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Life from the Sloam



Today I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't discuss a very obvious and powerful way to build a new deck, and I also think I would be remiss if I didn't tell you how I plan to build it. Because, you see, Simic doing land-related stuff is happening again because it happens every couple of months. Since Wizards has decided to milk the cash cow that is Commander until its udders are dry and shriveled, we live in a bizarre and stressful world where they have to create enough lore to justify 25 Legendary creatures in a set only to move on from the plane entirely 2 months later and not return to it for years. Can you name five legendary creatures from Kaldheim? The result of so many Legendary creatures every set is that Wizards is getting better and better at making Simic lands-matter commanders better and more interesting as they go and I'm getting better at dialing in what I like to do in those decks. What makes this one different? Well, basically, it lends itself to a way to win the game that I don't personally prefer, but since you might, I'll talk about it. Before I talk about that, however, let's discuss the card itself because if playing Simic landfall has taught me anything, it's that sequencing matters a lot.

Slogurk, the Overslime

This is really cool, actually. It's not a landfall deck in the traditional sense - in fact, every landfall trigger seems like a missed opportunity to throw that land in the bin and make Slogurk huge. But is landfall truly the enemy? Even if you forgot that Green decks are excellent at playing lands out of the 'yard, from Ramunap Excavator to Restore to Life from the Loam, surely you can think of a landfall card that can help us get as many lands into the 'yard as we can.

Ruin Crab


This... doesn't work at all. As much fun as it is to mill our opponents out with landfall triggers, Ruin Crab doesn't help us out with our own need to get lands into the bin. I was thinking of a very similar card from the same plane.

Hedron Crab

Does this mean Ruin Crab doesn't make the cut? Not necessarily - if we can generate enough landfall triggers in a loop, Ruin Crab can end the game just as surely as Roil Elemental can (easily my favorite way to win). However, as I began to mentally brew these Hedronanigans, it became apparent in less than a minute that I had a very important decision to make about how this deck was going to play. The question wasn't whether to include Ruin Crab, the question was whether or not to include Ruin Format. Is that anything? Maybe that joke doesn't scan because while this card has been tremendously impactful in Commander as well as cEDH and even some 60-card formats, it probably hasn't ruined anything per se. I'm referring, of course, to Thassa's Oracle.

Thassa's Oracle

"Oooh, what's this I see? Is it yet another Demonic Consultation win?" I can see this finned idiot saying to itself, "How novel!" I'm being hyperbolic for effect here a bit, I don't think this card is actually that bad and I certainly didn't harbor any animosity toward Laboratory Maniac when that was the way to win the game through decking yourself. Thassa's Oracle hasn't really ruined anything, and, in fact, I'm going to show you how I would build a deck around winning with this card, or Laboratory Maniac or whichever Jace wins when you deck yourself. Look, I'm super out of my depth here, but I think you deserve to at least see how I think you should do it, and if you're not into Thoracle wins, scroll down a bit because I have another idea about how to make Slogurk fun. But first, let's talk about Hedron Crab.

Milling ourselves is going to be an integral part of playing this deck, and while that makes us a bit vulnerable to graveyard removal, the plan is to accomplish only half of our deck-thinning through mill. The other way we can think out our deck is to draw lots of cards, and lucky for us, Green has a veritable cornucopia of ways to draw cards, especially when we have a big creature. Will we have a big creature? Well, I think so, and that's namely because our commander does a very good impression of a big creature if you can resist your natural urge to bounce him and reset the counters. While it's true that having a Life from the Loam in your command zone is pretty broken, I will be looking at that ability in later builds. For now, the plan is to amass as many counters on Slogurk as we can manage, only bouncing to dodge removal that would force us to play more mana to play Slogurk back out. Why do we want Slogurk as huge as possible? Here's why!

Greater Good

Greater Good, Rishkar's Expertise, Return of the Wildspeaker, Soul's Majesty (if you're nasty) - we have a lot of ways to draw a lot of cards equal to our huge commander's power. Drawing cards is preferable to milling ourselves because while Green is pretty good at getting cards back from the yard, other players are pretty good at nuking our whole bin with a little landfall trigger of their own.

Bojuka Bog

To avoid getting bogged down (gross, I'm going to workshop that one because it does not sound good to me), we can make sure we draw cards, which means we decrease the odds of watching Thassa's Oracle, or Eternal Witness or some other card we want getting binned and then eaten by a Scooze before we can rescue it. A healthy combination of drawing a lot of cards and milling a lot of cards will shrink our library at double speed and ensure we can close the game out with Thassa's Oracle before they even realize what's happening. In a pinch, Greater Good can give us the card-drawing trigger we need to close out the game with Laboratory Maniac should we draw it and not Oracle. A dual-pronged approach of mill and draw should wrap things up very quickly. Also, let's not forget, thinning out our deck quickly because we're running a lot of lands and it's easy to get them into play only helps the cause. We can't rely on getting Hedron Crab every game, after all, but we can rely on Simic being very good at landfall.

Finally, before we look at the decklist, some cards from the Commander precons were spoiled this week that seem like they were tailor-made to go into this deck, and I'm really happy to showcase them here.

Drown in Dreams

It's as though I designed this card for this specific build. It's better to cast this with Slogurk in play so you can get the counters from milling the land, so you're getting both modes here. If you're putting a lot of land into play, like you should be, it should be pretty trivial to cast this for X=6 or more, which gets you at least 12 cards closer to your goal of decking yourself. This is exactly what we need. AND it's an Instant.

Shadow Kin

Milling an important utility creature can feel pretty bad, so having a source of mill that mitigates the feelbads somewhat is important. This is a constant three cards a turn, which adds up, but more importantly, it can keep you from being deprived of an important creature, and it can become a better creature should a better creature come along. This is an auto-include. It can't save creatures it didn't mill itself, but pobody's nerfect.

Kurbis, Harvest Celebrant

I am not 100% sure we want this, but the more +1/+1 counter stuff we add (at minimum The Ozolith is good enough with our commander that we don't need any more creatures with that theme) the better this gets. Protecting your commander is good, I hear, because it lets us keep our commander large without having to remove the counters and bounce it.

Ruinous Intrusion

This card rules. I play Artifact and Aura Mutation both and this, while more expensive, is a lot of fun. I don't want to see it milled but I do want to see it throw a ton of counters on our commander smoking out something big and mean like Darksteel Forge or The Great Henge.

Here is how I'd marry self-mill and mass card draw into a pile that, if you like Thassa's Oracle, will make you happy.

Don't Ruin Crabs, Ruin Games | Commander | Jason Alt

This doesn't look too bad, honestly. It's very much all-in on winning the game with Thassa's Oracle or Labbity Mannity but I never make decks like this and it was worth it to me to showcase as many new cards as I could using this shell. I'm going to show you how I'd actually build the deck in a second, but it's so close to a few decks I've brewed this year that it felt kind of boring to me to focus on that. This approach marries the concept of self-mill, which is fun and powerful, and some of the new cards that weren't designed for this deck at all but which work in it so well, like Drown in Dreams, for example. Sometimes an idea just comes together and it works pretty well here. So while I wouldn't necessarily run a deck like this myself because I already did and didn't like playing with it (and it has banned cards because of course it does), I won't deprive you of the list I'd build if I were inclined.

Finally, my list for a 75% Slogurk deck with no Thassa's Oracle would be very similar to my Gretchen deck with more emphasis on the +1/+1 counter subtheme. Here is what I'd run, personally.

75% Slogurk | Commander | Jason Alt

I think you could steer into this more - there are plenty of cards in the average Pir and Toothy list, for example, that can help this deck really get there. In general, right now this is set up to be able to deck them with a big commander since you have a lot of ways to make creatures with a lot of power unblockable. Instead of milling yourself to get lands into the 'yard, we're going to get a land like Strip Mine or Prismatic Vista into the yard, bring it back with Ramunap Excavator or Crucible of Worlds and use "play additional lands" effect to make sure we can maximize the number of triggers we get each turn. Once Slogurk is huge, beat them with him. This is also basically the Gretchen deck with a few changes, so we're capable of doing everything that deck was. Roil Elemental will do a ton of work here, as will Champion of Lambholt. If you want to embrace the +1/+1 counters theme more, add Plaxcaster Frogling, Simic Ascendancy, Deepglow Skate, Chasm Skulker - you name it. There are lots of ways to steer into the theme, and even our lands here add counters to make any creature able to join in on the fun.

This is a good starting point - you can go as deep as you want into the counters, or use my modest changes from a very competent landfall deck - there is no wrong way to do it. Hit them with a big, unblockable commander or use the counters to cast a Life from the Loam every turn - no matter what you do, you'll get value, and isn't that why everyone hates Simic? That's all for me this week, readers. Until next time!

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