Our fungus friend Slimefoot, born from the spores of Dominaria and raised in the hull of the Weatherlight, is still our favorite commander in Magic: The Gathering’s latest format, Brawl. While I’ve also been finely tuning a Sarkhan, Fireblood Dragons & Goblins deck, the game’s latest expansion Guilds of Ravnica has a whole new host of tools and weapons that play right into Slimefoot’s style.
We already detailed the losses that the deck saw in the recent Standard rotation, and Yahenni, Undying Partisan’s loss is one that the deck is still reeling from. Magic 2019 gave us a powerful defender and sacrifice payoff in Poison-Tip Archer and a very effective sacrifice outlet in Ravenous Harpy, but by and large, the deck lost more than it gained.
Gameplan changes are necessary now.
Brawl only allows access to one Saproling Migration, and our ability to make Saprolings isn’t nearly consistent enough because of it. Slimefoot himself can do so with a decent amount of mana, so our goal now is no longer to flood the board with cheap creatures to hold the line but rather, use removal to control the board until that mana can properly flow.
Guilds of Ravnica has plenty of options to aid in this new strategy. Here’s what we’re going to be adding to the deck.
Removal is key to holding down the line. Ideally, you’ll want to start blowing up creatures by at least turn 4. That should be long enough to get Slimefoot’s ability set up and allow for a healthy flow of Saprolings. We’re looking for removal with a casting cost of four or less…
Obviously… it all just depends on how lucky you are to open one in a draft or how much you’re willing to spend on your Brawl deck. However… this is the most obvious choice in the entire set. If you have one, put it in there!
Board wipe! We don’t have a solid one early, but this one helps us later in the game. Those two +1/+1 counters from Finality will even allow Slimefoot to survive the carnage. Find is also solid if we need to get back an important sacrifice outlet.
Mediocre. This controls well early, but the problem is that it hits Slimefoot. Play this early BEFORE he’s on the board or play this late when you have enough Saprolings to win the game. Their deaths will still trigger on Slimefoot’s ability even if they die at the same time.
Solid four mana removal spell at the proper cost we’re looking for. This effectively kills enemy commanders, making it an obvious winner for Brawl in general. However, Surveil 2 is also a winner since it helps us look for whatever we need at the time we cast it… a sacrifice outlet, Saproling Migration, mana sources.
Filtering our deck is very important, and every little bit helps. Here, we get to filter AND kill our opponent’s best creature. Not bad.
Decent. He’s no Ravenous Chupacabra, but he can kill Planeswalker commanders if they are flying solo on the battlefield when he comes down. Otherwise, he’ll kill the weakest creature and aid us in sacrificing Saprolings.
Four mana removal spell with huge variety! Combat tricks, enchantment and artifact removal, or just a straight-up “BLOW YOU AWAY” card. Variety is key in Brawl, where card selection is limited. We’ll happily take this to provide more options to our deck.
Four mana removal spell, this one is a little more limited. We’re focused on more spells and less creatures, so it could very well be that this is in our hand… but we can’t cast it without a creature to give deathtouch to. This is killer later in the game when we have an army of Saprolings that our opponents won’t want to block, but it won’t help us control the board early.
Maybe skip this one if you’re not in a gambling mood.
Again, we’re focused less on creatures and more on spells… but this card, along with its companion Vicious Offering, are still cheap enough to be considered. This one, however, actually requires you to sacrifice a creature and can only be cast at sorcery speed, making it clearly the weaker card. If you have to choose, go with Vicious Offering.
Rock solid removal. Definitely include this. Kills creatures early, makes them weaker later, and is effective at every point in the game. All for a single mana. Too bad it doesn’t have flash.
Guilds of Ravnica’s selection of great cards still comes up short of finding a true replacement for Yahenni. Free, instant speed sacrificing is an ability that few creatures ever have, but we have a few options that come close. We need ways to kill our Saprolings cheaply, and here’s what the set offers.
Izoni looks like a solid fit, and while she slots nicely into our deck, she’s not nearly the same superstar as she is in Limited. Loading up our graveyard with creatures is not a gameplan of Slimefoot’s since he mostly deals in tokens that vanish before reaching the graveyard.
We want at least two or three creatures in there to get the true value out of Izoni and her bugs. If we can get there, she’s a superstar that will draw cards and replenish lost life. Otherwise, she’s just an expensive and difficult to cast Thallid Soothsayer.
My belief is that you’ll definitely want her and the bugs will come more often than not. I’m also not nearly valuing the lifegain enough since you’ll be gaining 2 life from each Saproling instead of 1.
We’re more likely to win if we can find the cards we’re looking for. Card draw is huge in Magic and thanks to ample access to surveil, we’ll be able to draw our cards better while still getting powerful effects.
An obvious inclusion, this card is a Sylvan Library attached to a powerful Adanto Vanguard. Looking at three cards every turn is huge advantage, and even though we’re tossing some of them, we have ways of bringing them back. By turn-5, we should have enough gas already to let Slimefoot get the job done.
When he’s not filtering through your deck, he’s a powerful attacker and blocker that simply can’t be killed.
Yup, we can include one of Guilds of Ravnica’s best cards. We have the lifegain from Slimefoot and several sacrifice outlet, and Doom Whisperer will have plenty of resources to chomp through our deck as need be.
Maybe you’ll need this. As I said, graveyard shenanigans are not in Slimefoot’s gameplan, but you might want to buy something back here and there. Not likely to make the cut but still something to consider.
ALL IN ONE!
Sacrifice outlets, card draw, lifegain, and removal.. if only there was a card that delivered the whole package.
Oh hi, Vraska! The Golgari Queen is bogus in this deck. Let’s take her one line at a time.
+2 – Sacrifice… lifegain… draw a card. Check, check, check. The only weakness here is that you can only sacrifice one Saproling a turn. But still, that’s a fair disadvantage for all the value you’re getting.
-3 – Removal… early removal, but still removal. She can also clean up enemy commanders easily since they are often cheap. This includes Planeswalkers, where she can even blow up Sarkhan!
-9 – Who needs sacrifice outlets when your opponent won’t be able to block all of your Saprolings? This alternate win-con requires you to only get a single Saproling through to hit your opponent. Not bad.
Yeah, Vraska rocks here… maybe even more so than Relic Seeker.
Growing Rites of Itlimoc is still our best mana source in the game, but we’ve got a few more mana options here that should help make our deck more consistent. Include these, no question.
There you have it! Bow before your new lord and master… Slimefoot! May his reign on Brawl continue for generations to come… or at least until the next Standard rotation.