talked about them in articles, so you might even be familiar with this process. We're a week out from the latest group of banned cards, and Standard is actually feeling somewhat healthy, which is something I haven't experienced in quite some time. I've been putting together decks and actually faring decently with them! With all that being the case, I want to talk about a pretty sweet deck that I managed to through together and have some fun with.
While the following list started out as a Temur list, the following deck is what we ended up on. (Be sure to check below for some video matches of the deck in action!)
Quartzwood Gruul | ZNR Standard | Frank Lepore
- Creatures (33)
- 2 Radha, Heart of Keld
- 2 Tangled Florahedron
- 3 Elder Gargaroth
- 3 Klothys, God of Destiny
- 3 Quartzwood Crasher
- 4 Bonecrusher Giant
- 4 Garruk's Harbinger
- 4 Kazandu Mammoth
- 4 Lotus Cobra
- 4 Questing Beast
- Sorceries (2)
- 2 Turntimber Symbiosis
Aside from all the broken creatures, spells, and planeswalkers Green has previously had access to, this deck was hoping to try and capitalize on just playing big dumb idiots like Green is traditionally known for. One of my favorite cards from Ikoria was Quartzwood Crasher. A 6/6 trampler for only five mana is a pretty sweet deal, especially considering it can make additional creatures. Unfortunately, a card like Quartzwood Crasher is rarely one that makes its way into Tier 1 decks, and is often relegated to the bulk bin. But this doesn't have to be so!
One of the things I wanted to do was take advantage of the "trample matters" beast, and the new Garruk was a good way to make that happen. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of the new Garruk, Unleashed. I think he's trying to replicate Garruk Wildspeaker, and isn't doing a great job, but in this deck, maybe he's the perfect fit. I think what we're ideally looking for is being able to play Garruk on turn three (thanks to either Lotus Cobra or Tangled Florahedron), making a 3/3 beast, then giving it trample and +3/+3 on turn four, followed by a Quartzwood Crasher. That would end up giving us a free 6/6, which is nothing to scoff at.
What this deck would love is a card like Domri, Anarch of Bolas or Rhythm of the Wild, but unfortunately, the best we have access to currently is something like Tuktuk Rubblefort or Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded. The former is a little too unimpressive for us, and the latter is a little too expensive for our needs. This means the plan we have to audible to, rather than giving our creatures haste, is giving an existing creatures trample. I originally started out with one Garruk, but this strategy caused us to go all the way up to our current three.
Garruk's Harbinger was another great creature that I wanted to try, and hexproof from Black is actually a pretty sweet way to dodge all of the Black removal that's being played right now, from Heartless Act, to Bloodchief's Thirst, to Drown in the Loch. The deck also has a total of 36 creatures and/or Garruk planeswalkers, which means you're almost 100% likely to draw a card every time the Harbinger connects, and you're even more likely to connect if you make it a 7/6 trampler with Garruk, Unleashed.
Thanks to the beauty of double-faced lands, the deck also has access to 26 lands, which is great, and more than a deck like this would traditionally have. We decided to go with the full suite of Fabled Passage because they're great with both Lotus Cobra and Klothys, God of Destiny. If you manage to use one on the first or second turn, and hit a turn three Klothys, it can ramp you into a turn four Elder Gargaroth, Vivien, Monsters' Advocate, or Quartzwood Crasher. Those are our heavy hitters at five mana, but someone also mentioned adding Terror of the Peaks and I thought it would also be a great addition; I just didn't know what to cut, since eight five-drops seemed like a good enough amount.
There were a couple of other cards that I wouldn't have minded finding a slot for. One of which was Cragplate Baloth, which I've previously compared to Carnage Tyrant. One problem is that, without natural trample, it's not ideal at filling our goals, but this could be a great contender for some sideboard slots if control decks end up being prominent. Another is Kogla, the Titan Ape. Being able to kill something upon entering the battlefield, along with artifacts and enchantments on subsequent attacks can be valuable. Unfortunately, I think our deck only has two total humans in it, so we're not able to protect the Titan Ape as well as we'd like. Also, again, no trample.
The two copies of Radha, Heart of Keld were a late addition, and can be pretty flexible. I did like her ability to find us extra lands off the top of our library, and much to my surprise, I was actually able to play double-faced cards off the top with her, which is a big deal. In fact, if we're trying three-drops, I could see adding a few copies of Garruk's Uprising. Unlike previous cards of this nature, this can draw you a card as soon as it enters the battlefield, and giving all your creatures trample here is big game, as you can imagine.
The elephant in the room here is the lack of The Great Henge. This was a tough choice and I'm not 100% on it. I think we decided we either wanted two Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or two The Great Henge, and I think either is fine, to be honest. I think they're both extremely powerful top end cards that have a tendency to win the game on their own. I may end up trying a version with The Great Henge in it soon. For now, you can see the deck played from its beginnings to its final form in the following video.
While the Temur version was rough, and not terribly successful, if you stick around, you'll see we really got our legs under us with the version, and I'm actually looking forward to playing the deck again.
Decks and articles like these are some of my favorites to mess around with, so definitely let me know what you guys think about it in the comments, especially if you give it a try or make any changes to it. It's always nice to be playing in a format that actually allows you to be even mildly successful with brews, and that's one of the things I love about Historic as well.
That's about all I have for today, and I'm hoping you guys will digitally sleeve this bad boy up on Arena and give it a try. Or at least let me know what you think down below! Is there anything I'm missing? As always, thanks so much for reading, stay safe, I love you guys, and I'll catch you next week!