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Fogs and Frogs

If you’re like I am, you write a weekly Commander column. You probably think to yourself, “I have really carved out a niche for myself with my approach to deck-building that gave a name to something a lot of people were thinking, and my readers want to see me apply that deck-building approach to everything I do. After all, it’s my trademark, and it’s really the only thing that separates me from every other Commander article out there.” I get it. I have had some of those same thoughts. If you’re like I am, you feel compelled to write about the 75% approach every week because that’s what you can contribute to the community. If you’re like I am, you’re probably just waiting for someone to tell you it’s okay to write about whatever you want to once in a while. It doesn’t have to be about 75% deck-building every single week if you find something you’re sufficiently excited about. And if you’re like I am, there’s something you’re sufficiently excited about.

The deck seems to build itself. What we have here is a beautiful, beautiful monster that makes our lands matter and makes me want to do dirty, unfair things to all of my opponents. I want to cheat at Magic by drawing two cards off a cycling land, Fogging opponents forever with Constant Mists, and burying them under a pile of card advantage. I want Titania, Protector of Argoth to make me an army of 5/3 creatures, and I want to play with the giant pile of Snow-Covered lands I have sitting in a box since I can’t seem to avoid buying or manage to sell them. This dirty little Frog promises to let me do all of those things and more. This Frog is going to make Crucible of Worlds cost $100 to $125 if it’s not reprinted in Eternal Masters. How could I be expected to write about 75% this week when this monster exists? How, I ask.

Constant Mists
The odds are pretty good that this will end up playing like a 75% for a few reasons. First of all, it’s sort of what I do. I didn’t really start this series thinking about how to force myself to build a certain way as much as think about how I build and why I build that way and then try to codify or formalize it. So it stands to reason I’m not going to break too many of my rules. Another reason is that I have goofy things I want to do with this deck, and those should balance out the raw power a little bit—or not . . . I have no idea. The Gitrog Monster is such a monster that it may very well be that no amount of silliness is going to attenuate the sheer amount of card advantage that this card is going to gain for you.

Normally, I just throw up a list, but I want to discuss a few things beforehand.

I want Fogs with my Frogs. I plan to run a few Fog Frogs as well as a few Fogs like Constant Mists, which is perfect in a deck in which I can bring lands back from the graveyard, and Sunstone, a card I’ve wanted to use ever since I wrote about it in an article about building a Snow-Covered-stuff deck that was fun to write but which almost was rejected as a “Coldsnap set review ten years too late” before I included a decklist. Sunstone is another Constant Mists and rewards me for playing snow lands, which I am happy to do anyway. Having a lot of Fogs means I can focus on controlling the tempo of combat, or maybe helping to stave off a whole table of people who don’t understand that I have been hypnotized by the The Gitrog Monster’s hypno-toad powers and have no will of my own. I don’t want to smash them with a 6/6 deathtouch or a bunch of 1/1 Worm tokens, but the hypno-toad compels me.

Speaking of Worm tokens, retrace is pretty good in this deck. Worm Harvest and Raven's Crime are both solid cards, although Raven's Crime isn’t really on theme here. Harvest, though . . . sweet sassy molassy. Talk about card advantage. I’m all about it.

Cycling lands are key here. Each one is going to give me two cards with The Gitrog Monster in play, and that’s a lot of cards to draw for a small investment. No need to tutor when I’m drawing so much, and I’ll probably be dredging a ton to give me access to even more sweet, sweet utility. My only regret is that I can’t run Knight of the Reliquary in this deck.

I’ve put off the decklist long enough. Let’s see what kinds of trouble we can get into.

Fogs and Frogs ? Commander | Jason Alt

  • Commander (0)

This looks to be a lot of fun. I noticed we can gain an infinite amount of black mana if we include Skirge Familiar in the deck, and while I opted not to do it, the possibility is nevertheless there. Dakmor Salvage, Skirge Familiar, and your Commander are needed to get the loop going (you dredge the land off the Monster’s draw trigger and then pitch it for black mana), but you deplete your library quickly and need an Eldrazi and a mana outlet among other things. You could keep retracing Syphon Life, but I think Syphon Life is just fine outside of those shenanigans. Squandered Resources is another card that is powerful but capped if we could see ourselves running out of library. I included a Feldon's Cane rather than an Eldrazi, so be careful. We are going to draw a lot, and we should use that card advantage to win rather than set up combos. There is a lot of synergy here, but nothing infinite, and that’s the way I like it. Feel free to build your own way.

Dakmor Salvage
Skirge Familiar
Syphon Life

We can sure Fog a lot of damage with this build. Sunstone, Constant Mists, Glacial Chasm, and a few Fog Frogs can keep opponents off our back. If we get Dust Bowl shenanigans going, we might draw some aggro, so prepare to batten down the hatches and ride the storm out with our Fog effects.

Terravore
I was looking for Frogs and found Anurid Scavenger, which is perfect for this deck. How cool is that? He’s going to throw useful cards back into our deck and generally prolong us milling ourselves. I like what he’s about a lot.

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord is a game-winner in a lot of my decks, and the idea that I can chuck a Lord of Extinction or Terravore or Vulturous Zombie for lethal amuses me. This seems to be a great way to sac lands, deal damage, and generally wreak havoc.

The Snow-Covered-lands subtheme is supported well here. I didn’t include Dark Depths, but without Thespian's Stage, I easily could have. The lands portion of the deck could use your own touch—I have it how I like it, but there is a lot of room to play around with. I included the new Drownyard Temple as a mana sink and shenanigans-enabler, Dust Bowl for utility, and a lot of Snow-Covered lands like Scrying Sheets and Mouth of Ronom. But the possibilities are endless. You could include Strip Mine if you’re a monster, you could include more creature lands, or you could include Dark Depths if you really want to live the dream. I don’t have a problem with Marit Lage on principle, so go nuts. It’s your deck; customize it.

I feel that we have a good selection of cards that turn our lands into creatures to help us overrun opponents, and that’s a subtheme I think is cool. That whole package could come out for something else that has a similar amount of synergy with the deck, so once you have a core established, use some of the design space a great card like The Gitrog Monster affords us.

This is a fun deck, and while it was easy to build, I feel it’s by no means linear. There are some obvious inclusions, like Groundskeeper, but there are so many slots that can be whatever you want that this doesn’t feel like another Nekusar, the Mindrazer. I feel there is plenty of room for customization, so take all of my suggestions as just that: suggestions.

Anything you think I should take out? Anything you would have included that I omitted? Leave it below in the comments, and let’s figure out how to maximize our Gitrog Monster advantage. As always, thank you for reading, and thank you for letting me build a deck I was excited about this week. I’m sure, next week, I’ll be back to telling you how to live your life. Until then!


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