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Badger Memes with Greensleeves

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Today I'm going to take many of you on one heck of a nostalgia trip. I know that, frankly, this has become somewhat of a staple over the past few weeks. The return to Dominaria in Dominaria United has come with a lot of old familiar faces, classic cards remade, and even old school favorites showing up in boosters. It's hard not to get overwhelmed and put on the rose-tinted glasses for a bit of a trip down memory lane. Today, however, I'm not going to talk about any cards or characters. Not right away anyways.

No, I want to take you back to the late 90s and the early aughts - back to the dawn of the internet. If you were a child of the 90s like myself, you'll know all too well the wonders of the early internet. Dial-up modems, "You've got mail," Geocities, that virus you got trying to download a song off of Kazaa - all of these defined that golden era of the internet. In the mid 90s, a little thing called Adobe Flash came out, allowing all manner of things, from new ways to develop websites to making games. Soon, it would lead to an absolute cornerstone of the early internet: the Flash video.

During this time, a number of Flash sites began to pop up. While I'm sure many here will be quick to suggest AlbinoBlackSheep, the one I was introduced to by a friend was Newgrounds. I'll never forget those early days and the videos I'd watch. There were the classic LegendaryFrog videos like One Ring To Rule Them All and The Return of Ganondorf or the classic epic Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom that had me in stitches as a teenager. And then there was Weebl's Stuff.

I first discovered Weebl's Stuff on Newgrounds when someone liked an animation of a bunch of dancing chocolates. It was dumb, silly, and entertaining. I quickly fell down the rabbit hole of their content and it wasn't long before I found myself engaging in one of the biggest old school internet memes of the early aughts. I know you know it - especially if you read the title - so say it with me:

Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger MUSHROOM! MUSHROOM!

Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer
Badger

Naturally, then, when we got Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer - an old-school character who summons badgers - I simply couldn't resist building a deck around this theme. It's a bit funny that while I love this theme and finding a way to make badgers work in the context of Magic and Commander for a meme, my initial reaction to seeing the card was more of, "WHAT?! GREENSLEEVES?!" And this is where we hit the more Magic-focused nostalgia.

You see, when I first started playing the game in 1999, I was introduced to the game by my older cousin. He has roughly seven years on me and got into the game a few years earlier around Fourth Edition and Ice Age. And boy, did he ever get into it. Throughout his bedroom where I spent a lot of time in my childhood years he had multiple PC games, oversized cards, and some of the original Magic books - including ones featuring Greensleeves. Eventually, I'd end up with his books that still sit on shelves in my bookcase to this very day. I was even looking up Greensleeves as a character and wondering when she'd finally get a card on the day when she was officially previewed.

I couldn't resist a bit of nostalgia, an opportunity to live the Commander meme dream, and a chance to have some simple giddy fun with some old favorites. Let's check out the deck before diving on in:

Badger Badger Badger Greensleeves | Commander | Paige Smith

Card Display


Before I even started this deck, I knew exactly what direction I wanted to take it in. I wanted it to be a deck that would (almost) exclusively feature badgers, mushrooms (fungus and saprolings), and snakes (including nagas here). There would also be a little wiggle room at play for shapeshifters and such since they can become whatever they need to be and play off of the various tribal synergies. In this case, that means Adaptive Automaton and Metallic Mimic. My goal was to let the deck make substantially more badgers, then some mushrooms, and a handful of snakes - fitting with the original meme video.

The first thing was to obviously look for badgers. I knew there were at least a couple in the game. Giant Badger was a card that was strongly associated with Greensleeves herself as a promotional card that could be redeemed from Shattered Chains, the second book of the Greensleeves cycle. Only four other badger cards exist in the game: Bog Badger, Charging Badger, Colossal Badger, and Rysorian Badger. Sadly, most of these are pretty bad. Charging Badger is good for a meme and Colossal Badger is just terribly overcosted and not even remotely synergistic with a deck like this. Bog Badger can't even be played due to color identity issues and Rysorian Badger's effect is minimal at best.

Giant Badger
Jaheira's Respite
Sakura-Tribe Elder

I ended up just running the obligatory Giant Badger and a copy of Rysorian Badger if only because exiling stuff from graveyards can be useful even if this is a poor implementation of it. Instead, I tried focusing on getting badgers out with Greensleeves and her landfall ability itself. Utilizing a wide swath of ramp spells like Rampant Growth, Nature's Lore, Cultivate, Migration Path, and more, it gets really easy to spit out badger after badger as well. There's also a surprising bit of synergy with the snakes side of the deck as well here. Sakura-Tribe Elder is an excellent and including a Ramunap Excavator can keep the lands flowing with sacrificial lands such as Ghost Quarter, Haunted Fengraf, and Memorial to Unity.

In keeping with the theme, I tried to limit the number of snakes that would appear in this list. Steve and Ramunap Excavator are awesome inclusions, but so are Sakura-Tribe Scout and Ohran Frostfang, which keep the cards and lands flowing. While he's technically not a snake or naga in a tribal sense, Rhonas the Indomitable is still a great thematic fit and can really push your attacks over the edge with ease. I honestly debated running God-Eternal Rhonas over this one, but I just liked the original Amonkhet card a little more, even if the God-Eternal version is arguably a little bit better for a go-wide strategy.

And speaking of go-wide strategies, the last bunch of cards here are the mushrooms! Fungi are an absolute must and it's incredibly easy to slip some thallids into the mix. Vitaspore Thallid, Utopia Mycon, Psychotrope Thallid, Sporoloth Ancient, and Sporesower Thallid all work together to get out a bunch of saprolings and utilize them for various effects. These aren't the only ways to get saprolings down, however. Sprout Swarm makes an endless supply of tokens and gets more and more out of hand the faster you ramp up your lands. Mycoloth and Sporemound also will get you a constantly steady stream of tokens coming through. If you need, you can always beef them up with a nice Sporecrown Thallid as well.

Sporemound
Obelisk of Urd
The Mending of Dominaria

Pumping saprolings isn't the only way to make your army big. Most of these creatures are admittedly small, wimpy, and lacking in a ton of abilities. As such, you need to improvise a bit. The copies of Adaptive Automaton and Metallic Mimic I mentioned earlier each allow you to pump whatever aspect of your meme creature board is biggest. Obelisk of Urd similarly works well off of those tribal aspects to make your board gigantic. If all else fails, you can always fall back on tried-and-true classics like Gaea's Anthem, Return of the Wildspeaker, and the game-ending Triumph of the Hordes to close the gap. I did consider the old Coat of Arms, but felt like it's too risky if your opponents utilize tribal strategies. I'd recommend considering it if your playgroup utilizes a more varied creature type pool.

In trying to go as all-in on this multifaceted meme as possible, I did find it a little hard to add in much by way of other utility options. I did find a few good ones, however. Idol of Oblivion, Elemental Bond, Garruk's Uprising, and Harmonize provide great ways to keep your card draws coming. While the deck somewhat oddly doesn't have too many ways of dealing with artifacts and enchantments, there's always Krosan Grip, Beast Within, and even good old Vivien Reid to take care of them. The Mending of Dominaria will get you tons of lands and restock your library, while the deck's two Nissa cards will help you find neat ways to utilize your excess lands.

In the end, what you get is a fun, silly little meme deck. It's a great way to represent such an old and long-forgotten character like Greensleeves. At the same time, it is by itself an outstanding way to remember good memories of a bygone era by making tokens and repeatedly muttering "badger badger badger badger" every time you do. It may not be the most powerful or mind-blowing deck, but it doesn't need to be at all. What it does need to be is something that provides a great time for you and your friends at your next Commander night, and this has that in spades. Just make sure you watch out for those scary snakes!

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: TheMaverickGal

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