Rant of Valakut: Peasants of the Henge (Part 2) Ben Iverach-Brereton March 30, 2020 Decklists, Rants of Valakut In case you missed it, you can find part 1 of this article here. As you may recall, in my last article I showed you my latest Commander deck, an aggressive mono-green list that doesn’t include any rare or mythic rare cards. In that article I Drover out the general theme of my deck, as well as some of its key cards and strategy. I still want to touch on some of the more powerful things this deck can do, as well as some of the quirky card choices and the synergies that led me to include them. I hope you enjoy! As a reminder, here’s the list: Peasants of the Henge Commander Commander1 x Syr Faren, the Hengehammer Creature1 x Acidic Slime1 x Bellowing Tanglewurm1 x Borderland Ranger1 x Briarbridge Patrol1 x Byway Courier1 x Citanul Woodreaders1 x Crossroads Consecrator1 x Destiny Spinner1 x Drover of the Mighty1 x Elvish Visionary1 x Eternal Witness1 x Flaxen Intruder // Welcome Home1 x Game-Trail Changeling1 x Geist Trappers1 x Gruul Beastmaster1 x Hamlet Captain1 x Hyrax Tower Scout1 x Intrepid Provisioner1 x Ivy Lane Denizen1 x Karametra’s Acolyte1 x Kraul Harpooner1 x Llanowar Tribe1 x Mwonvuli Beast Tracker1 x Nath’s Elite1 x Noble Quarry1 x Nylea’s Huntmaster1 x Oakhame Adversary1 x Obsessive Skinner1 x Pheres-Band Brawler1 x Prized Unicorn1 x Ranging Raptors1 x Reclamation Sage1 x Scaleguard Sentinels1 x Setessan Petitioner1 x Somberwald Alpha1 x Suspicious Bookcase1 x Temur Sabertooth1 x Timberland Guide1 x Untamed Kavu1 x Webweaver Changeling1 x Woodland Sleuth1 x Wurmskin Forger Artifact1 x Bladed Pinions1 x Butcher’s Cleaver1 x Heraldic Banner1 x Ring of Kalonia1 x Sharpened Pitchfork1 x Silver-Inlaid Dagger1 x Swiftfoot Boots Enchantment1 x Elemental Bond1 x Ulvenwald Mysteries Instant1 x Aspect of Hydra1 x Clear Shot1 x Once and Future1 x Return to Nature1 x Sylvan Might1 x Vines of Vastwood1 x Warriors’ Lesson Sorcery1 x Bramblecrush1 x Grow from the Ashes1 x Nissa’s Pilgrimage1 x Outmuscle Land1 x Blighted Woodland1 x Cave of Temptation1 x Cryptic Caves1 x Desert of the Indomitable1 x Emergence Zone25 x Forest (267)1 x Hashep Oasis1 x Haunted Fengraf1 x Memorial to Unity1 x Mishra’s Factory1 x Rogue’s Passage1 x Tranquil Thicket1 x Zhalfirin Void Buy This List Deck by Ben Iverach-Brereton Block Me While sneaking in damage with a Rogue’s Passage or Suspicious Bookcase is great, this deck uses one other form of pseudo-evasion that also doubles as removal, of a sort. I’ve included three Lure-type creatures, which force every creature able to block it to do so. Because of this, all of my other creatures can sneak in beside them, opening up a lot of possible attacks. Do you have infinite tokens to block me? They can’t protect you if they all have to jump in the way of a Prized Unicorn! Most of the time my Prized Unicorn and Nath’s Elite will only survive to attack once, but that can translate into a whole lot of damage. On the other hand I can potentially make my Unicorn or Elite much bigger with Syr Faren. It’s not exactly a Wrath, but it can clear out a number of creatures. All of this is even better with Noble Quarry, which can enchant an existing creature with its Bestow ability and then attack again once the enchanted creature dies. I’ll freely admit that Golgari Decoy is a much better card than Prized Unicorn, and would be a stronger card for the deck. Even with its relatively high mana cost, the Decoy‘s Scavenge ability would be a good way to buff Syr Faren, and would give me a way to use some of the cards in my graveyard. Even so, I like the aesthetic of the Prized Unicorn so much more. I’ll see how things go with the deck; if I feel I need an upgrade I may switch to the Decoy, but for now the Unicorn can stay. Making Mana Despite this deck’s aggressive nature, I knew I would need some mana acceleration to keep up at the table. Ramp is the lifeblood of any green deck, and it’s one of the best things anyone can do in a game of Commander (right alongside drawing cards). Mana Elves I decided against including traditional one-mana “mana dorks” like Llanowar Elves and Elvish Mystic for a couple of reasons. First, they’re terrible to draw during the late game. Second, Commander games often have a lot of creature removal, like Day of Judgment and Wrath of God, so it can be risky to rely too heavily on creatures as a primary source of mana. These creatures can be amazing in the early game, but I decided that I would be better off looking at other options instead. Ramp Spells I looked through the green Instant and Sorcery spells I had on hand to see what I was working with. I was pretty sure I had at least one Rampant Growth hiding somewhere in my collection, but try as I might it eluded me. I would have liked to include it, but it wasn’t the end of the world that I couldn’t find it. Instead I started looking through my three-mana spells for something similar. Nissa’s Pilgrimage stands out as a better version of Cultivate or Kodama’s Reach in a deck that only cares about finding Forests. It can be hard to achieve Spell Mastery sometimes, but even if I can only get a third land with a Pilgrimage once in a while it’s probably worth it. Plus, this keeps my copies of Cultivate and Kodama’s Reach free to use in other decks that would need the colour fixing. Meanwhile, Grow from the Ashes has quickly become one of my favourite ramp spells of all time. The ability to fire off a Grow for three mana is fine when you’re stuck on lands and need more mana right away, but the real power lies in Kicking Grow from the Ashes for two lands. When playing Draft games in Dominaria, a Kicked Grow would allow you to surge ahead of your opponent, and the same holds true in Commander. The lands you get from Grow from the Ashes even come into play untapped, and even if they didn’t, paying five mana for two more lands in play is still pretty reasonable. This deck doesn’t need to rush to get six mana, considering how cheap its threats are. Decks with larger creatures and more expensive spells benefit a lot more from a card like Grow from the Ashes, and would probably want to find room for similar cards, like Skyshroud Claim, Circuitous Route and Ranger’s Path. Of these three, Skyshroud Claim is clearly the best, again because its lands come into play untapped. What makes Skyshroud Claim especially good is its ability to find Dual Lands and Shocklands, which you can use right away. Not only do you get access to more mana, but you also get immediate access to colours other than green. In this sense Grow from the Ashes is almost on par with Claim, and in decks without Dual Lands and Shocklands it’s arguably better. Yes, you need to pay one more mana to get two untapped lands, but in games where finding enough mana to play anything at all is an issue, Grow from the Ashes can help dig you out of a hole by being cast for three instead. Big Mana Creatures I know I said that mana creatures can be a liability, but there are always exceptions. While any mana creature still runs the risk of dying to a random removal spell or Wrath of God, some creatures are sufficiently impactful both in terms of their power and toughness and in the amount of mana they each provide that they’re worth the risk. I was digging through my collection for cards for possible cards to include in this deck when I stumbled across an old copy of Karametra’s Acolyte. I’d forgotten that this creature existed, and reading it again I was ecstatic; not only was she a Human, but the Acolyte produces an incredible amount of mana for very little investment. She’s reminiscent of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx or the new Nyx Lotus in that she also produces mana based on your Devotion to green. Any veteran of mono-coloured Commander decks probably knows how effective a card like Nykthos can be to get a surge of extra mana quickly, and Karametra’s Acolyte is no exception. She isn’t great in every deck, but she can really shine in a mono-green list like this. She’s especially good considering my commander already increases my Devotion by two. Similarly, I’ve been blown away by how good Llanowar Tribe is. While it didn’t make as big an impact as other cards from Modern Horizons, I’d recommend giving “three Llanowar Elves in a trench coat” a closer look; this creature is effectively a Guilded Lotus for three mana, which gets you a lot further ahead a lot earlier than expected. Untapping with access to six or seven mana on turn four can be hard to deal with. Llanowar Tribe also provides three green mana symbols for any of your Devotion cards, like, say, Karametra’s Acolyte. It does make it a little difficult to cast outside of a mono-green deck, but if you can accomodate its mana cost it’s well worth it. Combat with the Tribe isn’t anything to scoff at either; three mana for a 3/3 is a respectable rate, and attacking with it is a decent backup plan. All of this isn’t even taking into account the various ways you can untap these big mana creatures. Elf decks in particular can generate a lot of extra mana with Llanowar Tribe with cards like Wirewood Symbiote, and other cards like Thousand-Year Elixir combine extremely well with both the Tribe and Karametra’s Acolyte. One of the sweetest cards to pair with these creatures is probably Umbral Mantle, which can generate infinite mana and an infinitely large creature, but that might say more about the power level of Umbral Mantle than it does about either of these creatures. Even without these synergies these creatures have impressed me far more than a typical mana creature, and unlike Llanowar Elves I’m generally happy to draw them at any point in a game. Human ‘Elves’ I thought long and hard about including Werebear and Sylvok Explorer in this deck, since they’re both cheap mana-producing Humans, but I ultimately decided against using either one for the same reasons I decided against using cheap mana elves. The upside of these creatures being Human was worth considering, especially with Werebear, since it would sometimes be a larger creature. Ultimately I decided against both of them, since getting Threshold in this deck is actually pretty difficult and Sylvok Explorer is too small and unreliable for what I need. The Werebear might find its way in eventually, but I decided to experiment with Drover of the Mighty instead. Drover of the Mighty‘s tropical style deviates from my deck’s overall visual aesthetic, but as a Human it fits better mechanically than Llanowar Elves and Elvish Mystic. Drover can wield a Sharpened Pitchfork or a Silver-Inlaid Dagger with moderate efficiency, and he can also benefit from my Hamlet Captain‘s buffs. Also, Drover can occasionally grow into a 3/3, provided I control a Dinosaur. Dinosaurs were also a bit of a stretch aesthetically for this deck of rugged hunters, but I was already willing to push that style here and there. Too many Dinosaurs wouldn’t work, but Raptors looked like it would fit in well enough mechanically to be an exception; it was another way to get extra lands into play and it forced my opponents to make some difficult decisions. For instance, if Syr Faren buffed the Raptors, my opponents would either have to take a lot of damage or give me a free land by blocking. Either way I’d be pretty happy. The Raptors‘ synergy with Drover of the Mighty also encouraged me to include both creatures, at least as an experiment. I knew one Dinosaur wouldn’t be enough to justify including the Drover, and the other ones from Ixalan weren’t inspiring me. I wasn’t sure what to do, but then I realized I’d already included the solution in my deck. A Changeling to the Plan It turned out that I already had two other Dinosaurs in my deck: I’d added Game-Trail Changeling and Webweaver Changeling to my deck because I was looking for larger Humans that had Reach and Trample, but now they could also help make my mana creature bigger! Not only that, but I wanted to include Scaleguard Sentinels as a two-mana threat and needed Dragons to buff them. Thankfully my Human-Dragon-Dinosaur Shapeshifters solved everything! Having only two Changelings in the deck isn’t enough to consistently grow my Drover of the Mighty and Scaleguard Sentinels, but if I can get it every now and again I’ll be happy. In a pinch I can always use my Mwonvuli Beast Tracker to search for either Changeling, though I expect the Tracker will usually be busy finding an Acidic Slime instead. An Uncommon Deck All in all I’m pleased with how this deck turned out. It feels very different from my other decks, and it sets a decidedly faster pace to the game. I love the rugged woodland aesthetic I chose for it, and I got to include a lot of cards I don’t often see in Commander as a result. Comparing this deck to my other Peasant Commander decks, it’s a totally different style, and even looking at this list next to my other mono-green commander deck, it’s like night and day. This deck probably needs some fine tuning, and I can already think of a few cards in my collection that would probably be better than what I currently have, but it’s a good start. If I didn’t impose my strict rarity restriction, there would be a lot of good cards that could slot into this deck perfectly, but I’m happy with my list’s uncommon quirk. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the deck. Are there any common or uncommon Humans you think I should have included? Have you built anything similar to this deck, possibly with Syr Faren, the Hengehammer himself? Please let me know! And remember: “It’s what you do with your hammer that counts.” Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.